PM set to slash size of the Army in major new defence strategy

The Prime Minister is preparing for a Commons announcement that will have a major impact on the UK’s future defense strategy.

Boris Johnson will set a new policy framework on Tuesday that is expected to cut troop numbers by more than 10,000.

In addition, he will deal with the “increasingly obsolete international order” while highlighting the importance of NATO.

His new strategy of “increased international activism” is intended to counter growing threats to the established world order from countries like Russia.

Boris Johnson will make the reveal when he unveils the results of the annual integrated review of the government’s security, defense, development and foreign policy.

It is billed as the most radical reassessment of Britain’s place in the world since the end of the Cold War.

The 100-page document is entitled Global Britain in a Competitive Age.

The aim is to develop plans for the armed forces to deploy the latest cutting edge technologies such as drones and artificial intelligence (AI), with a new focus on the future battlefields of space and cyber.

This includes creating a White House-style situation room in the cabinet office and a new counter-terrorism operations center to improve the authorities’ ability to respond to incidents.

In addition, it will mark a strategic “tilt” towards the Indo-Pacific region.

This reflects the ministers’ view that it is increasingly becoming the “geopolitical center of the world”.

This shift is highlighted by the deployment of the HMS Queen Elizabeth Carrier Strike Group in the area on its first operational mission later this year.

The Prime Minister will travel to India for his first major international visit since Britain leaves the EU at the end of April.

In the Commons Declaration, Mr Johnson is expected to remain the bedrock of British security in the Euro-Atlantic region, but the country can no longer rely on an “increasingly obsolete international order” to protect its interests.

It comes after some countries tried to undermine the open and liberal international order that emerged after the Cold War. Donald Trump, for example, repeatedly complained about the amount of US cash that was spent on NATO.

The Prime Minister is expected to say that Britain must use “all the tools at our disposal” to ensure a world where democracies can thrive.

He is expected to tell MPs: “I am deeply optimistic about Britain’s place in the world and our ability to seize the opportunities that lie ahead.

“The ingenuity of our citizens and the strength of our Union will combine with our international partnerships, modernized armed forces and a new green agenda, allowing us to look ahead with confidence as we shape the world of the future.”

The review comes out after the Prime Minister announced in November an increase in defense spending of £ 16.5 billion over the next four years.

This included creating an artificial intelligence agency and a “space command” that could launch Britain’s first rocket by 2022.

The government has also announced plans to build a “cyber corridor” in the north of England.

This is where the headquarters of the new National Cyber ​​Force (NCF) will be located.

The military chiefs have made it clear, however, that investing in new technology will limit some capabilities in the “industrial age”.

The army is expected to be the biggest loser – with troop numbers projected to be cut by more than 10,000.

The Challenger 2 main battle tank fleet is expected to be reduced by a third and the Warrior infantry combat vehicle will be completely retired.

The moves have worried some MPs, including Conservative Defense Committee Chairman Tobias Ellwood.

Speaking in the Commons on Monday, he said the country was on the verge of a “shocking diminution” of its conventional hard power in favor of new “niche capabilities”.

“Yes, we have to adapt to new threats, but that doesn’t mean the old ones are gone,” he said.

“Serious cuts to our infantry regiments, main battle tanks, armored fighting vehicles and Hercules C130 (transport aircraft) will worry our closest allies and excite our competitors.”


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