The British Armed Forces are in trouble as the realities of an over-ambitious defence strategy, an underfunded equipment plan and a constrained economy bite. A closed session National Security Capabilities Review has been under way for three months, tasked with reprioritising security spending.
While Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon lobbies for more money, major cuts to the Royal Navy’s amphibious warfare capabilities are rumoured to be in the pipeline as the quid pro quo for the enormous costs of introducing two new aircraft carriers.
The Year of the Navy seems likely to end in tears and recriminations.
This briefing analyses the importance of amphibious warfare and global maritime power projection in UK military strategy, the likely actual costs of introducing the two new carriers, their aircraft and accompanying vessels, and the unaddressed manpower challenges that stymie naval development.
It locates these challenges in the context of the larger planned investment in renewing and upgrading the UK’s submarine-based nuclear weapons system. It finds that an exceptional and unrealistic level of ambition for global military influence is central to the UK’s current dilemmas.
Brexit may exacerbate the problems, but their roots reach deep into Britain’s maritime imperial history and identity.
Click here for the full report (8 PDF pages) on the ORG website.>/i>