The government is engaged in an important defence review. It is tine indeed that we discussed what threats our nation faces, how we should protect ourselves, and what contribution we should make to NATO and the UN. Listening to many experts in this field I am struck by the extent of muddled and jargon laden thinking that passes for strategy.
Let me this morning suggest three roles for our defence establishment to carry out.
The first overriding requirement is to concentrate sufficient force in the UK so that no power would consider mounting a seaborne or airborne invasion. Whilst there is currently no enemy in sight who would seek to do that, history warns us that is the ultimate danger. France carried out one successful invasion in 1066 and failed in the early nineteenth century. Spain failed in 1588 and Germany failed in 1940. he Dutch succeeded by agreement with the powers that be in GB in 1688.
The second requirement is to make our contribution to NATO, and to work with NATO to act as a credible deterrent to aggression towards any NATO member.
The third requirement is to have an expeditionary ability so that we can contribute to UN tasks around the world, and can help defend our own friends and associated territories.
Much of modern thinking is based on collaboration and mutual dependence with allies. History reminds us that we have not always been able to rely on allies. We needed to have our own forces to recapture the Falklands, as allies did not agree with expelling the invader by force. In 1940 we had to stand alone against Germany. This suggests to me that when it comes to defending these islands we need to have the ships and planes in our own military that could do the job.
I will turn to a more detailed consideration later, along with thoughts on countering cyber attacks and modern asymmetric conflicts with terrorism.