National security chief will report to civil servant and not to the Taoiseach

The country’s first national security chief will not answer directly to the Taoiseach, but to the country’s top civil servant, under the job advertisement just published.

National security chief will report to civil servant and not to the Taoiseach

The country’s first national security chief will not answer directly to the Taoiseach, but to the country’s top civil servant, under the job advertisement just published.

The title of the position has also been altered — from “national security coordinator” to “director of the National Security Analysis Centre (NSAC)”.

The centre’s name is the third change to the recommendations of the Policing Commission, which had called the body the Strategic Threat Analysis Centre (Stac).

The Policing Commission, which reported last September, had recommended the coordinator report directly to the Taoiseach.

But the job spec, advertised on publicjobs.ie with a deadline of April 18, said the successful candidate will report to the secretary general to the Government (the Department of the Taoiseach).

It further says that the NSAC shall be subject to strategic direction and oversight by the National Security Committee.

The director will be at the rank of assistant secretary, and he or she will be an officer of the Department of the Taoiseach.

The advertisement said the person will have “an international role” in representing Ireland with foreign states and organisations involved in intelligence analysis.

But it said this role would “take account” of the existing engagements by domestic intelligence and security bodies and respect their operational independence.

The information booklet for the job says the NSAC will be a “permanent structure” bringing together the various agencies relevant to national security and produce a “comprehensive picture of the threats to the State and develop an integrated national security strategy”.

Charlie Flanagan.
Charlie Flanagan.

Staff of the unit will be supplemented by people seconded from “partner agencies” — the departments of justice, foreign affairs and defence as well as An Garda Síochána, the Defence Forces and the National Cyber Security Centre.

The booklet said the NSAC will have a role in “coordinating” the partner agencies to ensure “complementarity” [sic] of intelligence gathering.

Applicants are not required to come from an intelligence, security, or law enforcement background, but are expected to have the “ability to quickly and effectively acquire” an understanding of threats to national security.

Interested parties are also expected to have an ability to “undertake senior level security/intelligence work at national and international level”.

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