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Mr. Ingram: Topmast (Tomorrow's Personnel Management System) is developing the manpower management systems needed by the future Navy. It will provide a flexible and responsive system for the management and deployment of manpower which will meet operational needs while providing attractive employment conditions and career progression for Royal Navy personnel. Topmast is also planned to contribute to the reduction of overstretch and the achievement of manpower balance. Following successful trials, Topmast will be rolled out on a phased basis beginning in April 2002. Topmast has already received publicity within the Naval Service, and a comprehensive communication and information programme will ensure that members of the service are fully aware of its purpose and impact.
Mr. Ingram: Whole Army strength has increased over recent months and we predict a strength figure of between 103,000 and 104,000 by 2005. We remain committed to delivering the military capability required of the Army in the Strategic Defence Review. Work is ongoing into how best to achieve this taking into account evolving doctrine, new technology and equipment.
Mr. Ingram: The resources available for the Defence programme are in the case of 200203 and 200304 set out in the Government's Expenditure Plans 200102 to 200304 published in April 2001 (Cm 5109) and in the case of subsequent years depend on the outcome of the 2002 and successive Spending Reviews. Specific allocations to budget holders in 200203 will be published in Main Resources Estimates 200203. Details of individual budget holders' proposals for expenditure are withheld under exemption 2 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information.
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Mr. Hoon: I am in regular contact with my Greek and Turkish colleagues and often meet them in the normal course of defence business. I expect to meet both Mr. Çakmakoglu and Mr. Papantoniou again in the first half of 2002.
Mr. George Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions his Department has had with the Belgian Government about the impact on British war graves of the plans to build the A19 road through the Pilckem Ridge. 
Dr. Moonie: The Ministry of Defence has had no discussions with the Belgian Government about proposals for a new road through Pilckem Ridge, nor would the Department expect to do so. Any approach to the British Government from the Belgian Government would follow established protocols and, in the first instance, would be to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office through the British Embassy in Brussels.
However, I am advised by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which has the responsibility for the maintenance of war graves of British and Commonwealth troops in Belgium, that they have had local discussions with the Belgian authorities seeking further clarification of the proposals. They have been assured that while the proposed route has not been finalised, it will not interfere with any Commission-maintained cemetery.
Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on (a) the defence and security implications of the Laeken summit and (b) on the operationality of ESDP within the agreement of NATO for automatic access to NATO capabilities. 
Mr. Hoon: The Laeken European Council concluded that the EU is now able to conduct some crisis- management operations and that it will be in a position to take on progressively more demanding operations as the assets and capabilities at its disposal continue to develop. This is entirely consistent with the UK's emphasis on the need to improve European military capabilities.
This represents useful progress towards the aim set out in the Helsinki Headline Goal, but recognises that capabilities are currently limited. We welcome the commitment reaffirmed by member states at Laeken to continue their efforts to meet the Headline Goad.
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Dr. Moonie: The current strength of the Territorial Army (TA), including those mobilised on operations and on Full Time Reserve Service, almost exactly matches the overall target size of the TA set as a result of the Strategic Defence Review. It is therefore in good shape, although there are some specific areas where numbers fall short of target, most notably the Army Medical Service (TA). The current "Time to get fitTA" campaign, launched on 28 December 2001, and a further recruiting campaign to be launched in the spring, are intended to keep the TA in its current healthy state.
(3) what arrangements are being made to ensure that mobilised TA personnel will enjoy make up of civilian pay plus other allowances; and if he will make a statement; [25145R]
(4) which Territorial Army units are under mobilisation orders. [25146R]
Mr. Hoon: As the Framework Nation, the UK has invested heavily in manpower, resources and training to ensure that the Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) is the Supreme Allied Commander Europe's primary land forces tool for crisis management. We believe that it will remain so for the foreseeable future. There are no plans to transfer the Framework Nation role for the ARRC to France or Germany.
Mr. Swayne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the importance of modernising Army communication systems to maintain UK running of the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps in the face of competition from Germany and France. 
Dr. Moonie: The Allied Command Europe Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) remains a key component of the UK's commitment to NATO. This commitment is reflected in current plans to provide a range of strategic communication enhancements to the ARRC from 2002 so ensuring it can meet NATO requirements as a high readiness force. In addition, the ARRC will benefit
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Dr. Moonie: No decision has been taken to reduce the budget for modernising army communication systems. On the contrary, significant plans are in place to deliver a programme of continuous improvement to army communication systems through projects Bowman, Skynet V and Falcon.
Dr. Moonie: Subject to operational considerations, geographically separate Ptarmigan systems may be connected by local telephone networks to provide interconnectivity and communications infrastructure resilience over substantial distances. In addition, elements of the UK civil telephone network can be used to facilitate low level Ptarmigan training. The number of telephones used at any given time is not recorded centrally.
Dr. Moonie: The Ptarmigan system continues to meet the operational requirement for which it was originally procured. In response to the changing and wide ranging demands now placed upon the armed forces, a number of Ptarmigan enhancements are being procured to ensure the system remains fully effective in the modern environment. Improvements include an enhancement to the mobile communications capability and an update of the Electronic Repair Vehicle. Post design services tasks, such as generator replacement, also continue to ensure Ptarmigan remains fully effective. In the longer term, the Army's trunk communication's requirement will be met by project Falcon, due to replace Ptarmigan from 200607.
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