The UK's national security machinery Contents

2The National Security Council: how—and how effectively—does it operate?

A brief introduction to the NSC and its machinery

6.The National Security Council (NSC) is a Cabinet committee and the main forum for collective discussion of the Government’s objectives for national security. Chaired by the Prime Minister, it brings together senior Ministers from relevant departments to coordinate a “whole-of-Government approach” to national security.8 The NSC is also responsible for the creation and delivery of the national security strategies that have been published approximately every five years since 2010, in addition to any interim reviews, such as those published in 2018.9

7.The NSC was first established in its present form in 2010, building on previous practices and enabling the flexible use of ministerial sub-committees.10 The inauguration of the NSC also prompted changes at the official level, with the creation of a dedicated National Security Adviser (NSA), a shadow committee known as NSC (Officials), and a secretariat—the National Security Secretariat in the Cabinet Office.11

8.There have been periodic attempts in recent years to strengthen the cross-Whitehall policy-making machinery that supports the work of the NSC and the national security ‘centre’ in the Cabinet Office. These include the establishment in 2018 of cross-departmental National Security Implementation Groups (NSIGs) on each of the NSC’s priorities under the ‘Fusion Doctrine’.12 The 2021 Integrated Review initiated a further review of “national security systems and processes” by the NSA, Sir Stephen Lovegrove.13 The high-level outcomes of this review were communicated to us in July 2021 (see Box 1). There is currently limited information and evidence available on these reforms, although we outline our initial views in later sections of this report.

Box 1: The National Security Adviser’s review of national security systems and processes

The terms of reference for the NSA’s review were to deliver a “new operating model that is optimised for agility and integration”, and which:

a)ensures strong ministerial oversight of the implementation process; b) establishes a more consistent identification of major threats and trends; c) strengthens strategic analysis leading to actionable decisions; and d) puts in place effective delivery and implementation frameworks.14

The outcomes of the review were as follows:

  • The Prime Minister will chair the NSC once per month, and “more frequently if circumstances dictate”;
  • Ministers will also meet monthly without the Prime Minister as a sub-committee to the NSC (“National Security Ministers”—NSM), on matters the Prime Minister wishes to delegate;
  • The NSM Chair will rotate according to the topic of discussion. It will either be the Home Secretary (on homeland security), the Foreign Secretary (on foreign policy), the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (on resilience), the Chancellor of the Exchequer (on economic security), or the Minister of State at the Cabinet Office on “Europe or trade related issues”. It is unclear which Minister will chair the NSM on cross-cutting issues—for example, on state threats that fall short of ‘war’ under international law;
  • The Prime Minister will approve the agenda for the NSC and NSM, including the appropriate chair; and
  • The NSC(O) group of officials will continue to provide support for both the NSC and NSM.

Membership of the NSC has also changed as a result of the NSA’s review, with the core membership now comprising: the Prime Minister; Chancellor of the Exchequer; Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs; Home Secretary; Defence Secretary; Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster; Minister of State at the Cabinet Office (currently Lord Frost); and the Attorney General. The BEIS Secretary and International Trade Secretary have been removed from the NSC.

Source: HM Government, Global Britain in a Competitive Age: The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, CP 403, March 2021, p. 97; Cabinet Office (NSM0032); Sir Stephen Lovegrove (National Security Adviser at Cabinet Office) (NSM0036)

9.The role of the NSC is to act as the central point of discussion and ministerial decision-making on the UK’s national security strategy. This should reasonably include setting the priorities against which resources will be allocated and holding the rest of Government to account on that strategy’s implementation. This report considers the extent to which the NSC currently serves that purpose and makes recommendations for reform. In the third chapter, it discusses what further changes might be required to enable the NSC to fulfil its role effectively.

What is on the NSC’s agenda?

10.Under the revised NSC model established following the NSA’s review, there will now be a maximum of 24 meetings of NSC Ministers a year—a reduction of approximately 30% from previous practice.15 The Prime Minister approves the agenda for both the NSC and the new National Security Ministers (NSM) meeting, with the advice of the NSA.16 From the information provided by the Government, it is unclear how the NSC and the new NSM group relate to one another—in terms of the topics they will consider, whether there is a division of responsibility between strategy-making and operational decision-making and implementation, or whether the NSM has delegated authority for decision-making in the Prime Minister’s absence.17

11.Suzanne Raine, former Head of the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre (JTAC, 2015–17), told us that the process by which agenda items are decided is as important as the meeting itself. She said:

For me, there is a real decision about how you programme for it and whether you can find a way for it to do strategic thinking, or whether it ends up as, primarily, a crisis response body. In my perfect world, it should do two things: it should anticipate and it should decide.18

12.We explored this issue in detail during our inquiry, asking our witnesses three interrelated questions about: the level of NSC discussion (specifically, whether it gives sufficient attention to strategy); the policy areas it considers; and how the NSC’s work is distinguished from that of other ministerial committees.

Long-term strategy-making versus operational decision-making

13.According to the Cabinet Office, the NSC “convenes to discuss a mix of: forward-looking strategies on priority issues; preparation for, and follow up from, significant events; and responses to urgent issues.”19

14.Our predecessor Committees have long voiced concerns that the NSC’s preoccupation with operational, day-to-day issues—such as the management of the Libya campaign in 2011—has reduced its ability to think strategically.20 Indeed, David Cameron, Theresa May and Lord Ricketts (former UK NSA, 2010–12) all described the difficulty of sustaining ministerial focus on strategic issues “in the maelstrom of governing in the 24/7 era”.21 Since 2016, the prolonged crises of Brexit and covid-19 have made this task even more difficult. Ed Arnold of The D Group has described how this “semi-permanent state of crisis management has consumed the vast majority of UK political and Whitehall capacity, forcing a premium on tactical firefighting to the detriment of real strategic thinking”.22

15.In oral evidence, Professor Sir David Omand—former UK Security and Intelligence Co-ordinator (2002–05)—used the example of quantum computing to demonstrate the importance of long-term thinking in national security.23,24 This example also highlights the importance of clarity about the NSC’s role—in this instance, whether it should set the cross-government strategy for advanced technologies or consider operational issues arising from a particular emerging technology.

16.Some of our witnesses thought the NSC’s strategic focus might be strengthened if its agenda were limited to the top three or four cross-departmental issues facing the UK. Bronwen Maddox, Director of the Institute for Government, said:

The integrated review did a very thoughtful job of trying to anticipate some of the changes, acknowledging that the threats change very often. Just trying to focus on the ones that the NSC can best tackle is best at this point. […] If you bundle everything in, Whitehall could tie itself up in gigantic meetings for years, and I am not sure it would answer the key questions about the threats.25

Policy areas under discussion

17.The term ‘national security’ encompasses an increasingly broad range of man-made threats and natural or accidental hazards, which are collectively known as risks.26 The scope of the Integrated Review reflects this broad definition (see Annex 1) and should guide the work of the NSC in the years to 2025. However, we and our predecessor Committees have consistently heard that the NSC has, in practice, focused almost entirely on defence and foreign policy issues since its inception in 2010. Discussions of, and planning for, state-based and terrorist threats have been prioritised over natural hazards and “hard-edged” threats such as serious and organised crime.27

18.We asked the Government how topics are selected for NSC meetings. Sir Stephen told us that he is responsible for providing advice on the agenda of the NSC and the NSM, ensuring that it

strikes the correct balance on matters relating to national security, foreign policy, defence, international relations and development, resilience, energy and resource security […].28

However, according to the Cabinet Office, topics are proposed for NSC discussion in the first instance by the “principal national security departments”.29

19.We are concerned that the National Security Council’s agenda depends on departments raising topics for attention. This practice runs the risk that issues of strategic importance are not brought before the NSC because individual departments do not see the need for cross-cutting decisions. It also reinforces the departmental siloes the NSC was established to overcome. The Cabinet Office—under the expert leadership of the National Security Adviser—should proactively identify the items for collective discussion by Ministers, instead of being content to follow the lead of the system that the NSC is meant to direct.

20.Witnesses also questioned whether the NSC was effective at dealing with the complexity of issues on its agenda.30 The Integrated Review described a challenging security environment in which the distinction between domestic and international security is “increasingly unreal”, and which involves making careful trade-offs between security and prosperity, and between values and interests.31 Yet Lord (Simon) McDonald (Permanent Under-Secretary at the FCO, 2015–20) observed that the “jury is still out” on whether the NSC could effectively incorporate domestic and international security issues.32 Bronwen Maddox agreed, saying:

If it is dealing with something like the manifestation at home of a threat that comes from abroad, such as terrorism, and how to pursue that at home, I think that aspect, specifically the joining up of thinking about terrorism in domestic and foreign policy, has worked.

Where it does not work […] is on questions of joining up big bits of policy—for example on Russia, or on China now—with a policy where, on the one hand, quite properly we want to trade with them, but on the other hand we have some security apprehension about their role.33

How is the NSC distinguished from other ministerial committees?

21.During our inquiry, we explored the NSC’s relationship with other ministerial committees that do work of relevance to national security. Our interest in this question was driven primarily by: i) the experiences of the covid-19 pandemic—a prolonged national security crisis profoundly tied up with social and economic policy; and ii) the breadth of the Integrated Review, which explicitly stated the importance of the UK’s domestic strength and competitiveness to its national security.

Crisis management structures

22.We asked witnesses to explain the demarcation between the NSC and the Civil Contingencies Committee, better known as ‘COBRA’ or ‘COBR’ (which stands for Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms). Lord Ricketts said there was “a fairly clear distinction between the policy-setting Cabinet committee role of the NSC” and the “tactical crisis management” undertaken by COBR, with the latter’s processes for managing time-limited emergencies such as flooding and terrorist attacks well-established.34

23.There were more question marks about how the Government manages prolonged, complex and multi-dimensional crises such as covid-19. The Cabinet Office told us that under such circumstances, the NSC “or another Cabinet committee” will set strategy and take policy decisions, “while COBR will focus on the immediate operational response”.35 Yet, as Ed Arnold of The D Group noted, the number of times that the Government reorganised its response to covid-19 between January and June 2020 suggests that the existing machinery of government for crisis response was “deemed not fit for purpose”.36 Lord Ricketts further observed that covid-19 had highlighted “the problem of deciding when a brewing crisis will become a major strategic threat to the country” and needs to be “elevated” to the NSC.37

24.However, according to Rt Hon Michael Gove MP (the then Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office), neither COBR nor the NSC was appropriate for driving the response to covid-19. He said: “we had to adapt operationally as time went on in order to deal with the range of challenges that we faced”, which required “a sense of agility and improvisation”.38

Predictable structures for policy- and decision-making?

25.The Government has repeatedly refused or ignored our written requests for cross-Whitehall wiring diagrams and for a list of all ministerial committees that are relevant to national security, which would have increased our understanding of the various paths for decision-making and delivery in relation to national security matters.39 However, we are aware of a number of cross-government committees with remits that might cover aspects of the Integrated Review, or that do so directly. These include:

26.Michael Gove told us that the Cabinet Secretary is responsible for advising the Prime Minister on which ministerial committee should consider a particular policy question when there is an overlap in responsibilities. He set out a broad formula for determining the division of ministerial discussion on national security matters:

27.Sir Stephen stated that “the name on the door of the committee is rather less important” so long as officials are able to ensure that “the right people at the right time are talking about the right things with the right material”.44 However, Ed Arnold argued that this “opaque and incoherent” approach makes it “more difficult for politicians and civil servants, without prior national security experience, to understand their role within an everchanging system.”45 It also undermines the ability of the Devolved Administrations to engage routinely with the UK Government on national security, as we discuss later in this report.

28.The NSC and its supporting structures were established in 2010 so that Ministers could “anticipate and decide”, both in setting the UK’s national security strategy and in managing risks. Yet when a major, anticipated national security crisis came in the form of covid-19, those structures were abandoned in favour of ad-hoc arrangements. We regard this as a serious mistake.

29.There is a troubling lack of clarity about the NSC’s role and remit, and its relationship with other ministerial committees. This has important consequences for ensuring clear lines of ministerial authority and accountability, and for enabling robust and predictable processes in preparing for meetings and implementing any decisions. The confused and contradictory evidence we have taken from the Government on this issue has not been helped by its lack of transparency over existing inter-ministerial groups.

30.The Cabinet Secretary should write to us, by the end of November, setting out the protocol or processes through which he recommends to the Prime Minister that topics are assigned for discussion at either the NSC, COBR, full Cabinet, another Cabinet committee or an inter-ministerial group. We also call on the Government to publish the full list of cross-government committees—at inter-ministerial and senior official level—that consider topics relevant to the Integrated Review.

31.The NSA’s review of the national security system and processes has led to the creation of a two-tier NSC system with the Prime Minister chairing only half of the meetings. It is apparent that senior Ministers will spend approximately 30% less time in collective, routine discussion using the NSC structures. The Prime Minister will spend roughly 65% less time in NSC meetings. As such, the new arrangement risks becoming a halfway house: it appears to be neither a slower-paced forum for tackling the most fundamental questions facing UK national security; nor is it a weekly meeting of senior Ministers—convened and brokered by the Prime Minister—to tackle pressing issues. In our initial assessment, this is a retrograde step that suggests a more casual approach to national security.

32.The Government should clarify:

The Government should also explain why it has decided not to designate a permanent Chair of the NSM. This would have positive implications for the consistency of decision-making on national security and their implementation, even though we recognise it may also have awkward political implications for the Prime Minister.

The role of the Prime Minister as Chair

33.We heard that the Prime Minister’s investment of time and personal authority in the NSC is essential in three key respects:

i)The focus and frequency of meetings, the constitution of any sub-committees, and the choice of NSA as its Secretary—as has been described in previous sections of this report;46

ii)The quality of NSC meetings’ outcomes: David Cameron told us that the NSC was an important forum in which to “thrash out” issues between departments. Without the Prime Minister as Chair and arbiter, he warned of a “danger of very interesting discussion but no conclusion”;47 and

iii)Implementation of NSC decisions: providing oral evidence to our predecessor Committee, Sir Oliver Letwin—then Chair of the NSC sub-committee on SDSR Implementation—described the Prime Minister as the “ultimate line of defence” in ensuring implementation.48

34.It has been suggested that the current Prime Minister has invested less time and energy in the NSC than his predecessors49—likely due at least in part to the “twin challenges” of Brexit and covid-19.50 The result has been that the NSC has met less frequently; in fact, it did not meet at all during the first few months of the covid-19 pandemic.51 Edward Elliott and Sam Goodman of the British Foreign Policy Group described the “ease” with which the NSC was put to one side during a national crisis as “worrying”.52 Dr Joe Devanny (King’s College London) observed in May 2020 that covid-19 had not “made other national security issues vanish”—indeed, it had made them more difficult to manage. He called on the Prime Minister to reconvene the NSC to discuss these second-order effects, speaking of a “momentum that only a prime minister can deliver”.53

35.The NSC’s activities depend heavily on the day-to-day interests, commitment and capacity of the Prime Minister, which has implications for the frequency with which the NSC meets and the topics it considers. Even strong structures and processes cannot compensate fully for a lack of prime ministerial engagement and the attendant loss of the NSC’s cross-government authority. While the National Security Ministers meeting might be a useful mechanism for a Prime Minister who is willing to delegate authority to colleagues, it is far from optimal. The Prime Minister is the ultimate broker between Ministers and it is his engagement that lends the NSC and its supporting structures credibility. There is also the risk that he may decide to take policy in a different direction, no matter what has been agreed at the NSM. It is imperative that the Prime Minister invests his time and personal authority in the work of the NSC in upholding the UK’s national security.

The role of the National Security Adviser as Secretary

36.The NSA role is wide-ranging and involves significant responsibilities. According to the Government, these include: providing advice to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet across the national security portfolio; acting as Secretary to the NSC; leading the national security teams in the Cabinet Office and the wider Whitehall community; and maintaining relationships with key domestic and international stakeholders.54 To this list, we would add the power to initiate action, subject to approval by the Prime Minister and/or the NSC—as former NSA Lord Sedwill did in 2018, in responding to the Skripal poisoning and in introducing the Fusion Doctrine.

37.There have been five civil servant holders of the position of NSA since it was created in 2010 and one withdrawn (political) appointment. Between April 2018 and September 2020, the NSA ‘double-hatted’ as the Cabinet Secretary under what had begun as a temporary arrangement, following the departure from Government of the late Lord Heywood on health grounds. From September 2020 to March 2021 there was no permanent NSA in post, with Deputy National Security Adviser David Quarrey temporarily stepping up to the role. The three-year period in which there was no dedicated NSA coincided with the Brexit negotiations, the covid-19 pandemic and the post-Brexit Integrated Review—among the most significant strategic moments the UK has faced in recent history.

38.Witnesses highlighted three important factors in the appointment of the NSA:

39.The centrality of the National Security Advsier to the effective functioning of the NSC cannot be overstated. The twin challenges of covid-19 and Brexit have dominated the Government’s operational capabilities in the past two years. It is regrettable that this has coincided with a three-year period in which there was no dedicated National Security Adviser. It is vital that the NSA is a full-time, dedicated role, and that there is sufficient forward planning to avoid long gaps between appointees. He or she must also be able to command the confidence of the national security machinery across Whitehall.

Who attends the NSC?

40.We heard that it is essential to strike the balance between ensuring that the NSC’s remit is well-represented within its membership and enabling collective discussion, decision-making and accountability among Ministers.59 In Lord McDonald’s view, for instance, the NSC and especially the NSC(O) had lost coherence as their size increased, with the latter now comprising representatives of “at least two-thirds of the Cabinet”.60

41.As a result of the NSA’s review, the NSC’s core membership has been reduced in order to “keep the discussion decision focused and strategic” (see Table 1). The NSA said that other Ministers and senior officials would join “as the agenda demands”.61

Table 1: NSC core membership in July 2020 vs. July 2021

Membership in July 2020

Membership after July 2021

Prime Minister (Chair)

Prime Minister (Chair)

Chancellor of the Exchequer

Chancellor of the Exchequer

Attorney General

Attorney General

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs*

Secretary of State for International Development

Secretary of State for Home Affairs

Secretary of State for Home Affairs

Secretary of State for Defence

Secretary of State for Defence

Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

Minister of State for the Cabinet Office (Lord Frost)

Secretary of State for International Trade

Officials in regular attendance in July 2020

Officials in regular attendance after July 2021

NSA (Secretary), JIC Chair, Chief of the Defence Staff, heads of security and intelligence agencies

No known changes

* This change took place following the merger between the FCO and DFID in September 2020.

Source: Cabinet Office, “List of Cabinet Committees”, last changed 19 November 2020, accessed 21 August 2021; Sir Stephen Lovegrove (National Security Adviser at Cabinet Office) (NSM0036)

42.The Integrated Review stated that “the distinction between economic and national security is increasingly redundant”.62 It placed unprecedented emphasis on: climate change; science, technology and UK industrial capacity; the need for a global economy based on free and fair trade and resilient to economic threats; and the new potential of trade as an instrument of UK national security and international policy. The National Security and Investment Act 2021—under which the BEIS Secretary has powers to intervene in mergers, acquisitions and other investments that could run counter to UK national security interests—was among the first pieces of legislation passed under the banner of the Integrated Review.63 The new Investment Security Unit (ISU), which will be responsible for assessing foreign direct investment (FDI) transactions under the Act, will also be located in BEIS, incorporating staff previously based in the Cabinet Office.64

43.In this context, the loss of the expertise and authority of the Secretaries of State for BEIS and International Trade is unlikely to be mitigated by the addition of Lord Frost, whose portfolio includes EU trade and “supporting the coordination of cross-Government positions on trade issues”.65

44.The revised membership of the NSC may aid its focus but we are concerned by the absence of the BEIS Secretary. This is a serious omission, given his responsibility for UK policy on climate change and energy security, his powers under the National Security and Investment Act 2021, and the inclusion of science and technology in the Integrated Review. It is also curious that the International Trade Secretary has been replaced by a Cabinet Office Minister whose portfolio covers the UK’s relationship with the EU but not the range of international trade matters covered in the Integrated Review. While we recognise that other Ministers will be invited to attend when appropriate, the new membership does suggest a narrow focus for the NSC, which could severely undermine its ability to oversee the implementation of the Integrated Review. We recommend that the BEIS Secretary be restored to the NSC, given the range and relevance of his responsibilities to UK national security and the Integrated Review.

How are the NSC’s decisions funded?

45.The NSC has no budget of its own, which means that funding for the delivery of the Government’s national security strategies must be sought and allocated through (primarily individual) departmental bids, under Spending Reviews.66 This runs the risk that departmental activity will not collectively deliver cross-government goals. It can also drive competition between departments and agencies instead of collaboration, as Lord Hammond vividly recalled:

when you talk to departmental Ministers with budgets, as soon as you start to use words like “cross-cutting”, “integrated” and “interdepartmental”, little hairs immediately start to prickle on the backs of necks.67

46.This problem is not limited to the national security domain. We note with interest the recent recommendations of the Commission for Smart Government, which called for the creation of a Treasury Board—located within a new Prime Minister’s Department (combining Number 10 with the Cabinet Office)—to oversee “the current spending responsibilities of the Treasury”. It also recommended the replacement of Spending Reviews with a ‘Plan for Government’, which would be focused on funding Government priorities and impact instead of setting budgets department by department.68

47.Providing oral evidence, Cat Tully, Managing Director of the School of International Futures (SOIF), similarly suggested that HM Treasury could reduce inter-departmental competition and incentivise long-term thinking and investment by making changes to how it conducts Spending Reviews and to the Green Book and Magenta Book.69 However, absent such significant changes to the structure of Government and/or the reform of HM Treasury processes, many witnesses pointed to the essential role of the NSC in setting strong priorities to guide funding bids and allocations.70 Suzanne Raine told us:

Brutal decision-making about how much money you have and what the priorities are, however hard that is, would significantly help to focus the minds of the departments that we are asking to work together more effectively.71

Funding the Integrated Review

48.Strict prioritisation and hard choices are even more important—and more difficult—when Government budgets are squeezed. The Integrated Review took place against the backdrop of the economic pressures and uncertainty caused by the covid-19 pandemic.72 Originally intended to coincide with a Comprehensive Spending Review, the Integrated Review was delayed by several months—and was eventually published in March 2021—while a one-year Spending Review was completed in November 2020 (SR20). Exception was made for the Ministry of Defence (MoD), which received a multi-year settlement.73 According to the Government, an internal paper developed during the Integrated Review process informed spending decisions under SR20. Future SRs will be informed by the 2021 Integrated Review publication, providing “further opportunities to align resources with ambition”.74

49.Witnesses to our inquiry have raised significant concerns about funding for the Integrated Review:

50.We asked Michael Gove how funding was being allocated under the Integrated Review, not least because—unlike the 2010 and 2015 SDSRs—the Review was not predicated on a tiers-based risk assessment of threats and hazards (see Annex 1).79 Mr Gove failed to answer the question in person and in subsequent correspondence, although he did tell us that the NSC would “almost certainly” hold a discussion on the next Spending Review as it approaches. The NSA’s answer did not reassure us that there is a clear process for allocating spending to security priorities:

When it comes to resource allocation […] not only do we have greater appreciation, which is reflected in the integrated review, of opportunity, or areas where we wish to be more active for a reason that is not immediately associated with risk, but we have a better sense of the longer-term trends.

Obviously, there is a great deal of balancing and complicated assessment and discussion to be able to get the right balance between those aspects, but it is a proper, methodologically robust process. […] I assure you that we are seeking to make the right prioritisation resource decisions against that full set of criteria.80

51.The Integrated Review sets a bold and ambitious direction of travel. However, it is unclear how this process has informed funding allocations under Spending Review 2020 or how it will guide SR21 for those departments that did not benefit from a multi-year settlement last November.

52.It is regrettable that the Integrated Review did not take place alongside a multi-year spending review due to the covid-19 pandemic. As our predecessor Committees have highlighted, the two processes should take place in parallel and iteratively, with the Government’s ambition ultimately matched by affordability. Instead, the credibility of the Integrated Review’s broad commitments is undermined by the lack of associated funding for most departments. Severe—if temporary—cuts to the aid budget further bring the strategic sense and affordability of the Integrated Review into question, with limited discussion of how and why aid expenditure will be prioritised across themes, geographies and funding channels.

53.The Government should return to the practice of holding its reviews of national security strategy in parallel with multi-year spending reviews in future. It should also use the opportunity of the Spending Review 2021 to explain how its funding allocations are consistent with the Integrated Review, and to identify any changes to its goals as a result.

54.There are some attempts by the Cabinet Office to coordinate funding bids across departments and to guide the Treasury’s subsequent decision-making. Nevertheless, the final allocation of funding is frequently the result of a battle of wills between individual Secretaries of State, Number 10 and the Treasury. It is far removed from any clear-headed assessment of the Government’s key national security priorities, the level of resourcing required to achieve them, and collective agreement among senior Ministers of the final allocations.

55.There is a pressing need for strategic direction over cross-government resources dedicated to national security. We recommend that the NSC be given a formal role in reviewing departmental settlement decisions relating to national security and assessing whether funding has been spent as allocated. Its collective view should then be circulated across Whitehall to inform funding decisions by individual Secretaries of State.

How are the NSC’s decisions implemented?

56.David Cameron praised the NSC as an instrument of implementation. He said it had allowed him to “drive action” on national security issues within “powerful departments” by coming to collective decisions during NSC meetings and then relying on the National Security Secretariat to “follow through”.81 However, repeated efforts by Government to strengthen implementation since 2015 suggest that the NSC and its supporting structures have not always been adequate to the task of delivering a flexible response to a rapidly changing security environment. These reform efforts have included:

57.By the Government’s own admission, more effective implementation—overseen by a more “robust” centre—will be essential to the delivery of the Integrated Review.85 Nevertheless, Sir Stephen’s 2021 review of national security systems and processes (see Box 1) raises some important issues:

Table 2: Implementation of NSC decisions before and after the NSA’s 2021 review of national security systems and processes

Before the NSA’s review

After the NSA’s review

NSC sub-strategies

Our predecessor Committee was told in 2016 that there were 40 geographic and thematic sub-strategies agreed by the NSC.

A system for delivery “designed around a set of geographic and thematic IR [Integrated Review] sub-strategies.

Senior Responsible Owner (SRO)

From 2018, at least some of the NSC sub-strategies were overseen by SROs and the NSIGs they chaired. SROs were “personally accountable” to the NSC for cross-departmental work.

Integrated Review sub-strategies will be overseen by an SRO. SROs will also “be charged with coordinating an integrated approach, owning and managing risk, and they will be overseen by the National Security Council.”

Cross-departmental coordination

Under the Fusion Doctrine, SROs’ roles involved “coordinating in support of collective decision-making”. They did this through NSIGs, which drew “on a wide range of departments or agencies”.

SROs “will convene the relevant officials across government to develop and deliver their objectives”.

Monitoring implementation

Unknown if there were equivalent measures to those proposed by the NSA under previous practice.

The sub-strategies and priority deliverables will be integrated into the existing Government Planning and Performance Framework, with priority deliverables tracked every quarter.

Source: Cabinet Office (NSM0032); Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Cabinet Office (NSM0035); Sir Stephen Lovegrove (National Security Adviser at Cabinet Office) (NSM0036); JCNSS, Second Report of Session 2016–17, Conflict, Stability and Security Fund, para 4; National Security Adviser (NSA0003); JCNSS, Fourth Report of Session 2017–19, Revisiting the UK’s national security strategy: The National Security Capability Review and the Modernising Defence Programme, HL Paper 406, HC 2072, p. 25, Box 2

58.The Integrated Review was unfortunately published by the Government before it had reviewed NSC structures, raising the question of whether sufficient thought was given to its implementation as it was drawn up. There is limited qualitative difference between the ‘fusion’ introduced by the previous National Security Adviser and the ‘integration’ sought by the incumbent and demanded by the Integrated Review.

59.It is unclear what role, if any, the NSC and NSM will now play in overseeing the Integrated Review’s implementation. We are gravely concerned that the failure to appoint a permanent Chair of the NSM will undermine accountability for, and oversight of, implementation of collective ministerial decisions on national security.

60.NSC and NSM meetings should be conducted in a way that enables Ministers to monitor progress towards national security goals and to use that information in shaping their decisions, especially in the absence of the Prime Minister’s personal authority. As such, we recommend that:

How does the NSC serve the whole of the UK?

61.National security is a policy area ‘reserved’ to the UK Government, although responsibility for implementation is devolved in important areas (see Annex 2). The Integrated Review was peppered with references to the Union, describing the “shared interests” of sovereignty, security and prosperity as “the glue that binds the Union”. Yet it included few practical references to the Devolved Administrations (DAs), save for the section on resilience, which stated that the Government would work with them to develop a comprehensive national resilience strategy.91

62.The DAs have criticised the UK Government for failing to engage with them sufficiently on the Integrated Review, despite its potential impact on the people of the devolved nations and on the devolved legislatures’ decision-making responsibilities.92 We were told that the DAs were not shown draft proposals or text for the Integrated Review, and instead received only “very high-level briefings”. This hindered their ability to hold their own formal discussions and to feed into the UK Government process.93

63.We heard that this experience during the Integrated Review process is broadly indicative of wider relations between the UK Government and the DAs on matters of national security. The representatives of all three DAs were positive about the cooperation on crisis response with the Civil Contingencies Secretariat and other key agencies—strengthened in recent years by preparations for a ‘No Deal Brexit’.94 However, the DAs no longer have a mechanism for feeding into the development of the National Security Risk Assessment (NSRA) because the dedicated NSC sub-committee was disbanded in July 2019. We also heard that Devolved Ministers’ access to the NSC apparatus is “very limited, probably bordering on zero in that formal sense”.95

64.The absence of standing mechanisms for the DAs’ engagement has clear implications for UK-wide national security, given their role in preparing for and responding to a growing range of threats and hazards—from extreme weather events and health crises, to terrorist attacks, the effects of a cyber-attack on critical national infrastructure and even matters of economic security.96 In written evidence, Ed Arnold of The D Group warned that failure to address the inability of the UK Government machinery “to adequately represent the devolved governments and regional political entities [… could] contribute to future secession and the breakup of the UK”.97

65.Joe Griffin (Director General, Education & Justice, Scottish Government) told us that

We do not have assurance, if you like, that the policy is being consistently implemented across the United Kingdom, because we have no means of understanding what the lead government department in Whitehall is doing.98

Reg Kilpatrick (Director General, Covid Co-ordination, Welsh Government) said simply:

we are now largely in a position where we do not have full sight, or even significant sight, of a lot of the national security matters that are being discussed within Whitehall, which we really need if we want the devolved Administrations to maintain the security of their populations.99

66.A recent report by the Institute for Government highlighted the role of political decision-making in driving divergence between the UK Government and DAs in response to covid-19.100 Nevertheless, we heard that the pandemic offered lessons for improving the structures for intergovernmental dialogue and cooperation on national security at both ministerial and official level:

67.We asked the NSA whether his review of national security systems and processes had considered how the DAs might be brought into the UK national security machinery. Sir Stephen’s answer was quite vague:

There are some fault lines. Getting the right voices in the right order in the right room is not straightforward. We have a mix in this area, as the CDL [Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, Michael Gove] says, of devolved responsibilities and instruments and, rightly, national ones. Getting that right is not straightforward. It is about conversations as much as anything else.102

68.Michael Gove, the Minister responsible for the Union, stated that secession in any part of the UK would be “devastating” to national security.103 He suggested that the review of intergovernmental relations, which has been under way since 2018, would deliver better communication on national security issues by establishing a regular forum for discussion among Ministers and officials of the UK Government and DAs.104 However, he also told us that

Wiser heads than mine can look properly at that division of responsibilities [with the DAs] and assess whether or not the current machinery means that, when it comes to protection, we have exactly what we require.105

69.We agree with Michael Gove, the Minister responsible for the Union, that a break-up of the United Kingdom would pose a fundamental risk to national security. If UK national security is to be served effectively, the Government must ensure that the voices of all three Devolved Administrations are heard within UK decision-making structures. Yet despite the emphasis on the Union in the Integrated Review, the Devolved Administrations have been side-lined in UK-wide national security structures, and they were not considered as part of the NSA’s review of internal processes.

70.We recommend that the Cabinet Office undertakes a review of the role of the Devolved Administrations in national security strategy- and policy-making, with consideration given to:

71.We would welcome a briefing, in confidence, from the Government about its plans to make the Union a strong foundation for national resilience. Furthermore, noting the previous Government’s failure to prepare for a potential Scottish secession in 2014, we would also welcome assurances—in the event that a second Scottish referendum is called—that the Government has in place detailed and rigorously tested contingency plans for a break-up of the Union, including its implications for wider national security priorities.

Conclusion: What next for the NSC?

72.The NSC and its Cabinet Office structures are one part of what is widely considered a relatively small and weak centre of Government.106 It was described recently by the Institute for Government as “the worst of all worlds: a highly centralised system of government without the capacity to organise it from the centre”.107

73.We have considered whether an alternative committee structure for the NSC might better enable it to fulfil its role. On domestic policy, the Cabinet sub-committee structure for each thematic policy area is delineated by strategy and operations. Ed Arnold argued that this structure should also be used for national security, so that the machinery is no longer “misaligned”.108 The Institute for Government has also described the EU Exit (Operations) committee (also known as ‘XO’), as a model “worth replicating”: it reportedly “thrashed” through decisions and issues in daily meetings under Mr Gove’s chairmanship, “giving the centre and Number 10 a firm grip on delivery”.109

74.We asked the Minister and the NSA whether the NSC might benefit from the same separation of strategy and operations, with each potentially supported by a dedicated Deputy National Security Adviser. Sir Stephen said his review had considered this model and while the Government was “keen to get the benefit from” the Brexit and covid-19 committee structures, it would be a “deeply formidable task” for one committee to oversee implementation across the whole “waterfront” of national security.110

75.While we welcome the Government’s desire to improve the national security machinery, we consider the NSA’s review to have been narrow in focus and unambitious in its outcomes. The centre of Government is in need of fundamental overhaul, with a revigorated NSC underpinned by much clearer lines of responsibility and accountability. Our inquiry considered the creation of three NSC sub-committees for strategy, implementation and risk, each chaired by a Cabinet Minister and supported by a dedicated Deputy National Security Adviser. Regardless of the final model, however, the degree of dependence on personalities and personal preferences must be re-examined. Some flexibility is to be welcomed, but this should not be at the expense of robust and consistent structures that can cope with multiple challenges at once.

Should the NSC be placed on a statutory footing?

76.Many witnesses suggested that making the NSC a statutory body—as with its US counterpart—would improve oversight and accountability, as well as ensuring that improvements to the system are “enduring”.111 However, the two former Prime Ministers who gave evidence to us were firmly opposed to the idea, suggesting it would “add to complications”, might invite litigation and would undermine the important flexibility that characterises the current arrangements.112 Bronwen Maddox suggested that this issue be kept under review, noting that “British flexibility, as we have seen, can be flexibility too far”.113 Michael Gove gave a more detailed objection:

My own instinct is that it would be a mistake to put anything on to a statutory footing when it comes to the organisation of Cabinet committees, task forces and all the rest of it. Everything from the prospect of judicial review of those arrangements to the amount of time that it would take to dismantle one particular structure and replace it with another inclines me against it.114

77.There are advantages to putting the NSC on a statutory footing, such as ensuring that there is a shared sense of ‘mission’ across Government, that the NSC’s purpose is clear, and that it meets with regularity. However, these could be achieved through stronger structures and sustained commitment from Ministers, without the risks of inflexibility inherent in creating a statutory body. We will continue to monitor NSC activity, including through the reporting requirements proposed later in this report, and will revisit this issue in future if necessary.

8 “National Security Council”, accessed 20 August 2021; Cabinet Office (NSM0019); JCNSS, First Report of Session 2010–12, First Review of National Security Strategy 2010, HL Paper 265, HC 1384, para 79

9 HM Government, A Strong Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The National Security Strategy, Cm 7953, October 2010 and HM Government, Securing Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The Strategic Defence and Security Review, Cm 7948, October 2010; HM Government, National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015: A Secure and Prosperous United Kingdom, Cm 9161, November 2015; HM Government, National Security Capability Review, March 2018; Ministry of Defence, Mobilising, Modernising and Transforming Defence: A report on the Modernising Defence Programme, December 2018; HM Government, Global Britain in a Competitive Age: The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, CP 403, March 2021 and MoD, Defence in a Competitive Age, CP 411, March 2021

10 Qq 6, 22. Ten NSC sub-committees existed during the first decade of the NSC’s existence, although not all at the same time. These included: nuclear security and deterrence; threats, hazards, resilience and contingencies; emerging powers; Libya; Afghanistan; Strategic Defence and Security Review implementation; cyber; counter-terrorism; Syria and Iraq; cross-government funds. Institute for Government (IfG), “Cabinet committees”, accessed 20 August 2021

12 The Fusion Doctrine was introduced in the 2018 National Security Capability Review. It was intended to strengthen the Government’s “collective approach to national security” and create “a more accountable system to support collective Cabinet decision-making”. This would be achieved through the creation of National Security Implementation Groups (NSIGs). NSIGs were established for the NSC’s priority policy areas, and each was led by a Senior Responsible Owner, some of whom had authority for allocating funding. Some witnesses such as Lord McDonald questioned whether Fusion Doctrine and the creation of NSIGs had amounted to anything more than cross-government working that should already have been happening. HM Government, National Security Capability Review, March 2018; oral evidence taken before the JCNSS on 28 January 2019, HC (2017–19) 625; Q73 [Lord McDonald]

13 HM Government, Global Britain in a Competitive Age: The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, CP 403, March 2021, pp. 19, 97

14 Cabinet Office (NSM0032)

15 This figure is calculated on the basis that the NSC was previously expected to meet in each week that Parliament was in session. In 2021, there are 35 sitting weeks for the House of Commons, meaning that under the previous system, there should have been 35 NSC meetings this year. Under the new system proposed by the NSA, however, the Prime Minister will attend only 12 meetings each year, while other NSC Ministers will attend 24 meetings.

16 Sir Stephen Lovegrove (National Security Adviser at Cabinet Office) (NSM0036); Cabinet Office (NSM0032)

17 Sir Stephen Lovegrove (National Security Adviser at Cabinet Office) (NSM0036); Q6

18 Q83 [Suzanne Raine]

19 Cabinet Office (NSM0019)

20 JCNSS, First Report of Session 2010–12, First Review of National Security Strategy 2010, HL Paper 265, HC 1384, Summary. The Libya sub-committee met “62 times in the five months when the Libya crisis was at its head—three times a week”, according to then-NSA Lord Ricketts. He described it as almost “a war Cabinet”. Q22

22 Mr Ed Arnold (Director at The D Group) (NSM0014)

23 Q83 [Professor Sir David Omand]

26 According to Professor Omand, there has been a shift from the Cold War-era “secret state” model to the “protecting state” of today, which is less narrowly focused on defined enemies, instead taking on the management of a wide range of risks to public safety and security. Sir David Omand (Professor at War Studies Department, King’s College London) (NSM0002)

27 Qq37, 40; Q54; Q71 [Lord McDonald]; oral evidence taken before JCNSS, 8 July 2020, HC (2019–21) 674, Q14. We have been provided with the agenda topics for NSC meetings over a number of years on a confidential basis, in order to facilitate parliamentary scrutiny, and these are consistent with our witnesses’ assessments.

28 Cabinet Office (NSM0032)

29 Cabinet Office (NSM0019)

31 HM Government, Global Britain in a Competitive Age: The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, CP 403, March 2021, pp. 17, 24–32; Q2; Q21

32 Q71 [Lord McDonald]

33 Q71 [Bronwen Maddox]

34 Cabinet Office (NSM0019); Q131; Q24

35 Cabinet Office (NSM0019)

36 Mr Ed Arnold (Director at The D Group) (NSM0014). COBR was used to manage the covid-19 crisis in its initial stages, first meeting in January 2021. From May, four Ministerial Implementation Groups (MIGs) were established (public sector, international, healthcare and the economy), chaired by different Cabinet Ministers and attended by the Devolved Administrations (DAs). In June 2020, the MIGs were replaced by two Cabinet committees: Covid Strategy (S) and Covid Operations (O). The DAs were not represented on these committees; instead, the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Michael Gove) convened a dedicated group for dialogue with the DAs, which was described as an “effective forum for airing different perspectives”. Q117

38 Q142 [Rt Hon Michael Gove MP]

39 National Security Adviser (NSM0024); Cabinet Office (NSM0035); Sir Stephen Lovegrove (National Security Adviser at Cabinet Office) (NSM0036)

41 HM Government, Global Britain in a Competitive Age: The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, CP 403, March 2021, p. 40; National Security Adviser (NSM0024); Q127 [Rt Hon Michael Gove MP]

42 Q129 [Rt Hon Michael Gove MP]

43 Q127 [Rt Hon Michael Gove MP]

44 Q122 [Sir Stephen Lovegrove]

45 Mr Ed Arnold (Director at The D Group) (NSM0014)

46 Q123 [Sir Stephen Lovegrove]; Qq4, 6; Q18; Q67 [Lord McDonald]; Qq71, 81 [Bronwen Maddox]; Professor Rory Cormac (Professor of International Relations at University of Nottingham) (NSM0001); Celia G. Parker (PhD candidate at King’s College London) (NSM0008); Mr Ed Arnold (Director at The D Group) (NSM0014); Henry Jackson Society (NSM0018)

47 Qq4, 6; Q71 [Bronwen Maddox]

48 Oral evidence taken before JCNSS on 23 May 2016, HC (2016–17) 153, Q44

49 Celia G. Parker, “National Security Council: why it would be unwise for Johnson to reduce its role”, LSE Blogs, 7 September 2020; Edward Elliott and Sam Goodman, “’Global Britain’? Assessing Boris Johnson’s major changes to national security and foreign policy”, LSE Blogs, 14 July 2020; Professor Rory Cormac (Professor of International Relations at University of Nottingham) (NSM0001)

50 Q9

51 Oral evidence taken before the Defence Committee, HC (2019–21) 295, Q3

53 Joe Devanny, “Coronavirus and the NSC”,, 15 May 2020

54 “National Security Adviser: Sir Stephen Lovegrove”, accessed 20 August 2021; Cabinet Office (NSM0019)

55 Q74 [Bronwen Maddox]

56 The Prime Minister’s appointment of then-EU negotiator Lord Frost in 2020 drew heavy criticism for his lack of “proven expertise” and disconnect from the civil service system that the NSA must lead. Lord Frost’s appointment was later withdrawn. Rajeev Sayal, “Theresa May says UK’s new national security adviser has ‘no proven experience’”, The Guardian, 30 June 2021; Lord Ricketts, “Speaking Truth to Power: The Problem with Prime Minister Johnson’s New National Security Adviser”, RUSI, 30 June 2020; Richard Johnstone, “O’Donnell: Frost’s appointment as national security adviser ‘risks civil service politicisation’”, Civil Service World, 29 June 2020; Q42; Q74; Q101

57 Drs Joe Devanny and Tim Stevens from King’s College London said the NSA portfolio is too broad even for one person, suggesting it should be redistributed into “a series of more streamlined and focused deputy NSA portfolios”. Q4; Q74 [Bronwen Maddox]; Dr Joe Devanny (Lecturer in National Security Studies at King’s College London) and Dr Tim Stevens (Lecturer in Global Security at King’s College London) (NSM0020)

58 Henry Jackson Society (NSM0018)

61 Sir Stephen Lovegrove (National Security Adviser at Cabinet Office) (NSM0036)

62 HM Government, Global Britain in a Competitive Age: The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, CP 403, March 2021, p. 19

64 Foreign Affairs Committee, Third Report of Session 2021–22, Sovereignty for sale: the FCDO’s role in protecting British strategic assets, HC 197, Box 1

66 These bids are then assessed jointly by the Cabinet Office and the Treasury against national security priorities, before departments decide how to spend the budget ultimately allocated to them, which is often less than they bid for. Cabinet Office (NSM0019); Qq54, 58

69 Q87 The Green Book is guidance issued by HM Treasury on how to appraise policies, programmes and projects. The Magenta Book provides guidance on evaluation in government: its scoping, design, conduct, use and dissemination as well as the capabilities required of government evaluators.

70 Q28; Q58; Q87 [Suzanne Raine]

71 Q87 [Suzanne Raine]

73 HM Treasury, “Spending Review to conclude late November”, 21 October 2020; HM Treasury, “Spending Review 2020”, November 2020

74 Cabinet Office (NSM0019); HM Government, Global Britain in a Competitive Age: The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, CP 403, March 2021, p. 18

75 “The Integrated Review in Context”, King’s College London, July 2021, p. 14

77 In SR20, the Government announced that the Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget would be cut to 0.5% of gross national income in 2021—a 29% reduction from the 0.7% target which was met each year from 2013 to 2020 and was a statutory requirement from 2015. ODA expenditure was also reallocated under seven “strategic priorities” set by the Integrated Review. Analysis by the international development network Bond suggests that in 2021/22, ODA has been cut entirely to over 100 countries and territories, bilateral aid has been more than halved, and the commitment to focus half of UK aid spend on fragile and conflict-affected states has been abandoned. Professor Michael Clarke has described the negative implications of ODA cuts for the UK’s soft power. He has further highlighted that the Government’s intention to increase total UK expenditure on R&D to 2.4% of GDP—the OECD average—is “hardly an ambitious target for a country that aims to be a ‘Science and Tech Superpower’.” Institute for Fiscal Studies, The UK’s reduction in aid spending, Briefing Note BN322 (London: IfS, April 2021); Reducing the UK’s aid spend in 2021, House of Commons Library Briefing Paper No. 9224, July 2021; “The Integrated Review in Context”, King’s College London, July 2021, p. 35; “UKRI Official Development Assistance letter 23 March 2021”, UKRI, accessed 19 August 2021; Malcolm Chalmers, “The Integrated Review: The UK as a Reluctant Middle Power?”, RUSI Occasional Paper, March 2021

78 ADS (NSM0004); Rethinking Security (NSM0017); “The Integrated Review in Context”, King’s College London, July 2021, p. 14

80 Qq132, 137; Cabinet Office (NSM0035)

82 IfG, “Cabinet committees”, accessed 20 August 2021; JCNSS, First Report of Session 2016–17, National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review, HL 18, HC 153; Mr Ed Arnold (Director at The D Group) (NSM0014)

83 HM Government, National Security Capability Review, March 2018; oral evidence taken before the JCNSS on
28 January 2019, HC (2017–19) 625

84 See footnote 12 for a detailed description of the Fusion Doctrine. See also JCNSS, Fourth Report of Session 2017–19, Revisiting the UK’s national security strategy: The National Security Capability Review and the Modernising Defence Programme, HL Paper 406, HC 2072, p. 25, Box 2

85 HM Government, Global Britain in a Competitive Age: The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, CP 403, March 2021; Cabinet Office (NSM0032); Sir Stephen Lovegrove, National Security Adviser (NSM0036); Q135 [Sir Stephen Lovegrove]

86 Q81 [Bronwen Maddox]

87 Cabinet Office (NSM0032)

88 HM Government, Global Britain in a Competitive Age: The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, CP 403, March 2021, p. 19

89 Cabinet Office (NSM0032); Q81 [Lord McDonald]; Q127 [Sir Stephen Lovegrove]

90 Sir Oliver Letwin, then-Chair of the NSC sub-committee on SDSR Implementation. Oral evidence taken before JCNSS on 23 May 2016, HC (2016–17) 153, Q44

91 HM Government, Global Britain in a Competitive Age: The Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy, CP 403, March 2021, pp. 13, 22, 88. The DAs are now represented on the newly-established UK Resilience Forum, which meets twice a year and is chaired by the Paymaster General, the Cabinet Office Minister responsible for resilience. See Cabinet Office, “UK Resilience Forum: inaugural meeting”, 11 August 2021

93 Q118; Q139 [Rt Hon Michael Gove MP], Scottish Government, “A Scottish Perspective on Climate, Defence, Security and External Affairs”, March 2021, p. 1

94 Qq109, 111; Northern Ireland Assembly (NSM0033)

95 Q116 [Joe Griffin]

97 Mr Ed Arnold (Director at The D Group) (NSM0014)

98 Q116 [Joe Griffin]

99 Q113 [Reg Kilpatrick]

100 IfG, “Whitehall Monitor 2021”, pp. 27–29

101 Qq109–110 [Reg Kilpatrick], Qq111–12 [Joe Griffin]; Q113 [Reg Kilpatrick]; Qq116, 119

102 Q139 [Sir Stephen Lovegrove]

103 Q139 [Rt Hon Michael Gove MP]

104 Q139 [Rt Hon Michael Gove MP]

106 The UK has a smaller centre of Government than many international comparators. See Joe Devanny, “Co-ordinating UK Foreign and Security Policy: The National Security Council”, RUSI Journal (Vol. 160, No. 6, 2015)

108 Mr Ed Arnold (Director at The D Group) (NSM0014)

110 Q127 [Sir Stephen Lovegrove]

111 Celia G. Parker (PhD candidate at King’s College London) (NSM0008); Mr Ed Arnold (Director at The D Group) (NSM0014); Professor Rory Cormac (Professor of International Relations at University of Nottingham) (NSM0001); Henry Jackson Society (NSM0018)

113 Q74 [Bronwen Maddox]

Published: 19 September 2021 Site information    Accessibility statement