IEDs Should be the Focus of the Strategic Defence and Security Review

In light of the recent appointment of Liam Fox as Defence Secretary and the Strategic Defence Review that will follow, Defence IQ asked 12,000 of its contacts for their views.

Thirty three percent of survey respondents believe Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) should be the focus of the Strategic Defence Review (SDSR). Of the current £43.6 billion UK Defence budget, approximately £50m is to be spent on IED programmes each year for the next three years. With the increase in Taliban attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq, the need for such an investment is seen as crucial.

The shortage of helicopters was considered the second most important issue. With such high profile press coverage of helicopter requirements in the past few months, respondents felt a re-evaluation of numbers would be vital to improving soldier support and capabilities on the ground. With fewer than 30 helicopters currently operating in Afghanistan, it was also viewed by fourty seven per cent of respondents that the order of the 22 additional Chinooks was not sufficient to provide the necessary support for deployed troops.

Defence IQ commissioned this survey to gauge and provide transparency on the opinion of UK military and industry regarding the forthcoming SDR. The survey aims to reflect the perceived priorities for defence spending to support UK troops.

Elsewhere, 56 percent of respondents felt that the Nuclear Trident programme should be replaced, deeming the cost too high and with no immediate benefit. With the initial cost of building Trident at £12 billion, the ongoing cost is expected to be over £1 billion every year for the next 26 years in order to maintain the submarines involved. The ultimate cost of the programme could total £38 billion.

The general ethos of the SDR is that it can only bring positive change for the services. The Queen stated in a recent speech, "My Government will fully support our courageous armed forces and undertake a full Strategic Defence and Security Review."The SDSR undoubtedly provides a real opportunity to lay down the foreign and domestic policy requirements for the future use of our Armed Forces.


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