The Defence Committee has published a report titled ‘In Search of Strategy – The 2020 Integrated Review’.

The Defence Committee say that their report underscores the need for strong political leadership and strategic analysis to inform the UK’s future defence posture and urges the Government to include a thorough assessment of the economic, diplomatic and military activities and the internal political dynamics of hostile foreign states, such as Russia and China.

Greater Transparency and External Engagement

The report reiterates the Committee’s previous calls for clarity and transparency. In particular, the Committee calls for the Government to identify the key players leading the Integrated Review and to clarify the role of the Prime Minister, Cabinet ministers and advisers. Additionally, the report highlights the need to consult external stakeholders, especially those who were involved with, and scrutinised, previous policy reviews.

A Vision for the Future of our Armed Forces

The Committee emphasises the opportunity that the Integrated Review presents for defence, stating that the Government must use the Review to set out a coherent vision how our Armed Forces will fight in the future and set out the platforms, weapons and personnel that will be provided to ensure this vision is realised.

Chair’s comments

Chair of the Defence Committee, Tobias Ellwood MP, said:

“The Integrated Review presents a rare opportunity to conduct a holistic assessment of the effectiveness of the UK’s security, defence, foreign and development policy. As we re-orient ourselves on the world stage, and react to significant geopolitical shifts in power, we must make an honest assessment of our country’s strengths and weaknesses, using this to inform our strategy going forward. Decisions must be made based on a clear view of the world and a detailed vision for the UK’s role within it, rather than short term economic considerations. Number 10 has described the Integrated Review as the most comprehensive policy review since the end of the Cold War, however we are concerned that the gap between this expectation and reality is widening. The prime purpose of the Integrated Review must be to ensure our defence posture is upgraded to match emerging threats and protect our developing interests. We must not lose sight of that – even with the financial pressures caused by COVID-19. To ensure the Review takes a strategic approach, there must be broader engagement and consultation of external stakeholders, and yet so far the Committee has seen little evidence that this has taken place.

The Defence Committee, alongside colleagues in the Foreign Affairs and International Development Committees, have repeatedly called for clarity and transparency from the Government. These calls have, at times, been left unanswered. A number of unknowns remain, including the key players at the heart of the Review. A policy review of this importance should not take place behind closed doors. The Committee system should not be viewed as an adversary of Government, but instead as a constructive critic and contributor. We hope that this report aids the Government in its approach to the Integrated Review; it is in all of our interest that this Review is a success.”

You can read the report summary here or read the full report here.

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Marc Graham
Marc Graham
21 days ago

Whilst considerable investment must be made to our military in the face of current and future threats. There is also the issue that to fight a war a nation must have the financial resources. We are in poor financial shape and find ourselves in the position that many could see coming from some way off, of needing to both spend big and pay off our debt at the same time. There is no simple answer to our current position.

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
21 days ago

I’ve just had a quick run through and at face value I have to say that there are thousands of words used not explaining what is needed and how it is going to be paid for.

Pete
Pete
21 days ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

If you mean…whats needed for defence and how are those needs to be paid for…. then i would suggest thats not the purpose of this report but is part of the deliverables of the review itself.

I read the summary of this report as being simply that in publishing the review be clear what assuptions and context applies and what expectations of defence the review is consequently designed to address.

P

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
21 days ago
Reply to  Pete

Sorry Pete but I’ve lost count of the number of papers I’ve delivered over the years including three to the Defence Committee itself . The simple starting point this time is,,”How do we get out of the state we have got ourselves into”

maurice10
maurice10
21 days ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

The truth of the matter is non of the countless defence reviews have ever been implemented in full, due to the UK’s parliamentary modus -operandi. Not even large corporations complete so-called ‘New Approaches’ before a new COE comes along and changes it all.

First and foremost, Britain needs to have the equipment to do the job, though this may result in fewer assets in certain fields.

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
21 days ago
Reply to  maurice10

Absolutely Maurice. I couldn’t agree more.Cutting the cloth …as the old saying goes is the prime mover behind my own submission of evidence.

Geoffrey Roach
Geoffrey Roach
21 days ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

Whoops..it’s early…should be “cutting the coat to suit the cloth”.

Basra
Basra
18 days ago
Reply to  Geoffrey Roach

Just think how bad SDSR 2010 was now look at the public finances. This review will be about trying to figure out how we can do a Germany and call our aid budget defence spending while continuing to “punch above our weight” blah blah blah as the Treasury guts what is left and Bojo bare face lies about what he is doing.

Jason Holmes
Jason Holmes
21 days ago

When I hear things like ‘ reset posture’ ‘peace dividend’ or ‘options for change’, it simply means one thing, cut backs. I wish they’d just be honest about it.

Laurence Harvey
21 days ago
Reply to  Jason Holmes

Peace dividend. And where does that come from. USSR. Sorry Russia up to it old tricks, China now trying to claim the the South China Sea as it’s territorial waters. We need a bigger defensive posture rather than than trying to reduce the size of our forces.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
21 days ago

I have heard rumours of using part of the foreign aid budget for defence recently, not sure how or if this will in fact happen. A very good idea none the less.

Charity begins at home after all!

RobW
RobW
21 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

They will have to be clever about it if they do. The 0.7% of GDP rule is written into law so we can’t reduce that without a vote in Parliament, which isn’t going to happen.

Things that could be ‘badged’ as foreign aid could include a hospital ship, hurricane and disaster relief i.e. the Bays and their eventual replacement, tactical lift running costs, and any other assets that could have a dual purpose. What we will not see is billions just transferred over to defence to plug gaps.

Nigel Collins
Nigel Collins
21 days ago
Reply to  RobW

Exactly what had been proposed last year, equipment that has a dual purpose like the Bays and transport aircraft.

Joe16
Joe16
21 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

Charity certainly does begin at home, which is why we have a welfare system that takes up 40% of GDP! Not sure why we have to raid the 0.7% foreign aid budget, especially when it is a useful soft power tool (imperfectly applied, I will acknowledge, but point me towards a government department that manages its money well). As HM Treasury and the GAO/NAO has repeatedly said, the MOD doesn’t get to have a larger slice of the GDP pie until it has shown that it manages what it currently gets effectively (which it really doesn’t, even compared to other… Read more »

Paul42
Paul42
20 days ago
Reply to  Nigel Collins

This would make sense. The harsh reality is that Russia and China are investing in defence at a time when the west is in reverse! The simple fact is, however unpopular, that we need too put in the money need to just get us up to date in key areas. We are drifting further and further behind our potential foes, the heavily underarmed Type 31 is a classic example, the Russians have corvettes fitted with cruise missles!

T.S
21 days ago

I for one am not going to get excited by this review. The head clamours for one that is forward thinking, brave and balances the need to fill current gaps in defensive requirements with bringing in new structures, types of kit and ways of fighting. Alas, the heart knows it will be an exercise in cuts of vital capabilities, with the budget savings reallocated to companies with Tory cronies on the board of directors or even Tory shareholders themselves. Look at the sums paid out for PPE with nothing in return to Boris’s mates! Expect more of the same with… Read more »

Matt
Matt
21 days ago
Reply to  T.S

Hi T.S,
I think that’s why they are highlighting the need for greater transparency and clearly defined roles and responsibilities of the key stakeholders. Without that, we’ll likely end up making the same mistakes.
[email protected]

Jonny
Jonny
21 days ago
Reply to  T.S

Yeah the Tories are trash but none of the parties are much better

James
James
21 days ago
Reply to  Jonny

Well if Corbyn had got in we wouldnt need a defence review as it would have been disbanded already.

Andy
Andy
21 days ago

So it sounds like Downing Street experts are coming up with the strategy rather than the usual suspects.

RobW
RobW
21 days ago
Reply to  Andy

“Downing Street Experts” now there is a contradiction. Mr Cummings has seemingly gone from political strategist to expert in everything, including defence. I hope I’m wrong but I have a bad feeling about this, as does Mr Ellwood it seems.

r cummings
r cummings
21 days ago
Reply to  RobW

A proper, thorough review would look for input from serious professionals, in all its bearings – the military threats we may face, new developments in weapons and tactics that we need to adjust to, the growing obsolescence of much of our equipment, the serious shortage of the necessary numbers in all three services, etc. HMM doesn’t want anything like that, because the consensus would be that you’ve cut the forces far too far and are spending well below what we need to spend to be even vaguely relevant on the world stage. They would likely hear that, on our real-world… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
21 days ago
Reply to  r cummings

The NCSS is run by the Cabinet Office. But other departments, including the MoD, contribute, so saying Cyber is not an MoD responsibility needs clarification.

The MoD will defend its networks like other departments, and seeming as Cyber also has offensive applications ( which the MoD jointly operate with GCHQ ) then I have no issue with some of MoD’s budget allocated to it.

Other than that I agree on all you say.

geoff
geoff
21 days ago

Hi Daniele. Hope you and your family are well. Some years back(about ten) when Public comment was invited for a then Defence Review, my comments included-retain the Carrier Programme, invest in some more lower range ships such as OPV’s to relieve the workload of Frigates having to look after pirates and drugs, and up the Recruitment of reserve forces as a value for money way to increase numbers, particularly for the Army. Guess what-for better or worse, they adopted all three 🙂 OK, so maybe I was not alone and in retrospect maybe not all good advice but still-from little… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
20 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Hi geoff. We are well, thank you. I fear I have too many priorities….but here we go. My priorities have always been in 3 areas, of equal importance. RN / RAF / Intelligence community. With those 3 the UK can project power/influence as needed, and can also use the first two in humanitarian roles if needed, with air assets and ships. I don’t support the army getting rid of Tanks. I’m content to have the capability we have, which is already small compared to our European friends, updated, as per current plans. If cuts must occur it should be here,… Read more »

geoff
geoff
20 days ago

Wow-Daniele for Minister of Defence. I am on my way out of town so just a brief reply- a well delivered, concise and comprehensive essay that says it all in few words. Now seriously why is it that governments(world wide) just cannot ever get it right and on time without resorting to endless Committees or enquiries ending up with poor and costly decisions? I know people are sometimes dubious about the opinions of (the slightly perjorative term) armchair critics, but can the overpaid mandarins do any better? I am all for privatising almost everything. there is no better way to… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
20 days ago
Reply to  geoff

Cheers geoff, for your kind words.

Just my long held opinions, based on the fact we are an Island and maritime nation with longstanding worldwide trade links best linked to a strong military in those domains rather than a huge army of armour.

I’m quite happy to be shot down by others and open to being shown that my opinions are wrong. Cheers.

Harold
Harold
20 days ago

An invisible virus brought the ‘UK’ to its knees. The ‘UK’ cannot even control a few unseaworthy boats with immigrants/refugess crossing the Channel. I know where military spending should be focussed and it wouldn’t be on nuclear weapons and aircraft carriers. I am sure that the Cummings review will say the same as reality is slowly faced.

Meirion X
Meirion X
20 days ago
Reply to  Harold

@Troll H
And yet again another obsessive post opposing two main pillars of Britain’s defence, from an increasingly psychotic troll!
This just shows we have really hit a raw nerve in Kremlin with our carriers!

Airborne
Airborne
18 days ago
Reply to  Meirion X

He knows very little and seems proud of that fact.

Meirion X
Meirion X
20 days ago
Reply to  Harold

@Troll H
I see the Kremlin is trying to profit from the illegal
migrants again! You can tell you chums there, illegal immigration is Not really the responsibility of the MoD!
It is a Home Office responsibility!

Airborne
Airborne
18 days ago
Reply to  Harold

Old Troll, I appreciate you have no subject matter experience, and no idea what you are talking about when it comes to defence matters but I do have a question for you, before nurse pulps your tea if thats ok….Do you get off on trolling? Its quite sad, your obviously lonely and maybe have a grudge against the military as you feel you havent quite been the man you would have wished to be, as you failed the entrance tests maybe? Whats the problem, do you need to talk? Waiting with baited breath to your wisdom riven reply.

Chris Galvin
Chris Galvin
20 days ago

A lot bigger navy is required by the UK.

Graham
Graham
20 days ago

In real estate its Location Location Location, in Defence its FUNDING FUNDING FUNDING. This integrated review looks like another raid on Defence funding. Threats from major players like Russia and China are increasing and we have leaks everywhere that this Government wants to cut hard power, cut 5 frigates, cut Challenger tanks, likely cuts to the F35 fleet cut cut cut. The only budget that they should be slashing is foreign aid. If countries like India can afford carriers, SSN’s and new Rafale aircraft they don’t need our Foreign aid PERIOD.

Harold
Harold
20 days ago

I quote your General David Richards, the former chief of the defence staff, who described your aircraft carriers as “unaffordable, vulnerable metal cans”. As Dominic Cummings, Chief Adviser to the PM Johnson of the Conservative Government pointed out, the carriers can be taken out by a child with a drone. It didn’t even take that. An invisible virus brought one of the two to a halt. Meanwhile, your nuclear submarines and fast jets can’t stop poor refugees landing on your south coast. What a joke the ‘UK’ is. (Harold, (or was it ‘Iqbar’?) the Defence Journal monitoring Team which only… Read more »

Daniele Mandelli
Daniele Mandelli
20 days ago
Reply to  Harold

How long a range has this drone got to find a carrier in the middle of an ocean possibly thousands of miles away?
How fast is it?
How does it detect the carrier?
DC needs to answer these basic questions. Otherwise CIWS shoot it down like the toy it is, doesn’t it.
General Richards is playing inter service politics. Bet he’d not say that about Tanks.
“Your South coast? ” Yours too. Or maybe not.

Loved the second paragraph, good effort H.

Meirion X
Meirion X
19 days ago

I think we have a truly psychotic case of a troll now, from the sound of it, Daniele!

Lord Haw, Haw the II, has really lost his head!

Meirion X
Meirion X
19 days ago
Reply to  Harold

@Lord Haw, Haw the II
Is that all you are competent at, quoting other people?
Even though they know sod All of nothing of warfare etc!

You are a really sad case of a man!

Airborne
Airborne
18 days ago
Reply to  Meirion X

Very very sad old man, whos only real human contact is with the nurse who turns up to wipe his arse and pulp his food.

Airborne
Airborne
18 days ago
Reply to  Harold

Oh dear oh dear, your trolling is getting extra sad, and its so obvious that in your twilight years you feel you have never proved to be the man you think you could have been, as never being able to join the military….I dont know why, maybe to fat, to thick, to scared, flat feet…Im sure you have an excuse, but your constant silly trolling, while I find it amusing, makes many others quite bored. Most on here ignore you, as should I, but I also feel quite sorry for you being so lonley in your final, urine soaked years.

Barry Curtis
Barry Curtis
12 days ago

The Integrated Review does present a rare opportunity to find a more coherent assessment of the effectiveness of the UK’s security, defence, foreign and development policy. With BREXIT waiting in the wings, to call the shots in the future as well, mixed with the the aftermath of the pandemic, that has cost the country in lives and finances. I feel that the future direction of the review must focus on producing a structure that is re-bust enough to face tomorrows battles, but at the same time keeps spending within achievable funding limits. We need to re-orient ourselves to face the… Read more »