Thursday, 18 October 2018
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We mark the passing, on the next page, of those who have served their country. Contributions from comrades and families welcome.

White Flag? – An examination of the UK's defence capability. Michael Ashcroft & Isabel Oakeshott from Biteback Publishing.


This is a very timely book, says reviewer Nick Watts. Whitehall is in the midst of the latest iteration of a recurring debate: How big a military does the UK need, and what is it for? This book delves into this question. In 1962 Dean Acheson, former US Secretary of State in the Truman era, remarked that Britain had lost an empire and not yet found a role. The resolution of this continuing dilemma affects the UK's armed forces, and the roles they might be expected to undertake, as Global Britain seeks to redefine itself.

We mark the passing on the next page of those who have served this country. Contributions from comrades and relatives welcome.

We mark the passing of those who have served this nation. Contributions from comrades and families welcome.

hebrandRecently, the Arctic Ocean has been melting to such an extent that we could be forgiven for thinking that the "battle for the Arctic" has begun, writes Patrick Hebrard. There are those who hope that, as the ice melts, they will have access to new trade routes, fishing areas, sources of hydrocarbons and minerals buried at the bottom of the sea. Others are concerned about the effects of thoughtless exploitation on the environment and indigenous peoples. Still others fear potential conflicts in the region.

Behind the veil of sustained political rhetoric, national posturing and media hype about unresolved territorial claims, vast hydrocarbon resources and the disappearance of the polar bear, there lies a complex web of controversial scientific debate fuelled by inadequate information and unreliable predictions. A constantly changing situation of this type is obviously a source of opportunism and faulty judgement. The most likely scenario,
however, is that of a natural or human disaster on a scale that no single country could hope to contain, a disaster that would require coordinated action, including military support.

chalmersmc-1-webNATO has released the latest figures on spending levels across the Alliance. An analysis of 28 of the 29 member states (excluding Iceland) shows that since Russia's intervention in Ukraine in 2014, most member states have significantly increased their levels of defence spending in real terms.. An article from RUSI gives context to remarks by President Trump at the NATO Summit.

The figures also show a significant convergence in spending levels between member states, with the largest increases taking place in those countries that have historically spent less on defence, especially in Central and Eastern Europe.

While much of the focus is on spending by states such as US, Germany, France, UK it is important not to ignore the very large increases in spending across many of the Alliance's other members, including most of the Alliance's smaller and more eastern states. For the Alliance as a whole, the median spending increase since 2014 has been 20% in real terms.

NATO Spending: The Great Convergence is a RUSI Newsbrief article written by Professor Malcolm Chalmers. Access analysis at: https://rusi.org/publication/newsbrief/nato-spending-great-convergence

Professor Malcolm Chalmers, pictured here, is Deputy Director-General of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI)

We mark the passing of those who served this country. Contributions from comrades and families welcome.

philip dunne rusiAs part of the MoDernising Defence Programme (MDP), UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson asked Philip Dunne, minister for defence equipment and support from 2012 until 2016, to conduct an independent investigation into the contribution that 'Defence' (the UK armed forces, Ministry of Defence (MoD) and industry) makes to the UK economy. The report notes that Defence's direct contribution to the UK's GDP includes over GBP7 billion (USD9.25 billion) in exports generated on average each year in addition to the MoD budget of GBP37 billion. The U K Defence Forum's Nick Watts wrote of the subject for Jane's Defence Weekly - this is an edited version.

Fulfilling a campaign promise, on May 8, 2018, President Trump announced the United States will withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and begin reinstating economic sanctions on Tehran. As the UK and NATO await visits from the President, Joseph E Fallon explains on the next page what's going on.

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