Main Image Credit William Barton / Alamy Stock Photo
The Integrated Review was announced under the title 'Global Britain in a Competitive Age' on 16 March 2021, and was followed by the Defence Command Paper entitled 'Defence in a Competitive Age' on 22 March.
Following the December 2019 election, the Government embarked on: “the most radical assessment of the UK’s place in the world since the end of the Cold War”. Since December 2019, RUSI has been contributing to this debate, and you can access here our ongoing assessment, as well as our relevant events and publications. For a good background to this debate, we also recommend reading the Defence Select Committee Report , and the Government’s response.
Given uncertainty over the state of the UK’s finances in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the Government delayed the Comprehensive Spending Review. However, to provide some much-needed planning clarity for Defence, the Prime Minster has announced an exceptional multi-year settlement that provides an extra £16.5bn beyond the spending growth already promised in the Conservative Party’s manifesto for the latest elections. Over the four years, this represents a real-term increase of between 10% and 15% in the Defence budget: equivalent to some £4 billion more annually than had been promised. Despite the settlement, the MoD remains under considerable pressure to ensure that its ambitions do not again outrun its (now significantly enhanced) means. There is also uncertainty over the future of the FCDO budget, with some press reports suggesting that its annual budget could be cut by as much as £4 billion in the Spending Review.
As the government lays out its position, RUSI will continue to contribute to the debate and update this webpage because now the direction has been given, attention must turn to how and to what extent the ambition will be realised on the ground.