The armed forces of the United Kingdom are managed by the Ministry of Defence.
The British Armed Forces are charged with protecting the United Kingdom and its overseas territories, promoting Britain's wider security interests, and supporting international peacekeeping efforts. They are active and regular participants in NATO and other coalition operations.
The British Army had a reported strength of 112,700 in 2004, including 7,600 women, and the Royal Air Force a strength of 53,400. The 40,900-member Royal Navy is in charge of the United Kingdom's independent strategic nuclear arm, which consists of four Trident missile submarines, while the Royal Marines provide commando units for amphibious assault and for specialist reinforcement forces in and beyond the NATO area. This puts total active duty military troops in the 210,000 range.
Britain fields one of the most powerful and comprehensive military forces in Europe. Despite Britain's wide ranging capabilities, recent defence policy has a stated assumption that any large operation would be undertaken as part of a coalition. Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq (Desert Storm, No-Fly-Zones, Desert Fox and Iraqi Freedom) may all be taken as precedent - indeed the last conflict in which the British military fought alone was the Falklands War of 1982.
The Commander-in-Chief of the UK Armed Forces is the Queen and in the UK they are officially known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces.
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Last updated: 02-18-2005 23:21:17