Armed forces

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Content published before December 2016

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on the armed forces. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Commons Briefing Papers

09.11.2016Defence expenditure (UK): Social Indicators page
A summary of defence expenditure statistics
09.11.2016Defence employment (UK): Social Indicators page
A summary of statistics on the strength of the armed forces
08.11.2016ISIS/Daesh: the military response in Iraq and Syria
US-led air strikes against ISIS continue in Iraq and Syria, alongside a training programme to build the capacity of Iraqi security forces and local fighters. The UK has been conducting airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq since September 2014 and has been providing training assistance to Iraqi security forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga. Following a vote in Parliament in December 2015 the UK expanded its air campaign into Syria. The campaign to liberate Mosul in northern Iraq has begun and attention is increasingly focused on the eventual liberation of Raqqa in Syria.
04.11.2016NATO's military response to Russia: November 2016 update
To counter increased assertiveness by Russia along NATO's eastern flank, the alliance adopted its Readiness Action Plan in 2014. This briefing paper explains the main elements with a specific focus on the UK military contribution.
31.10.2016'Stolen Valour': An international comparison
'Stolen Valour' is the term commonly applied to the phenomenon of individuals wearing military medals or decorations that they have not been awarded, with the intent to deceive. This briefing paper outlines the legislation in force in a number of countries, detailing the laws regarding unlawful wearing of medals and uniforms, as well as the penalty for committing such offences in each country.
25.10.2016Commons Library Analysis of the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill [HL] (Bill 66 of 2016-17)
This Briefing Paper has been prepared for the second reading debate of the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Bill [HL] 2016-17 on 31 October 2016. The Bill would enable the UK to ratify the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and accede to its two Protocols.
19.10.2016Defence and security after Brexit: a reading list
The Commons Library has compiled a selection of analysis and comment on defence and security related matters, relevant to the UK's forthcoming withdrawal from the European Union.
02.09.2016Support for UK Veterans
This briefing paper details the support available to armed forces veterans in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
28.07.2016Housing options for serving and ex-military personnel
This House of Commons Library Briefing Paper outlines the housing options open to serving and ex-military personnel, it does not cover service accommodation provided by the Ministry of Defence.
13.07.2016Sources of Statistics: Defence
This introductory guide provides sources of statistics on defence.

Lords Library Notes

12.05.2016Queen's Speech 2016 Day 2: Foreign and European Affairs, International Development and Defence
The House of Lords is due to debate the Queen's Speech over four days between 19 and 25 May 2016. This briefing is one of four prepared by the House of Lords Library to cover the themes of each day of debate.
25.01.2016Armed Forces Bill 2015-16: Briefing for Lords Stages
This briefing provides information in support of the House of Lords consideration of the Armed Forces Bill.
24.03.2014Britain and the First World War: Parliament, Empire and Commemoration
The centenary of the start of the First World War will be marked in 2014. Britain entered the conflict in August 1914 and remained at war until November 1918.
06.12.2013Defence Reform Bill
This Note provides background information on the Defence Reform Bill, which is due to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 10 December 2013.
01.11.2013Debate on 7 November: The Armed Forces and Legal Challenge
This Note looks at some of the issues raised by legal challenges to the Armed Forces.


03.02.2016Psychological Health of Military Personnel
A POSTnote which examines the impact of military service on the psychological health of serving personnel, reservists, veterans and their families. It outlines what is known about the effectiveness of interventions, and highlights areas for further research.
22.10.2015Automation in Military Operations
Automated technology is increasingly used in military activities such as intelligence gathering, navigation and weapons delivery. The most widespread use of automated technology to date has been remotely piloted air systems. However, each of the main military domains - air, land and sea - make use of automation. This POSTnote outlines current and potential future applications of automation in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and in combat. It then summarises debate over legal, ethical and societal issues, including debate over whether a pre-emptive ban is needed on future lethal autonomous weapons systems.
01.12.2006Military uses of space, December 2006
Military uses of space, December 2006. POSTnote 06/273.

Select Committee Reports

11.06.2011Legislative scrutiny: Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Bill; Armed Forces Bill.
Human Rights Joint Select Committee report [Commons and Lords]
10.05.2011Legislative scrutiny: Armed Forces Bill.
Human Rights Joint Select Committee report [Commons and Lords]
15.12.2010Treasury Minutes on the the Public Accounts Committee, first and second reports of session 2010-11 (HC...
Government response. Public Accounts Committee report [Commons]
27.07.2010MoD annual report and accounts 2008-09.
Government response. Defence Select Committee; Ministry of Defence report [Commons]
06.04.2010Readiness and recuperation of the Armed Forces: looking towards the Strategic Defence Review.
Government response. Defence Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House recognises the bravery of Flight Lieutenant Wales as air and sea rescue pilot and his fellow service personnel in their posting to the Falkland Islands; thanks them, ...
That this House welcomes the Queen's Jubilee Medal which will honour those serving in the UK's armed forces and emergency services who risk their lives in support of the public; but ...
That this House notes the Government's announcements on limiting Armed Forces' pay; is concerned about the impact this will have on the living standards and morale of the UK's forces ...
That this House recognises the courage of all those who served in the International Brigades defending Spanish democracy during 1936 to 1938; welcomes the memorial to be unveiled on ...
That this House calls on Her Majesty's Government to recognise the enormous contribution made by members of Her Majesty's Armed Services from each of the British Overseas Territories ...


  • Commons Briefing Papers (CBP) Papers providing in-depth and impartial analysis on every major piece of primary legislation and on other topics of public and parliamentary concern. Regular statistics papers are also published.
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POSTnotes (POST PN) - proactive four-page policy briefings from the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology based on reviews of the research literature, interviews with stakeholders and peer review, commissioned by the POST Board
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - authored publications by the research section of the House of Lords Library that provide analysis of Bills, subjects for debate in the House and other issues of interest to Members.
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses