• 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

    Cluster Munitions (Prohibitions) Bill (HL)

    The main purpose of the Bill is to create criminal offences in order to enforce the prohibitions set out in Article 1 of the Convention on Cluster Munitions. This bans the use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of cluster munitions on the grounds that they cause unacceptable harm to civilians, and establishes measures to minimise the harm to civilians in the aftermath of conflicts. Ninety-four states, including the UK, signed, and four states ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Oslo on 3 December 2008. Once the Bill has passed into law, the UK will then move to ratify the Convention, which has been ratified by 30 states, and will come into force on 1 August 2010. The Government has announced that it intends to destroy all cluster munition stockpiles by the end of 2013. The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have given their full support to the Bill.

  • 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.

  • Research Briefing

    Iran: Conventional Military Capabilities

    This note examines the conventional military capabilities that Iran possesses, on the basis of publicly available information. It focuses specifically on Iran's ballistic missile programme which has received increasing attention in light of Iran's perceived nuclear ambitions and the recent changes to the US' missile defence proposals in Europe. It is not intended as a comprehensive assessment but a brief introduction to Iran's military capabilities. It also does not examine Iran's nuclear programme which is outlined in Library Standard Note SN/IA/4262, Iran's Nuclear Programme: An Overview.

  • Research Briefing

    Russia’s Military Posture

    This paper examines Russia’s current military posture. It does not attempt to be a comprehensive examination of every aspect of Russian military policy but is intended as an introduction to some of the more pertinent aspects, including Russia’s military capabilities, its ability to defend its increasingly diverse strategic interests and the credibility of Russia’s modernisation and rearmament programme which was announced toward the end of 2008.

  • Research Briefing

    The International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan

    This note is intended to be a brief guide to the mandate upon which those forces are deployed; the command and control of forces in the country and the integration of ISAF with the US-led Operation Enduring freedom; current troop contributions and future force rotation plans and commitments. It does not examine either wider political and economic developments in Afghanistan or the ccounter narcotics strategy.

  • Research Briefing

    Arms Exports to Israel

    This note briefly examines the UK's arms export policy with respect to Israel, the value of the military goods that the UK has exported over the last ten years and provides a comparison to the United States which accounts for 94% of all arms exports to Israel, and the other EU Member States.