Boris Johnson paves the way for ‘biggest review of UK military since Cold War’
Boris Johnson has paved the way for big increases in defence spending after he launched the widest review since the Cold War.
The Prime Minister’s report on the Government’s foreign, development and security policies is designed to boost the UK post-Brexit.
Insiders said the review would cover all aspects of the UK’s place in the world – its diplomats, armed forces and spies.
The move would “challenge traditional Whitehall assumptions and thinking” in Mr Johnson’s latest attempt to revolutionise government.
But No 10 was keen to distance it from controversial chief aide Dominic Cummings – revealing it would be led by a senior civil servant.
The review will keep the UK’s commitment of 2% of GDP to defence and 0.7% of national income to international development.
A Downing Street source suggested that, unlike the 2015 review, it would not have to be “cost neutral” raising the possibility of the Government spending billions more on promoting Britain overseas after Brexit .
It was unclear where the extra money would come from but the review will run parallel to the Comprehensive Spending Review and is expected to deliver its main conclusions alongside it in the autumn.
But the review heralds a clash with service chiefs amind concern the Ministry of Defence has been wasting billions on equipment.
Both Mr Cummings and Cabinet Secretary Mark Sedwill are sceptical over the MoD’s record of “squandering” billions of its £39bn budget.
There has been particular concern about the Royal Navy, which has only just overseen a decade-long programme to build two new aircraft carriers – which many believe are militarily inefficient.
A senior Army cybersecurity expert told the Mirror: “This is about a changing of the guard. The serious career-minded officials in all of the services know that we need to invest in the digital tools to keep Britain safe in the next 20 years.
“We aren’t preparing for a land war in Asia, but a hybrid digital war with unclear actors who won’t target our military. They’ll target schools, infrastructure and the NHS.
“No 10 seems to have got that, now let us see if they have the gumption to get it past the old guard and their obsession with new toys.”
The review will also look to build on the work of the review currently under way by former Scotland Yard deputy commissioner Sir Craig Mackey into efforts to tackle serious and organised crime.
Final decisions will be taken by the National Security Council chaired by the PM.
Mr Johnson said: “The UK’s institutions, expertise, leadership and values are renowned around the world. But we cannot rest on our laurels. We must do more to adapt. We will be judged by how we respond to the opportunities ahead.
“As the world changes we must move with it – harnessing new technologies and ways of thinking to ensure British foreign policy is rooted firmly in our national interests, now and in the decades ahead.”
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