london – The British government has ordered an update to its Defense and Security Review published last year and is expected to complete a revised plan by the end of 2022.Prime Minister Liz Truss has made the announcement.
In what is touted as the largest defense review since the Cold War was unveiled in March 2021, the update of Britain’s strategic goals and capabilities has gone beyond the events following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“To ensure that Britain’s diplomatic, military and security architecture is at par with the emerging threat posed by hostile nations, The Prime Minister has commissioned an updated review for the Integrated”, the government said in a statement.
Truss, who is in New York to attend the UN General Assembly this week, has also reiterated his commitment to increase defense spending to 3% of GDP by 2030.
The Prime Minister’s Special Adviser for Foreign Affairs and Defense John Beve has been tasked with leading the Downing Street process to update the review.
,The new strategy will ensure that we are investing in capabilities and strategic alliances to stand firm against coercion from authoritarian powers such as Russia and China.”, the government statement said.
Updates to the review are expected to see the abandonment of the plan to reduce British military strength from 82,000 to 72,500.
Howard Wheeldon, defense advisor to Wheeldon Strategic Advisory, argued that personnel and equipment levels should be an important part of the review.
“The ratification of the review by the Truss-led government is very welcome, but will it go far enough?” he said. “Would you feel that while it is important to plan and build tomorrow’s wars relative to technical capability requirements, we also need to ensure that we have sufficient manpower and equipment capacity to fight today’s wars?”
Analyst expresses concern Funds available to fulfill government’s promise to increase defense spending,
“When it comes to believing that defense spending will get the boost it rightfully deserves, the jury is still out,” Wheeldon said. “It is very good to suggest that defense spending will increase to 3% of GDP in 2030, when we still do not know what GDP will be and whether what we need will be affordable,” he said.
Malcolm Chalmers, deputy director general of the Royal Institute of United Services in London, echoed this concern when he published a paper earlier this month detailing how much of a projected increase in defense could hurt taxpayers.
“To meet its commitment to spend 3% of GDP on defense by 2030, the Liz Truss government would have to increase defense spending by about 60% in real terms,” Chalmers wrote. “This equates to approximately £157bn of additional spending over the next eight years compared to current plan estimates,” he said.
“By comparison, the 2020 spending review, and the associated integrated review, allocated an additional £16.5bn over four years. This would be the largest increase since the early 1950s,” Chalmers said.
Like Wheeldon, Chalmers said the review would require a staff increase.
“To spend 3% effectively, the defense budget would require a significant increase in the size of the front line: the number of structures and platforms,” he said. “A 25-30% increase in service personnel is likely to be needed to support a 60% global increase in defense spending. This will increase the total number of regular employees from 148,000 today to about 190,000 in 2030, returning to the level last seen in 2010.