PM rejects Gates' comments on UK defense cuts

British Prime Minister David Cameron rejected former Defense Secretary Robert Gates' accusation on Thursday that military cuts will diminish Britain’s international status.

Gates said in an interview with one of the BBC’s radio programs this week that Britain can no longer be a “full partner” to the United States. Cameron says Gates is wrong.

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“I don’t agree with him. I think he’s got it wrong. We have the fourth-largest defense budget anywhere in the world. We’re actually investing in future capabilities,” Cameron told the BBC on Thursday. “We are a first-class player in terms of defense. And as long as I’m prime minister, that’s the way it will stay."

According to the BBC, Britain’s military will cut 30,000 service members by 2020, which would leave 147,000 remaining. Gates said such a reduction would be “substantial.”

"With the fairly substantial reductions in defense spending in Great Britain, what we're finding is that it won't have full spectrum capabilities and the ability to be a full partner as they have been in the past,” Gates said, according to The Guardian.  

Gates has been participating in a series of media interviews this week to promote his provocative new book Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.