The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is launching what he claims is the biggest review of foreign, defence and security policy since the end of the Cold War.
In a break from previous military-led reviews, the exercise will have an increased focus on foreign policy and the UK’s place in the world.
Downing Street signalled no plans to reduce defence spending, reiterating a pledge to allocate at least 2% of national income to defence.
This should guard against deep cuts to the Armed Forces, analysts said, though there are expected to be reductions in areas no longer deemed affordable or relevant.
“As the world changes we must move with it,” the prime minister said in a statement.
“Harnessing new technologies and ways of thinking to ensure British foreign policy is rooted firmly in our national interests, now and in the decades ahead.”
Sources in Whitehall, however, said they are sceptical whether Mr Johnson and his top adviser, Dominic Cummings, will achieve the overhaul of spending priorities that is needed to achieve generational change to match the changing nature of war and keep up with rivals like Russia and China.
Setting out details of the Integrated Review – first announced in December’s Queen’s Speech – No 10 said Brexit presents “new opportunities to define and strengthen Britain’s place in the world”.
Its remit, as set out by the government, is to:
- Define the government’s ambition for the UK’s role in the world
- Set out the way in which the UK will be a problem-solving and burden-sharing nation
- Determine the capabilities needed for the next decade and beyond to pursue objectives and address threats
- Identify the necessary reforms to government systems and structures to achieve these goals
- The review is expected to conclude later this year with input from Whitehall departments, including the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence.