We must increase defence spending to ward off the Russia threat

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AlexanderHam
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So says Tom Tugendhat, one of the most intelligent men in the House of Commons. He's a Cambridge graduate and fluent in Arabic, a former Army Intelligence officer and also the son of the Sir Michael Tugendhat, the senior media judge in the High Court (quite an accomplished family, the uncle is a Conservative Party baron)

Anyway, I completely agree with this. Trump has basically all but sworn fealty to Mother Russia. We now have to make our own arrangements, including a substantial increase in defence spending. And of that increase, we should be spending a lot more on offensive cyberwarfare capabilities. I think in total, the cyber brief (including defensive security) gets about £600 million a year. Pitiful.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2...-britain-must/
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Tempest II
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I can't read the whole article as I don't have Telegraph premium but I do agree that it'd be a wise move to increase defence spending.

American will almost certainly still be our most important ally even with Trump as POTUS but there will always be occasions where the interests of the UK don't line up with the US (as demonstrated by both the Suez & Falklands conflicts in the past).

Currently it'd be very difficult, if not impossible, to run a large operation without US support; most NATO nations under spend on defence & only France has an real capability & will to use its armed forces. The German's, since reunification, have fallen away & no longer have much will to commit to defence. I'd like to think they'd respond militarily to a Russian venture into one of the Baltic states but this is certainly not guaranteed. Only Poland, Greece (even with its poor financial condition) and Estonia spend the minimum 2% of GDP required by NATO. The UK only really meets this figure as the government has included other budgets into the equation recently.

The UK does, man for man & pound for pound, have one of the best armed forces in the world. This was the same at the start of the First World War - the British Army in 1914, due to conflicts across the Empire (especially the Boer War) was the best trained, most experienced & most mechanised. However, the Army had only limited numbers of professional soldiers & therefore was wiped out in the first few months which then resulted in 4 years of bloody trench warfare with comparatively poorly trained conscripts being thrown into the meat grinder.

The UK is in a similar state now - the Army has less than 230 Challenger 2 MBTs, the RAF has about 200 serviceable combat aircraft & and Royal Navy has only 6 Type 45 Destroyers. Even these numbers are still enough to deal with a lot of threats the UK might encounter but they're certainly not enough to deter Russia.

The Russians have recently shown off their T-14 tank which is revolutionary compared to most NATO models. The Russian economy has struggled due to Western sanctions so their aim to buy over 2000 T-14s may be unrealistic. However, Trump could ease sanctions on Russia which would certainly help the Russian economy.

Some observers have proclaimed that tanks are now obsolete due to the latest anti-tank guided missiles like Javelin & Brimstone. However, countermeasures against these missiles have also improved with both soft & hard kill protection systems that UK tanks don't have but the T-14s do. It's also fair to assume that NATO wouldn't be able to obtain air superiority in a situation that saw Russian forces strike out at the Baltic nations in time to actually stop an invasion. I can understand that large numbers of tanks aren't exactly essential for an island nation but due to our NATO commitments then I'd argue more are needed. Japan, for example, has almost 700 tanks.

It's be very embarrassing that the UK totally lost its airborne anti-submarine warfare capability after the SDSR in 2010. The 2015 SDSR has acknowledged this error & the RAF will now get American made P-8 maritime patrol aircraft. However, these are still several years from away from entering service.
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AlexanderHam
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(Original post by Tempest II)
American will almost certainly still be our most important ally even with Trump as POTUS but there will always be occasions where the interests of the UK don't line up with the US (as demonstrated by both the Suez & Falklands conflicts in the past).
Of course, absolutely. I don't mean by "Make our own arrangements" that we should walk away from the US-UK alliance; as someone with two Anglosphere citizenships and who has lived, as an adult, in three of the Anglosphere nations, I'm fanatically in favour of the alliance. It will remain our most important security alliance; from that alliance we derive fundamental force multipliers without which we are a much less capable force (in particular, imagery intelligence from US satellites, the joint cyber / SIGINT capability and intelligence sharing). But Trump would struggle to destroy that even if he wanted to; in the electronic intelligence world, our agencies almost form a kind of supranational entity, beyond any particular nationality. They have ties that run very deep, and very deep support in the bureaucracy due to the tremendously pro-SIGINT institutional memory of the British and American civil services and militaries (going back to lessons learned from ENIGMA). They could frustrate a Trump administration until he leaves office to prevent him doing any damage there.

Where Trump can really put a cat among the pigeons is in refusing to support our NATO allies, pulling troops from Eastern Europe (or even Europe generally). We must be prepared for that.

Only Poland, Greece (even with its poor financial condition) and Estonia spend the minimum 2% of GDP required by NATO. The UK only really meets this figure as the government has included other budgets into the equation recently.
Indeed. Though remember, as recently as the 1980s we were spending closer to 6% of GDP on the military. I don't claim we need to get anywhere near that, but we should be a lot closer to 3%, with everything over the 2% level earmarked for force multipliers (AWACs, aerial refuelling), special forces, cyberwarfare, ballistic missile defence (for which we have no programme at all), directed energy weapons etc.

The UK is in a similar state now - the Army has less than 230 Challenger 2 MBTs, the RAF has about 200 serviceable combat aircraft & and Royal Navy has only 6 Type 45 Destroyers. Even these numbers are still enough to deal with a lot of threats the UK might encounter but they're certainly not enough to deter Russia.
I have to disagree, I think the numbers are pitiful. Based on population, we should have three times what the Australians have, essentially. Except that the Aussies will have around 110 combat aircraft under their new structure (75 F-35s, 24 Super Hornets and 12 Growlers). That "tip of the spear" electronic warfare capability in particular is something the UK can only put on provisionally.

The Saudis have 360 very capable combat aircraft (mix of Tornadoes, F-15s.. and their pilots get very high number of flight hours, contrary to common perception they are not crap). That is around the number I think we need. And on the force multipliers, the Australians, with only 20 million population, have six AWACs, seven aerial refuellers and 19 ASW maritime patrol aircraft). For the UK, the numbers are six, fourteen and zero. It should be more like twelve, twenty, twenty.

RAF will now get American made P-8 maritime patrol aircraft. However, these are still several years from away from entering service.
It's not just a matter of the aircraft. You give up the capability, it's hard to get it back again. You lose those skills, you lose the practiced ease with which people in those positions do those jobs after years in the ASW field. I'm glad we're getting it back, but the level of cuts is just too much. The new carriers will provide a welcome boost in capability, and on missile development we are doing well (Spear 3 is bloody amazing), but overall I just don't think we are pulling our weight or taking this stuff seriously.
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AlexanderHam
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(Original post by Tempest II)
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I wrote a section on naval stuff that seems to have disappeared entirely. Essentially I was pointing out the low number of hulls we have in the RN. Under their new structure, the Aussies will have three air warfare destroyers, twelve frigates and twelve submarines (diesel / fuel cell subs, but they are enormous by diesel standards; 4,500 tonnes and based on a French nuclear design).

Under our new structure, we will have six destroyers, eight frigates and seven submarines. All things being equal, we should have three times what the Aussies have. When it comes to the Army we do (in fact I think our Army is more than three times the size of the Australian army). But when it comes to naval and air forces, for the last ten years the Australians have been really serious about investing in this stuff, and we haven't.

I agree that our ships are capable, but below a certain point the number of hulls you have does matter, especially given perhaps only half of your ships are actually going to be available for service at any one time (the rest in maintenance cycles, refits, training, etc)
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AlexanderHam
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(Original post by Tempest II)
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On the carrier side, I'd say that's one area we are doing well. We've done well to procure the QE class. It's rather nice to ensivage RAF/RN F-35s operating from them; imagine a four-ship flight of F-35s taking off from the carrier, two of them carrying two Meteors and eight Spear 3s each, and the other two carrying four Meteors each. This wolf pack would be amazingly destructive; thanks to MADL datalinks and fusion (and the DAS), it would be pretty much impossible to ambush them.

I'd happily put them up against Su-35s and S-500s any day of the week (well, not happily, but equally I'd put good money on them triumphing)
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SCIENCE :D
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I would happily be annexed into mother Russia.
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Sternumator
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I really don't believe spending more on the military will make any difference to the situation with Russia.

The Cold War dynamics are still at play. The weapons far outstrip our willingness to use them them.

You could have double the number of men and aircraft and would Putin give a ****? No. He knows full well that no matter how many aircraft we have, there is no desire among the public or politicians to have a war with Russia over, for example, Ukraine. We aren't bothered enough to enter what could be a hugely costly conflict in terms of money and lives. So Western leaders can bluff all they want, they can talk big and spend big but Russia will continue to do what it wants in its part of the world and we will accept it.

I don't really see why Russia is a threat to us in the UK. Putin does not want to take over Europe and he doesn't want to push us to a point where there would be an appetite for war with Russia. He will not invade the Baltics or anything like that. He is a smart guy.

I think spending more on the military is nothing more than a token gesture designed to appease America.
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Drewski
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Doesn't matter what kit we have - or don't have - the political cost of using it is too high.

The political cost of losing personnel is far too high.

As long as the British Isles themselves are not threatened, we won't act because there's no desire for it.

And, as mentioned above, we're never going to be something that causes Russia to pause and think. Even the big bad days of the cold war, when our forces were almost 10 times the size they are now, the entirety of Western Europe was nothing more than a buffer zone between the US and the USSR, designed to last only a couple of days at best in the event of an invasion.
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Trinculo
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We used to spend tons of money on defence during the Cold War. Then, when the wall came down it was revealed that the Warsaw Pact was pretty much incapable of any kind of modern warfare.

It's not us who don't have a buffer zone - it's the Russians. I struggle to see more than a couple of their old Soviet cohorts throwing in with them. They're more likely to go the other way and actively oppose them.
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Fullofsurprises
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I don't share OP's enthusiasm for the motives of the article's author. It seems to me that he's doing exactly what Trump wants, clamouring for more defence spending by the NATO countries of Europe, so it's just carefully timed rhetoric to support whatever Trump has agreed with NATO should be the theme going forwards.

This alleged tension (between US and European taxpayers on the cost of defence against the Big Bad Russians) used to be a regular feature of the Cold War. It was only ever followed by the UK, which spent vast amounts on systems we didn't need, to the overall detriment of the UK economy. In many ways, we are still paying the price, with an industrial base heavily geared towards weapons production and no deep base in the sort of consumer electronics and contemporary computing goods that we actually needed to counter Germany's massive economic strength as a manufacturer which they obtained at least partly by avoiding huge defence spending.

The military-industrial complex in Britain and elsewhere has been trying to restart the Cold War ever since it ended - nothing was better for the band of business interests they represent - and now it looks like they are getting their wish.

Not that Russia isn't clearly in the grip of an authoritarian and possibly war-crazed leadership, but Russian forces are still far below the quality levels found in the west. We don't need to make huge increases in spending, although we should be focusing spending on things like special forces and rapid deployments as these are needed against the threats from IS/AQ groups. What we don't need to be dragged back into is a modern equivalent of the British Army on the Rhine with its pointless spending, an "Army on the Vistula" or the Danube or whatever the equivalent now deemed by NATO to be needed is. (The Baltic States for example.)

NATO itself is a ridiculous organisation, with at least one member that doesn't give a fig about the rest of the organisation and regularly attacks our allies (Turkey) and others that are deeply in bed with Russian interests or directly serve them in various ways. Britain can be added to this list, as the City is basically a huge money laundering operation for the Russians, along with the London property market. It's strange that the 'enemies' in Russia that we are being invited to hate are free to buy lavish properties in London and live here in splendour. Some dots are not even slightly joined up.
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Drewski
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(Original post by Fullofsurprises)
...although we should be focusing spending on things like special forces and rapid deployments as these are needed against the threats from IS/AQ groups.
The problem with that, while halfway accurate, is that you can't get expanded / well equipped special forces without there being a decent sized 'normal' force from which to pull the experts.

The much- and rightly- lauded formations like the SAS make up a tiny percentage of the Army's strength, but rely on the Army being of a suitable size in order to select the best people.

We had an Army of ~150,000 providing the right balance of ~400 special forces troopers (give or take, the numbers are never made completely public). Cutting down to <80,000 would logically result in fewer special forces, not more.
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Fullofsurprises
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(Original post by Drewski)
The problem with that, while halfway accurate, is that you can't get expanded / well equipped special forces without there being a decent sized 'normal' force from which to pull the experts.

The much- and rightly- lauded formations like the SAS make up a tiny percentage of the Army's strength, but rely on the Army being of a suitable size in order to select the best people.

We had an Army of ~150,000 providing the right balance of ~400 special forces troopers (give or take, the numbers are never made completely public). Cutting down to <80,000 would logically result in fewer special forces, not more.
I suppose that is a good argument for expanding the army then. Perhaps E. Europe can meet the bill. :teehee:

Is it hard to recruit people to join the army now, even if the vacancies are there?
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Drewski
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(Original post by Fullofsurprises)
I suppose that is a good argument for expanding the army then. Perhaps E. Europe can meet the bill. :teehee:

Is it hard to recruit people to join the army now, even if the vacancies are there?
Yes and no. There'll never be a shortage of people wanting to get in, but it's harder to find people who can get in / make it through the requirements.

People are less fit and less medically capable than they used to be. More people are getting diagnosed with things like food allergies or other 'hidden' illnesses that wouldn't have been in the past, and almost all of those are things that will permanently bar someone from serving. So finding the right people is getting harder.
The RAF and RN suffer less, and the officer cadre will always do ok.
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Crassy
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Russian threat to what? If you think Russia is going to invade western europe any time soon you are utterly deranged.
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AlexanderHam
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(Original post by Crassy)
Russian threat to what? If you think Russia is going to invade western europe any time soon you are utterly deranged.
Calm done, babe. You're confused.

If you'd were even moderately well-informed, you'd know that NATO extends to eastern Europe, and the Baltic states and Poland have every reason to fear that Russia will use its military strength to coerce them unless NATO puts in place a credible conventional deterrent.

Got it?
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Drewski
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(Original post by AlexanderHam)
unless NATO puts in place a credible conventional deterrent.
What do you mean by "puts in place"?

Are you referring to actively locating forces in those areas, or just 'having' the forces?
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Crassy
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(Original post by AlexanderHam)
Calm done, babe. You're confused.

If you'd were even moderately well-informed, you'd know that NATO extends to eastern Europe, and the Baltic states and Poland have every reason to fear that Russia will use its military strength to coerce them unless NATO puts in place a credible conventional deterrent.

Got it?
I know. Russia isn't going to invade Poland or the Baltic states either. And if they did, why would you care?
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ChaoticButterfly
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(Original post by Drewski)
And, as mentioned above, we're never going to be something that causes Russia to pause and think. Even the big bad days of the cold war, when our forces were almost 10 times the size they are now, the entirety of Western Europe was nothing more than a buffer zone between the US and the USSR, designed to last only a couple of days at best in the event of an invasion.
Not to mention nuclear weapons.
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Tempest II
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I might be playing Devil's Advocate somewhat here but history teaches us that wars aren't always what you'd call logical.
Germany's biggest trading partner before the First World War was the UK; before the Second World War it was France; in 1940 & even into 1941 the USSR & Germany were very much trading partners.

Another factor to consider is Russia's economy: it has struggled recently & has been in the recession for over two years. However, Russian military spending has steadily increased 4.5% of their GDP despite the economic issues & they're pushing ahead with a hefty modernisation program including improved cyber-warfare capabilities, hypersonic cruise missiles, 4.5 & 5th generation fighters, T-14 tanks, two new battle-cruisers & long range SAM systems. It's clear that many of the weapon systems currently in their arsenal & in development are direct counters to how NATO armed forces tend to operate.

Putin has show with both Ukrainian & Georgian conflicts that he is willing to invade other nations. In Ukraine Russian forces overtly seized Crimea while "Little Green Men" who were certainly Russian army troops (most likely special forces) covertly operated in cities like Donbass. A Russian Buk SAM system was responsible for the shooting down of the airliner in that conflict & may have even been operated by a Russian crew.

As with Crimea, the Baltic states have a significant minority of Russian speakers & in 2015 a Russian court was asked to look into the legality of their independence back then the USSR collapsed. Some members of Putin's United Russia party have openly called it treason that Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia received their independence.

Then there's the state of Putin himself - it's clear that he's a popular president in Russia even if his party does rig elections regardless. State sponsored news & propaganda has been fed to the Russian population & human rights have been crushed. Putin openly blames Russia's recession on the West. There's no doubt he gains much of his popularity from his "strong man" image he desperately tries to portray at home & abroad. He cannot be seen to appear weak or this popularity will diminish both throughout Russia & within his party. This does mean that Putin, should his popularity start to waver for whatever reason, may try to do as Argentina did in 1982 & deflect attention onto a quick military victory over the Baltic states.
The recent RAND report made it very clear that the current number of NATO forces would be unable to even hold out until reinforcements arrive, nevermind stop the invasion completely.

I'm certainly not saying war with Russia is inevitable but if several factors coincide then Putin (or a possible future leader whose even more nationalistic) could decide that an attack against the Baltic states is achievable. Afterall, should Trump as good as declares NATO null & void and European members lack the will & firepower to respond then Russia would have no military problems at all. If this was combined with a crisis (possibly even one caused covertly by Russia) involving Russian speaking peoples in the Baltic nations then he'd even have an excuse to carry it out.
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skunkboy
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https://www.rt.com/op-edge/372563-it...anctions-kurz/

No need to increase defence spending. And no need to lick Tugendhat's ass. Some budgets can be the big help to the needy in UK.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016...ding-economic/

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