UK Army Chief seeks more money for possible confrontation with Russia
LONDON - British armed forces need more funding to stay prepared for a possible confrontation with Russia, UK Chief of the General Staff Nick Carter will say in a speech later on Monday.
In his speech, which has received approval from Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson, Carter is expected to warn about the threats from what he calls Russia’s “campaign of cyber espionage and disruption."
"The time to address these threats is now -- we cannot afford to sit back," he will say, according to unnamed military officials.
"Our ability to pre-empt or respond to threats will be eroded if we don't keep up with our adversaries,” the general will add. "We must take notice of what is going on around us or our ability to take action will be massively constrained.”
"Speed of decision making, speed of deployment, and modern capability are essential if we wish to provide realistic deterrence," Carter will say.
Williamson and other military officials have been warning Prime Minister Theresa May against implementing a series of cost-saving measures that would cut the army's full-time strength to 70,000 soldiers.
May’s government is also considering delaying an upgrade of tanks and armored vehicles and reducing the number of new Ajax mini-tanks.
The austerity plans might include taking away nine warships and 100 helicopters from the Royal Navy and Air Force. <link>
Chief of British military capability, General Mark Poffley, told the House of Commons in late November that rising costs might force the military to reduce its order of 48 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets.
In mid-December, members of the Defense Select Committee in the House of Commons said they “seriously doubt” the defense ministry was able to fund contracts for new warships, fighter jets and other military equipment.
This is while Williamson has made it clear that the UK needs more military spending to deliver on its commitments as a member of the NATO military alliance.
Britain is a main contributor to NATO’s long-running military buildup on Russia’s Western borders.