NATO Chief Warns Britain: Don’t Cut Your Defence Budget Too Deeply

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

From the Times (London): Nato’s Secretary-General warned Britain yesterday not to cut defence spending too deeply as it grapples with its budget deficit.

In an interview with The Times, Anders Fogh Rasmussen advised all cash-strapped Nato members to use the tough economic climate as an opportunity to make their armed forces more efficient to tackle the unpredictable nature of modern warfare. “All governments are faced with budgetary constraints,” Mr Rasmussen, the former Danish Prime Minister, said. …

Mr Rasmussen, speaking at Nato’s headquarters in Brussels, said it was important to implement constructive reforms. “If cuts are made primarily within the more stationary parts of our military and if new investments are directed towards more flexible and more mobile and more modern armed forces, then budgetary constraints could be turned into something positive,” he said.

He declined to specify what areas should be axed but suggested that Nato members share equipment. Asked what Britain’s particular strength was within the alliance, Mr Rasmussen said: “Britain, alongside the US, has a capacity to deploy troops out of area and other allies could get inspiration from that.” It was important for the British military to retain that skill, he added. As for whether a slimmer budget would diminish Britain’s Nato role, Mr Rasmussen said: “Britain will remain one of the very important allies.”  (photo: AP)

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