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© Reuters / Ints Kalnins
The UK Special Forces are about to concentrate on some new covert counter-state tasks with a focus on Russia and China, Royal Marines Brigadier Mark Totten revealed to the Times.

The British Royal Marines are to take over some of the "traditional" roles of the nation's special forces units - the Special Air Service (SAS) and Special Boat Service (SBS) - as they are preparing for some new "higher risk" counter-state tasks, Totten said.

The brigadier himself is in command of a 4,000-strong "future commando force" that is about to share the burden of the special forces such as in maritime counterterrorist missions or some "partnered operations" that involve some "higher risks."

Comment: Firstly, if they're telling us, it's likely they've been at it for a while now. Regardless, if Britain's recent incursion into the Black Sea is anything to go by these operations will probably be unimaginative and executed shockingly poorly.

The SAS and SBS will apparently hurl all effort into countering "big state adversaries" - Moscow and Beijing, the military official told the paper.

Comment: Why? Do the British people overwhelmingly agree that Russia and China are adversaries that need countering? As it is, the majority of Brits are actually concerned about the very real damage caused by the draconian, and not yet fully lifted, lockdowns. Although, maybe that's why a distraction like this is deemed necessary.

"What we will be able to do is allow [the special forces] to focus on more difficult, more complex, counter-Russia, counter-China [tasks]. It takes real specialist expertise, so we will allow them to have more time and people to address those and we can conduct some of the tasks," Totten said.

The brigadier did not exactly elaborate on the nature of such future operations. The Times reported, citing some army sources, that the missions might involve some "politically treacherous" tasks like training the navies of the nations in the South China Sea region to make them better prepared to repel what the UK newspaper called "Chinese hostility."

The nature of the UK Special Forces' potential operations against Russia remains unclear, but the Times claims that they could involve surveillance of Russian intelligence and military units in cooperation with British MI6 intelligence.

Comment: As if this isn't being done already.

Earlier, the Guardian reported that the most secretive parts of the British military are likely to get a new focus and a new remit that would involve countering Russia and other state actors through secret missions.

Comment: Missions that would be break national and international law? 'Serious criminality' by UK's MI6 abroad, as tribunal reveals agency is also free to break UK law

The paper said that the director of the special forces has drawn up a new 'Special Operations Concept' based on the pretence that the nature of modern warfare is changing and unconventional subtle military operations are becoming increasingly common.

Comment: Russia warned back in 2019 that hybrid warfare had become the tool of choice by those that wage wars of aggression, so it's likely that they're prepared.

The Guardian also cited the Chief of the General Staff General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith who said that peace and war were "two increasingly redundant states," while accusing "authoritarian regimes" of "exploiting the hybrid space that exists in between."

Still, Totten's comments were a rare instance of a British military official openly admitting that London plans to deploy the UK Special Forces on covert missions specifically targeting Russia and China.