UK Government Delays Integrated Security, Defence and Foreign Policy Review

Team Tempest delays? (BAE Systems)

During the Queen’s Speech on 19 December 2019, the Government announced plans to conduct an Integrated Security, Defence and Foreign Policy Review.

Heralded as “the most radical reassessment of the UK’s place in the world since the end of the Cold War”, the review promised to “cover all aspects of international policy from defence to diplomacy and development”.

In the first phase of this inquiry, the Defence Committee was exploring how Government should conduct this exercise. The Committee was looking to identify lessons learned from the timing, methodology and structure of previous reviews of the UK’s security and defence and consider international best practice. The Committee would then use the findings of this inquiry as a framework to collect evidence on the future of UK defence in Phase II of this inquiry.

However, the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy Review has been paused due to the coronavirus pandemic, the government has said.

Most of the Integrated Review was due to be completed later this year, with recommendations implemented over several years, but it is now not expected to start until 2021.

Tobias Ellwood, the chairman of the Commons Defence Select Committee, said: “We welcome this delay of the Integrated Review. There would be no point in conducting an in-depth review of the nation’s defence and security challenges to an artificial deadline, especially at a time when Whitehall is rightly focusing on tackling coronavirus.

“We look forward to engaging with the Department when the Review restarts, with the added element of the consequences of the pandemic to be considered. We will still report in due course on the Committee’s inquiry into how Government should conduct the Review and hope that this work will inform the process in the future.”

by David Oliver