Forces should be ‘seeing off dangers around world’, says top military officer

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Admiral Sir Tony Radakin called for “more reliance and trust” in frontline commanders to go and see off threats across the world. In his first speech since becoming Chief of the Defence Staff, he said the MoD operates in silos and is “too flat-footed” as he called for a “leaner head office and supporting organisations”.

“We know everything is too slow and too resistant to change,” he said. “For every person trying to get things done, it can feel like there are four or five other people looking over your shoulder or worse, standing in the way.”

He also told the Royal United Services Institute that defences must not be seen as an insurance policy, as the security outlook is “far more complex and dangerous” than any time since the Cold War.

“Russia’s behaviour is a threat to our values and interests,” he said. “Iran could soon join North Korea in posing a nuclear and ballistic missile threat to the UK and our allies.

“Instability in the Western Balkans is surging again. China is challenging international norms of behaviour – whether freedom of navigation, economic intimidation or wolf-warrior diplomacy.

“And like it or not, our withdrawal from Afghanistan is grist to the mill for those who subscribe to a narrative around the decline of the West.”

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