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UK policy-makers take comfort, perhaps erroneously, in the narrative that defence-industrial competencies remain alive and available to state decision-makers – essentially frozen into some form of perpetual equilibrium of assured supply.
It is often assumed that skills in a given defence-industrial base somehow self-regulate through the hidden hand of the market. This means that, when one company within the defence ecosystem makes redundancies – for example, to relieve perceived over-capacity – another defence business will absorb these skills.
This briefing explores what happens to the wider economy and to defence competencies when people leave defence businesses – either voluntarily or as part of a deliberate redundancy scheme. The paper also tests the premise that the defence market self-regulates in the maintenance of a country’s defence skills base.
About the Authors
Professor John Louth is a Senior Research Fellow and Director of Defence, Industries and Society at RUSI. He teaches at the University of Roehampton Business School.
Professor Trevor Taylor is a Professorial Research Fellow at RUSI. He teaches at Cranfield University.
Dr Henrik Heidenkamp is a Research Fellow for RUSI’s Defence, Industries and Society Programme (DISP) and a mentor for the RUSI/University of Roehampton Business School PhD Programme.