The all-blue UK National Security Council

Many “defence” bloggers like to think the UK will be safe with gazillions of bullets, fighter jets and nuclear warheads. Many of them forget that defence isn’t my military might or strategy alone, but the collective efforts of different foreign affairs teams. One relatively positive move David Cameron and his Conservative Party made in 2010 was to form a National Security Council (NSC). Not exactly a mirror image of the one from the country across the Atlantic, this “council” drew together all the main foreign affairs ministries and agencies so as to improve (as is the case in bureaucracies) government decision-making/action/reaction to any potential or occurring security threat. Of course there’s the famoous Cabinet Office Annex (COBRA) meetings, but this now not so new UK NSC is all blue, since there’s a single party as the government (last time there were Liberal Democrats on the council). While the actual NSC website has no names, let me help you by stating who is now in the UK’s all blue NSC (drawing names from this and positions from this:

Prime Minister (Chair)–David Cameron,(Our young, Oxford trained, new Thatcherite. He will gain advice from others but use his own believes to decide how to respond to security threats.)

Chancellor of the Exchequer (and also First Secretary of State, definitely Deputy Chair)–George Osborne (Another sharp (neo)-Thatcherite, he is known to reduce the UK’s ability to respond to security threats but cutting funding and thus capabilities to departments like Defence, Home Department, Energy and Climate Change (basically all the non-ringfenced departments) in order to achieve his Conservative/Monetarist goal of an economic surplus and almost non-debt and deficit. He will also likely be the Deputy Chair since he’s the First Secretary of State and there’ no Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) in the new all-blue frontbench and Cabinet.

Leader of the House of Commons–Chris Grayling (I’m not sure if the new all-blue NSC will have the Leader of the House of Commons in the UK NSC, so I’ll skip.)

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Deputy Chair)–Philip Hammond (used to be Defence Secretary, and before that Transport Secretary. Eurosceptic. That’s my main worry about him.

Secretary of State for Defence–Michael Fallon (got his promotion because Philip Hammond was moved to the Foreign Office. Was first Vice Chairman of the Conservative Party, then Minister of State for Business and Enterprise and then Minister of State for Energy. Is he a good Defence Minister? Basically, he’s doing what’s he’s told to do and is constrained by Osborne’s plan for cuts.)

Secretary of State for the Home Department–Theresa May. Looks fierce. I frankly don’t know much about her and her views. As with the others, her department will be constrained by Osborne’s economic plans.

Secretary of State for International Development–Justine Greening. She was there (as was Andrew Mitchell) in the Coalition Government NSC. Basically, she has the responsibility and privilege of using aid to improve global/international development but also to a) effect development by non-aid means and b) use aid to secure the UK’s national (security) interests (without violating Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) rules). I wonder if George Osborne hates it he has to let her have a ring-fenced department.

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change–Amber Rudd. She’ll be new to the NSC, but not the new to DECC. Thatcherite ( or so she claims), but the new Tories aren’t exactly anti-climate change (unlike extreme right wing US Republicans).

Chief Secretary to the Treasury–Greg Hands. Like Rudd, he’ll be a new member to the NSC, but his role won’t be much since George Osborne is the man with the “cuts” plan. Or maybe he’ll do something in the NSC…

(I’ll skip the post of “Minister for Government Policy” since I believe this has been removed).

So all the “Apostles” are listed above. The NSC (when it was formed) although had sub-committees: The Nuclear Deterrence and Security sub-Committee and the Threats, Hazards, Resilience and Contingencies sub-committee.

The Nuclear Deterrence and Security sub-committee consists of:

Prime Minister (Chair)

Chancellor of the Exchequer (and now First Secretary of State) (Definitely Deputy Chair)–wonder what’s he going to do? Give less money to disarmament negotiations?

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Deputy Chair)–I rather he be the main Deputy Chair.

Secretary of State for Defence

Secretary of State for the Home Department

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change–this person will definitely have a lot to do if there’s a nuclear explosion!!!

The Threats, Hazards, Resilience and Contingencies sub-committee

Prime Minister (Chair)

Chancellor of the Exchequer (and now First Secretary of State) (Definitely Deputy Chair)

Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Deputy Chair)

Secretary of State for Defence

Secretary of State for the Home Department

Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills–Sajid Javid. He will be yet another new to the NSC. First time in BIS, not first time in Cabinet. We shall see what he brings and what he does during a crisis/for a potential crisis.

Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change

Secretary of State for Justice–Michael Gove. The previous SoS for Justice was “blue”. Don’t see much of a change but lots of people (not Conservatives) hate Gove.

Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities–Nicky Mogan. I again don’t know her but her role in this sub-committee is to ensure school kids don’t get radicalised or run away to fight for terrorist groups.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government–Greg Clark. His predecessor was a Tory. I again don’t know his character. SoS Communities and LG basically has to handle communities during times or crisis.

Secretary of State for Transport–Patrick McLoughlin. Again same old “blue” SoS as last time. Transport was a key signatory to the 2014 The UK national strategy for maritime security and should be a key member for any transport-related crisis–air, land or sea.

Secretary of State for Health–Jeremy Hunt. Another hated Tory by many. In any case, health is coming to prominence especially since the Ebola Outbreak.

Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs–Elizabeth Truss. First time in cabinet I believe. I also don’t know her style. It’s quite obvious what this SoS is needed if there’s a crisis or to prevent crises.

Secretary of State for International Development

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport–John Whittingdale. Not sure why the SoS for CMS is needed in this sub-committee. To broadcast news during national emergencies?

Minister for the Cabinet OfficeOliver Letwin and Matt Hancock (maybe Letwin will sit in the sub-committee). Needed for (guess) the British version of continuity of government.

There it is ladies and gentlemen, your all blue (Conservative/Tory/whatever name) UK National Security Council. (Any Clapping?)

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