UK Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, has said that the Army's new Ranger Regiment would likely be fighting Islamists in East Africa for its first deployment.
Speaking to the Telegraph, the Secretary of State for Defence warned of the danger from the Islamist al-Shabaab group and said we now had to "help Somalia [and] we have to help Kenya be resistant."
Speaking in Fort Bragg, Mr Wallace said that the UK would be expanding its network of defence attachés to help identify missions for the new unit.
"We're going to invest in our defence attaché network, improve their capabilities, improve their training, improve that quality, improve how they work with the Foreign Office, and other government departments in commercial [activity]," he said.
Adding, "defence diplomacy matters. We never really put our heart and soul into it, and we should do so conflicts don’t break out, countries don't slide into terrorism and corruption doesn’t take root".
"Defence plays a really important role in delivering that.
"Kenya is really important to us and Somalia is a big challenge [with] al-Shabaab, [where] British tourists get targeted.
"It's not in our interest for our friends to come under attack."
The thousand-strong Ranger Regiment will be established by August 2021, and will be "open to anybody in the Armed Forces", according to the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter.
The new Special Operations Brigade will replace the existing Specialised Infantry Group, and the Army hopes to be able to deploy it by 2022.
It will see soldiers take on roles usually carried out by Special Forces personnel, operating in high-threat environments to train, advise and accompany allies.
Watch: Chief of the General Staff speaks about the new special operations brigade ahead of the Defence Command Paper publication.
Cover image: Secretary for Defence Ben Wallace visits troops at Wellington Barracks earlier this year (Picture: MOD).