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British Military

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Her Majesty's Armed Forces
The tri-service badge
Service branches Naval Ensign of the United Kingdom Royal Navy (including Royal Marines)
British Army Flag British Army
Royal Air Force Ensign Royal Air Force
Commander-in-Chief HM Queen Elizabeth II[1]
Secretary of State for Defence Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP
Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir David Richards
Available for
military service
14,607,725 males, age 15–49,
14,028,738 females, age 15–49
Fit for
military service
12,046,268 males, age 15–49,
11,555,893 females, age 15–49
Active personnel 227,160 personnel[N 1]
Reserve personnel 174,800 regular reserve[N 2]
Budget FY 2012-13: GBP £37.5 billion[2]
FY 2010-11: USD $59.6 billion (ranked 3rd or 4th)[3]
Percent of GDP 2.7%[3]

The British Armed Forces are the armed forces of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland they are also known as Her Majesty's Armed Forces and sometimes legally the Armed Forces of the Crown,[4] the British Armed Forces encompasses three professional uniformed services: the Royal Navy (including the Royal Marines), the British Army, and the Royal Air Force.[5]

The Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces is the British monarch,[1] at present Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, to whom members of the forces swear allegiance. Under British constitutional law, the armed forces are subordinate to the Crown, however this power is qualified by the requirement for parliamentary consent to the maintaining of a standing army and Parliament's approval of taxation and supply of funds for the armed forces. Under the 1689 Bill of Rights no standing army may be maintained during time of peace without the consent of Parliament[6] and in modern times Parliament gives this consent every five years by passing an Armed Forces Act. Consistent with longstanding constitutional convention, the Prime Minister holds de facto authority over the use of the armed forces.[7] The armed forces are managed by the Defence Council of the Ministry of Defence, headed by the Secretary of State for Defence.

The United Kingdom became the world's third recognised nuclear weapons state in 1952, and today maintains 160 active nuclear warheads. Its nuclear deterrence system is based on Trident missiles on-board nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines.

  1. 1.0 1.1 Parliament Speaker addresses Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, 20 March 2012
  2. H M Treasury Budget 2012 (p 55) - includes additional allocation of funds for on-going military operations
  3. 3.0 3.1 SIPRI Yearbook 2011 - 15 countries with the highest military expenditure in 2010
  4. Armed Forces Act 1976, Arrangement of Sections,
  5. "Ministry of Defence". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 21 February 2012. 
  6. "Bill of Rights 1689". Wikisource. Retrieved 5 August 2011. 
  7. United Kingdom (05/06),

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