Two UK government departments to join forces in global counter-terrorism effort
Two UK government departments are setting up a joint unit to fight terrorism abroad.
The Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will create the Joint Unit for International Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which is understood to comprise around 50 civil servants from both ministries.
The unit, which will be part of the Home Office, will be led by FCO senior official Jane Marriott, director for Middle East and North Africa and former ambassador to Yemen.
The unit will report to both the foreign secretary and home secretary, a government spokesman said.
It is one of seven new policy-making and delivery joint units announced in the government’s Strategic Defence and Security Review, published in November.
The new cross-government teams, according to the review document, will be “issue-focused” and “consolidate national security expertise and make the most efficient use of it across government.”
Many of the roles within the new unit, which is understood to begin work at the Home Office within weeks, will be filled by people taken from the FCO’s counter-terrorism unit, the Financial Times (FT) newspaper reports.
The new organisation will work closely with the UK’s domestic and foreign intelligence agencies, the Security Service (MI5) and the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), as well as SO15, the Metropolitan Police’s counter-terrorism command, the FT states, adding that Marriott will report to Thomas Hurd, the new director of the Home Office’s existing Office for Security and Counter Terrorism, who takes up his post in April.
Other joint units the government wants to create this year include a Euro-Atlantic security policy unit, hosted by the FCO, which will bring together diplomatic and defence expertise; an arms control and counter-proliferation centre, hosted by the Ministry of Defence (MoD), which will include civil servants from the MoD, FCO, and Department of Energy and Climate Change; a UN peacekeeping unit, hosted by the FCO, bringing together expertise from the MoD and FCO and a single provider of government national security vetting services.
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