"The Future of Defence"
A three-part CMEC podcast series
The Rt Hon Tobias Ellwood MP is Chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee and a former Defence and Foreign Office Minister
1. The Global Picture: Tobias Ellwood MP in conversation with Professor Michael Clarke of King's College London and author of 'Tipping Point: Britain, Brexit and Security in the 2020s', LISTEN HERE
2. The Middle East: Tobias Ellwood MP in conversation with Lieutenant General Sir Simon Mayall, Former British Army Officer and Middle East Defence Advisor to the Ministry of Defence, LISTEN HERE
3. From East to West: Tobias Ellwood MP in conversation with Dr Karin von Hippel, Director-General of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), LISTEN HERE
"We are fast approaching the publication of the 'Strategic Defence and Security Review'. Also known as 'The Integrated Review', this will be one of the most significant reconfigurations of Britain’s Defence and Security in a decade – and is long overdue. The world faces growing challenges whether from climate change, cyber warfare or the current global pandemic. What role should a post-Brexit Britain play in this dramatically changing world?
To explore this, the Conservative Middle East Council broadcasts its “Future of Defence” series this week. I interview three leading policy experts, discussing the major looming strategic challenges to the UK in the coming decade. I hope that these conversations may contribute to the Review and further the resetting of our foreign and security policies.
The stakes are high, and the backdrop is complicated. 2020 started with the killing of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Commander Qassim Soleimani. Shortly afterwards, the Middle East was presented with President Trump’s “Vision for Peace” plans for Israel and the areas controlled by the Palestinian National Authority.
In the UK, a newly formed government imagined its main job would be to manage the country’s exit from the EU, but by February was consumed with the unprecedented challenges of Covid-19.
Globally, we witness an ever-developing rivalry between our closest ally, the US, and China. And as the US arguably withdraws from its more traditional leadership role, the world is faced with a revanchist Russia. What will the outcome of November’s Presidential Election mean for US foreign policy direction and where will the UK fit in this rapidly changing world?
Now is the time for us to make an honest assessment of our country’s strengths and weaknesses. The review must ensure our defence posture is upgraded to match emerging threats and protect our evolving interests, despite the financial pressures caused by Covid-19.
There must be broader engagement with external stakeholders. As the Chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, I have consulted colleagues and experts to ensure that our committee’s system is viewed as a constructive critic and contributor to the Integrated Review. It is in all of our interests that this review is a success and I hope this podcast series contributes to that effort."
Tobias Ellwood MP, Chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee