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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 21 November 2002


IT Security

Brian White: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what steps he has taken to review the security of his Department's IT system; and how many digital attacks there were on his Department's system in (a) October and (b) 2002. [80765]

Mr. Alexander: My Department is constantly reviewing the security of our IT networks in line with our Government Secure Intranet accreditation, and taking the latest security advice into consideration.

Within my Department and its Agencies there have been (a) 1,167 digital attacks in October and (b) 5,857 during 2002.

None of these resulted in compromise, loss or damage to any information held on the systems.


Brigadier Gordon Kerr

Mr. Kevin McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on the basis for his policy on Brigadier Gordon Kerr's giving evidence and otherwise co-operating with the inquiry undertaken by the Metropolitan Police Commissioner into collusion in Northern Ireland; [80127]

Mr. Ingram: The Stevens Inquiry is an independent police investigation, with which the Ministry of Defence is fully co-operating. Issues relating to interviews with individuals in connection with this or any other criminal investigation are for the investigating authorities and the individuals themselves.


Mr. Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many personnel are deployed in Afghanistan; and how many of these are reserves. [80975]

Mr. Ingram: On 18 November 2002, three hundred and thirty two personnel were deployed in Afghanistan, including thirty-nine reservists.

Army (Non-British Citizens)

Sir Michael Spicer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the British Army is comprised of soldiers who are not British citizens. [81096]

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Mr. Ingram [holding answer 18 November 2002]: The number of soldiers, both trained and untrained, in the British Army as at 1 October 2002 was 111,670; of these 3,580 were non-British personnel. This represents 3.2 per cent. of the total strength. These figures exclude Gurkhas, Full Time Reserve Personnel (FTRS), Royal Irish Home Service and Mobilised Reservists.

Baton Rounds

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what technologies are available to assist the accuracy of the plastic baton round; what he estimates the comparative advantages of L18A1 (a) optical sight, (b) laser sights and (c) other options are; and what the estimated costs are of supplying each. [80623]

Mr. Ingram: We believe the L21A1 baton round, fired from the LI04 gun and using the LI 8 optical sight to have state of the art accuracy over its designed range. Such accuracy is critical in reducing the risk of serious injury. The L18A1 optical sight met the accuracy requirement for the baton round and is an intuitive sight to use. It is not possible to cost a laser sight for L21 without examining all the issues of the visibility of a laser spot when viewed through a visor at relevant ranges, against representative targets and in varying lighting conditions. Laser sights can cost between #50 and #1,000 dependent on specification.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what post-development studies have been carried out on the medical effects of the use of the L21A1 baton round; [80626]

Mr. Ingram: An instrumented, technical trial of L21A1 in a typical operational environment has been conducted. This has involved ricochets from street furniture, kerbs, door frames and riot debris as well as inside buildings. The results from the instrumentation are currently being processed and any necessary reruns will be conducted. Once these results are available the medical implications of the ricochets will be assessed. The Sub-Committee, Defence Scientific Advisory Council will be invited to make a statement and it is my intention to place the statement in the Library of the House.

The L21A1 performance after one year in service was given in my answer on 30 October 22002, Official Report, column 800W. The assessment of the use of L21A1 at ranges from 1m to 20m was reported in the Home Office's answer of 6 November 2002, Official Report, column 312W.

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many hours of additional training is required to enable personnel to discharge a baton gun to be fired in situations other than public disorder; what the minimum distance is that a baton round may be discharged at a human target; what level of authorisation is required for this use of the baton gun; and what the reporting requirements are. [80627]

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Mr. Ingram: Personnel undergo a three-day urban operations package as part of their operational training for use of the baton gun for situations other than public disorder. The circumstances under which members of the Armed Forces may discharge baton rounds at a human target, are set out in the guidance on the Rules of Engagement for the use of baton rounds, which has been previously placed in the Library of the House on 23 October Official Report, column 351W. The tactical use of a baton gun is controlled by either an officer or non-commisioned officer, although ultimate authority is vested in the individual baton gunner who is authorised to use the weapon as and when deemed necessary. If a baton round is fired, a baton log report, giving details of the incident, is completed and forwarded through the chain of command.

Business Information Systems

Mr. Jenkins : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will provide a breakdown of the money announced in the Spending Review for modernising business information systems across defence. [80969]

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Mr. Ingram: The 2002 Spending Review provided the Ministry of Defence with an additional #578 million for modernising business information, logistics and support systems across defence. This will help to ensure the delivery of our ambitious efficiency target, freeing resources to strengthen the front line.

The allocation of these resources will be decided through the MOD's annual planning process which will be completed early next year, and will inform the Defence White Paper which it is planned to publish next summer.

Chiefs of Defence Staff

Mr. Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will list the periods of office for the last five (a) Chiefs of Defence Staff, and (b) First Sea Lords after 1972. [82366]

Mr. Ingram: The information requested is set out in the table:

Last five chiefs of Defence StaffPeriod of office
Admiral Sir Michael Boyce GCB OBE ADC 16.02.01-
General Sir Charles Guthrie GCB LVO OBE ADC Gen 02.04.97–15.02.01
Field Marshal Sir Peter Inge GCB 15.03.94–01.04.97
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Peter Harding GCB DSc FRAeS CBIM 01.01.93–13.03.94
Field Marshal Sir Richard Vincent CBE KCB DSO 02.04.91–13.12.92
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir David Craig GCB OBE DSc MA FRAeS 10.12.88–01.04.91
First Sea Lords after 1972
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Michael Pollock GCB MVO DSC ADC 13.03.71–02.03.74
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Edward Ashmore GCB DSC ADC 02.03.74–01.03.77
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Terence Lewin GCB DSC ADC01.03.77–06.07.79
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Henry Leach GCB ADC 06.07.79–01.12.82
Admiral of the Fleet Sir John Fieldhouse GCB GBE ADC01.12.82–02.08.85
Admiral of the Fleet Sir William Staveley GCB ADC02.08.85–25.05.89
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Julian Oswald GCB ADC 25.05.89–02.03.93
Admiral of the Fleet Sir Benjamin Bathurst GCB ADC 02.03.93–10.07.95
Admiral Sir Jock Slater GCB LVO ADC 10.07.95–08.10.98
Admiral Sir Michael Boyce GCB OBE ADC 08.10.98–16.01.01
Admiral Sir Nigel Essenhigh GCB ADC 16.01.01–17.09.02
Admiral Sir Alan West KCB DSC ADC 17.09.02-

Civilian Firefighters

Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many civilian firefighters are (a) employed and (b) resident in Army barracks in (i) Great Britain and (ii) Northern Ireland. [80616]

Mr. Ingram: There are currently 64 civilian fire fighters stationed at army establishments in Great Britain and 35 in Northern Ireland. Of those personnel there are three individuals, all officers, resident in service messes, two in Northern Ireland and one in Great Britain.

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