29 Oct 20. Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy.
Select Committee Announcement.
The Joint Committee is writing to the Prime Minister to express its concerns about whether the Government’s ‘Integrated Review’ will be delayed or published incomplete, following the cancellation of the multi-year Spending Review. The Committee also highlights the lessons for the Integrated Review from the Committee’s ongoing inquiry into Biosecurity and national security.
The Committee recommends that the Government should now ensure that the Integrated Review:
- considers all aspects of national security together;
- funds its results fully and adequately;
- addresses continuing geopolitical challenges honestly and more explicitly;
- treats with similar priority all highest ‘tier’ national security risks, including pandemics, in terms of contingency planning, resource allocation, capability-building and testing exercises;
- includes a renewed focus on building national resilience, not just as a domestic internal national security issue but as a component of the UK’s external security capability and soft power;
- embeds the changing nature of defence and national security technologies, including those linked to the pandemic, in the Government’s procurement plans and budgets; and
- strengthens governance structures for preparing for and responding to future pandemics and other emergencies, recognising that many security challenges cut across all parts of government and lie outside the traditional national security departments.
The Committee conclude that many of the pitfalls it identifies in the letter would be avoided if the Chancellor’s forthcoming Spending Review could include multi-year allocations for at least the principal elements of national security spending. If that is not possible, then there are more disadvantages than benefits in producing an incomplete, un-costed, Integrated Review this autumn (rather than later), not least while there would remain uncertainties about the consequences of next week’s US Presidential election and about a post-Brexit trade deal settlement.