Different strategy, same mistakes? The UK persistent engagement strategy

The UK’s persistent engagement strategy will see ‘armed forces overseas more often and for longer periods of time, to train, exercise and operate alongside allies and partners across all our priority regions’. But 20 years of the global war on terror have shown that deploying forces overseas for long periods of time without a clear strategy does not help in achieving any national objectives – and can undermine them instead.

So, what should the UK do? This briefing explores how the UK military can learn from the past 20 years and improve the theory of change which persistent engagement and military training deployments fit into. It argues that all military deployments must:

  • serve a clear end goal, compatible with promoting sustained peace beyond any immediate military/tactical imperative   
  • be built on the broad, inclusive local ownership necessary for efforts to be just, effective and sustainable
  • build international ’buy-in’ rather than simply coordination  
  • have sufficient transparency, accountability and learning structures to ensure it serves a clear end goal

Read the briefing here.

Read the related report, 'Playing with matches? UK security assistance and its conflict risks'.

Read the infographic briefing, 'Persistent Engagement', Persistent Risk: The impact of UK security assistance on rights and peace'.