Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Editorial: United Kingdom Defence - Release of two defence policy command papers - A busy day for the Presses at the TSO

Today saw the release of two policy documents by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence - The Defence Green Paper, “Adaptability and Partnership: Issues for a Strategic Defence Review” (Command paper - Cm 7794) and The Defence Strategy for Acquisition Reform (Command Paper - Cm7796). Both of these documents can be downloaded from the Ministry of Defence website. (

Interesting political move insofar as the press seem to be majoring on the Green Paper and the big questions rather than the dryer, though more critical, defence acquisition reform work. One would suspect that the political leadership in both major parties are hoping to silence acquisiton reform as a discussion topic for the next administration and take the dry, complex issues away from the general electorate.

The Defence Green Paper is partly a political exercise to set the agenda both before the imminent General Election in Britain and for the Ministry to try and set the framework and agenda around a defence review held by either a returning Labour administration or a Conservative Government under David Cameron. Outstanding Civil servant (and no doubt a future senior leader of the organisation) Strategy Director Tom McKane is identified as the point person with an email and postal address.

In tandem with the Defence Green Paper comes a strategy for the reform of defence acquisition led by Lord Paul Drayson, who was the political architect behind the Defence Industrial Strategy (DIS) of the mid 2000's and former Minister for Defence Procurement (MINDP).

Somewhat tellingly the Acquisition reform paper has no explicit mechanism for providing feedback - highlighting ongoing sensitivities within this area.

A More detailed commentary will follow.

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