British Prime Minister David Cameron is seeking to spend more of the country's defense budget on drones, counterterrorism facilities and special forces in order to respond to new, emerging threats.
The U.K. has been criticized for cuts to its navy and armed forces that critics warn is happening at a time when global security is more threatened than ever before. However, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne pledged that the country would maintain its NATO spending target of 2 percent of GDP through the end of the decade, when he announced the country's defense budget last week.
"Now we know how much we will spend, what matters next is how we spend it," Cameron said, in a Monday statement, according to Bloomberg. "I have tasked the defense and security chiefs to look specifically at how we do more to counter the threat posed by ISIL and Islamist extremism. This could include more spy planes, drones and special forces."
Cameron has indicated that the primary threats to the U.K. in the coming years will be from Islamic extremists both at home and abroad, and an increasingly aggressive Russia, the Guardian reported. The move also comes shortly after Britain issued a travel advisory against travel to Tunisia, warning that another attack like the late-June beachfront shootout, which killed 30 U.K. citizens, is "highly likely."
Cameron is set to present his views during a visit to the Waddington air force base in England, from where Reaper drone missions are flown across Iraq and Syria.
Former U.S. ambassador to the U.K. John Bolton in April described the U.K.'s defense cuts as "extremely troubling," and warned that "a diminished U.K. military strength also has a more profound effect internationally because it is a sign to our mutual enemies that there is a diminished will in the West to defend itself. It sends an extremely negative signal to our enemies."
Earlier in the month, U.K. Defense Secretary Michael Fallon called on lawmakers to consider allowing airstrikes in Syria, one year after Britain initially declined to join the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State group in the Middle Eastern country. British forces have been conducting airstrikes over Iraq, however.
Cameron has also reportedly indicated that he will be asking acting leader of the opposition Labour Party, Harriet Harman, and shadow defense secretary Vernon Coaker to attend a meeting of the National Security Council in order to be briefed about the situation in Syria.