Select Committee on Defence Minutes of Evidence

Supplementary memorandum from the Ministry of Defence (10 April 2002)

Q324: The Committee asked for a list of MoD Key Points


Q337: What proportion of troops that have been involved in recent MACA operations have been regulars, and what proportion have been reserves?

Regular Forces
Reserve Forces
RN (incl RM)

Fuel (Sept 00)
Fuel (on standby November 00)
Floods, Autumn 00
About 1,100
Foot and Mouth1

  1 This serial records the maximum number of regulars deployed on a single day during the foot and mouth crisis and the total number of TA soldiers deployed throughout the crisis.

  2 It is possible that the figure may count some individuals, involved more than once in support of MAFF/DEFRA, as two individuals.

Q353: What is the time-scale for updating "Military Aid To The Civil Community; A pamphlet for the Guidance of Civil Authorities and Organisations," known as the Blue Book.

  A revised version of the Manual was ready for publication when the events of 11 September occurred. In view of the need to review responses in the light of the threat from international terrorism it was decided not to publish this revised version. Guidance will be issued reflecting the results of work on the New Chapter of the Strategic Defence Review. The Manual remains relevant as detailed guidance on Military Aid to the Civil Community. It should of course be read in conjunction with Dealing With Disaster and related documents, issued by the Civil Contingencies Secretariat, which provide fundamental guidance on emergency responses.

Q361: Have the Home Office engaged local authorities in discussion of the SDR New Chapter?

  1.  As we informed the Committee, the MoD has worked closely with the Home Office, ACPO, and the Civil Contingencies Secretariat, as well as other government departments, in developing the SDR New Chapter.

  2.  Responsibility for development of the SDR New Chapter rests clearly with the Ministry of Defence, rather than the Home Office. We have sought to encourage a public debate about the work we are currently undertaking. We want to ensure that the views of Members of Parliament, members of the Armed Forces, local authorities, academics, other experts and members of the public are properly taken account of in the work.

  3.  To help promote this debate we published on 14 February a discussion paper entitled "The Strategic Defence Review: A New Chapter". As well as being available on the MoD internet site, the discussion paper was sent to 470 local authorities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as, for example, over 4,000 public libraries and every MP and member of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament.

  4.  By 15 March, when we asked for responses by, we had received over 200 responses to the discussion paper. These include a number of useful contributions from local authorities.

Q456:The Committee asked for information on how quickly EOD teams and CBRN response teams (able to make safe a device) could respond in different parts of the country.

  Whilst there are many variables which could affect transit times, estimates for both road and air movement are given below.

  Assumptions: *** involves a number of units from different locations, the following assumptions have been made:

    (a)  Notice to move timings (NTMs) have not been included.

    Those units required early in any incident *** whilst those which will *** The times outlined below are for movement between base locations and arrival at an incident.

    (b)  No assumption has been made about the threat. Deployment times are for both chemical/biological (CB) and radiological/nuclear (RN) elements of ***. It is unlikely that any single incident would require such a full response. Generally the response to a ***

    (c)  Road Moves. ***

    (d)  Air Moves. *** and time required at the airfield to prepare vehicles and equipment for loading onto aircraft ***. Even a very limited deployment of ***. Movement of such a force would require *** TRF planning is that, except in the most extreme cases, ***


* * *

Q468: The Committee asked for information on the involvement of local authority representatives in joint service co-ordination group meetings.

  1.  Regional liaison with local authorities and emergency services is conducted by the Army's regional structure, which provides the tri-service command structure for MACA operations. This consists of 11 brigades (arranged into three Divisions) each with responsibility for an area of Great Britain, giving nation-wide coverage.

  2.  The precise manner in which the JSCG function is discharged varies significantly. For instance in Scotland it is the regional Division rather than Brigades that co-ordinates the bulk of liaison and has responsibility for JSCGs. In other areas Brigades have strong links with the appropriate local bodies through a variety of means. In many cases these have superseded the "formal" JSCG structure (although formal JSCG meetings can still be convened if the civil authorities wish). These include study days, routine desk level liaison and meetings to deal with specific issues.

  3.  The focus of effort for the brigades has been to concentrate on links with the police. This is wholly appropriate given the central role of the police in the response to disaster and emergency, notably in providing the GOLD commander for an incident.

  4.  But this has not been to the exclusion of other civil authorities in the regions. Thus, 160 (Wales) Brigade demonstrated the strength of their relationship with the appropriate local bodies, and the Welsh Assembly, during the Foot and Mouth epidemic, without recourse to the formal JSCG structure. Similarly 15 (North East) Brigade's Study Day (see Serial 7 of the attachment) demonstrates the strong links between civil authorities and the armed forces in that area. RAF Regional Liaison Officers are members of the Emergency Planning Society, reinforcing the link between the command structure and civil organisations.

  5.  Our understanding is that the JSCG process and its regional variations are understood and accepted by local authorities and emergency services within the regions. Clearly, significant gaps or serious dissatisfaction with the JSCG process in any region would be a cause of some concern, both to the regional command and the MoD as a whole. Access to the JSCG process, and access to advice and information on Military Aid to the Civil Authorities, is, in any event, not difficult for those responsible for civil emergency planning in the regions. Contact with the Brigade and Divisional structure can be made directly, or through any service unit, police station, or single service liaison officer.

  6.  Specific examples of local liaison arrangements and meetings are outlined at Annex A.

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