With Russian subs and bombers nosing around the British Isles while the Islamic State massacres Parisians just two hours by train from London, the British Defense Ministry is besieged from both sides. The new Strategic Defense Review aims not only to rebuild the UK military after 2010’s cuts but to make it capable of confronting both nation-state and terrorist threats, said UK Secretary of State for Defense Michael Fallon.
“Clearly, it had a galvanizing effect,” Fallon said of the Paris attacks, inspiring Parliament to reverse a 2013 decision and authorize British airstrikes inside Syria.
But the Russians are pretty galvanizing too, Fallon made clear in his remarks this morning to the Atlantic Council. In particular, ever since the UK retired its Nimrod reconnaissance planes, it can’t properly track Russian submarines, whose activity in the Atlantic has only increased. That leaves the Royal Navy nervous about the safety of its sea-based deterrent, a small fleet of Vanguard nuclear-missile submarines (SSBNs).