The UK Ministry of Defence has announced it will expand its global defence footprint with the introduction of three new regional hubs, in Nigeria, Singapore and Dubai.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon on 12 December confirmed new regional British Defence Staffs (BDS) will be set up in the Gulf, Asia Pacific and West Africa to provide greater focus for the UK’s defence efforts in these regions. They will work with international partners to protect and advance the UK’s interests by reinforcing bilateral and multilateral defence and security relationships.
This includes working alongside partners on shared interests, and follows a commitment made in last year’s Strategic Security and Defence Review (SDSR), the UK MoD said.
The BDSs will be based in the Gulf, based in Dubai; in Asia Pacific, based in Singapore; and in Africa, based in Abuja.
“Setting up new British Defence Staffs will broaden our global reach, support regional stability and security, and ensure greater cooperation with our partners,” Fallon said. “Backed by a rising Defence budget, this shows Britain is stepping up across the world to keep us safe at home.”
The UK shares strong Defence relationships with a number of countries across the Gulf, Asia Pacific and Africa, and the role of the BDS in each of these locations will reinforce these Defence ties.
“In the Gulf this builds on our significant permanent presence, strengthening engagement with the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries as announced by the Prime Minister at the recent GCC summit. In Asia Pacific, the BDS will reaffirm Defence engagement, training and exercising with partner nations,” the UK MoD said.
In West Africa, the BDS will engage Nigeria and other countries around the Lake Chad Basin, focusing in particular on the transnational threats from Boko Haram terrorists.
Demonstrating that the UK’s Defence posture is international by design, the BDSs will also support UK training teams, Defence Attachés (DA), loan service personnel and exchange officers.
The UK has an extensive DA network of over 120 DAs in 80 countries worldwide, and earlier this year Fallon announced a number of new DA posts and associated Defence Sections in Finland, Senegal (also covering the Sahel region) and Albania, as well as new Deputy DA roles in Qatar, Afghanistan, Latvia, Lithuania and Georgia.
This expansion of this DA network also underlines the Government strengthening Defence relationships around the world, as set out in the SDSR.