The Defence Secretary Philip Hammond made a welcome announcement when he said that he would start a reserve force of IT experts for cyber security (your report, 30 September).
The real threats to us, as pointed out by David Fiddimore and Ellis Thorpe (Letters, 28 September) do not involve lots of shiny toys or massive numbers in uniform or bureaucratic Ministry of Defence offices but instead are in new areas.
Areas such as cyber security and information gathering, intelligence and anti-terrorism are where the real threats exist. Westminster has been overspending on inappropriate equipment and strategies based more on previous wars than on present threats. And, starting from scratch, an independent Scotland could leapfrog the out-of-date technologies.
Modern defence systems mean that cheaper Royal Fleet Auxiliaries can project humanitarian aid far more efficiently than aircraft carriers.
Modular systems mean that many reserve ships can work as ferries or small container carriers but be ready to be used to assist in an overseas disaster situation.
As has been pointed out, a single service is far more efficient. With a clean sheet of paper, a Scottish Protection Service would not even need to spend £2.5 billion per annum to provide a better defence service than Westminster’s.
If IT experts in Scotland take up the reservist positions being offered next month, then Scotland could have a ready trained and experienced team of cyber security personnel when independence arrives.
Bruce D Skivington
Gairloch, Wester Ross