U.K. Adopts Cold War Strategy to Tackle Threat From Russia

(Bloomberg) -- Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson said he will adopt a strategy the U.K. hasn’t used since the height of the Cold War to combat the modern-day threat from Russia.

Williamson said Tuesday he was setting up a permanent unit within the defense ministry to continually assess the capabilities of hostile foreign states such as Iran and China. The body -- called a Net Assessment Unit and aided by a board of external experts -- will also assess the British military’s ability to respond to threats.

Britain briefly employed an assessment unit in the 1980s but it was disbanded following the “glasnost” or openness of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in the latter part of the decade. In response to current Russian aggression, the U.K. has also stepped up training of its Royal Marines in Norway’s Arctic program since analysis showed Russian submarine activity in the north Atlantic Ocean has almost reached Cold War levels.

The creation of the unit is one of a series of measures aimed at modernizing the nation’s military capability. Williamson also said he’ll improve the readiness and availability of Britain’s warships, attack submarines and helicopters, and stepping up offensive cyber operations.

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