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Defence Spending and Procurement in the United Kingdom

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationResearch Handbook on the Arms Trade
EditorsAndrew Tan
PublisherEdward Elgar
Publication statusSubmitted - 5 Feb 2020

King's Authors


The chapter investigates the determinants of United Kingdom (UK) defence budget setting and the performance of its weapons acquisition process. The analysis identifies the perennial tensions between the UK’s aspiration to remain a ‘Tier One’ military power and the financial resources necessary to retain this status against the backdrop of its relative decline as a global power since 1945. It focuses on how this factor has affected UK defence procurement choices, defence-industrial strategies and reforms to the weapons acquisition process intended to align the ‘ends’ of defence policy with the necessary budgetary ‘means’. The primary conclusion is that that the UK’s post-2010 defence procurement reforms have failed, thus far at least, to remedy the recurring affordability challenges the UK has confronted in sustaining its Tier One status as a military power.

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