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Military should step up ‘more often’ in UK crisis response, General Sir Nick Carter tells LBC

27 February 2021, 00:01 | Updated: 27 February 2021, 00:29

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The military should be used "more often" in response to any future UK crisis, the army's General Sir Nick Carter has told LBC.

Speaking on Swarbrick on Sunday, the Chief of the Defence Staff told Tom Swarbrick that "in an ideal world, government departments and ministries" would ensure the UK has what it needs for responding to a crisis.

Asked whether there is greater scope for the military to assist more in the day-to-day running of the country, Sir Nick said the armed forces are "here if we're needed".

However, he warned that "it shouldn't be a default setting" to call in the troops as their principal role "is to deter and ultimately defeat the country's enemies".

"But we are here to protect the British people," the general said.

"And ultimately, if we're needed, of course, that's what we do. But it does come at an opportunity cost for the principal role."

Listeners will be able to enjoy the full interview between Tom Swarbrick and General Sir Nick Carter from 10am on LBC's Swarbrick on Sunday.

Army General Sir Nick Carter told LBC the military should be used more often in response to UK crises
Army General Sir Nick Carter told LBC the military should be used more often in response to UK crises. Picture: LBC

Tom asked the Chief of the Defence Staff whether it would be a "good thing" to increase military involvement where required, not just in terms of boots on the ground, but with planning for crises and embedding its processes into government.

Sir Nick told the presenter that the armed forces "have a huge advantage" in that they are able to train and educate people to be able to perform their military function.

"Of course, the rest of government is, in a sense, engaged in the current battle all the time," he said, "so we are able to stand back."

"We're able, therefore, to have planning capacity we can bring in to help other government departments. And that is a very useful resource for government in times of crisis."

Tom then asked whether it would make more sense to deploy the military before a crisis hits, rather than using them as a "last resort" to clean up any problems.

The general responded: "I think that there is definitely a role in this very complex and dynamic world in which we live, to be exercising more often, the sorts of crises responses that we might have to confront."