British Government announces Defence Review, 7 July 2009
Defence Strategic Planning, House of Commons, Hansard, 7 July 2009 : Column 39WS.
Defence Strategic Planning
The Secretary of State for Defence (Mr. Bob Ainsworth): The armed forces are an essential element of our national security. They provide the ultimate defence against direct threats to the UK and its overseas territories. They tackle threats to our national security overseas by helping to address conflict, instability and crises across the globe. I know there is strong support in this House for their achievements.
The Government’s current priority for the armed forces is to ensure they have the equipment and support they need for operations in Afghanistan. We have approved over £2.2 billion from the reserve for urgent operational requirements in Afghanistan. Overall spending from the reserve, above costs met from the MOD budget, was over £2.6 billion in the last financial year.
But, in parallel, we must ensure the armed forces are fit for the challenges of tomorrow.
The policy set out in the Strategic Defence Review (SDR) and subsequently adjusted in the SDR New Chapter and the 2003 Defence White Paper, delivering Security in a Changing World has stood the test of time.
7 July 2009 : Column 40WS
However, it is now more than 10 years since the SDR and the challenges facing defence have inevitably changed in that time.
I am therefore announcing that the Government is beginning a process that will enable a strategic defence review early in the next Parliament. That review, to be set in the context of the national security strategy, will be designed to ensure that we develop and maintain armed forces appropriate to the challenges we face and the aims we set ourselves as a nation.
As a first step, we will undertake an examination of a range of issues, including:
I intend to publish the results of this work in the form of a Green Paper in early 2010. I recognise there is a wide range of views on these important issues and hope the Green Paper will help build a consensus on these critical underlying issues for defence.
Source: UK Parliament website, www.parliament.uk.