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Human Security Centre publishes briefing on UK Modernising Defence Programme

19 July, 2018

The Human Security Centre (HSC) has today published its briefing on the UK Government’s Modernising Defence Programme (MDP). The MDP is designed to set out the future direction of Britain’s approach to defence strategy.

In January 2018, the Government launched the MDP, a spin-off of the wider National Security Capability Review. The chief motivation behind the MDP is financial, with the MoD facing a budget deficit of between £10 billion and £30 billion over the next decade. Additionally, since the 2015 publication of the most recent National Security Strategy & Strategic Defence and Security Review, there have been a number of strategic situational shifts.

The policy and capabilities workstream is the most important of the MDP’s threads. The policy review will focus on the need to address new and intensified challenges brought about by developments including the increasing level of threats from other states including Russia, post-Brexit UK defence priorities, the proliferation of advanced weapons systems, and the destabilisation of transnational institutions. Questions will also need to be answered as to what future capabilities the Armed Forces should possess. Areas that may be considered for investment include anti-submarine, anti-air and armoured warfare; with new funding for anti-ballistic missile, space, AI and unmanned technology also possible.

The backdrop to the review will be the ongoing battle over whether or not to increase the defence budget: a rise in the spending floor from 2 per cent to 2.5 per cent of GDP has been mooted, but the Treasury is highly reluctant to provide the approximate £8 billion per year required.

The HSC is an independent international affairs think-tank based in London, with interests in foreign, defence and security policy. We produce a wide range of digital publications, submit evidence to parliamentary inquiries and provide advisory support to policymakers.

We also offer commentary to international media outlets, having appeared on outlets including the BBC, Channel 4, Sky News, Al Jazeera and CNN. Our commentary has been published in The Independent, The Telegraph, The Spectator, The New York Times, The Hill, IB Times and Evening Standard.

To contact one of our experts, please email rowan.allport@hscentre.org

Image source: MoD/Crown Copyright/OGL

About Rowan Allport

Dr Rowan Allport is a Deputy Director who leads the HSC's Security and Defence team. Rowan holds a PhD in Politics and a MA in Conflict, Governance and Development from the University of York, as well as a BA (Hons) in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Hull. Specialising in strategic analysis and international security, Rowan's primary areas of interest lie in the defence issues in and around the NATO region, interstate conflict and US foreign policy discourse. He is also the lead author of HSC's recent ‘Fire and Ice: A New Maritime Strategy for NATO’s Northern Flank’ report. Rowan's publication credits include articles and commentary in Foreign Policy, The Diplomat, The Hill, DefenseOne, RealClearDefense, The Strategist, UK Defence Journal, Politics.co.uk and The National Interest. He has previously worked as a lobbyist for the Whitehouse Consultancy in Westminster, and as a Senior Analyst for RAND Europe's Security, Defence and Infrastructure team.