• Research Briefing

    Armed Forces Bill [Bill 122 of 2010-11]

    The purpose of the Armed Forces Bill is to provide the legal basis for the Armed Forces and the system of military law which exists in the UK. It also offers an opportunity to make necessary amendments, such as those required by changes to civilian law in the UK or as a result of cases brought before the European Court of Human Rights. The Bill has also been used, on occasion, to introduce new measures relating to the Armed Forces that fall outside the Bill’s traditional remit.

  • Research Briefing

    Franco-British Defence Co-operation

    The UK and France agreed a series of measures intended to enhance defence co-operation between both country's armed forces, including the signing of two new defence treaties, at the latest bilateral summit on 2 November 2010. The treaties have been labelled by a number of analysts as 'historic', in particular for the implications of co-operation in the nuclear sphere. This note provides a brief summary of historical UK-French defence co-operation, the main elements of the two new defence co-operation treaties and some initial reactions to the proposals that have been set out.

  • Research Briefing

    In Brief: Strategic Defence and Security Review – Headline Recommendations for the Armed Forces

    Five months after entering office the Coalition Government published its Strategic Defence and Security Review on 19 October 2010. The following note is a guide to the principal recommendations and conclusions of that review which relate to the Armed forces specifically. It will be followed by a more detailed paper on the wider recommendations of the SDSR, and their implications, in the near future.

  • Research Briefing

    Strategic Defence and Security Review

    That Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) was announced shortly after the new Coalition Government took office in May 2010. As the SDSR is ongoing, it is difficult to conclude with any certainty what its final recommendations may be. Therefore, this note seeks to 'set the scene' by providing an outline of what proposals have been highlighted by the new Government thus far and a list of suggested reading material for relevant commentary.

  • Research Briefing

    Progress towards nuclear disarmament?

    In April 2009 President Obama set out his vision for a world without nuclear weapons, and in doing so laid the groundwork for renewed international efforts to strengthen and advance the nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation regime. Over the past year that momentum has translated into the agreement of a successor to the US-Russia START treaty, global commitments to secure highly vulnerable nuclear materials within four years and the establishment, at the May 2010 Review Conference, of an action plan in support of the three main pillars of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This paper examines the prospects for achieving that vision of 'global zero'.

  • Research Briefing

    Prospects for the 2010 NPT Review Conference

    The eighth Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference is due to take place between 3 and 28 May 2010. This note examines the main principles of the NPT as the cornerstone of the international non-proliferation regime and the key issues regarding its continued effectiveness and credibility that are expected to be discussed at the conference. It also sets out the position of the British Government on these issues.

  • Research Briefing

    Bribery allegations and BAE Systems

    BAE Systems was accused of corruption, specifically making bribes, in regard to the Al Yamamah arms agreement with the Saudi Arabian Government. This was investigated by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) following the leaking of a letter from the then Director of the SFO to the former Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Defence. The SFO discontinued its inquiry in December 2006, citing the need to safeguard national and international security, a move which was supported by the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair. A legal challenge that the SFO's decision was unlawful was not successful. In addition to the allegations surrounding Al Yamamah, parallel SFO investigations were also conducted into a number of other BAE defence contracts in South Africa, Chile, the Czech Republic, Romania, Tanzania and Qatar. In February 2010, BAE Systems reached a settlement with the US Department of Justice (DoJ) to plead guilty of conspiring to make false statements to the US Government in connection with certain regulatory filings and undertakings, including the Al Yamamah agreement as well as contracts with the Hungarian and Czech governments. In March 2010, BAE Systems pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud the United States by impairing and impeding its lawful functions, to make false statements about its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act compliance program, and to violate the Arms Export Control Act and International Traffic in Arms Regulations. It was given a $400 million fine and agreed to take measures in order to stay within US and foreign laws concerning corruption and the exports of arms. The company also agreed to retain an independent compliance monitor for three years to assess its compliance program and to make a series of reports to the company and the DoJ. This Standard Note is referred to in the Research Paper, The Bribery Bill (RP 10/19).

  • Research Briefing

    Strategic Defence Review Green Paper: Preliminary Observations

    The Government published its defence Green Paper on 3 February 2010. The observations and recommendations in that paper will now inform the work of a Strategic Defence Review which the Government has committed to undertaking shortly after the General Election. The Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats have also stated that they will hold a defence review should they take office. This note sets out some of the background to the Green Paper, its main conclusions and some initial reactions within Parliament, the media and the wider defence community. This briefing will eventually form part of a larger Library Research Paper on the forthcoming Strategic Defence Review.