UK ‘No Credible Plan’ to Deliver Desired Military Capabilities: Report

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) does not have a credible plan to fund an ambitious 10-year defense spending initiative to deliver all desired military capabilities.

This was according to a hard-hitting parliament report released by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) after the British government opted not to allocate extra funding for the military in 2024.

According to the committee, the previously announced deficit of 16.9 billion pounds ($21.7 billion) in the ministry’s 10-year plan could grow to 29 billion pounds ($37.2 billion) if the full costs of all desired capabilities are included.

This gap is blamed on the MoD assuming the government would increase defense spending to 2.5 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) annually.

Current defense spending is just under 2.3 percent of GDP. The minimum NATO allows for member states is 2 percent.

If the defense spending issue persists, the committee warned the UK military will be forced to cut programs it cannot afford.

The Culprit

The UK government’s decision to prioritize its nuclear deterrent is the biggest reason for the current shortfall in British defense spending, the committee claimed.

Touted as the MoD’s highest defense priority, the initiative covers the construction of four Dreadnought-class nuclear submarines. Other nuclear initiatives are also reportedly underway.

The report said this prioritization will squeeze budgets for conventional capabilities, especially if more funds are needed to support nuclear programs.

Additionally, the PAC found that the deficit may be related to the UK’s increasing reliance on allies to protect its national interests.

“Given that many of our allies face similar capability challenges, the report calls on the MoD to develop mitigations for how it would deal with the risk of allied support being curtailed or withdrawn,” it noted.

An ‘Alarming’ Situation

PAC chairman Meg Hillier admitted that while the problem is not new, it seems to be getting worse at a time when threats are also increasing.

She said a lack of discipline in the MoD’s budgeting and approach has led to an inconsistent plan that contributes to huge affordability gaps.

She stated that the funding disparity has put the country in an alarming situation.

“The MoD must get to a better grip, or it won’t be able to deliver the military capabilities our country needs,” Hillier concluded.

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