National Security Skills and the Integrated Review

Focusing on education and training needs critical to the planning and strategy development in support of national security

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The Government’s Integrated Review, published in March, identified education and training as critical to planning and strategy development in support of national security, describing it as instrumental in developing the mindset necessary to handle emerging threats, but also to embrace opportunities.

The IR stated that “there is much more to do to harness the diverse perspectives and experience that drive innovation and adaptation and to maintain the collaborative, agile and inclusive behaviours needed to enable integration”. It pledged the government to an effort to “foster a culture that encourages more and different kinds of challenge, further developing capabilities such as red-teaming to mitigate the cognitive biases that affect decision-making”.  

The IR also pointed out that the nation-wide effort of professionalisation, training and skills will “depend on the availability of people with the right skills, experience and security clearances to form flexible, diverse and multidisciplinary teams”. It then went on to point out that “greater efforts in recent years to develop relevant professional courses, and the development of clustered security vetting services are helping to build these capabilities”.  

In order to accelerate the process of acquiring these capabilities, the IR stated that the Government will “review the case for a dedicated College for National Security as part of the new Curriculum and Campus for Government Skills”. In addition, the IR also highlighted the “further use military reservists to support the full range of national security priorities and explore options for a wider civilian reserve”. 

But which skills are needed? What is different about the current objectives in comparison with efforts undertaken in the past? How do the partnerships between the private and public sectors need to evolve? And what are the skills needed to deliver grand strategy and how can a dedicated College for National Security foster such skills? 

Download the agenda

Speakers

  • The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
  • Pamela Dow, Executive Director, Government Skills and Curriculum Unit
  • Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, Emeritus Professor of War Studies, King’s College London
  • Lord Ricketts,Trustee, RUSI
  • Air Marshal Edward Stringer
  • Elisabeth Braw, Associate Fellow, RUSI
  • John Bew, No 10 Downing Street

Agenda

  • -

    Introduction and Welcome

    Speaker: Dr Karin von Hippel, Director General, RUSI

  • -

    Session One

    Chair: Sir David Lidington, Chair, RUSI

    Speakers:

    The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
    The Skills Challenge: What is the problem statement? Why is government now focused on skills?

    Pamela Dow, Executive Director, Government Skills and Curriculum Unit
    'Raising the floor and raising the ceiling - a Campus for skills, knowledge and networks in Government, from universal to specialist' - How is government responding to the skills challenge? How is this different from what has been done before?

  • -

    Session Two

    Chair: Professor Malcolm Chalmers, Deputy Director General, RUSI

    Speakers:

    Professor Sir Lawrence Freedman, Emeritus Professor of War Studies, King’s College London
    Delivering Strategy: What are the skills needed to deliver strategy? How are those skills best developed? What lessons can be learnt from the last decades of implementing or attempting to implement strategy on behalf of governments?

    Lord Ricketts, Trustee, RUSI
    National Security Skills in Practice: What experience can be gained by taking the long view, working across government and outside government? What can government learn from the private sector?

  • -

    LUNCH

  • -

    Session Three

    Chair: Suzanne Raine, RUSI Trustee

    Speakers:

    Air Marshal Edward Stringer
    Strategy in Application - What is specific about national security?

    Elisabeth Braw, Associate Fellow, RUSI
    Working with Business and Industry to deliver National Security priorities: to brief on main findings of her paper in support of civilian reserves

  • -

    Session Four

    Chair: Sir David Lidington, Chair, RUSI

    Speaker:

    John Bew, No 10 Downing Street
    Delivering the Integrated Review: What's different this time? How does the partnership between public and private sector need to evolve in order to confront challenges and seize opportunities?

  • -

    Concluding Remarks

    Speaker: Dr Karin von Hippel, Director General, RUSI
    What have we learnt today, and what conclusions can we draw? What would constitute failure in developing national security skills fit to deliver the integrated review? What would constitute success?

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