Global Britain in a competitive age: strategy and the Integrated Review

by Hew Strachan

22 Jun 2021
Journal of the British Academy, volume 9 (2021)
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Abstract: Since 2010, the UK government has conducted a strategic review at five-yearly intervals, a pattern which it has maintained, at least formally, despite the strategically destabilising effects of Brexit and the Trump administration. Accordingly, on 26 February 2020 the Prime Minister announced the next iteration, albeit one which would he maintained go ‘beyond the parameters of a traditional review’. COVID-19 understandably delayed the publication of the Integrated Review until March 2021. This article examines the results, using the prism of strategy to examine the review’s coherence. Global Britain in a Competitive Age is as aspirational as its original ambition suggested it should be, but is light on specific policies and their delivery. The accompanying publications from the Ministry of Defence contain more substance, but their implications are not sufficiently aligned with either foreign policy or the possible eventuality of armed conflict, nor do they allow for capabilities commensurate with the scale of the task which ‘Global Britain’ anticipates.

Keywords: Strategy, foreign policy, defence policy, integrated operations, deterrence, resilience.

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