Happening On Campus

Is National Security A National Issue?

Is National Security a National Issue?

Lord Evans, the Director General of MI5 between 2008 and 2013, gave a talk to the University of Nottingham about the national security threats that Britain currently and will potentially face.

During Evans’ career at MI5 he worked on counter-terrorism issues, ranging from the IRA to Al-Qaeda, rising to the head of the counter-terrorism section just 10 days before the 9/11 attacks. His expertise is therefore clearly evident.

There has been a drastic simplification of tactics used by terrorist organisations

Lord Evans explained that national security is a fundamentally international issue, which is safeguarded by frameworks such as the UN, NATO, and the EU. It is within these forums that any threat to national security can be prevented, or at the very least minimised. However, all of these systems work because of the confidence that people have that they do in fact work, and a loss of confidence in these systems could have a profoundly destabilising effect.

As of 2019 there are three top-tier security threats that are facing the UK; terrorism, cyber, and state threats. There has been a drastic simplification of tactics used by terrorist organisations, both far-right and international, in the past decade. Instead of plots on the scale of 9/11, terrorist groups have been focusing on small scale van attacks and mass stabbings, which involve less people, less time and have a smaller chance of being caught.

Cyber threats involve a wide range of malicious parties, ranging from political hackers to spies and criminals. An infamous example is the Russian bot farms, which have been tasked with interfering in the general elections of western countries.

Finally, Evans spoke about state threats to national security, the two main countries being China and Russia, neither of whom share the same values of human rights and democracy as the UK. However, whilst Russia is an actively malicious entity (Salisbury poisonings), China is just an emerging super power that will start shifting the power from the West towards Asia.

Alex Lovesey

Featured image courtesy of Tenders Unlimited via Facebook.

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