An Update on UK Defence: The MoD’s Report on the Modernising Defence Programme


Late last year, the UK Ministry of Defence provided an update on its 2015 report on defense modernization.

As one commentator put it with regard to the report:

A combination of strained alliances and ever-expanding political demands explains the MOD’s determination to secure funds to rebuild UK military capability.

After 20 years of preoccupation with counter-terrorism and humanitarian intervention, the current Defence Equipment Programme is now more focused on the heavier “state-on-state” capabilities required to deter a hostile major power in the North Atlantic region (warships, combat aircraft, mechanised ground forces, and so forth).

And all of this must take place while still having enough left over to do a bit of all the other things that are asked of the armed forces.

The report can be downloaded later in this article if so desired.

Here is one excerpt of the report which highlights the focus of UK defense modernization.

The character of warfare is fundamentally changing.  Advances in information and communications technology have drastically increased the speed at which attacks can unfold.  The newer domains of warfare – cyberspace and space – continue to grow in significance and provide our competitors greater scope for hostile action.  

Areas such as artificial  intelligence, autonomy, directed energy weapons (such as lasers) and warheads that can manoeuvre at hypersonic speeds provide new challenges and opportunities.

We expect this troubled period to endure.  States will continue to engage in aggressive competition unless deterred from doing so.  Technologies – established and novel – will continue to evolve at great speed.  We must act to maintain our competitive advantage in the immediate term and for the decades to come…..

More generally, we will focus on gaining ‘Information Advantage’ as the character of warfare changes.  The effective collection, analysis and dissemination of vast quantities  of data will enable us to understand how our adversaries are thinking, how they may choose to act against us, and how we can act quickly to deter or defeat them.  

We are pursuing modernisation in areas like artificial intelligence, machine-learning, man-machine teaming and automation to deliver the disruptive effects we need in this regard.