Howard Wheeldon had initially been invited to speak ahead of the long-awaited Integrated Review where we have yet to see a vision for Global Britain or a new Foreign Policy but have seen announced a £16.5 billion increase in Defence spending over the next four years. Howard updated us on the three Services and his concerns and then proceeded to spell out the risks:
• Where and what do we want to be;
• What is our long term strategy;
• Do not attempt to do defence on the cheap;
• President elect Biden. Democrats tend to cut defence expenditure;
• We are not ready to meet the current increase in threats;
• Increased Nationalism;
• Another Global Pandemic;
• Defence is a political choice in peacetime.
His talk was a real Tour de Force and he left us with two thoughts. We must do better in explaining Defence and its importance to the wider public and particularly the importance of NATO.