The Obama Administration has announced a shift in emphasis for missile defence capabilities away from Europe to the US mainland. While this could help allay Russian concerns about the NATO system, Moscow's leaders may require more confidence-building measures.
UK defence spending was further squeezed in the 2013 Budget announcement. It is likely to face additional cuts for 2015/16 in the 2015 Spending Review. The defence budget for subsequent years may depend on how the 2015 Spending Review shares the burden of future austerity between expenditure cuts and tax rises.
The continuing development of North Korea's nuclear and missile capabilities is testing the readiness and long-term planning of South Korea's missile defences. The plans will undoubtedly be overshadowed by Chinese concerns.
The UN Security Council is certain to impose sanctions on North Korea. But, since these are likely to involve – at least initially – just cutting off trade and diplomatic contacts, no significant impact is expected.
The controversy surrounding the UK’s nuclear deterrent continues with the publication in June 2006 of the House of Commons Defence Committee’s report The Future of the UK’s Strategic Nuclear Deterrent: the Strategic Context. The report is published amidst fresh debate ignited by Chancellor Gordon Brown’s recent statement that the UK will stay strong in its commitment to...