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31 Oct 13. The Government’s timetable for planning the next National Security Strategy will not allow for a broad, cross-party debate on the big questions which the next National Security Strategy will need to address, says Rt Hon Margaret Beckett MP, Chair of the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy. The JCNSS has today published the Government response to its latest report, which raised concerns about the Government’s handling of national security matters. In its report the Committee said that the National Security Council appeared to have focused on operational matters and short-term imperatives. The Government response says that it “believes it has been broadly successful in achieving the right balance in NSC work”. The Government has agreed to supply the Committee with copies of the NSC’s agendas on a regular basis, so it will be able to keep the NSC’s priorities under review. In its report the Committee said that it had not yet seen evidence of the Government pressing ahead with planning for the next National Security Strategy or giving serious consideration to engaging outside experts, politicians across the political parties and the public in its development. The Government response says that initial preparatory work is now under way, but “the review itself will formally be conducted after the General Election in 2015”. The Committee is concerned that this timetable will not allow for a broad, cross-party debate on the big questions which the next National Security Strategy will need to address. It has raised these concerns with the Prime Minister.

The Chair of the Committee, Rt Hon Margaret Beckett MP said: “It is worrying that the Government does not plan to review the National Security Strategy till after the next General Election. This sounds like a repeat of the last, rushed process in 2010. We’ll be continuing to press for a different approach – for a public debate and cross-party discussion on the UK’s place in the world and our national priorities before we get embroiled in the next General Election campaign. Decisions will, of course, have to wait for whoever is in Government in 2015, but those decisions should be based on thorough analysis of the options and their consequences.”

29 Oct 13. The Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC). ANNOUNCEMENT OF EVIDENCE SESSION – ARMS EXPORTS AND ARMS CONTROLS 2014. Monday 4 November 2013. Committee Room 16, Palace of Westminster (to be confirmed). Witnesses at 3:45pm
UK Working Group on Arms
* Roy Isbister; Team leader, Small Arms and Transfer Controls, Saferworld:
* Oliver Sprague; Programme Director, Military Security and Police, Amnesty International UK
* Martin Butcher , Policy Adviser – Arms Campaign, Oxfam GB
Witnesses at 4:45pm (or immediately after the previous panel)
Export Group for Aerospace and Defence
* Mr David Hayes (Chairman of EGAD), David Hayes Export Controls
* Mrs Susan Griffiths, Head of Export Control UK, MBDA UK Ltd
* Ms Bernadette Peers, Compliance Manager, Strategic Shipping Company Ltd
* Mr Michael J.V. Bell, Export Controls Consultant
Defence Committee
Select Committee Announcement

30 Oct 13. The Defence Committee published the following Special Report on Tuesday 29 October) at 11 am:
* The Armed Forces Covenant in Action? Part 3: Educating the Children of Service Personnel: Government Response to the Committee’s Fourth Report of Session 2013–14 as its Eighth Special Report of Session 2013–14, HC 771.
The Report will be on the Committee’s website, www.parliament.uk/defcom from 11 am and copies may be purchased from The Houses of Parliament Shop (12 Bridge Street, Westminster, London, SW1A 2JX, Tel: 020 7219 3890).

House of Lords Written Answers for Thursday 31 October 2013

Armed Forces: Redundancies

Question for Short Debate 2.37 pm

Asked by Lord Touhig: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the recent comments by General Sir Nick Houghton, Chief of the Defence Staff, wh

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