Select Committee on Defence First Report


14. When the Secretary of State announced the restructuring of the TA, he also gave greater detail on the plans for the TA contribution to Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defence. Although the initial level of TA involvement had not been published, the Secretary of State acknowledged the recommendation of this Committee for an increased capability in this area—

Under initial proposals, the TA Yeomanry would have contributed a single squadron to [the regular regiment]; but I have decided, in light of the Defence Committee's observations, to retain two squadrons of TA Yeomanry devoted to the support of regular forces in that role.[60]

15. The Minister told us that the squadrons will have two roles. First, to reinforce the regular unit wherever they are operating and second, to make a contribution to Home Defence in support to the Home Office. He described the latter, though a valuable role, as not their prime responsibility.[61] The NBC regiment will be based at Honington and will bring together the NBC capability of the Royal Air Force, and the regular NBC component of the Army. In times of war, the first squadron will be an integral part of forces sent, whereas the second squadron will train across the "waterfront" of the NBC requirement to plug gaps both in that context and in the wider context.[62] We welcome this move as a partial response to this Committee's recommendation on the need for an increased NBC capability and a modest recognition of the potential role for the TA in civil defence against asymmetric threats[63] to the homeland.

16. The Committee was pleased to note that the Queen's Own Yeomanry will continue to be equipped with light armoured vehicles,[64] giving it a much higher level of utility than the Land Rover equipped elements. We seek assurances from the MoD that this unit, which has built a reputation for excellence, will continue with a full complement of equipment.

60   HC Deb, 17 November 1998, c751 Back

61   Q 223 Back

62   Q 225 Back

63   For a detailed analysis of asymmetric threats see Eighth Report, Session 1997-98, The Strategic Defence Review, HC 138-I, paras 123-129 Back

64   Modern Forces for the Modern World: A Territorial Army for the Future, Volume 1, para 11 Back

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Prepared 11 February 1999