The UK Government's Strategic Defence and Security Review 2010 was flawed and driven by cost-cutting, says a report published by the National Audit Office (NAO).
The defence review process and the ministers' decisions about the future of the armed forces has been criticised by NAO saying it was dictated by financial concerns in parallel with the treasury's spending review.
The decisions were made in a view that had to identify, cost and prioritise alternative capability options in uncertainty.
The Telegraph quoted the report as saying: "In our view, this is not an ideal situation in which to have to take strategic decisions, continuing difficulties the department is facing in balancing its budget."
The report concluded that ministers were still unaware of the future additional costs that would have to be paid to enable the new aircraft carriers to carry conventional fighters rather than jump jets.