A recent MoD mission statement for the armed forces reads as follows:
"Defence policy requires the provision of forces with a high degree of
military effectiveness, at sufficient readiness and with a clear sense of
purpose, for conflict prevention, crisis management and combat operations.
Their demonstrable capability, conventional and nuclear, is intended to
act as an effective deterrent to a potential aggressor, both in peacetime
and during a crisis. They must be able to undertake a range of military
tasks to fulfil the missions set out below, matched to changing strategic
These missions are not listed in any order of priority:
Peacetime Security: To provide forces needed in peacetime to ensure
the protection and security of the Untied Kingdom, to assist as required
with the evacuation of British nationals overseas, to afford Military Aid
to the Civil Authorities in the United Kingdom, including Military Aid to
the Civil Power, Military Aid to Other Government Departments and Military
Aid to the Civil Community.
Security of the Overseas Territories: To provide forces to meet any
challenges to the external security of a British Overseas Territory
(including overseas possession and the Sovereign Base Areas) or to assist
the civil authorities in meeting a challenge to internal security.
Defence Diplomacy: To provide forces to meet the varied activities
undertaken by the Ministry of Defence to dispel hostility, build and
maintain trust, and assist in the development of democratically
accountable armed forces (thereby making a significant contribution to
conflict prevention and resolution).
Support to Wider British Interests: To provide forces to conduct
activities to promote British interests, influence and standing abroad.
Peace Support and Humanitarian Operations: To contribute forces to
operations other than war in support of British interests and
international order and humanitarian principles, the latter most likely
under UN auspices.
Regional Conflict Outside the NATO Area: To contribute forces for a
regional conflict (but on an attack on NATO or one of its members) which,
if unchecked, could adversely affect European security, or which could
pose a serious threat to British interests elsewhere, or to international
security. Operations are usually under UN or Organisation for Security
Co-operation in Europe auspices.
Regional Conflict Inside the NATO Area: To provide forces needed to
respond to a regional crisis or conflict involving a NATO ally who calls
for assistance under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty.
Strategic Attack on NATO: To provide, within the expected warning
and readiness preparation times, the forces required to counter a
strategic attack against NATO.
The mission statement is further sub-divided
into a number of Military Tasks (MT) which accurately define the way in
which the missions are actually accomplished.