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Briefing
November 28, 2011

The challenge facing Britain’s new Defence Secretary

by
Peter Cannon

Executive summary

  • The New Secretary of State for Defence, Philip Hammond, has arrived at the Ministry of Defence at a particularly challenging time.
  • Last year’s SDSR has been widely criticised for the significant cuts to UK defence capabilities which it entailed. After public disagreements about the effects of the SDSR, relations between the Government and the military have been strained and morale has been damaged.
  • The new Defence Secretary will have to make important decisions about British forces in Libya and, especially, Afghanistan. With the economic outlook uncertain, the Ministry of Defence may also face pressure for further savings and cuts.
  • The new Defence Secretary must resist any further cuts, in any form, and must be willing to fight to protect UK defence against any renewed pressure from the Treasury or other departments.

About Peter Cannon

Peter Cannon is the Henry Jackson Society's Latin America Section Director and Governance, Strategy and Terrorism Section Director. Peter studied a BSc in Government and History and an MA in the History of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He has worked for the Shadow Justice Secretary and for a public affairs consultancy. He currently works for a Conservative MP in Parliament, and is also a local councillor in Dartford, Kent.

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