A Green Paper
posing fundamental questions for the future of Defence has been
published today by the MoD, paving the way for a post-election
Strategic Defence Review (SDR).
This Green Paper on the SDR is itself the product of broad
consultation within the Defence community. It has been informed
over six months by members of the Defence Advisory Forum,
including opposition politicians, former military personnel and
The Green Paper analyses the complex and uncertain future for
which the Government must plan, sets out some essential principles
for defence going forward, and identifies key questions that the
SDR must address, including:
• What contribution should the
Armed Forces make in ensuring security within the UK?
• How could we more effectively employ the Armed Forces in
support of wider efforts to prevent conflict and strengthen
• Do our current international defence and security
relationships require rebalancing in the longer term?
• Should we integrate our forces with those of key allies and partners?
Since the last full SDR in 1998, the threats to our national
security have changed dramatically. While we know that our defence
priority today is Afghanistan, we must also prepare for the
threats of the future. Today’s Green Paper analyses the wide range
of potential threats to the UK, including terrorism, nuclear
states, cyber-warfare, resource scarcity and climate change. It
also reflects on the lessons learned from our experience in
conflict, including in Iraq and Afghanistan.
When confronted by this uncertain future, the Green Paper
- the Armed Forces must become more flexible
and adaptable, and better able to respond quickly as and when new
- we can not defend ourselves inside – or on – our borders
alone. As in Afghanistan, we must continue to tackle national
security threats at their source, and so our action at home must
be complemented by targeted action overseas;
- Our Armed Forces’ vital role must be complemented by close
relationships with our international partners. Our relations with
our strategic allies, including in Europe as well as the US, will
be ever more important;
- close cooperation across Government will be vital to
maximising our impact. We must bring together defence, diplomatic
and development efforts as part of an integrated civil-military approach.
Today is the start of a serious discussion about the future
of Britain’s defence. We look forward to a vigorous debate, and to
building on our strong record of protecting Britain, its people,
and its way of life.
Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said:
"There is no more important function for Government than
defence. This Green Paper will stimulate debate about the future
of Britain’s defence ahead of a Strategic Defence Review in the
next Parliament. Afghanistan is the top priority today but we must
also ensure that our Armed Forces are ready to confront the
challenges of tomorrow. The current and emerging threats we face
are characterised by uncertainty and will require a more flexible
response from an adaptable Armed Forces."
Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock
"I welcome this Green paper. It is a first and a
significant step on the road to the forthcoming Defence Review
that will shape our security in the years ahead. The issues the
Green Paper raises are of fundamental importance to all citizens
of this country, and I look forward to a vigorous and widespread
debate on them in the coming months."
Whatever the future holds for our Armed Forces, it is essential
that they continue to have the very best equipment supported by
world class procurement processes. That is why the MoD is also
publishing today a Strategy for Acquisition Reform. This builds on
the recommendations of last year’s independent Bernard Gray Review
into defence procurement and sets out steps to improve governance,
risk management, transparency and cost control in order to deliver
an efficient, well managed and high quality equipment programme
for the future. Bernard Gray stated that lessons must be learned
to improve long-term acquisition projects, he was also clear that
his report did not relate to current operations. Our forces in
Afghanistan are equipped through Urgent Operational Requirements
and these continue to deliver the kit our forces need, when they
Commenting on this new strategy, Minister for Strategic Defence
Acquisition Reform, Lord Drayson, said:
"It is vital that defence acquisition is as efficient as
possible. This is a strategy for major reform. At its centre is a
radical plan to increase the transparency of our equipment plan,
to help ensure it can be kept affordable and achievable. By
managing our plans and projects, better and strengthening our
relationship with industry, we will improve the delivery of the
battle-winning equipment that our Armed Forces deserve."
Notes to Editors:
1. The Green Paper is available on the MoD website at: http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/CorporatePublications/ConsultationsandCommunications/PublicConsultations/TheDefenceGreenPaper2010Discussion.htm
2. CDS, PUS and the three single Service Chiefs have jointly
signed a statement in support of the Green Paper: http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/CorporatePublications/PolicyStrategyandPlanning/JointStatementFromPusCdsAndSingleServiceChiefsDgp.htm
3. The Defence Advisory Forum, which advised the Defence
Secretary comprised: The Rt Hon Sir Menzies Campbell MP, Professor
Malcolm Chalmers, Professor Colin S Gray, Professor Mary Kaldor,
Sir David Manning, Sir David Omand, Sir John Parker, The Rt Hon
Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, Paul Skinner, General (Retired) Sir
Rupert Smith, The Hon Nicholas Soames MP and Philip Stephens.
4. The Strategy for Acquisition Reform is available on the MoD
5. The Oral Ministerial Statement is below.
6. For more information, please contact Beth Cowley at the MoD
Press Office on 0207 218 3255.
Ministry of Defence