The Home Secretary has publicly confirmed the existence of an organisation established to better understand the threat of hostile state activity and inform the government’s response…

The joint state threats assessment team (JSTAT) was created in 2017 in response to the increased and evolving threat the UK faces from hostile states.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “We continue to face a very real and serious threat from states who seek to undermine and destabilise this country to pursue their own agendas. It is vital that we continue to gain a deeper understanding of the wide-range of threats we face in order to take robust action to protect our national security.

“JSTAT has enhanced our capabilities and understanding of the state-based threats we face and will continue to do so in order to protect us at home and abroad.”

The decision to publicly avow JSTAT has been taken in order to maximise its utility to the national security community, enabling greater engagement with stakeholders, industry and academics. It will also allow for broader communication of the threats to government departments and agencies, as well as partners across the private and charitable sectors, ensuring they have access to information to better protect themselves.

Like other independent assessment bodies, including the joint terrorism analysis centre, JSTAT reports to a governance board comprising senior officials from across the UK intelligence community and wider government departments. The Director General of MI5 has ultimate responsibility for the organisation.

The government continues to take steps to counter state-based threats. This includes an ongoing review of relevant legislation relating to hostile state activity, including the Official Secrets Acts, to assess whether additional powers are required.

Image: Harry Metcalfe License: Creative Commons 2.0