The National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015 sets out the government's approach to national security. It moves the debate from a traditional defence focus to a ‘full spectrum’ perspective, spanning everything from military capability to soft power, diplomatic influence to homeland security, intelligence to organised crime, and international strength to domestic resilience. It assumes a stable and growing economy, links national security and stability directly to economic prosperity and sets out a comprehensive approach to international and domestic security that addresses the dual challenge of physical and cyber threats.
The 2015 SDSR represents a significant expansion in global action for the UK, as shown in the graphic below (which does not include the total coverage implicit within the UK's extensive operational relationships). The government has committed at least 50% of Department for International Development's budget for spending in fragile states and regions.
"Reducing the likelihood of threats materialising and affecting the UK, our interests, and those of our allies and partners requires the UK to project its global influence". SDSR 2015.
SDSR defines a balanced approach to international and domestic security, addressing the dual challenge of physical and cyber threats. Maintaining this balance will require the UK to continually adapt and shift the multiple elements in response to the diverse and evolving threats. Central to the national security response will be shared understanding across the multiple departments and security agencies to ensure that there is a coherent and balanced response.
Translating the SDSR headlines into an effective and sustainable capability will make new demands of the people working in every part of the defence and security sector. For government agencies involved in implementing the strategy, the headcount will be constrained, so these organisations will need to look at re-shaping their current structures, career pathways and programmes for skills development.
SDSR 2015 sets out a vision for a more vibrant and dynamic defence and security sector, one that fosters innovation, supports exports and delivers openness and competition. Better measurement of productivity, and the use of effective commercial arrangements that align incentives with productivity targets, will set a foundation for driving greater productivity across the sector.
SDSR 2015 provides focus on adapting organisational structures to drive innovation. The real challenge however will lie in establishing a culture that enables innovation. To achieve this, organisations will need to devolve responsibility, accept risk and reward the behaviours that drive success.
SDSR 2015 confirms and reinforces the role of partnerships in delivering national defence, security and prosperity and, for the first time, covers the full spectrum of collaboration. The review envisages closer partnering between government departments and enduring ties with industry, enhanced through innovation and the Whole Force Approach. However, as the experience of the defence sector over nearly a quarter of a century illustrates, collaboration takes time to develop.
To speak to our experts about SDSR and what it means for you, please contact Nick and Mark.