I always thought that was the job of the FO and SIS. I'm reading a book which is the official history called "MI6, 1901 -1949" (sad I know but it was a prezzie) which deals with all of that malarkey so why yet another Whitehall committee.
Jobs for the boys if I was cynical, what with the civil service being cut back and everyone out to justify their existance.
Not really - they are useful but not essential. Having worked with them over the years, many are the worst kind of staff officer and so far up their own behinds its scary. Others are excellent, but too many of them see the role as being a sunset posting ahead of moving to a nice consultancy job.
Angry - depends on which ones you've dealt with. Over the last 10 years or so I've dealt with DAs from just about every continent in one post or another. Many of them are superb, however there is still a large minority who haven't got the message that India is now independent, let alone more recent developments, and many have ideas way above their station. It depends on who you get and what they do.
The best I've met are consistently RN, the worst are Army Lt Cols or Majors of a certain age... ;-)