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Defence Committee Future Programme

10 December 2012

The Defence Committee today takes the unusual step of announcing its outline programme for the remainder of the Parliament.  Its purpose in doing so is, by setting out its strategy, to encourage comment on and engagement in its general direction and its inquiries.

The Committee’s priority during this Parliament has been and remains to help to shape the next Strategic Defence and Security Review. In order to do this it intends to carry out:

1. An over- arching inquiry – which may be divided into individual more specific inquiries - to examine the purpose and future use of the Armed Forces. This would include:
• the strategic balance between deterrence, containment, intervention and influence
• the utility of force
• the legitimacy of force, including the political/military interface and lessons learned from current and recent operations
• the effect of changes in the interpretation of the law on the prosecution of operations, and the use of remotely piloted aircraft (RPAs, commonly known as "drones")
• the relationship between hard and soft power in terms of influence.

2. An inquiry into Army 2020, including: recruitment; reserves; redeployment from Germany; re-basing; and availability of training areas.

3. An inquiry into Future Force 2020, including the regeneration of capacity.  This would draw upon the Committee's other inquiry work and focus attention on the forces needed for contingency operation; the balance between the three services and between regulars and reserves; role-sharing; and co-operation with allies. It is expected to be the final inquiry of the series.

While the Committee will follow the general structure of the inquiries set out above – the terms of reference and precise timings of which will be announced in due course - that will not be all it will do.  It will also maintain its programme of inquiries into current operations, aspects of the Armed Forces Covenant, emerging threats, and the administration and finances of the Ministry of Defence. It will continue to follow up previous inquiries. It will also, of course, retain sufficient flexibility to react to unexpected events.

If you wish to be kept up to date with the progress of any inquiry you will find information on the Committee's website as it becomes available.

Alternatively, to receive email notification of all the Committee's public meetings and Reports, you can join the Committee's mailing list by emailing with the subject header "Join DefCom mailing list".



Committee Membership is as follows:

Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP (Conservative, North East Hampshire) (Chair), Mr Julian Brazier MP, (Conservative, Canterbury), Thomas Docherty MP (Labour, Dunfermline and West Fife), Rt Hon Jeffrey M. Donaldson MP (Democratic Unionist, Lagan Valley), Mr Dai Havard MP (Labour, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney), Adam Holloway MP (Conservative, Gravesend), Mrs Madeleine Moon MP (Labour, Bridgend), Penny Mordaunt MP (Conservative, Portsmouth North), Sandra Osborne MP (Labour, Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock), Sir Bob Russell, (Liberal Democrat, Colchester), Bob Stewart MP (Conservative, Beckenham), Ms Gisela Stuart MP (Labour, Birmingham, Edgbaston)

Specific Committee Information:  020 7219 5745

Media Enquiries: Alex Paterson  020 7219 1589 / 07917 488 488

Committee Website:
Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: 

Publications / Reports / Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge St, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474).  Committee reports, press releases, evidence transcripts, Bills; research papers, a directory of MPs, plus Hansard (from 8am daily) and much more, can be found on

 Image: PA