COVID-19 has impacted many things and the latest of these is the UK's keenly anticipated Integrated Review of Defence, Security, International and Development Policy (Integrated Review). With the focus (of minds and money) on the COVID-19 response, bandwidth for agreement on the Integrated Review is limited – but the thinking has already been done. The ideas are more relevant than ever and provide the new ways of working the UK desperately needs to improve effectiveness and affordability. So, whatever the date of the review's publication, we should start implementing the initiatives now.
The review faces two primary vectors of uncertainty that are outside the Government's control: geopolitical trends and the global economic recovery. We've used our unique FutureWorlds™ approach to frame four feasible futures that can be used for scenario planning to test whether the UK's diplomatic and security ecosystem is sufficiently adaptive to meet various potential challenges over the coming decade.
These futures signal markedly different scenarios but point to common requirements: the ability to adapt to hybrid threats, secure information advantage and apply a human-centric response. Next-generation leaders will need to prioritise these characteristics for their departments to be suitably adaptive and capable of maintaining competitive superiority.
We've identified 10 areas of focus that will be relevant no matter which of these future scenarios confronts the UK over the next decade.