Defence policy

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The page will automatically redirect to Defence Expenditure Research Briefings produced by the Commons Library, Lords Library and POST

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  • This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on defence policy. 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

    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.
    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.
    14.10.2016The Royal Navy's new frigates and the National Shipbuilding Strategy
    A new National Shipbuilding Strategy will be published in November 2016. This briefing paper explores what it might mean for the Royal Navy's new frigate programme.
    26.08.2016Brexit: impact across policy areas
    This Commons Library briefing paper looks at the current situation in a range of policy areas and considers what impact Brexit might have. This will depend, among other things, on the Brexit negotiations, whether the UK stays in the European Economic Area and how the Government fills any policy gaps left by withdrawal.
    11.07.2016Replacing the UK's 'Trident' Nuclear Deterrent
    After nearly a decade of work on a programme to replace the UK's nuclear deterrent from the early 2030s, a decision on taking that programme forward will be made shortly. The Government will seek the approval of Parliament for this decision on 18 July 2016. But what are the arguments for and against doing so? How much will it cost? And are there any other alternatives? This paper updates and replaces all previous House of Commons Library briefing papers on this subject dating back to 2006. More notably it replaces previous versions of this paper published in October 2015, January 2016, March 2016 and June 2016. It is also part of a wider Library briefing series on nuclear weapons.
    04.07.2016NATO Summit Warsaw 2016: a primer
    This House of Commons Library briefing paper looks ahead to the NATO Summit in Warsaw on 8-9th July 2016. Topping the agenda is NATO's response to Russia, instability in the Middle East and North Africa, and defence spending.
    30.06.2016Brexit: what happens next?
    Now that the UK has voted to leave the EU, what will happen next? This Commons Library briefing paper looks at the immediate consequences of the vote and some of the longer term implications. This paper considers various questions about UK withdrawal from the EU and what is likely to happen in the coming weeks and months. The issues include the method of leaving the EU, continuing parliamentary scrutiny of EU business and the withdrawal negotiations, and the implications of Brexit for Scotland and Gibraltar.
    29.06.2016Nuclear Weapons - Country Comparisons
    There are nine countries in the world that have nuclear weapons. Between them they possess an estimated 15,900 nuclear warheads. This paper is intended as a brief guide to which countries possess nuclear weapons and how they are seeking to either modernise or expand those capabilities. It is also part of a wider Library briefing series on nuclear weapons.

    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.
    20.01.2016Work of the Ad Hoc Committees in 2013-14
    This House of Lords Library briefing provides an overview of the work of the five ad hoc Lords Select Committees which reported in the 2013-14 session.
    03.07.2015Reports into Investigatory Powers
    This Note provides a summary of the recommendations of recent reports, including the report of David Anderson QC, and supporting material on the use of investigatory powers.
    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.


    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.
    05.12.2011Explosive Injuries
    This briefing provides a background to explosive injury, explores developments in mitigation science, and highlights research priorities.

    Select Committee Reports

    25.01.2011Who does UK national strategy?
    Government response. Public Administration Select Committee; Cabinet Office report [Commons]
    12.10.2010Who does UK national strategy?
    Public Administration Select 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]
    09.03.2010National security and resilience.
    Government response. Defence Select Committee report [Commons]

    Early Day Motions

    That this House welcomes the Government's intention to hold a strategic defence and security review; notes with concern the stated intention to conduct it without giving due consideration ...
    That this House regrets the Ministry of Defence's decision to close RAF Cottesmore, home to the Harrier Force as part of changes to the defence programme announced in December 2009; ...
    21.07.2009STRATEGIC DEFENCE REVIEW (No. 2)
    That this House welcomes the decision by the Government to hold a strategic defence review but believes that such a review will be meaningless if the schemes for the replacement of ...
    That this House believes that any forthcoming Strategic Defence Review should examine all aspects of United Kingdom defence and security; is concerned that the Government excludes from ...
    That this House welcomes the support for nuclear disarmament initiatives and the strengthening of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty made by President-elect Obama in his successful ...


    • 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