Britain is to boost chemical warfare detection capabilities, the defense secretary announced in the speech, through which he again pushed to get more military spending when confronted with growing threats from Russia and others.
The £48 million (U.S. $67 million) investment in a new chemical weapons defense center comes just days after an ex-Russian spy and his awesome daughter were left critically ill after being attacked with a sophisticated nerve agent in Salisbury, western England.
“We have world-class expertise at Defense Science Technology Laboratory, Porton Down, and from now on I can announce we are strengthening this capability by investing £48 million in a very new chemical weapons defense center to make certain we maintain our cutting edge in chemical analysis and defense,” Gavin Williamson said at a Rolls-Royce facility in Bristol on Thursday.
The chemical threat was not just from Russia, he added.
In another move following the chemical attack, British high readiness troops are to be vaccinated against anthrax. The decision will ensure troops are protected and able to deploy to locations potential risk of an anthrax attack exists.
Britain has blamed the Russian government for your nerve agent attack, sparking an escalating row involving the two nations, containing generated the wholesale expulsion of Russian diplomats from London along with a threat by the Putin administration to retaliate in kind.
The U.K., along with France, Germany and the U.S., issued a statement earlier Thursday saying there was “no plausible alternative explanation” than Russia being behind the nerve agent attack.
The four nations condemned the “first offensive use of a nerve agent in Europe considering that the Second World War,” saying it was an assault on British sovereignty.
The attack saw British troops in chemical warfare protection suits deployed on British streets wanting to find traces with the Russian-made nerve agent called Novichok.
“If we doubted the threat Russia poses to citizens, we only ought to look at the shocking instance of their reckless attack in Salisbury,” Williamson said.
Asked whether Britain and Russia were entering a whole new Cold War, Williamson said: “It is often described as a ‘cool war’ that individuals are stepping into. I would say it’s feeling exceptionally chilly currently.”
British defense spending throughout the Cold War regularly topped 4 % of gross domestic product, whereas now the figure is often a fraction greater than 2 percent. Many in Parliament would want to note that figure nearer to 3 percent.
The Salisbury attack, this seriously injured a policeman, may alter the dynamics in the defense-spending argument.
Williamson, who only used the post as defence secretary in November, and also some of his service chiefs, notably British Army Gen. Nick Carter, the main from the General Staff, have recently been citing a rising threat from Russia while others, partly to justify spending more income on defense.
The defense secretary controversially warned recently that Russian cyberattacks on Britain’s infrastructure down the road could cause lots of people dying.
Warning that Britain required to “prioritize investment in military capabilities” Williamson said Britain had reached a “profound moment inside our history; a crossroads in which the choice before us is easy, to take a seat back and let events overtake us, or step of progress. This is our moment to retain our competitive advantage.”
The Ministry of Defense is deeply embroiled in a very debate while using Treasury to help secure an increase in its budget so that you can avert a life threatening lowering of capabilities so that you can balance the books.
A recent National Audit Office directory the MoD’s £180 billion defense equipment procurement and support plan for your next 10 years, reckoned the master plan may be overcommitted by up to £21 billion.
The MoD is currently undertaking a defense review, what it calls the Defense Modernisation Programme, which is expected to be completed ahead of the NATO summit in Brussels in mid-July.
Without additional funds and efficiency savings throughout the military, service chiefs will have to locate a selection of cuts, with some major programs and capabilities falling victim for the should balance the books over a defense budget that last year totaled £35 billion.
“Our modernizing defense program will assure our country can respond on the changing nature of warfare along with the new threats we face to British interests. Russia, specifically, is ripping up the rule book, we just must consider the reckless attack in Salisbury,” Williamson said.
One from the items planning to feature inside review could be the issue of chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear, or CBRN, capabilities.
The new chemical warfare defense center could be part of this, though British attention about the sector generally considered inadequate since joint CBRN regiment was axed as a result with the 2010 Strategic Defense and Security Review, there might be more developments in the future.
Since 2011, Britain’s CBRN capability has been the responsibility from the Royal Air Force, even though Royal Tank Regiment formed a passionate CBRN squadron in 2014. At this point, it’s too early to know whether a joint forces CBRN regiment could possibly be reconstituted.