The Government may need to accelerate a restructure of the UK’s Armed Forces to meet “increasing threats”, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has said.
In the first significant announcement from the Modernising Defence Programme (MDP), Mr Williamson writes that the military must be ready to “match the pace” of adversaries, that the country needs a “fighting force fit” for the 21st century and that defence needs to be reset in order to make it “better value for money”.
The MDP was launched in January after the National Security Capability Review acknowledged the increasing security challenges the UK is facing.
Mr Williamson, in a written ministerial statement, said: “Although we anticipated many of the threats and risks we now face, we underestimated the pace at which they would intensify and combine to challenge UK national security at home and threaten the rules-based international order that has delivered peace, security and prosperity over many decades.
“And, we did not fully understand the ways in which they would interact with each other.
“Alongside this, the character of warfare has changed since 2015. We are in a period of constant aggressive competition between states, often developing into undeclared confrontation and, in some cases, proxy conflicts. Technology, especially digital technology, is developing at a breath-taking pace, making pervasive many capabilities once only imagined in science fiction.”
Mr Williamson confirmed that it was his ambition to “introduce new capabilities or equipment that provide significant advantage in the immediate term”.
He added: “We need to be able to meet future threats and face down our adversaries to continue to protect our prosperity and security.
“We may need to accelerate elements of the programme to meet the most acute threats sooner.”