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Murphy to Fox on SDSR (April 2011)

Murphy to Fox on SDSR (April 2011)

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Published by: labourlist on Apr 08, 2011
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04/08/2011

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Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MPSecretary of State for DefenceMinistry of DefenceMain BuildingWhitehall, LondonSW1A 2HB05 April 2011Dear Liam,I am writing to request that you reopen the Strategic Defence and Security Review. There is growingdisquiet that the Review has not survived its first contact with world events.In the week that
the Air Chief Marshall has said that ongoing operations overseas “bring you nearer the point that you have just about exhausted the bag” and when the MoD plan
s to remove a further£1bn from the budget, this situation is becoming increasingly acute.It is clear that the majority of the defence community believe that events in North Africa and theMiddle East have fundamentally changed the security landscape. No-one foresaw the dawn of theArab Spring, but now that it is upon us it is right that the Government considers its implications ondefence policy, and in turn the long-term military capabilities we require, and reopens the StrategicDefence and Security Review.The assumptions on which the Review was based now look out of date and it is clear that many of thecapabilities deemed to be unnecessary at the time of the SDSR are central to operationalrequirements in Libya.As you know current operations in Libya are reliant, for example, on HMS Cumberland, which wasdue to be decommissioned last week as part of the reduction of frigate numbers.The Government have extended the life of two Nimrod R1s, despite repeated assurances that thesurveillance capability of the R1s and the now scrapped successor MRA4s could be covered in otherways.Operations in Libya have involved Tornado jets, whose fleet is set to be reduced, while there arereports that there are not enough trained Tornado pilots to replace all of those currently on operationswhen the squadron has to rotate.The decision to scrap Ark Royal and the Harrier fleet means Britain does not have carrier strikecapability for a decade.Foreign Secretary William Hague has said current events are as significant as September 11
th
. It isworth considering how the previous government responded to 9/11. A new chapter was added to thedefence review in 2002. In the first budget after the September 11
th
attacks the Governmentannounced an additional £50 million for domestic security and £950 million for defence.The Prime Minister said on March 23
rd
 
of the SDSR, “if there are further lessons to learn of course weshould learn them”. This was welcome. The Government should learn the lesson from the previ
ous

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