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Shadow Defence Secretary announces Labour's pledges to reform UK Defence

Speaking at the Policy Exchange yesterday, in a keynote address the Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey outlined a series of reforms Labour would make to the Ministry of Defence should it form a government after the general election.

In his keynote address John Healey concurred with the Defence Secretary's recent comments that we are moving from a 'post war to a pre war environment', and argued that in a more insecure and unsafe world where the threats from adversaries are more pronounced the UK and its European allies must take a greater responsibility for ensuring European security. The Shadow Defence Secretary argued that for the UK to play its part effectively in underpinning European security, reform is urgently needed to improve the Ministry of Defence's strategic readiness and procurement outcomes.

Setting out how Labour would achieve this if it forms a government after the general election, the Shadow Defence Secretary made the following announcements:

  1. The establishment of a new Military Strategic Headquarters (MSHQ) within the MOD, led by the department's Permanent Secretary and the Chief of the Defence Staff. The MSHQ will ensure that investment is balanced and targeted appropriately across the Front Line Commands (FLCs) and will hold them to account for delivery of capabilities 
  2. The current two year serving term for 4* Service Chiefs will be extended to four years with a two year review halfway through to improve FLC accountability 
  3. The creation of a new strategic leadership for Defence procurement by establishing a new National Armaments Director (NAD) which will align procurement activities across the operating domains and deliver a new Defence Industrial Strategy

The Shadow Defence Secretary confirmed the MSHQ would be established immediately following a general election should Labour form the next government, and confirmed that there would be no new Defence spending commitments until a Strategic Defence Review had been completed by Labour to determine where investment is needed and at what level. 

You can watch the Shadow Defence Secretary's full keynote address here. 

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