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Government Publishes First National Security Strategy

19 March 2008

The Prime Minister today announced the publication of the first National Security Strategy for the United Kingdom. The strategy highlights the nature of the new security challenges, how they have changed, and how we are responding. In his statement to Parliament the Prime Minister said:

“While our obligation to ensure the safety of the British people and to protect the national interest is fixed and unwavering, the nature of the threats and the risks we face has changed beyond recognition and confounds all the old assumptions about national defence and international security.

“As the national security strategy makes clear, new threats demand new approaches. A radically updated and much more coordinated response is now required.

“We need to mobilise all the resources available to us: the power of our military, police and security services; the persuasive force and reach of diplomacy; the authority of strengthened global institutions which, with our full support, can deploy both ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ power; and because arms and authority will never be enough, the power of ideas, of shared values and hopes that can win over hearts and minds.”

The strategy sets out how we have learned the lessons of recent years, including experiences of terrorism and civil emergencies, but also overseas. Rwanda, the Balkans, Sierra Leone, Iraq, Afghanistan, Darfur, Burma and Kenya all show the need for the international community to be united and act decisively, but also to plan for the longer term, including supporting failing states and stabilising areas recovering from conflict, and tackling violent extremism.

The Prime Minister also announced:

The Strategy argues that globalisation and an increasingly interdependent world bring massive opportunities, and the UK, as an outward-facing nation with global links and a focus on skills, is well placed to exploit them. But we must also recognise and address the vulnerabilities associated with globalisation: travel, modern communications, the internet, and increased trade can present opportunities for terrorism and transnational crime, or increase the risk of pandemics.

We need to harness globalisation to meet the challenges it generates. We need broader alliances and a reformed international architecture to tackle common challenges. The strategy sets out our intention to:

As well as recognising that the challenges are increasingly global and demand global solutions, the Strategy recognises that the roots of problems are often local, as are the effects, and sets out:

The Strategy sets out how we will build a more hard-headed, long-term, integrated approach:

Notes to editors

  1. The Government has increased spending on counter-terrorism from £1bn in 2001 to £2.5bn now and £3.5bn in 2011, doubling the size of the security service, and increasing Special Branch and counter-terrorist police.
  2. The Defence budget has had the longest period of sustained real growth since the 1980s, with additional investment from the Reserve in equipment for Iraq and Afghanistan. The Ministry of Defence today announced retention measures including new £15,000 long service bonus to bring the Armed Forces, especially the Army, closer to full strength.
  3. Copies of the strategy are available
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