Whitehall 'muddles through' - MPs
The UK's national interest is threatened by a lack of strategic thinking at the heart of government, a committee of MPs has warned.
The cross-party Public Administration Select Committee (PASC) identified a tendency for Whitehall to "muddle through" and pointed to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as examples where there has been a lack of over-arching strategy.
They called for the remit of David Cameron's National Security Council and National Security Adviser Sir Peter Ricketts to be expanded to include a central co-ordinating role on national strategy.
The committee's report comes on the day when Sir Peter unveils the National Security Review, which is expected to identify terrorism and cyber-attacks as the two biggest threats facing the UK.
But respected foreign affairs think-tank Chatham House warned that the review - commissioned by Mr Cameron in May - had been conducted too quickly, with "limited time for strategic reflection and ideas".
The PASC report welcomed Foreign Secretary William Hague's promise earlier this year that the new coalition Government would "develop a national strategy for advancing our goals in the world".
But the report warned that the UK's capacity to think strategically had been undermined by long-standing assumptions that national interests are best served by the special relationship with the USA and economic links within the European Union.
"Uncritical acceptance of these assumptions has led to a waning of our interests in, and ability to make, national strategy," said the committee.
"Recent events such as 9/11, climate change and the banking crisis are making us think differently about the world, but require us to find the means by which we can anticipate and understand these challenges and devise an appropriate response to them.
"If we now have a renewed need for National Strategy, we have all but lost the capacity to think strategically. We have simply fallen out of the habit, and have lost the culture of strategy making."