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The terms of reference of the Committee are “to consider the National Security Strategy”
The Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy (JCNSS) was first established in the last Parliament, and was reappointed in December 2010. It brings together 22 members of both the House of Commons and the House of Lords (including the chairs of the relevant Commons departmental select committees) to consider the National Security Strategy.
The current Government published the latest National Security Strategy Strong Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The National Security Strategy in October 2010, alongside the Strategic Defence and Security Review (PDF) (SDSR). It is planned that the strategy will remain in place until 2015, however the National Security Risk Assessment will be updated every two years. The Government also promised an annual implementation report on the SDSR and NSS, the first of these was entitled The Strategic Defence and Security Review: First Annual Report and was published in December 2011. The second, the Annual report on the National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review (PDF) was published in December 2012. The third, the 2012-13 Annual report on the National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review was published in December 2013.
As part of its remit the JCNSS scrutinizes the structures for Government decision-making on National Security, particularly the role of the National Security Council and the National Security Adviser. The Committee began by taking evidence from current and former Ministers and the current and former National Security Advisers. In 2013 it held a series of evidence sessions from people outside government on national security and the EU; the nature of the UK's alliance with the United States; and energy security. In January 2014 it took evidence from the Prime Minister.
The Committee has so far published five reports. In 2012 it published The First review of the National Security Strategy 2010, and a short report Planning for the next National Security Strategy: comments on the Government response to the Committee's First Report of Session 2010-12, accompanying the Government response to the first report. It published a report on The work of the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy in 2012 (PDF), in 2013 and a report on The work of the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy in 2013-14. Most recently, it published a report on the next National Security Strategy in 2014-15.
The House of Lords Committee Office publishes a daily bulletin detailing current inquiries, upcoming meetings, published reports and contact information.
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The Committee’s first report “First Review of the National Security Strategy 2010” introduces the work of Committee, and sets out what the National Security Strategy is, how it was produced, and how the Committee would like to see it developed. It also explains other aspects of Government decision making on national security; what the National Security Adviser does; what the National Security Council does; and how the Committee thinks it could be improved.