London: Former defence secretary Michael Fallon joined calls on Tuesday for more British military spending, as the head of the Army said the country may struggle to match Russian battlefield capabilities and another security chief warned a major cyber-attack on the UK is likely by 2020.
Fallon, speaking at the Defence and Security Forum in his first speech since resigning from the Cabinet over a sexual harassment scandal in November, argued for a one billion (EUR1.14, $1.4 billion) increase in defence funding this year, and raising annual GDP spending on it to 2.5 per cent.
This would give the military an additional 7.7 billion each year, he said, amid a reported 20 billion black hole in the budget for the next decade.
Noting the deficit was falling and spending is on the rise in other priority areas, Fallon said, “So let’s release an extra one billion to fire up the defence budget this year, and set 2.5 per cent of GDP as our new target for the end of the Parliament.”
The suggestion came shortly after Chief of the General Staff Nick Carter said in a rare public speech that Russia poses the “most complex and capable” security challenge since the end of the Cold War, and warned against complacency.
Making a high-profile intervention in the growing debate over military spending, he told an audience at the RUSI military think tank in London that “we cannot afford to sit back” in the face of Russian military strength.
The Army chief detailed Moscow’s growing military capabilities, which he illustrated with a Russian-language video he described as “information warfare at its best”....