The Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy (JCNSS) is one of the Joint committee of the Parliament of the United Kingdoms. It was formed to "monitor the implementation and development" of the United Kingdom Government's National Security Strategy". It was first established in the 2005-2010 Parliament, and was reappointed in December 2010 and December 2015. The committee comprises members from the House of Commons and members of the House of Lords.
The committee’s terms of reference are “to consider the National Security Strategy”. It has said that it does not wish to duplicate the work of other select committees, and instead intends to draw on their work. The Committee "scrutinises the structures for Government decision-making on National Security, particularly the role of the National Security Council (NSC) and the UK's National Security Adviser (NSA)."
|Dame Margaret Beckett (Chairwoman)||Labour||Former Foreign Secretary|
|The Lord Brennan||Labour||Senior member of Matrix Chambers|
|The Lord Campbell of Pittenweem||Lib Dem||Former leader of the Liberal Democrats|
|Sarah Champion||Labour||Chairwoman International Development Committee|
|Yvette Cooper||Labour||Chairwoman of Home Affairs Select Committee|
|Tobias Ellwood||Conservative||Chairman of the Defence Select Committee|
|Richard Graham||Conservative||Conservative MP|
|The Lord Harris of Haringey||Labour||Former Chair of the Association of London Government|
|Baroness Healy of Primrose Hill||Labour||Former Special Adviser and Press Officer for the Labour Party|
|The Baroness Henig||Labour||Former Chair of the Security Industry Authority|
|The Baroness Hodgson of Abinger||Conservative||Former Rural Committee member|
|Darren Jones||Labour||Chairman of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee|
|Alicia Kearns||Conservative||Conservative MP|
|The Lord King of Bridgwater||Conservative||Former Secretary of State for Defence and Chair of the ISC|
|The Baroness Lane-Fox of Soho||Crossbench||Founder of Lastminute.com and board member of Twitter|
|Angus Brendan MacNeil||SNP||Chairman of the International Trade Select Committee|
|Sir Bob Neill||Conservative||Chairman of the Justice Committee|
|The Baroness Neville-Jones||Conservative||Former Minister for Security|
|The Lord Powell of Bayswater||Crossbench||Former Private Secretary to Margaret Thatcher|
|Bob Stewart||Conservative||Former British Army officer and Conservative MP|
|Tom Tugendhat||Conservative||Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee|
The committee published its first report First Review of the National Security Strategy 2010 on 8 March 2012. The report addresses the National Security Strategy, the National Security Council (and the secretariat which supports it), and the National Security Adviser. It was agreed unanimously. The committee welcomed the National Security Strategy but said that it was work in progress and needed to be improved. In a press release sent out with the report it said that:
It also said that the government's unwillingness to provide it with all the information it had asked for about the National Security Risk Assessment means that it was unable to give Parliament any assurances about its adequacy. The committee expressed concerns that the "National Security Council's oversight of security issues is not sufficiently broad and strategic", given that it was deeply involved in operations in Libya and failed to discuss the national security implications of the Eurozone crisis or the possibility of Scottish independence.
The JCNSS published the government response to its first report on 11 July 2012, along with a two-page report summarising the committee's concerns about the response. The committee said that it welcomed the government response and the government's commitment to providing it with more information in future, but said that the government had failed to:
The committee said that the government needed to start to map out its programme for the next NSS immediately. It also called on the Government to supply it with an indicative programme for producing and consulting on the next NSS.
The government responded in November 2012 and said that it was:
“now starting to consider the scope, conceptual structure, process, timing, and possible forms of external (including international) engagement required to ensure that the 2015 NSS and SDSR will meet UK national security needs.”
It said that “the Cabinet Office is leading initial preparatory work” on the NSS but did not give an “indicative programme” or set out the planned staffing, resources or public consultation as the committee had requested. It undertook to consult the JCNSS in confidence as the forward work programme took shape and to keep the Committee up-to-date on significant developments.
The JCNSS published this response as its First Special Report of Session 2012-13.
In February 2013 the committee published its report The work of the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy in 2012. This reviewed the committee’s work over the past year and called on the government to address five key areas of concern:
In a press release the chair of the committee said that “the NSC should think strategically, keeping its eye on the longer term and assessing the effect of Departments’ policy proposals. We were stunned that the NSC had not discussed the implications of the major policy changes made last year by the MOD. How it can be strategic if it has not considered the impact of restructuring the Army?”
The Committee published its report into the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) in January 2017 after an eight-month inquiry. The report praised many of the intentions of the CSSF, but criticised its lack of transparency for the purposes of Parliamentary scrutiny. The Committee also noted that the CSSF would be better managed under the control of a single Government Minister, fearing that "collective responsibility will degenerate into no responsibility."
The JCNSS announced its Cyber Security Inquiry in January 2017.
That Margaret Beckett, Sarah Champion, Yvette Cooper, Mr Tobias Ellwood, Richard Graham, Darren Jones, Alicia Kearns, Angus Brendan MacNeil, Sir Robert Neill, Bob Stewart and Tom Tugendhat be nominated to the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy