Submission by Professor Carl Stephen Patrick Hunter OBE

 

  1. I believe that Whitehall needs to establish a well-staffed Office of Grand Strategy (OGS), under a newly-appointed, Director General, Grand Strategy (DGGS), within the Cabinet Office. DGGS would operate with cross-Whitehall authority, to deliver UK Strategic Advantage, by helping Whitehall to implement our post-Integrated Review (IR) and Integrated Review Refresh (IRR) “UK statecraft” capabilities, (as the Chief of the Defence Staff describes it), or our “Grand Strategy” ones, (as I believe that Professor John Bew, the Prime Minister’s Special Adviser on Foreign Affairs might). Its role would be to develop and implement the concept of Grand Strategy for the United Kingdom and include the ability to add Grand Strategy input into departmental strategies, so that Grand Strategy becomes coherent throughout Government, the Private Sector and nation, across the long-term, and meet UK national aims at home and overseas, in a shared, national endeavour to succeed, in today’s highly contested world.

 

  1. There are three areas to consider: strengthening successful structures in Government so that it better supports strategic national endeavour; improving the UK Government-UK Society relationship so as to mobilise national awareness and a spirit of collective endeavour; and instilling a national culture to a point of UK Cultural Advantage, to act collectively across the public and private sectors, to secure UK strategic, national interests, at home and overseas. A future OGS and DGGS would work to co-ordinate each of the 3 whole-of-government, whole-of-nation, and whole-of-society aims by cohering the roles and responsibilities of the public sector and the private sector to work together in a national, shared endeavour to succeed at home and overseas, including taking oversight of departmental strategies to ensure that they include Grand Strategy awareness, so as to generate UK Strategic Advantage.

 

  1. Most Departments have Strategy Directors or Director Generals. Their focus however is departmental strategy formulation and implementation and Ministerial priorities, rather than on national Grand Strategy. Since 2017 UK Government has produced incredibly successful departmental level strategies, including: Maritime 2050 at Dft in 2019, the UK’s first 30-year maritime strategy in 500 years; the Export Strategy at DIT in 2018 succeeded in setting a national aim to export GBP 1tn by 2030, and explained that only 8.8% of the UK’s 5.6m companies exported at all; whilst its 2021 Export Strategy Refresh showed (in page 56 - Governance) the vital importance of adhering to the Bribery Act of 2010 to succeed, and both meant that by October 2023 the UK was exporting GBP 882bn, making itself the world’s 5th largest exporter of goods, the 2nd in services, the 8th largest manufacturing nation, with a clear trend established to meet the GBP 1tn exporting target earlier than 2030. What a future DGGS would have done in all 3 of these examples, is to add the Grand Strategy and whole-of-nation elements, to support departmental Strategy Directors make departmental strategies applicable by the public and private sectors in a shared, national endeavour, and relevant to enabling UK Strategic Advantage overall.

 

  1. UK foreign, defence and security policy successes since 2017 have meant that the UK can look with equal opportunity at the USA, Europe and the Indo-Pacific. These include the UK-US New Atlantic Charter 2021 and the Atlantic Declaration 2023, the Windsor Framework and the TCA in Europe and in the Indo-Pacific a whole sequence of policy successes including the FTA’s with Australia, New Zealand and Japan (the UK-Australia FTA contains a notable new technologies clause which was remarkably prescient given AUKUS); CPTPP Accession, ASEAN Dialogue Partner status, the UK-Japan Hiroshima Accord and the Reciprocal Access Agreement, AUKUS, the most important tripartite strategic relationship since 1945, and the UK-Japan-Italy 6th generation GCAP aircraft programme. A future DGGS would make these understood and cohered within Government, but across the UK private sector, nation and society too.

 

  1. The “indivisibility” of UK domestic and global interests existed in 1945 and 1962,  just as strongly as they do today, and why setting the UK’s aim in the IR as being a Global Force for Good is so appropriate, since when it has become broadly, though not completely, understood that the United Kingdom is a Global, Maritime Power, meaning that we are beginning to view the Arctic and Atlantic Oceans as “one space” in adversarial terms, are seeing the Baltic and Black Seas as mutually dependent in what we may term, the “vertical strategic plane”, the Euro-Atlantic and Indo-Pacific as “indivisible” in the “horizontal strategic plane” and that, because of UK policy successes since 2017, can now view itself at the centre of, and with equal interests in, that of the USA, Europe and the Indo-Pacific.

 

  1. The success of all of these depend on the establishment of a new structure in Government to co-ordinate and develop them, and to help reform the relationship between UK Government and UK Society to develop a national and shared strategic objective domestically and overseas. It will include a reformed UK Government-UK Science-UK Industry relationship to succeed at home, just as working ever more closely with our allies will determine our strategic success overseas. For these reasons I commend the creation of a DGGS and OGS to build on the exceptionally successful national security structures that we have.

 

 

Background

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Historical

 

 

 

 

 

A future DGGS and OGS would build on the great successes of UK National Security and help fulfil the desires articulated by yourself, as The Chair of the Liaison Committee, when you said: “Major events such as Brexit, COVID-19 and Ukraine demonstrate the need for long-term planning and delivery across multiple departments and across the duration of several Parliaments, as well as the importance of successful collaboration with our international partners. As the pace of events over recent years have shown, the Government needs to be more agile in its ambition – and it should also be coordinated across departments and sustainable over time”.

 

I hope that this is of assistance to you.

 

 

Professor Carl Stephen Patrick Hunter OBE

 

Chairman Coltraco Ultrasonics Limited & Director-General The Durham Institute of Research, Development & Invention

Professor-in-Practice Durham University Business School & Chairman of the British Exporters Association