The Strategic Defence and Security Review - Defence Committee Contents


Written evidence from the Oxford Research Group

1.0  SUMMARY:

1.1  The Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) provides a very important avenue for building on the sentiments expressed in a number of important government defence documents in recent years that are beginning to recognise the urgent need to move away from old ways of thinking about security and towards a more holistic and preventive approach that is aimed not at reacting to the symptoms of global insecurity but instead at addressing their root causes.

1.2  The last SDR, twelve years ago, did not anticipate the rise in importance of asymmetric threats and hybrid warfare (a combination of traditional warfare mixed with terrorism and insurgency) for UK defence policy. It also failed to take the opportunity to take stock of the failure of the current security paradigm to address current threats primarily through the use of military force nor the growing dangers posed by what might be described as "non-traditional" sources of threat to the UK's national security.

1.3  As the global security environment continues to be characterised by an ever increasing level of complexity, it is more important than ever that the decisions made in relation to procurement, personnel and force structure are designed to meet future threats and are aligned with the UK's long-term foreign policy goals. This means that the no matter how pressing the short-term financial crises are, long-term defence and security policies should not be set without a comprehensive analysis of the threats that the UK is most likely to face over the coming years and what sort of civilian and armed forces we will need to address not just the symptoms but the root causes of these threats.

1.4  Such an approach would prioritise addressing the underlying drivers of insecurity and conflict, which, while being largely global in nature, directly threaten the UK's national interests. Oxford Research Group identifies these drivers as climate change, increasing competition for resources, a dangerously widening gap between the rich "minority world" and the poor and marginalised "majority world", and the ever increasing spread of deadly technology.

1.5  Given the scale of the threats that are being driven by the interconnected trends of environmental stresses, population growth and a growing gap between the rich Global North and marginalised Global South, recalibrating British defence policy has become a central challenge for this government. This means striking the right balance in the SDSR between bringing the defence budget under control in the short-term and preparing for a new and complex global security environment.

1.6  The comprehensive spending review currently underway should be treated as a linked but ultimately limited process and should be led by (not lead) UK defence strategy. This means that no major procurement project should be "given a green light" until the National Security Strategy is agreed and released into the public domain. Procurement decisions must follow from a clear defence and security strategy not the other way around.

1.7  There are a number of options open to the government in relation to the decision on Trident that have been set out very clearly in a number of recent research papers. These options should be debated openly and—despite the fact that the decision has been officially excluded from the SDSR—some indication of the strategic rationale behind the decision should be included in the defence white paper and National Security Strategy. Importantly, the defence decision on Trident must be closely aligned with the foreign policy goals in relation to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.

2.0  INTRODUCTION:

2.1  Oxford Research Group welcomes the timely Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) initiated by the current government. Oxford Research Group is an independent London-based non-party organisation and think tank, which seeks to bring about positive change on issues of national and international security.

2.2  While Oxford Research Group does not argue against the maintenance of defence forces per se, it places much more emphasis on long-term conflict-prevention. It argues that the more substantive problems that will be faced in the coming decades stem from a dangerous combination of severe environmental constraints, especially climate change and energy shortages, and an increasingly divided world community in which the benefits of globalised economic growth have been excessively concentrated in about one-fifth of the global population. In such circumstances there is the very strong risk of societal breakdown as well as desperate responses from within the majority of the world's people who are marginalised and will be under increasing environmental constraints. There is the further risk that the main emphasis for security policies will be on suppressing such actions and maintaining the status quo, rather than responding to the underlying drivers of insecurity.

2.3  The SDSR provides a very important avenue for building on the sentiments expressed in a number of important government defence documents in recent years that are beginning to recognise the urgent need to move away from old ways of thinking about security and towards a more holistic and preventive approach that is aimed not at reacting to the symptoms of global insecurity but instead at addressing their root causes. This approach has come to be known as a "sustainable security" approach.

3.0  THE MOVE FROM THE 1998 SDR TO THE 2010 SDSR: FROM CHICAGO TO KABUL

3.1 Twelve years can be a long time in international politics. It has certainly been a long time between strategic defence reviews for Britain. In order to shift UK defence and security policy on to a path where more efforts are put into prevention rather than reaction, Oxford Research Group supports the idea of a regular defence review (similar to that of the Quadrennial Defense Review in the United States) as outlined in the Conservative Party's Armed Forces Manifesto.[53]

3.2  Any major review of government policy is a product of its time. The last review shortly preceded Prime Minister Blair's major speech on what he termed the "Doctrine of the International community" at the Economic Club in Chicago.[54] The general picture was one in which UK forces would need to be equipped for rapid expeditionary deployment. The emphasis was on intervening abroad to save populations from genocide and mass atrocities. Since the 1998 SDR, Britain has sent forces to the Balkans, Sierra Leone, East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq.

3.3  Yet for all the discussion around humanitarian intervention and expeditionary forces, the UK security and defence agenda since 2001 has been dominated by two major conflicts—Afghanistan and Iraq—neither of which were fought primarily for humanitarian reasons but instead, as leaders of both the former and current government have put it, fought to secure Britain's "national interest."

3.4  The 1998 SDR clearly did not anticipate the rise in importance of asymmetric threats and hybrid warfare (a combination of traditional warfare mixed with terrorism and insurgency) for UK defence policy—hence the "New Chapter" added to the SDR document in 2002. Yet the last defence review also failed to take the opportunity to take stock of the failure of the current security paradigm to address current threats primarily through the use of military force nor the growing dangers posed by what might be described as "non-traditional" sources of threat to the UK's national security.

3.5  In the last two years of the Labour government, some signs were evident of new thinking in UK defence policy. The first was the National Security Strategy of March 2008, and more recently, the Defence Green Paper[55] published earlier this year. Following the Green Paper, the Conservative Party, then in opposition, published its own national security Green Paper, A Resilient Nation. [56]

3.6  While the National Security Strategy of 2008 was published in an environment in which the war on terror, Iraq and Afghanistan were hugely prominent, it did seek to look well beyond the immediate circumstances:

3.7  The Cold War threat has been replaced by a diverse but interconnected set of threats and risks, which affect the United Kingdom directly and also have the potential to undermine wider international stability. They include international terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, conflicts and failed states, pandemics and transnational crime. These and other threats and risks are driven by a diverse and interconnected set of underlying factors, including climate change, competition for energy, poverty and poor governance, demographic change and globalisation.[57]

3.8  This wider approach with its recognition of the underlying trends of climate change, marginalisation and energy insecurity, also comes through to a more limited extent in the both the Green Papers released earlier this year. This development follows the experience of the last nine years of the UK being the major partner of the US in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as the wider "war on terror."

4.0  THE BRITISH EXPERIENCE IN AFGHANISTAN AND IRAQ AND THE GLOBAL "WAR ON TERROR"

4.1  The impact of the 9/11 attacks was grievous, much worse than the attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941, and it is not surprising that the Bush administration responded with the termination of the Taliban regime and an operation to destroy the al-Qaida movement in Afghanistan. More controversially the "war on terror" against al-Qaida and its associates rapidly developed into a more general confrontation with an "axis of evil", commencing with the termination of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq in early 2003. The UK was the closest ally of the United States in both endeavours.

4.2  The expectation in the Bush administration was that Afghanistan would make a rapid transition to a peaceful pro-western state with good development prospects aided by long-term coalition military support to ensure stability. Regime termination in Iraq would be even more significant as the post-Saddam Hussein state would develop as a model free-market liberal democracy based on the privatisation of state assets, economic development rooted in oil wealth and a financial sector with a minimum of regulation.

4.3  Instead, Afghanistan has evolved into a bitter long-term insurgency which is shortly entering its tenth year and has involved a massive increase in foreign forces, now numbering 140,000 in the context of increasing rather than decreasing violence. In Iraq the country has still not achieved stability more than seven years after regime termination and the costs of the war have included over 100,000 civilians killed, far greater numbers seriously injured, and four million people displaced including around two million who have sought refuge in other countries.[58]

4.4  Although the al-Qaida movement is relatively less active across the world, there are persistent concerns about the potential for increased Islamist paramilitary action in Yemen, Somalia and parts of North Africa, with even greater concerns about internal security in Pakistan. The Chilcot Inquiry may throw light on the decision-making process in Iraq, and this Committee is separately enquiring into the war in Afghanistan. What one can say at this stage is that the response to 9/11, however understandable, has had hugely unexpected consequences and has dominated thinking on international security in a manner that makes it less easy to address broader global security trends.

5.0  REMIT OF THE SDSR: IS THE SDSR FOCUSING ON THE RIGHT ISSUES IN THE RIGHT ORDER?

5.1  The Conservative Party's National Security Green paper, released earlier this year, rightly stated that,

5.2  The Strategic Defence and Security Review will need to be forward-looking and face up to some very tough decisions that have been put off for too long. Equipment programmes cannot be based on wish-lists or the fantasy world of what we would like to do if resources were unlimited.

5.3  ...It must meet the challenges of a turbulent international context and help to reduce our vulnerability at home to threats and hazards. That means calibrating our role and our capabilities to the sort of conflicts which are most likely to arise in the next twenty years not the last twenty.[59]

5.4  Given the changed global economic circumstances since the last defence review, it is quite clear that one of the most pressing tasks for the SDSR is to outline a concrete strategy for reigning in the costs of individual procurement programmes. Among current programmes that have hugely overrun their original estimates, the most extreme is the replacement of the Nimrod MR2 maritime patrol and surveillance aircraft with the Nimrod MRA4. This was due to be deployed in 2003, was subject to innumerable delays and cost increases and will not now enter service until 2012.

5.5  Yet while this financial imperative must remain in sharp focus, if the goal expressed in the quote above is to be met, the SDSR will need to be more than just a reactive cost-saving exercise. As the global security environment continues to be characterised by an ever increasing level of complexity, it is more important than ever that the decisions made in relation to procurement, personnel and force structure are designed to meet future threats and are aligned with the UK's long-term foreign policy goals. This means that the no matter how pressing the short-term financial crises are, long-term defence and security policies should not be set without a comprehensive analysis of the threats that the UK is most likely to face over the coming years and what sort of civilian and armed forces we will need to address not just the symptoms but the root causes of these threats.

5.6  The comprehensive spending review currently underway should be treated as a linked but ultimately limited process and should be led by (not lead) UK defence strategy. This means that no major procurement project should be "given a green light" until the National Security Strategy is agreed and released into the public domain. Given the major constraints which large-scale programmes such as the two new aircraft carriers and the planned replacement of the Trident nuclear-armed submarines put on an already stretched defence budget, ring-fencing any such programme, to put it simply, puts the cart before the horse in the most dramatic way. Procurement decisions must follow from a clear defence and security strategy not the other way around.

5.7  The timing of these two major military projects that are in the early yet crucial stages of their development means that unless decisions about their future are genuinely up for consideration, the possibility of engaging in a far-sighted review is greatly diminished, if not rendered impossible.

6.0  CASE STUDY: TRIDENT REPLACEMENT

6.1  The planned replacement of Trident is perhaps the most dramatic example of what the Secretary of State for Defence Liam Fox has described as "the mindset of Cold War politics."[60] This mindset holds that the challenge of nuclear weapons proliferation can only be adequately addressed by the UK reaffirming its commitment to being a nuclear weapons possessor state. The level of public discussion and debate over whether a like-for-like Trident replacement is the most sensible choice has been shallow and limited. A clear case for why Britain should, despite the current US-led shift in focus towards nuclear disarmament, commit itself to retaining the same number of nuclear weapons for decades to come has not been adequately made.

6.2  The clearest statement of government thinking on the issue was recently made by Dr Fox when he said that "in an unpredictable world where we cannot see very far into the future, where nuclear weapons will not be dis-invented, where we are seeing wider proliferation, this Government will not take a gamble with the country's future."[61] Instead it would appear that the government is set to take a path with a much more predictable outcome in relation to the spread of nuclear weapons around the world. That predictable outcome is that while powerful states such as Britain retain their nuclear weapons, less powerful ones will increasingly feel that only their end of the bargain that is struck by signing the Non-Proliferation Treaty is being held up and will instead (either overtly or covertly) attempt to acquire their own nuclear "deterrent." The important point here, that does not appear to be sufficiently appreciated by the current government's position on Trident, is that just as the world appears "unpredictable" and "dangerous" to the UK, so to does it seem to every other country in the world. Therefore, if it makes strategic sense for us to retain our nuclear weapons capability in order to hedge against future uncertainty, then there is no reason to expect other states not to make similar calculations.

6.3  There are a number of options open to the government in relation to the decision on Trident that have been set out very clearly in a number of recent research papers.[62] These options should be debated openly and—despite the fact that the decision has been officially excluded from the SDSR—some indication of the strategic rationale behind the decision should be included in the defence white paper and National Security Strategy. Importantly, the defence decision on Trident must be closely aligned with the foreign policy goals in relation to nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. It is encouraging to see the government attempting to address one of the key drivers of nuclear proliferation—the continued possession by a minority of states of nuclear weapons—by joining calls for progress on the goal of nuclear disarmament. But this important foreign policy goal will be severely undermined by defence policy if a blanket decision on Trident replacement is taken regardless of the outcome of the SDSR.

6.4  If procurement programmes such as Trident are not properly reviewed, the whole tenor of the defence posture will be one of maintaining control in a fragile and uncertain world, rather than addressing the underlying trends likely to result in that fragility and uncertainty - a matter of keeping the lid on problems or "liddism" as it has been termed.

7.0  GLOBAL THREATS AND THE NATIONAL INTEREST

7.1  Striking the balance between responding to immediate and short-term threats and positioning the country to meet the threats of the future is always a challenging task. The conflict in Afghanistan has become the central focus of British defence and security efforts over the last few years and is likely to remain so over the short-term.

7.2  It is clear that the inter-linked threats of international terrorism, organised crime and insurgent attacks on British forces abroad require the immediate attention of British policymakers and strategists today. In particular, the development of the phenomenon of what is now termed "hybrid warfare" (a potent mix of traditional conflict, terrorism and insurgency) presents an enormous challenge to the Armed Forces and civilian defence planners—a challenge that demands new thinking and honest reflection as to the appropriateness of current security paradigms based on traditional ideas about the use of force. The spread of deadly technology, in particular the materials and knowledge used to produce nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, also constitutes a clear danger to British citizens both here and abroad.

7.3  Yet if countering such threats is to be the guiding objective of British defence and security policy, then a concerted effort to refocus efforts away from simply responding to today's crises and towards addressing the underlying trends which produce these threats over the long-term must be made a top priority. The SDSR provides a crucial opportunity to think through ways of undertaking such a refocus in all areas of defence and security policy.

7.4  Terrorism and violent radicalisation more generally, will only be effectively countered by targeting the conditions that allow for extremist groups to prosper. This does not mean making simple correlations between conditions of poverty and the use of terror as a political instrument, but it does mean taking seriously the marginalisation of large swathes of the population in key areas of the "Global South." The ideology of the Al-Qaeda movement is nothing without the individuals willing to carry out terror attacks in the movement's name. Such individuals are a product of social and political circumstances where violence and intimidation appears to hold greater promise of achieving their ends than dialogue and peaceful participation in political and social life.

7.5  The spread of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons as well as the spread of advanced military technology (such as armed unmanned aerial vehicles) will continue to threaten British interests until global efforts towards disarmament and—equally as important—trust building between states is given top priority in the foreign policies of the great powers. Therefore, this foreign policy imperative is also a clear defence and security imperative for Britain. The combined expertise and international standing of the British foreign policy and defence communities should be brought to bear on the pressing task of strengthening the beleaguered nuclear non-proliferation regime and adding weight, through concrete action, to the renewed push towards global nuclear disarmament being spearheaded by the Obama administration in the United States.

7.6  Yet while immediate threats will always take first priority for decision makers, the SDSR process should be seized as an opportunity to instil a culture of holistic and preventive policymaking in the defence and security realm. This policymaking culture must be informed by analysis that explores the most likely underlying drivers of insecurity that will threaten the UK over the long-term.

8.0  ANALYSING THE LONG-TERM TRENDS IN GLOBAL SECURITY

8.1  There remains a fundamental dilemma at the heart of the UK government's approach to national security two decades after the end of the Cold War and nine years into the "war on terror". The current approach continues to prioritise military threats and largely military solutions (centred on a nexus of WMD, "rogue" and failing states and international terrorism) and a relatively narrow understanding of "national interests". However, there is powerful evidence that long-term UK security interests are best served by institutionalising a "sustainable security" framework at the heart of the UK's national security apparatus that explicitly accepts the complex, interdependent and holistic nature of security and insecurity in a globalised and uncertain world.[63]

8.2  Such an approach would prioritise addressing the underlying drivers of insecurity and conflict, which, while being largely global in nature, directly threaten the UK's national interests. Oxford Research Group identifies these drivers as climate change, increasing competition for resources, a dangerously widening gap between the rich "minority world" and the poor and marginalised "majority world", and the ever increasing spread of deadly technology. Whilst there has certainly been acknowledgement of these drivers - the Conservative Party's recent Green Paper mentioned climate change, competition for certain resources, and poor governance as risk multipliers that can exacerbate tension and conflict[64] - at present insufficient emphasis is being placed on the importance of identifying and addressing these underlying drivers.

8.3  Global militarisation and nuclear weapons proliferation, and a reactionary approach to international conflict, will perpetuate the currently unstable and insecure global security environment. With the possession of large militaries and nuclear weapon status increasingly regarded as a guarantor of national security, states will continue to drive the process of militarisation for reasons of national interest, consequently perpetuating global insecurity. Post-Cold War nuclear developments have involved the modernisation and proliferation of nuclear systems, with an increasing risk of limited nuclear-weapons use in warfare—breaking a threshold that has held for sixty years and seriously undermining multilateral attempts at disarmament. These dangerous trends will be exacerbated by developments in ballistic missile defence, chemical and biological weapons, long-range conventional missile systems and a race towards the weaponisation of space. This reactionary, military approach to security, referred to as the control paradigm, responds only to the outbreak of conflict without targeting the causes of such insecurity.

8.4  Climate change, through the mass displacement of people (both within and across states) and increased resource scarcity, will likely lead to civil unrest and inter-communal violence affecting all states, including Britain.

8.5  In the environmentally constrained but more populous world that can be expected over the course of this century, increased competition for decreasing levels of key resources such as oil, gas, water, and food, already a cause of civil unrest and insecurity, may increasingly trigger intra- and inter-state violence with direct impacts not only on Britain's interests abroad but also on its population and economy. Demand for these resources is already beyond that which can be sustained at current levels. Once population growth and the effects of climate change are factored in, it is clear that greater competition for such resources should be expected, both within and between countries, potentially leading in extreme cases to conflict.

8.6  Similarly, marginalisation of the majority world working in tandem with poor governance may increase insurgencies, unregulated migration, political oppression and exclusion, and political and social violence. A complex interplay of discrimination, global poverty, inequality and deepening socio-economic divisions, together make for key elements of global insecurity. Globally, the rich-poor divide is actually growing, with a very heavy concentration of growth in relatively few parts of the world, and poverty getting much worse in many other regions.[65] The "majority world" of Asia, Africa and Latin America feel the strongest effects of relative marginalisation as a result of global elites, concentrated in North America and Europe, striving to maintain political, cultural, economic and military global dominance.

8.7  All of these drivers will likely perpetuate state failure, well regarded as contributing to increased terrorist activity, crime, and the regional spread of instability into territories of interest. Thus, these trends that are primarily global in nature and origin constitute a complex combination of global insecurity drivers with real effects on British interests and national security.

9.0  HOW HAS THE UK RESPONDED TO GLOBAL SECURITY THREATS SINCE THE 1998 SDR?

9.1  As this note has earlier discussed, there has been a clear move towards recognising the significance of global threats, as evidenced by the National Security Strategy of 2008, the Labour and Conservative Green Papers and the establishment of a National Security Council. On issues such as socio-economic divisions and environmental constraints there has also been substantial movement. The UK has a cross-party consensus on the need to move towards the UN 0.7% of GNP target for development assistance which has already involved a substantial increase in the development assistance budget. On climate change there has been a process of lowering the carbon emission targets, focusing on an 80% reduction by 2050.

9.2  These are welcome developments, even if the carbon reduction target is far too modest, but there are two more general issues of concern. One is that while security thinking has moved in the direction of recognising the nature of global challenges, it is still focused primarily on keeping the UK secure through the availability military forces in an anticipated era of global fragility rather than putting the main focus on countering that fragility before it becomes a dominant global problem.

9.3  The second is that there remains a lack of integrated thinking and policy formulation, especially in relation to longer-term issues. While there is some cross-departmental engagement, and the Cabinet Office provides some central oversight, these simply do not match up to the problems being faced. In this respect the National Security Council could be singularly important in crossing the departmental boundaries, but the risk is that it exists with an understanding of security which is too narrow.

10.0  HOW SHOULD THE UK POSITION ITSELF AS A GLOBAL ACTOR IN THE COMING DECADES?

10.1  In today's truly "globalised" world there exists, for all states, a strong link between international, regional, and national security. The drivers of insecurity identified above will be truly global in nature, ignoring borders, and will have the potential to contribute directly to further weakening already unstable states and regions, the acceleration of state failure, and the regional spread of instability. It is therefore in Britain's national interest to seek to stabilise not only those regions and states where its interests are most prominent, but also wherever conflict is likely to arise.

10.2  To best counter the effects of these drivers of insecurity, Britain should strive for international leadership by gaining universal support for the prevention of conflict through anticipatory, forward planning, rather than reactionary policy. The 2002 SDR "New Chapter" recognised this principle when it stated that "Countering terrorism is usually a long term business requiring the roots and causes to be addressed as well as the symptoms. The Government is well placed to help less capable states build a society in which terrorism is less likely to emerge"[66] Pursuing increased levels of soft power, the ability to influence non-coercively through effective diplomacy, and continuing the effective partnership-building within, and promotion of, international and regional institutions, will aid this pivotal role for Britain, as will the strengthening of its unique position as a bridge between Washington and Europe, and the perpetuation of its role as a moral authority that promotes global justice, democracy, transparency and equity.

10.3  Britain's defence policy should include an increased focus on anticipatory approaches to conflict, which target the causes, and not the symptoms, of insecurity. Addressing the underlying drivers of insecurity would involve Britain taking a leading international role in promoting key policies in a number of different sectors, all of which link directly to securing Britain's national interests. These include: sustainable energy systems and a decreased reliance on fossil fuel energy sources; equity-based reform of the aid, trade, and debt relief systems; firm steps towards nuclear disarmament and tighter control of the trade in small arms; and increasingly multilateral approaches to conflict and insecurity prediction and prevention. At the national level, Britain should encourage the participation of expert civil society actors (NGOs, think tanks, academics) in thinking through the needed changes in defence and foreign policy, and a coherent, cross-departmental policy-making process with the NSC overseeing an anticipatory, agile and holistic approach to an increasingly complex global security environment.

10.4  Dr Fox has recently spoken of the need for "updating our concepts, as well as our capabilities" in order to ensure a "stable international order and security of the global commons."[67] Oxford Research Group strongly supports this position and would encourage bringing "sustainable security" thinking into the heart of UK foreign and defence policy. The beginnings of a new way of responding to global security threats can be seen in recent defence green papers and forecasting documents. The pressing task now is to move beyond this conceptual change and begin to operationalise these ideas and build concrete policy options for a move towards sustainable security. Ideas around adaptability, mitigation, prevention and "upstream investment" need to be coherently built into current planning in order to bring about the most effective use of government "levers of action" in the coming years.

11.0  OPERATIONALIZING A "SUSTAINABLE SECURITY" APPROACH

11.1  The main lesson of the last nine years of the "war on terror" is plain: the current security paradigm, based on the notion of controlling the symptoms of insecurity primarily through the application of military force, has not worked.

11.2  The assumptions that the status quo can be maintained, that the marginalised "majority world" can remain in this position, that environmental limits can be ignored in favour of unsustainable consumption and that dissent can be "managed" via ever-more powerful and precise military technology are false ones.

11.3  Given the scale of the threats that are being driven by the interconnected trends of environmental stresses, population growth and a growing gap between the rich Global North and marginalised Global South, recalibrating British defence policy has become a central challenge for this government. This means striking the right balance in the SDSR between bringing the defence budget under control in the short-term and preparing for a new and complex global security environment.

11.4  Addressing the root causes of insecurity requires the very close coordination of policies and objectives that are often divided between departments (MoD, FCO, DFID, DECC etc.). The creation of the National Security Council is a very welcome development as it is geared towards such close collaboration and coordination but it must not remain the only effort in this area. The example of the contradiction between the foreign policy objective of nuclear disarmament and the defence policy of a like-for-like replacement of Trident is but one area where departments must coordinate their actions in a way that fully appreciates the effect of short-term decisions on long-term policy objectives. As outlined above, trade and aid policies relate directly to long-term British security interests as do climate and energy policies.

12.0  BUILDING A MORE ANTICIPATORY AND PREVENTIVE FOREIGN AND DEFENCE POLICY: DOING MORE WITH LESS

12.1 The overarching goal for the SDSR's spending review components must be to find ways of investing in the knowledge, skills and hardware that will allow the government to address the underlying drivers of insecurity rather than respond to their symptoms in costly, drawn-out conflicts. Whilst difficult under current financial pressures, such investments will ultimately enhance the effectiveness of the government's "levers of action"—in all areas—and thereby save money and even lives in the decades to come.

12.2 The cost effectiveness—if measured in years and decades not electoral cycles—of investing in prevention rather than reaction needs to be clearly articulated and explained to the British public. So too do the links between socio-economic, environmental and energy concerns and threats to the UK's national security need to be far more widely appreciated amongst both political elites and the public at large. This can be done and the SDSR, which after all has been wisely termed a strategic "security" as well as "defence" review by the government, presents a perfect opportunity for doing so.

ABOUT OXFORD RESEARCH GROUP

Oxford Research Group is an independent non-governmental organisation and registered charity, which works together with others to promote a more sustainable approach to global security. ORG has been building trust between policy-makers, academics, the military and civil society since 1982. ORG and its internationally recognised consultants combine detailed knowledge of security issues, together with an understanding of political decision-making, and many years of expertise in facilitating constructive dialogue. It has been named one of the top 20 think tanks in the UK by the Independent newspaper.

More information can be found at: www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk

6 September 2010



53   Conservative Party, Armed Forces Manifesto 2010: A New Covenant for our Armed Forces and their Families, April 2010, p. 7.  Back

54   Tony Blair, "Doctrine of the International community", Economic Club, Chicago, 24 April 1999.  Back

55   Ministry of Defence, Adaptability and Partnership: Issues for the Strategic Defence Review, February 2010. Back

56   Conservative Party, A Resilient Nation, January 2010.  Back

57   Cabinet Office, The National Security Strategy of the United Kingdom: Security in an interdependent world, March 2008, p. 3.  Back

58   For casualty figures see Iraq Body count: http://www.iraqbodycount.org/ and for refugee and IDP figures see UNHCR Briefing Note, "UNHCR Iraq Appeal Seeks $261 Million for 2008", 8 January 2008:
http://www.unhcr.org/print/478357184.html 
Back

59   Conservative Party, A Resilient Nation, pp.4-5.  Back

60   Liam Fox, "Deterrence in the 21st Century", speech at Chatham House, London, 13 July 2010.  Back

61   Liam Fox, "Deterrence in the 21st Century." Back

62   Malcolm Chalmers, "Continuous At-Sea Deterrence: Costs and Alternatives", RUSI Briefing Note, July 2010; Nick Ritchie, Continuity / Change: Rethinking Options for Trident Replacement, Department of Peace Studies, University of Bradford, June 2010; Nick Ritchie and Paul Ingram, "A Progressive Nuclear Policy: Rethinking Continuous-at-Sea Deterrence", RUSI Journal, Vol. 155, No.2, April 2010, pp. 40-45.  Back

63   See Chris Abbott, Paul Rogers and John Sloboda, Global Responses to Global Threats: Sustainable Security for the 21st Century, Oxford Research Group, June 2006. For an example of the same principle being applied to the current defence situation in the United States see John Norris and Andrew Sweet, Less is More: Sensible Defense Cuts to Boost Sustainable Security, Center for American Progress, 8 June 2010.  Back

64   Conservative Party, A Resilient Nation, p6. Back

65   UNDP Human Development Report 2009, Overcoming Barriers: Human mobility and development, New York, UNDP, p.35. Back

66   Ministry of Defence, The Strategic Defence Review: A New Chapter, July 2002, p. 10.  Back

67   Liam Fox, "Deterrence in the 21st Century."  Back


 
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