New Forest East


The Times – 5 October 2018

The National Security Capability Review (NSCR) addressed traditional military deterrence together with modern deterrence against the “new and intensified threats” to our IT infrastructure and software programmes described so chillingly by Elisabeth Braw (“We all have a part to play in modern defence”, Comment, Oct.2).

However, because its recommendations were supposed to be “fiscally neutral”, any extra protection from new cyber, hybrid and disinformation dangers could be met only by further cutting conventional defences. Thus, our entire capability to project land power from the sea came within an ace of abandonment.

To prevent such disasters the Defence Secretary succeeded in removing the traditional defence element from the NSCR, and he has now confirmed that our world-class amphibious assault ships Albion and Bulwark will be protected. Yet this does not resolve the underlying problem: that “modern deterrence” to meet new threats cannot be a substitute for “conventional deterrence” to meet traditional ones. Additional funding is essential, which is why the Defence Committee has been pressing for a return to 3 per cent of GDP spent on defence – a target that we met as recently as the mid-1990s.

Chairman, Defence Committee
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA