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Extracts from a speech delivered by Rt Hon Des Browne MP, UK Secretary of State for Defence - Modes of Security Coorperation: Confidence-Building, Partnerships and Alliances on 1 June 2008 at the 7th IISS Asian Security Summit, Shangri-La dialouge, Singapore

The UK has much history in this region and we retain important links with many countries, from India all the way to New Zealand, and still retain a sovereign foothold in the British Indian Ocean Territory. With some diffidence, I am going to offer a British perspective on why we see the Asia-Pacific region as so significant, I will look at some of the experiences and lessons that we in the UK have had, and I will comment on the emerging security architecture here.

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)

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