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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

Jan 11. ORAL EVIDENCE: THE PERFORMANCE OF THE MoD 2009-10, Wednesday 9 February 2011, Committee Room 16, Palace of Westminster (room subject to change)
Witnesses: At 10.30 am
Ministry of Defence: Ursula Brennan, Permanent Under Secretary, Jon Thompson, Director General Finance

Jan 11. Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC): Evidence Sessions. The FAC is continuing its Inquiry into The Role of the FCO in UK Government. Evidence is to be taken from officials, including the former UK Ambassador to the UN, on 26 Jan 11. The Foreign Secretary is to give evidence on 7 Feb 11. To confirm venue and times contact the Committee Office on 020-7219 6394. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 11/03, 17 Jan 11)

13 Jan 11. This is a piece of written evidence from Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles KCMG LVO to the Foreign Affairs Committee on their Inquiry into Afghanistan/Pakistan. He is talking of Defence issues, however. This has just gone up on the FAC web page.
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmfaff/writev/afpak/afpak17.htm
This is further to the evidence he gave back in November which is at:
http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmfaff/uc514-iii/uc51401.htm

13 Jan 11. The Defence Committee today announces a major new inquiry into the outcomes of the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) within the wider context of the National Security Strategy (NSS). When the Committee reported on the SDSR process in September 2010, Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP, Chair of the Committee said “We welcome the Secretary of State’s determination that this should be a real review rather than just a cost-cutting exercise. However we are not yet convinced that the combination of a budgetary straight-jacket, the short timescale, and the apparent unwillingness by the Ministry to think outside existing structures, for example with regard to the more integrated use of Reservists, will deliver that end.”
On 18 October 2010, the Government published the National Security Strategy (NSS) followed by the Prime Minister presenting the Strategic Defence and Security (SDSR) to the House of Commons on 19 October. On 20 October, the Government published the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR). The NSS is intended to set out the UK’s strategic vision and objectives for the future, with the SDSR setting out a blueprint for meeting these goals. In contrast to previous defence reviews the SDSR attempts to encompass the whole area of security, including not just defence policy and the role and capabilities of the Armed Forces but wider security issues such as homeland defence, counter terrorism, cyber and border security and international development. In his message to the MoD and the Armed Forces, the incoming Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir David Richards said “We now have our orders. The National Security Strategy, with its clear description of 21st Century conflict and how we should seek to reduce its risk, is our Commander’s Intent. The SDSR provides the required detail. We have what we need to devise and implement a practical strategy to deliver the right outcome”.
The Committee will examine whether the Government’s decisions truly fulfil the stated intention of the SDSR as “set[ting] out the ways and means to deliver the ends set out in the National Security Strategy”. The inquiry will also inform future inquiries looking at individual areas in more detail. The Committee is particularly interested in:
* how the NSS and SDSR relate to each other as strategic and coherent documents and what added value the establishment of the National Security Council has brought to strategic defence and security policy;
* the role of the Ministry of Defence, including the Defence Reform Unit, and other Government departments, the National Security Council, the Armed Forces and other agencies in the development and implementation of the NSS and SDSR, including areas that stretch across Government such as the UK’s increased rol

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