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National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review 2015: Third Annual Report

Volume 663: debated on Monday 22 July 2019

Today, I am pleased to announce the publication of the third annual report of the National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). This also provides an annual update on the National Security Capability Review (NSCR). I will be placing a copy of the report in the Libraries of both Houses and publishing the report on

In the SDSR, we committed to giving Parliament an annual update on implementation of the strategy. This annual report sets out our progress in delivering on our SDSR and NSCR commitments and shows how the United Kingdom continues to meet the threats and challenges posed by a changing world, proving the merits of fusion doctrine, as introduced in last year’s NSCR.

The NSCR reinforced our vision and values set out in the National Security Strategy and SDSR of a secure and prosperous United Kingdom with global reach and influence. Our overarching national security objectives: protect our people; project our global influence; and promote our prosperity, continue to be the foundation of our national security approach. In support of each of these objectives, we have made significant progress on a cross-Government programme of activity, overseen by a sub-committee of the National Security Council (NSC).

Much has changed since the National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review was published in November 2015 - not least the United Kingdom’s historic decision to leave the European Union. Whilst the principal threats to our national security remain the same, we face a challenge from a resurgence of state based threats. These threats are more complex and are testing the norms of the rules-based international system on which we have come to rely for our prosperity and security. Nevertheless, NATO remains the bedrock of the UK’s defence and the leading instrument of our national security.

Our outlook remains outward facing and the UK will not shy away from defending democratic principles across the globe whilst ensuring British values are safeguarded at home. We value that outreach, and our partnerships and relationships across the world which are the envy of friend and foe alike. They have proven time and again to be a critical factor in our successes on the global stage.

In the SDSR, we made 89 principal commitments. As at March 2019, we have completed 32, with the rest being progressed. The SDSR pledged to deliver a number of complex major projects and programmes, some with a delivery timescale of a decade or more; progress on these is as we would expect at this stage. The NSCR provided 27 further significant commitments of which 3 have already been completed.

We remain the only country in the G20 to meet both the expenditure targets of 2% of GDP on defence and 0.7% of gross national income on overseas development, driving forward the implementation of the sustainable development goals.