Army chief warns UK defence spending must rise to match Russia threat

Posted On: 
22nd January 2018

The Government must commit to more defence spending to counter emerging threats from countries such as Russia, the head of the Army will warn today. 

Nick Carter will warn about the increased threat of Vladimir Putin's Russia

In a rare intervention, Nick Carter will say the UK's ability to respond to various situations will be "eroded" without more investment in the army, navy and air force.

His speech, signed off by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, is the latest salvo in a battle between the Ministry of Defence and the Treasury over spending. 

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The Government has already bowed to pressure from MPs by removing conventional defence spending from a Cabinet Office review of national security.

Speaking in central London later, General Carter will say there is a pressing need to boost investment as the Kremlin becomes more aggressive in its own military strategy.

"Our ability to pre-empt or respond to threats will be eroded if we don’t keep up with our adversaries,” he will say.

“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. The time to address these threats is now – we cannot afford to sit back.” 

He will warn that the threat from rival governments extends beyond conventional military assets to tactics such as cyber warfare. 

British military chiefs have already expressed concerns that Moscow may try to damage the UK by cutting vital undersea communications cables.

“State-based competition is now being employed in more novel and increasingly integrated ways and we must be ready to deal with them," General Carter will say.  

"The threats we face are not thousands of miles away but are now on Europe’s doorstep – we have seen how cyber-warfare can be both waged on the battlefield and to disrupt normal people’s lives – we in the UK are not immune from that."