PA Consulting calls for the creation of a single strategic body to provide better sharing of data and information across the entire national security landscape

Even before the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK’s defence and national security enterprise was experiencing the biggest shift in the external threat space for more than a century. Widespread technological disruption and the convergence of the physical, cyber and digital realms have irrevocably altered the new mission space.

Keeping pace with new threats – let alone getting ahead of them – requires the ability to pool resources and use data, information and knowledge more effectively. It calls for new ways of working to make the best use of scarce skills and build trust amongst colleagues across defence, intelligence, counter-terrorism, organised crime, ‘blue light’ services, cyber-security, national resilience, diplomacy, international development and aid.

To build this new normal and establish the trust and shared capabilities to make this an enduring posture, defence and security leaders should take the opportunity to enact long-lasting change to organisational structures and capabilities. This new posture calls for three actions:

Use the Integrated Review to reimagine the future

The government’s Integrated Review of Foreign Policy, Defence, Security and International Development will shape the UK’s national security policy now and into the 2030s. This review, although delayed due to COVID-19, is an opportunity to dramatically reshape the way this community pools its information assets and orchestrates resource deployments. It will also be able to respond to the lessons of COVID-19 as the biggest global shock in most of our lifetimes...

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