Defence Investment Campaign

Given the current geopolitical environment, the Council on Geostrategy, in conjunction with Sir Michael Fallon, the former Secretary of State for Defence, and a number of cross party Parliamentarians, initiated a public campaign urging all political parties to invest more in the defence of the United Kingdom.

The Defence Pledge

Britain is now facing its gravest threats since the end of the Cold War. Russia has invaded Ukraine and threatened other democracies, interfering with elections and directing cyber attacks; it has even poisoned people in our cities. Putin will not relent; he sees Britain, perhaps more than any other country, as an absolute enemy. Meanwhile, extremists inspire terrorism in our islands and Houthi militants attack our shipping. Both Iran and North Korea are developing nuclear capabilities. And China is rearming at scale, threatening military conflict over Taiwan and the South China Sea which would engulf the Indo-Pacific, if not the entire world.

Our international trade routes, our energy supplies, the subsea cables on which our data and financial systems depend, are all now at greater risk than at any time this century. We are paying more for our food and energy; our future economic prosperity is at risk. Conflict and instability elsewhere threaten our borders and encourage dangerous people trafficking.

Ten years ago NATO allies agreed to spend a minimum of 2% of GDP on defence: Britain has met that target. Even combined with greater spending efficiency, this is no longer enough to protect all our interests at home, within NATO, and further overseas. Countries which wish us harm are growing stronger and more dangerous. To deter them and properly protect our interests, we need stronger armed forces, particularly a larger navy, better air defences, and enhanced cyber and space power.

Absent this investment, British interests could suffer defeat, making the disruption we have experienced in recent months look moderate. Due to the reductions to the size of the fleet, the loss of a warship against a swarm of drones would exhaust the Royal Navy’s ability to protect our vital trade routes. Our inability to muster sufficient forces to protect our allies may encourage hostile states such as Russia to invade them, sparking an international crisis. And the erosion of our position as NATO’s premier European military power would weaken our hand in Washington, Brussels and other capitals at a time when our leadership is needed more than ever.

We therefore urge all political parties to commit in their manifestos this year to invest in real terms at least 2.5% of GDP on defence in each year of the next Parliament with a longer-term commitment to reach 3% by 2030. We also call on political candidates, whether standing or prospective, to pledge their support. Defending our way of life demands nothing less.


  • Sir Michael Fallon – Secretary of State for Defence (2014-2017)
  • Lord Ashton of Hyde – Member, International Relations and Defence Committee, House of Lords
  • Lord Boateng – Member, International Agreements Committee, House of Lords
  • Sir Robert Buckland MP – Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice (2019-2021)
  • Baroness D’Souza – Speaker of the House of Lords (2011-2016)
  • Gen. Lord Dannatt – Chief of General Staff (2006-2009)
  • Richard Drax MP – Member, Defence Committee, House of Commons
  • Tobias Ellwood MP – Chair, Defence Committee, House of Commons (2020-2023)
  • Simon Fell MP – Chair, AUKUS APPG
  • Mark Francois MP – Member, Defence Committee, House of Commons
  • James Gray MP – Chair, Armed Forces APPG
  • James Heappey MP – Minister of State for the Armed Forces (2022-2024)
  • Gen. Lord Houghton – Chief of the Defence Staff (2013-2016)
  • Dame Andrea Jenkyns MP – Member, European Scrutiny Committee Conservative
  • Alicia Kearns MP – Chair, Foreign Affairs Committee, House of Commons
  • Sir Julian Lewis MP – Chair, Defence Committee, House of Commons (2015-2019)
  • Lord Mountevans – Vice-Chair, AUKUS APPG
  • Baroness Neville-Jones – Minister of State for Security and Counter Terrorism (2010-2011)
  • Lord Risby – Chairman, Advisory Council, Council on Geostrategy
  • Lord Robathan – Member, Joint National Security Strategy Committee
  • Henry Smith MP – Member, Foreign Affairs Committee, House of Commons
  • Royston Smith MP – Member, Foreign Affairs Committee, House of Commons
  • Lord Soames – Member, International Relations and Defence Committee, House of Lords
  • Graham Stringer MP – Member, Foreign Affairs Committee, House of Commons
  • Lord Stirrup – Chief of Defence Staff (2006-2010)
  • Lord Teverson – Member, European Union Committee, House of Lords
  • Ben Wallace – Secretary of State for Defence (2019-2023)
  • Lord Walney – Vice-Chair, AUKUS APPG
  • Adm. Lord West – First Sea Lord (2002-2006)
  • Sir Gavin Williamson – Secretary of State for Defence (2017-2019)

Contact information

John Dobson

Policy Relations and Memberships Officer

If you would like to add your name to The Defence Pledge, please contact John Dobson.

Isobel Warren

Communications and Creativity Officer

For media enquiries about The Defence Pledge, please contact Isobel Warren.

Media coverage

Daily Mail

Parties unite as Rishi Sunak and Sir Keir Starmer face calls from their own MPs and peers to boost military budget.

Sky News

Ex-military chiefs urge political parties to commit to 2.5% defence spending amid ‘gravest threats since Cold War’.

POLITICO London Playbook

Calls for Rishi Sunak — and if the polls are right, Keir Starmer — to hike defense spending only get louder.

Sky News

UK should ‘lead way’ on defence spending as threat now ‘much greater’ than Cold War, ex-minister says.

Mail Online

Britain’s ‘boutique’ military has ‘no depth’, former head of the Armed Forces claims amid calls for increased defence spending.

Defense News

UK lawmakers and former defence officials have urged Britain’s political parties to invest more in the military.

Forces Net

All political parties must commit to 2.5% on defence spending, former military chiefs warn.

The National News

Britain must spend 3% of GDP on defence or ‘face defeat’, former government officials say.

Portsmouth News

Ex-Defence ministers and top brass unite to call for increased UK Royal Navy, Army and RAF spending.

Watch Sir Michael Fallon discuss The Defence Pledge on Sky News with Sir Trevor Philips

Related content

The Council on Geostrategy asks nine experts how much Britain should be investing in its defence in this edition of the Big Ask.

Dr Emma Salisbury analyses how British foreign and defence policy may change in 2024, and how this change differs from previous election years.

William Freer and James Rogers analyse the rationale behind the UK’s need for a larger navy, and how this can best be achieved.

The Council on Geostrategy is a non-partisan and non-profit think tank. We accept general and project-based funding from institutions, companies and individuals who share our mission and accept our intellectual independence.


Subscribe to all our updates: