Defense Secretary Ben Wallace has reportedly asked Boris Johnson to boost UK defense spending to 2.5% of GDP – an extra 20% a year – by 2028 in the face of Russian aggression.
In his letter, Mr Wallace also urged the Prime Minister to call on NATO leaders at the upcoming Madrid summit to increase spending by country from the current minimum target of 2% to 2.5% of national income , according to Talk TV’s The News Desk. .
A defense source did not deny the reports, saying: “We do not comment on alleged leaks.
“The Secretary of Defense and the Prime Minister have always said that the government will react to any change in threat, which is why in 2020 the Ministry of Defense received a record defense settlement.”
Meanwhile, the Conservative Defense Committee Chairman has called for an even bigger increase in defense spending.
Tobias Ellwood tweeted: “Increasing NATO’s Rapid Reaction Force from 40,000 to 300,000 is the right decision.
“But if the UK is to play its part (as Europe’s security declines), we must finally: increase defense spending to 3%, reverse troop cuts, buy the 138 F35s, put upgrade our means of land warfare”.
Mr Wallace is said to have highlighted shortcomings in UK military capabilities that have been laid bare by the war in Ukraine in his letter to No 10 and subsequent conversations.
They include shortages of UK deep strike weapons, artillery stocks and anti-aircraft and anti-drone capabilities, too few pilots to fly new F35 fighter jets and too few crews to ships and submarines, The News Desk reported.
Asked at a defense conference in May whether he thought more defense spending was justified as the cost of living crisis hit households, Mr Wallace said an extra $24 billion announced for the Ministry of Defense in 2020 had been “very important” to “ensure that we modernize the army”.
“I mean, the army ground fleet is awfully behind its peers.”
The Defense Secretary wrote to the Chancellor in March warning that Britain risked missing out on a NATO pledge to spend 2% of its national income on security by 2025.
The letter pointed to the cost of arming Ukraine and rising inflation as the main reasons Britain was facing a reduction in real terms in defense spending.
The former commander of Joint Forces Command, General Sir Richard Barrons, said he supported Mr Wallace’s latest demands.
“I support him 100%, as do all service chiefs and serving officers who understand the current state of the defense program, the defense industry supporting the military, and our allies who know that we have to raise our game, in the envelope of the collective defense, it is a very important moment at a very difficult moment, ”he told The News Desk.
“We must understand that for the past 30 or so years since the end of the Cold War, Britain’s defense forces have not had to face existential perils, the kind of threats that a power like Russia can weigh on the British homeland and security abroad.
“We are now back in an era that will resemble the Cold War, where we need our armed forces to be almost ready, almost all the time.”