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UK ramps up defense budget, with over $6B to be allocated to Defense Ministry

The UK government has decided to increase its defense spending and announced an investment of an additional £5 billion (over $6 billion) to meet the “challenges of an increasingly volatile and complex world.”

At the launch of the 2023 Integrated Review Refresh (IR23), UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “As the world becomes more volatile and competition between states becomes more intense, the UK must be ready to stand our ground. By investing in our armed forces for the long-term, we will be ready for the challenges of today and of the future.”

The increase in the budget will be provided to the Defense Ministry over the next two years “to help replenish and bolster vital ammunition stocks, modernize the UK’s nuclear enterprise and fund the next phase of the AUKUS submarine program,” following a £24 billion four-year uplift in the defense spending in 2020, the largest sustained increase since the Cold War, according to a press statement.

The UK prime minister said a global crisis had impacted them with the ongoing Moscow-Kyiv war, which led to an increase in energy and food prices.

“We will fortify our national defenses, from economic security to technology supply chains and intelligence expertise, to ensure we are never again vulnerable to the actions of a hostile power,” he said. A plan to increase defense spending to 2.5% of GDP in the longer term, is also on the cards.

An update to the IR23 is commissioned to respond to emerging geopolitical threats, “from Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine to China’s economic coercion and increased competition between states.”

The report identifies a number of priorities to tackle those threats, “the first and foremost is dealing with the fundamental risk posed to European security by Russia, and denying Moscow any benefit from their illegal invasion of Ukraine.”

The latest review also sets out how the UK will adapt an approach on China to deal with the “epoch-defining challenge presented by the Chinese Communist Party’s increasingly concerning military, financial and diplomatic activity.”

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