James Sunderland questions Defence Secretary on the Defence Command Paper

Speaking in the debate on Defence’s contribution to the Integrated Review, James Sunderland raises concerns about army cuts and, given the increasing focus on expeditionary capabilities, asks about changes to how the UK military might operate east of Suez.

James Sunderland (Bracknell) (Con)

Although I am concerned about cuts to my own service and possible stretch, I recognise that this is an excellent bit of work, and I commend my right hon. Friend for the intellectual rigour that has gone into this modern and innovative paper. Given our increasing focus on expeditionary capabilities and our allies, notably in the Pacific, does he see any change to how we might operate east of Suez?

Mr Wallace 

My hon. Friend makes a really important point about how we operate to make sure that we not only defend ourselves but project our influence. Being present is half the battle. Our adversaries know that, and for too long we have often remained here in the homeland and not necessarily been present. As a former Royal Logistic Corps officer, he will also recognise the key importance of enablers. The days when enablers were in the background and not given the audience or importance they deserve are over. Many countries around the world who might not want infantry or tanks to help them often want signallers, enablers or logistics. They are just as important in projecting Britain’s forces and power around the world and making sure that the brand of Britain stays true to its values and helps people around the world.