Appendix 1Letter from the Foreign
14 November 2010
Thank you for your letter of 26 October, following
your Committee's report "Who does UK National Strategy?"
As you know, I agree with the report's finding that
under the previous administration, the Government had lost the
capacity to think strategically. One of the first tasks of the
new Government was to restore that capability and for new Ministers
to set a lead in strategic thinking. That is why we established
the National Security Council on the day after the election, and
published the new National Security Strategy on 18 October. This
sets the broad context for our strategic thinking, starting out
from our aim to be an open, outward-facing nation whose political,
economic and cultural authority is disproportionate to our size,
and embracing a whole of government approach and rejecting the
idea of strategic shrinkage.
The National Security Council is now building up
this whole of government approach for a series of key issues.
It has brought coherence to our Afghanistan policy, and to the
vital decisions of the Strategic Defence and Security Review.
We have now established a new Sub-Committee to the National Security
Council on Emerging Powers, to strengthen our approach to an increasingly
important set of relationships for the UK's national interest.
These structures provide us with an effective way to bring together
strategic decisions about our security, defence, diplomacy and
development and have already helped bring new coherence to our
bilateral relations with India, China, Russia and the countries
of the Gulf.
I do not, however, see the need for the National
Security Council to develop a new bureaucracy for strategic thinking.
Its purpose is not to become a rival source of advice to the Prime
Minister, but to ensure that existing Departments work together
effectively and that their advice is drawn together for collective
consideration by Ministers. My priority remains to reinforce the
role of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in leading foreign
policy across the whole of government. Within the FCO, that means
that strategic thinking must be infused throughout the entire
organisation, and should not be considered as an isolated task
separate from implementing policy. We shall, however, be taking
some steps to reinforce our central policy coordination functions
in order to make this happen.
I hope that this approach finds favour with your