Defence Policy under the Labour Government: Operational Dynamism and Strategic Inertia

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This article examines the process and outcome of defence reform under the Labour government, with a particular focus on the structuring of military input to defence planning. It argues that UK defence reform has been characterised by dynamism at the tactical and operational levels but that organisational politics between the services has impacted upon decisions surrounding defence
capability procurement and force posture. The core executive has been able to structure military input to defence planning effectively at the tactical and operational levels. However, the core executive’s capacity to provide clear guidance on the balance to be struck between capabilities and
force postures relevant to contemporary and future conflict scenarios has been impeded by the British electoral cycle. Neo-classical realism provides, therefore, compelling analytical leverage in conceptualising British defence reform.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)206-229
Number of pages23
JournalBritish Journal of Politics and International Relations
Issue number2
Early online date14 Dec 2010
Publication statusPublished - May 2011

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