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Rethinking security: a critical analysis of the Strategic Defence and Security Review

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In 2010 the coalition government conducted a major review of defence and security policy. This article explores the review process from a critical perspective by examining and challenging the state-centrism of prevailing conceptions of current policy reflected in the quest to define and perform a particular ‘national role’ in contrast to a human-centric framework focused on the UK citizen. It argues that shifting the focus of policy to the individual makes a qualitative difference to how we think about requirements for the UK's armed forces and challenges ingrained assumptions about defence and security in relation to military operations of choice and attendant expensive, expeditionary war-fighting capabilities. In particular, it confronts the prevailing narrative that UK national security-as-global risk management must be met by securing the state against pervasive multidimensional risk through military force, that military power projection capabilities are a vital source of international influence and national prestige and that the exercise of UK military power constitutes a ‘force for good’ for the long-term human security needs of citizens in both the intervened and intervening state.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2011

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