The latest British Strategic Defence and Security Review, launched on 19 October 2010, was a budget-cutting exercise. It was not a statement of the strategic direction the United Kingdom should take and why. Instead, it was an across-the-board reduction in funding, with equal pain being shared by the three armed services and the civilian sector. Most analysts and commentators considered it a missed opportunity to define British defense strategy for the immediate future.
The Royal Navy has been decimated. Something has to give. The outlook now is even bleaker because of the economic climate. The UK is spread too thinly across just too many operational domains. As a result, it is in great danger of executing none of them well. Britain’s forces, while comprising outstanding people, simply do not have the resource base to continue to perform in all the domains that drive the country’s force structure, acquisition strategy, and investment in R&D. The UK simply cannot afford the luxury of trying to do things for which it does not, and will not, have the resources.