Claim: Britain’s Withered Armed Forces Getting Biggest Budget Boost Since Cold War

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson speaks at the House of Commons in London Britain on Oct 29 2019

Johnson is self-isolating after coming into contact with an MP who has since tested positive for coronavirus.

In this grab taken from video, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a statement on the defence review via video link from 10 Downing Street, in London, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. The defence budget is now just under 42 billion pounds a year.

Prime Minister Johnson announced he will increase his country's military budget by $22 billion to establish a new space command and an artificial intelligence agency.

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Britain was the main battlefield ally of the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan, and alongside France the principal military power in the EU.

At a time of heightened global uncertainty, the continued rise of China and after four years of US President Donald Trump's worldwide diplomacy, the UK's 2016 vote to leave the European Union has thrown its own role and global influence into doubt.

USA acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller said the United States "applauds the announcement", which he said would allow the British military to "continue to be one of the finest fighting forces in the world". "Their commitment to increased defense funding should be a message to all free nations that the most capable among us can - and must - do more to counter emerging threats to our shared freedoms and security", acting Pentagon chief Christopher C. Miller said in a statement Wednesday.

No. 10 Downing Street said in a statement ahead of the announcement that the plan would "cement the U.K.'s position as the largest defense spender in Europe and the second-largest in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation".

"For decades, British governments have trimmed and cheese-pared our defense budget, and if we go on like this, we risk waking up to discover that our armed forces, the pride of Britain, have fallen below the minimum threshold of viability", Johnson said.

The new space command and national cyberforce will be established by 2022 and will create 10,000 job opportunities, according to the British government.

The U.K. ministry of defense's current annual budget of £41.5 billion will increase by £4 billion per year for the next four years, on top of the Conservative Party manifesto commitment to up defense spending by 0.5 percent above the rate of inflation each year of the current parliament.

"It bears absolutely no relation to discussions about overseas aid", he said.

"Cutting the aid budget whilst finding the money for bombs is mind-boggling", said Romilly Greenhill, the United Kingdom director of global nonprofit organization One Campaign.

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