News this past week that sweeping changes are due to be put forward to the Armed Forces should not come as any surprise. With a budget black hole and limited finances, a solution was desperately needed.
I've campaigned myself for many years on defence matters, from better equipment and procurement, to spending and welfare of returning servicemen and women. The scale of the debate has been truly epic. With commentators from all sides putting forward different opinions, from integrating the RAF into the Royal Navy and Army, to the Treasury stumping up the shortfall in funding the department faces. It has been emotional, but we got there in the end.
What was found, was a compromise. Something that appears to be increasingly popular in coalition politics. Yet something that is equally effective as a political tool.
For defence however, it feels like the government, more importantly prime minister and defence secretary actually do care about our Armed Forces. Whilst some corners of the defence community have rightly been unhappy about the proposed reforms, I would counter by suggesting that actually, for the first time in a very long time, we have a direction. We know where the money will come from and what it will be spent on. Moreover, our defence posture, now linked with foreign policy, means that in future, we may increasingly find that the UK avoids 'national building' and focuses on short, sharp interventions. I welcome that.
To me 'spare capacity' is a phrase I use a lot. Why? Because in defence terms, you need plenty of it. The proposals outlined by Liam Fox only this week, suggest to me that he has been able to set a firm, clear path for his department. Moreover, the procurement of equipment outlined in his speech to the Commons suggests that he recognises the importance of being able to deploy a smaller, better equipped force. As opposed to a bigger, under resourced force. That I like.
The idea of using increased numbers of reservists should not worry people as much as some have suggested. In the US, Australia and Canada, reserves are regularly called upon. Naturally I would argue that finances permitting, I would personally like to see an increase in spending on defence. But there again I am a realist and accept that the UK is in a very challenging financial position at the moment. As much as some of the proposed changes, like watching ships being sold off have been hard to swallow.
I genuinely believe Cameron and Fox are beginning to deliver on their plan to rebuild Britain's Armed Forces. More importantly, they have begun to put the 'Great' back in Britain.
We should recognise that and support the country as best we can.
Martin Cakebread is former elected board director of the defence and foreign affairs group 'UKNDA', former strategy consultant to the David James Report and lead writer of Conservative Future.com during the 2005 general election. You can follow him on Twitter at @martincakebread