The Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy publishes the Government response to its July 2012 report.
The Committee has called for the next National Security Strategy – expected in 2015 – to be the product of much wider public debate and an attempt at a political consensus. In its latest report it asked the Government for:
"an indicative programme for the production of the next NSS with details of the staffing and other resources it will make available for this purpose. The programme should set out what form of public involvement is planned, and at what stage(s) in the process that consultation will take place. It should also explain how the NSS process will interact with the next SDSR (Strategic Defence and Security Review) and the CSR (Comprehensive Spending Review) process."
In the response published today, the Government says that it is:
"now starting to consider the scope, conceptual structure, process, timing, and possible forms of external (including international) engagement required to ensure that the 2015 NSS and SDSR will meet UK national security needs."
It says that the “the Cabinet Office is leading initial preparatory work” on the NSS but does not give an “indicative programme” or set out the planned staffing, resources or public consultation. It undertakes to consult the Committee in confidence as the forward work programme takes shape and to keep the Committee up-to-date on significant developments.
The Chair of the Committee, Rt Hon Margaret Beckett MP, said:
"We welcome the Government’s commitment to consult the Committee as it develops its plans for the next National Security Strategy. We shall want to see good signs of progress by the New Year. The Government does not have much time to build a cross-party consensus on the National Security Strategy, before the build-up to the next General Election overtakes us.
We continue to think that a clear national strategy, with cross-party support, is both important and achievable."