Warships Pod

27: UK Defence Troubles & the New Cold War

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Episode notes

A National Audit Office (NAO) report on ‘The Equipment Plan 2023 - 2033’ in the UK makes for grim reading, revealing a massive so-called ‘black hole’ in the Defence budget, which means there is apparently no money for key projects, including future warships.

In part two of the discussion, host Iain Ballantyne and guests Gary Blackburn and James Bosbotinis weigh up the shortfall in funding. They also ponder what the Labour Government-in-waiting might do to fill in the ‘black hole’ if it succeeds in coming to power in 2024. 

Are we going to see the Navy-led Indo-Pacific ‘tilt’ by the UK axed and would that be a wise move in our interconnected world? Surely there cannot be another British retreat from East of Suez? 

With so many threats looming globally, might a UK government be foolish enough to follow the example of the 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review and further hollow out the Armed Forces to save money with big item cuts? 

Aside from contemplating the above issues, the discussion addresses whether or not the long-feared New Cold War is here, with the Western liberal democracies confronted by a global existential threat from authoritarian states (not least Russia and Iran).

• For more on Warships IFR magazine http://bit.ly/wifrmag 

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The topics discussed during our podcast episode are often also looked at in the magazine itself. It is available in digital and hard copy formats. To find out where it is available from UK shops bit.ly/searchdist 

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• Dr Gary Blackburn is an honorary fellow of the Centre for Security Studies at the University of Hull, which seeks to enhance understanding on the nature of war and strategy while also providing guidance on best practice in war and strategy to professional stakeholders.

Gary has taught Security Studies and Military History at the Universities of Leeds and Hull, respectively - and has written for Defence Studies and The Critic, and for the latter about aspects of the UK’s 2021 Integrated Review of Defence and Security. Follow him on Twitter @gjb70

• Dr James Bosbotinis is a freelance defence and international affairs analyst, specialising in maritime strategy and force developments. He is a regular contributor to Warships International Fleet Review, and is the Book Reviews Editor of The Naval Review.

For more information about Dr Bosbotinis visit
He is on twitter @JamesBosbotinis

Warships Pod host:

• Iain Ballantyne is the founding and current Editor of Warships IFR (first published in 1998) along with its ‘Guide to the Royal Navy’ (since 2003) and ‘Guide to the US Navy’ (since 2018). Iain is also author of the books ‘Hunter Killers’ (Orion) and ‘The Deadly Trade’ (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), both about submarine warfare, with his most recent books being ‘Bismarck: 24 Hours to Doom’ and ‘Arnhem: Ten Days in The Cauldron’ (Canelo History). 

For more details on Iain and his books visit the web sites 

http://iainballantyne.com and https://www.bismarckbattle.com/

Follow him on Twitter @IBallantyn