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National Security Capability and Strategic Defence and Security Reviews

Volume 638: debated on Wednesday 28 March 2018

I am pleased to announce the combined publication of the National Security Capability Review (NSCR) and the 2017 annual report of the National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR). I have placed a copy in the House of Commons Library.

The 2015 National Security Strategy and SDSR set out our vision and three overarching National Security objectives: protect our people; project our global influence; and promote our prosperity. The framework of the National Security Strategy and the SDSR remains right and we are focused on implementing it. The National Security Council (NSC) commissioned the NSCR to identify how we could develop, deliver and deploy our considerable national security capabilities to maximum collective effect.

In the SDSR, we committed to giving Parliament an annual update on implementation of the strategy. This combined publication of the NSCR and second annual report on the SDSR sets out the conclusions from the NSCR and our progress in delivering on our SDSR commitments.

The NSCR updates the SDSR’s assessment of the challenges likely to drive UK security priorities over the next decade. These challenges have become more complex and intertwined as the world has become more uncertain and volatile. Domestic, overseas and online threats are increasingly integrated as adversaries develop capabilities and exploit vulnerabilities across borders and between the cyber and physical worlds. We should be confident of the United Kingdom’s ability to rise to these challenges, drawing on our great strengths as a nation, and the strength of our National Security Strategy.

The NSCR focused on capabilities that are critical to our national security to support implementation of the SDSR. As a result we will deliver better military capability through the modernising defence programme, designed to ensure our defence capabilities meet the changing threats we face. We will publish a new counter-terrorism strategy, which will include measures to improve our ability to disrupt terrorist plots in their early stages and improve frontline integration of our counter-terrorism response. We will expand and deepen our overseas network to deliver our ambitions for a truly global Britain, and ensure our development capability responds to changes in global poverty and national security. We will improve assurance of resilience and readiness of local and national capabilities and continue to develop an holistic approach to supporting victims of emergencies. We will take a whole-of-Government approach to serious and organised crime, including a national economic crime centre in partnership with the private sector. Furthermore, we will produce comprehensive strategic threat assessments for the border, and the National Security Communications Team will be significantly expanded. We will continue to implement the National Cyber Security Strategy and ensure it keeps pace with the threat. The cross-Government funds will be strengthened with a new ministerial committee and more efficient administration. Supporting this will be a new national security doctrine, the Fusion Doctrine, which will improve our collective approach to national security, building on the creation of the NSC eight years ago.

We have long been at the forefront of shaping international co-operation on security and the UK is a leading contributor to international missions around the world. The NSCR, alongside successful implementation of the SDSR, will ensure we use our world-leading national security capabilities to greatest effect to protect our people at home and abroad.