Britain’s Defence Transformation
On July 21, 2004, British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon announced far-reaching changes in the shape of Britain’s armed forces. “Our need in the future is for flexible and adaptable armed forces properly supported to carry out the most likely expeditionary operations,” Hoon wrote in the foreword to a planning document entitled Delivering Security in a Changing World: Future Capabilities.
The document also set the ability to handle “three concurrent small and medium scale operations” as a goal. This is an increase on the two currently planned for (small being the equivalent of Sierra Leone, medium corresponding to Afghanistan). The British army should also have the capacity to contribute to large-scale operations such as Iraq, while maintaining another small-scale operation. But to achieve these gains, deep and controversial cuts are being made elsewhere despite increases in the overall UK defence budget. Dr. John Hill offers his analysis of some of the directions and tradeoffs underway, in this article for the International relations and Security Network (ISN), Center for Security Studies in Zurich, Switzerland. See all UK-related items on DID.