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- Defence and armed forces
- Ministry of Defence Outcome Delivery Plan
- Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence Outcome Delivery Plan: 2021 to 2022
Published 15 July 2021
© Crown copyright 2021
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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ministry-of-defence-outcome-delivery-plan/ministry-of-defence-outcome-delivery-plan-2021-to-2022
Secretary of State for Defence
- The Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP
- David Williams
The first duty of Government is to defend our country and to keep our people safe. 2021 is an important year for Defence. The evolving global environment means that we are making a decisive shift in the way we operate. We start with many things in our favour, including world-class Armed Forces and the largest investment since the Cold War.
With the publication of the Integrated Review and Defence in a Competitive Age, we now have a clear way forward to deliver the Prime Minister’s vision. This Outcome Delivery Plan sets out our priorities: understanding the threats we face, defending the Homeland, contributing to a secure international community, playing our full part in NATO, and modernising and investing in the Armed Forces. Equally, it draws upon our new green agenda and sets out our equality objectives.
2020 was a year like no other. We continued to protect the people of the United Kingdom, prevented conflict and remained ready to fight our enemies, all while supporting a national response to the Coronavirus pandemic. We are extremely grateful and proud of all the amazing people in Defence, working tirelessly in service of the nation. We know that together, we will deliver.
A. Executive Summary
Vision and mission:.
In March 2021, the Government published Global Britain in a Competitive Age, the Integrated Review (IR) of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, and Defence in a Competitive Age . These documents set out how we will ensure the UK and its citizens will be kept safe through working with our partners across Government and our Allies to protect the UK and its territories and deter, constrain and defeat state and non-state adversaries.
We are making a decisive shift in the way that we operate; defending our interests in the Euro-Atlantic while shaping the global order to ensure the world’s shared spaces are protected and open societies and economies can flourish. We will engage proactively and persistently around the globe, working with our allies, to support our foreign policy goals, promote our interests and keep our competitors at bay, including in the grey zone.
Defence will contribute to our prosperity through creating a secure environment for business, supporting British business and jobs, and through supporting technology innovation in the economy more widely, investing in Research and Development (R&D) and new technologies to counter the threat.
Our priority outcomes
This delivery plan sets out in detail how we will deliver our priority outcomes, how we will measure our success, and how we will ensure we continuously improve [footnote 1] . We will:
Strengthen the UK’s national security by delivering threat-based defence decision making
Protect the UK and its Overseas Territories
Enhance global security through persistent engagement and response to crises
Contribute to NATO collective deterrence and defence
Modernise and integrate defence capabilities by taking a whole force approach to our people and increasing the use of technology and innovation
The department is also supporting the delivery of the following Priority Outcomes led by other departments:
To deliver our priority outcomes - and reinforce the ambitions of the Declaration on Government Reform - we will focus on four key enablers:
Workforce, Skills and Location
Innovation, technology and data, delivery, evaluation and collaboration, sustainability, b. introduction.
The Integrated Review made clear how threats to the UK and our interests have changed. In an era of systemic competition, there are no longer clear distinctions between peace and war; home and away; state and non-state; and virtual and real.
Long established techniques of influence and leverage, such as economic coercion, propaganda, intellectual property theft and espionage, have been enhanced by technological transformation and the use of pervasive, false information. Our adversaries are increasingly attempting to fracture the cohesion and strength of our alliances and international institutions, as well as undermine the international norms and values that underpin our security and prosperity.
Our future operating environment will be characterised by increasing challenges below the threshold of armed warfare, the battle of narratives and the increasing use of non-lethal means to influence and secure objectives. The new domains of Cyberspace and Space pose significant challenges with advanced technologies already being developed. States will increasingly seek to integrate these capabilities with the traditional military domains of maritime, land and air.
This Outcome Delivery Plan will outline how the Ministry of Defence will ensure the safety of the United Kingdom, its citizens and our allies.
2. Governance and delivery agencies
The Defence Council has formal powers of command and administration over the Armed Forces. It is a formal body which is chaired by the Secretary of State and comprises all Defence Ministers, the Permanent Secretary, the Chief of the Defence Staff, the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, the four heads of the Military Commands (including the three Service Chiefs), and Director General Finance.
The Defence Board is chaired by the Secretary of State and comprises all Defence Ministers, the Permanent Secretary, the Chief and the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, Director General Finance and up to four non-executive directors. It is the main Departmental Board in the Ministry of Defence and provides strategic direction and oversight of Defence. It is supported by the Ministry of Defence Executive Committee which is chaired by the Permanent Secretary.
More detailed information on the roles and responsibilities of the different boards and committees and how they fit together to support the Department’s top-level decision-making processes can be found in in the Defence Operating Model .
3. Strategic risk
Defence is a complex business and risk is an inherent part of everything we do. Our management of risk determines our success both in operations and in the activities that support them. We make decisions on risk every day, managing those uncertainties that could impact on the delivery of Defence outputs and objectives. The Ministry of Defence has a risk management policy to identify and manage risks to avoid unwanted surprises and to identify opportunities. Our detailed list of risks is not published for reasons of national security, but it includes risks associated with:
- the right numbers of people with the right skills
- the alignment of the workforce to planned outputs
- the delivery of operational capability
- the effectiveness of governance arrangements
- the affordability of the vision for Defence
- the failure of industry in delivery of outputs
- protection of our assets and people, including from cyber-attack
- a disruptive event such as a terrorist attack on our personnel and assets
4. Our resources
a. Our finances (000’s):
- Departmental Expenditure Limit (DEL): £56,276,047
- Resource DEL (including depreciation): £41,943,383
- Capital DEL: £14,332,664
- Annually Managed Expenditure (AME): £1,519,000
Source: Main Supply Estimates 2021/22
Release Schedule: Annual
b. UK defence spending as a proportion of GDP
The UK expenditure on defence as a percentage of national GDP in 2019 was 2.1%. The UK has met NATO’s 2% target every year since its introduction in 2006.
Source: Finance and economics annual statistical bulletin: international defence 2020
5. Our people
As at 31 December 2020, the Ministry of Defence had 253,380 employees: 196,140 military personnel and 57,240 Civil Servants.
Source: ONS public sector employment data
Release Schedule: Quarterly
Source: UK Armed Forces Quarterly Service Personnel Statistics 1 January 2021
C. Priority Outcomes Delivery Plans
Priority outcome 1 – strengthen the uk’s national security through delivering threat-based defence decision making.
- The Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP , Secretary of State for Defence
- Dominic Wilson , Director General Security Policy
- Lieutenant General Sir Jim Hockenhull KBE, Chief of Defence Intelligence
The threats to the UK and our interests are in all five domains (Maritime, Land, Air, Cyberspace and Space), with those in the ‘new’ domains of cyberspace and space presenting particular challenges. This demands that decision making at all levels must be founded on insights and foresight derived from understanding these threats. By doing so, we will be able to protect our most precious assets, whether our critical national infrastructure, our intellectual property or our strategic nuclear deterrent. As well as protecting our vulnerabilities, we can also identify opportunities to exploit those of our adversaries.
As the threat continues to evolve and as technology presents new opportunities, Defence’s intelligence enterprise needs to adapt, using artificial intelligence, automation and open source intelligence to meet these challenges.
We contribute to the national endeavour through structures such as the Joint Intelligence Committee and National Security Council, with our analysis focused on our specialist understanding of adversary capabilities and the changing character of conflict. Within Defence, intelligence supports balance of investment decisions around research and development, and capability and procurement choices, ensuring the UK retains a strategic advantage by pre-empting adversary technical developments. We must also harness the power of international partnerships and alliances, such as the 5-Eyes framework. These international relationships also allow us to contribute to others’ understanding, helping to bind alliances like NATO together even more tightly.
In 2021, we will establish the new Secretary of State’s Office for Net Assessment and Challenge, which will ensure that everything we do is informed by the evolving threat picture.
Outcome Evaluation Plan
The Ministry of Defence has established a new central Evaluation Team in the Analysis Directorate to improve the quantity, quality and materiality of evaluation evidence supporting spending decisions. The strategy is to embed a more systematic approach to evaluation in the MOD.
Priority Outcome 2 – Protect the UK and its Overseas Territories
- Jeremy Quin MP , Minister for Defence Procurement
- James Heappey MP , Minister for the Armed Forces
- Vanessa Nicholls , Director General Nuclear
- Angus Lapsley , Director General Strategy and International
- Lieutenant General Charles Walker, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Military Strategy & Operations)
The Ministry of Defence provides global military strategic efforts against both state and non-state threats in order to ensure the safety, territorial integrity and resilience of the UK, Overseas Territories and our overseas bases. We will continue to deter and defend against multi-domain threats to UK territory and – with partners across Government – similarly protect our Critical National Infrastructure, operating across the five domains: Maritime, Land, Air, Cyberspace and Space.
We will continue to defend UK airspace through an integrated Air Defence system that includes 24-hour quick reaction alert aircraft and we will defend the UK’s waters with high readiness maritime assets, to protect the territorial integrity of the UK. And in the new domains, we have established the National Cyber Force to conduct targeted, responsible offensive cyber operations to support the UK’s national security priorities, bringing together defence and intelligence capabilities. We will also make the UK a meaningful actor in space and establish a new Space Command to enhance the breadth of our space capabilities.
A minimum, credible, independent nuclear deterrent, based on a continuous at sea posture and assigned to the defence of NATO, remains essential as the ultimate guarantee to our security, and that of our allies. The Royal Navy will provide the Continuous At Sea Deterrent, with a ballistic missile submarine always at sea on deterrent patrol, to counter the most extreme threats. In this context, we have committed to a once-in-two-generations programme to modernise our nuclear forces. In 2021, we will maintain the UK’s Continuous At Sea Deterrent and continue to deliver our nuclear recapitalisation programmes.
We are also committed to supporting the Devolved Administrations, Other Government Departments and Local Authorities in resilience and counter terrorism activities. We will work with the Home Office and other partners to counter terrorism and enhance homeland security and resilience. In the event of a National Emergency, we will continue to provide specialist military personnel support to civil authorities, including the police and local government.
Our performance metrics
- number of operations undertaken (Military Aid to the Civil Authorities, Continuous at Sea Deterrent, Quick Reaction Alert, Explosive Ordnance Disposal, Fisheries, Counter Narcotics)
- impact of UK and Overseas Territories operations
Continuous At Sea Deterrent
We will continue to provide the Continuous At Sea Deterrent.
Source: Annual Reports and Accounts 2019 to 20
Explosive ordnance disposal (eod), fisheries protection, military aid to civil authorities in the uk (maca), quick reaction alert aircraft.
In 2019 to 20 we continued to defend the airspace of the UK and the Falkland Islands with 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, Integrated Air Defence System that included Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon aircraft, Voyager tankers, and air surveillance and control facilities.
How our work contributes to the delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG):
Projects and Programmes
- Nuclear Warhead Sustainment Programme
- Core Production Capability
Priority Outcome 3 – Enhance global security through persistent engagement and response to crises
While an effective warfighting capability remains an essential part of our defence policy, we are rebalancing our force to provide a more proactive, persistent presence to pursue our foreign policy objectives and shape conditions for stability. Our persistent forward presence will bring us influence and understanding, strengthen our partnerships, prosperity and trade, and deter our adversaries.
We will have a larger, professionalised cadre of personnel permanently based overseas, and we will integrate their activities into a scalable global foundation, comprising sovereign or partnered bases and facilities, alongside an expanded network of British Defence Staffs. As part of our approach, Defence will maintain an extensive global network with 142 Defence Attaché posts in 90 Defence Sections worldwide, with another 77 non-resident accreditations. We will also maintain a dedicated Foreign Liaison Staff who are tasked with liaising with the 228 foreign attachés from 103 Nations accredited to the UK.
In 2021, the aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, one of the two largest warships ever built for the Royal Navy, will lead a British and allied task group on the UK’s most ambitious global deployment for two decades, visiting the Mediterranean, the Middle East and the Indo-Pacific. We will take a campaigning approach to building partners’ capacity, with a capability optimised to work alongside other nations’ forces. We will train, advise, assist and, when necessary, accompany them. And we will be prepared to operate with them in hostile environments.
Our European neighbours and allies remain vital partners. The UK will be the greatest single European contributor to the security of the Euro-Atlantic area to 2030. We will work with our partners to defend our common values, counter shared threats and build resilience in our neighbourhood. We will also sustain our people and cultural ties, and look for opportunities to collaborate, including in developing green technology and through a green recovery from COVID-19.
State threats to the UK, and to our allies, are growing and diversifying. To combat this, we will work with allies, partners and other government departments to improve the UK’s ability to deter and counter state threats, using a mixture of operational activity, strategic communication and engagement. We will enhance the defence contribution to the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy, campaigning to counter terrorism overseas. And we will develop our intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and stand-off strike capabilities so we can respond quickly as the threat develops.
We remain ready to respond to crises overseas and will work with our allies and partners to ensure the UK can respond appropriately, enabled by a network of strategic bases and forward deployed forces wherever possible.
- number of operations undertaken
- impact of operations
- number of training places offered
Number of operations undertaken
Data will be provided for 2021/2022
International Defence Training
- Carrier Strike Group 21 – Inaugural deployment will take place in 2021
Priority Outcome 4 – Contribute to NATO collective deterrence and defence
The UK remains committed to sustaining warfighting capabilities at sufficient readiness and capability to be an effective deterrent, in concert with our allies. We will continue to be the leading European ally in NATO, working with our allies to deter nuclear, conventional and hybrid threats to our security. We will continue to commit a full spectrum of forces to the Alliance, from our nuclear deterrent to offensive cyber capabilities; make a leading contribution to NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence and Response Force; and ensure we are at the forefront of implementing NATO’s new Deterrence and Defence Concept. In addition, we will continue to exceed the NATO guideline of spending 2% of Gross Domestic Product on defence.
- impact of NATO operations and engagements
- fill rate of NATO posts
Impact of NATO operations and engagements 2019 to 2020
UK Operations in support of NATO deterrence activity
Source: MOD internal data
Fill rate of NATO posts
Outcome evaluation plan
Priority Outcome 5 – Modernise and integrate defence capabilities by taking a whole force approach to our people and increasing the use of technology and innovation
- Baroness Goldie DL , Minister of State in the House of Lords
- Leo Docherty MP , Minister for Defence People and Veterans
- Professor Dame Angela McLean , MOD Chief Scientific Adviser
- Air Marshal Richard Knighton , Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Financial and Military Capability)
- Charlie Forte , Chief Information Officer
- Charlie Pate , Director General Finance
- Lieutenant General James Swift , Chief of Defence People
- Mike Baker CBE , Chief Operating Officer
We will spend over £85-billion in the next four years on equipment and equipment support, modernising the capabilities of our Armed Forces and ensuring they are better integrated. We will invest in the new domains of Cyberspace and Space, and in modern platforms and weapons systems that will enable us to extend our technological advantage over our competitors. We will retire platforms to make way for new systems and approaches. This is a crucial opportunity for Defence to move to a sound financial footing. We are working to strengthen our mechanisms to drive and assure value for money. And we will invest in that most precious commodity of all – the people of our armed forces.
Through the MOD Science and Technology Strategy 2020, we will prioritise higher-risk research to support the modernisation of our armed forces. Over the next four years, we will invest at least £6.6-billion of Defence funding in advanced and next-generation R&D to deliver an enduring military edge in areas including space, directed energy weapons, and advanced high-speed missiles. We will work to shape international legal, ethical and regulatory norms and standards for new and emerging technologies.
We are also committed to accelerating the modernisation of digital capability in support of military and business advantage, and multi-domain integration. To achieve this, we will: establish a common Defence data framework to ensure we can access and exploit data across Defence, Government and with our allies; establish a single, modern, secure Digital Backbone to enable faster, better, decisions and improved outcomes; and establish an Artificial Intelligence Centre as part of the Digital Foundry. We will continue to secure our data, systems and digital infrastructure, to reduce cyber security risk.
Our new focus will be matched by a more modern approach to our workforce. Our people – military and civilian – will remain fundamental to delivering our competitive advantage, our links to society, and our global standing. Defence will require a more highly skilled and integrated workforce, fit for the digital age with a growing demand for specialists. We will continue to offer apprenticeships to over 80% of armed forces recruits, with a third of those in science and technology fields. Our National Cyber Force and Space Command will be pathfinders and experts in their field. Our scientists will lead our innovation and experimentation. We will also optimise the workforce for global persistent presence, strengthening the professional foundations for defence diplomacy. We want to attract the most talented individuals to Defence and increase the diversity and inclusion of our Armed Forces to better reflect the society they protect.
Service families are at the very heart of the armed forces community, and as part of a revised Families Strategy, we will introduce measures to ease the burden for parents who might be deployed at short notice, including investing £1.4-billion over the next decade to provide wraparound childcare.
We will continue to invest in Defence Infrastructure; including investing more in single living accommodation to improve the lived experience for Service personnel. We will also deliver the Defence Estate Optimisation Programme, as part of a wider portfolio of infrastructure optimisation; and ensure that we support the delivery of our sustainability targets through improvements to our estate.
We need to ensure we have the right industrial base capable of keeping up with the global threat and rapidly evolving technologies. Through the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy, we will adopt a more strategic approach to the industrial bases to ensure the UK continues to have competitive, innovative and world-class defence and security industries. This includes embedding changes across MOD to increase the pace and agility of our acquisition processes.
- Defence projects in the Government Major Projects Portfolio that are on course for delivery, based on Infrastructure and Projects Authority assessment criteria (per cent)
- number of critical military and civilian skills ‘pinch points’
Percentage of Defence projects in the Government Major Projects Portfolio that are on course for delivery, based on Infrastructure and Projects Authority assessment criteria
Source: Infrastructure and Projects Authority annual report 2020
Number of critical military and civilian skills ‘pinch points’
Source: Annual Reports and Accounts 2019 to 20 (military) MOD internal data (civilian)
Further information can be found in the MOD Government Major Projects Portfolio Data, 2020
D. Strategic Enablers
Our focus on exploiting technology at pace must be matched with a more modern approach to our finest asset – our people. As we respond to rapidly evolving threats to our values and way of life, our people – military and civilian – will remain fundamental to delivering our competitive advantage, our links to society, and our global standing. We want to attract the most talented individuals to Defence. As the world changes around us, we will invest in our people and equip them with the specialist skills required to win in the era of global systemic competition.
In 2021 to 22, the MOD will:
- increase the diversity and inclusion of our Armed Forces and the MOD Civil Service, to better reflect the society they protect
- support wider Government agendas through contributing to the upskilling of UK talent
- trial the new lateral entry policy for the Armed Forces in 2021/22, and introduce new flexible service opportunities, including job share in the Armed Forces
- strengthen the Armed Forces Covenant by further enshrining it in law
- provide wraparound childcare for Armed Forces families and refresh the Defence Families Strategy and associated Action Plan
- deliver the McCloud prospective pension changes by 1 April 2022 and plan for the implementation of pensions remedy
- sustain the 5 MOD-sponsored cadet forces across the UK and work with the Department for Education and devolved administrations to further invest in the Cadet Expansion Programme
- continue to invest in our people through education, training and apprenticeships
People survey engagement score
Source: Civil Service People Survey
Representation of female staff, ethnic minority staff and disabled staff (MOD civilian personnel)
Source: MOD diversity dashboard
Representation of female staff and ethnic minority staff (UK Regular Forces)
Source: UK Armed Forces Quarterly Personnel Statistics 1 October 2020
Source: UK armed forces biannual diversity statistics: 1 October 2020
Release Schedule: Biannual
Source: UK armed forces biannual diversity statistics: 1 April 2020
Total number of organisations signed up to the Armed Forces Covenant
Source: Armed Forces Covenant annual report 2020
The pace of technological change will require us to constantly adapt, experiment and take risks, to preserve strategic advantage. We will ensure that the frameworks that govern our operations keep pace with technological change, embedding an ethical approach consistent with our core values and principles in the design and deployment of new technologies. As much of technology development currently sits outside of government, we will develop new ways of partnering with industry to ensure that pioneering research and development is pulled through to capability delivery.
Pivot towards a more highly technological and innovative future enabled by additional investment in Research and Development (R&D), totalling at least £6.6-billon over the four-year Spending Review period. This will facilitate and accelerate the wider transformation of how Defence operates, fights, and pursues operational advantage through increased agility and integration
Capitalise on these investments to bring new capabilities into service, swiftly and efficiently
Improve data sharing across the department to support agile decision making
Implement the Science and Technology Strategy 2020, which includes:
- a refreshed Science & Technology (S&T) portfolio design;
- close working across MOD and with other government departments on S&T intelligence and strategy;
- publishing our S&T collaboration and engagement strategy;
- a clear direction to academia and industry on our priority areas of focus; and
- governance in place to identify and intervene in non-coherent R&D activities.
Defence Innovation Fund
Innovation proposals funded by Defence and Security Accelerator
We also need to make changes to be more effective in the way we manage our business. We will drive business change and continuous improvement to enable the department to deliver its priority outcomes. We will take forward an ambitious portfolio of transformation programmes including in the people, support, digital and acquisition areas; optimise our infrastructure based on value, potential and sustainability, and build the resilience of our estate; and respond to the challenges posed by climate change.
work to deliver the changes required in people, support, digital and acquisition
continue to take forward our empowerment programme and a Future Workplace programme that will enable our people to work flexibly, innovatively and from dispersed geographic locations
continuously improve our internal processes including our planning and performance processes to facilitate delivery, track progress and drive better outcomes
monitor the delivery of non-financial and financial benefits from our projects and programmes
continue our duty to respond promptly to Ministerial and Freedom of Information correspondence
Percentage of Ministerial correspondence answered within 20 working days
Defence is already being impacted by the effects of climate change. It will affect the way we protect, operate and fight and will alter the frequency and type of operations, at home and abroad, we will be called on to support.
We recognise that we need to both adapt to and address the causes of climate change. For Defence this is not a standing start. We have embedded sustainability into our policy, processes and planning for the last two decades. Our strategic approach, launched in March 21, is the foundation stone for the MOD’s ongoing response setting out Defence’s ambitions, our guiding principles and near-term activity to ensure that Defence has adapted and is resilient to the impact of climate change and has mitigated its impact, with the Armed Forces and the MOD becoming more sustainable organisations and Defence contributing to the UK’s Net Zero 2050 commitment.
establish a Directorate of Climate Change and Sustainability to cohere cross Departmental working
develop a MOD Sustainability Strategy
develop MOD sustainability targets and delivery plans for GGC 2025 targets as well as wider metrics and plans to drive Departmental delivery
build a comprehensive baseline and database to allow decisions on a detailed plan for all themes – Culture and Behaviour, Governance, the Built Estate, Rural Estate, Security and International, Operational Capability, Logistics, Commercial, Procurement and Finance
work with suppliers to identify ways to improve sustainability in the supply chain through the equipment we use and contract conditions we set
develop a Natural Asset Register
create the skills base to be able to better apportion carbon targets and develop a fuller cross Departmental understanding of sustainability in the broadest sense
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
2020 target (revised July 2018): 40% reduction.
Percentage reductions against a 2009/10 baseline
Source: Greening Government Commitments Annual Report
2020 cross-government target: 30% reduction.
2020 cross-government target: reduce landfill to 10% or less of total waste.
2020 cross-government target: 50% reduction.
2020 cross-government target: continue to reduce water consumption.
E. Our equality objectives
Our vision is that defence harnesses the power of difference to deliver capability that safeguards our nation’s security and stability.
Defence is committed to meeting the goals that have been set out in its Diversity and Inclusion Strategy (D&I) 2018 to 2030: A Force for Inclusion :
to be an inclusive employer where all staff can fulfil their potential and feel confident that their unique perspectives and talents will be valued;
to be an organisation that, at all levels, appropriately represents UK society; and
to be recognised as a force for inclusion in wider society. The goals are supported by a range of challenging objectives (and commitments) which clearly set out where we want to see change (detailed in the D&I Strategy).
MOD endeavours to be aware of how civilians are impacted by conflict. The presence of human-trafficking, sexual violence in conflict and child soldiers in operations must be understood by British personnel and planned for. In addition, to ensure gender and related perspectives are integrated into the MOD’s operational planning, we will continue to integrate the United Nations Security Council Resolutions (UNSCR) on women, peace and security.
Defence will become a more diverse and inclusive organisation, which is stronger, healthier and more resilient. In 2021 to 22, the MOD will:
- establish a new directorate to drive momentum on diversity and inclusion, including implementation of the Wigston Review into inappropriate behaviours and Unacceptable behaviours: progress review 2020 recommendations
- continue to implement legislative and other changes recommended in the 2019 review of the service justice system
- further protect the workforce, by continuing to reform the service complaints and civilian grievance systems
- launch a new Defence Health and Wellbeing Strategy, which will drive human performance
- continue to implement UNSCR 1325 on women, peace and security
Many of the figures included are official statistics. Other figures have been quality assured; however, they have not undergone the full quality assurance process that is used for official statistics.
Provisional priority outcomes and associated metrics will be adjusted through the next Spending Review as necessary, including to deliver the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy. ↩
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U.K. Defence Equipment Plan 2022-2032
The following is the U.K. Ministry of Defence 2022 Defence Equipment Report released in November.
From the report
The 2022 Equipment Plan comes at a pivotal point in time for Defence, one where we are entering a new age of warfare and defensive planning. The Ministry of Defence has become increasingly in the spotlight over the last year, as have our spending plans and capability investments been scrutinised in the wake of the Ukraine Russia conflict.
The events of the last few months have demonstrated the instability and unpredictability of the threat to our nation’s security but have also exemplified the ability Defence has to react and adapt rapidly to those emerging risks. Despite the turbulent climate, we are confident that the spending decisions outlined in the following Plan remain relevant and resilient to the changing nature of Defence.
The uplift received from the 2020 Spending Review meant we were able to rectify an existing deficit and instil stability and confidence in current and future spending forecasts. This has enabled us to invest in cutting edge capabilities that ensure we are threat ready and resilient against emerging risks. Within this Plan, we have continued the task of developing investment decisions from the integrated review into detailed spending plans. The 2021 Equipment Plan was the first in five years that was not described as unaffordable by the National Audit Office (NAO). We have retained an affordable position for the 2022 Plan and continue to hold a contingency to ensure resilience against emerging financial pressures.
There has been significant change, both in Defence and the world since the publication of the last Plan. We are experiencing a period of rising inflation, we are witnessing large scale conflict in Ukraine, and we have welcomed two new Prime Ministers. It is paramount therefore that the decisions reported each year are sustainable and resilient against current and future pressures. While this report is based on data that closed in March, and so will not reflect for the most part the impact of recent pressures, we nonetheless remain aware and responsive to their significance, particularly as we move forward into the next planning cycle.
In the Autumn Statement the Government has recognised the need to increase Defence spending. The case for this will be set out in the Integrated Review which will consider the response to the emerging threat. The outcome of this will be represented in future Equipment Plans.
The Plan is not immune to risk, we have set ambitious savings targets and made hard decisions in spending priorities across the Commands. We are confident however that the capabilities we are investing in, and spending decisions made in the last year, remain in line with the developing defence landscape and ensure we have a stable financial footing for this and future Plans.
The Rt Hon Ben Wallace MP, Secretary of State for Defence
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From aspiration to reality: updating UK defence policy for 2023
The momentous geopolitical and economic events of 2022 posed fundamental challenges to UK defence policy. The Government set out its defence priorities in the Integrated Review and the Defence Command Paper in March 2021. Even at the time, these documents did not give enough of a sense of priorities; now, the strategic and economic assumptions underpinning them have changed too.
In this context, the cross-party House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee, which I chair, has been running an inquiry reviewing the policies set out in the Integrated Review and the Defence Command Paper, and whether they remain accurate and relevant. We took evidence from April until November of 2022 and today, we published our report .
The changing context
The combination of large-scale warfare in Europe and the worsening economic outlook, as well as mounting tensions between the West and China, have created security circumstances graver than anything the UK has faced since the height of the Cold War.
Vladimir Putin’s reckless and illegal invasion of Ukraine has fundamentally changed the European security environment. Although Russia’s military failures highlight some of its weaknesses, witnesses to our inquiry cautioned against complacency, particularly when some of Russia’s strongest capabilities remain unused. The Government correctly identified the threat from Russia in the Integrated Review, and it must remain vigilant.
Given that the conflict in Ukraine remains ongoing, our Committee was cautious in drawing premature conclusions. However, one important lesson is that conventional warfare burns through weapon and ammunition stocks at an alarming rate. This highlights the need for the UK Government to build greater resilience into its own stocks, supply chains and industrial capacity.
The economic assumptions underpinning UK defence policy have also changed, particularly with the impact of inflation on defence spending. The risk is that the Government will not be able to deliver on the aspirations of the Integrated Review and the Defence Command Paper unless further resources are made available. At present, it remains unclear whether the Government will retain its commitment to spend 3% of GDP on defence. The Defence Secretary has personally committed to shielding the defence budget from inflation, but this may be vulnerable to Treasury decisions on wider Government spending.
Allies and adversaries
The threat from Russia has also underscored the importance of defensive alliances, especially NATO. The UK has long relied on alliances and coalitions to generate military mass that it cannot achieve alone. Sustaining the credibility of the UK’s hard power contribution to NATO must remain a key driver of UK military posture.
The Integrated Review was right to highlight the importance of cooperation with our American and European partners. We are concerned, however, that the latter could be undermined by the poor quality of recent UK-EU relations, and in particular the UK’s bilateral relationship with France. Resolving these tensions would be beneficial for the UK and the western alliance as a whole.
Although the Integrated Review emphasised a ‘tilt’ to the Indo-Pacific, this was envisaged primarily in economic and diplomatic, rather than military, terms. We do not, therefore, see the ‘tilt’ as incompatible with prioritising NATO and the defence of the Euro-Atlantic. Nevertheless, the Government should avoid over-committing resources to the Indo-Pacific, given the deterioration of the European security environment.
The Integrated Review labelled China as a “systemic competitor” to the UK. As it updates the Integrated Review, the Government should consider carefully whether this designation is still appropriate. Another important question is the emphasis placed on the Middle East; in our Committee’s view, the original Integrated Review did not give the region its due prominence.
Current and future defence capabilities
We found that the three Services each face their own challenges in translating the aspirations of the Integrated Review into reality. The Royal Navy did well out of the Integrated Review, but is vulnerable to the impact of inflation. Reforming the British Army for the modern era will be particularly difficult. The Government has been criticised for its planned reduction in the number of personnel. However, we do not see headline troop numbers as the best metric by which to judge Army capabilities; what matters is whether the Army has the capabilities, the equipment and the training to carry out the tasks expected of it. The RAF, meanwhile, faces its own challenges, particularly controlling the air in high-intensity conflict, and should be strengthened through closer cooperation with NATO. All three Services also face the issue of inadequate weapons and ammunition stocks, as exposed by the war in Ukraine; addressing this should be a top Government priority.
The Integrated Review placed a renewed emphasis on the nuclear deterrent; this must remain credible in the current security environment. There is a case, however, for greater transparency and, in particular, parliamentary scrutiny. The Government has never explained the rationale for its proposed increase in warhead numbers, and is often reluctant to admit to the scale of expenditure on the deterrent.
New and emerging technologies
The Integrated Review has been described as making a “bet” on new and emerging defence technologies. Technology is sometimes framed as an alternative to military mass, though the Ukrainians have shown that it can sometimes act as a force multiplier. On expenditure, however, the Government’s ambition of reaching 2.4% of GDP on R&D spending would merely bring the UK into line with the OECD average, which may not be sufficient. We also heard that bureaucratic obstacles are holding back innovation. In particular, the Government needs to work on eliminating the so-called ‘Valley of Death’ issue, in which promising innovations are not translated into practical capabilities.
D efence enterprise
We welcome the establishment of the Secretary of State’s Office for Net Assessment and Challenge (SONAC); we hope this will become a permanent feature of the Ministry of Defence, beyond the tenure of the incumbent Defence Secretary. However, more work needs to be done to change the culture of the Ministry of Defence. We are particularly concerned that the Department is not institutionally capable of accepting an appropriate level of risk. Taking risks can be challenging when national security and taxpayers’ money are at stake, yet failing to take risks can become a source of peril and waste in itself. The Department also needs to improve and transform its working relationships with external partners, especially industry and academia. We were disappointed to hear that, for one defence start-up, the Ministry of Defence is seen as “one of the worst customers in the world”.
Overall, our Committee’s view is that the original Integrated Review did not do enough to outline priorities and hard choices, leading to a lack of focus in the Defence Command Paper. The Government plans to publish updates to both documents soon; it should treat this as an opportunity not only to set out what has changed in the last 21 months, but also how it plans to translate the aspirations of the previous Review into reality. In doing so, they should take account of the conclusions and recommendations of our Committee’s report.
Cover photo: By UK Parliament CC BY 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=59806036
Baroness Anelay of St Johns is the Chairwoman of the House of Lords International Relations and Defence Committee.
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Britain revises its defense plans in light of Russia’s war
LONDON — The British government has ordered an update of its defense and security review published last year and hopes to complete a revised plan by the end of 2022, Prime Minister Liz Truss has announced.
Touted as the biggest defense review since the Cold War when it was unveiled in March 2021, Britain’s update of strategic aims and capabilities was overtaken by events following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine .
“To ensure the U.K.’s diplomatic, military and security architecture is keeping pace with evolving threat posed by hostile nations, the prime minister has commissioned an update to the integrated review,” the government said in a statement.
Truss, who is in New York for a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly this week, has also reiterated her commitment to increasing defense spending to 3% of gross domestic product by 2030.
John Bew, the prime minister’s special adviser for foreign affairs and defense, has the task of leading a Downing Street process to update the review.
“The refreshed strategy will ensure we are investing in the strategic capabilities and alliances we need to stand firm against coercion from authoritarian powers like Russia and China,” the government statement read.
The review update is expected to consider abandoning plans to cut British Army personnel numbers from 82,000 to 72,500.
Howard Wheeldon, a defense consultant at Wheeldon Strategic Advisory, argued that end strength and equipment levels should be an important part of the revised review.
“Confirmation by the Truss-led government of a review is very welcome, but will it go far enough?” he said. “Will there be a realization that while it is important to plan and build for tomorrow’s wars in relation to technology capability requirements, we must also ensure that we have sufficient manpower and equipment capability to fight today’s wars?”
The analyst raised concerns about how much cash will be available to meet the government’s pledge on raising defense spending.
“When it comes to believing that defense spending will get the boost that it so justifiably deserves, the jury remains out,” Wheeldon said. “It is all very well suggesting that spending on defense will increase to 3% of GDP by 2030 when we don’t yet know what GDP will be by then, and whether what we might need will be affordable.”
That concern was echoed by Malcolm Chalmers, the deputy director-general of the Royal United Services Institute think tank in London, when he published a paper earlier this month pointing out how much the envisioned defense increase could cost taxpayers.
“To deliver on its commitment to spend 3% of GDP on defense by 2030, Liz Truss’s government will need to increase defense spending by about 60% in real terms,” Chalmers wrote. “This is equivalent to about £157 billion in additional spending over the next eight years, compared with current planning assumptions.” (£157 billion is equivalent to $168 billion.)
“By comparison, the 2020 spending review and the associated integrated review allocated an extra £16.5 billion over four years. This would be the biggest increase since the early 1950s,” Chalmers added.
Like Wheeldon, Chalmers said the revised review would need increases in personnel.
“To spend 3% effectively, the defense budget will require a significant increase in the size of the front line — numbers of formations and platforms,” Chalmers said. “An increase in service personnel numbers of 25-30% is likely to be needed to support an overall 60% increase of defense spending. This would increase total numbers of regular personnel from 148,000 today to around 190,000 in 2030, returning to the level last seen in 2010.”
Andrew Chuter is the United Kingdom correspondent for Defense News.
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4: Defence Roles, Missions and Tasks
This chapter seeks to understand how Defence’s roles, missions and tasks have developed over time, and how well they have contributed to the strategic direction that the government has given to defence decision makers. While the defence roles of the Cold War shrank considerably in the 1960s and 1970s, they were easily identifiable and aligned with government policy and Defence’s supporting military strategy. The pivot to expeditionary warfare complicated the situation, and, for most of the 1990s, declaratory policy failed to keep up with actual defence activity. However, as analysis of the last decade reveals, although terminology may have changed, defence missions and tasks have remained relatively stable. That said, recent changes in the character of conflict are likely to affect how the armed forces approach some of their more traditional roles, such as deterrence. The introduction of persistent engagement overseas as a new operating method in the 2021 Integrated Review is an obvious example that will impact on the missions and tasks of the armed forces in the coming decade.
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UK defence spending is top priority, says Mordaunt
- Published 19 February
- Russia-Ukraine war
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Penny Mordaunt says defence spending will increase
Defence spending is a top priority for the UK government as it vows to "double down" on its support for Ukraine, Penny Mordaunt, the leader of the House of Commons said on Sunday.
The former defence secretary said the government must give Ukraine "the tools to finish the job", while also ensuring the UK has the resources to do that.
"We have always protected defence spending", she insisted.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has urged the world to keep supporting Ukraine .
Speaking on Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg, Ms Mordaunt said during this "critical time" in the war between Russia and Ukraine, defence spending must be protected.
She was challenged on how the government planned to both "double down" on its support of arms and training to Ukraine, whilst also dealing with budget cuts because of inflation.
Ms Mordaunt answered by saying the government has "made commitments that we are going to increase defence spending".
But she added that confirmation of any increases would not come until the announcement of the chancellor's Budget in March.
Ms Mordaunt pointed out that "in recent history" the government wanted to hike defence spending to as much as 3%.
Speaking about the UK's commitment to supporting Ukraine and how that tallies with the defence budget, she said: "We now have to give Ukraine the tools to finish that job. We're going to be giving them more support than all of last year in just the next few months.
"We have to do that. And of course we're going to be ensuring we have the resources to do that."
She added that the current Defence Secretary Ben Wallace had the task of "not just keeping everything going and obviously supporting Ukraine" but also of modernising the armed forces.
"That means we've almost got to double run. We've got to rebuild these new technologies but also keep our current operations very strong", she said.
Ben Wallace: We need to invest in defence properly
Asked whether the UK would send fighter jets to Ukraine - something Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been calling for - Ms Mordaunt said "nothing is off the table" when it came to which equipment the UK would supply to Ukraine.
But she added that while it had not been ruled out, considerations of what would be best for Ukraine in both the short term and the long term needed to be considered.
Earlier this month, Mr Wallace said there would be no immediate transfer of equipment such as fighter jets to Ukraine.
Speaking at the Munich Security Conference on Saturday, Mr Sunak said he would support any countries ready to send fighter jets to Ukraine now and emphasised that the UK government was already "leading" the training of Ukrainian fighter jet pilots.
Despite inflation and military budget cuts in the past, the UK has been one of the biggest supplier of arms to Ukraine in its war against Russian President Vladimir Putin's invading forces.
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Defence spending is a top priority for the UK government as it vows to "double down" on its support for Ukraine, Penny Mordaunt, the leader