The recently released Modernising Defence Programme directly refers to Russia as a threat, citing recent Russian activity.

The 2015 National Security Strategy and SDSR identified four challenges likely to drive UK security priorities, listed again in the MDP:

  • increased terrorism, extremism and instability
  • resurgence of state-based threats and competition
  • the impact of technology (especially cyber threats)
  • the erosion of the rules-based international order.

The MDP, say the Government, has put the UK on the best footing to be able to meet these threats. The report states:

“After almost three decades of relative international stability, the world has now reentered a period of persistent and intense state competition.

Across Asia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East, the level of overt and covert state aggression has grown in recent years. Our adversaries and competitors have become adept at exploiting the seams between peace and war, engaging in what we call ‘hostile state activity’. Cyber-attacks, assassination, disinformation, theft of intellectual property, espionage and military intimidation are all being used more regularly and more ruthlessly.

The result is an increased risk of miscalculation, potentially leading to escalation and the chance of state-onstate confrontation. Significant pressure is being placed on the rules-based international system that underpins our prosperity and security, threatening to distort or undermine it.

Russia in particular is making extensive use of these methods. The use of the ‘Novichok’ nerve agent on the streets of Salisbury was appalling and unacceptable. Kremlin information operations pollute the public conversation in democratic nations across the world. The GRU – Russia’s military intelligence service – has been caught in a campaign of reckless and indiscriminate cyber-attacks. It targets business, media and people going about their daily lives, as well as international institutions like the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Russia provides separatists in Ukraine with advanced technology, while it attempts to intimidate and coerce the government with military manoeuvres.”

This year’s National Security Capability Review also found that these challenges have become more complex, intertwined and dangerous since 2015, and had developed at a faster pace than we anticipated.

64 COMMENTS

  1. After all the talk, i was expecting some actual detail on how we are going to counter the threats but instead it is a document full of nice pictures and woffle.

    I wonder why it got delayed so much, considering it states nothing new or anything of substance.

  2. Bah-dah-bah-dah-bah-dah
    Look out!
    Bah-dah-bah-dah-bah-dah
    Close the door, they’re comin’ through the window
    Close the door, they’re runnin’ up the stairs
    Close the door, They’re hangin’ off the ceiling
    Those Bah-dah-bah-dah-bah-dah are everywhere………

    ……..as the old novelty song goes…….

    • I bet you think the novichoks attack is a uk goverment conspiracy dont you, putin lover.
      Do you have poster of him in your bedroom?lol

      • Bless no. The closest I have to that would be a painting of John Wayne in the home office.

        Are the walls of your bedroom padded and does your favourite jacket have extra long arms?

        How you extrapolate all that from one post is amazing. Do you read tea leaves too? Or do you foretell the future by pattern recognition using your own skat?

  3. Russia will continue to use non conventional warfare against us for as long as it is successfull and/or the cost is tolerable. We need to raise the price of their behaviour. It is less important how we do it than that we do it. Sanctions are important but it’s clear we need to do something more. If nowhere else the MDP is a worthwhile exercise on that point.

  4. I hope the highlighting of Russia as the real clear and present danger will force HMG hand in providing the funding to counter it.

    Even though some here, myself included, do not always go along with all of the anti Russia hysteria, being accused of trolling as a consequence. Some of it, like Salisbury, no question to me that was sanctioned by the Russian state. Cyber attacks too.

    So I hope the government put money where their mouth is to counter the Russian shenanigans.

    I just worry that will result in increases to stuff that cannot be quantified. Cyber. SF, and the like, rather than core conventional capabilities.

    A lot is made of Russian cyber attacks. I don’t doubt we have been responding in kind for years. HMG admitted GCHQ has offensive cyber capability so I hope we are launching as many cyber attacks as it is said we receive.

    • I agree with most of that but anti Russian hysteria no. Can you imagine the hysteria in Russia if we did the same thing to them , the putin propaganda machine would be not stop asking for war, its bad enough as it is.

      • I’m trying to take the middle line dave12.

        I’m oft accused of being a troll like poor Steve T and previously Sole. Quite sure neither are, and I know full well I’m not either!

        Russian hysteria. I didn’t mean wider public I meant here.

        Most go along with it. Others to a degree only.

        As I said, I hope this obvious anti Russia a Land in the wording if the crap released today forces the government’s hand.

        Knowing them they will proceed to scrap the lot!

    • Why would we show our hand in launching vindictive revenge cyber attacks? The aim of a cyber attack is to exploit a vulnerability that is unknown to the system operator.
      Surely it is better to sit on the known vulnerabilities and then when you really need them you can launch said attack to cause the most damage and chaos.
      The “Russian” attacks have been a pain in the arse yes, but they have exposed western system vulnerabilities that have or should have now been closed so that in future they are no longer there to exploit.

  5. The Russian threat is real, but it’s currently containable. Just how far they may go is open to debate. Hinder, harass but don’t harm has been the Russian policy for some time now. So, it’s conceivable it will continue with further demonstrations of their capabilities, especially with advanced weapons (new advanced fighters/surface vessels etc). To make a meaningful contribution towards matching their antics around our waters and skies, we possibly need to dedicate more ships, but the current RAF abilities probably are enough for now?

  6. 4% of GDP was spent on defence during the cold war as I remember. It’s time to increase it once again to the same level including a marked reduction in our foreign aid budget.

    • Totally agree, but try putting the reduction of foreign Aid through parliament when the majority won’t want to look bad suporting a reduction!. It’s crazy how it’s LAW AND ACTUAL LAW WAS PASSED so we have to spend 0.7% GDP on foreign Aid. It should be LAW we spend 4% minimum on Defence of our nation and our 14 over seas territory’s….

      • Agree. Defence should be ring fenced.

        That would not go down well with the self interested lot in Parliament though.

      • I don’t really agree with the whole % of GDP thing, it’s an arse backwards way of funding anything, I don’t for instance run my house by allocating a % of income to my mortgage etc I decide what items must be payed for then pay the required amount to keep a roof over my families head, feed them and keep them warm etc, then decide what else I can afford with any spare cash.

        What actually needs to happen is that the military and political leadership decide what we actually need to defend the nation (same with other nessasary services such as education, health and justic) and then the treasury hands over the cash to pay for that (whatever the cost). If HMC find they have spare funds then there can be a debate on the nice to haves such as university grants or an extra fast jet squadron over the specific agreed must have number.

      • The foreign aid budget gives this country and our businesses way more influence around the world then a couple more frigates ect could ever do,It’s this nations soft power, and we are a world leader. Don’t underestimate what you can’t see.

    • That will not help much.

      Brexit is the gift that keeps giving, at least for the Russians. Best investment they have made.

      Alienating our allies, creating uncertainty and damaging the economy, possibly heavily and on the long term as well. You have to be completely blind not to see this.

      There’s no amount of airplanes from the thinning numbers of the RAF will save Britain from this.

  7. They are the biggest threat by far. They seem intent on destroying themselves also. Who gains from Russia acting like a medieval monarchy? I would say that every time they humiliate themselves, most countries see them as an amusing errant child who sulks and tells lies to cover their theft from a cookie jar even though its obvious to anyone they are guilty. Ultimately Russia will go the way of the Soviet Union and run out of money especially now as noone will offer them credit. I don’t honestly see them as a conventional threat at all. The only real card they have is nuclear and Putin is the type to push us all to that option. If the Germans decided to re-arm any conventional threat to Eastern Europe by Russia would be null and void.

    • I agree David. Putin is without doubt an extremely dangerous individual.

      He cares not a jot for the long suffering Russian people, he only cares about his particular Putin personality cult and spreading his personal take on ‘National Socialism’

      The ridiculous irony of the Soviet Unions brave and bitter fight against the Nazi Germany, only for a disturbingly similar domestic version of the ‘ Extreme little man complex’ to take root and take full control of the corridors of power in Russia, the man has even weaponised the Orthodox church as part of his cult… It would be laughable, if Putin wasn’t so bloody dangerous!

      What really concerns me is the future economic collapse of Russia and what an increasingly desperate Putin might do to stop himself from being linched from a Kremlin lamp post!

      Nothing like a good war to divert peoples attention gents!

      • I agree! Putin has made enemies of us all in order to convince his population that they need protecting. Its just a protection racket on a much larger scale. The Putin bots tell us we are surrounding them but I guess if your one of the largest land masses on the planet your going to be surrounded. I would say that the biggest ambassador for NATO expansion is Putin.

  8. On a further point regarding BREXIT, no one has shown any leadership or planning so far, talk about headless chickens…

    Perhaps we should let ‘little big man’ Putin have a crack at the negotiations on our behalf, he couldn’t possibly cause any more confusion and chaos than our own bloody rabble of a government and opposition have!

    • Quite.

      He’d be quite ruthless, to the point, and not give an inch. Same with Trump.

      Interestingly both are vilified by the liberal media.

      • lol!! he would also raise the nations pention age to 80 , ban protests of any sort, invade ireland, start a sports drug enhancement programme on our athletes , start bumping off journalist and those who oppose him lol ye great.

        • Lol! Why would he want to invade Ireland dave?!

          The rest fair comment!

          You do realise regarding freedom of speech we are half way there? Look into the EUs new plans for social media and banning dissenting views. In other words those who don’t tow the PC party line.

          The met are also keen on Twitter it seems rather than going our catching criminals.

  9. Our so called political leaders are a disgrace. Never in the history of the British isles have we been so utterly devoid of strong leadership. The whole house of commons and lords hold total responsibility for being useless and utterly unable to negotiate a decent trade deal with a belligerent, stubborn and inflexible EU. Not sure I know who is worse May, Hammond, Corbyn etc or Junkers and all his Champagne sipping cronies in the Greater Germanic Republic?

    • All 3 groupings are playing their part.

      Remember this was the withdrawal agreement.

      EU won’t talk about trade until this is done and dusted.

      Rich of Corbyn to moan about that he knows full well the reality how the EU structured these negotiations.

    • Not sure I’d blame the EU, after all it’s their job to ensure they get what they want, if they are doing that job good on them and they have always been open on their needs ( which is how you are meant to do it). bad luck on us we have a self serving bunch of fuckwits in government who cant even agree what they need from The negotiations let alone competently negotiate it.

      Unfortunately I knew this level of fuckwitery would occur as soon as we had the result of the referendum and the government would not discuss exactly what they were going to negotiate and kept using the statement “you don’t show your hand in a negotiation” which any trained negotiator will tell you is a heap of shit, as the fist job is be apsolutly clear on what your needs are so you don’t waste precious time and effort talking bollocks or banging your head against a brick wall.

      • “fuckwits in government”

        Johnathan, please mind your language, I strongly object to gutter talk, so let’s keep it clean and not mention the swear word of “Govenment” again…

        Please simply use the term fuckwits to describe those apparently in charge….

        • John I will try and clean it up a bit in future and ensure I show full respect to those which have floated to the top and ended up in charge.

    • We have been here before with weak leadership! The interwar years with Baldwin and MacDonald at the helm were pretty dire…with the best man for the job (David L-G) side-lined in the third party!

  10. Cheers Gav, some pretty pictures, great use of grammar and I don’t disagree with any of it, but to rob a phrase from Jean-Claude, it’s all a bit nebulous.

    BV

    • It would be, in an alternate reality. Germany can’t muster the will to maintain its army, navy, or air force at their present low levels. I cannot imagine a scenario in which Germany leads a European military against the UK.

      • Germany, under an emerging national political movement, has the technology and infrastructure to turn its military around within five years.
        The German Psyche, that Wells with the desire to dominate, has not disappeared, it’s simply been suppressed since the re-education program.

        Never say “Never”

        • I would say Germany will take at least another generation to get over its national trauma, it’s experience of war was so much worse than ours and it still impacts on our national gestalt.

          If it could get away with it I’m Pretty sure Germany would simply not have armed forces beyond constabulary needs.

          That does not take away the fact that they are the biggest economy in Europe and therefore by that simple fact exert most influence.

          The biggest danger from German is that they get the rest of Europe to follow their military apathy.

          If we are looking at historic rubbing the wrong way we are far more likely to have a spat with France or Spain ( our issues with Germany only ever covered period of less that 40 years, we hated and or feared France and Spain for many hundreds of years at a time).

          • The Habsburgs had always seen the European continent/Holy Roman Empire as theirs to rule.
            They still have that culture passed down through the generations, economically and politically.
            Germany could never (under the Treaty of Versailles) re-arm beyond its defence needs after WW1, but it surreptitiously did.
            It’s only the Socialist remnants of an East Germany, that now stand in the way of an emerging Nationalist Movement, and a possible review of its armed forces.
            I concede that France has always been the agitator and was probably the sole reason for Germany to elect Hitler, that being born from France’s refusal to waiver reparations and its plundering of Germany’s natural resources through partial occupation.
            Britain had its Empire and Royal Connections, so never did see the Habsburgs as a real threat, but our connection with a European Super State could see us unwittingly becoming a vassal of Germanic fervour and dominance.
            This would also undermine our relationship with our English speaking cousins from colonies past!
            I can’t see how Britain could ever have a trusting relationship, as we have with Canada, Australia, USA, New Zealand…compared to our neighbours in Europe. the past year proves this!
            I’m around Germans on a weekly basis, when they open up, I’m not convinced that they show real remorse for their immediate past.

            I even sense that many of them are still very much anti-semitic!

            I believe that Britains future lies with NATO, It’s Commonwealth and Colonial Cousens, It’s what I see as the much bigger stage.

            Simply my Opinion…

  11. Russia a threat? Depends who you listen to. The gullible will believe the guff put out by the Westminster Government down in London. The sensible will understand that the west’s encirclement of Russia with US missiles will result in Russia becoming defensive. The Russians have constantly been attacked throughout history and have given much. The little U.K. now 7th in the worlds military ratings could do well by befriending the country which gave so much to defeat Nazism.

    • Ah, there we are again – posting on a site that you seem to loath so much. Why are YOU commenting at all when your words will have so little effect on the decisions made by our or others governments in regards to Russia? Or does your hugely inflated ego tell you that the powers that be are surely waiting on tender hooks for the Oracle TH to deliver his wisdom?
      Cue TH to spout off about writing to him/her and petitioning them, and being a member of this or that…

    • “The Russians have constantly been attacked throughout history and have given much. The little U.K. now 7th in the worlds military ratings could do well by befriending the country which gave so much to defeat Nazism.”

      The Russian people certainly did pay a terrible price, but Uncle Joe went on to give Adolf a bloody good run for his money in ” how many civilians can you murder’
      stakes.

      He also went on to keep all the territory he ‘liberated’
      in 1945 and let’s not forget he invaded Poland too in 1939, a little fact often overlooked…..

    • But TH what are you going to do about it, are you lobbying your MP to improve relations with Russia ?

      The comments you made about NATO pushing very close to Russia and making them feel unsafe is true, also their historic trauma from invasion. Unfortunately the fact you present as a rampant troll lessens and weaks any sensible things you may say.

      Which is a shame because Love to read veiws from all side, right, left and in the middle.

      • Agree Jonathan.

        “The sensible will understand that the west’s encirclement of Russia with US missiles will result in Russia becoming defensive.”

        I have argued this here myself. For once there is something TH says which I agree with.

        God let UKDJ users forgive me….

  12. We are having a fantastic party in the Kremlin this year. We are is tears of laughter watching the disunited Kingdom in its inevitable decline and collapse. Keep up the good work – oh, and the military reductions! Enjoy your festivities at the mosques!

  13. Like always most European nations will do the absolute bare minimum knowing that America will come to their rescue. I wonder what they are going to do when that stops???????

  14. Mrs May did take a sizeable chunk out of the Border Force budget. So it is easier for Russian cathedral tourists to bring in their novichuk or Polonium.
    I would quite like the UK to have at least one battery of Aegis Ashore or THAAD, so we are not so vulnerable to nuclear blackmail.
    I do not think Putin wants WW3, but he would like to grab back any bits of the Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact that he can, to show his nationalist supporters that he is a worthy new tsar. The danger is of miscalculation & a minor land grab that turns into full scale war.
    Lets not forget China. They do not want war either, but again one of their South China Sea landgrabs could spiral out of control.

  15. happy Christmas all, The problem with Russia is one of their own making, they completely lack any credibility as they lie about everything. If they could be more truthful, they would gain so much more. In the face of indisputable facts such as operating the missile system that brought down the maylasisn airliner, poisoning in Salisbury, etc, all acts cemented with the most ridiculous explanations. If they came out and said ” yes, we did accidently shoot down the aircraft, we are sorry” they would gain some respect. Presently their government is viewed as a bunch of untrustworthy, lying idiotic bullies, so no surprise they are treated in the way they are.

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