The UK MOD has recently released the Joint Doctrine Publication (JDP) 02, UK Operations: The Defence Contribution to Resilience (4th Edition). As the Foreword makes clear, ‘Defence has a key role supporting lead government departments, devolved administrations and civil authorities as they prepare, respond and recover from disruptive challenges and major national events.’ ‘The pandemic event of 2020 and 2021, the increasing prevalence of climate change-driven events, and the attack in Salisbury in 2018 highlight the breadth, scale and complexity of the challenges that the UK faces. This publication provides guidance and practical understanding to both a military and civilian audience on how Defence can support the civil authorities to deal with events such as natural hazards, major incidents or malicious attacks in the UK and the Crown Dependencies.’

JDP 02 explains the ways and means through which Military Aid to the Civil Authorities (MACA) is delivered in the UK. The term MACA applies to operations undertaken on behalf of other government departments within the UK, its territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, and the Crown Dependencies. The document states that ‘MACA contributes towards a resilient homeland, capable of enduring disruptive events of natural origin as well those caused by human actions, including inadvertent, deliberate and occasionally malign activities. Resilience is foundational to ensuring the UK’s security and way of life. Effective resilience underlines to potential adversaries that the benefits of malign activity will be largely denied, though of course not every eventuality can be deterred, and it thereby contributes to the UK’s deterrence.’

JDP 02 provides guidance to those in Defence responsible for the planning, force generation, and command and control of Defence assets tasked to provide support to the civil authorities. The document also provides other government departments, devolved administrations, local authorities, partners and agencies with a broad understanding of the Defence contribution to resilience as part of a multi-agency approach to support the civil authorities.

The document comprises four chapters as outlined below:

Chapter 1 – Context explains civil contingency in the UK and the part that Defence plays. Factors that influence civil contingency are highlighted before describing the risk management process that underpins the UK approach to civil contingency.

Chapter 2 – Policy: ends outlines the MOD’s policy for providing support to the civil authorities. It considers the legal basis for MACA and the charging policy applied to other government departments and civil authorities making a MACA request.

Chapter 3 – Process: ways details the end-to-end process for the employment, command and control, and recovery of Defence capability assigned to provide support to the civil authorities. It outlines Defence’s resilience roles, the military aid request mechanism and planning considerations.

Chapter 4 – Delivery: means considers Defence capability that may be tasked in support of MACA operations. It outlines how Defence conducts resilience education and trains alongside civil partners to prepare for potential civil contingency tasks.

The National Preparedness Commission commented on an initial draft of the document.

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