PM launches major defence and foreign policy review with pledge to ‘harness new technologies’

Written by Sam Trendall on 27 February 2020 in News
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Exercise will consider spending on military equipment as well as the work of a range of departments

Credit: PA

The prime minister has kicked off a cross-government review of defence, security and foreign policy by stating his commitment to “harnessing new technologies and ways of thinking” to further the UK’s national interests.

The so-called “integrated review” will consider all elements of policy in the three areas, as well as look at defence procurement – seen as a major target for reform by the Boris Johnson’s most senior adviser, Dominic Cummings. The overall ambition of the review is to determine "how the whole of government can be structured" to meet global challenges.

Downing Street said the exercise would not establish how much investment in military equipment is needed over the next decade, but will also draw on the work of a wide range of government departments, including the Foreign Office, Ministry of Defence, Department for International Development, the Home Office, Treasury, and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.


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“The review will be policy-led and will go beyond the parameters of a traditional review by considering the totality of global opportunities and challenges the UK faces and determining how the whole of government can be structured, equipped and mobilised to meet them," No.10 said in an announcement.

It will be led by a cross-Whitehall team in the Cabinet Office and a second team of civil service and external experts in Downing Street. Decisions on the review will be made by the National Security Council, chaired by the prime minister.

Johnson said he was “determined to lead a government that delivers for our people – both at home and abroad”.

He added: “The UK’s institutions, expertise, leadership and values are renowned around the world. But we cannot rest on our laurels. We must do more to adapt. We will be judged by how we respond to the opportunities ahead. As the world changes we must move with it – harnessing new technologies and ways of thinking to ensure British foreign policy is rooted firmly in our national interests, now and in the decades ahead.”

 

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Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology

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