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 (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 first update was due in late 2012. 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 was published in December 2012.
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 has recently taken evidence from current and former Ministers and the current and former National Security Advisers. It has just concluded a series of evidence sessions with Secretaries of State who sit on the NSC and is now planning to hear evidence from outside government on national security and the EU; the nature of the UK's alliance with the United States; energy security; and food security.
The Committee has so far published three reports 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. Its most recent report is The work of the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy in 2012.