The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Houghton, admitted he faced a "huge challenge" as the services are dramatically reduced in size. But he promised an "honest, straight-talking" approach to ensure everyone was "on side".
In an interview with an internal MoD magazine, Gen Houghton also said the country needed to "recalibrate" expectations of the global role and capacity of British forces. And he conceded that the long-term outcome of the war in Afghanistan "sits in the balance".
He said: "(Troops) need to understand the context and relevance of what they're doing in circumstances and times that are quite difficult for many of them."