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UK armed forces plan to expand presence, engagement

Members of the British military walk past the newly finished London Olympic stadium in Stratford, London, July 16, 2012. UPI/Hugo Philpott
Members of the British military walk past the newly finished London Olympic stadium in Stratford, London, July 16, 2012. UPI/Hugo Philpott | License Photo

March 23 (UPI) -- British government announced plans Tuesday to expand its military presence and engagement around the world.

A government press release said the British military will have "more ships, submarines, sailors and Future Commando Force" at sea and on land, will raise up a "Ranger Regiment able to operate discreetly in high-risk environments and be rapidly deployable across the world."

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Earlier this week the British government released plans to spend $117 billion on equipment over the next four years and spending $274.77 to build up the Future Command Force, "a Commando force that is persistently forward deployed conducting specialist maritime security operations."

Other key plans detailed in the report include a $82.43 million, four-year plan to develop artificial intelligence and space-based capabilities and a $686.9 million investment "capabilities to enable our forces to respond in a growingly contested electromagnetic environment."

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"Across a vast global footprint, we will be constantly operating to deter our adversaries and reassure our friends, integrating with our Allies, and ready to fight should it be necessary," British defense secretary Ben Wallace said in the release.

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The announcement comes on the heels of a report this week detailing plans to cut the British Army to 72,500 soldiers from its current strength of 76,500 troops.

In November British prime minister Boris Johnson announced plans to increase defense spending by $21.82 billion from the previous year to make the country the "foremost naval power" in Europe.

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The BBC reported this week that according to Wallace, the government is increasing spending by 24 billion pounds, or $32.95 million, over the next four years.

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