Homeland Security Secretary, Kathryn Stewart, today announced to the House of Deputies that the Government would be committing billions more than expected to the Sanctarian Defence Forces over the next number of years, as an increase in the number of aircraft carriers and destroyers was warranted to both replace and expand the current fleet. The announcement came as a shock to many in the house, most of whom were on the DLP’s own benches, as the party has traditionally been known as the more war-weary of the two main political parties.
While the Democratic Left Party’s policy spokesperson later said that the move was made on the backs of the chiefs of the armed forces, and it was a move the DLP was making with “a heavy heart, as [they] acknowledge these are massive weapons of war”, sources within Stewart’s office have also indicated that the recent war in Lauchenoiria, as well as Sanctaria’s position to enforce the peace treaty there, have highlighted potential deficiencies in Sanctaria’s defence capability. Sanctaria navy, while formidable, is full of ships almost forty years old in most cases, and the guided missile defence systems are woefully out of the date. The sources continued that they “have no idea” why the Sanctarian Conservative Party did nothing about the situation during their almost 20 years in power, but they suspect they wanted to leave it for the DLP to “deal with”, as defence spending is generally not a crowd pleaser.
Secretary Stewart, meanwhile, confirmed that not only would the navy be seeing dozens of new ships being built and delivered over the next ten years, the air force and army would also be received hundreds of millions of pounds for more equipment and personnel. It will be the biggest investment in the Sanctarian Defence Forces since the foundation of the state. Political commentators have noted that announcing it so soon after the federalisation referendum was won, as well as within their first year of office, suggests that the DLP is well aware of the optics and unpopularity of the move, and they hope the voters will have forgotten by the time the next general election rolls around in 2023.
The SCP, who recently announced that scrapping the nation’s long-standing tradition of neutrality would be part of their next election manifesto, welcomed Secretary Stewart’s announcement today, though cautioned that focusing mainly on the navy could be to the detriment to the other branches of the armed forces.