Rethinking Security is a network of peace and security experts. Our goal is that the UK’s approach to security and international relations tackles underlying drivers of insecurity to build a more just and peaceful world for all. We provide evidence and opinion on the shortcomings of current policies and propose credible alternatives.
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GOVERNMENT SPENDING DECISIONS ON DEFENCE AND DEVELOPMENT UNDERMINE INTERNATIONAL SECURITY (18 Nov 2020)
Rethinking Security, a network of peace and security experts today criticised the Government’s apparent decision to grant an exceptional four-year increase to the Ministry of Defence’s budget while other government departments face swingeing cuts and long-term uncertainty.
Our Coordinator Richard Reeve said, “The government’s spending calculus is a retrograde step that would reverse two decades of rebalancing from defence to development, coercion to cooperation. The Integrated Review is disintegrating before our eyes.”
GOVERNMENT WRONG TO MERGE FOREIGN AND DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENTS (16 June 2020)
Rethinking Security, a network of peace and security experts, today criticised the Government’s decision to shake up Whitehall with a merger of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development (DFID).
Our Coordinator, Richard Reeve, said: “Tackling poverty and inequality are crucial steps in reducing insecurity and conflict. DFID has been world-leading in its focus on conflict prevention; its loss risks aid spending being diverted to narrowly defined security and trade objectives rather than global wellbeing.”
GOVERNMENT DELAY TO SECURITY REVIEW IS OPPORTUNITY FOR RADICAL CHANGE (15 April 2020)
Rethinking Security, a network of peace and security experts, today welcomed the postponement of the Government’s planned Integrated Security Review in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Our Coordinator, Richard Reeve, said: “We have always said that there should be a period of public consultation before the review begins. Now, more than ever, citizens want to have their say on what security looks like, and how we can work together to build positive peace.”
EXPERTS DEMAND PUBLIC INVOLVEMENT IN GOVERNMENT’S NEW SECURITY REVIEW (26 February 2020)
Rethinking Security, a network of peace and security experts, today called on the Government to adopt an inclusive approach to reviewing and renewing the UK’s security policy. Welcoming the announcement of an Integrated Review of UK foreign policy, defence, security and international development, they called on the Prime Minister to listen to the views of peace practitioners, victims of global conflict and ordinary British citizens.
The experts warned the Government not to miss the opportunity to define what security means, including an honest assessment of whose security and how progress can be measured.
RETHINKING SECURITY WELCOMES NEW COORDINATOR, RICHARD REEVE (28 August 2019)
Peace and security network Rethinking Security today announced its new Coordinator will be Richard Reeve.
Richard’s current role is Chief Executive of Oxford Research Group, one of Rethinking Security’s affiliate organisations.
He will join Rethinking Security on 28 October 2019.
‘I’m delighted to be taking on the role of Coordinator at Rethinking Security.
‘The current political environment is highlighting the UK’s approach to national and international security. Now is the time to understand and advocate for a new approach, one which addresses the underlying causes of insecurity and prioritises sustainable and lasting peace.
‘The Rethinking Security network is a well-established, enthusiastic and committed group of NGOs, academics and activists, which I have had the privilege of working with over the last four years.
‘I’m looking forward to supporting their work with Parliament, the media and the public to encourage conversations about how we can all work together to develop more human-centred and sustainable approaches to security.’
Outgoing Coordinator Celia McKeon said:
‘Rethinking Security is very lucky to have Richard as incoming Coordinator.
‘With an excellent grasp of both the issues and the network, I’ve no doubt that Richard will hit the ground running – and that his commitment and vision will be instrumental in taking Rethinking Security forward.’
EXPERTS DEMAND NEW CABINET RETHINK UK’S SECURITY APPROACH (25 July 2019)
In open letters to the Defence, International Development and Foreign Secretaries, we highlighted key actions to end the UK’s contribution to worldwide insecurity and violence. The letters called on the new ministers to rethink the government’s Global Britain agenda by prioritising a sustainable, collaborative approach to worldwide stability.
MORDAUNT SPEECH ‘OUTDATED THINKING’ – UK PEACE AND SECURITY EXPERTS (15 May 2019)
In response to Penny Mordaunt MP’s first speech as Defence Secretary:
‘Today’s speech confirms that the government’s vision for Global Britain relies heavily on an outdated assumption that the UK’s security and international influence can be achieved primarily by its military capabilities… We need an understanding that worldwide conflict and insecurity are shared problems to be solved, not expensive fights to be won.’
EXPERTS DEMAND NEW MINISTERS RETHINK UK’S SECURITY APPROACH (2 May 2019)
Rethinking Security view on defence spending endorsed by Pax Christi (02 Dec 2020)
“Pax Christi England and Wales has supported Rethinking Security, a UK-based network of peace and security experts which has criticised the Government’s apparent decision to grant an exceptional increase to the Ministry of Defence’s budget while other government departments face cuts.
Director Theresa Alessandro said Pax Christi agreed with Rethinking Security’s analysis. “In apportioning more money to the military, our government is revealed to be out of step with the now commonly-understood insight that military approaches cannot help us with the major risks we face, such as pandemics and climate change,” she said.
Rethinking Security cited in Devex report on Integrated Review (11 Sep 2020)
“The process of the integrated review this year has been very poor,” agreed Richard Reeve, coordinator of Rethinking Security, a network of NGOs focused on peace building and security.
Consultation has been “significantly worse” than previous government security reviews, despite “belatedly” increasing engagement with civil society in the last two weeks, Reeve said. “However, because we have no timeline for the review, we don’t know whether this is going to be taken into serious consultation or whether it’s an exercise that is happening … in parallel to the actual process,” he added.
Our letter in the Financial Times (02 Dec 2019)
“The UK’s decline to 11th place in the Lowy Institute’s Global Diplomacy Index (UK falls in diplomatic rankings despite ‘Global Britain’ vision, 26 November) is indeed of concern for its influence in the world. However, the UK’s decline in diplomacy should be seen alongside the rise, under the ‘Global Britain’ brand, of its global military presence. […]
“At stake in this steady shift of resourcing is the UK’s role in the world. Does it want to prioritise projecting military power to enforce a precipitous status quo? Or should it seek to understand the world and tackle the issues that really make people and states feel insecure? Against such threats as climate change and inequality the UK’s rising global military presence is futile, costly and dangerous.
If we do want to change the world, we will have to change ourselves as well.”
Our letters in the Guardian (18 Nov 2019)
“Simon Jenkins (15 Nov) rightly highlights the lack of discussion of the many wars that the US and UK are fighting despite their failure and unpopularity among civilians and service personnel alike. But he is wrong to suggest that the UK faces no existential threats. Like the US and all other states, the UK faces the twin existential threats of climate breakdown and nuclear weapons use. However, the UK and US carry disproportionate responsibility for creating and mitigating them.”
Just Security (31 July 2019)
‘Military, technical, financial, and diplomatic “security” initiatives all over the world… often end up worsening and perpetuating the conflicts they are supposed to stop or prevent. All the while, the people worst affected have very little say about what’s going on around them.’
Article by our Coordinator, Celia McKeon, with Larry Attree and Konstantin Bärwaldt.
Women in leadership (Summer 2019)
‘National security must diversify leadership,’ writes our Coordinator, Celia McKeon.
Our letter in the Times (16 May 2019)
‘The foreign secretary’s view that the UK should increase defence spending above 2 per cent of GDP overlooks two vital points: that GDP bears no relation a nation’s actual security needs, and that many of the most pressing causes of global insecurity cannot be tackled by increasing military expenditure. Prioritising spending over strategy may seem like an easy win but is flawed and outdated thinking.’