News & numbers “I want to make it clear: Nato is critically important for US interests in and of itself.

If there weren’t one, we’d have to invent one.” US President Joe Biden

UK Integrated Review sees army personnel numbers cut

The UK unveiled its Integrated Review of defence, security, foreign policy and international development on 16 March, followed by a Defence Command Paper a week later, detailing its plan for these sectors. Among other key announcements – which included the intention to increase the nuclear stockpile – one that caught considerable attention was the news that

British Army personnel numbers are to be cut by 10,000 to 72,500 by 2025 – the smallest it has been for about 200 years. “These changes will not require redundancies and we wish to build on the work already done on utilising our reserves to make sure the whole force is better integrated and more productive,” said Ben Wallace, secretary of state for

Carlos Del Toro nominated for US secretary of the navy

The Biden administration announced Carlos Del Toro, a retired US Navy commander after 22 years of service, as its pick to be the next secretary of the navy. Born in Havana, Cuba, Del Toro came to the US in 1962 with his family as refugees. If confirmed, he would be the second-ever Hispanic navy secretary. Del Toro will be taking over a navy that is struggling to modernise, battling Congress over permission to decommission some of its legacy ships to free up funds, and needing to rebuild confidence in its operations after a series of acquisition missteps over the past two decades.

“Carlos Del Toro is an excellent selection to be the next secretary of the navy,” Jack Reed, senator for Rhode Island, said in a statement. “He has an impressive resume and exemplifies so many of the qualities that make the navy and our nation great […] I look forward to scheduling his hearing, carefully reviewing his record, and learning more about his priorities for navy programmes and advancing the fleet of manned and unmanned vessels.” Del Toro’s appointment hinges on the confirmation hearing and vote on his nomination. Until then, Thomas Harker will continue to serve as acting secretary.

Nato leaders declare China a threat to global order

On 14 June, Nato leaders attending the organisation’s summit in Brussels issued a statement declaring that China poses a constant security challenge and is working to undermine global order, while also stating concerns over the speed at which China is developing nuclear missiles. While not going as far as to directly label China as a rival to the alliance, criticism was directed towards the country’s “coercive policies,” its lack of transparency regarding its armed forces and its use of disinformation. The statement noted that China’s goals


and “assertive behaviour present systemic challenges to the rules-based international order and to areas relevant to alliance security”, before calling on Beijing to uphold its international commitments. The Brussels announcement clearly states that Nato nations “will engage China with a view to defending the security interests of the alliance”. This follows US President Biden’s attempts to unify allies in opposition to China’s human rights record, its trade practices and its military’s increasingly assertive actions in the Pacific.

defence, noting that “increased deployability and technological advantage” would allow a reduced force to deliver greater results. This comes as the Ministry of Defence outlined plans to cut down on conventional hardware in favour of high-tech acquisitions in the fields of space, cyber, unmanned vehicles and artificial intelligence, among other advanced capabilities.

Nato to expand

Article 5 to cover space operations Nato leaders announced their intention

to expand the use of the organisation’s mutual defence clause to include a collective response to attacks in space. Article 5 of Nato’s founding treaty states that if a Nato ally is attacked, every other member will respond as though they themselves had been attacked. Until now, it’s only applied to the more traditional theatres of warfare – land, air and sea – but it has recently been expanded to include attacks in cyberspace. In a statement on 14 June from the Brussels summit, the leaders said that attacks “to, from, or within space [...] could lead to the invocation of Article 5,” though this would be determined on a case-by-case basis. Nato’s collective defence clause has only been activated once, following the attacks on the US on 11 September 2001.

Philippines set to

purchase 12 F-16s The Philippines looks set to acquire around a dozen Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon multirole fighter jets and associated weapons from the US, after receiving clearance from the Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), in a deal worth an estimated $2.43bn. The nation has received permission to buy 10 F-16C Block 70/72 aircraft and two two-seat F-16D Block 70/72 aircraft, among other things, though quantities may change. These purchases come as part of the US

ally’s military modernisation programme, as the country attempts to keep up with the rapid advancement of China and to combat a number of insurgencies across the 7,000 islands that make up the Philippines.

Defence & Security Systems International /

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