Britain Risks Losing Its Global Influence If We Don’t Invest In Defence
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Published March 2, 2009
24 pages in PDF format
Britain will cease to be a major player in world affairs and will lose its remaining influence with the United States unless there is a significant increase in funding for its armed forces. This decision cannot wait until after the next General Election but must be made now, according to this policy paper published by the United Kingdom National Defence Association (UKNDA). It says that Britain has a clear choice: to continue with proactive foreign & defence policies – and fund them – or compromise towards purely reactive policies.
The paper argues that Britain’s armed forces are already so severely under-funded and over-stretched that within five years they will have plummeted from the ‘first division’ (in terms of military capability) to the middle of the second division, below France, Russia, China, India, Germany and Japan.
The paper asserts that while Government Ministers claim the UK “punches above its weight” in world affairs, the reality is that our armed forces are required to “punch above their budget” – and they cannot do so any longer.
Consistent under-investment in defence since the last Strategic Defence Review in 1998 has left Britain with a cumulative defence deficit of up to £20Bn. In addition to this, there is a capital equipment spending gap of at least £15Bn.
The paper concludes: “At stake is Britain’s future: our ability to defend our country and our world-wide interests, our global influence through the UN and international alliances, and, not least, our special relationship with the United States.”