The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is to put networking technology at the heart of a revamped battle force, allowing it to give 20,000 military personnel the bullet.
Defence minister Geoff Hoon revealed that the cuts will come from the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force by 2008, as the military responds to changing priorities for defence.
The MoD will in future rely heavily on networking technology to improve battlefield communications, providing a more streamlined and responsive fighting force, Hoon told parliament.
"[We] will see a shift away from an emphasis on numbers of platforms and of people - the inputs that characterised defence planning in the past - to a new emphasis on effects and outcomes, and on the exploitation of the opportunities presented by new technologies and network-enabled capability," he said.
Systems such as the £2.5bn satellite communications Skynet 5, and Cormorant, the wide area network for the UK's Joint Rapid Reaction Force, will underpin the new 'networked-enabled' military, according to Hoon.
But opposition MPs criticised the review for cutting defence jobs.
"We also recognise the importance of network-enabled capability," said Nicholas Soames, Conservative defence spokesman. "But this announcement is essentially about cuts."
Soames added that armed services personnel would feel "betrayed" by the job losses.
The MoD has faced severe difficulties in updating its communications systems.
Its project to update its radio network to the Bowman system stalled badly. After several false starts, the £2.4bn upgrade will finally be completed in 2007, 11 years late and £500m over budget.
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