Monday, October 18, 2010

UK Releases NSS review document: A Strong Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The National Security Strategy (cm7953)

UK Releases NSS review document: A Strong Britain in an Age of Uncertainty: The National Security Strategy
October 18th, 2010

Ahead of the release by the Prime Minister of the outcome of the SDSR Defence Review in the House of Commons at 1530hrs GMT (0930 EST) came the release of the foreign policy-led component known as The National Security Strategy (Command Paper Cm7953). A few comments jump off the page at first pass;

The foreword at the outset refers to Britain being both more secure and more vulnerable then ever before which seems to automatically question the logic of cutting resources to security needs. If national security assets are an insurance policy then Britain seems to be going down the "third party, fire & theft" route.

Page four sees The United States of America listed atop that of the international network of alliances, followed by the EU and NATO.

Page five refers to equipment acquisition rooted in the mindset of the Cold War.

KEY POINT: Page nine, a definition of the National Security Strategy of the United Kingdom, "to use all our national capabilities to build Britain's prosperity, extend our nation's influence in the world and strengthen our security. The networks we use to build our prosperity we will also use to build our security".

Page eleven identifies the top four threats in the next five years to UK security; terrorism (including CBRN (i.e. WMD) usage) and interesting flags Northern Ireland as a flashpoint, cyberattack, military crises and major accident or natural hazard.

Page thirteen identifies withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2015 - towards the end of the next US Presidency, and to the end of the first term of a Cameron Government, should the Government go the full five years before seeking re-election.

page fifteen (section 1.15) identifies the need to broaden out UK relationships beyond dependence on the USA and the world becomes more multi-polar.

page twenty-two (section 2.11) reaffirms the UK view of the Special Relationship - "Our strong defence relationship with the US... is exceptionally close and central to our national interest".

page twenty-seven - illustration of a 'risk register' of 15 major risks - which will be reviewed and updated biannually. The methodology (which is a two-by-two "impact:likelihood" matrix standard to any management consultant) is printed on page 37 for those unfamiliar.

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