MI5 - Security Service

Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre

The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, or JTAC, was created as the UK's centre for the analysis and assessment of international terrorism. It was established in June 2003 and is based in the Security Service's headquarters at Thames House in London.

Role

JTAC analyses and assesses all intelligence relating to international terrorism, at home and overseas. It sets threat levels and issues warnings of threats and other terrorist-related subjects for customers from a wide range of government departments and agencies, as well as producing more in-depth reports on trends, terrorist networks and capabilities.

The establishment of JTAC brought together counter-terrorist expertise from the police, key government departments and agencies. Collaborating in this way ensures that information is analysed and processed on a shared basis, with the involvement and consensus of all relevant departments. Existing departmental roles and responsibilities are unaffected.

Within the Security Service JTAC works especially closely with the International Counter Terrorism branch, which manages investigations into terrorist activity in the UK. This enables it to assess the nature and extent of the threat in this country.

Organisation

JTAC operates as a self-standing organisation comprised of representatives from sixteen government departments and agencies. It forms a key element of the National Intelligence Machinery.

The Head of JTAC is accountable to the Director General of the Security Service, who in turn reports to the Government's Joint Intelligence Committee on JTAC's activities. An Oversight Board, chaired by the Cabinet Office, ensures that JTAC meets customer requirements by monitoring the effectiveness of JTAC's systems for engaging with customer departments.

This model has provided an authoritative and effective mechanism for analysing intelligence on the terrorist threat. Its success was noted by the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee in its annual report for 2003-04.

Threat Assessments

JTAC's responsibility for assessing the level and nature of the threat from international terrorism was described in "CONTEST: The United Kingdom's Strategy for Countering Terrorism opens a new window", published by the Government in July 2011.

For a brief summary of current threats, see our page on the threat to the UK from international terrorism. See also our page on the UK's threat level system.

Key points

  • Responsible for analysing and assessing international terrorism.
  • Comprises staff from multiple organisations and agencies.
  • Enables intelligence to be assessed on a shared basis.

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