Report: UK lacks clear national defense plan for war

The government reportedly has no clear “national defense plan” amid growing concerns about a “pre-war world,” according to the report.

Britain reportedly has no real national plan for the mobilization of its people, industry, or defense forces in the event of a war, according to a Sky News report on Wednesday, citing a number of defense sources.
The report is part of a series by the outlet to “explore how prepared” London is for the possibility of an armed conflict, as numerous government ministers have been warning that Britain is moving into a “pre-war world” amid mounting concerns about Russia, China, and Iran.
Sky News says it reportedly conducted interviews with multiple sources, including former senior officers and academics.
One of them was Keith Dear, a former regular Royal Air Force intelligence officer who worked as an adviser to then-Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2020 and 2021. Dear reportedly said that he had been unable to find any kind of detailed plan for war while in government.
“Such plans are essential not only to avoid scrambling disorder and early defeats, but also so that our adversaries, awed by our preparedness, are deterred from fighting in the first place,” he said.

“The problem is, there is no plan.”

The defense sources interviewed by Sky News reportedly discussed how the apparent lack of a national defense plan means that the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force are not configured to fight an enduring war of survival. The same holds for the readiness of the civilian population and industrial base, they said.
“Our air defense [the ability to fend off incoming enemy missiles and drones] is dangerously thin and coastal defense is all-but non-existent,” an unnamed senior defense source was reportedly quoted as saying.
A spokesperson for the Cabinet Office, who was asked about the allegation that the UK has no national plan for the outbreak of war, reportedly responded that the country has “robust plans in place for a range of potential emergencies and scenarios with plans and supporting arrangements developed, refined and tested over many years.”

Most of the sources who reportedly spoke to Sky News pointed to the shortage of weapons and ammunition and a reduction in the country’s heavy industry, such as steel works and car plants.
“Our inability to supply anything like enough munitions or weapons to Ukraine, shows also how hollowed out we have become by buying and building armed forces to no coherent war-fighting plan,” Dear reportedly argued. “Weapons without ammunition are useless,” he said.
The outlet reportedly says it also reviewed a 1976 copy of a Government War Book that was designed to trigger certain internal measures in the event of a decision by NATO to enter a war.
The entire UK war-book system “was quietly shelved” by the early 2000s, according to the report.
The shift away from war-planning was reportedly precipitated first by the collapse of the Soviet Union, when Western governments no longer felt the existential threat of global war. Later, Sky News concluded, the UK government’s focus switched to the threat from Islamist terrorism and fighting wars in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq.