Military funding: The Russian issue

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Russia builds its military might.

Last week saw a call for an increase in military spending, a plea that went largely unnoticed.

Firstly, on Monday, Army Chief General Sir Nick Carter, warned of a threat from Russia that would not come in the “form of little green men” but instead something unexpected and incredibly damaging. Britain must prepare to “fight the war we might have to fight”.

Secondly, on Friday, Gavin Williamson, the Defence Secretary, gave warnings of potential threats posed by Russia, particularly targeting energy supplies, risking the lives of thousands. His claims were largely passed off as desperate, but he does bring up a fair point. In a world where we are seeing the world powers growing in strength, it’s barmy that we are not anticipating or planning for disaster.

Gavin Williamson (left) warns of a Russian threat.

This comes from speculation that, once again, the military may face defence cuts. While it is hard to justify maintaining a large peace-time force, it is undeniable that a small fighting force does little to ease public confidence in the military. Britain has one of the most professional militaries of the world powers, yet is one of the smallest, undermining our presence on the world stage. 200,000 personnel is embarrassing in the face of nations like Russia with 800,000 personnel.

The Navy needs an update to its ships: while it has seen the building of two new aircraft carriers this is not enough to strengthen maritime defence. The RAF needs more highly capable helicopters like the American Black Hawks, and the army needs more troops and updated vehicles.

With a growing economy, more employment and a growing threat of Russia, the government still wants to continue the cuts on the military. There needs to be a push for more money and personnel into defence, not less and fewer.