No doubt, most of us heard the Government's recent assertion that terrorism consitutes the only current threat to the UK and that they have used that assessment as an excuse to cancel the building of two Type 45 Destroyers (amongst other things). This was debated at length on both Arrse and RR, with the majority opinion seeming to be that the Government is taking an optomistic view of things to say the least; instability around one of the world's shipping choke points could have serious implications for Britain, 95% of who's trade comes and goes by sea. It strikes me that when setting out the minimum that our armed forces need to be able to achieve, a prime consideration needs to be defence of the British Overseas Territories. You could be forgiven for not knowing this, but Britain retains 14 dependent territories, fragments of the empire that have voluntarily elected to remain under the sovreignty of the UK - Anguilla, Bermuda, British Antarctic Territory, British Indian Ocean Territory, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, Pitcairn Island, St Helena (including Ascension and Tristan De Cunha), South Georgia, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia. the defence of these territories remains the absolute responsibility of the UK and it is not unlikely that the UK would have to act alone in their defence (as in 1982). The UK is almost universally recognised as holding sovereign power of the Territories but disputes do exist. Spain claims Gibraltar, both the Seychelles and Mauritius claim British Indian Ocean Territory, Argentina claims the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, there are a number of disputes over slices of the British Antarctic Territory and elements in Cyprus demand the 'return' of the Sovereign Base Areas. It goes without saying that - quite apart from the above formal disputes - internal conflict could affect any of the BOTs and invasions from other regional powers, for whatever reason, are not beyond the realms of possibility. Some 250,000 people are British Overseas Citizens and all of them have a right to be protected by the British armed forces. It therefore seems to me that the absolute minimum capability we should retain is the ability to 'do a Falklands' i.e to project enough military power to take on a claimant and win. This does not require futile attempts to posture on the world stage but it does require the retention of a blue-water navy that has the capability to deploy at least one carrier group. In other words, to declare the terrorism is the only threat to the UK is not only to trust that the current world situation will not change for the next few decades, is not only to trust that the US and or the EU will always provide us with practical military assistance, is not not only to trust that counter-insurgency and peacekeeping will be the limits of the demands on our forces but to sell-out people who have every bit as much right to expect defence in Stanley or Grand Turk or Hamilton as I have. Thoughts?