Speech

Queen's Speech: Strategic Defence and Security Review

This speech was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

"My Government will fully support our courageous armed forces and undertake a full Strategic Defence and Security Review."

The Government believes that its primary responsibility is to ensure national security.

This requires a clear, coherent leadership to ensure our armed forces, security services, stabilisation experts and others at home and abroad, are united behind the goal of protecting Britain and its interests.

The new National Security Council has commenced work on a National Security Strategy and a wide ranging Strategic Defence and Security Review.  This will be one of the top priorities for this Government and will be overseen by the new National Security Advisor.

The combination of a Strategic Defence and Security Review and a National Security Strategy will provide a coherent approach to security across Government and will ensure we have the right balance of recourses to meet our commitments.

The approach which has been agreed by the National Security Committee involves a radically different element - analysis of national security policy and capability across departments . This will require strong leadership from the centre, Cabinet Office working with the Treasury.

The Ministry of Defence, for example, has been preparing for its own Strategic Defence Review. But defence capabilities and resources will need to be considered alongside all other security capabilities in order to measure the relative cost effectiveness of each.

This will produce a genuinely strategic and cross cutting process and will enable Ministers to consider relative priorities across all national security capabilities.

A fundamental objective of these reviews will be to ensure that the brave men and women on the front line have all the tools they need to do vital work we ask of them.

In recognition of that sacrifice and service we will do more to support them and their families with pay, education and welfare.

We have already announced that the operational allowance in Afghanistan will double.

We will maintain Britain’s nuclear deterrent, and have agreed the renewal of Trident should be scrutinised to ensure value for money. Liberal Democrats will continue to make the case for alternatives.

But the Government will have to make difficult spending decisions across the areas of national security and we are committed to reducing the running costs of the Ministry of Defence by 25 per cent.