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Dr. Moonie: QinetiQ has been a commercial organisation since its creation in July 2001, at which point its employees ceased to be civil servants. Redundancies which result from restmcturing within the company are based purely on its business requirements and the Ministry of Defence does not have direct involvement in QinetiQ5 s decisions concerning its staff. I understand that QinetiQ has a range of
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Dr. Moonie: We do not believe that the Army is overstretched. However, they are currently very busy in light of firelighters' industrial action. The Ministry of Defence keeps all operational commitments under review and reduces the numbers deployed where possible.
Mr. Hoon: The proposed NATO Response Force (NRF) was discussed by Defence Ministers at their informal meeting in Warsaw in late September and again at the NATO Summit in Prague last month. I have also discussed the NRF in bilateral meetings with NATO counterparts. The discussions focused on the need for a technologically advanced, flexible, deployable, interoperable and sustainable force, ready to move quickly to wherever needed. The NRF should also be a catalyst for improving the Alliance's military capabilities. At Prague, Heads of State and Government agreed to the creation of the NRF and work is now underway to take the concept forward within the Alliance. We expect that a report on the NRF will be submitted to Defence Ministers in June 2003 and that the NRF to have an initial operating capability no later than October 2004.
Mr. Hoon: The Government understands the role that missile defences could play as part of a comprehensive strategy to respond to the potential threat from ballistic missiles. We are currently examining whether the range of responses we have now would be enhanced by participation in active missile defence. I have today placed further analytical and discussion material in the Library of the House which I hope will contribute to the debate on the issues involved.
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Responsibility for the acquisition of new equipment is vested in the Defence Procurement Agency (DPA). Safety Management is an integral part of the DPA's Acquisition Management System, beginning at the requirement definition stage and being carried forward through service to disposal.
Dr. Moonie: The armed forces are committed to promoting equality of opportunity between Service men and women consistent with the need to maintain combat effectiveness. They are currently reviewing career progression to identify any barriers to the advancement of women, and exploring steps to address work-life balance with the aim of improving their recruitment and retention.
Mr. McNamara: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what measures he has taken since 1990 to enable Army officers to participate in academic conferences and to share experiences gained by officers in other countries to address bullying in the armed forces. 
Dr. Moonie: Although no specific measures have been taken since 1990 to enable Army officers to discuss bullying with their counterparts in other countries, welfare issues are often discussed in a number of fora which may include, on occasion, members of the armed forces from other countries.
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what recommendations are being implemented, with particular reference to the upgrading of targetry and associated range control features. 
Dr. Moonie: As a result of proposals from the North West England and the Isle of Man Reserve Forces and Cadets Association to upgrade the existing manually operated Rifle Ranges at Altcar training camp, lanes 1 to 15 of the existing 38 lane gallery range have now been converted to provide 12 electric targets with new firing point mounds. A small building to accommodate the control console has been positioned at the rear of the range. Work was completed in October 2002 and the range was formally brought into use on 30 November 2002. There are currently no plans to upgrade the remaining 23 lanes.
Dr. Moonie: The new Army Foundation College buildings at Harrogate were formally opened on 18 October by HRH Prince Andrew CVO ADC. These new facilities have been delivered through a Private Finance Initiative by Defence Training Services Limited working with the Ministry of Defence in a 30-year contract. The college was originally opened in September 1998 and occupied the existing buildings of the old Army Apprentices College for the Royal Signals, which closed in 1996. The college remained open throughout the building period and now provides training and education facilities for 1,344 young people each year, in the most modern facilities available.
Mr. Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) civilian and (b) military members of staff of the Army Welfare Service are based in (i) Scotland and (ii) the rest of the UK; and how many are female in each case. 
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|Scotland||Rest of UK|
Mr. Weir : To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) civilian and (b) military female members of staff of the Army Welfare Service have made complaints concerning bullying by superiors in each of the last five years. 
Dr. Moonie: There have been two recorded complaints of bullying/harassment by female members of the Army Welfare Service in the last five years. Both incidents were dealt with internally in accordance with established procedures.
Mr. Ingram: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence on 13 June 2002, Official Report, columns 134344, to my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Dr. Palmer).
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