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UK announces increase in military spending, AI initiatives and ‘Space Command’

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The money will be allocated over four years and come at the top of the current budget. In 2020 – 2021, the Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom already had a budget of almost 41.5 billion.

“I made this decision in the teeth of the pandemic because the defense of the kingdom must come first,” Johnson said in a statement Wednesday.

“The international situation is more dangerous and more competitive than ever since the Cold War and Britain must stay true to our history and stand by our allies. To achieve this we must update our capabilities across the board. “.

The announcement was taken by defense officials and experts as a sign of Britain seeking to carve out its new country on the international stage.

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In January, the country will enter its post-Brexit phase as across the Atlantic US President-elect Joe Biden takes office. Cash flow could consolidate the UK’s position as the continent’s largest defense spender and NATO’s second largest, a fact that is likely to satisfy the US.

Building a ‘backbone’

The funding increase comes after a joint push by the Ministry of Defense for more money from the UK Treasury.

A defense official, speaking anonymously to be honest, told CNN: “It took us a little bit by surprise because it was a pretty big battle, but I think we’re really pleased because that puts British defense in a much stronger base. “

“After all [Johnson] I got it … Britain needs to increase the Brexit post, “the official said, adding that the expanded defense budget sought Johnson ‘s view of the UK’ s future global role.

The Johnson government has said the money will be invested in technology for “the internet and space and addressing vulnerabilities in our defense arsenal that cannot be allowed to continue.”

Her statement added: “To support these advances, the Prime Minister will also announce a new agency dedicated to Artificial Intelligence, the creation of a National Cyber ​​Force to protect our people from harm, and a new” Space Command “capable of launch rockets in 2022. “

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The defense official told CNN that the funds would help the armed forces develop a “backbone.”

“There will be a lot of emphasis on new technology, space and cybernetics but it allows us to make that investment while maintaining strong ground and sea forces with a specific focus on the navy,” they said.

The official said the funding route over the next four years for army aircraft carriers, frigates, next-generation cruise missiles and the UK nuclear program was now “much, much clearer”.

Announced amidst chaos

The spending boost is a strategic move by Johnson, who has faced sustained domestic political hurdles and is likely to hope for a recovery.

He has been criticized for his treatment of the coronavirus crisis and recently fired two close advisers. Military announcement is sure to please members of his Conservative Party.

Johnson also needs to build a relationship with the next U.S. president.

“This is a good thing to start with a future Biden administration,” the defense official said, although he stressed that the Pentagon’s push for more funding began before the US election.

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A portion of the money will also be allocated to joint U.S. research efforts known as “next generation,” which focuses on projects such as hypersonic missiles and guided energy weapons.

“This solution means we can hold the end of the bargain and put some money in those areas,” the official added.

The boost could be aimed at helping Britain expand its role globally.

“This announcement demonstrates that the United Kingdom remains committed to playing an important role on the global stage,” said Karin von Hippel, Director-General of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). was “welcome news for the future Biden administration.”

In the field of defense, the UK can be separated from the EU, whose 27 member states do not agree in the best way forward on the Common European Security and Defense Policy.

Some countries, led by France, believe the European region should focus on the continent’s military stability, while others like Germany prefer to strengthen NATO.

Johnson is expected to deliver a speech at the UK House of Commons outlining the details of the spending increase.

It comes ahead of an integrated review of UK foreign, defense, development and security policy, which is expected to come out in the new year.

CNN has contacted the US Department of Defense for comment but is yet to receive a response.

Ryan Browne reported from Washington DC and Zamira Rahim wrote in London. CNN’s Nic Robertson and Luke McGee contributed to this report.

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