Britain’s defence force is totally unprepared for any confrontation with Vladimir Putin or IS and it must stop freeloading off the back of the US. These are the key points to be made in a highly critical report to be published by former military chiefs later today.
Entitled National Security – A Challenge for the PM, the UK National Defence Association (UKNDA)– a group of former military chiefs and politicians – said Britain lacked aircraft, ships, manpower and weapons, ‘while Russia upgrades its arsenal’.
According to the Daily Mail, they will warn Prime Minister David Cameron to ‘repair the damage’ to the UK’s security and stop ‘freeloading’ off the US by committing the government to the NATO target of spending at least two per cent of national income on defence.
Former RAF head Sir Michael Graydon will claim Britain needs to be ready for war today and could not wait until a ‘crisis was imminent’ to spend more on defence. He will say that any prime minister who wants to be ‘remembered as a statesman’ should take the opportunity to commit to maintaining the NATO target.
All this while IS is creating ‘chaos across the Middle East and North Africa’ and calls are made for the UK to send ground troops to the area, the prospects for our security ‘are a matter of deep concern’. The report asks:
‘Is this not an opportunity for Mr Cameron to grasp? Regardless of the narrow majority in Parliament the new government can actively pursue a consensus across the House on this, the first priority of government. David Cameron’s first policy announcement was to promise to seek national unity. Nowhere is this more needed than in defence and security.’
A ring-fenced defence commitment, the report adds, ‘would show leadership, resolve and responsibility. It would be supported by many MPs of different persuasions, and a clear majority of the public.’
The report notes America currently provides more than 70 per cent of NATO’s defence budget, while Europe freeloads. It said: ‘As Europe’s population and GDP now exceed that of America this irresponsible imbalance cannot last.’