A Strong Britain in an Age of Uncertainty

Posted: 10/18/2010
Cabinet Office Press Office
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18 October 2010
The Government has today published its National Security Strategy: "A Strong Britain in an Age of Uncertainty", which outlines our reappraisal of Britain’s role in the world, the risks to our security and their implication for the UK.
National security is the first duty of Government and we have given it the highest priority. This Strategy describes how – in an age of uncertainty – we need the structures in place to allow us to react quickly and effectively to new and evolving threats to our security. That is why the Prime Minister established National Security Council on the first day of the new Coalition Government.
The National Security Strategy and the Strategic Defence and Security Review, to be published tomorrow, mark a step-change in the UK’s ability to protect its security and advance its interests in the world.
The Strategy is informed by a full assessment of the risks to our security and identifies 15 priority risk types, the most pressing of which are:
  • Acts of terrorism affecting the UK or its interests
  • Hostile attacks upon UK Cyber Space
  • A major accident or natural hazard (e.g. influenza pandemic)
  • An international military crisis between states, drawing in the UK and allies.
In a Written Ministerial Statement today the Prime Minister said:
"The United Kingdom faces a complex array of threats from a myriad of sources. The National Security Strategy describes the strategic context within which these threats arise and how they may develop in the future.
"It describes Britain’s place in the world, as an open, outward-facing nation whose political, economic ands cultural authority far exceeds our size.
"Our national interest requires our continued full and active engagement in world affairs, promoting our security, our prosperity and our values.
"Our objectives are a secure and resilient United Kingdom, and shaping a stable world. In pursuit of these goals, our highest priorities are tackling terrorism, cyber security, international military crisis and national disasters such as floods and pandemics"
Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said:
"The Government is determined to maintain Britain’s security, prosperity and influence in the world. The National Security Strategy sets out how we will achieve this, using all the instruments of our national power to protect our citizens, prevent conflict and seek out opportunities for Britain.
"The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has a clear role in using agile and energetic diplomacy to protect our country’s interests, building new connections for Britain in a networked world, and leading foreign policy thinking across government.
"The National Security Strategy shows how our security and prosperity are interlinked. The networks we use to build our prosperity we will also use to strengthen our security, forging a distinctive British approach to foreign policy and pursuing it consistently over time."
Home Secretary, Theresa May said:
"The first and most important duty of government is keeping the UK and its citizens safe. That is why one of the very first things the Government did was to set up the National Security Council and appoint a National Security Adviser.
"We want a secure and resilient United Kingdom that plays a part in shaping a stable world. This Strategy helps us to achieve that by setting priorities and a clear focus for our efforts – including counter terrorism, cyber security, international military crises and national disasters such as floods and pandemics.
"Together with the Strategic Defence and Security Review, this will deliver a step change in the UK's ability to protect its security and advance its interests in the world."
Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell said:
"We must reassess our response to overseas conflict – putting development at the heart of an integrated approach that supports the world's most vulnerable people and protects Britain from external threats. Helping to address conflicts in the developing world must be central to our aid policy if we are to help end global poverty. Conflict abroad also threatens our security and well-being here in Britain. Tackling conflict overseas is therefore very much in our national interests, even in a time of financial consolidation."