Today Civitas has published a report where it states that rather than depending on large and expensive programmes that provide "standing capability", Britain must develop a research and industrial base which is able to respond rapidly to the specific demands presented by different campaigns as they arise. It is also being reported that Defence spending is “a mess” because politicians are under an “illusion that Britain is as powerful as it was 10 years ago”.
With the fifth largest Defence budget in the world, the UK is investing more than £160 billion in equipment over the next decade. This investment, alongside the 4,000 brave and capable men and women of our three Armed Forces currently deployed on 21 different joint operations in 19 countries, demonstrates Britain’s powerful presence on the world stage.
The UK is one of the highest spenders on defence research and development in NATO, and we have met our previous commitments to spend at least 1.2% of the defence budget on Science and Technology research.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said:
We are already investing in the kind of specialised Research & Development the report recommends – but it is not a case of either/or. We are right to invest in our two new aircraft carriers, 7 hunter killer submarines, and armoured vehicles too, all catered for by our £160 billion equipment plan. Because we have the fifth biggest defence budget in the world, we are able to do both at the same time.
Recent reforms to Defence acquisition mean we already have an agile and flexible system for delivering the equipment that our Armed Forces need at the time they need it, as was recognised by Lord Levene in December. Ensuring we meet this commitment remains a priority for the Government.