The actions of Russia, China and Iran could “easily lead to inadvertent miscalculation” and increase the chance of war, the Chief of Defence Staff Nick Carter has said.
Mr Carter wrote in a Remembrance Day newspaper column that the threats to peace were growing due to the ambitions of certain states and the actions of groups including the so-called Islamic State.
“Our competitors have become masters at exploiting the seams between peace and war,” the General wrote in The Sunday Telegraph.
“Energy, cash as bribes, corrupt business practices, cyber-attacks, assassination, fake news, propaganda, soldiers in unmarked uniforms and deniable private military and security companies, the usurping of supply chains, the theft of intellectual property, and old-fashioned military intimidation are all examples of a new age of alternative ‘weapons’ used to gain advantage, sow discord, undermine our political cohesion and insidiously destroy our way of life.”
Mr Carter pointed to the actions of state-owned Russian companies to spread disinformation in Africa via Facebook and Moscow’s expanding media presence on the continent.
“Now I am not suggesting that our opponents want to go to war in the traditional definition of the term, but reckless behaviour and the lack of respect for international law relating to these new types of ‘weapons’ risks escalation that could easily lead to inadvertent miscalculation,” he wrote.
Remembrance Day was a prime opportunity to reflect on shared values but also to consider how the Armed Forces can work with private industry on technological advancements that protect Britain, he added.
In September British Prime Minister Boris Johnson held talks with Mr Carter and other British military chiefs after Chancellor Sajid Javid had announced £2.2bn (€2.5bn) extra for the Ministry of Defence at the spending round.
MPs have repeatedly pressed the Government to increase defence spending.