Select Committee on Defence Minutes of Evidence

Follow-up Answers from the Ministry of Defence to Questions Raised at the Evidence Session on 8 November 2000 (8 January 2001)


  In your letter of 16 November, you forwarded a list of questions from the Committee, following on from the oral evidence session on 8 November.

  The replies to those questions are attached. I apologise for the delay in providing them.

  I am also enclosing the report on Territorial Army and cadet statistics, which is provided at quarterly intervals. The data is for the period up to 1 October 2000.

  I hope this is helpful.

Q1. Please would you provide the Committee with an up-to-date figure for the number of trained strength in the Royal Naval Reserve?

  2,018 (as at 31 October 2000). The trained strength figure has been slowly but progressively rising for at least the past three years. Efforts are in hand to improve the rate of increase.

Q2. Trained strength requirement for the RNR is 3,295 and the Committee has been told that it takes three to five years to train a man. How are you managing the shortfall and what future plans are there to overcome this situation?

  The trained strength requirement of 3,295 referred to relates to a maximum planned scale of requirement for reservists post-SDR, (previously 2,949). Not all of these would be at immediate notice to deploy. The trained strength requirement for small and medium-size operations (the more likely scenarios) will obviously be less, although the precise requirement for any one operation will depend on duration as well as size and complexity. The policy is to reduce the shortfall as quickly as possible, with special focus on priority specialisations which it is believed are most likely to be required (eg, medical and communications staff). Plans to achieve this include:

    —  A major recruiting drive to be maintained until overall numbers are more nearly achieved (anticipated to be in about 2004), with appropriate emphasis on high-demand specialisations. Recruiting achievement has improved over the past two years, although the current year started more slowly than we would have wished.

    —  The on-going evaluation of the requirement by the Naval Staff to better estimate numbers by specialisation, to ensure realism. For example, SDR decisions in respect of new Primary Casualty Receiving Ships (PCRS) have resulted in an increased requirement for medical naval reservists.

    —  Impressing on reservists the personal learning advantages of their conducting as much training as their time, and our resources, will allow. The additional funding for RNR training, as a result of SDR, is making accelerated training affordable and this, coupled with continued improvements in the quality of training, is resulting in a more rapid progression of reservists to the Trained Strength.

    —  A review of the training levels needed for members of the RNR to progress to the Trained Strength. There is evidence to suggest that some of the training levels are more appropriate to later stages of Reserve service and are artificially prolonging the period personnel are deemed to be on the untrained strength.

    —  Changes to RNR terms and conditions of service which permit longer service—eg, the raising of retirement ages.

Q3. Brigadier Durcan stated that he had figures for recruitment to medical reserves, please could you provide a statistical breakdown of nurses, doctors, etc and give figures of how many additional medical reservists have actually been recruited.


  The Army Medical Service (AMS) TA is established for 6,517 posts in total and has an actual strength of 4,726 (73 per cent of establishment). The breakdown of Healthcare Professionals within the AMS TA as at 1 September 2000 was as shown below.

Strength as at Sep 1999
Strength as at Sep 2000
Net Increase

*PAMS—Professional Allied to Medicine.

  In addition, a number of recruits had either not completed their initial military or their professional medical training.

Total number recruited
Not yet completed initial military training
Not yet completed medical or military training

  £500K was allocated by Land Command for 1999-2000 and 2000-01 for AMS TA Recruiting, with a Recruiting Campaign initiated in September 1999. A further campaign was initiated in September 2000 aimed at nurses. The current aim is to achieve 50 per cent of the requirement by September 2001 and 100 per cent by April 2006.

Q4.  Please give the figures for the proportion of man training days which are allocated to unit level exercises. Are there fewer exercises now than pre-SDR?

  The TA is currently funded for approximately 1.5 million Man Training Days (MTDs) per year, of which approximately 0.5 million days are allocated to unit level collective training[4]. This represents a pan-TA proportion of around 33 per cent expenditure on collective training. The remainder of the MTDs are used for individual training and other activities, such as recruiting, ceremonial and regional activities. The amount of unit level collective training being conducted largely depends upon the operationally assigned roles of the units involved. For example, the Combat Support and Combat Service Support elements are more likely to be deployed as formed units than their Teeth Arm contemporaries, and would therefore conduct more collective training at unit level.

  We are currently unable to provide statistics comparing the number of exercises before and after SDR because we do not have an integrated management information system (MIS) application. The number of MTDs per TA soldier allocated to collective training has remained the same following SDR. But the TA now conducts more training with the Regular Army than before, reflecting the more usable and integrated role that was envisaged for the TA under SDR. So while the TA generally conducts fewer exercises on its own, it is now involved in a much greater number with the Regular Army. In due course, the introduction of the TAMIS 2 MIS application will provide Land Command with accurate and timely visibility of all training issues, especially the delineation between collective and individual activity.

Q5. How many fast-jet reserve pilots are currently being used (as opposed to navigators), what is the ratio of pilots to navigators? How many pilots are readily available for either training or front line service? Could you provide the Committee with the detail of commitment to keep pilots' skills up to scratch and advise the Committee as to whether any contractual problems have been experienced with employers who have 21 day notice reserve aircrew in their employ? Please also include Royal Navy and their use of reservists.

  The RAF has 131 Reserve Aircrew (RA); 67 serve on Full Time Reserve Service (FTRS) terms and 64 are part-time personnel (Auxiliaries). Of the 67 on FTRS, 45 are pilots serving on Strike Command squadrons. Operational Conversions Units or as flying instructors within Personnel and Training Command. Of the 64 Auxiliaries, 31 are pilots, of which seven are fast-jet pilots employed on the Tornado F3; there are also two navigators employed on Tornado F3 and 7 on the Hercules. The ratio of Auxiliary pilots to navigators is 7:2 for the F3 and 31:9 for all aircraft types. Strike Command policy is that RA will in future supply 10 per cent of our Regular aircrew establishment, but such reservists must be able to make a meaningful contribution. For Strike Command this means that RA must be Combat Ready or hold an Instructor categorisation. RA recruitment is being extended across all RAF aircraft types and recent feedback suggests genuine interest in the concept. The RNR has 150 RA on all RN aircraft types, of which 88 are pilots, 14 of whom fly fast jets. There are no fast jet navigators as the Sea Harrier is a single-seat aircraft.

  All 31 RAF Auxiliary pilots are readily available for either front line service or instructional duties. All have previous RAF Service and fly with BA, Virgin, Air 2000 or are self-employed. To keep current, and to provide utility to the RAF, they need to be able to commit to 45 days a year. The fast-jet pilots (Tornado F3) have a minimum requirement of 60 flying hours per year to maintain military flying skills. All 88 RNR pilots have previous Regular service with the Army, RM and RN. Of these, 70 are employed in civil aviation flying with BA, Virgin, British Midland, Air 2000 and JMC. Eighty one of the 88 RNR pilots have completed the required annual training, thus retaining a degree of familiarity, but a proportion would require some surge training to meet the demands of operational tasking. Of the 14 RNR RA who fly fast-jet, three are current on Sea Harrier, 10 are current on the Hawk and one has not trained in the past year. The minimum RN Air Branch annual Reserve flying commitment is 17 days. This is designed to minimise general fast-jet "skill fade" and allows for any non-availability of Sea Harrier training aircraft, while shortening the surge training requirement should more Harrier pilots be required. In reality, the average number of days training has increased from 21 to 24 days in recent years; and the number of available training days is set to increase further with the post-SDR number of funded training days per pilot being increased from 25 to 35.

  High Readiness Reserve (HRR) Terms and Conditions of Service were applied by the RAF to ensure availability of Auxiliaries in times of crisis and to minimise the risk of appeals by employers against call-out. The 21-day call-out period for HRR Auxiliaries was agreed following discussion between the RAF and employers—in particular the major airlines—through the forum of the Reserve Aircrew Advisory Group (RAAG)[5]. The 21-day period was considered to be a timescale that would allow the crew rosters of commercial airlines to be altered without significantly affecting the airline crew schedules. Only one airline is still finding it a challenge to meet the requirements of a 21-day notice period because of particularly tight flight schedules. The RNR has no 21 day HRR pilots.

  Currently there are no Royal Fleet Reserve (RFR) fast-jet pilots employed on either FTRS or called-out service. It is estimated that up to six fast-jet pilots may be available in the RFR for training or front-line service. However, Sea Harrier flying skills atrophy after three years and retraining would take eight weeks (subject to aircraft and instructor availability). There is no commitment to keep RFR military flying skills up to date, although some officers maintain airmanship skills through their employment with civil airlines.

Q6. Please provide the Committee with the May 2000 figure for permanent staff instructors (both regular and non-regular), please list these by unit type.

  In the Quarterly Return sent to the HCDC on 22 May this year, we stated that:

    "The numbers of Regular and Non-Regular Permanent Staff supporting the TA were 1,461 and 1,394 respectively, of whom 832 were Regular Permanent Staff Instructors"

  These figures were correct but we inadvertently omitted to provide figures for Non-Regular Permanent Staff (NRPS). In the Quarterly Return submitted on 14 February this year, we stated that:

    "The numbers of Regular and Non-Regular Permanent Staff supporting the TA were 1,528 and 1,424 respectively, of whom 1,693 were Permanent Staff Instructors."

  The figure of 1,693 was wrong because it erroneously included all NRPS holding equivalent rank to Permanent Staff Instructors (PSIs), but who were actually employed in such roles as clerks and storemen rather than instructors. Although we have a breakdown of the Regular PSIs for the May Return, we are now unable to provide a similar degree of detail for the NRPS. We do have this breakdown for the current Quarterly Return and it is unlikely that these figures will have changed substantially, if at all, over the six month period. On this basis, the PSI figures would be as shown below

Regular PSI As at 31 Mar 2000
NRPS PSI As at 30 Sep 2000
Int Corps

  In summary, the figures for the last four quarterly returns, including that for the quarter ended 30 September which is attached, are represented in the following table.

Period ended
1 Jan 2000
Not now identifiable
Not now identifiable
1 Apr 2000
Not now identifiable
Not now identifiable
1 Jul 2000
Not now identifiable
Not now identifiable
1 Oct 2000

Q7.  Could you inform the Committee about the IT system which is the successor to UNICOM and the probable date which it will be implemented. Is this running to plan?

  UNICOM for the TA is likely to be succeeded by an application or series of applications hosted on the Defence Integrated Infrastructure (DII). At the heart of the system will be TAMIS 2 (CRESTA), a fully integrated training management application that will support the day-to-day running of the TA, while at the same time providing operational information for strategic Defence planning purposes. The system will track the qualifications of all soldiers, manage their pay and allowances, forecast training events and cost training activities. Military capability, as directed by HQ Land Command, will be accurately measured and force regeneration models created to assist Arms and Service Commanders with their mobilisation plans.

  A prototype is currently being installed. An Analysis and Design Study is planned next year to identify revised working practices for the TA and the high-level systems specifications for TAMIS 2 to support them. The study team will be looking for opportunities to interface with existing MoD applications to reduce overall development costs. Subsequently, it is planned to develop TAMIS 2 in FY 02/03 ready for TA wide deployment in FY 03/04 and FY 04/05.

  The TAMIS 2 project is currently running to plan.

Q8.  Mobilisation: please would you give the Committee a detailed breakdown of what kind of proportions and numbers would have been called up as formed units for the Kosovo campaign? What would have been the approximate division between Yeomanry, Infantry and other troops? What proportion would have been medical reservists?

  We have looked again at the classification of information relating to the mobilisation of reservists for Kosovo under the B-option. We have concluded that the aggregated figures are not now classified, and consequently, we are able to provide the information below.

  Planning for the Kosovo envisaged the mobilisation of some 18,000 Reservists, comprising 8,786 TA soldiers and 9,250 Regular Reservists. The following would have deployed as formed TA units:

Royal Artillery (HAC)
Royal Signals
Royal Engineers
Royal Logistics Corps
Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers
Army Medical Services
Royal Military Police

  In addition, a further 475 TA personnel would have deployed as definite Individual Reinforcements, as follows:

TA Watchkeeper Pool (All Arms)
Royal Yeomanry (NBC & Armoured Delivery)
Intelligence Corps

  For completeness, a further 9,250 Regular Reservists formed part of the Force Element Table and would have been mobilised as Individual Reinforcements. Although the trade and skills requirement of the Regular Reservists was in the process of being refined, no specific individuals had been earmarked to deploy.

  The Kosovo (B-) planning was continually being refined as the various contingencies were being explored. This planning was continuing when the decision was taken to cease all planning with regard to the (B-) option. The figures provided above are a representation of the most advanced version of the Force Element Table at the time. Inevitably, these figures would have been refined further before any compulsory mobilisation of the TA would have taken place.

Q9. As 9144 regular soldiers have been medically downgraded, what fitness requirements do you have for reservists? The Committee heard that "the figure of contact with the usual part of the regular reserve . . . is in the order of 65-70 per cent". How is this contact maintained and how regularly? What is the role of Chilwell in this?

  The current figure for medical failure rates at RTMC for TA personnel is approximately 10 per cent (comparable with the Regular Army figures). As regards the general fitness of the TA as a whole, the medical fitness standard required of the TA is no different from their Regular counterparts. The annual physical fitness assessment for the TA, however, does not require the same high standard of fitness demanded of their Regular Army counterparts.

  It is difficult to gain an accurate picture of the current individual medical fitness within the TA because the TA is not funded for routine medical and dental treatment. This is performed through the normal NHS channels and records are subject to conventional confidentiality rules. The only medical fitness visibility within the TA is from an individual's initial medical upon joining the TA, or if that individual is mobilised.

  Contact with members of the Regular Reserve is maintained, in the main, through the medium of the Annual Reporting Letter and Certificate. At present, however, Regular Reservists (particularly those in trades where there are shortages) receive at least one invitation each year to volunteer for a tour of duty with the Regular Army in the Balkans (some 3,000 invitation letters are dispatched on average every six weeks throughout the year). Although the majority of Regular Reservists decline to volunteer, the fact that their invitations are not returned as undeliverable tends to confirm contact has been maintained.

  The contact figure of about 65 per cent quoted in the HCDC's oral evidence session is generally correct and appears to be rising slowly as a result of initiatives taken since publication of the SDR. An example of this is the introduction of a recorded delivery reminder letter, sent to those who fail to respond to their initial Annual Reporting Letter within a reasonable time. Two negative factors that affect the overall level of contact are:

    —  Until mid-1999 members of the Regular Reserve who changed address without informing the MoD were traced with the assistance of the Department of Social Security (DSS). During 1999, however, the Inland Revenue absorbed the functional area of the DSS with which the MoD used to deal. Circumscribed by the requirements of Data Protection legislation, the Inland Revenue cannot assist the MoD by providing the Reservist's new address.

    —  No Reservist has been prosecuted for failing to provide the information required by RFA 96 and the supporting regulations. It is common knowledge within the Reservist community that nothing will happen to them if they fail to comply with the regulations.

  The Reserves Training and Mobilisation Centre (RTMC) at Chilwell has no central role in maintaining contact with members of the Regular Reserve, except by creating a positive mobilisation ethos through efficient and effective administration of those passing through the Centre.

Q10.  When do you expect to get the results of your review on mobilisation and its capacity review? Please would you provide the Committee with accurate figures for the outturn costs of the setting-up of Chilwell.

  HQ Land Command, supported by the Army Reserves Mobilisation Working Group, has developed a new mobilisation concept and plan. The plan provides the capability to mobilise both TA and Regular Reserves to meet the requirement for formed units and individual reinforcements at the Large Scale of Effort. Key elements of the Plan will be tested in a mobilisation exercise (MOBEX 01) next year, and annually thereafter. The results of the exercises will be used to refine the concept and plan which will be subject to annual review.

  The total set-up costs for RMTC Chilwell was £5.408 million spread over FYs 1998-99 (£2,696 million) and 1999-2000 (£2.712 million). This excludes any pay costs for the individuals setting up the RTMC.

Q11.  Could you provide an assessment of the progress of sales of TA centres. How much has Defence Estates so far raised from these sales, and how many centres remain to be sold? What are the estimated receipts when sales are complete?

  The number of TA Centres earmarked for disposal as part of the SDR TA restructuring is 86, with a further 20 minor properties earmarked for disposal, taking the total number of properties for disposal to 106. The disposal of 29 (27 per cent) properties has been completed so far, generating receipts of £6.692 million for FY 1999-2000 and £8.982 million to date for FY 2000-01 (a total receipt of £15.674 million to date). The estimated projection of receipts is a further £19.96 million for FY 2000-01, £16.177 million for FY 2001-02 and £6.985 million for FY 2002-03.

  The total receipts anticipated from the sale of the TA estate during the drawdown period is some £58.8 million. An additional £96 million has been recouped from the sale of the Duke of York site in London. All funds from the sale of the TA estate post-SDR are either utilised in the re-housing and re-provisioning of the TA during the re-structuring process, or remitted to the central MoD budget.

Q12.  It was alleged by the RFCA witnesses that building maintenance and management budgets are to be reduced next year. Is this the case? What was the budget for this work in the years 1998-99 and 1999-2000, and what will it be in 2000-01 and 2001-02?

  It is not possible to say what the property management allocations to RFCAs will be next year because the current planning round is still underway and no decisions have been taken. The allocations for the last three years have been as follows:

    1998-99    £14.040 million

    1999-2000  £12.872 million

    2000-01    £12.036 million

  The reduction over the period is a consequence of the reduced number of TACs having to be maintained.

Q13. What provision has been made in allocating RFCA budgets for the costs of preparing buildings for sale? Why have these costs not been reimbursed from sales receipts?

  It is true that there are some responsibilities for all budget holders, including RFCAs, where property is being sold, before it is handed over to Defence Estates. It is also recognised that, for RFCAs, the sums of money involved have to be found from within modest property management budgets. HQ Land Command is currently discussing this issue with Defence Estates to define responsibilities in funding works in aid of disposal more clearly. It is not possible to identify separately the element of the property management budget that is spent on preparing buildings for sale.

Q14. How much of the £12 million allocated for the improvement of cadet centres has been spent? Has it been made clear to the RFCAs that the remainder is still available for specific works under this programme?

  Some £10.875 million of the £12 million allocated to the improvement of Cadet centres has been spent thus far. The remaining £1.125 million has been given to the RFCAs on the understanding that, although not ring-fenced, cadet projects would take priority. All RFCAs are aware of the Ministerial direction that cadet facilities will be re-provided should there be a need and there is therefore no risk of projects being curtailed or cancelled.


  In response to the Committees first report of 1998-99, the Government gave an undertaking to provide reports of Territorial Army and Cadet statistics to the Committee at quarterly intervals. This letter provides statistical returns for the period up to 1 October 2000, and includes the numbers of Regular and Territorial Army Commanding Officers of Territorial Army Units. These are as follows:

    (i)  The strength of the TA (excluding NRPS and 790 TA soldiers mobilised for operations), as at 1 October 2000 was 40,382. The strength of the Army Cadet Force was 42,491.

    (ii)  The wastage level for the TA from 1 July 2000 to 1 October 2000 was 2,693, while the intake was 1,646. This gives a net decrease of 1,047.

    (iii)  The numbers of Regular and Non-Regular Permanent Staff supporting the TA were 1,521 and 1,296 respectively, of whom 847 were Regular PSIs and 280 NRPS PSIs.

    (iv)  There were 55 Regular and 22 Territorial Army Commanding Officers of TA units.

4   The difference underlies the discrepancy in the figures for unit level MTDs provided in the July 1999 Quarterly Return (1,477,000) and the May 2000 Quarterly Return (508,374). The July 1999 Quarterly Return erroneously provided the figure for the total number of MTDs for all purposes, whereas the May 2000 correctly reflected the MTDs allocated for unit level collective training. Back

5   The RAAG is a tri-Service Group that meets with Airline representatives as required to discuss and resolve RA employment issues as they affect employers. Back

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