Table of contents
- 1. Integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy skip to link
- 2. Conflict in Ukraine skip to link
- 2.1 Government statements skip to link
- 2.2 Calls to revisit the integrated review skip to link
- 2.3 Labour and the integrated review skip to link
- 2.4 Issues raised in the House of Lords concerning defence skip to link
- 2.5 UK relationship with the EU skip to link
- 2.6 Integrated review and trade and investment skip to link
- 3. Implications of Ukraine conflict: UK defence skip to link
- 4. House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee inquiry skip to link
- 5. Read more skip to link
On 9 June 2022, the House of Lords will debate the following motion:
Lord Liddle (Labour) to move that this House takes note of (1) the impact of the conflict in Ukraine, (2) the implications for the integrated defence review, and (3) the case for the United Kingdom strengthening (a) its relationships with the European Union and other European allies, and (b) its commitment to NATO.
1. Integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy
1.1 ‘Global Britain in a competitive age’
In March 2021, the government published ‘Global Britain in a competitive age: the integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy’. This set out the government’s assessment of the trends it believed would shape national security and the international environment over the next decade. It also set out the government’s strategic framework for achieving the UK’s national security and international policy objectives up to 2025.
The integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy (IR) was launched in February 2020. The government said the objective of the IR was to overhaul the UK’s approach to foreign, defence, security and development policy. In his statement announcing the IR, Prime Minister Boris Johnson described it as the biggest review of its kind since the end of the cold war. He also said the review would look across all Whitehall departments and would look for advice from outside government.
Prior to the launch of the IR, two strategic defence and security reviews had been conducted since 2010. The most recent strategic defence and security review was published in 2015. This included commitments to increase spending on defence equipment by £12bn and that the size of the regular army would not drop below 82,000 trained personnel. Further information on the 2015 strategic defence and security review is provided in the House of Commons Library briefing ‘The 2015 strategic defence and security review’ (12 January 2016).
Originally, the government said the IR would be published in autumn 2020, at the same time as the planned comprehensive spending review. However, in November 2020 Mr Johnson said the IR would not be published until early 2021. This followed the scaling back of the government’s plans for a comprehensive spending review to a one-year spending review. This spending review was published in November 2020.
1.2 The UK’s strategic objectives in the IR
‘Global Britain in a competitive age’ identified the following four overarching trends that it said would shape the next decade:
- Geopolitical and geo-economic shifts, including the increasing assertiveness of China internationally and the growing importance of the Indo-Pacific region.
- Systemic competition between states and with non-state actors. The IR concluded this increased competition might lead to the formation of competing geopolitical and economic blocks. It also said this competition would be manifested in a growing contest over international rules and norms.
- Rapid technological change, affecting the relationship both between states and between the citizen and the state.
- Transnational challenges, including climate change, risks to biosecurity, terrorism and serious and organised crime (SOC).
In response to these trends, the government identified four principal national security and international policy objectives. The government described these objectives as forming the basis of its strategic framework, which would run until 2025:
- Incorporating science and technology (S&T) as an integral part of the UK’s national security and international policy. The government said it would seek to maintain the country’s strategic advantage in S&T. It said this would grow the UK economy. It also said S&T was key to enabling the UK to achieve the other strategic objectives set out in the IR.
- Working with international partners to reinvigorate the existing pillars of the international order. The government said the UK would seek to shape international norms in what it described as the “future frontiers of cyberspace, emerging technology, data and space”.
- Strengthening security and defence at home and overseas, including working with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) to address the threat posed by Russia. The government also said it would work with allies to build increased capacity to combat transnational state threats such as SOC, weapons proliferation and radicalisation and terrorism.
- Building resilience at home and overseas. The government said this would include improving the UK’s ability to “anticipate, prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from risk”. It also said it would prioritise efforts to tackle the long-term challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.
The policies announced in the IR also included a change to the UK’s “nuclear posture”. In 2010, the then government had said it intended to lower the cap on the number of nuclear weapons to 180 by the mid-2020s. However, in the 2021 IR the government stated that it would move to an overall nuclear weapons stockpile of no more than 260 warheads. The government also said the UK would maintain the size of its strategic nuclear deterrent force, following the replacement of its four Vanguard-class submarines with the same number of new Dreadnought-class submarines.
Further information on the IR and the initial reaction following its publication is provided in the House of Lords Library briefing ‘Integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy’ (16 April 2021).
1.3 International alliances and the integrated review
The IR said NATO would remain the “foundation of the UK’s collective security” in the Euro-Atlantic region. It also identified Russia as remaining “the most acute physical threat to [the UK’s] security”. The IR included a restatement of the UK’s commitment to maintain its defence expenditure above the NATO guideline of 2% of GDP.
The IR described the UK’s most important bilateral relationship as being with the US. It said this relationship was key to the maintenance of the NATO alliance and the Five Eyes, the intelligence-sharing alliance between the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The IR also said the UK would remain “deeply invested” in the security and prosperity of Europe. It said the UK would work with the EU to promote European security following the UK’s departure from the EU:
Our exit from the EU means we have the opportunity to follow different economic and political paths where this is in our interests, and to mark a distinctive approach to foreign policy. Equally, we will work with the EU where our interests coincide—for example, in supporting the stability and security of the European continent and in cooperating on climate action and biodiversity.
In addition to its engagement at EU level, the IR said the UK would seek to enhance its security and defence partnership with France. It also said the UK would build on what it described as its “growing foreign policy partnership” with Germany.
On the UK’s engagement with the Indo-Pacific region, the IR said the UK would work with bodies including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to support trade and shared security. The IR included a framework for what it described as an “Indo-Pacific tilt”. The IR said the objective of this tilt would be for the UK to become:
[…] the European partner with the broadest and most integrated presence in the Indo-Pacific—committed for the long term, with closer and deeper partnerships, bilaterally and multilaterally.
The IR described China as being both a “systemic competitor” and an “important partner”. Speaking to Sky News, the then foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, said the UK would take a “calibrated approach” to Beijing, balancing a desire to trade with defending human rights and democratic values.
Since the publication of the IR, the UK secured dialogue partnership status at ASEAN in August 2021. The government has argued this will enable the UK to be more closely engaged in the region. The UK has also applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a free trade agreement between 11 countries including Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia and Vietnam.
1.4 Defence and the integrated review
In addition to ‘Global Britain in a competitive age’, the government published a number of further publications under the umbrella of the IR. This included the command paper ‘Defence in a competitive age’, which covered the contribution of the Ministry of Defence and the armed forces to achieving the objectives set out in the IR.
‘Defence in a competitive age’ set out plans for restructuring of the UK armed forces. It described the objective of this restructuring as being to create an army which is “leaner, more lethal, nimbler, and more effectively matched to current and future threats.” It said the restructured armed forces would be designed for “permanent and persistent global engagement”. It also said the government would seek greater integration of its traditional maritime, land and air capabilities with its capabilities in the new domains of cyber security and space.
As a result of this restructuring, the Ministry of Defence said the size of the army would be reduced from 76,000 to 72,500 trained regulars by 2025. At the same time, the government said it would be increasing investment in the UK’s defence capabilities, including in new weapons and in the domains of space and cyberspace. In November 2021, the government published ‘Future soldier: Transforming the British Army’. This said that the size of the army would be changed to 73,000 trained regulars.
Further information on the defence aspects of the IR is provided in the House of Lords Library briefing ‘‘Defence in a competitive age’ and threats facing the UK’ (15 October 2021) and the House of Commons Library briefing ‘Insight: UK army to be reduced to 72,500’ (23 March 2021).
1.5 Other strands of the integrated review
In addition to defence and the future of the UK armed forces, the government has identified other strands to the IR. For example, in ‘Global Britain in a competitive age’, the government committed to publishing an international development strategy. The government consulted on this strategy in 2021. The strategy was published on 16 May 2022. Further information on the government’s international aid strategy is provided in the House of Lords Library briefing ‘International development strategy’ (9 December 2021).
In September 2021, the government said in its national artificial intelligence (AI) strategy that the Ministry of Defence would also produce its own AI strategy for defence. This has yet to be published. In January 2022, the government said it expected this review to be published in spring 2022.
2. Conflict in Ukraine
In 2014, Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula. Russia also provided support for pro-Russian separatists who took control of parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine in the same year.
On 21 February 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia recognised Donetsk and Luhansk as independent republics. On 24 February 2022, Russia launched military action against Ukraine. Russian troops crossed the border into Ukraine from Russia in the east, Belarus in the north and Crimea in the south. At the time of writing, the Russian military had withdrawn from northern Ukraine after failing to take Kyiv. According to the Ministry of Defence, Russia is currently concentrating its forces in the east and south of Ukraine, where they continue to face resistance from Ukrainian forces.
Further information on the conflict in Ukraine and the UK’s response is provided in the House of Lords Library briefing ‘Queen’s Speech 2022: Foreign affairs, defence, and international development’ (5 May 2022).
2.1 Government statements
Responding to the attack on Ukraine, Prime Minister Boris Johnson described Russia’s military actions as unprovoked. The UK has provided support to Ukraine in the form of weapons and aid. Mr Johnson has said the UK’s objective was to help Ukraine defeat Russia. He has also said the UK would strengthen the country to the extent that Russia would never invade again.
During his speech to the NATO summit in Brussels in March 2022, Mr Johnson said the UK would increase its commitment to NATO. He said this support would include the deployment of UK forces to Bulgaria and an increase in the size of the UK’s deployment in Poland and Estonia. Mr Johnson has also argued there should be a “rapid campaign to strengthen security and resilience” among NATO countries in response to the threat posed by Russia.
In a speech on 27 April 2022, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss described a victory for Ukraine as a “strategic imperative” for the UK. She said the UK and its allies should adapt their response to the crisis:
[…] we must be prepared for the long haul. We’ve got to double down on our support for Ukraine. And we must also follow through on the unity shown in the crisis. We must reboot, recast and remodel our approach.
Ms Truss has suggested the conflict in Ukraine might have consequences for UK defence spending. Speaking to the BBC on 27 February 2022, she said that “[the UK] will need to do more, we will need to spend more and we will need to provide more support”.
2.2 Calls to revisit the integrated review
The UK government has said it does not intend to review the IR in the light of the conflict in Ukraine. During his evidence session with the House of Commons Liaison Committee on 30 March 2022, Mr Johnson was asked by the chair of the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Tom Tugendhat, whether the government would reconsider changes to the armed forces outlined in the IR. Mr Johnson responded that the IR had been “pretty much spot on” about the UK’s defence priorities during the conflict in Ukraine. He also argued that the merits of the focus in the IR on science and technology and its plans to increase spending on defence equipment had been borne out in the conflict so far. He said:
I think that the advantages of high tech in helping the Ukrainians are pretty manifest now. Given the effectiveness of the NLAWs [next generation light anti-tank weapons], Starstreak, Javelin, Switchblade, UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles], the TB2 drones that the Turks have been supplying, and a lot of the systems that we are now using—these are the game changers—I think it was right for us to go for this massive increase in expenditure, as we did, with the defence review.
2.3 Labour and the integrated review
Labour has argued the government should revisit the IR. The shadow foreign secretary, David Lammy, has said the assumptions made by the government when formulating the IR had been shown to be wrong as a result of the conflict. He argued the government should not have pursued its Indo-Pacific tilt at the expense of the UK’s commitments to European security. The shadow secretary of state for defence, John Healey, has also called for the UK government to increase defence spending in response to Russian aggression in Ukraine.
On 19 May 2022, during a House of Commons debate on NATO and international security, Mr Healey repeated Labour’s calls for the IR to be revisited. He also called on the government to review its defence spending plans. Responding to these comments, Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey argued the IR had not been overtaken by events. He noted that it had emphasised the importance of NATO and the threat posed by Russia. He also said that the UK should continue to increase its engagement beyond Europe, arguing that “there is a world beyond [Europe] that is increasingly unstable and insecure”.
In March 2022, Philip Dunne (Conservative MP for Ludlow) asked Mr Heappey what assessment the government had made of the plans to restructure the armed forces in the context of the conflict in Ukraine. Mr Heappey said the UK would continue to review its defence capacities and readiness in response to developments in Ukraine. On this issue of the size of the regular armed forces, Mr Heappey said:
My own view is that this is the right time to accelerate the acquisition of the lethality that has been missing from the field army for too long. We are outranged on our artillery, we lack the land precision fires that are now essential and, if I had to choose—and I think that the Ministry of Defence has had to choose—I would choose to have a land force that has been modernised and made relevant to the modern battle again, rather than necessarily standing behind larger numbers.
2.4 Issues raised in the House of Lords concerning defence
During the debate on Ukraine in the House of Lords on 25 February 2022, a number of members raised the question of whether the government should revisit the IR. Opposition Spokesperson for Defence Lord Coaker argued that the UK along with allies should revaluate the amount of public money it is ready to spend on defence. He said:
We all thought that the dividend from the end of the Cold War meant that we did not have to spend the money we should be spending on defence—none of us wants to spend on defence if it perhaps means less for schools, health or international aid and all the things we want to spend money on. But the defence of freedom, democracy and human rights also has a cost. We have to say to our public and to each other that we have sometimes taken it for granted, and we will have to spend more to defend that freedom.
The leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, Lord Newby, argued the government’s decision to pursue an Indo-Pacific tilt had been a mistake and should be reversed. He also said the government should change its plans to reduce the size of the trained armed forces. Lord Newby argued the government should be doing more to prevent attempts by Russia to interfere in UK politics. He criticised the government response to the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament’s report on Russia, arguing the government had not sought to implement its recommendations.
Lord Ricketts (Crossbench), a former UK national security adviser, said the UK should review its national security priorities in the context of the conflict. He said the UK should seek to mobilise a “global coalition” to support the international rules-based order. Lord Stirrup (Crossbench), a former chief of the defence staff, said that one of the strategic lessons of the conflict was that the peace and security of Europe should be the UK’s top priority and called for NATO to be strengthened.
Several members argued that the government should increase spending on defence. Lord West of Spithead (Labour), a former first sea lord, argued the government needed to raise spending on the military in response to Russian aggression. Lord Dannatt (Crossbench), a former head of the army, also criticised current levels of spending on defence. He said while he supported the increase to defence spending announced in 2021, the total spending remained insufficient. He told the House:
Our land warfare capability has become a shadow of our other capabilities. Frankly, we need to see an investment in our main battle tanks, in our infantry fighting vehicles, our artillery and our air defence. We may aspire to put an armoured division into the field, but we cannot: at the most, we might be able to field a weak armoured brigade. That is completely unacceptable.
Minister of State at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon told the House that the government would apply the lessons learned from the conflict in Ukraine. On the issue of defence, he told the House that the UK was working through NATO with its allies to respond to the threat posed by Russia. He also said that the UK would continue to provide military support to increase Ukraine’s defensive capabilities.
Similar issues were also raised during day 5 of the debate on the 2022 Queen’s Speech. The shadow foreign affairs spokesperson, Lord Collins of Highbury, argued the Queen’s Speech should have included plans to “reboot” the government’s defence plans in response to the conflict in Ukraine. Baroness Davidson of Lundin Links (Conservative) also thought the government should reconsider its defence plans. She described the government’s plans for reform of the UK’s armed forces as being based on the assumption that there was a low risk of a large-scale conventional force invasion of a European ally. She argued this assumption had been proved wrong by the willingness of Russia to mount this kind of military action in Ukraine. Lord Lang of Monkton (Conservative) also argued the IR should be revisited. He said the conflict in Ukraine had shown the basis of the IR had been “fundamentally wrong”. He also described the government’s defence plans as being driven by a desire to limit defence spending. Responding on behalf of the government, Lord Ahmad acknowledged the strong sentiments that had been expressed during the debate on the issue of defence spending. He said that it was “important that the government listen” to these concerns.
2.5 UK relationship with the EU
Concerns have also been raised about the UK’s relationship with the EU following the Russian military action against Ukraine. For example, Bronwen Maddox, director of the Institute for Government, has argued the conflict has highlighted the need for the UK to work more closely with the EU. She said the UK should establish a “more constructive” relationship with the EU than had been achieved so far following Brexit. She thought this was necessary to coordinate the UK’s defence against cyber-attacks, protect the security of energy supply to the EU, and address the refugee crisis arising from the conflict. Speaking to the Financial Times, Michael Clarke, former director of RUSI, argued the IR showed a “frankly insulting indifference to European partners”. He said the government should seek to achieve closer diplomatic cooperation with the EU than that outlined in the IR.
Writing for UK in a Changing Europe, Nicolai von Ondarza and Julina Mintel of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs argued the UK had chosen to eschew the EU as a partner in foreign, security and defence policy following Brexit. They said the UK had sought to deepen its bilateral relations with European countries instead and to work alongside European allies through NATO. However, they argued the conflict in Ukraine had resulted in a “thawing” of the UK’s relationship with the EU, resulting in moves by the UK and the EU towards greater coordination on security and foreign affairs. For example, they noted that calls had been held between Boris Johnson and the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in the build up to the conflict in Ukraine. They also noted subsequent calls between Liz Truss and the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Josep Borrell Fontelles, as a further example of growing coordination between the UK and the EU.
During the debate in the House of Commons on NATO and international security on 19 May 2022, the Scottish National Party defence spokesperson, Stewart Malcolm McDonald, argued that, in the light of this conflict, the UK should seek to establish a defence and security treaty with the EU. Responding, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace argued the UK and the majority of EU member states were already part of NATO. He said the UK did not need a treaty which replicated that already in place through the UK’s NATO membership.
Similar concerns have been raised in the House of Lords. Lord Newby, the Liberal Democrats’ leader in the Lords, argued during the debate on Ukraine in February 2022 that the UK government should seek to work more closely with the EU on defence and security issues. Lord Ricketts also argued the UK lacked a structure for cooperation with the EU. He described this as a gap in the UK’s foreign policy management. Lord Ahmad said the UK was working closely with all its allies, including the EU, to respond to the conflict. Specifically, he said the UK was working with the EU and others to coordinate sanctions against the Russian regime.
Speaking during the debate on the 2022 Queen’s Speech, Lord Hannay of Chiswick (Crossbench) said the relationship between the UK and the EU remained “excessively fraught”, citing ongoing disagreement on the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland as an ongoing source of tension. He argued the conflict in Ukraine showed that the UK needed to establish closer and more structured cooperation with the EU on crisis management. Lord Ahmad said in response to this concern that the UK continued to work closely with the European Commission and with its allies in NATO. On the issue of the Northern Ireland protocol, Lord Ahmad said that the UK was seeking to negotiate an agreement with the EU and it was important for the UK government “not to lose sight of [its] obligations to the people of Northern Ireland”.
During the same debate, Lord Frost (Conservative), the former cabinet office minister with responsibility for Brexit, argued the UK was able to respond to the conflict more effectively as a result of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. He said:
I always argued that, on foreign policy and in trade, the gain from being able to act decisively and quickly around clear principles and to lead and encourage others would outweigh any loss of influence on the EU’s collective policy—I think that has been proven. We have not had to spend endless hours in the EU’s foreign policy, trade and energy councils seeking vainly to persuade others and then submitting ourselves to a lowest common denominator policy. We have acted quickly and, very often, others have followed us.
2.6 Integrated review and trade and investment
A further issue arising from the conflict has been its impact on global trade and investment. During the debate in the House of Lords on Ukraine in February 2022, Lord Stirrup (Crossbench) said the conflict revealed the strategic risks raised by globalisation. He argued it was more difficult for the UK to respond in international crises where the nations involved are those the UK relies on for goods and services. He noted that, while the UK was less dependent on Russian energy exports than other European countries, the UK car industry was dependent on imports of titanium from Russia. He also said the government should consider whether the aims of the IR to defend the international rules-based order might be undermined if it remained vulnerable to “economic, industrial or technological intimidation” by China as a result of its trade policies.
Baroness Wheatcroft (Crossbench) also raised the issue of Russian investment in the City of London, arguing the UK had not done enough prior to the conflict in Ukraine to address this issue. While she welcomed the sanctions announced so far, she said the government needed to do more to prevent money from “dubious sources” being invested in the UK. On the issue of sanctions and concerns about Russian money invested in the UK, Lord Ahmad said that the government would continue to introduce sanctions on individuals with links to the Russian government and on Russian banks. He also said the government had introduced measures to address this in the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act 2022. This bill received royal assent on 14 March 2022.
3. Implications of Ukraine conflict: UK defence
3.1 Reaction from UK military figures
Following the 2022 Russian attack on Ukraine, senior figures in the British armed forces have commented on the possible consequences for the UK’s IR. Speaking in April 2022, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, the outgoing head of the army, said the government should reconsider its decision to reduce the number of trained regulars in the army. He argued the IR should be reappraised in the context of the conflict in Ukraine.
Speaking in May 2022, the first sea lord, Admiral Sir Ben Key, said it was evident that some of the assumptions that had been made about Russia by the UK and its allies had been wrong. However, he argued the conflict had justified the conclusions of the IR so far. He noted the IR had identified an increased risk of state-on-state conflict and the importance of working with allies. He also said the conflict had shown the need for the UK to futureproof its defence by “embracing technology and innovation” as recommended in the IR. He also said the conflict had reiterated the need for a joined-up approach across government.
Speaking at an event hosted by the Institute for Government on 31 March 2022, the chief of the defence staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, said it was still too soon to tell what conclusions should be drawn from the conflict. However, he defended the government’s policy of pursuing an Indo-Pacific tilt, arguing this would not “lead to an imbalance elsewhere”. On the issue of defence funding, he said current levels of funding were “generous” considering the circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic.
3.2 Response from think tanks
Following the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, a number of think tanks and campaign groups have published analysis of the implications of the conflict on the IR.
Professor Andrew Dorman, international affairs editor at Chatham House, and professors Tracey German and Matthew Uttley of Kings College London, have said the conflict in Ukraine has highlighted an “inherent flaw” in the IR. They argued this flaw was a “disconnect” between the vision for a ‘Global Britain’ set out by the prime minister and the means available for the UK to deliver on this vision. For example, it noted the funding shortfall identified by the National Audit Office in its report on the 2020–30 Ministry of Defence equipment plan.
Dr Maxine David, lecturer in European studies at Leiden University, and Dr Natasha Kuhrt, lecturer in international peace and security in the department of war studies at King’s College London, have argued that the IR focused too much on hybrid warfare. In their essay on the IR published by King’s College London, they argued the UK had “failed to register the seriousness of the conventional threat” posed by a Russian invasion of a European country. However, they also argued the UK’s willingness to work with allies, as described in the IR, had been shown to produce positive results during this conflict. They argued there was evidence that the support provided by UK military staff deployed to train the Ukrainian military had contributed towards the effectiveness of the Ukrainian defence against Russia. They also noted the impact of the UK’s supply of defensive weaponry to Ukraine.
The Foreign policy think tank the British Foreign Policy Group has argued Europe has seen the return of a type of conflict using “traditional military hardware that some had felt might be becoming less vital to [the UK’s] defensive capabilities”. It also argued that the IR had “alluded to” the necessary trade-offs concerning the threats posed by Russia and systemic competition with China. However, it said the government had not yet “confronted or resolved” these trade-offs.
The think tank Policy Exchange has defended the government’s policies as set out in the IR. It has argued the conflict in Ukraine has shown the government’s approach has been the correct one. For example, it argued that the focus on cooperation with NATO and the support for Ukraine before and after the ongoing conflict have helped contribute to the success in combating Russian aggression to date.
James Cowan, a retired Major General in the British Army, writing for the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), has argued that UK ministers had been more “sure-footed” in their response to the conflict in Ukraine when compared with the withdrawal of armed forces from Afghanistan in 2021. However, he argued the defence aspects of the IR had now suffered the same fate as previous defence reviews and had been overtaken by events. At the same time, he argued the emphasis in the IR on integrating the UK’s defence policy with other policies, such as trade and investment, had been the right one. He noted this was necessary as the crisis arising from the war in Ukraine covered the “full spectrum of civil and military challenges”.
4. House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee inquiry
The House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee has recently launched an inquiry into the government’s defence policy as set out in the command paper ‘Defence in a competitive age’. The call for evidence states the committee will look at issues including the importance of space and cyberspace and changes to defence arising from technological developments. It will also consider the assessment in the IR of the “systematic challenges” posed to the UK by China and the threat posed by Russia. At the time of writing, this inquiry is ongoing. So far, it has held three evidence sessions with academics working in the field of defence studies.
5. Read more
- House of Commons Library, ‘Ukraine crisis’, 18 May 2022
- House of Commons Library, ‘Military assistance to Ukraine since the Russian invasion’, 23 March 2022
- House of Lords Library, ‘Integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy: Future of the Royal Marines’, 6 September 2021
Cover image by TheDigitalWay on Pixabay.