Boris Johnson sizes up colossal boost in defence spending

Boris Johnson sizes up colossal boost in defence spending as he launches most detailed review into Whitehall’s security policy since the Cold War

  • PM is launching the most in-depth review of security policy since the Cold War 
  • Downing Street says it will go beyond the parameters of a traditional defence
  • The Prime Minister warns that ‘as the world changes we must move with it’

Boris Johnson today clears the way for a major boost in defence spending as he launches the most in-depth review of the UK’s foreign and security policy since the Cold War.

The Prime Minister warns that ‘as the world changes we must move with it’ as he opens the cross-Whitehall review, which will cover all elements of foreign, defence, security and international development policy.

Downing Street insisted it will go beyond the parameters of a traditional strategic defence and security review (SDSR) by looking at the ‘totality of opportunities and challenges’ the UK faces. 

The Prime Minister warns that ‘as the world changes we must move with it’ as he opens the cross-Whitehall review

It will consider how the whole of Government can be ‘structured, equipped and mobilised’ in order to meet them. And unlike the 2015 review, a No 10 source said it will not be ‘cost neutral’, meaning further spending commitments are not ruled out.

The review, which will be headed by a senior civil servant reporting directly to Mr Johnson, aims to define long-term strategic objectives, as well as determine the capabilities needed over the next decade to meet these.

Among the issues to be considered by the review, which was first announced in the Queen’s Speech in December, will be the procurement processes of the Armed Forces and other security services. 

The Prime Minister’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings has been a critic of what he sees as the Ministry of Defence’s (MoD’s) record of ‘squandering’ billions on lavish equipment programmes.

Downing Street insisted it will go beyond the parameters of a traditional strategic defence and security review (SDSR) by looking at the ‘totality of opportunities and challenges’ the UK faces

The review will also look to build on the work of the review currently under way by former Scotland Yard deputy commissioner Sir Craig Mackey into efforts to tackle serious and organised crime.

The Government has made clear it will maintain the Nato target of committing 2 per cent of GDP to defence and will continue to give 0.7 per cent of national income to international development. 

But there is speculation the Department for International Development could be subsumed into the Foreign Office.

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