As part of a wider revamp of Whitehall, the prime minister’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings would like to shake up the MOD. This was after he singled out a £6.2bn decision to build two new aircraft carriers as continuing to “squander billions of pounds”.
The Prime Minister also said during the General Election “…the government will undertake a new integrated foreign policy, security and defence review which will extend from the armed forces to the intelligence services, counter-terrorism, serious organised crime, diplomacy and development.”
The Trident replacement programme swallows up a large chunk of the defence budget.
This week the Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace was asked the question: What steps is his department taking to ensure that the capabilities of the armed forces are adequate to meet future needs?
Ben Wallace reiterated that the PM is committed to a foreign policy review and to the” deepest review of defence since the cold war.”
He went on to talk about strengthening the role of NATO, the UK’s commitment to the alliance and NATO continuing to expand into areas of hybrid threat.
Both Tobias Ellwood (the new Chair of the Defence Select Committee) and Meg Hillier (Chair of the Public Accounts Committee) pushed for the timeframe for the Review to include parliamentary review. He just said “we [government] need to be realistic about what we are going to spend and honest to the public about what we’re going to do globally.”
The status of the Defence Review is unclear – although a wider Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) is due in 2020.