Strategic Defence Review

Part of Oral Answers to Questions – in the House of Commons at 2:33 pm on 10th May 1999.

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Photo of Mr George Robertson Mr George Robertson Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence, The Secretary of State for Defence 2:33 pm, 10th May 1999

The key point is that the strategic defence review was designed to look forward at the kind of threats that we would face in the future, rather than endlessly looking at the enemies we had in the past. It was designed so that our forces will be able eventually to deal flexibly with the sort of problems that we face in Kosovo today. I say eventually, because it is less than a year since the strategic defence review was published and its implementation was started, but I am confident that it will give us that flexibility. Kosovo has shown us how valuable and important that exercise was. However, the planning assumptions to which the hon. Gentleman refers are planning tools intended to guide the development of our long-term force structure: they were not intended to provide a template for specific operational commitments. As we explained at the time of the review, we may choose to do more or less, depending on the circumstances.