The Alternative Security Review

The Alternative Security Review is a civil society-led review of the UK’s security strategy. By asking people in the UK what they feel really matters to them for their security, the Alternative Security Review will create a human security strategy to provide an alternative to failing government policy.

Why do we need an Alternative Security Review?

Humanity is faced with multiple crises: 

  • climate breakdown that could make our planet unliveable, in the face of government inaction;
  • the COVID-19 pandemic, which has highlighted our vulnerability to new diseases and the inequality between rich and poor;
  • failed wars and foreign policy in Iraq, Afghanistan and across the Middle East that highlight the problems of a militaristic approach to security ;
  • increasing hostility between ‘big powers’.

There is an urgent need to put forward alternatives to failing government policy that is fuelling insecurity both at home and abroad. 

Any security policy must start with human welfare and ecological sustainability rather than militarised competition. Yet, the UK’s latest review, the Integrated Review, which set out government ‘security’ priorities for the next 10 years, will see a big boost to military spending at the expense of development and diplomacy, and commits the UK to dangerous great power struggles on the other side of the world. Not only that, but the budget for international aid has been slashed. This dangerous investment in militarism at the expense of sustainable development will not support human and ecological security at home or abroad. 

A human security strategy would, instead, prioritise inclusion, equality, accountability and well-being at home, as well as a vision of shared global security and a commitment to the ecological security of our planet. 

The Alternative Security Review will create public dialogue in the UK on human and ecological security, and as a result develop a human security strategy supported by a broad movement for change.

Launch event

Securing our Common Future: Why the UK needs an Alternative Security Review

On Thurs 18th Nov we held an online discussion event to publicly launch the Alternative Security Review. Speakers discussed the need for an urgent rethink to our security after the failure of governments to make the commitments needed to avert climate breakdown.

Chaired by Natalie Samarasinghe (CEO, United Nations Association UK), with speakers: Baroness Natalie Bennett (Green Party), Anya Nanning Ramamurthy (UK Student Climate Network), Prof. Paul Rogers (Bradford University and Open Democracy), Richard Reeve (Rethinking Security Coordinator)  

Take Part in the ASR

After the launch, we will be holding more online events in the New Year to meet with organisations and individuals who are interested in the Alternative Security Review. These will be based around themes of human and ecological security and for people and organisations who want to contribute to the ASR. If you are interested in taking part, you can sign up as a supporter to be kept in touch. 

The ASR needs people who are active in organisations – large or small, local or national, grass-roots or established – working on issues that relate to human and ecological security. You could take part in research, contribute your own stories or research, or spread the word to others who might want to participate. 

Who is involved?

Rethinking Security is a network of UK-based organisations, academics and activists. We work for a just and peaceful world, based on approaches that address the underlying causes of conflict and insecurity. We have a shared concern that the current approach to national security in the UK and beyond often hampers efforts for peace, justice and ecological sustainability. We are committed to building a much richer understanding of what security really means, and of what is required to build sustainable security.

We are partnering with the Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (CTPSR) at Coventry University to develop the Alternative Security Review. The academics we are working with are Drs Patricia Sellick, Sariya Cheruvallil-Contractor, David Curran and research assistant Zsófia Hacsek.

The Alternative Security Review is led by the Rethinking Security Coordinator (Richard Reeve), complemented by an Outreach Coordinator (Joanna Frew), who leads on domestic outreach, engagement and mobilisation elements of the project. 


ARTICLE: The Case for a Human Security Strategy, March 2021.

BRIEFING: Open Society, Closed Conversations: External Consultation and the Integrated Review, Dec 2021.

LITERATURE REVIEW: Towards More Inclusive Understandings of Security in the UK, May 2022.

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