A Non-offensive Defence Stance for the UK

Non-offensive Defence Stance for the UK

An Introductory Study on the Implications of the UK Adopting a Non-Offensive Defence Stance

Steven Schofield

Dr Steven Schofield was, for four years, research fellow in the Department of Science and Technology at the University of Manchester. This was followed by work with the Project on Demilitarisation in Leeds. A specialist in the field of arms conversion in the  post-Cold War era – he is the author of a number of studies, including Bradford University’s Peace Studies Research Reports: Employment and Security: Alternatives to Trident (1986) and (with Malcolm Dando and Michael Ridge, Arms Conversion in the United Kingdom (1992). In 1997, with Nick Lewer, he was co-author of the book Non-Lethal Weapons: A Fatal Attraction?  

In December 2002 his report: The UK and Non-offensive Defence An Introductory Study on the Implications of the UK Adopting a Non-offensive Defence Stance was launched in the Commons by former defence minister Peter Kilfoyle. In addition to various community assignments in the Bradford area, Steven is presently working with BASIC on a new project on civilian humanitarian intervention involving various initiatives in Europe and the USA, and also doing local regeneration work through the Bradford Neighbourhood Renewal Programme.


This research project began in the same week that the terrorist atrocities in the USA were carried out, resulting in the deaths of approximately 6,000-7,000 people, the destruction of the World Trade Center and severe damage to the Pentagon.

At the time of writing, the shock waves are still reverberating through the international community. Although the United States has not embarked on any immediate military operations, a considerable build-up of American and allied forces is taking place with the expectation of a sustained campaign focused initially on Afghanistan and the Bin Laden terrorist network.

No one should underestimate the profound dangers that could arise from serious conflict in a region of great instability, including military escalation and reprisals, leading to the nightmare scenarios where chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons are used. There is a growing realisation that, if we are ‘at war’ with terrorism, then the traditional means of engaging with the enemy through the use of overwhelming military force may only create a humanitarian disaster and increase international tension, rather than do what is absolutely vital, and bring the perpetrators (both the terrorists and regimes that support terrorism) to account under international law.

If these recent, terrible events can be said to serve any useful purpose then, it would be to alert the international community to underlying issues of how we look at global security and how we resolve conflict in the 21st Century.

Here, it is argued that the present crisis is only one manifestation of a broader malaise to do with the long-term deterioration in international relations. At the end of the Cold War there was a remarkable and unprecedented opportunity to build a new architecture of peace based on the principles of common security, as eloquently put forward by Michael Gorbachev, the former President of the USSR, in his speech to the United Nations Assembly in 1988.

Gorbachev articulated the vision of a world where nuclear weapons had been abolished by the year 2000, and deep cuts in conventional forces implemented. Those remaining were to be used only for territorial protection based on the concept of non-offensive defence, or as contributions to UN peacekeeping. Security would no longer be measured by military strength but by the international community’s co-ordinated efforts to tackle the grave social, economic and environmental crises which collectively plagued the lives of billions of people around the world through poverty and deprivation, while cumulatively threatening the very survival of the planet as manifested in global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer.

Despite serious support from senior, internationally-respected politicicans, reflected in the Brandt and Brundtland Commission reports on common security and the environment, these proposals were never seriously carried through. NATO maintained its commitment to collective, military security and, although there were reductions in force numbers from the peak levels of the Cold War, both force numbers and military spending remained very high by comparison to normal peace-time levels. As significant is the Western strategy of global military engagement with the use of advanced conventional weapons as well as the retention of nuclear weapons.

By the end of the century, common security was barely raised as a serious option, and the threats from Cold War confrontation were now replaced, in the minds of military planners, by threats from regional powers, rogue states, and possible terrorism. In the context of a revived military-security paradigm, there is a real danger that the recent terrorist atrocity will only strengthen the arguments for military capabilities across the full spectrum of potential threats.

The NOD approach is offered as one contribution to the alternative security debate in a world facing the threat of a new arms race. For the continued reliance by leading nations on nuclear and conventional forces, and the implicit threat to use those forces against other states, signifies that far from being united against a common enemy, we are still at war with ourselves.



Preface                                                                                                                                                                      Section 1   General Principles and Characteristics of NoD                                                                             Introduction                                                                                                                  Background

The Practicalities of NoD

Proposals for European NoD in the 1980s


UN Peacekeeping and NoD

A New Arms Race



Section 2   UK Security Policy under NoD –

Strategic, Procurement and Budgetary Implications                   


New Zealand – Contemporary Changes to Security Policy

UK Security Policy and the Strategic Defence Review

Background to the NoD Security Approach

UK Defence Spending and Defence Procurement

Industrial and Employment Context

Defence Employment and Military Exports

NoD and UK




                  Appendix A

Appendix B




Figure 1           NoD Compared to Traditional Military Deployments

Figure 2           Alternative Approaches to Security

Figure 3           NoD and the new Security Agenda Towards 2020



Table One                         Defence Expenditure

Table Two                         Defence Expenditure in Real Terms

Table Three                       Defence Budget Forecasts

Table Four                         Equipment Budget as a % of Total Expenditure

Table Five                         Distribution of Spending Between Sea

Land and Air Equipment

Table Six                           Main Procurement Programmes

Table Seven                      UK Defence Employment 1994/5-1997/8

Table Eight                       Comparison of Force Structures


The research for this report was undertaken in the two months between the terrorist attack on the USA and the fall of Kabul to the forces of the Northern Alliance.  The bombs are raining down on Afghanistan and the US military establishment is confidently predicting a swift end to the Taliban regime and its replacement by a ‘representative’ government based on the Northern Alliance. Or, if this turns out to be just another gang of religious fundamentalists, at least one appreciative of the assistance from America and more sympathetic to Western strategic interests in the region, including access to new oil supplies. Ideally, in this scenario, Bin Laden will be captured or killed and the Al-Qaida  network in Afghanistan destroyed.

Others see a long and difficult military campaign lasting through the winter and possibly even longer, with no clear prospect of victory, a worsening of the already serious humanitarian crisis and thousands of military casualties, including large numbers of the Allied forces. Far from achieving its objectives, the war will only inflame anti-Western sentiments, act as a recruiting platform for international terrorism and destabilise already unpopular and authoritarian governments like Pakistan’s, with potentially catastrophic consequences if extremist regimes take power and gain access to weapons of mass destruction.

No one should underestimate the profound dangers that could arise from serious conflict in a region of great instability, including military escalation and reprisals, leading to the nightmare scenarios where chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons are used. There is a growing realisation that, if we are ‘at war’ with terrorism, then the traditional means of engaging with the enemy through the use of overwhelming military force may only create a political and humanitarian disaster and increase international tension, rather than do what is absolutely vital, and bring the perpetrators (both the terrorists and regimes that support terrorism) to account under international law.

If the terrorist attacks can be said to serve any useful purpose then, it would be to alert the international community to underlying issues of how we look at global security and how we resolve conflict in the 21st Century.

Here, it is argued that the present crisis is only one manifestation of a broader malaise to do with the long-term deterioration in international relations. At the end of the Cold War there was a remarkable and unprecedented opportunity to build a new architecture of peace based on the principles of common security, as eloquently put forward by Mikhail Gorbachev, the former President of the USSR, in his speech to the United Nations Assembly in 1988.

Gorbachev articulated the vision of a world where nuclear weapons had been abolished by the year 2000, and deep cuts in conventional forces implemented. Those remaining were to be used only for territorial protection based on the concept of non-offensive defence, or as contributions to UN peacekeeping.

Security would no longer be measured by military strength but by the international community’s co-coordinated efforts to tackle the grave social, economic and environmental crises which collectively plagued the lives of billions of people around the world through poverty and deprivation, while cumulatively threatening the very survival of the planet as manifested in global warming and the depletion of the ozone layer.

Despite serious support from senior, internationally respected politicians, reflected in the Brandt and Brundtland Commission reports on common security and the environment, these proposals were never seriously carried through. Nato maintained its commitment to collective, military security and, although there were reductions from the peak levels of the Cold War, both force numbers and military spending remained very high in comparison to normal peacetime levels. As significant is the Nato strategy of global military engagement with the use of advanced conventional weapons as well as the retention of nuclear weapons.

By the end of the century, common security was barely raised as a serious option, and the threats from Cold War confrontation were now replaced, in the minds of military planners, by those from regional powers, rogue states, and possible terrorism. In the context of a revived military-security paradigm, there is a real danger that the recent terrorist atrocity will only strengthen those arguments and further isolate the case for peaceful alternatives.

The Non-offensive Defence (NoD) approach introduced here, is offered as one contribution to the alternative security debate in a world facing the threat of a new arms race. The continued reliance by leading states on nuclear and conventional forces, and the implicit threat to use those forces against other states, signifies that far from being united against a common enemy, we are still at war with ourselves



General Principles and Characteristics of NoD  


This section considers the growth of interest in Non-offensive Defence (NoD) during the Cold War, when the world faced what seemed to be an uncontrollable arms race, its subsequent application to other conflict situations and to UN peacekeeping. NoD’s emphasis is on a credible military defence structured in such a way as to provide limited offensive capability and, therefore, act as a confidence-building measure to end the impasse in arms control and disarmament negotiations. Opposition to NoD focused on its perceived failure to deter military aggressors and its potentially negative impact on collective security through Nato.

The collapse of the Soviet Union and the transformation of the European political landscape effectively brought to a close this first phase of support for alternative defence proposals in Europe. But the concepts developed for NoD during this period have been applied to other areas of regional tension in the hope of achieving similar objectives.

The section concludes with a review of NoD’s contemporary significance in the context of a post-Cold War security agenda that has increasingly focused on the demand for UN peacekeeping and peace-enforcement operations. Also, with the threat of a new arms race and the breakdown of the existing arms control architecture such as the possible abrogation of the ABM treaty, a re-evaluation of NoD for European security is considered in the context of a broader, common security framework. 


It would be fair to say that the intellectual and political interest in NoD peaked during the 1980s, when the superpower confrontation at the heart of the Cold War had reached a new level of intensity and before the remarkable transformation brought about by Gorbachev’s peace initiatives.

Looking back on those grim times, it seems scarcely believable now to contemplate the sheer enormity of the conventional and nuclear forces amassed by NATO and the Warsaw Pact, and the various strategies for full-scale war centred on the Central European ‘battlefield’. There was a real sense of impending catastrophe, reflected in the mass protest movements against Nato’s decision to deploy cruise missiles as part of its strategy of flexible response, and an intense round of political and intellectual effort to find ways out of the impasse.

NoD emerged during this period as an alternative military security concept in comparison to more radical proposals, such as civilian-based defence, that were rejected as unrealistic and probably unacceptable to the general population. NoD, according to its proponents, offered a credible military stance that could garner political support.

To that extent, its emphasis on defensive force structures gave the genuine prospect of maintaining territorial integrity in the face of a potentially hostile and well-armed enemy, while at the same time reducing tension and serving as a confidence-building measure, since they could not be used for large-scale, offensive operations. The main objective, therefore, was to create a new European security architecture through which East/West relations could be significantly improved in the short term, and to revitalise the arms control agenda so that more ambitious nuclear and conventional disarmament proposals could be considered.[1]

In the context of traditional superpower politics NoD was undoubtedly a radical approach, but Gorbachev’s astonishing peace initiatives and the transformation of the European political landscape in the late 1980s and early 1990s simply overtook and effectively bypassed that agenda. In the period 1985-90, Gorbachev set the scene for an end to superpower confrontation, arguing for common security and initiating a series of unilateral cuts in Soviet nuclear and conventional forces as the first stage in a framework of deep reductions through disarmament treaties such as CFE.[2]

To some extent, credit should be given to the proponents of alternative security models since they obviously influenced new Soviet thinking, reflected in the removal of Russian troops from Eastern Europe and their re-deployment on a purely defensive, territorial basis, as outlined by Western supporters of NoD. But the sheer scale and ambition of Gorbachev’s proposals surpassed anything previously anticipated, including the abolition of nuclear weapons by the year 2000.

The remarkable events of the late 1980s and early 1990s that led to the collapse of one-party communist rule in Eastern Europe, the break-up of the Soviet Union, and the dismantling of the Warsaw Pact effectively marginalised the issue of military deployments. The East/West confrontation was acknowledged by all parties to be at an end and the remaining military forces ceased to be a political priority.

The main focus of Western security thinking was to refashion Nato, now that its traditional enemy no longer existed, as an alliance capable of ‘out-of-area’ operations such as in the former Yugoslavia.  Nato emerged from this period with a clear military superiority over any potential enemy and, despite the overall reduction in forces, the capacity for global force projection.

But if the military dilemmas that stimulated thinking on NoD had declined in Europe, there was still considerable interest from other regions facing similar problems of military build-up and where a dangerous impasse had been reached. These included proposals for defence restructuring in the Middle East, the Asian sub-continent, Southern Africa and the Korean peninsular.[3] To that extent, NoD was not a concept exclusive to the particular circumstances of the superpower military stand-off in Europe during the Cold War, but was adaptable to a range of security dilemmas where new thinking was needed in order to avoid further serious escalation and to help create the conditions for disarmament.

The Practicalities of Non-offensive Defence

Defining NoD is important because of the conceptual problems surrounding its meaning and the various interpretations of how it would operate in practice. Beginning at a broad level of generalisation, Möller provides a succinct definition: 

The armed forces should be seen in their totality to be capable of credible defense, yet incapable of offense.[4]

To that extent, emphasis should be placed on the characteristics of weapons themselves and also on the combination of force structures and weapons deployed for operations that are clearly seen to be defensive: 

Defensive is not an attribute of weapons, it is a mode of fighting. A ‘defensive’ or ‘non-offensive’ defense is, therefore, not one of ‘defensive weapons’ but a defence designed to fight in defensive mode, and to take full advantage of the possibilities offered by that mode of fighting.[5]    

Obviously, some weapons are easier to classify as defensive including anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles, compared with others that are offensive and unacceptable such as weapons of mass destruction. Many NoD researchers, therefore, provide a checklist of weapons and military platforms to help illustrate these distinctions at an operational level. (See Table One).[6]

Other factors need to be taken into consideration, however, such as whether these weapons are short-range or long-range and whether they are deployed in such a way that they depend on local support for supplies, or have an extended logistical support that allows for operations distant from the home base.

The emphasis on defence was not a new phenomenon. In the 1950s, German military experts, concerned that their country could become a nuclear battlefield, put forward the case for a defensive approach.[7] Essentially, they stressed the advantages of defence over offence through knowledge of the terrain and comprehensive logistical support, compared with operations involving offensive forces unfamiliar with the terrain and vulnerable to supply problems. Also these earlier approaches emphasised concerns with deterrence rather than on the capacity for confidence building through NoD:

… to build up defence in such a way that it will be in a credible position to stand against asymmetrically stronger forces of an aggressor and convincingly demonstrate in advance that the cost of aggression will be out of proportion to any possible gains.[8]



NoD Compared with Traditional Military Deployments




Theatre nuclear weapons


Main battle tanks


Trucks, Motorcycles

Short-range nuclear weapons Infantry Fighting Vehicles Anti-tank weapons (guns, recoilless rifles, mortars, grenade launchers, etc.)
Battlefield nuclear weapons Combat heli­copters Air defence weapons (guns, portable SAMs)
Chemical weapons Large-calibre, self-propelled artillery Obstacle-creating means (anti-tank mines etc.)
Strategic bombers Fighter-bombers Surface-to-Air missiles
Long-range ballistic missiles Air superiority fighters Interceptor aircraft


Tactical naval nuclear weapons Land attack weapons Minelayers
Aircraft carriers Submarines Land-based naval aviation
Large surface ships Small surface ships
Amphibious forces Coastal artillery

(Source: from Möller, Non-Offensive Defence – A Brief Introduction on the COPRI website, http://www.copri.dk/copri/researchers/moeller/bm.htm) 

Proposals for European NoD in the 1980s

There was a wide range of proposals for the actual deployment of non-offensive forces, reflecting different perceptions of how defensive systems might operate in practice. As far as Germany was concerned, some emphasised that large volunteer and reserve forces could be brought into action, others the deployment of professional forces in pre-selected choke points where any Warsaw Pact (WTO) attack would be concentrated. One particular strand of thinking also emphasised the potential of new precision-guided munitions (PGMs) and advanced command and control systems which provided new possibilities to swing the balance even further towards defensive systems.[9] Concerns were raised that, at one extreme, the sheer numbers of extra personnel required for reserve mobilisation would be unrealistic, while the emphasis

on technological solutions such as the electronic battlefield could be exorbitantly expensive. In other words, these failed practical tests of operational effectiveness and cost. A mainstream NoD approach stressed how professional forces could be deployed in a ‘spider’s web’ which tied down the aggressor in the first stages of any invasion, while bringing defensive forces quickly to bear in the forward area. This approach had the advantage of being both credible as a defensive strategy and also affordable:

…most NoD schemes envisage the utilisation of merely well-known technologies and thus presuppose no major investments. Second, to the extent that NoD implementation is embedded in arms control agreements and/or accompanied by a general military build-down, the required investments in new NoD technologies are unlikely to exceed the savings achieved through the build down.[10] 

Here we see the various criteria which characterise the modern approach to NoD – military credibility, affordability and an emphasis on ensuring that new defensive arrangements contributed to an improved security climate and to initiatives in the field of arms control and disarmament.

In the UK, a similar debate was undertaken through the influential Alternative Defence Commission during the 1980s which produced a series of reports on NoD supporting frontier defences through the professional armed services and backed up by territorial reserves, but at a much reduced level of conventional forces.[11] 


There was considerable opposition to the general concept of NoD on the predictable lines that the reliance on purely defensive systems was dangerous and delusive in military terms, while also posing a grave risk to the cohesion and stability of the Nato alliance on which Western security depended.

At the basic level of power politics, the fact that one side has adopted a defensive posture, and is attempting to alter the perception of its strategy, does nothing to diminish the threat from the other side, if the latter is an implacable and hostile enemy nation that contemplates the use of force to further its political objectives.

By acknowledging that the Soviet Union and its allies were, at least, potentially hostile,  (as NoD explicitly did) then to allow an aggressor access to your home territory is to provide a sanctuary from which the enemy can operate his forces and threaten the domestic population without any retaliatory threat against his territory. For supporters of Nato’s policy of flexible response, the capacity for offensive retaliation was a vital deterrent as it introduced a level of uncertainty as to the cost of invasion directly on the enemy’s homeland. Also, the objective within NoD to make the territory invulnerable through the capacity for attrition of enemy forces might stimulate a process of re-armament as the aggressor looked to re-assert his military superiority in order to carry out a successful attack.[12]

The other serious concern for opponents of NoD was the impact on Nato’s alliance cohesion, since they considered it would be virtually impossible to reconcile a declared policy of NoD with continued membership of Nato’s integrated command structure, or with the Alliance’s emphasis on burden sharing and interdependence among its members.[13] The reliance on territorial defence would prevent inter-operability and military support by and for other member countries, which were fundamental tenets of collective security. Ultimately, the future of the Alliance would be threatened and, therefore, the basis on which Western security had been sustained.

Of course, much of this critique rested on the belief that the Soviet Union was and would remain an ideologically motivated and aggressive superpower whose ‘raison d’etre’ was the elimination of the Western way of life. The subsequent transformation of East/West relations, indeed the adoption of NoD by the Soviet Union in ways that its critics had rejected as unrealistic for Nato, provided exactly the sort of confidence-building measure that contributed to an extraordinary period of nuclear and conventional disarmament.

Now, it is generally agreed that the UK and Western Europe face no serious threat of invasion or conventional (as opposed to terrorist) attack. But if proposals for the UK to adopt a NoD posture were put back on the political agenda, it is certainly the case that opposition would focus on these traditional concerns to do with credible defence and Alliance cohesion. Controversy would also exist over how NoD affected the UK’s increasingly significant role in peacekeeping and peace-enforcement operations around the world.

UN Peacekeeping and NoD

The post-Cold War security agenda has involved a clear shift towards UN peacekeeping, with the UK making a significant contribution, ranging from small-scale military policing roles to complex peace enforcement operations involving all three armed services.[14] It would be no exaggeration to say that there is an expectation on the UN to intervene in a variety of scenarios as originally envisaged and endorsed in Article 41 of the UN Charter. This recognised that if options such as economic sanctions had proved inadequate then the Security Council could take military action by air, sea, or land forces to maintain or restore international peace and security.[15]

Various criteria for intervention were considered by the former General Secretary, Boutros-Ghali in his influential publication Agenda for Peace (1992) that envisaged a role for the UN in preventative diplomacy, peacemaking, and peacekeeping, with a particular emphasis on humanitarian emergencies. Therefore the UN would be involved in a matrix of activities from more traditional peacekeeping to newer and complex peace enforcement operations, where opposition could take the form of well-armed and structured forces that needed to be expelled from a country under attack.

It is fairly easy to see how the majority of UN peacekeeping activities fit well with the NoD framework, since many of these tasks resemble those of a strictly national defence.

The real problem emerges in the more complex forms of peace enforcement and humanitarian intervention in which some offensive capability has to be incorporated in order to deal with an aggressor that has a significant military force.[16]

The dilemma, if moving towards a system of NoD, is to maintain a residual offensive capability strong enough to evict an aggressor forcefully and to maintain inter-operability between the various national forces involved in peacekeeping operations. One proposal is to ensure a distribution of offensive capabilities among member states such that no one state would have, or be perceived to have, a decisive advantage in traditional military terms:

Since offensive strength is the product of many factors, it is possible only to let it come into being upon the joining together of the diverse components.[17]

Some states, for example, might provide the transport capacity for air and sealift of an offensive task force without themselves possessing land forces with significant offensive capabilities. Essentially, there should be an acceptance of the option for military action through the UN, built on the philosophy of NoD, but with a minimal offensive capability. This is where NoD, which was seen as essentially a territorial concept, has to take on board the realities of effective UN operations outside the normal boundaries of its defensive role:

The need for offensive strength merely amplifies the capability dilemma springing from the need to combine defensive restructuring for national defence purposes with the maintenance of significant (yet reduced) offensive capabilities for collective security purposes.[18]

The focus here should not simply be on the technical aspects of inter-operability but on the legitimacy of UN peacekeeping and perceptions of military power. Essentially, any joint military operation would be UN-sanctioned, within a strict mandate of humanitarian aid and protection, and any limited offensive capability would only be available for that purpose before being effectively dismantled when the UN operation is completed.

As such, the offensive capability is evoked in a very different context to that of regional security tensions where the threat of invasion or attack is constantly a factor in other countries’ military strategies. Nor would the various national forces be re-deployed in ways that enhanced their offensive capabilities once the UN operation was at an end. Quite simply, involvement in UN peace-enforcement should not be an excuse for emphasising offensive over defensive capabilities.

A New Arms Race 

If the security context has changed since the collapse of the Soviet Union, it remains one where NoD should play a significant role since the original optimism that the end of the Cold War would usher in a new peaceful world order has been gradually replaced by more pessimistic interpretations.

In the view of Western military strategists, we live in a multi-polar world in which the underlying rivalries between larger nation-states continue to be the basis for military planning. There are also other security issues raised by the growing gulf between rich and poor countries with the latter suffering from intra-national conflicts where the legitimacy of governments is constantly challenged and undermined in conditions of extreme poverty and dislocation. Governmental crises and social breakdown are the breeding ground for forms of political extremism and religious fundamentalism that threaten Western interests.[19]

The West continues to emphasise military security, rather than the resolving of the underlying conditions of poverty and environmental breakdown through a common security approach. Essentially, under American leadership, Nato stresses the need for supremacy in conventional terms against a major adversary and increased capabilities for intervention in these new threat scenarios generally characterised as Operations Other than War (OTTW). 

The pattern can be clearly discerned in the Bush administration’s policy. The emphasis has been on global force projection but also on opposition to existing arms control treaties, notably to the ABM Treaty as it prevents the development of the USA’s national missile defence programme. The implications are an increase in military spending and a new high-technology arms race – a situation compounded by the USA’s decision subsequent to the terrorist attack of September 11th, to accelerate development of a new advanced fighter aircraft and other weapons programmes.


NoD, as a concept, despite the fact that most attention centred on the European security dilemma of the 1980s, is neither historically nor geographically limited. Its greatest strength, in the context of a continued arms-race dynamic, is to offer practical and affordable alternatives which maintain an effective defence capability whilst also acting as a confidence-building measure.

Given practical and political difficulties with the adoption of a non-military alternative such as civilian-based defence, NoD offers a credible military alternative that also looks to a broader security agenda and longer-term objectives including substantial reductions in military forces. Therefore, it is absolutely vital to stress that NoD is a transarmament[20] strategy as much as a military stance, since the intention is to move swiftly towards significant disarmament once the benefits of stable forces and a reduced emphasis on military security has been acknowledged.

NoD inevitably raises some serious issues, such as what constitutes defensive rather than offensive forces, as many weapons and military platforms can be used for both purposes, and despite the fact that some are more defensive in character. The structure of a defensive force will be heavily dependent on the territory in which it operates. The literature on NoD does, however, demonstrate clear thinking on how the deployment of forces can be made in such a way both to satisfy the demands of deterring a potential aggressor, in a variety of geographical settings, and yet operate in a clearly defensive mode (albeit with a residual and limited offensive capability).

The issue of UN peacekeeping has emerged as fundamental to the pursuit of global security, with the emphasis on humanitarian aid through a spectrum of interventions ranging from small-scale military policing to peace enforcement operations. Although the latter involve offensive capabilities, the NoD approach is still relevant, since the various forces would only brought together in ways that could not be replicated for non-UN operations.

Obviously, this contrasts with the present situation where Nato jealously guards its independent operational capability as a collective security alliance. Especially in the context of a new, international arms race, where the arms control regime could unravel, the perception of Nato as the only military organisation capable of military power projection exacerbates international tension rather than diminishes it, especially if its operations are undertaken outside the United Nations’ framework for peacekeeping. The danger is that Nato’s present strategy of global power projection and increased military expenditure is taking us in precisely the opposite direction to that potentially provided by the NoD transarmament approach.

If adopted, therefore, NoD would be part of a dynamic process leading to a further re-evaluation not just of force structures but also of alliance structures and, ultimately, the very concept of security itself. This might include the possible replacement of NATO with the OSCE as the basis for a European system that includes Russia as an equal partner, a dedicated UN peacekeeping force as the only basis for international military operations and a common security agenda which looks to resolving the underlying problems of social, economic and environmental dislocation that fuel the fires of militarism. Of course, such radical proposals are not on the political agenda at present, nor do they look likely to be in the near future.

However, there are signs that the debate on alternative security concepts is influencing policy as it has done in New Zealand, where the Labour-led coalition government is instigating radical change. The next section draws on this example as an introduction to the need for a similar policy debate in the UK, where a contrast is made between the outcome of the recent defence review that focused on the UK’s contribution to Nato, and an alternative approach based on NoD principles for both territorial defence and UN peacekeeping.



UK Security Policy under NoD – Strategic, Procurement and Budgetary Implications. 


In this section we provide an overview of the contemporary situation, focusing initially on New Zealand’s recent experience to highlight an alternative security approach, before turning to the UK policy debate on the changing security environment at the end of the Cold War and the way in which the review carried out by the present government in 1998 will determine the UK’s military stance over the next two decades. The contrast is made between the potentially dangerous and destabilising path of force modernisation and global power projection that the UK is taking through its membership of Nato and an alternative NoD approach that stresses the build-down of forces, a renewed emphasis on arms control and disarmament and a European common security architecture.

Following on is a more detailed analysis of existing procurement programmes and projected military spending. The threat from international terrorism will, undoubtedly, influence future options and some observations are made on possible impacts. The present policy is compared with one based on the adoption of NoD and its procurement and budgetary implications. Some concluding analysis is made of the changes to the military-industrial base following a radical restructuring and the need for effective arms export controls and an arms conversion policy.

New Zealand – Contemporary Changes to Security Policy

New Zealand provides a significant example of a country that has carried out a radical re-evaluation of its security needs. The new Labour-led coalition government, as one of its main priorities, undertook a defence review in 2000, arguing that the country faced no direct military threat and there were no circumstances under which it would conduct military actions on its own other than for small-scale, localised operations, as in East Timor.[21] Any overseas deployments would almost certainly be as part of an international contingent and New Zealand would be expected to provide a particular capability of land based-forces backed up by strategic and tactical airlift.

As a result of the review, the army will retain two light infantry battalions provided with new armoured and light utility vehicles, and tactical communications radios. Provisional improvements identified in the Review include close-in fire support and reconnaissance vehicles.

The most radical changes are in the airforce and the navy. The two squadrons of modernised Skyhawks fighters are to be disbanded and the offensive air capability eliminated. The air force has never been used in combat, there is no likelihood of such

use in territorial defence, and it would only be of marginal utility in any international peacekeeping role. Plans, therefore, to lease F16-A fighter aircraft as replacements for the

Skyhawks have been cancelled and an estimated £NZ 1 billion capital cost and £NZ 1.2 billion running costs have been saved. Also, advanced trainer aircraft and the anti-submarine warfare role of P-3 patrol aircraft are no longer required. In the latter case, this saves on an expensive mid-life upgrade. By way of contrast, the strategic and tactical airlift capability will be improved through the upgrading of C-130 transport aircraft.

As far as the navy is concerned, much more emphasis is given to economic security, through the protection of New Zealand’s, coastal Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), one of the largest in the world. As a result, the navy will have a new vessel capable of long-distance patrols to protect fishing rights, etc. The Leander-class frigate, as it reaches the end of its operational life, will be replaced by a multi-role vessel with a greater sealift capability.

It should be stressed that, overall, the defence budget is expected to increase slightly, as the savings from the F16 cancellation are to be re-directed to other projects, mainly for the army, but also to provide close-range, anti-ship missiles for the remaining aircraft and helicopters in the air force.

For the opponents of the Labour Party, this policy is depicted as essentially unilateralist and isolationist, undermining collective security and making New Zealand reliant on others, particularly Australia, for key aspects of its defence. Yet the process involved in reaching the radical conclusions of the defence review is precisely the one identified as essential in a modern NoD perspective; i.e., reconceptualising the meaning of security in a post-Cold War environment.

New Zealand’s stance is based as much on economic as military security, in recognition of its specific condition as an island state with a large EEZ to protect. At the same time, it has identified the optimum contribution it can make to peacekeeping operations through a focus on land-based capabilities. Given the finite resources available, any continuation of the previous policy, with its emphasis on offensive air power, would have led to serious budgetary problems that threatened to undermine its new security goals.

It would be easy to dismiss this example as irrelevant to the UK, since New Zealand is a small country in a relatively peaceful region of the world. But the specifics of this review of security policy are less important than the fact that it was carried out in the first place. It is the process that New Zealand went through, and the political confidence shown in making radical change against strong opposition, that is significant for those advocating an alternative security approach.

The legacy of the New Zealand Labour Party’s anti-nuclear policy in the 1980s should not be underestimated here. Against powerful opposition, both at home and abroad, the then Labour government under David Lange carried through a non-nuclear defence policy banning Nato’s nuclear-capable ships from entering New Zealand’s ports. The United States and Australia brought heavy pressure on the government to change its policy but it stood firm, representing it as one that looked to contribute, albeit in a small way, to the ending of the arms race.[22]

There was strong popular support and an informed debate on New Zealand’s role in the world, as part of a broader coalition of smaller countries determined to bring pressure on the superpowers. In other words, the political culture in New Zealand is one conducive to debate about military and security policy, it has a government prepared to carry out radical change, and a general confidence that the country can play a positive role in the international arena against powerful vested interests that will depict its new security policy as dangerous and destabilising.

UK Security Policy and the Strategic Defence Review

So far we have developed a general framework for NoD and briefly reviewed historical examples and more recent developments, including the removal of Soviet forces from Eastern Europe, an astonishing transformation that signalled the end of the Cold War. The challenge for the UK in implementing the radical changes required by NoD is as profound, in many ways, as that facing the Soviet Union in the late 1980s.

A high value has traditionally been attached to the military, partly because of Britain’s historical legacy as an imperial power and partly through its role as the leading European member of Nato. The main political parties share a broad consensus on the military’s importance while emphasising the contribution of the armed forces to the UK’s  international status.

According to this perspective, the UK is simply very good at military operations. The armed forces are regarded as highly professional and with a reputation for excellence. Indeed, the UK is one of the few countries still capable of combined service operations, including the use of special forces.[23] Although maintaining such a range of forces and advanced weaponry has made the UK one of the highest military spenders against the average for European countries, this is seen as money well spent – given the country’s international role and status. In that well-worn phrase, the UK ‘punches above its weight’.[24]

Recently, the present government instigated a Strategic Review that attempted to match military capabilities against the UK’s role in the changing security environment after the Cold War. At one level, the review could be interpreted as a radical departure from the traditional perspectives that have dominated thinking on security. Firstly, there was an acknowledgement that Nato has no conventional threat against it now or in the foreseeable future:

…a strategic attack against Nato is no longer within the capacity of any conceivable opponent and to re-create that capacity would take many years.[25]

Secondly, the review placed new emphasis on a broader internationalist perspective, including defence diplomacy through support for arms control processes and other such confidence-building measures, and an enhanced role in UN peace support operations in order to contain conflict.

However, any new approach to security is essentially subsumed under the main thrust of the review – to confirm the commitment to Nato as the bedrock of Western security, despite the lack of an identifiable enemy, and the continued reliance on nuclear weapons, albeit with a reduced number of warheads deployed on the Trident ballistic missiles.

Clearly, elements of present UK policy would fit into the NoD framework, especially defence diplomacy as a confidence-building measure and support for UN peacekeeping. But the strategic review’s main pre-occupation was towards asserting the UK’s role as the leading European member in Nato’s Joint Rapid Reaction Forces and its capability to carry out operations outside the traditional Nato area. Indeed the strategic review is based on the assumption that the UK will be able to participate in one full-scale combat operation such as in the Gulf War, or two smaller regional operations simultaneously such as in Kosova. The UK’s contribution would be the deployment of up to 50 warships and support vessels, 4 army brigades, 100 combat aircraft, 100 support aircraft and 60 support helicopters. Ultimately, as well as being able to mount such operations the UK must also be in a position to recreate a larger military force against the possibility of a new conventional threat to Europe emerging.[26]

The strategic context is complicated to some extent by the EU’s objective of developing its own military assets in support of its defence and security policies. As stated at the Helsinki European Council in 1999, the new EU force is envisaged as one capable of operations up to corps level (15 brigades or 50,000 to 60,000 personnel) with its own integrated command structure.[27] In part this reflects concerns emerging from the Kosovo campaign that EU countries were found lacking in many areas including all-weather offensive capability and precision-guided weaponry and that the US was responsible for most of the combat mission including strategic lift, logistical support and intelligence.

The UK government is wary of any EU proposals that might be seen to weaken the support for Nato as the main Western security organisation, but was prepared to commit forces to European operations where Nato as a whole was not engaged. The maximum component would be around 12,500 strong dependent on the operational requirements but involving, for example, an armoured or mechanised brigade, one aircraft carrier, two nuclear-powered submarines, up to four destroyers/frigates and a maximum of 72 combat aircraft.[28]

The MoD, therefore, has continued the process of weapons’ modernisation. Central to the equipment programmes were the completion of the contract for 232 Eurofighter aircraft at over £18 billion, a full complement of long-range missiles to contribute to air superiority, as well as a fleet of nuclear-powered submarines with cruise missiles, and new attack helicopters, amongst others. In the medium term, the destroyer fleet will be

replaced and new aircraft carriers built carrying next-generation Harrier aircraft. Further along the horizon a new generation of long-range fighters is also planned.

It is striking that virtually every Cold War project has been maintained, albeit at reduced numbers, and many of the systems that might reasonably have undergone reassessment under a strategic review have moved inexorably through the procurement process.

It is also interesting to note that the configuration of such extensive military forces bears little connection with territorial defence of the UK mainland, since the security framework is geared to rapid, out-of-area deployment.[29]

The UK is, therefore, incapable of re-orienting its forces to a defensive mode as long as it maintains a collective security approach dominated by US military doctrine. Where NoD emphasises the build-down of weapons, there is the real danger that Nato’s present strategy will result in a potentially dangerous and destabilising nuclear and conventional arms race. Already there are strains to the existing arms control regimes, particularly the ABM Treaty through the determination of the Bush administration to develop National Ballistic Missile Defences and to pursue the deployment of space-based military systems. (See Figure 1) The Bush administration has a barely disguised contempt for arms control and in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks there is a demand for increased military spending. Acceleration of advanced weapons development is planned even though there is no clear basis on which to judge their merits against the range of possible terrorist threats, which might be more effectively addressed by police and intelligence work to identify terrorist networks and cells.

This brief overview indicates the profound nature of the challenge that NoD poses to existing UK defence and security policy. There is a fundamental need for a complete overhaul of the Western alliance structure with the replacement of Nato by the OSCE and much greater emphasis on a political framework for European security. The events of September 11th have served only to accentuate Nato’s determination on long-range force projection and new thinking is desperately needed to resolve the security dilemmas that face us, as the present path of re-armament can only be a major contribution to international tension.



Alternative Approaches to Security

Military-Security Paradigm


Build-up of offensive military systems

Dismantling of arms control regimes

Stimulating nuclear and conventional arms race

Weakening of the United Nations and its potential marginalisation

Continued emphasis on collective security in Europe risking the isolation of Russia



Arms Control/Disarmament Paradigm


Build-down of offensive weapons

Emphasis on defensive structures and confidence-building measures leading to nuclear and conventional disarmament

United Nations Peacekeeping, including preventative diplomacy

Strengthening of United Nations as the only legitimate institution to sanction peace enforcement operatio


Move towards a common security framework through the OSCE, including Russia in a new European security architecture


Background to the NoD Security Approach

The strategic review represents yet another missed opportunity to recast the security debate in a broader framework, emphasising the inter-relationships between economic, social and environmental pressures that lie as the root cause of many security problems, and the need for a multi-dimensional approach in which the military option is only one element. Most disappointing is the lack of a framework that gives some indication of how the UK government would like to see the world in twenty years time and how, by using a broader concept of common security, it could contribute to peaceful development and further its international objectives. (See Figure Two)


NoD and a New Security Agenda towards 2020 

  • Reductions in conventional forces and a strengthening of the capacity of the United Nations to respond to intra-state and inter-state violence and to humanitarian crises.
  • More equitable and sustainable use of the world’s natural resources
  • More equitable economic development including increased assistance to developing             countries 
  • Greater use of diplomatic and economic means to avert and mitigate security tensions by addressing their root causes and to bring about the reversal of any consequences from the violation of international norms and standards 
  • Stronger verification regimes for weapons of mass destruction including inspection and enforcement.
  • Significant reductions in, and longer-term elimination of, nuclear weapons.

NoD requires, therefore, a transitional strategy, focussing on how the UK could restructure its forces towards a stance that stresses territorial defence and peacekeeping, while moving to a broader political-security framework for disarmament and a new European security architecture.

UK Defence Spending and Defence Procurement 

Here we provide an analysis of existing and planned military expenditure and procurement, focusing on the major projects that are being brought on stream.[30]

Table One gives a breakdown of defence spending and planned expenditure as part of the government’s overall spending plans [31] while Table Two compares real spending over the period 1996/7 to 2001/2, showing that the cash level increase has not matched inflation over this period and military spending has declined in real terms and as a proportion of GDP.

However, the forecasts show a possible range of future spending from 2004-5 onwards which indicate a new impetus to expanding the defence budget in real terms for the first time in many years. (See Table Three.)


Defence Expenditure  – (£bn)

2000/01                         2001/02                 2002/03                 2003/04

23.6                              23.8                        24.2                        24.9

(Source Budget 2001)


Defence Expenditure in real terms (£m)

96/97                    97/98                     98/99                     99/00                     00/01                     01/02

24,315                   22,878                   23,037                   22,163                   22,318                   21,927

(Source – Ministry of Defence using 99/2000 GDP deflator)


Defence Budget Forecasts (lowest to highest forecast in £m)

2004/05                                         2005/06                                 2006/07

25,100-25,500                     25,500-26,200                     26,000-28,800

(Source Budget 2001 and Defence Research and Analysis)

Table Four illustrates the percentage of the overall defence budget taken up by equipment expenditure, staying relatively stable at 45%, and reflecting the importance of modernisation, high-technology weaponry and military R&D. However as Table Five shows, there are major differences in the split between the three main areas of spending, with air equipment dominant. This is partly explained by the phasing of expenditure on Eurofighter (the single most expensive project ever in the UK) after the peak years of Trident expenditure but also the growing importance of a range of new offensive air systems including a family of new long-range missiles.


Equipment Budget as a % of total expenditure (£m and %)

1999/2000    2000/0   1              2001/02                 2002/03                 2003/04

9,803                      10,082                   10,620                   10,890                   11,200

44.0                          44.20                     44.60                     45.0                        45.0

(Source – Defence Statistics 2000 and Defence Research and Analysis) 


Distribution of Spending Between Sea, Land and Air Equipment



1996/7                   1997/8                   1998/9


Sea Equipment                         1,949                      1,872                      2,279


Land                                            1,640                      1,530                      1,620


Air                                                                3,029                      3,092                      3,640


(Source Defence Statistics 2000)



Appendix A gives a detailed breakdown of all the exiasting major projects and those in the pipeline as given approval under long-term costings. It is clear that the MoD has a range of expensive procurement projects, including a range of platforms and missiles to be used for offensive force projection. Many also involve collaborative arrangements both through government-led institutions and through industrial networks of transnational military corporations. The ability of the MoD to keep within the estimates for overall military expenditure, given traditional problems with cost over-runs and delays, must be open to question. It should also be stressed that no account here is taken of the budgetary implications of potential new projects such as a European version of ballistic missile defence, nor of any re-orientation of defence policy in the wake of September 11th such as enhanced internal security/special forces operations that would fall within the remit of the MoD.[32]


Procurement reform has been pursued, including a new Smart Procurement/Acquisition System[33] and the restructuring of the MoD’s Procurement Executive giving it Agency status. Much of the stress is on new initiatives to bring a more commercial culture forward. But the fact remains that, as equipment becomes ever more sophisticated and technologically demanding, the timescale for development is extended and costs of each new generation of weapons is considerably higher than previous ones. The potential for savings may be great, as the government claims, but the history of procurement reform suggests that the pressures on defence spending from expensive projects will remain.


Table Six gives some longer-term costings for new projects. Although the peak expenditure on the most expensive programme, the Eurofighter, will have passed, the table illustrates how many new projects are on stream to enhance the UK’s offensive capabilities. This is of considerable importance from the NoD perspective. Acknowledging that there will be very little initial saving on the procurement budget over the short term, given existing commitments and compensation claims if projects were significantly reduced or cancelled, there would still be significant scope for reductions on these longer-term projects. However on present trends, and assuming extra resources to counter terrorist threats, there must be every expectation that the defence budget will move above the higher levels projected and towards £30bn by 2006-7.





Main Procurement Programmes



Project                                                                          Cost (£bn)                                             In-Service Date



Skynet 5                                                                        £1.5                                                        2006




Astute                                                                            £4.5                                                        2005



Type 45                                                                         £5.2                                                        2007


Future Aircraft                                                             £2.7                                                        2012



Future Attack

Submarine                                                                  £4.0(e)                                                    2015


Future Surface

Vessel                                                                             £6.0(e)                                                   2013



Combat Support                                                          £2.0                                                        2004



Bowman                                                                      £2.5                                                       2004


Project                                                                          Cost (£bn)                                             In-Service Date

Tracer                                                                            £2.2                                                        2008


Infantry Fighting                                                          £1.5                                                        2009



Project                                                                           Cost (£bn)                                             In-Service Date



Merlin Mk1                                                                 £4.9                                                       2000


C130J                                                                            £1.0                                                        2000


Apache                                                                          £2.8                                                        2000


CASOM                                                                         £1.0bn                                                   2002

Stand-off missile


Eurofighter                                                                   £18.8bn                                                2002


Nimrod                                                                          £2.8bn                                                   2005



FSTA Future                                                              £13bn                                                     2007

Strategic Tanker Aircraft


A400M                                                                          £2.0bn                                                   2008



SABR Support                                                             £5.0bn                                                   2009




BVRAAM                                                                    £1.3bn                                                   2011



Future Joint                                                                  £7.0bn                                                   2012

Combat Aircraft


Future Organic                                                             £3.0bn                                                   2012

Early Warning System


Future Offensive Air Capability                               £10bn                                                    2017




(Source – MoD) National Audit Office and other specialist sources, (e) = estimate based on previous

generation of equipment as costs are confidential)

Industrial and Employment Context


The government has made it clear that it considers the UK’s military industries as a strategic sector – in other words, a vital industrial and technological asset providing state-of-the-art equipment, high-technology manufacturing and R&D as well as much needed and a highly skilled jobs. There is active support for arms sales abroad through the Defence Export Services Organisation and celebration of the UK’s position as one of the world’s major arms traders.


Appendix B provides a review of the leading UK defence contractors (or those with a significant UK presence).[34] It is clear from the list that there has been a process of massive consolidation through merger, acquisition and divestment. Some famous names have disappeared from the military sector including GEC, Racal Electronics, and Vickers.


In broad terms, two dominant aerospace companies have emerged in Europe, firstly B.Ae Systems in the UK and European Aeronautic Defence and Space (EADS) based in France. B.Ae was already the leading UK military contractor before its takeover of GEC’s defence interests in 1999. Not only did this consolidate its domination of UK defence procurement, it also enhanced B.Ae’s status as a global defence business with a significant presence in the USA.


As far as EADS is concerned, the main consolidation began with the merger of the French companies Aerospatiale and Matra as the first stage in the formulation of the Franco-German combine including DASA of Germany in 1999, followed by CASA of Spain and Finmeccania of Italy. This process, although led by industry, has been given considerable political support in order to overcome the fragmentation in the European defence industry and to ensure the development of European companies that can compete globally against the leading American aerospace giants such as Lockheed.


Joint armaments co-operation is presently organized through OCCAR (Organisme Conjoint de Cooperation en matiere d’Armament) established by France, Germany, Italy, and the UK in 1996, with the remit of enhancing co-operation by introducing greater efficiency in the management of equipment projects. Programmes currently managed by OCCAR include the counter battery radar (COBRA), the multi-role armoured vehicle (MRAV), the Tiger anti-tank helicopter and the Milan, Hot and Roland missiles. The A400M strategic air transport programme (based on Airbus) is due to be placed under OCCAR management, once contracts are signed by the participating nations, and under a new commercial structure for Airbus Industries to overcome some of the traditional problems of waste and duplication associated with collaborative projects.


By 1999 the process of European rationalization had seen reductions in the number of aircraft and helicopter manufacturers including EADS’ Eurocopter against the Anglo-Italian Augusta-Westland group, and two missile manufacturers Thale (the privatized French company Thomson CSF) and Matra-BAe Dynamics (MBD) formed by Aerospatiale, Matra/British Aerospace and Alenia Marconi – now a larger missile group than Lockheed Martin and second only to the US giant Raytheon.


A similar process has been underway in satellite manufacture but, apart from aerospace, the more traditional defence platforms in shipbuilding and land combat systems are still characterised by duplication and over-capacity at a European level.


Defence Employment and Military Exports


It is estimated that around 10% of the manufacturing workforce is dependent on military work with the majority through UK MoD contracts. However, military exports are significant, accounting for about 40% of the total output of UK arms manufacturers. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the UK ranks fourth in the supply of arms, below US, Russia and France. Total contracts signed in 1999 were valued at just over £5 billion.[35]




UK Defence Employment 1994/5-1997/8



MoD Orders                                                 Export Orders


Direct                     Indirect                                  Direct                     Indirect



94/5145,000                125,000                                 45,000                   45,000


95/6135,000                130,000                                 70,000                   75,000


96/7120,000                120,000                                 90,000                   85,000


97/8110,000                115,000                                 65,000                   65,000



(Source: Defence Statistics 1999)



Claims that the military-industrial sector is of strategic importance should be treated with extreme caution because the rationalisation of the industry has left it as a relatively small part of the economy. In 1980/81 military-related employment was much higher at 740,000, so over the last two decades more than half of all jobs have been lost. Although further losses would be characterised as a threat to high-technology manufacturing, the fact remains that any further restructuring involves only a small percentage of the total UK workforce. Of more immediate concern are the localised impacts on military-dependent communities.


An effective arms conversion policy is required, recognising the considerable difficulties involved in arms companies making the successful transition to civil production that make the traditional approach of ‘swords into plowshares’ an unrealistic one. Rather, the government can play an important role by using the savings from reduced military expenditure to maintain a macro-economic policy of demand stimulation and support for civil R&D in new technology areas like renewable energies. Regional aid packages including incentives to industry and retraining support will help arms-dependent local economies to diversify.[36]


Conversion policies can also deal with the impact of reduced arms sales. Basically, the arms trade is characterised by hidden subsidies and government financial support, particularly through the Export Credit Guarantee Department and through the role of the Defence Exports Services Organisation.[37] Under NoD it would be a priority to reduce the availability of weapons for sale significantly in order to contribute to broader security goals. The savings from eliminating this support by closing DESO and ending trade subsidies should be transferred into conversion funding as further assistance when arms sales decline.


The process of arms industry restructuring is far from over. Both the industrial imperative to create globally competitive industries and the political emphasis on European collaborative projects will see even further consolidation. Before the B.Ae and GEC merger, B.Ae had been in serious negotiations to create a  defence company involving the French and German companies that eventually set up EADS. When this proved impossible to achieve because of disputes over the value of share ownerships, B.Ae settled for the GEC deal. There is continued speculation about the company merging with either Lockheed or Boeing in the USA, especially as B.Ae is a junior partner in the recently announced US DoD joint strike aircraft order won by Lockheed. The presence of UK companies in global corporations and the UK government in European procurement institutions demonstrates how the military-industrial system is operating at both the national level and as part of wider, international political/industrial networks and how NoD reform must also operate at those levels.[38]


NoD and UK Defence


We now have a picture of the present strategic, procurement, budgetary and industrial underpinnings of UK policy and how profound the implications are under the NoD alternative. It should also be stressed that our approach is different to the traditional one associated with NoD focussing exclusively on territorial defence. Here, the UK force structure would be fairly straightforward. The navy would have a purely coastguard role with a small fleet of frigates, and any underwater requirement met by conventional rather than nuclear-powered submarines. The airforce also would focus on coastguard protection, with no long-range fighter aircraft. A smaller army has the main responsibility for territorial defence, possibly with some enhanced role for special forces involved in internal security and anti-terrorist roles. The Trident nuclear weapons system including missiles and submarines would be scrapped.[39]


Such a stance does not, however, fulfil the broader objectives of a modern NoD strategy viewing the UK as a leading contributor to progressive international development through UN peacekeeping and through broader engagement with arms control/disarmament and confidence building measures.[40] One approach is to look to the EU’s evolving military command structure as one capable of integrating national forces that are configured mainly for territorial defence but which, in combination, can be used for UN peacekeeping, including a joint and limited offensive capability. This would be a precursor to the longer-term strengthening of the OSCE’s security function as the main European organisation contributing to UN international peacebuilding.[41]


The UK’s responsibility in a EU peacekeeping/enforcement corps could be through specialisation in a naval role that included a capacity for transport and amphibious landing and through ground forces trained for both combat and engineering support. EU partners would provide other capabilities such as air defences and logistical support. Again, it should be stressed that, although capable of some offensive activities, the main thrust of such a corps would be on peacekeeping, and where the bulk of resources would be dedicated to civil reconstruction through a range of economic and environmental programmes.[42]


Many of the new and larger procurement projects would be cancelled. These include the two aircraft carriers, nuclear-powered submarines, BVRAAM – the beyond visual range missile, CASOM – the conventionally armed standoff missile, carrier-based aircraft and the future long-range offensive aircraft. The Type 45 destroyers should also be cancelled and any future development based on 25-30 vessel fleet using designs for smaller frigates. There is also a case for a new coastal-defence, conventional submarine fleet based on the Upholder class.


The Eurofighter will have already entered service but the numbers should be radically reduced to no more than 50 and geared exclusively for mainland territorial defence. The main army programmes for communications, reconnaissance and transportation should be continued as the army at present lacks some fairly basic capabilities including a secure communication system.


The programmes for short-range anti-tank and anti-aircraft weapons should be supported for UN peacekeeping and territorial defence. Finally, the Trident submarines would be dry-docked while a comprehensive nuclear disarmament treaty is negotiated.[43]


A joint European corps dedicated to UN peacekeeping could act as a very powerful signal that a new security approach had been adopted while the emphasis on territorial defence achieves many of the other NoD objectives, including the build-down of offensive systems. The UK, for example, could take the lead in identifying UN requirements such as specialised training of armed forces for peacekeeping through the setting up of a UN joint forces centre based in the UK. A key element would be how to plan for effective humanitarian aid and civil reconstruction programmes, as well as contribute to arms control and disarmament verification processes.


The UK could take a leading role in revitalising the arms control/disarmament agenda, partly in traditional areas of nuclear disarmament but also through new initiatives including agreed ceilings on long-range aircraft and missile systems, restrictions on military R&D, and much stricter controls on arms exports.


Table Eight shows that the armed forces have remained relatively stable over the last four years. Assuming a combined EU/OSCE military contribution of 15,000 – 20,000 and territorial defence of 50,000 – 60,000 there would be scope for a reduction of over 50% in the armed forces by 2010 with the largest proportional cut being in air force numbers.




Comparison of Force Structure


UK Armed Forces                                                                         NoD


98                           99                           00                           01           –               2010


Navy              41,937                   40,943                   40,159                   39,897   –               25,000


Army              102,416                 102,389                 103,086                 103,926 –               50,000


Air Force       54,527                   53,024                   51,896                   51,364   –               12,000



(Source Defence Statistics 2000)


Given this reduction in the armed forces by 2010 and the stripping out of much of the UK’s offensive weapons systems, the scope for savings on the defence budget will grow. Up to 2005/6 the sums saved are still relatively modest taking account of programmes already in the pipeline and various industry compensation claims for cancellations or reductions. The benefits would begin to accrue with savings of 25-30% in the five-year period up to 2010/11 and an annual defence budget in that year of approximately 40% less than 2005/6.[44]


From the NoD perspective, it is important that projects are subject to critical evaluation of their strategic impact on the objective of future progress on arms control. Surplus Eurofighters, for example, should be scrapped rather than sold on. This also raises the issue of military exports, complicated in the UK’s case because many larger programmes are managed through collaborative government arrangements. The UK should make clear its determination neither to encourage the sale of new weapons for export by dismantling the Defence Export Services Agency, nor sell on UK-force weapons that have become surplus to requirements unless a case can be made that they can contribute within the framework of the European peacekeeping corps. (Again this raises the issue of how offensive conventional capabilities can be brought into an arms control framework.)


Employment and industrial capability are important but not crucial issues in determining policy. The military-industrial workforce would be about half of the present size by 2010. Assuming an effective arms conversion policy, the absorption of 175,000 workers into new civil sector activities is a straightforward and manageable exercise. Similarly, the reductions in the armed forces would take place over several years and ex-service personnel can be absorbed into the civil economy, particularly given the wide range of training and skills developed during modern army careers.[45]


Nor should we be alarmed by the arguments about losing vital, strategic manufacturing and systems integration capabilities with serious threats to our longer-term security. Much military work is carried out by companies with a range of civil and military high-technology capabilities. Policy should be directed at supporting a strong European civil manufacturing base and R&D capability that can satisfy the declining demand for military projects. UK industry would also benefit from the growth of new technology areas supported by government funding. Assuming that the savings in military expenditure were re-allocated also to expand development aid, UK industry would also benefit from a range of civil reconstruction projects undertaken through the UN, where major infrastructure/engineering work would be required.





The UK’s present policy, based on the government’s strategic defence review, is predictably and disappointingly conservative in prioritising the commitment to collective security through Nato, despite some peripheral interest in confidence-building measures and UN peacekeeping. It represents another missed opportunity to re-cast security in a broader context of international economic and environmental development to tackle the fundamental issues of poverty and deprivation underlying many security problems.


The government may have acknowledged, in passing, that no serious conventional threat to Europe exists, but if one relied solely on the pattern of procurement it would be difficult to judge whether the Cold War had ended or not, since all the major Cold War equipment programmes continued without interruption and a new generation of offensive weapons is being seamlessly introduced.


Looking to the future, the UK will play a significant role in Nato’s out-of-area strategy and military expenditure will continue to rise, in real terms, to between £28-30 billion a year by 2005/6, including a procurement budget of between £14-16 billion a year. Essentially, the UK is locked into an institutional structure that places it as a junior partner to the USA in global force projection while supporting an industrial network of internationally competitive military corporations to maintain UK high-technology capabilities in aerospace and naval platforms, as well as long-range missiles.


NoD represents a fundamental challenge to the present strategy, involving a re-orientation both to UN peacekeeping and to a new European security architecture. By 2010 the armed forces would be cut by nearly a half, all major offensive systems stripped out of the procurement cycle and overall military spending down by at least a third and up to 40%. The UK would have a policy of combined territorial defence and a contribution to a EU corps dedicated to peacekeeping operations, as the first stage in the replacement of Nato with a European security system based on a strengthened OSCE.


For many strategists, this is simply unthinkable. It goes against the grain both in challenging the UK’s own perception of itself as a country with an international reputation for military excellence (despite the fact that out-of-area operations are dominated by the US) and the continued emphasis on Nato as the bedrock of collective security. Far from being unrealistic, however, the approach taken here is an entirely practical and feasible one that can operate at every level, including military and security policy, arms control and disarmament, dealing with the industrial, technological and employment ramifications of change.


By reorienting UK military forces to territorial defence and specialist naval and land elements of a EU peacekeeping corps, the requirement for many systems dedicated to offensive force projection including new aircraft carriers, new destroyers, long-range aircraft and missiles, would cease to exist. The UK’s remaining limited offensive capability would then become a factor only as part of a multi-national force that can carry out the full range of peacekeeping and peace-enforcement operations within an operational framework based on similar specialist contributions from other EU countries that have also re-oriented to NoD.


Territorial defence may require some new procurement including a small fleet of conventional submarines for coastal patrols and enhanced anti-terrorist defences including anti-aircraft missiles around vulnerable facilities such as nuclear power stations and reprocessing plants. However the overall restructuring will bring substantial reductions in the demand for military equipment and the military industrial base.


Conversion policies are most effective when they focus on the attraction of new industries to local areas of military-dependency rather than on company-based/plant based conversion which has proved notoriously difficult in practice because of the particular characteristics of arms manufacturers. Enhanced funding and support for regional economic development will be made possible by the re-investment of savings from reduced military spending. Also, there is considerable scope for government support in developing areas of new technology, including renewable energy, which can form the basis of expanding UK industries. As far as the companies themselves are concerned, most UK arms manufacturers are subsidiaries of larger transnational corporations, so policy should be directed at the European level to ensure a wide technological base focused mainly on civil manufacturing and R&D. Military work would constitute only a small and declining element for large civil engineering, aerospace and shipbuilding corporations.


Successful implementation of transitional policies like these is the first phase in the much more ambitious project required by NoD. Essentially, the UK could establish itself as one of the leaders in a new common security architecture for Europe that helps bring about fundamental change to the international system. The OSCE could make a regional contribution to the UN, building on the experience of an EU corps but incorporating a growing number of other European countries, including Russia, capable of providing integrated peacekeeping forces.


One initiative that the UK could make is to establish a UN peacekeeping centre to train Europe’s soldiers across the complete spectrum of UN operations.


At the same time, there should be a renewed momentum to disarmament both for existing treaty-related weapons as well as in new areas, particularly to control the qualitative arms race in weapons technology and military exports. The UK, as a reforming military power, has a responsibility and an opportunity under NoD, to bring progress to bear in all these areas and use the savings from disarmament to make a full contribution to internationally co-coordinated projects for economic and environmental reconstruction.


In other words, the UK under NoD will no longer be valued for its status as a military power but for its contribution to UN peacekeeping through the OSCE, its contribution to disarmament and support for sustainable international development. If the UK continues on its present path of re-armament and force projection through Nato, however, the outcome can only be further international instability and the undermining of any international efforts at arms control.







In the aftermath of September 11th it is all too easy to focus exclusively on the objectives and possible outcomes of the war in Afghanistan while ignoring the context of a longer-term trend towards Western military intervention and its implications for international relations.


Nato has reconstructed itself from a Cold-War military organisation focussed on a Soviet threat in Europe that has now disappeared, to one committed to global power projection involving complex operations as in the Gulf and former Yugoslavia. A continued and accelerating process of force modernisation is underway utilising the revolution in military technology, including enhanced communication and command and control, to provide rapid deployment of troops using advanced weaponry. Nato is now the only military organisation capable of utilising the full spectrum of capabilities for the likely international military scenarios, ranging from smaller peace enforcement operations to large-scale regional conflicts.


Remarkably, there has been very little debate about the new militarism, yet this now dictates the whole way that the West looks at its relationship with the wider world and, inevitably, how other countries look at their relationship with the West.


In the short-term, the over-riding objective will be to widen the international war against terrorism by attempting to eliminate the threat ‘at source’ (as well as increasing domestic security arrangements). Anti-western governments identified as sponsors of terrorism will be targeted, especially if the evidence points to biological, chemical and even nuclear threats, raising the possibility of multiple operations by Nato in the next year.


To maintain the coalition of support, an increasingly difficult task if the war aims expand, a variety of accommodations are on offer, even if that means turning a blind eye to what was previously considered unacceptable behaviour such as Russia’s policy in Chechnya, or quietly dropping sanctions as against the military dictatorship in Pakistan where new loans have been made available subject to continued support for the war.


So the pattern of international relations, in this post-Cold War environment, is a dual one of opportunistic alliances for short-term objectives and longer-term restructuring towards a system of heavily armed regional powers based on the example of Nato. In some ways this represents a return to the balance-of-power politics and calculations prior to World War One in that the conditions are being created for a new international arms race amongst competing regional powers, and increased regional tensions.


NoD, as a concept, becomes increasingly important because it offers an alternative approach to military security as a stage in the peaceful reconstruction of international relations. Instead of the new arms race, NoD is based on the assumption that countries have a legitimate right to protect themselves but at a much-reduced level of military preparations and configured in such a way that they offer no offensive threat to others.


By adopting NoD, the international community can move to a progressively more ambitious common security programme through arms control/disarmament negotiations, arms trade restrictions, and arms conversion policies to deal with the industrial and employment effects of reductions in military spending. Integral is an enhanced role for the UN, and recognition of its sole legitimacy to initiate peace keeping and peace enforcement operations. A central tenet is that a new international architecture of common security will free resources for civil reconstruction and international development to tackle fundamental problems of poverty and deprivation.


Many critics of the NoD will dismiss the potential for an alternative approach to international security as unrealistic in world riven by dangers, including traditional power politics, the breakdown of governance in the ‘zones of chaos’ and the insidious threats from terrorism.


The vast majority of states are, however, willing to co-operate on a broad range of international issues including developmental aid and international environmental policies, as well as on arms control and disarmament. In other words, we can confidently look to progress in many areas crucial to the development of common security but only if there is leadership from major states, particularly those who now possess the largest military forces and who must demonstrate good faith.


The UK, therefore, could play a pivotal role in a new impetus towards peaceful international development by adopting a NoD strategy and working with other EU countries to develop specialist capabilities for a EU corps dedicated to UN peacekeeping. In the longer term, Nato as a collective military security organisation would be replaced by the OSCE working towards a new pan-European system of common security.


Under NoD there would be scope for the UK to reduce the armed forces by half and to make large savings on arms spending by 2010 as the major offensive systems are cancelled and where forces are reconfigured for territorial defence and the specialist contributions to the EU corps. There will obviously be strong domestic opposition from powerful vested interests, but this can be overcome, as demonstrated recently in New Zealand, by an informed and inclusive debate about the real security needs of the country and how best the UK can play a positive role in the international system.


It is a now over a decade since Gorbachev put forward the case for comprehensive nuclear and conventional disarmament based on a series of practical proposals that would have, by now, seen the elimination of all nuclear weapons and the re-configuration of conventional forces for territorial defence. Here is the ultimate irony: that the statesman who proved the most articulate representative of the modern concepts of peace and common security emerged from an authoritarian political culture, while the leaders of the major Western democracies effectively buried that agenda under the guise of collective security.


NoD should not be seen as a panacea for all the security dilemmas facing the UK: there is clearly a need for further detailed study of force structures and deployments and of the procurement options that have been sketched out here. The evolution of a new European security framework is also a process that will involve considerable political and diplomatic effort in order to succeed. But just as the establishment of the UN was a response to the urgent need for peaceful reconstruction at the end of World War Two, new thinking is desperately needed on a security architecture to end the spectre of war in the 21st century. NoD can play an important role as a first step away from the failed system of collective security and towards progress on global disarmament and common security.










Steven Schofield: April 2002




Major Projects – 2000

Project                                                                              ISD     Peak                Cost



AAAW                                                                                                           2002       2002-4                      885

Air-Launched Anti-Armour Weapon (Brimstone)

Replacing cluster bombs to engage tanks beyond battlefield area

Alenia Marconi Systems Ltd (Formerly GEC-Marconi Radar and

Defence Systems



ASRAAM                                                                                                    2001        Passed                         900

Advanced Short-range Air-to-Air Missile for all main fighter aircraft

Matra-BAe Dynamics UK Ltd


ASTOR                                                                                                          2005       2002-4                   1,050

Airborne Stand-Off Radar – Long-range all-weather surveillance

and acquisition air platform & ground stations – five platforms

Raytheon E-Systems



ASTUTE                                                                                                        2005       2003-5                   4,500

Nuclear Submarine Batch 2

£2.8bn for first three and £1.7bn for second three

B.Ae Systems (Formerly GEC-Marconi, VSEL Barrow)



BOWMAN                                                                                                    2003            –                         1,900

Army battlefield radio – replacing Clansman system

48,000 radios and 30,000 computer terminals

Archer Communications Systems Ltd*



ATTACK HELICOPTER                                                                          2000       2000-1                   2,700

67 WAH-64 Longbow Apaches

GKN Westland Helicopters*



BVRAAM                                                                                                     2008            –                         1,300

Beyond Visual Range Air-to-Air Missile for Eurofighter aircraft


Matra-BAe Dynamics



CHALLENGER MBT                                                                                Past        1996-7                   2,325

Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank

Rolls Royce (originally Vickers – check)


COMMON NEW GENERATION FRIGATE – Type 45                   2007           –                          8,000

To replace Type 42 destroyer

Cost includes £2.8bn for Principal Anti-Air Missile System (PAAMS)

B.Ae Systems and Vosper Thorneycroft


Project                                                                              ISD     Peak                Cost



CONVENTIONALLY ARMED STAND-OFF MISSILE                  2002       2000-2                   1,000

All main aircraft against strategic, tactical and infrastructure targets

Matra BAe Dynamics


EUROFIGHTER                                                                                          2002       2001-3                   18,800

232 Air superiority and air-to-ground aircraft to replace

Tornado F3 and Jaguar

B.Ae Systems



FUTURE CARRIER-BORNE AIRCRAFT                                           2012            –                              –

Up to 150 Multi-role fighter aircraft to replace

Sea Harriers and Harrier GR7

Lockheed Martin Tactical Aircraft Systems



FUTURE CARRIER VESSEL                                                                  2012            –                           2,700

2 Aircraft Carriers

B.Ae Systems


FUTURE TRANSPORT AIRCRAFT                                                     2008            –                           2,000

A400 military Airbus variant

B.Ae Systems in collaborative project



FUTURE OFFENSIVE AIR SYSTEM                                                   2017                                       10,000

Long-range offensive air capability to replace Tornado GR1

Includes manned aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles and

air-launched cruise missiles.


HERCULES C130J                                                                                    2000         Passed                    1,000

Transport Aircraft

Lockheed Martin




LANDING PLATFORM DOCK REPLACEMENT                             2003       2000-02                        810

Replacement of Existing Amphibious Assault Ships

B.Ae Systems (formerly VSEL, Barrow)



MEDIUM-RANGE TRIGAT                                                                    2005              –                              941

Anti-tank weapon

(UK has withdrawn from this project)

Matra-BAe Dynamics



MERLIN HM MK1 HELICOPTER                                                        2000          Passed                     4,900

44 Anti-Submarine Warfare helicopter

replacing Sea King



Project                                                                              ISD     Peak                Cost





MERLIN HC MK3 HELICOPTER                                                         2000       2000-02                        750

22 Support Helicopters




PAAMS                                                                                                         2012

Principal Anti-Air Missile

UKAMS – Subsidiary of Matra B.Ae Dynamics


SEA WOLF MLU                                                                                       2006               –                              260

Anti-Surface Ship Missile – Medium-Life Update

B.Ae Systems (formerly GEC Marconi Defence Systems)


SKYNET 5                                                                                                   2006       2007-8                        1,500

Satellite communications

£1.5bn over 15 years, ISD 2006

Replace Skynet 4 for mobile forces

Matra Marconi Space Systems UK Ltd

(after Mata took over B.Ae Space Systems)

Originally a collaborative project




SONAR 2074 and 2076                                                                             2005

(for nuclear submarines)



SONAR 2087                                                                                               2004             –                                 350

For Type 23 Frigates

16 sea-based and 5 shore-based systems

Thomson Marconi Sonars Ltd



SPEARFISH                                                                                                 2003       2002-3                         1,800

Estimated 350 heavyweight torpedoes to replace Tigerfish


STING RAY LIFE EXTENSION                                                             2006       2007-9                         1,000

Lightweight torpedo modernisation

GEC-Marconi Underwater Division


TRACER                                                                                                       2008                                             2,220

Manned Armoured Tactical Reconnaissance Vehicle

SIKA Int – BAe, Lockheed Martin No Quantities ISD 2008

LANCER – Marconi Land and Naval Systems




TORNADO GR1 MLU                                                                              2000       2000-3                            955

(Mid-life update)






Leading Contractors


Over £250m in MoD orders in 1999


British Aerospace PLC[1]                          Hunting PLC


DERA[2]                                                    Lockheed Martin Corporation


Devonport Royal Dockyard                    Matra BAe Dynamics (UK) Ltd[3]


GKN PLC                                                Rolls-Royce




Alenia Marconi Systems Ltd                    ICL Ltd

Annington Receivables Ltd                      John Mowlem & Co PLC

Babcock International Group PLC           Racal Electronics PLC[4]

British Telecommunications PLC            Serco Group PLC

EDS Defence Ltd                                     Vickers PLC



BAe Systems


In 1999, BAe and GEC announced plans to create two new companies, firstly a merged global aerospace and defence company incorporating GEC’s aerospace and defence activities and the remaining GEC as a major, focused communications and technology company. BAe took over all of GEC’s Marconi Electronic System Groups businesses in a deal costing £7.8bn.


B.Ae Systems is a truly global defence company – sales to Canada and the US were £3.17bn in 2000 compared with UK sales of £2.14bn. The acquisition of Lockheed Martin’s aerospace electronics business AES will make BAe Systems the largest defence contractor in the world as well as gaining important supply positions in several key US contracts.



Following the acquisition of MES, BAe dominates UK procurement.


  • Eurofighter and radar
  • Astute Class SSN
  • Nimrod MRA – maritime reconnaissance and attack
  • Type 45 destroyer – 3 ordered and 3 more due to be ordered
  • Turnover of £9.65bn




GKN is no longer a manufacturer of armoured fighting vehicles having merged such business into Alvis in October 1998. In March 1999 GKN and Finmeccanica agreed to create a joint company bringing together their respective helicopter activities (Westland and Agusta). The new company AgustaWestland was established in February 2001


  • 44 Merlin HM Mk1 helicopters, 22 Merlin HC Mk3 helicopters and 67 WAH-64 Apache attack helicopters
  • Turnover £4.12bn year ending 31st Dec 2000


Rolls Royce


  • 36% workshare in the 1,500 EJ200 engines for 620 Eurofighters
  • 24% share in TP400 for the four engined A400 military transport aircraft
  • RTM322 in EH101, NH-90 helicopter
  • Also involved in US Joint Strike Fighter aircraft, and Lockheed Martin C-130 transport aircraft
  • Marine engines W21 gas turbine and nuclear PWR steam raising plant for Astute Class sub
  • Group turnover of £5.86bn in Dec 2000.
  • Still trying to dispose of Vickers Defence Systems – Challenger 2 MBT





With the acquisition of Racal Electronics PLC (now Thales Electronics PLC) Thales SA, (formerly Thomson-CSF) has become the second largest defence contractor in the UK.


Main businesses are

  • Communications – mobile transport – although failed in bid for BOWMAN
  • Sensors – electronic warfare and maritime patrol radar systems
  • Air Defence – the only UK supplier of very short range air defence systems
  • Optronics
  • Sonar
  • Turnover £3.9bn



Smiths Group PLC


Previously Smiths Industries but changed its name with the acquisition of the TI group

  • Leading UK avionics company and hydraulic actuation
  • Turnover 31st July 2001 £1.46bn
  • Speculation that Smiths Group might merge with Rockwell Collins to create the

world’s largest avionics business.


Vosper Thorneycroft Holding PLC


  • Presently completing the second batch of single role minehunters
  • Awards a contract to build a trimaran warship demonstrator to assist the Mod in its

decision on the type of build for the MoD’s Future Surface Combatant to replace

Type 22 and 23 frigates

  • Collaboration with BAe Marine on the design of the Type 45 destroyer
  • Turnover as of 31st March 2001 £220.6 m








[1]. Name changed to BAe Systems PLC, following merger with the defence interests of GEC in November 1999

[2]. Defence Evaluation and Research Agency – part privatisation on 1st July 2001, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) operates within the public sector, while the remainder of DERA has been established as a PLC under the trading name QinetiQ

[3]. Name changed to MBDA to reflect proposed merger of Matra BAe Dynamics Aerospatiale Missiles and Alenia Marconi Systems

[4]. Racal Electronics PLC was acquired by Thomson-CSF of France in January 2000, the company subsequently changed its name to Thales in December 2000

[1]. Different terms used for non-offensive defence included non-provocative defence, inoffensive defence and confidence-building defence but NoD will be used here as a general concept incorporating various themes of defensive capabilities and confidence-building.

[2]. See Project on Demilitarisation, The Triumph of Unilateralism (Prodem, Leeds, 1993) for a history of Gorbachev’s peace initiatives and Western reaction.

[3]. See Björn Möller and Haken Wiberg (eds), Non-Offensive Defence for the 21st Century (Westview Press, 1994).

[4]. Björn Möller, Common Security and Non-Offensive Defense – A Neo-Realist Perspective, p. 151 (UCL Press,  1992).

[5]. Anders Boserup, The Strategy of Non-Offensive Defence, pp. 2-3 (Peace Research Centre, Australian National University, 1986).

[6]. Taken from Non-Offensive Defence – A Brief Introduction, p. 4, on the COPRI website, http://www.copri.dk/copri/researchers/moeller/bm.htm.

[7]. The first wave of proposals for military defence was led by Bogislav Von Bonin with an emphasis on area defence and specialist units. Subsequently these themes were taken up by  Horst Afheldt and others in the mid 1970s with the renewed fear of superpower confrontation in Europe. The advantages of defence over offence has been a constant theme in military strategy. For a review of these earlier proposals see David Gates, Non-Offensive Defence : A Strategic Contradiction, pp. 55-57 (Institute for European Defence and Strategic Studies, 1987).

[8]. The military strategy of neutral countries, such as Switzerland, Sweden and Austria is based on the deterrent strength of defensive capabilities against the potential threat from the  larger forces of neighbouring countries.

[9]. See Frank Barnaby and Egbert Bouker, Defence without Offence – Non-nuclear defence for Europe (Peace Studies Paper No 8, Bradford University, 1982).

[10]. Möller, op.cit, p.143.

[11]. Alternative Defence Commission, Defence without the Bomb – The Report of the Alternative Defence Commission (Taylor and Francis Ltd, 1983).

[12]. Gates, op.cit, p. 53.

[13]Ibid, p. 23.

[14]. Operations since the end of the Cold War involving UK armed forces include Namibia, W. Sahara, Cambodia, Desert Storm, Iraq/Kuwait border, Bosnia, Croatia, Haiti, Rwanda, Georgia, Angola, Mozambique, Somalia, and the Adriatic naval embargo – See Michael Clarke, ‘Reviewing Defence and Defending Reviews’ in Brassey’s Defence Yearbook 1998, pp. 9-10 (Brassey’s, London, 1998).

[15]. See Eric Grove, ‘UN Armed Forces and the Military Staff Committee – A Look Back’, International Security, Vol 17, No 4, Spring 1993, pp. 172-182 for a history of early work on UN peacekeeping forces. Of course, during the Cold War, the UN’s role was emasculated,  the on-call forces specified in articles 43 and 45 were never established and the Military Staff Command never allowed the duties envisaged. (The Korean War was the only example of a ‘UN’ operation but through a US-led coalition using the article 48 ‘fall-back option’ using forces of ‘some of the members as the Security Council may determine.’

[16]. The UN has endorsed NoD firstly through the Defensive Security Concepts and Policies report passed by the 45th Session of the General Assembly and the Guidelines and Recommendations for Regional Approaches to Disarmament passed by UNDC in 1993. See Björn Möller, UN Military Demands and Non-Offensive Defence – Collective Security, Humanitarian Intervention and Peace Support Operations – An abridged version of this paper was presented to the Sixteenth General Conference of the International Peace Research Association (IPRA), Creating Nonviolent Futures (University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia 8-12th July 1996).

[17]. Ibid.

[18]. Ibid.

[19]. For a review of Western strategic thinking see Nick Lewer and Steve Schofield, Non-Lethal Weapons –   A Fatal Attraction? Military Strategies and Technologies for 21st Century Conflict, pp. 15-20 (Zed Books, 1997).

[20]. Johan Galtung, There are Alternatives! Four Roads to Peace and Security, p. 184 (Spokesman, 1984) for a discussion of transarmament as an intermediary strategy towards real disarmament,

[21]. Two New Zealand government reports provide the main sources here, Defence Beyond 2000, Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee (New Zealand Government, 2000) and A Modern, Sustainable Defence Force Matched to New Zealand’s Needs, New Zealand Government Defence Statement. (New Zealand Government, 2001).

[22]. Paul Landis-Stamp & Paul Rogers Rocking the Boat – New Zealand, the United States and the Nuclear-free Zone Controversy in the 1980s (Berg, Oxford, 1989).

[23]. There seems little serious political debate about the military strategy  of the UK and an assumption that the consensus which existed prior to the 1980s when the Labour Party adopted a non-nuclear defence policy has now been re-asserted. Yet, in the 1960s there had been considerable debate about the future defence policy of the UK and the first Wilson administration had gone into the 1964 General Election with the express commitment to cancel Polaris. Only the fact that it was too expensive to cancel because of compensation clauses led to the decision to continue but Wilson made several speeches ridiculing the idea of an independent deterrent and arguing that the UK’s fleet should be seen as an element of NATO’s strategic forces. The idea of a political consensus is a convenient myth and re-writing of history to further solidify the idea that there is no alternative to the status quo and the process of re-armament. Whether the war on terrorism will lead to greater debate  on the UK’s security policies remains to be seen.

[24].  What this actually means in practice, when all large-scale, out-of-area operations in which the UK has been involved have been dominated by the US, is conveniently ignored.

[25]. Strategic Defence Review, Cmd 3999, 1998. para 3 (HMSO, 1998).

[26]. Ibid, paras, 91-95.

[27]. Presidency Progress Report to the Helsinki European Council (EU, December 1999).

[28]. MoD Press Release, 20th November 2000.

[29]. Of course the armed forces can be re-configured for territorial defence but these normally constitute only about 20-25% of the total.

[30].  There are some serious difficulties in providing an accurate and consistent analysis of UK military procurement, partly because of secrecy issues but also because of changes to the methods of reporting and calculating various costs. The National Audit Office has produced an Annual Report on Major Projects every year since 1991 but in the Major Projects Report 2000 procurement costs, for the first time, are shown on a resource basis at out-turn prices, rather than on a cost basis at constant prices, as a result of the introduction of Resource Accounting and Budgeting for all government departments.  For example the cost of the Eurofighter has increased from £14,727 to £18,832  because of the incorporation of interest on capital, government-furnished equipment and investment in capital assets. Broadly speaking, all government accounts are no longer presented in cash terms but resemble private sector PLC’s and follow Generally Accepted Accounting Practice. More generally, government reporting on defence policy is unsatisfactory. Prior to 1997 there was an annual White Paper, the Statement on the Defence Estimates. However, the Government launched its defence review, reporting in July 1998 and only one SDE has been published, in December 1999 that bore little continuity with previous SDEs. The MoD had said that it intended to produce an annual White Paper as of 2000, but failed to do so and has only produced two pamphlets, in February 2001 which outlined defence policy and future strategy but carried little authority in comparison to a White Paper. This lack of continuity is an additional problem, and information has to be sought from other sources, including the Government’s Expenditure Plans, a new Ministry of Defence Performance Report, the Defence Research and Analysis Agency’s reports that provide statistical information on defence spending, and other specialist sources.

[31]. Prudent for a Purpose:Building Opportunity and Security for All, HC 346 (HMSO,2000) covering the period 2001-2002, 2002-2003 and 2003-2004.

[32]. For a review of ballistic missile defence options see Neville Brown, Ballistic Missile Defence : A British Perspective, Centre for Defence Studies (1995).

[33]. Smart procurement, subsequently modified to smart acquisition as a more accurate description of the whole cycle of weapons development and disposal, is intended to overcome the  traditional failures of cost overruns and delays in major project through organisational changes including an Integrated Project Team for each MoD programme, streamlining processes and ensuring that the customer within the MoD is clearly identified at all stages of the project. Presumably, if this reform proves as unsuccessful as previous attempts it will be replaced by one called Even Smarter Procurement or ESP for short.

[34]. Again various sources have been used including MoD press statements, company annual reports and specialist journals to identify main contractors.

[35]. Defence Statistics, 2000.

[36]. The local/regional policy framework is one adopted for many areas that have faced structural adjustment through the loss of traditional industries. In the USA, efforts have focused on the re-use of closing military bases, through the Office of Economic Adjustment, see Southwood, op.cit, pp. 192-193. More recently, the European Union has provided financial assistance to local authorities through the Konver programme. See Project on Demilitarisation, Western Hypocrisy on Arms Conversion : Helping Military Industries Disarm in the East…But Not in the West, p. 43 (Prodem, 1994).

[37].  Analysing the full range of economic issues surrounding the arms trade, including the use of offsets and licensing arrangements, as well as the perennial problem of corruption and bribery, is beyond the scope of this research. Paul Ingram and Ian Davis, The Subsidy Trap – British Government Financial Support for Arms Exports and the Defence Industry (Oxford Research Group and Saferworld, 2001) provide a good introduction to the government’s role. Nor should the baseline figure hide real problems in the defence export strategy when taking into account intense overseas competition. For example, Eurofighter has yet to obtain one export order, despite its pivotal role in UK arms procurement, and the trade can experience massive year-on-year fluctuations.

[38]. Peter Truscott, European Defence – Meeting the Security Challenge (IPPR, 2000) has a comprehensive review of military industrial restructuring and debates about a European defence and security policy. Here we should be clear about the distinction at an operational level between the UK’s specialist roles in a new European military corps dedicated to UN peace operations which is the crucial one for NoD, and an industrial level of an emerging European structure where UK-based industries, as elements of these larger corporations, would produce equipment for other European countries with different specialisms in the EU corps, e.g., aerospace manufacturing.  This raises interesting questions about sharing the burden of military procurement  as some countries may have a larger outlay on expensive systems than others because of particular specialisms.

[39]. See John Morrison, ‘A Homeland Defence Option’ in Michael Clarke and Philip Sabin (eds) British Defence Choices for the 21st Century (Brassey’s, 1993).

[40]. John Gittings and Ian Davis, Britain in the 21st Century – Rethinking Defence and Foreign Policy (Spokesman, 1996) is a good introduction to the alternative security debate. Also, Alan Simpson, Beyond the Famished Road – New Policies for Common Security (Mushroom Books, 1994) is an excellent overview of many of the themes emphasised in this report, including a new European security architecture based on the OSCE.

[41].  James Sperling and Emil Kirchner, Recasting the European Order – Security Architectures and Economic Cooperation (Manchester University Press, 1997) analyses the various European institutions and their inter-relationships.  The OSCE is significant because of its pan-European framework and the contribution it has made, both to the end of the Cold War, through its emphasis on disarmament, confidence-building measures and human rights, but also to an emerging European security identity, including early warning, and co-operative and confrontational conflict management. Under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter it is recognised as a regional organisation that can carry out collective action on behalf of the UN and while it presently lacks the military capacity for regional conflict intervention, it is in a key position to act in liaison with the EU to develop such a capacity and to incorporate all of Europe’s countries, including Russia, in an evolving security framework. As more countries join the EU, the scope for reform increases. For example, Sweden’s government has made it clear that its entry into the EU is not a prelude to  membership of Nato but that its policy of non-alignment is evolving towards a common security agenda for Europe as a whole. See speech by Lena Hjelm, the Swedish foreign minister, quoted in Lee Miles (ed), Sweden and the European Union Evaluated, p. 23 (Continuum, 2000).

[42].  Michael Harbottle, What is Proper Soldiering? – A Study on New Perspectives For the Future Uses of the Armed Forces in the 1990s (Centre for International Peacekeeping, 1991) is recognised as an excellent introduction to the specific roles and training requirements for UN peacekeeping.

[43].  The annual operations costs of Trident, including the costs of support vessels would be saved, at an estimated £220-250m  per annum.

[44]. The level of savings comes both from the reduction in procurement and  operational costs for offensive systems, most importantly the Eurofighter and Trident, as above. Also, there would be savings in running costs from the overall reduction in service personnel, the reduction in numbers need to be deployed in Germany as part of the EU corps rather than the Nato force, and other related changes, particularly a reduction in the number of MoD civil servants and Defence Agency employees.  Of course, political resolution of long-standing security problems such as the status of the Falkland Islands and deployments in N. Ireland would also be beneficial in reducing military commitments abroad.

[45]. The present government’s main conversion focus is on technology transfer through a Defence Diversification Agency, a fairly marginal and cheap exercise that is no substitute for a comprehensive conversion policy.




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