In the wake of devastating terror attacks that left 130 people dead in Paris, British Prime Minister David Cameron has announced a plan to shake up his nation’s counterterrorism strategy. British newspaper The Sun reports that Cameron plans to have thousands of troops on standby to deploy and subdue potential bombers or gunmen.
Said Cameron of his new “Strategic Defence and Security Review” plan: “We have put in place a significant new contingency plan to deal with major terrorist attacks. Under this new operation, up to 10,000 military personnel will be available to support the police in dealing with the type of shocking terrorist attack we have seen in Paris.”
This ramp-up is occurring in light of concerns that police officers in European cities aren’t equipped to handle large-scale terror attacks. Police chiefs will have control over these “rapid reaction” troops, calling upon them to engage in active terrorist situations if it becomes necessary.
“It gives the police an additional power in a time of great need. If there were a terrorist attack and we needed to surge, people would be happy to see the military do that role,” Cameron said.
In addition to beefing up its own security, Great Britain has pledged to work closely with France, offering a British base in Cyprus to the French if needed, in addition to cooperating with ongoing airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. Britain’s defense minister, however, has said that Britain will not put boots on the ground as part of this effort.
As for the United States, we will continue cooperating with European allies as far as intelligence sharing goes, which France admits it failed at in light of recent attacks in Paris. As President Obama said during a joint press conference with France’s President François Hollande after the Paris attacks, “Building on our recent intelligence agreement, the United States will continue to quickly share threat information with France.”
Debates will continue both in Europe and the United States over whether Britain’s kind of heavy-handed military response is necessary in today’s world, or if it’s leading to an unnecessarily large police state.