There must be a more strategic approach to UK defence procurement, according to a think tank report.
The paper, released today by the Henry Jackson Society, analyses the British Army’s readiness potential to deploy to Europe or to allied states, particularly in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The author, Dr Stepan Stepanenko, examines the UK’s European engagement through the lens of historical conflicts, diplomatic options, and budgetary constraints.
He states, “The British Army is suffering from supply and supply chain resilience issues resulting from years of underfunding and lack of purchases that led manufacturers to potentially discontinue certain lines of strategically important weapons production.”
However, the UK has a unique opportunity to overcome these issues and to serve as a lead supporter in the European theatre. He adds, “It is time to read beyond the headlines and focus on the numbers, which show a dire need for
a European actor to breach the gaps between perceived and real support.” The UK must step up to the plate.
He concludes, “The United Kingdom, in its effort to secure its national interests and defence, needs to face up to the question of what the primary objective of its foreign and defence policy is, and the current limited political action in supporting an immediate military victory over Ukraine may
suggest that it is not the priority.”
The report closes by providing a series of recommendations to the Ministry of Defence to enhance the potential for deployments in near peer encounters and to allied states.