Royal Navy could steer UK to a Global Britain - Lancaster University lecturer advises Parliament

Aerial view of the Royal Navy Dockyard, Portsmouth, showing large and majestic old yacht and Royal Navy aircraft carriers in the background © Photo 203337770 © Amanda Lewis
Aerial view of the Royal Navy Dockyard, Portsmouth.

It is crucial to recognise the Royal Navy, currently at a crossroad, will play a central role to secure a ‘Global Britain’ as a military arm of Britain’s ambitions and as a symbol and actor of its prestige and influence.

Advising the UK Parliament Defence Committee, Dr Basil Germond, a Lancaster University senior lecturer and expert in naval affairs, says that, on the one hand, the carrier battlegroups, the inherent flexibility and versatility of naval platforms and the potential generated by the adoption of new technologies create opportunities for a ‘Global Britain’.

But on the other hand, resource constraints and a diversification of ‘theatres of operations and threats’ create challenges impacting the ambition for the Navy’s role.

The Parliament Defence Committee launched an inquiry into the Navy’s purpose and procurement to examine its expected role over the next 20 years and to assess the relevance of its procurement plan.

To help the Committee’s inquiry, Dr Germond, also an expert in sea power and maritime security, submitted written evidence, which has just been accepted (evidence 4) in response to the Call “The Navy: purpose and procurement”.

Dr Germond suggests the way forward is:

· Embracing the maritime dimension of the UK

· Creating a hierarchy of theatres of operations, each with different objectives

· Implementing the concept of ‘collective seapower’ for the management of daily maritime security and ocean governance tasks

· Leading the global management of the impacts of climate change on maritime trade and maritime security.

Dr Germond also suggests asking the Government to clarify:

  • Which theatre(s) of naval operations (Euro-Atlantic, Arctic, Middle East, Indo-Pacific) will the Government prioritise? And why?
  • In the spirit of the 2021 Integrated Review, how does the Government conceive the role of the Navy beyond defence and security?

Dr Germond says: “The Royal Navy is a symbol of the Nation and has traditionally benefitted from the support of the public opinion; in collective imaginaries, the Navy has been represented as a cornerstone of British power in the world.

“To fulfil the ambitions set up in the 2021 Integrated Review, it is crucial to fully embrace the maritime dimension of the UK, since it is key to the future of the country’s prosperity, security and identity.”

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