Joint Intelligence Committee
|Parent department||Cabinet Office|
The Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) is part of the British Cabinet Office. It supervises the intelligence organisations of the United Kingdom on behalf of the Cabinet. More generally, it advises to the Cabinet on security, defence and foreign affairs.
Structure[change | change source]
The Committee is chaired by a permanent chairman, a member of the senior Civil Service, who is supported by the Intelligence and Security Secretariat and an assessment staff. The assessment staff is made up of experienced senior analysts drawn from across government and the military and conducts all-source analysis on subjects of interest to the committee. JIC papers written by the staff draw input from across the intelligence and security agencies and other related bodies.
Membership is the heads of the three collection agencies—the Secret Intelligence Service, Security Service and GCHQ—the Chief of Defence Intelligence, Deputy Chief of Defence Intelligence Staff, the Chief of the Assessment Staff, representatives of the Ministry of Defence, Foreign and Commonwealth Office and other departments, and the Prime Minister's adviser on foreign affairs.
Function[change | change source]
The JIC has three functions:
- Advising the Prime Minister and Cabinet Ministers on intelligence collection and analysis priorities.
- Directing the collection and analysis effort of the Secret Intelligence Service, Government Communications Headquarters, the Security Service and the Ministry of Defence based on those recommendations. The direction to the Ministry of Defence is implemented by Defence Intelligence.
- Assuring the professional standards of civilian intelligence analysis staff across all the intelligence-related activities in Her Majesty's Government.
Requirements and priorities[change | change source]
The JIC drafts the annual Requirements and Priorities for collection and analysis, for approval by Ministers. These support the strategic national security objectives of the UK:
- Protect UK and British territories, and British nationals and property, from a range of threats, including from terrorism and espionage;
- Protect and promote Britain's defence and foreign policy interests;
- Protect and promote the UK's economic well-being; and
- Support the prevention and detection of serious crime.
History[change | change source]
The JIC was founded in 1936 as a sub-committee of the Committee of Imperial Defence, the advisory peacetime defence planning agency. During World War II, it became the senior intelligence assessment body in the UK. In 1957 the JIC moved to the Cabinet Office, where its assessments staff prepare draft intelligence assessments for the committee to consider.
Foreign involvement[change | change source]
Ever since World War II, the chief of the London station of the United States Central Intelligence Agency has attended the JIC's weekly meetings. One former US intelligence officer has described this as the "highlight of the job" for the London CIA chief. Resident intelligence chiefs from Australia, Canada, and New Zealand may attend when certain issues are discussed.