Cameron Urges Funds for Terrorism Fight ; He Suggests New Agility on Extremism Using Spy Planes and Special Forces

By Castle, Stephen | International New York Times, July 13, 2015 | Go to article overview

Cameron Urges Funds for Terrorism Fight ; He Suggests New Agility on Extremism Using Spy Planes and Special Forces


Castle, Stephen, International New York Times


He suggests developing a new agility on extremism using spy planes, drones and special forces.

After his government promised last week to hit NATO spending targets, Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain said on Sunday that he wanted more of the defense budget to be spent on tackling Islamic extremism, citing special forces, spy planes and drones as probable priorities.

In comments released by his office, Mr. Cameron suggested that a wide-ranging review of military capabilities, currently being conducted by Britain's defense chiefs, should give special consideration to emerging threats, including terrorism and cyberattacks.

"I have tasked the defense and security chiefs to look specifically at how we do more to counter the threat posed by ISIL and Islamist extremism," Mr. Cameron said, referring to the Islamic State. "This could include more spy planes, drones and special forces. In the last five years, I have seen just how vital these assets are in keeping us safe."

After months of pressure from the United States, Britain last week unexpectedly committed to hitting a NATO target of spending 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense until 2020.

Until the announcement, made on Wednesday, British ministers had refused to make such a pledge, arguing that they first needed to conduct their defense review to assess the threats, before deciding on spending.

That process now appears to have been turned on its head, with Mr. Cameron arguing in his latest remarks, "Now we know how much we will spend, what matters next is how we spend it."

While the statement mentioned the threat posed by "an increasingly aggressive Russia," it said that Mr. Cameron hoped that the Strategic Defense and Security Review, which is to conclude in the autumn, would prioritize protection from evolving threats like terrorism, extremism and cyberattacks. …

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