UK army chief fears Russian might
Chief of the general staff Nick Carter is due to tell the Royal United Services Institute that Russia is building increasingly aggressive expeditionary forces and demonstrating its formidable long-range missiles in Syria.
The speech, which was approval from the UK defence minister Gavin Williamson, will warn that Britain risks falling further behind potential foes unless it increases investment in its military.
One of the biggest threats posed was from cyber-attacks that targeted the military and civilian activity.
As well as Russia, North Korea, Iran and China have been blamed for cyber-attacks on the west.
“The time to address these threats is now: we cannot afford to sit back,” excerpts from General Carter’s speech said.
“Our ability to preempt or respond to threats will be eroded if we don’t keep up with our adversaries.
“We must take notice of what is going on around us or our ability to take action will be massively constrained.”
The Ministry of Defence is pressing the government for a significant increase in spending amid the economic damage being caused by Brexit.
“Speed of decision making, speed of deployment and modern capability are essential if we wish to provide realistic deterrence.”
It is an indication of how desperate the Ministry of Defence is to win more funding that the head of the army is publicly playing up Russian superiority.
The armed forces have been drastically cut back over the last decade but much of this distortion is because a slice of the defence budget is being channelled into the renewal of the Trident nuclear programme and two new aircraft carriers.
Williamson has made the budget a priority since taking office last year with the Ministry of Defence facing a £20-billion shortfall over the next decade and cuts will be almost inevitable if the minister fails to secure more Treasury funding.
A security review being carried out by National Security Adviser Mark Sedwill is due to be published within a month.
The Conservative MP Jonny Mercer, a member of the Defence Select Committee, supported Carter’s warning.
Mercer said: “The nature of warfare is changing. I have been saying this for sometime. The mantra that I have tried to spread, that our armed forces must only be configured, not by cost or rose-tinted view of yesteryear, but by the adversaries we are up against, must be adhered to as we try to understand what a modern, capable, contemporary military looks like fit for a global Britain.”
The British armed forces have been heavily cutback since the Cold War. Picture credit: Flickr