Armed Forces minister claims UK defense no longer a ‘basket case’

© Peter Nicholls
UK defense and security is no longer a ‘basket case’ and the 2015 Strategic Security and Defense Review (SDSR) will be less painful than the one carried out in 2010, Tory Defense Minister Penny Mordaunt has said.

I have happy news that this SDSR is not going to be like the 2010 review,” Mordaunt told the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington on Thursday.

We are in a different position now. In the last five years, through really tough reforms, we are now no longer that basket case.

Speaking to reporters after her speech, Mordaunt said recruiting was a key issue going forward.

Going into the SDSR, it’s about the resources I need to really make the step change we need in diversity and inclusion, which is fundamental to us being able to recruit and retain the best people.

It’s about ensuring we have a pipeline of people, in particular trades and skills."

Mordaunt also made it clear that UK/US defense and business relations were deeply intertwined.

We need to have some discussions about how the US can help itself by helping us,” she explained.

We buy things from the US. We would love the US to buy more things from us and to help us reduce our end costs, things we are generally innovative at and which would benefit [the US].

Her comments on diversity come as a senior British general set out the British Army’s new values and standard in response to claims that sexual harassment affects thousands of female service members.

General Nick Carter told the BBC on Thursday the military must be at once inclusive and well behaved, while not losing sight of its fundamental aim of “killing the Queen’s enemies.

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I’m not arguing for political correctness, what I’m arguing for is to live by our values and standards and to accept everyone in an inclusive way.

I think there is a risk we will lose sight of our ultimate goal, which is to close with and kill the Queen’s enemies, and we have to have that at the forefront of our mind, but equally we cannot accept unacceptable behavior.