On 14 October 2019, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace addressed the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Broadly, his speech focused on the enduring values of the alliance, including the pursuit of freedom and mutual self-defence, and the “unique balance between democracy and military”.
However, Wallace was keen to state that the “doctrine of mutual self-defence cannot be maintained without the constant reaffirmation of our consent” and that “upholding the articles … takes investment and innovation” especially because “non-military means of achieving political and strategic goals have grown and … exceeded the power of force of weapons in their effectiveness” and the increasing threat posed by hybrid warfare.
The speech was used to announce the following:
- The UK will soon solidify plans for a National Cyber Force to ensure a stronger presence in the digital arena of geopolitical conflict.
- NATO must invest in space capabilities because strategic competitors such as China and Russia are exploring the development of offensive capabilities in Space.
- Last month’s spending review gave the Ministry of Defence an extra £2.3bn, taking its overall budget to £41.23bn, the largest budget in Europe.
A full transcript of the speech can be found here.