Defence and security: Key issues for the 2015 Parliament

This section of the Key Issues 2015 publication focuses on defence and security. This briefing was prepared by House of Commons Library researchers for Members of the new Parliament in 2015 and includes analysis of a range of subjects.


Intelligence Services

There has been considerable debate about the proper limits of the intelligence services’ intrusive capabilities; the effectiveness of current oversight mechanisms; and the adequacy of the existing legislative framework.


The sensitivity of public opinion to military casualties, together with constraints on public spending and the unconvincing outcomes of previous actions, means the threshold for future interventions may be high.

UK Defence

The Ministry of Defence is as vulnerable to further cuts to its budget as any other department. Less money, combined with an ambitious equipment plan, equals hard questions about what the Armed Forces needs to fulfil their allotted tasks.

Number of Soldiers

Will the new Government continue with the ambitious plans to increase the number of trained Army Reserves to 30,000 by 2019? Can the radical restructuring planned by the Army work if the recruitment of Reserves falls short of expectations?


Since the end of the Cold War, the UK maintains a continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent, now based solely on the submarine-launched Trident system.

Cyber Crime and Security

Our reliance on the internet has increased, so too has the potential impact of cyber-attacks, ranging from online fraud on individuals to disruption of critical public infrastructure.

Current Briefing Papers

The Key Issues articles were published in May 2015. However, the Commons Library produces new briefings as topics evolve.

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Key Issues 2015

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