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Whither defence? – Preparing for the next Strategic Defence and Security Review


Following the General Election that is expected to take place in the UK in May 2015, one of the first challenges to face the next government is the development of a Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

The SDSR is likely to take place in the context of a constrained but improving financial environment, and at a time of significant geopolitical uncertainty. The SDSR is also likely to be subject to high levels of scrutiny by a number of stakeholders, including the armed forces, the media, industry, trade unions, academia, and the taxpayer, some of whom will have divergent and competing interests in the outcome.

Delivering an SDSR that meets the requirement to set out the strategic direction of the armed forces and security services in providing for the defence and security of the UK within the context of constrained resources will be a significant challenge. The approach taken by policy-makers within the incoming government and defence planners within the civil service will therefore need to be carefully considered.

Based on our analysis of the UK's approach to defence planning since 1998, we have derived some recommendations to policy makers and industry.


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