We need a proper strategic review of defence – cost considerations alone will not cut it

26 February 2020

Today the government has announced the terms of a six month integrated review of foreign policy, security, international development and defence. This will take place at the same time as the comprehensive spending review which determines departmental budgets for the spending round.

Garry Graham, Prospect deputy general secretary, responding to the terms of the government’s Integrated Review of foreign policy, defence, security and international development, said:

“There are three broad considerations which must be taken into account by the defence review: the magnitude of the threats our country faces, the credibility of our defence posture internationally, and industrial strategy in the UK. Cost considerations alone will not cut it.

“After years of austerity and real terms cuts we need proper strategic investment in defence.

“Many areas of the UK are dependent economically on the defence industry so policy must align with a defence industrial strategy that supports jobs and skills in the regions and nations of the UK. This should be a key plank in the government’s levelling-up agenda. Investing in research and development as well as our industrial base is crucial to any credible plan, and to the long term robustness of our defence infrastructure.

“It is also essential that we manage the practicalities of spending the defence budget effectively. That means investing properly in civilian procurement expertise so that our defence equipment and technology is at the same high level as the skill of our armed forces.”