They say politicians never let a good crisis go to waste;
An extra £2bn will be spent on the UK’s special forces to fight terrorism, David Cameron has said. The announcement will benefit the SAS and other elite units. The money will not go on recruitment but will fund new weapons and vehicles, including helicopters. It will also help buy protective equipment and communication systems.
None of this is a bad thing, of course, but this Government do seem to be guilty of spinning and hyperbole more than most on Defence and Security issues, for public consumption it gives the perception that ‘something is being done’
A few thoughts…
This is not additional funding, the cash will be found from within the defence budget. So every Pound spent on underwater knife fighters will be a Pound not spent on other capabilities, other capabilities that are stretched tighter than a worms belt,
Defence as a Percentage of GDP will still be lower than last year, and the many years before that,
Some of this spending may well go on helicopters, which is interesting; because some of the SF Lynx helicopters are due out of service in the next few years any case. Same goes for new communication equipment, as AirWave goes out of service to be replaced by the Emergency Service Network (ESN) by 2017,
The £2 Billion is spread over 5 years which is £400m per year, or about 1% of the defence budget.