10 Jul 2013 By Tom Whitehead, Security Editor - telegraph.co.uk
Britain has had to rely on German military support in a war for the first time since the Battle of Waterloo.
During the Libyan conflict in 2011 British forces had to use maps supplied by German intelligence because of cut backs in the Ministry of Defence, it has emerged.
It was the first time the UK had to rely on Germany in such circumstances since 1815 when Gebhard von Blucher’s Prussian forces helped the Duke of Wellington defeat Napoleon.
The development was disclosed on the annual report of the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee which raised concerns over decreasing funding for defence intelligence.
The committee, which takes evidence from the security and intelligence agencies in private, warned that cutbacks meant resources had to be constantly shifted around and it risked “robbing Peter to pay Paul”.
The committee said the spy agencies and defence intelligence would have to increasingly rely on “burden sharing” and make use of allies in some parts of the world who may be better placed to provide intelligence.
It said: “We accept the need for this specialisation. It is not novel: for example we have been told that (by defence intelligence) ‘in Libya we went to war on German maps’”.
Sir Max Hastings, the military historian, said it would likely be the first time Britain relied on Germany like that since Waterloo.
”It is a fact of enormous frustration that it is now almost impossible to conduct any military operation without help,” he said.
The ISC report warned cuts to the defence budget will lead to the loss of 450 defence intelligence posts – the equivalent of 10 per cent.
It concluded: “The Committee has repeatedly warned of the risks of cutting resources – in particular to Defence Intelligence – to the UK’s ability to provide the necessary level of global coverage.
“Whilst we recognise that burden-sharing arrangements with allies may offset some of the impact, there must continue to be a critical mass that can respond to unexpected events without this being at the expense of coverage of other key areas.
“We are concerned that shifting resources in response to emerging events is ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’: we must maintain the ability to respond to more than one crisis at a time.”
An MoD spokesman said: "It is important that we use Defence resources effectively and efficiently.
"It is increasingly common for us to burden-share activities with allies. In this particular case our operational planning for Libya was undertaken using current German mapping under long-established programmes of work sharing.
"Operations in Libya were a coalition effort and therefore it is only right that we make best use of the assets of our international partners.”
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