Understanding the Value of Defence

Blog written by Reg Pula, ADS Policy Advisor Defence

On the 13th of July, the Ministry of Defence published a RAND Europe report commissioned by the Development, Concepts and Doctrine Centre, entitled ‘Understanding the Value of Defence: Towards a Defence Value Proposition for the UK’.

The report begins with a recognition that there is no commonly held understanding of Defence’s contribution to national prosperity and welfare, and therefore a common interpretation of the broad value that Defence brings. The report then explores the interpretation of Defence value in different countries (focusing primarily on European countries, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Russia and China), as well as analysing how the private sector communicates the value proposition of a given product or service.

The report then sets out its own definition for a Defence Value Proposition, setting out six interconnected components:

1. Protecting UK citizens against today’s security threats and risks.

2. The role of Defence as the insurance policy of government and society against an uncertain future (eg new technologies and environmental hazards).

3. The benefits that Defence brings to the UK’s international influence and standing.

4. The contribution of UK Defence to wider international security (eg contributions to collective defence and capacity-building).

5. The benefits that Defence provides to the UK economy, enabling trade, industry and innovation.

6. The role of Defence as a vital part of the UK’s national identity, and social and community cohesion (eg the defence estate footprint in the UK and the symbolism of the Armed Forces).

The report also recognizes the challenge of the meaning of value changing across different audiences and contexts (including changes in temporal contexts for the same audience). In order to address this challenge, the report suggests that:

– Defence should seek to better understand its different audiences and tailor its value proposition accordingly;

– Defence leadership should promote a common understanding of the Defence Value Proposition;

– Defence should tell an engaging story and ensure effective communication of its key messages;

– Defence should continue to gather evidence on defence value;

– Defence should recognise the costs and trade-offs associated with investing resources in defence alongside other priorities;

– Defence should demonstrate confidence in its own value.

If you have any questions on the report, please contact Reg Pula, Policy Advisor Defence – Tel: +44 (0) 207 091 7813, E: reg.pula@adsgroup.org.uk. For further information please visit the defence page where all our defence special interest groups are listed. For a wider list of special interest groups, please visit here.