The Modernising Defence Programme, a review of the military capabilities and spending, has now been made public.

The Modernising Defence Programme was touted as aiming to further strengthen and modernise Defence in response to more complex challenges, however, most of the work is likely being held off until the post-Brexit environment can be assessed, leaving only 28 pages available to the public.

The Modernising Defence Programme can be found here.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said regarding the MDP:

“Through the work over the past year the MDP has identified three broad priorities, supported by the additional £1.8 billion invested in Defence.

Firstly, we will mobilise, making more of what we already have to make our current force more lethal and better able to protect our security.

The UK already has a world-leading array of capabilities. We will make the most effective use of them.

We will improve the readiness and availability of a range of key Defence platforms: major warships, attack submarines, helicopters and a range of ISTAR platforms. We are adjusting our overseas training and deployments to increase our global points of presence, better to support allies and influence adversaries.

To improve the combat effectiveness of our Force, we will re-prioritise the current Defence programme to increase weapon stockpiles. And we are accelerating work to assure the resilience of our Defence systems and capabilities.

We can mobilise a full spectrum of military, economic and soft power capabilities. And, where necessary and appropriate we will make sure we are able to act independently.

We will also enhance efforts with our allies and partners, aligning our plans more closely with them, acting as part of combined formations, developing combined capabilities, and burden-sharing. And we continue to invest in, and grow, our global network of Defence personnel and the education and training we offer in the UK and overseas.

Secondly, we will modernise, embracing new technologies to assure our competitive edge

Our adversaries and competitors are accelerating the development of new capabilities and strategies. We must keep pace, and conceive of our joint force as consisting of five domains, air, land, sea, cyber and space, rather than the traditional three.

We must modernise, targeting priority areas. A major new step will involve improved Joint Forces Command that will be in a better position so that defence can play a major role in preventing conflict in the future and improve our cyber operations and capabilities across the armed forces but also across government as well.

This year Defence’s Innovation Fund put £20 million towards projects in areas including unmanned air systems, virtual reality training, and enhanced digital communications for the Future Commando Force. The fund will grow to £50 million next financial year, increasing the scope, ambition and value of the projects it can support.

We will launch new ‘Spearhead’ innovation programmes that will apply cutting-edge technologies to areas including sub-surface threats to our submarines, our intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability, and command and control in the Land Environment as well.

And to drive innovation and change through the Department I am launching a Transformation Fund. Next year, I will ring-fence £160 million of MOD’s budget to create this fund available for innovative new military capabilities. I will look to make a further £340 million available as part of the Spending Review. This fund will be available for new innovative military capabilities which allows us to stay one step ahead of our adversaries.

Together these and other steps will enable the acceleration of our modernisation plans.

Thirdly, we will transform, radically changing the way we do business in Defence.

We need to improve markedly the way we run Defence. To sustain strategic advantage in a fast-changing world, we must be able and capable of continuous and timely adaptation. We will embrace modern business practices and establish a culture that nurtures transformation and innovation.”

22 COMMENTS

  1. LOL. Here we go. Love reading these Defence Reports and debunk all their rubbish.

    Anything of this nature will always be dressed up to package as “new” stuff we have already had for decades, with fancy photos.

    New items of kit trumpeted, including those already announced.
    Vague promises of funding.
    List defence priorities that already exist as a “New plan” ( Pages of it I see )
    Have very little detail on the axe to fall, much of that comes later.
    Make a perfectly valid list of areas of concern, trends, then do nothing whatsoever to meet them with more assets.
    Totally ignore the elephant in the room – Deterrent brought into Core.

    One gem I have already found.

    “We have taken the opportunity to forward base the Army”

    Like keeping the Wulfen Depot, Sennelager Training Area and Munchengladbach CHE Vehicle Storage site in Germany, which we had anyway?

    Or maybe he means the new facility in Oman? Utter cobblers. That is not forward basing the army, what is left of BAOR is returning to SPTA.

    Another –

    “We must become a more agile organisation”

    That “AGILE” word again. How, with less of everything, is one more agile? One is hamstrung.
    They love that agile word.

    “We have already saved almost £5 billion in
    efficiencies over the last five years – nearly
    70% of our target.”

    Equals – Cuts.

    Some interesting snippets from the little I’ve read –

    Increase to weapons stocks and spares.
    Increase role of the JFC.
    Better ability to detect hostile action against CNI and Trident, must mean Russian SSN’s or maybe action against undersea cables previously hinted at.

    • Lets face it, it was always going to be full of the standard waffle. Honestly, I’m disappointed we’re retaining any sort of presence in Germany. NATO’s eastern flank is has moved to the former Eastern block, our forces should either be forward based there or brought home to save money and make them more readily deployable for service further abroad (making them more “agile”).

      Efficiency savings doesn’t sound like cuts to actual forces, more like reduction in civilian staff. I’ll take that over more equipment cuts.

      Increases to weapon stocks is very welcome, it shows genuine preparation for actual combat. Better ability to detect hostile action against the deterrent and undersea cables is most likely just referring to the procurement of Poseidon

    • Agree. Nothing is ever as good or as bad at it seems. I never believed the LPD’s would go myself. A promised rebellion by back benchers and bad publicity through leaks put paid to that.
      Devil in the detail later lets see what pans out.

  2. “We need to explore the opportunities to increase the
    lethality, mass and reach of our Armed Forces”

    Explore the opportunities does not mean they will do.

  3. This report actually doesn’t say much at all ! It’s tsken them months to write a lot of hot air. Basically they can’t make any decisions about anything until they find out what the treasury is going to give them. Which let’s face it won’t be enough to sort out the problems.

  4. Political drivel really… I was hoping for more specifics. Hopefully that lies within the redacted sections that haven’t been released to the public to push Westminster for additional funding for critical areas & capability gaps.

    • Everything I’ve read about this has made clear for months that next years spending review will be where all the big decisions will be taken. Just baffled by what this was for in the first place. But hey the workings of our govts are an eternal mystery.

  5. Twelve months ago we were all posting about the disasters to come. I am not saying everything is perfect ( can’t be done anyway ) but a lot of programmes have moved forward or policy announcements made, not the least of which was the commitment to the Royals and the Albion and Bulwark, well received in Plymouth.
    I think Gavin Williamson and his team have done a pretty good job overall, considering everything else that’s going on and I for one would like to wish them all the best for Christmas and a new year full of orders!!

    • I must agree with Geoffrey.

      I have plenty of contempt for the wording in these “reviews” but personally I don’t dislike Williamson and he seems to be trying to fight for more funding.

      I doubt he wrote it either.

  6. Let us remember that even if nothing changes because of this that is still a win. The original review that this was separated from would have gutted our armed forces with a rusty spoon

  7. What is also interesting is that, given this is an important piece of work, and in spite of the waffle and hot air it might mean that defence is taken more seriously, there is no mention of it on the website of our august and impartial national broadcaster, the BBC. Could it be that it interferes with their agenda, which appears to be to “mushroom manage” what we poor peasants are told?
    I reserve judgment on the report until I have read it.

  8. I felt was only fair to read it fully before
    Commenting. I just did – and feel like I just wasted an hour of my life. My main conclusion is that I’d like a job in the MOD -or consulting for them – as I could spend a year getting paid to write something as pathetic as this (which I could do in a week) and spend the rest of my time playing with the kids and messing around in boats.

  9. well…
    Really not worth reading to be honest. Its just extra toilet paper for the house of commons.
    Rather let down by these reports recently…
    It just read like a huge introduction and then you flick over to see ‘THE END’
    All style and no substance…springs to mind!

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