Defence policy

This page highlights some of the current parliamentary material available on defence policy. This includes select committee reports, briefing papers on current legislation and other subjects produced by the parliamentary research services, and the latest Early Day Motions put down by MPs.

Standard Notes

15.01.2015The Trident Successor Programme: an update
The programme to replace the UK's nuclear deterrent, Trident, from 2028 onwards continues apace. This note examines the progress made on the new class of 'Successor' submarines, the Trident Alternatives Review and the potential impact of the Scottish referendum on independence.
08.01.2015US Forces in the UK: legal agreements
The legal agreements governing the US Visiting Force in the United Kingdom.
19.11.2014Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons
On 8-9 December interested parties will convene in Vienna for the Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons. This will be the third conference on this issue in two years and is the result of an increasing focus by the non-nuclear weapon states on a previously little-debated aspect of the nuclear weapons debate: the humanitarian consequences of their use.
20.10.2014UK-USA Mutual Defence Agreement
The Mutual Defence Agreement allows the US and UK to exchange nuclear materials, technology and information in order to improve their atomic weapon design, development and fabrication capabilities. The most important part of the MDA is due to expire at the end of 2014 and therefore an amendment treaty, which will extend this deadline to 2024, must be ratified by both States and brought into force by the end of this year.
12.09.2014NATO Wales Summit 2014: outcomes
The 2014 NATO Wales Summit discussed Russia, Ukraine, Iraq, defence spending amongst allies and the end of combat operations in Afghanistan.

Research Papers

23.01.2015Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) Bill [HL]
An analysis of the Armed Forces (Service Complaints and Financial Assistance) Bill as brought from the House of Lords. Second Reading is on 2 February 2015. The intention of the Bill is to reform the Service Complaints System and strengthen independent oversight of that system by converting the role of the current Service Complaints Commissioner into a Service Complaints Ombudsman. The Bill also includes a power to make payments to charities, benevolent organisations and others for the benefit of the armed forces community.
16.12.2013Germany's 2013 election: shaping the future?
Where is Germany - the most influential country in Europe - heading, under its new grand coalition government?
11.07.2013Defence Reform Bill
The Defence Reform Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 3 July 2013. Second Reading has been tabled for 16 July 2013.
14.12.2011Military balance in Southeast Asia
This paper examines the military balance of power in Southeast Asia and specifically at the military capabilities and priorities of six regional actors: Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and Singapore.
21.01.2011UK Defence and Security Policy: A New Approach?
Both the National Security Strategy and the Strategic Defence and Security Review were published in October 2010, five months after the Government took office. This paper examines the main priorities and recommendations set out in each of those documents

Select Committee Reports

25.01.2011Who does UK national strategy?
Government response. Public Administration Select Committee; Cabinet Office report [Commons]
12.10.2010Who does UK national strategy?
Public Administration Select Committee report [Commons]
27.07.2010MoD annual report and accounts 2008-09.
Government response. Defence Select Committee; Ministry of Defence report [Commons]
06.04.2010Readiness and recuperation of the Armed Forces: looking towards the Strategic Defence Review.
Government response. Defence Select Committee report [Commons]
09.03.2010National security and resilience.
Government response. Defence Select Committee report [Commons]

Early Day Motions

That this House welcomes the Government's intention to hold a strategic defence and security review; notes with concern the stated intention to conduct it without giving due consideration ...
That this House regrets the Ministry of Defence's decision to close RAF Cottesmore, home to the Harrier Force as part of changes to the defence programme announced in December 2009; ...
That this House welcomes the decision by the Government to hold a strategic defence review but believes that such a review will be meaningless if the schemes for the replacement of ...
That this House believes that any forthcoming Strategic Defence Review should examine all aspects of United Kingdom defence and security; is concerned that the Government excludes from ...
That this House welcomes the support for nuclear disarmament initiatives and the strengthening of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty made by President-elect Obama in his successful ...

Lords Library Notes

06.12.2013Defence Reform Bill
This Note provides background information on the Defence Reform Bill, which is due to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 10 December 2013.

POST Papers

05.12.2011Explosive Injuries
This briefing provides a background to explosive injury, explores developments in mitigation science, and highlights research priorities.


  • Research Papers (RP) - briefings produced by the House of Commons Library on Bills, topical issues and regular statistics
  • Standard Notes (SN) - shorter, topical briefings from the Commons Library
  • Early Day Motions (EDMs) - formal motions submitted by MPs in the House of Commons
  • POST Notes - short briefing notes produced by the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology
  • Lords Library Notes (LLN) - papers compiled by the House of Lords Library on Bills and for debates in the Lords
  • Select Committee Reports - papers produced by all select committees of both Houses