UK defence strategy since the Integrated Review: the view from Washington
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.
Access this article and other UK Integrated Review: still on the right path? news content with a free basic account
More from UK Integrated Review: still on the right path?
The service has been giving signs that it intends to redirect its strategy to succeed on tomorrow’s battlefield. From focusing on technology, the British Army is now preparing for a multi-domain and combat-mass scenario.
The rip-roaring assessment of Project Mosquito was one of the most interesting takeaways from Mike Wigston's DSEI 2021 speech, but so short-lived was the programme that a physical demonstrator was never built.
Multi-domain integration and the importance of novel approaches were the main motifs of DSEI 2021. The UK Strategic Command reiterated the theme outlined in the Integrated Review: more is not always better. Can the UK compensate for the loss of numbers and capabilities?
At DSEI in 2021, Then Second Sea Lord VAdm Nick Hine spoke of the importance of the Royal Navy thinking differently as he outlined the Navy PODS concept and said the service needed to further in its transformation. One year on, has that happened?
So much has changed — domestically and in the world at large — since the UK government released the Integrated Review and MoD Command Paper in early 2021.
Much as UK Prime Minister Liz Truss wants to project strong British power on the global stage, investment in much-needed capabilities is jeopardised by the fragile economic situation.