UK PM announces largest military investment since Cold War - International

21 Novembre, 2020, 12:24 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
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According to the BBC, the British Ministry of Defense's annual budget is around 40 billion pounds (about 53 billion dollars), so a 16.5 billion over four years is about a 10 percent yearly increase.

The Government has already slashed £2.9 billion off the foreign aid budget for the remainder of this year to avoid over-shooting the 0.7 per cent target.

Concerns have grown in recent months that the government is looking at ways to trim its commitments to overseas aid, partly because public finances have been strained by the costs associated with the coronavirus pandemic.

"The global situation is more perilous and more intensely competitive than at any time since the Cold War, and Britain must be true to our history and stand alongside our allies", he said.

The plan was also read as a calculated message to the new Biden administration, harmonising transatlantic priorities on defence after Johnson also put climate change front and centre of his post-pandemic rebuilding policy.

Now, however, Johnson is attempting to make his country a major player - not only politically, but militarily, too.

"France has the first but not the second, Germany the second but not the first".

Biden will meanwhile take power in late January, with allies hoping his presidency marks a more stable period for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation after the tumult of the Trump years.

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Christopher Miller, acting USA defence secretary in Trump's outgoing administration, welcomed the extra spending, saying it meant the United Kingdom military would "continue to be one of the finest fighting forces in the world".

This increase is funding puts the UK as the biggest military spender in Europe, and the second largest in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, only being beaten by the United States.

He further said this is UK's chance to transform their Armed Forces and increase its global influence.

Johnson said the increased spending reflected the need to upgrade military capabilities, including pioneering new technology with plans for a new space command and artificial intelligence agency.

The Space Command follows a similar United States force pushed by Trump and is meant to protect British satellites' critical role in modern life, from defence to communications.

A national cyberforce will be established alongside the new space command, which will be capable of launching its first rocket by 2022.

Johnson wouldn't say directly whether the government is set to abandon other financial commitments, but his comments appeared to signal a change in approach at the very least.


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