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UK defence strategy since the Integrated Review: the view from Washington

26th September 2022 - 16:00 GMT | by David Isby in Virginia

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Finnish troops train with US and UK forces in July 2022. Mutual interest in expediting and reinforcing Sweden and Finland’s integration into NATO has contributed to improving US perceptions of UK strategy and capabilities. (Photo: US Army)

What do US policymakers make of UK strategic thinking in the wake of the Integrated Review, and how could subsequent events affect the transatlantic defence relationship?

Washington’s perceptions of UK defence strategy grew less favourable in the wake of the Great Recession, with withdrawals from Basra in Iraq and Helmand in Afghanistan undercutting UK claims to resilience and expertise in counterinsurgency. Force structure and spending cuts such as those following the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) also registered with US defence specialists. 

Politics in the UK appeared preoccupied with Brexit and ignoring emerging threats.  At the same time, allies and alliances received decreased priority from US administrations. 

Recently, US perceptions have shifted.  The results of unilateral decision-making in Afghanistan compared with the coalition resolve

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David Isby

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David Isby


David Isby is a Washington-based attorney and consultant on national security issues. He has experience …

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