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Not since the Healey reviews of the early 1960s has the Ministry of Defence faced such a dire challenge. At its heart remains the tension between the willingness politically to commit the armed forces against the unwillingness to devote adequate resources to supporting them. The Armed forces and the Ministry have mounted a valiant effort to overcome the shortfall, as most evidenced by the recent news that defence officials will be able to move some funds between the three years of the Comprehensive Spending Review and use money allocated for annual capital spending for resource spending - a rare defeat for the Treasury. The tragedy remains that the nation's insurance policy remains badly neglected, and vulnerable to further economic shocks, given the length of the defence procurement program and lack of flex in the budget.

The above was written by Jeffrey Bradford in response to an article in the Financial Times, entitled 'Black Mood At Overwhelmed Ministry.'

By a special correspondent

Budgetary considerations alone prevented the UK from fielding more unmanned aircraft, including those capable of firing weapons, MPs were today told.

The Defence Select Committee was taking evidence as part of its inquiry into ISTAR and heard from the following witnesses:
Ministry of Defence (MoD)
Air Vice-Marshal Simon Bollom, Director General Combat Air
Air Vice-Marshal Stuart Butler, Capability Manager Information Superiority
Air Vice-Marshal Chris Nickols CBE, Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff (Operations)

By Dr Liam Fox MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Defence

In the American presidential election the debate on energy has moved on from energy security to the concept of energy independence. Let me begin by making a differentiation between the two. Energy security is about risk management. Energy independence is an impossibility in an increasingly global economy. When I hear friends and colleagues on Capitol Hill in Washington talk about making America energy independent I point out to them that if Al Qaeda sink a supertanker in the Malacca Strait and the price of oil rockets and there is an economic effect on Southeast Asia then we will see just how independent they really are!

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