We have always been clear that the new NSS must be a truly strategic framework document that looks at security as a whole, enabling policy across Government to reflect the UK's security priorities and objectives. The focus of the next NSS should be wide, encompassing resilience, deterrence and defence; and also emerging risks, such as pandemics and climate change, which threaten international order.
The NSS should look hard at the UK's place within the international order, and what strategic thinking should underpin its actions over the next five years. It also needs to influence the Comprehensive Spending Review, to ensure that the Government can make fully-informed decisions on security-related spending.
The last five years have seen a range of international developments, ranging from the growth of radicalisation and fundamentalism, to growing concerns around our energy supply, and rising aggression from Russia. The NSS must be flexible enough to support contingency planning, and in this Report we recommend that the Government produce a classified NSS or annex which can be used in Government departments to influence planning assumptions for a range of scenarios.
The Government has been reluctant to share much information on the work of the National Security Council, but we are clear that this body should have a strategic advisory role, rather than just a reactive operational one, and needs to meet regularly throughout the year.
We have been disappointed by the lack of engagement from the Government on occasion, and in this Report we express our frustration at the lack of preparation and consultation for the next NSS.
The Joint Committee was set up to look purely at the National Security Strategy, and we have spent this Parliament producing a series of Reports that we hope have been useful to the Government in implementing the current strategy and planning for the new one. We look forward to the publication of the next NSS later in 2015.