Britain and its allies now face the “1937 moment” after Russia’s invasion in Ukraine. They must act quickly to prevent another world war, as the new Army chief is expected to declare.
This warning was issued as Boris Johnson, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is expected to announce an increase in UK defense spending this week in response to growing security threats.
General Sir Patrick Sanders is the Chief of General Staff and will say that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his “expansionist aspirations” are the greatest threats to sovereignty, democracy, and freedom to live peacefully.
As Johnson and other leaders of the NATO alliance’s 30-member NATO alliance meet in London on Tuesday, Mr Johnson’s comments will be heard. Later in the day, Johnson will speak to Madrid to discuss the landmark summit. The West’s reaction to Russia’s war is the dominant theme.
General Sanders, who was appointed chief of the Army last month, will likely say that his sole focus is to “mobilize the army to help [prevent the spread of] war on Europe by being prepared to fight and win with our NATO allies, partners and supporters”.
Defense Secretary Ben Wallace will echo his warnings and speak at the conference for the army before he travels to the NATO summit.
After the multi-billion-pound increase in defence spending this parliament, the defence secretary will be indicating a desire to increase spending on the UK’s Armed Forces from 2025.
A defense source stated that “the defence secretary will emphasize that now that the threat is changing, governments must be ready to invest in order to keep us safe.”
Another defense source stated that they do not comment on leaks. Prime minister and defence secretary have said repeatedly that any threat changes will be dealt with by the government. This is why the defense settlement for 2020 to the Ministry of Defence was a record.
The NATO alliance’s head has revealed that Russia’s invasion of Europe has changed the security landscape and that the NATO alliance will dramatically increase the size of its high readiness force to over 300,000. This is an increase from the current 40,000.
General Sanders will present his views on Russia’s threat and how his army adapts to it. He will be focusing more on urban combat and rebuilding expensive weapons stockpiles. This is a move that was allowed since the Cold War, when money was being saved.
This is a move that requires all ranks, general to lance corporal, to “get prepared. Train hard and engage”, he will be expected to say.
According to excerpts from the speech, the army chief will declare that “This is our 1937 moment.” This refers to the critical period leading to World War Two.
“We aren’t at war, but must act quickly so that we don’t get drawn into one by a failure to contain territory expansion… I will do everything possible to ensure that the British Army does its part in preventing war.”
This challenge requires that the army modernizes and embraces new technologies like cyber warfare and long range missiles while also maintaining traditional soldiering skills.
General Sanders will likely say that if there is a battle, “standoff air,” maritime or cyber fires won’t be dominant on their own. Land will still be the decisive domain”. He also said that you can’t “cyber your way across rivers.”
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He will say that army mobilization is not a rush to war at speed of railway timetables 1914, but an “acceleration” of Future Soldier’s bold modernisation agenda… a greater focus on readiness and mixed arms training.
Future Soldier is the name of the army’s plans to improve its capabilities.
This will lead to more training in combining different domains of war – land, air, sea, cyber, and space – as well as building stockpiles.
General Sanders will also likely to state that the army will “review our vehicle fleet’s deployability”.
This could signal a decision about the multi-billion-pound program to develop Ajax, a mini-tank that has had its problems but has delivered.
Expect the top officer to state that Russia deterrence “means more army ready more often” and that he expects all ranks to be ready to train hard and engage.