Speakers on a panel at Westminster Briefing’s National Security Summit on 21, October stressed that 2015 would not be the right time to release a new national security strategy.
By Sarah Aston
Civil Service Review online – 21 October 2014
Dr Julian Lewis MP, member of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament, and Admiral Lord West, member of the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy, urged the next Government to take their time over the next National Security Strategy and incorporate the views of all sectors of society.
Describing the “rush” in which both the 2010 Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review were published by the current Government, West said:
“The next National Security Strategy needs to be done in a much more timely manner,”
“I don’t believe it must be rushed straight after the election next year.”
Lewis supported this by describing the Defence Review as “messy”, and added:
“I hope that whichever Government emerges as a result of the next General Election, there will not be a Strategic [Defence and] Security Review in 2015 but that time will be taken and that it will see the light of day in 2016.”
Using the Labour Government’s National Security Strategy of 1997 [actually, its Strategic Defence Review of 1998 – JL] as an example, Conservative MP Lewis added:
“One of the best things it had to recommend it was the fact that it was carried out over a period of months. It was begun by the new Government in 1997 but it was not concluded until well into 1998 and in the course of that review process there was an opportunity for the Government to reach out and seek input from a whole range of outside sources.”
Taking the time to analyse the direction that UK national security needs to take moving forwards is critical for the success of the strategy, both West and Lewis argue. Emphasising the point, West said:
“We need to take time to do it with a lot of outside input because otherwise we will come up again with a half-baked National Security Strategy.”