27 Mar The UK’s Integrated Review of Foreign Policy: One Year On
One year ago, the UK Government published the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, a landmark publication outlining a conceptual strategic framework under which the nation’s international role would be defined and constituted in the aftermath of the UK’s departure from the European Union. This paper sets out the achievements of the first year of the implementation of the Integrated Review, of which there are many substantive examples across a wide range of areas. It then presents a summary of some of the key external geopolitical developments during this turbulent period, and asks the question as to whether these compel the recalibration of some of the assumptions and choices made within the Integrated Review.
This BFPG paper concludes that the Review has been vindicated in the foundational substance of its world view and its assessment of the UK’s longer-term risks and opportunities. In part, due to its emphasis on flexibility as a doctrine in and of itself, as well as its focus on strengthening the UK’s existing and emerging partnerships. Nonetheless, the geopolitical developments over the past year intensify the urgency to implement the Review’s objectives, while constraining the fiscal environment in which to do so. The UK Government must therefore prioritise its focus on enhancing three key areas of resilience over the coming year – namely, our international relationships, our democracy and society, and our machinery of government. It would also be prudent to embed an ongoing annual review process for the Review, to ensure it continues to serve the evolving realities of the UK’s domestic environment and the wider international landscape.