Growing the UK’s industrial base and deepening partnerships with allies are on the agenda as the country moves towards its “Global Britain” aspirations.
FINN caught up with the Director of the Department for International Trade Defence and Security Organisation Mark Goldsack at DSEI. Goldsack said the UK was making progress towards its global aspirations, outlined in the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, published earlier this year.
He explained: “I think the first point I would make is that what we know know and have recognised publicly in those documents that industrial capability is important to our national defence as anything else as genuine front end military capability. And to do that we want to have a full spectrum, fully healthy, vibrant defensive security industrial base.”
Decades spent “convening and perfecting” relationships with military allies
“We are a relatively small country, we are going to have to work with our partners and allies to make sure that works and that level of military cooperation is something that we know that we’re good at, we’ve spent decades convening and perfecting the way that we do that in NATO in our relationships with our closest allies around the planet.”
Goldsack said these relationships with partners and allies were also enhanced by the UK’s operational experience. “When you look at the degree of operations that we’ve been on in the past two or three decades, we’ve actually got some very hard operational experience underpinning the delivery of that capability as we go through that process,” he said. “Now that level of trust is what it’s going to take to create a stable industrial base that works properly across the global defence economy.”
Building a sense of “Team UK”
He added that the Integrated Review was a real opportunity to share a coherent view of what the UK was trying to achieve with governments and other partners in industry. “These are the capabilities we’re looking to work with other people on, that makes it much, much more straightforward for us to coalesce real energy, build a real sense of ‘Team UK’ around these propositions, and then go out there and work with our partners to produce something that suits both of us. And this is where I think the UK’s unique offering to the global economy is. We have always sat there as a marker of excellence in terms of what we do in service terms and what we’re now able to do is to link that to what we do in the economy.”
Goldsack said the partnerships would focus on co-creation and sharing of IP and production. He added they would also create supply chains which were “rock solid.” “A supply chain that can weather the sorts of impacts that we’ve seen things like the pandemic, the sort of supply chain that survives conflict and that’s the sort of partnership and allies that we’re looking for as we go out there and what you’re seeing here today at DSEI is a physical manifestation of that whole idea. You’ve got a variety of businesses here, not just from the UK, you’ve got a variety of friends, allies, folks that matter to us, you’ve got our own services here and you can see and hear the excitement in the air of trying to deliver that joint effect across the system.”