Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced measures to maintain the UK’s world-leading chemical analysis and defence capability, as he warned of the intensifying threats the country faces in his first keynote speech in the role.
Whilst outlining his vision for the ongoing Modernising Defence Programme on a Policy Exchange platform at Rolls-Royce’s Bristol factory, the Defence Secretary claimed that the recent attack in Salisbury should leave the country in no doubt of the threat the country faces.
In light of the response to the attempted murder, he has announced that Dstl will receive £48 million of extra funding to invest in a brand new ‘Chemical Weapons Defence Centre’ at Porton Down to ensure the UK retains its world leading capability in chemical analysis and defence.
With main construction on the Centre set to begin next month, it will go on to contain cutting-edge chemical analysis laboratories with the capability to identify any chemical agent through forensic analysis.
With the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threat growing from a range of state actors, the Defence Secretary also announced that thousands of troops held at high readiness will be vaccinated against anthrax. This will ensure that troops are both protected and are ready to deploy to areas where the risk of an anthrax attack exists.
Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, said: “The choice before us as a nation is simple – to sit back and let events overtake us or step forward. Our Modernising Defence Programme will make sure our country can respond to the changing nature of warfare and the new threats we face to British interests.
“I can announce we are investing £48 million in a new Chemical Weapons Defence Centre to maintain our cutting-edge in chemical analysis and defence. I’ve also made the decision to offer the anthrax vaccine to our forces at the highest readiness, providing them with vital protection against a deadly danger. By using all our power, hard and soft, Britain will continue bringing light to a darkening world.”
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