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Jim Murphy MP, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, today launched Labour’s defence review, warning that more and more is being asked of our Forces at a time of MoD cuts:

“More and more is being asked of our Armed Forces at a time of big MoD cuts. Our defence review will look at the key long-term issues facing our Forces and our defence policy, in particular how to meet dramatic and emerging threats in a changing security landscape.

“The Government’s short-term defence review did not survive its first contact with world events. The old, ill-informed orthodoxy says that Labour is the party of the NHS and the Conservatives the party of the Armed Forces. In truth we must be credible on both when this Government is credible on neither.

“Britain’s role in the world is to protect our interests, advance our ideas and promote our values while playing a responsible global leadership role on the world stage. That demands a strong defence policy. 

“Labour’s priority is to see a strong, high-tech Armed Forces equipped for the challenges of the 21st Century with an ability to tackle emerging, interconnected threats, supported by a vibrant defence industry and generous support system for service personnel and their families.

“We all have responsibilities beyond our borders and our security and liberty at home cannot be separated from events overseas. A strong defence policy should strengthen British values abroad and at home.”

Review 1. Multilateralism and defence - Rt Hon Jim Murphy MP

The review will examine how international co-operation can enhance UK military capabilities and the flexibility of our defence posture. It will look at which partners we could potentially deepen co-operation with as well as looking at the barriers to such co-operation. It will look specifically at how current defence multilateral institutions could be improved, both in terms of membership and decision-making process.

  • Are the current structures and procedures of NATO, the EU and the United Nations Security Council sufficient to allow members to respond to modern security threats? 
  • In what areas can greater international co-operation lead to greater ability to map and predict threats?
  • In which fields and with which partners can co-operation enhance capabilities?
  • Which emerging threats require greater international co-operation?
  • What are the barriers – political, economic and structural – to greater co-operation?

Review 2. Defence procurement review - Michael Dugher MP

This review has commenced. The review is bringing bring together military, defence and business expertise to focus on both security and industrial priorities. It will take in to account Labour’s record on procurement, looking for ways to speed up and reduce costs of delivery. 

  • How can we best reconcile Industrial Policy, International Collaboration and Defence Imperatives?
  • How can we defeat the “Conspiracy of Optimism”
  • How can we achieve Value for Money for all programmes
  • How can we prevent scope creep and programme delay?
  • How can we ensure future delivery of equipment programmes are to time and on budget?

Review 3. Future of the Armed Forces - Kevan Jones MP

The review will look at tasks each Service is set and determine whether the structure and culture of each Service is appropriate to meet the UK’s commitments at home and overseas. The review will focus on three areas: lessons from previous deployments; the way in which each of the Services are configured; retention, recuperation and training. 

  • What are the lessons from recent deployments for the kit and equipment required for different scale deployments in different parts of the world?
  • How can we improve force generation and what are desirable ratios?
  • How can the MoD be restructured to improve the projection of force abroad?
  • How can we improve the effectiveness of Forces’ training and recuperation and are there lessons from other countries?
  • How did the structure of each of the Service contribute to the successes and failures of recent deployments?

Review 4. International threats and future posture - Russell Brown MP

The review will examine the future security landscape and how Britain’s future security policy should be adapted to meet it, therefore guiding the work of other reviews looking at the future shape of the armed forces or multinational defence architecture. The review will look at humanitarian intervention, increased international interoperability and partnership, defence diplomacy and the use of preventative soft power. 

  • Which threats are likely to dominate the security agenda in the next decade and which actors are drivers of them?
  • To what extent can we improve our ability to predict and pre-empt threats?
  • How can security and defence architecture be used to help combat and prevent the principal drivers of the conditions for conflict?
  • What forms can ‘military intervention’ and ‘humanitarian intervention’ take, and in what circumstances should their deployment be considered?
  • What are the most effective diplomatic, preventative soft power tools that are not currently being deployed or maximised by the UK? 

Review 5. Future of the Military Covenant: Forces’, Families’ and Veterans’ Welfare - Gemma Doyle MP

The review will consider how the unspoken bond between the state, people and the Forces – the Military Covenant - can be strengthened. The Government has broken its promise the enshrine the Covenant in law and Labour is in favour of defining in statute the principles that should guide policy making in relation to the Forces and their dependents. Alongside thoughts on how to achieve this, the review will consider specific policies which could enhance the welfare and wellbeing of the Service community. 

  • How can we improve the allocation, standard and speed of repairs for Service families’ accommodation?
  • How can the provision of mental healthcare, employment and training and benefits for veterans be improved?
  • How can we better support Service families, including through compensation, pensions and inquest services? 
  • How can we build greater public awareness and support for the work of our Armed Forces?
  • What support do Service personnel receive during service and in between tours of duty which is insufficient or could be improved?

Review process

Labour’s defence review will be open and consultative, reflective of how we believe the relationships between the MoD, the defence community including families and industry, Service Commands and civil society should be conducted.

Our review process will consult academia, industry, ex and current military figures, trade unions, Labour Party members and the general public through visits to each region of the UK, as well as online consultation via www.jimmurphymp.org

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