Labour urge new UK defence priorities

Summary: The Labour Party has unveiled their recommendations for the future of UK defence if they win the next General Election.

Ahead of the announcement at the Royal United Services Institute, a defence and security think-tank based in Whitehall, it has been revealed that Shadow Defence Secretary Vernon Coaker will use the speech to outline a more practical approach to defence policy as opposed to budget-led priorities.

Focus on cyber security

In light of the industry’s increasing focus on cyber security, he will also recommend that all companies working with the MOD sign up to a charter outlining their responsibility to report cyber attacks in an effort to protect the MOD.

Mr Coaker will also emphasise the need for increased specialisation among troops, including engineers, logistics specialists, communication experts and medical personnel.

According to Mr Coaker, the Coalition Government has allowed defence priorities to be determined by the Treasury and to be led by the Budget, not on what is best for the safety of the UK. He instead calls for a more practical focus at the forthcoming Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).

He said: “We cannot afford for the next strategic defence and security review to be solely Treasury-led. Instead, we must ensure that the review provides the long-term direction that UK defence and security requires – one that is fiscally realistic and strategically ambitious.”

Defence opportunities

The move towards a greater focus on cyber attacks is being reflected across the industry at the moment, with the USA recently outlining $5.1bn of funds in the Budget specifically for cyber security as the country winds down operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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