UK parliament warns of reduced defence capabilities

08/02/2012

According to a report by the defence select committee of the British Parliament, the UK would struggle to conduct an operation of the dimension of the Libya campaign after the full implementation of the strategic defence and security review. The report says: “The Libyan operation raises important questions as to the extent of the UK national contingent capability. The government needs to review our capacity to respond to concurrent threats.” The committee justifies this critical assessment by the upcoming capability and personnel cuts. Committee chairman James Arbuthnot said: “The mission in Libya was successful. The real test is whether the success of this mission was a one-off or whether the lessons it has highlighted mean that future such missions can be successfully undertaken whilst maintaining the UK’s capability to protect its interests elsewhere.”

The report highlights the disadvantages of reducing navy capabilities, especially with regard to Libya-style fleet-ready escort operations. The committee said that due to the continued high level of maritime commitments, more risk-taking will be necessary. The report also tackles the topics of cuts on surveillance aircraft, NATO’s reliance on the US in terms of unmanned aircraft, intelligence and air tanking assets, and munitions shortages. UK Defence Secretary Philipp Hammond replied that the UK will “retain the capability to project power abroad and meet [its] NATO obligations.”

The Security Jam 2012 will dedicate a forum to the lessons learned from the Libya operation. Read more about the Jam and register here for this global online brainstorm!