We live in an insecure world, and inevitably face a complex range of threats. Today’s threats differ from those we faced in the past. From fragile and conflict-affected states, to natural disasters and humanitarian crises, traditional military responses are no longer sufficient to counter the most difficult security challenges of today.
However, the Government’s 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review was a missed opportunity. Instead of asking what could be done to meet our strategic security goals, it began by asking what could be cut, resulting in gaps in our military capacity and failing our armed forces. Meanwhile, David Cameron has diminished many of the European mechanisms which enable us to effectively fight cross-border crime.
In an uncertain landscape, our defence and security policies need to offer certainty and stability. In this economic climate we will have to be strategic with the defence budget and work closely with our allies if we are to achieve our aims. We want to see a strong, high-tech Armed Forces equipped for the challenges of the 21st Century with an ability to tackle emerging, interconnected threats.
Labour will support and maintain our outstanding Armed Forces
- We will ensure the UK has a responsive, high-tech Armed Forces, capable of responding to changing interconnected threats in an unpredictable security landscape.
- We will conduct a Strategic Defence and Security Review in the first year of government, with an inclusive national debate on the security and defence challenges facing the country.
- We will strengthen the covenant between our nation and our Armed Forces, veterans and their families. We will create a Veterans’ Register to make certain our veterans receive proper support on leaving service and we will enshrine the Military Covenant in the NHS Constitution.
- We will continue to roll out Labour’s Veterans’ Interview Programme, in which companies voluntarily guarantee an interview for job-seeking ex-forces personnel.
- We support the creation of an Armed Forces credit union, addressing the specific needs of Forces families.
- We will introduce legislation to make discrimination against members of our Armed Forces illegal.
- We will work to secure defence jobs across the UK, protect the supply chain and work with industry to grow Britain’s defence exports. In partnership with industry, we will put accountability, value for money, interoperability and sustainability at the centre of defence procurement.
- We will consult on creating a statutory requirement for all private companies to report serious cyber-attacks threatening our national infrastructure.
- We remain committed to a minimum, credible, independent nuclear capability, delivered through a Continuous At-Sea Deterrent.