The Government’s ‘Global Britain in a Competitive Age: the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy’ announced by the Prime Minister will have implications for Britain’s place in the world for years to come, say leading academics at Cranfield University.
Cranfield academics played an active role in submitting evidence to the review via one-to-ones, workshops and in written submissions.
Dr Simon Harwood, Director of Defence and Security at Cranfield University, said: “This is an extraordinarily wide-ranging strategy going much further than a traditional defence review. If you’d have asked me, even 12 months ago, whether climate change would be featuring in a Government ‘defence and security’ strategy, I’d have said it was a low likelihood. But now, rightly, we see climate change and biodiversity being a key section of the review. We can’t have national security without climate security and this review recognises that.
“In my evidence to the House of Lords Risk Assessment and Risk Planning Committee, I spoke about the need to look at multiple threats and their interconnected nature. This review begins to frame threats not just as being ones based on external defence but on ‘homeland’ security as well.
“As ever, the true test will be in the implementation of the review and whether the siloed nature of Whitehall can be broken down and whether departments can collaborate to build resilience across threats that span their individual responsibilities.
“This review is an excellent step forward in assessing the multitude of threats that the nation faces beyond the traditional military ones. We have to recognise in the modern world that data and information are new weapons on the global stage. While the military will always have a vital role in our security, scientists and engineers also have a vital role to play in protecting our national security. This means that skills training and reskilling will be just as important as the equipment we procure as a nation, in the months and years ahead.”
Dr Bryan Watters, Associate Professor in the Centre for Defence Management and Leadership, Cranfield University, said: “As a Cranfield academic, it was an honour to be invited by the Cabinet Office to contribute to the strategy development process for this review. In order to adapt to the variety of threats and challenges to national resilience, we need to shift our mindset from viewing security as a technical problem to, instead, seeing it as an adaptive problem that requires adaptive solutions.
“Education and training will be key in this; we need to develop the cognitive diversity and critical thinking required to embrace an adaptive approach to planning and strategy development in support of national security. This will be instrumental in developing the mindset necessary to adapt to the new world and its emerging known unknown and unknown unknown threats and opportunities."