Image: The Sun Newspaper
We strongly endorse the decision by a number of senior military figures to push defence to centre stage of the debate running up to the election. Defence is the issue that is most overlooked and forgotten by the political establishment. To them, it’s not important at all, until it is, and by then it’s usually too late. It is crucial that we as a nation radically rethink defence, not only in terms of how much we spend, but how we spend it and how we organise our armed forces. Today the world is more uncertain than ever and a fudged 2% defence commitment alone isn’t preparing us to deal with it.
“The nation hopes June’s election will produce a government strong enough to conduct the tough Brexit negotiations, promote trading partnerships and maintain our security.
Only in a secure environment can we develop new relationships and thrive. Sadly, that security is threatened in almost every corner of the globe. The 2015 Strategic Defence & Security Review charted a path towards our future security. But the necessary funding is simply not there to give it substance. Responses by the MoD to questions about the defence budget have been disingenuous, quoting irrelevant financial statistics.
Global threats continue to intensify, from nuclear sabre-rattling over Crimea to risks to the very existence of Nato. A failure to protect the Baltic states and Turkey’s flirtation with hostile powers undermine this cornerstone of our national security. New extremist cells have emerged at home and added to Middle East chaos. China’s assertiveness and North Korea’s unpredictability pose existential threats to allies and to international trade.
Government boasts of spending two per cent of GDP on defence are widely criticised as an accounting deception. Most analysts agree core defence expenditure for hard military power is well below two per cent. The fall in the Pound threatens the purchase of aircraft for our new carriers, the upgrading of Apache helicopters and the purchase of missiles for submarines. The Armed Forces are having to seek further very damaging savings in manpower, support and training at a time when the likelihood of combat operations is increasing. These realities must be faced. They have been largely kept from public debate.
Fund the Review properly — and if this means a commitment to increase expenditure over the lifetime of the parliament, do it.
AIR CHIEF MARSHAL SIR MICHAEL GRAYDON
GENERAL SIR RICHARD BARRONS
ADMIRAL OFTHE FLEET LORD MICHAEL BOYCE
CAPTAIN JAMES GLANCY
VICE-ADMIRAL SIR JEREMY BLACKHAM
FORMER DIRECTOR GENERAL PROFESSOR MICHAEL CLARKE
CHIEF STRATEGIST PROFESSOR PAUL CORNISH
LIEUTENANT GENERAL SIR ROBERT FULTON
AIR COMMODORE ANDREW LAMBERT
FORMER MILITARY INTELLIGENCE AND AUTHOR FRANK LEDWIDGE
AIR VICE-MARSHAL PROFESSOR TONY MASON
PROFESSOR GWYTHIAN PRINS
GENERAL LORD DAVID RICHARDS
GENERAL SIR MICHAEL ROSE
PROFESSOR SIR HEW STRACHAN
MAJOR-GENERAL JULIAN THOMPSON
CAPTAIN EDWARD ARGLES
LANCE CORPORAL PETER DUNNING
CAPTAIN JAMES GLANCY
MAJOR CLIFFOR KAMARA
CORPORAL CAYLE ROYCE MBE
LIEUTENANT COLONEL RICHARD WESLEY OBE
SERGEANT SIMON WRIGHT-HILDER
SERGEANT MARK KING RAF
CAPTAIN ROWLEY GREGG