The security outlook of the West is “far more complex and dangerous” than at any time over the past three decades, Britain’s new defence chief has warned.
Adm. Sir Tony Radakin, who replaced Gen. Sir Nick Carter as Britain’s chief of the defence staff on Nov. 30, said Russia is a threat to Western values and interests, while China is “challenging international norms of behaviour.”
In a speech to the Royal United Services Institute on Tuesday, Radakin said while the world has become “undoubtedly more prosperous” today than when the Cold War ended, “our security outlook is far more complex and dangerous than at any time over the past 30 years.”
The defence chief said: “Russia’s behaviour is a threat to our values and interests. Iran could soon join North Korea in posing a nuclear and ballistic missile threat to the UK and our allies. Instability in the Western Balkans is surging again.”
Radakin added that the Chinese Communist Party regime is “challenging international norms of behaviour: whether freedom of navigation, economic intimidation, or wolf-warrior diplomacy.”
NATO’s chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan has further complicated the situation, he suggested, as it is “grist to the mill for those who subscribe to a narrative around the decline of the West.”
In response to the situation, Radakin said, the UK government’s Integrated Review of foreign and defence policy had confirmed the need to modernise every aspect of the armed forces and “deter and defend against state-based opponents.”
He said the forces needed personnel and equipment which were “more deployable and deployed more, whether at home or abroad.”
“Our forces need to be out in the world supporting British interests, deterring and shaping on a continuous basis,” he said.
The defence chief hailed Britain’s global alliances with countries around the world “who share our interests and values,” including NATO, Five Eyes, and the newly founded AUKUS alliance set up with the United States and Australia to counter the influence of the Chinese regime in the Indo–Pacific region.
Radakin, 55, served as first sea lord and chief of the naval staff before assuming his current role.
Commissioned in 1990, his operational service has involved the Iran/Iraq tanker war, security duties in the Falklands, countering smuggling in Hong Kong and the Caribbean, and three command tours in Iraq.
As chief of the defence staff, his responsibilities includes leading and setting strategy for defence, as well as conducting operations and maintaining relationships with other military leaders.
PA contributed to this report.