Download British Defence Policy: Striking the Right Balance by John Baylis PDF

By John Baylis

This research of British defence coverage argues "one-off" defence evaluate isn't really sufficient yet a customary strategy of defece stories each 5 years offer a long term strategic path which, the writer continues, is missing at present.

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Since the Falklands War government policy has been characterised by much more indecision than was evident in the 1981 review. Phrases like 'we would like to do more' (in terms of intervention capabilities) and 'we intend to retain a Royal Naval Force of around 50 frigates and destroyers' suggests that decisions have been postponed as the government attempts to keep its options open. 28 Whether such an approach is to be preferred to one which establishes clear priorities is a matter we will return to later.

The commitment to Europe meant that many of the weapons and much of the equipment produced was designed specifically for defence against the heavy armoured formations favoured by the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact. The tactics and training of BAOR and the Second Tactical Air Force in Germany also had to be geared to the special needs of continental defence. Although some of the weapons and expertise could be used elsewhere, by and large the requirements of defence on the Central Front and overseas military intervention were European Versus Global Defence 33 very different.

In a report produced in 1983 the Institute argued that British defence policy had given too much priority to the defence of the Central Front. The report advocated a restructuring of the armed forces in order to put more emphasis on reinforcement capabilities, air power and surface ships for the Navy. Only then, it was argued, could Britain get away from the 'Maginot line mentality' of static defences in Central Europe. 24 Not surprisingly, this need for a reorientation of British defence policy was supported by the Naval Chiefs.

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