The ending of the Cold War saw a 40% cut in manpower, as outlined in the Options for Change review. Despite this, the Army has been deployed in an increasingly global role. In 1991, the United Kingdom was the second largest contributor to the coalition force that fought Iraq in the Gulf War. The nation supplied just under 50,000 personnel and was put in control of Kuwait after it was liberated. 47 British Military Personnal died during the Gulf War.
The British Army was deployed to Yugoslavia in 1992. Initially this force formed part of the United Nations Protection Force. In 1995 command was transferred to IFOR and then to SFOR. Currently troops are under the command of EUFOR. Over 10,000 troops were sent. In 1999 British forces under the command of SFOR were sent to Kosovo during the conflict there. Command was subsequently transferred toKFOR. From 1993-Present 72 British Military Personnal have died on operations in the former Yugoslavian Countries of Bosnia, Kosovo & Macedonia.
In 2001 the United Kingdom, as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom with the United States, invaded Afghanistan to topple the Taliban. The 3rd Division Signal Regiment were deployed in Kabul, to assist in the liberation of the troubled capital. The Royal Marines’ 3 Commando Brigade (part of the Royal Navy but including a number of Army units), also swept the mountains. The British Army is today concentrating on fighting Taliban forces and bringing security to Helmand province. Approximately 9,000 British troops (including marines, airmen and sailors) are currently in Afghanistan, making it the second largest force after the US. Around 500 extra British troops were deployed in 2009, bringing the British Army deployment total up to 9,500 (excluding Special Forces). From 2001 – 23rd Jan 2010 a total of 250 British military personnel have died on operations mainly in Helmand Province. 37 of these have died of causes other then direct contact from insurgents; in such ways as accidents or illness.
In 2003, the United Kingdom was a major contributor to the United States-led invasion of Iraq. There was major disagreement amongst the domestic populace but the House of Commons voted for the conflict, sending 46,000 army personnel to the region, the second largest force after the US. The British Army controlled the southern regions of Iraq and maintained a peace keeping presence in the city of Basra until their withdrawal on April 30, 2009. 179 British Military personnal have died on operations in Iraq.
The British Army was initially deployed in Northern Ireland in the wake of Catholic rioting in Derry and Belfast and to prevent Protestant Loyalist attacks on Catholic communities, under Operation Bannerbetween 1969 and 2007 in support of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and its successor, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). There has been a steady reduction in the number of troops deployed in Northern Ireland since the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998. In 2005, after the Provisional Irish Republican Army announced an end to its armed conflict in Northern Ireland, the British Army dismantled posts and withdrew many troops, and restored troop levels to that of a peace-time garrison.
Operation Banner ended at midnight on 31 July 2007, making it the longest continuous deployment in the British Army’s history, lasting some thirty-eight years. An internal British Army document released in 2007 stated an expert opinion that the British Army had failed to defeat the IRA but had made it impossible for them to win through the use of violence. Operation Helvetic replaced Operation Banner in 2007 maintaining fewer servicemen in a much more benign environment. From 1971 to 1997 a total of 763 British Military personnal where killed during the troubles with 129 been killed in the year 1972 alone. A total of 303 RUC officers where also killed in the same time period. Most recently in March 2009 2 soldiers and a Police Officer where killed in separate incidents in N. Ireland.