The Strategic Defence and Security Review: RUSI experts comment

As the defence and international security comes to terms with the UK's Defence Review, outlines the initial assessments of RUSI experts.

Leading a range of RUSI expert assessments on the Defence Review, RUSI Director Professor Michael Clarke offered the following overall verdict: 'After a big build-up and so much fear and anticipation, the SDSR turns out to be an interim review. Many big issues are still to be settled. So the fear and anticipation - particularly for the Services - will go on for a while yet.'

Force Structure

Professor Michael Clarke,  said that the review would leave Britain with a 'slightly eccentric force structure'. He said: 'One operational aircraft carrier and not many frigates and destroyers as a result. Too many fast jets and not enough airlift.' He also noted the lack of investment in pilotless drones.

The Times

Britain's Global Status

The Defence Review is 'A moment of choice for British defence decision-makers as significant for its foreign policy as the decision to withdraw from east of Suez in the 1960s is fast approaching,' said Professor Malcolm Chalmers.


'The short of it is that we will have a smaller military,' said Amyas Godfrey, associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute and a former British intelligence officer. 'But it is still our intention to be a small island with global impact able to project our force around the world. And unlike many, like Germany and France, we actually do it.'

Washington Post

Senior RUSI Fellow Ian Kearns,  said Britain may find itself unable to fight alongside U.S. forces in the future if it isn't able to invest in the same sophisticated technology.

'If one ally uses better technology than its allies, interoperability becomes quite different,' Kearns said.

Business Week, Strait Times, Associated Press

'I think for a number of years now, Britain's policy has been based centrally on NATO - on operating militarily along with allies, particularly the United States.  The United States, perhaps, will find that perhaps we can make a smaller contribution.  But I think it will still be the most important military power in NATO Europe,' noted Malcolm Chalmers.

Voice of America


Michael Codner, director of military sciences at the Royal United Services Institute, claims the National Security Strategy white paper 'pushes threats requiring an obvious military response and the need for today's scale of armed forces, down in the list of priorities'. He added: 'But closer inspection reveals a range of roles and missions which could keep Britain's military as busy as ever. There is an emphasis on prevention, deterrent power and diplomacy, and [the view] that military intervention abroad will only be in the last resort and where necessary to support vital interests and protect overseas territories.'

The Guardian

Decision on Aircraft Carriers

Professorial Fellow  Malcolm Chalmers, said that the delays would affect morale on the new aircraft carriers.

'The full message that's coming from the Government on the aircraft carriers is they wish they weren't in this situation, and if they could have cancelled them and saved a significant amount of money, they would have done,' he said.

'But I think there are going to be real difficulties with the morale of people operating that capability knowing that the Government doesn't really think they are that important.'

Daily Mail


'Over the last decade the scale of the cyber threat to the UK has become clearer and clearer. It's like turning over a stone - the more we looked, the more creepy crawlies we found,' said John Bassett, a former GCHQ official, now associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute

The Guardian


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