Posts Tagged ‘Levene review’

The govt must swallow its pride and adapt to the Arab spring

04/07/2011, 09:32:38 AM

by Michael Dugher

The foreign secretary, William Hague, has said that the impact of the Arab spring is potentially greater in significance than even the attacks of 9/11. After 9/11, Labour in government produced a “new chapter” to the 1998 defence review, precisely to face up to the shifting strategic landscape and emerging threats to the UK. A new chapter to the 2010 SDSR is desperately needed today.  This would bring the review up to date and make a full assessment of the impact of the Arab spring on UK security.  As Jim Murphy has said: “It’s not about looking backwards, but about turning hindsight into foresight.”

Lord Levene’s more managerial review into MoD reform was published last week. As far as it goes, it is good. Labour welcomed many of its recommendations. Indeed, Bob Ainsworth, Kevan Jones and others deserve much of the credit, as several ideas in the report stem from the defence green paper, adaptability and partnership, which the previous Labour government produced in February 2010. As the official opposition, it is as much our responsibility to support the government when its proposals are right as to oppose when they get things wrong.

Changes such as a smaller defence board inside the MoD, and greater clarification of responsibilities and the accountability for the individuals within the department, are much needed, not least to overcome the sometimes fractious command structure that has too often been based on inter-service rivalry. As Labour suggested in the 2010 green paper, the creation of a joint forces command in particular should help to change the face of our armed forces for the better and play a crucial role in helping them combat future threats to the UK. It will encourage more joint operations and enhance our ability to integrate out activities across land, sea and air, enabling joined up logistics and better communication.


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