LONDON: Britain’s Ministry of Defence said on Tuesday it plans to invest £2.5 billion ($3.3 billion) in army stockpiles and munitions “to improve fighting readiness”, as it “takes learnings from the war in Ukraine”.

It also announced the creation of a “global response force”, combining its deployed and high-readiness service personnel and drawing on “capabilities from all domains”.

The extra spending and new force follow a £5 billion funding boost to the country’s defence budget announced in March as part of a years-long review of its strategic foreign and defence policy.

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It identified the threat posed by Russia to European security as the most pressing short-to medium-term priority but also called China an “epoch-defining challenge”.

The ministry said its latest plans – detailed in a so-called Defence Command Paper – aim to deliver “a credible warfighting force that will keep us on track to act as a global heavyweight both now and in the future”.

“We must adapt and modernise to meet the threats we face, taking in the lessons from (Russian) President (Vladimir) Putin’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine,” outgoing Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said in a statement.

“This Defence Command Paper will sharpen our strategic approach – ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of military capability, and a leading power in NATO.”

Wallace announced last weekend that he will step down from his role – held since July 2019 – at the next reshuffle of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s ministers, which is expected within weeks.

The review of UK defence envisages science and technology playing a bigger role, alongside a new alliance with industry which will be engaged “much earlier in strategic conversations”.

It also plans for a boost in reservist forces “to add further depth and expertise in time of crisis,” as well as changes to soldier recruitment including “offering a more compelling and competitive incentivisation package”.

Meanwhile the ministry said it will invest £400 million to modernise accommodation for soldiers and their families, calling the spending “essential for the operational effectiveness of our personnel”.

Armed Forces minister James Heappey said the ministry recognised the UK needed “to do things differently, responding to rapidly evolving geopolitical, technological and economic threats, learning lessons from Ukraine, and championing closer integration with our Allies and partners”.

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