The study of UK defence policy has always been central to RUSI's work. It remains one of the largest elements in the Institute's research programme and has set the parameters of debate on pressing defence issues.
The latest Strategic Defence and Security Review can be best described as being a ‘steady as she goes’ review, providing a welcome element of stability in defence planning after five years of substantial reductions.
To remedy the growing imbalance between its spending on defence, development and diplomacy, the UK government must reverse cuts to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s budget. In the long term, the UK should commit to increase spending on the UK's overall diplomatic effort to 0.2% of GDP.
On 7 September 2015 the British prime minister controversially announced that two British citizens had been killed in RAF drone strikes. The point is not so much that they were British but that he was targeted in an area that the UK does not currently regard, legally, as an operational theatre of war for UK forces.
This week, UK Armed Forces formally ended combat operations in Helmand. British troops return from Afghanistan not with a victory, but a score draw away from home; a job well done in unpropitious circumstances.
British maritime defence industrial manufacturing capabilities saw a historic transition with the Portsmouth naval yard losing out to Glasgow. This is an important milestone, but it is too simplistic to talk glibly about the resulting strategic shrinkage or the demise of British maritime strength.
The first report of the UK government’s ‘Defence Growth Partnership’ is aimed at addressing barriers to growth for the defence industry. With on going austerity measures in UK defence, the focus will have to be on export opportunities abroad.
The UK can do little to affect the Syrian civil war. But it is shoring up its interests on the periphery of the conflagration, reinforcing the UK’s military reorientation East of Suez. The question is whether, in light of Parliament’s vote last month, the Government now wants to say so.
A reassessment of the concepts and structures guiding the high-level management of British defence raises questions over single-service freedoms, defence acquisiion and the role of the private sector...