Britain must spend more on the armed forces or risk defeat in a future confrontationwrites as The Times features a rare intervention by a serving military chief.
General Sir Gordon Messenger, vice-chief of the defence staff, said the country must be prepared for a “deterioration in the international arena” within 10 to 15 years. The Royal Marines officer said that extra investment was needed to counter the growing range of weapons and technologies being developed by states including Russia.Indeed, as The Times reported a month and a half ago, The UK's Troop Cut Proposals Would Leave the Smallest British Army Since Before the Napoleonic Wars.
General Messenger is among the frontrunners to take over as head of the military … this summer. …
Becoming the first senior military figure in a generation to explicitly call for more funding, [General Messenger, 55,] told The Times: “Defence affordability is not something we should shy away from . . . We should be making the case for a bigger defence budget in order to respond to those types of threats that are changing all of the time.”
… The shortfall in the armed forces budget is thought to be £20 billion to £30 billion over the next decade. Some of this gap must be filled by the MoD making more efficiency savings.
General Sir Nick Carter, the head of the army, has warned about Britain’s vulnerability to a Russian attack. Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary who is pushing for more funds from the Treasury, said last month that Moscow could cause “thousands and thousands and thousands” of deaths. Asked why the public should support new money for defence, General Messenger signalled that people needed to understand that their security was not guaranteed. “There are capabilities being produced by those states that don’t see the world in the way that we do, that could do us harm,” he said.