The Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, sets out in The Sunday Telegraph why he believes the Coalition is right to radically reform UK defences. "The vision we've set out – Future Force 2020 – ensures that by the end of the decade we have coherent, efficient and cutting-edge Armed Forces prepared for the challenges of the future."
The speed of events in North Africa has shown how quickly circumstances can change and how quickly the UK can be drawn in. At a time when endless negativity is rampant, it is easy to forget that Britain remains the world's fifth biggest economy with the world's fourth biggest defence budget.
As William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, has said, Britain is "richly endowed with the attributes for success". We are a powerful and leading voice inside the UN, Nato, EU, the Commonwealth, the G8 and G20. We are part of a complex, interdependent global economy that brings the unavoidable importation of strategic risk.
An island nation like Britain, with so many interests in so many parts of the world – 92 per cent of trade moving by sea, around 10 per cent of our citizens living abroad – is inevitably going to be affected by global instability.
In most circumstances we handle these changes in the global strategic picture along with our allies, but occasionally have to deal with problems on our own as we did in the Falklands and Sierra Leone. It is because we face such a wide range of security challenges that the Government has spent a great deal of effort on creating a multilayered approach to defence and diplomacy. ...