Your defence editor cites IRSS (International Institute for Strategic Studies) defence economics specialist Fenella McGerty as asserting there is “little ‘expendable’ (defence) funding to be cut.
I disagree. The renewal of the Trident nuclear submarine platform, missiles and warheads currently underway will cost at least £205,000,000,000 (£205bn) over the sixty-year planned lifetime of the ‘deterrent‘ system.
If this were cancelled as part of the ongoing Defence and Security Review, much ( some £ billions have admittedly already been sunk in the renewal project, which would have to be written off) of defence resources currently earmarked for Trident could be redeployed to funding a much more adaptable multi-operational defence and security system that addresses the tier one threats identified in the current national security risk assessment.
For example, building surface naval ships that can be adapted to humanitarian activities -such as post hurricane emergencies as our global weather patterns become more permanently hostile and disruptive in many parts of the world -would return the U.K. to global influence, using a combination of soft power and adaptable military hardware.
As the tier one pandemic threat that currently dominates the nation, the defence research undertaken at the MOD’s Porton Down national bio-security centre, have proved their worth in improving defence resilience on vaccine development at a fraction of the cost of renewing Trident, now an outdated strategic technology failing to find a relevant role in a radically changed global strategic environment.