DSIS #1: Introducing the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy

In early March the Government announced that it would conduct a review into the UK’s defence and security industrial strategy (DSIS). Intended as a cross-government effort, the DSIS review is tasked to ensure the UK has the right strategic approach in place to support the UK’s world-class defence and security industries. One of ADS’s top priorities in the 2019 General Election was the need for a new industrial strategy in this area, so this announcement has been warmly welcomed by industry.

ADS believes that the DSIS provides an ideal opportunity for the Government and industry to set a joint vision for how the UK will strengthen its global competitiveness, security and resilience in the face of an increasingly complex threat landscape, driven by fast-paced technological change and competition between countries and other threat actors to develop novel capabilities. The UK’s defence and security industries have an integral role to play in providing our Armed Forces and wider National Security community with the world-leading capabilities they need.

The new strategy must set out new ways of working across the whole spectrum of industrial policy. From leveraging the UK’s research and development (R&D) activities to encourage long-term investment to reforming long-standing public procurement rules to deliver rapid innovation, there are many ways in which existing approaches can be reformed, if not revolutionised, to deliver best effect in support of the UK’s national security and prosperity.

The UK’s defence and security industries have a key role in deterring the UK’s adversaries and influencing our allies. For that reason, industrial strategy should not be seen in isolation as a purely commercial matter. For instance, a newly energised approach to Government-to-Government engagement in support of defence and security exports will make a major contribution towards the Global Britain agenda. Elsewhere, a more open culture of sharing threat information and co-investment in critical technologies by Government and industry will make the UK more agile and resilient across the board.

Over the coming weeks ADS will be releasing a series of blogs in which we will set out what our member companies believe need addressing across the commercial, cultural and policy spheres by a comprehensive and ambitious DSIS in order to protect the UK and strengthen our economy. Starting from next week, we will look at how the DSIS should create the world’s best business environment for innovation. Over the weeks we will also reflect on the unique characteristics of the UK’s defence and security sectors individually and how the DSIS should address this.

Please do check back next Wednesday (8th April) for our next update. In the meantime if you have any questions about ADS’s work on DSIS contact Andy Johnston at andy.johnston@adsgroup.org.uk and Nathan Mathiot at nathan.mathiot@adsgroup.org.uk. To read the other blogs in this series please see below: