Defence Secretary Michael Fallon and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have launched the joint international defence engagement strategy ahead of the Munich Security Conference.
They announced that the Britain is to be a ‘dynamic, agile, cutting-edge global power’.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:
“Our increased ambition for Defence Engagement abroad demonstrates the UK’s global role.
Whether it’s by increasing our military expertise in the Middle East, training Nigerian forces in maritime security, or RAF Typhoons exercising over South Korea, Britain is committed to working internationally to protect our people and interests.”
Foreign Secretary Mr Johnson said:
“The International Defence Engagement Strategy ensures we get the best value from our brilliant and brave Armed Forces and world-class Diplomatic Service, enabling them to deliver security and prosperity for the British people.”
This year Britain is:
- Leading NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF), a Brigade size force ready to respond to any threat.
- Leading NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence (EFP) in Estonia, where 1000 British troops will deploy alongside other NATO Allies to deter threats.
- Deploying a company size force to Poland, as part of the US’ EFP battle group.
- Sending Typhoons to police NATO skies over Bulgaria and Romania.
Last year, researchers at European Geostrategy broke global powers down into four categories: Super Power, Global Power, Regional Power and Local Power.
The United States took the top slot as the world’s super power, while Britain took the only Global Power slot, bringing her in second behind America.
Regional powers include France, India and Germany, while local powers were those such as Italy, Brazil, and Turkey.
The organisation European Geostrategy rate the United Kingdom as a global power, they define this as:
“A country lacking the heft or comprehensive attributes of a superpower, but still with a wide international footprint and [military] means to reach most geopolitical theatres, particularly the Middle East, South-East Asia, East Asia, Africa and South America.”
The British Armed Forces comprise the Royal Navy, a blue-water navy with a comprehensive and advanced fleet; the Royal Marines, a highly specialised amphibious light infantry force; the British Army, the UK’s principal land warfare force; and the Royal Air Force, with a diverse operational fleet consisting of modern fixed-wing and rotary aircraft.
The country is a major participant in NATO and other coalition operations and is also party to the Five Power Defence Arrangements. Recent operations have included Afghanistan and Iraq, peacekeeping operations in the Balkans and Cyprus, intervention in Libya and again operations over Iraq and Syria.
The UK still retains considerable economic, cultural, military, scientific and political influence internationally. It’s a recognised nuclear weapons state and its defence budget ranks fifth or sixth in the world. The country has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its inception.
Additionally, according to a study the year before, the UK is one of the worlds main soft powers.
Soft power is a concept developed by Joseph Nye of Harvard University to describe the ability to attract and co-opt rather than coerce, use force or give money as a means of persuasion.