5 Policy Framework
60. The purpose of the New Chapter was, as we
have seen, to establish a policy framework within which the MoD
and the Armed Forces would be able to construct an appropriate
and effective response to the threat from international terrorism.
It set out a range of effects which military action might be able
to contribute to a broader campaign to "eliminate terrorism
as a force for change".
These were branded as actions to "prevent, deter, coerce,
disrupt and destroy". This conceptual framework is represented
graphically by the MoD in the following chart
THE MOD'S CONCEPTUAL APPROACH TO COUNTERING TERRORISM
61. The New Chapter exercise built on the doctrinal
work previously underway in the MoD and attempted to develop a
model for the military contribution to the war on terror.
Taking the lead in this doctrinal effort was the JDCC, which was
established following the SDR in February 1999 to develop joint
doctrine and provide long term conceptual underpinning for the
future operations of the three armed services. The Centre is an
integral part of the policy process in the MoD and, as we have
seen, was deeply involved in the early stages of the New Chapter
62. The major publication of the JDCC is British
Defence Doctrine. It lists the essential elements of British doctrine
- the principles of war (listed as, selection and
maintenance of the aim, maintenance of morale, offensive action,
security, surprise, concentration of force, economy of effort,
flexibility, co-operation and sustainability);
- the war fighting ethos (that the UK's Armed Forces
most important function is to prepare for and if necessary to
be prepared to fight);
- the manoeuvrist approach (influencing the enemy's
will to fight is as important as physical destruction of his ability
to fightbut might involve both);
- the application of mission command (decentralised
command, responsive to superior decision) ;
- the joint, integrated and multinational nature
of operations; and
- the inherent flexibility and pragmatism of British
It also notes that "military activity is about
confronting risk and managing it. It is emphatically never about
avoiding risk; the military profession is not for those who are
Crucially it highlights the importance of attacking an enemy's
"centre of gravity", which may be military assets but
equally may be "public opinion and national will; or an alliance
or coalition structure", and that
is achieved through identifying
and neutralising or destroying the enemy's centre of gravity,
and identifying and protecting one's own. At the higher strategic
level, one's own centre of gravity may be the cohesion of the
alliance or coalition.
63. In his evidence to us during our Threat
from Terrorism inquiry, the then Director General Joint Doctrine
and Concepts, Major-General Tony Milton, highlighted the doctrinal
challenge of dealing with the "psychological element"
of the terrorist threat.
Discussing how to apply the "deep, close and rear operations"
of conventional warfighting to the new circumstances,
he told us that
It is a little early to say, but that construct
will actually serve us quite well in looking at counter-terrorist
operations. The deep operations you can see going out, pre-empting,
dealing with people before they have the capacity to mount an
attack against you, or perhaps attacking them in transit. We will
have a requirement for close operations. We will be dealing with
terrorists head on, perhaps back in the UK, but we shall also
have this responsibility of looking after the home base
instincts in conventional operations and in counter-terrorist
operations tell us that the biggest pay-off is deep.
We questioned whether this doctrine of "deep,
close and rear" operations, derived as it is from manoeuvre
warfare, would be flexible enough in the context of the present
campaign against terrorism.
64. The current Director General of the JDCC,
Air Vice-Marshal Ian McNicoll told us of the key conceptual challenges
that had faced the MoD since 11 September
The major changes that we are looking at in the
conceptual area [are] how ideas such as network-enabled capability
will affect things such as command and control in the future.
These issues have not yet been fed into doctrine and will be in
due course, but we are at the stage still of thinking about the
implications of that.
In terms of doctrine, I think it was enormously
reassuring that even immediately after the shocking events of
11 September 2001 we were able to look at our top level publications
and say (although not in any complacent way), "Yes, the enduring
principles enunciated in these are still valid"
Chief of the Defence Staff did that personally. The top level,
the enduring principles, I think we are comfortable with. At the
lower level tactical doctrine and the way that we are developing
we are taking account of developments as we incorporate
He confirmed that the manoeuvrist approach remained
central to the British approach to warfare
The manoeuvrist approach is really at the heart
of the UK approach to warfare or of the use of military force,
which is to try and get inside the opponent's decision-making
cycle. It is the attempt to have your ability to think through
something and act before the opponent has the chance to do his
thinking and acting as well. Our network-enabled capability undoubtedly
offers the prospect of being able to do that more quickly.
65. British Defence Doctrine refers to this as
the "OODA Loop", formulated by an American officer to
explain how information can transform operations by speeding up
the loop of Observing, Orientating, Deciding and Acting.
The SDR New Chapter's approach encapsulated in the phrase 'detect,
decide, destroy' appears rather similar to the OODA loop approach
and therefore rather 'old' conceptually, a point accepted by Air
Vice-Marshal McNicoll in evidence to the Committee
I do not think there necessarily is a tremendous
difference. It is an intellectual construct if you like for describing
what we are talking about, which is going from a sensor through
some sort of decision-making process which involves a decision
maker through to what is called a shooter. "Detect, decide,
destroy" is not much different from "Observe, orient,
66. The head of SDR New Chapter Implementation,
Mr Hugh Kernohan, argued that the New Chapter's approach was not
actually a doctrine for warfare or campaigning at all
I think "detect, decide, destroy",
which has something of the character of a slogan about it, is
describing a single sequence of events and almost implicit in
the label is the concept that there is a target that you can destroy.
I do not think it is intended to be a description of a campaign
or a means of warfare. The loop has the idea that you keep going
round it. I think "detect, decide, destroy" is, if you
like, a description of a distinct discrete sequence.
'Detect, decide, destroy' appears to be merely the
tactical application of the OODA loop concept. Furthermore, the
use of term destroy in this connection is odd given the MoD's
current focus on effects-based operations which suggest a more
nuanced approach than that conjured-up by destroy. The term also
fails to reflect the importance of post-conflict reconstruction.
In this respect, then, the New Chapter may represent a relatively
modest development of policy, potentially one so modest that it
will not require any change to doctrine. Other concepts, however,
may be more significant. One of these is asymmetry, not a new
concept but one upon which a striking new light was thrown by
the events of 11 September.
67. Air Vice-Marshal McNicoll told us
The whole point of warfare is to try and play
to your strengths and against your opponent's weaknesses and that
applies to us as much as it might apply to potential opponents.
That said, in the asymmetric situations that we find ourselves
in at the moment, I think we have got a number of strengths. One
of them of course is, as the Chief of the Defence Staff pointed
out, integrated joint operations. The other is the sort of technology
that we can bring to bear and the degree to which we can knit
that together. I think that is lying at the heart of what we are
talking about here with network-enabled capability. It is trying
to get for us the asymmetric advantage.
We explore the opportunities for the UK and her allies
to develop such network-enabled capabilities (our asymmetric advantage)
in Chapter 6. In discussing whether there was a robust understanding
of asymmetry within MoD and amongst those who needed to understand
the concept, Air Vice-Marshal McNicoll referred to the JDCC publication
Joint Vision and told the Committee that
In the area of potential threats we have already
recognised the increasing trend, particularly by non-state combatants,
to use asymmetric attacks. We certainly understand that adversaries
are likely to search out our weaknesses in order to undermine
our own role
utilising high technology is something that
we will continue to aspire to do in order to try to gain an asymmetric
advantage. However, that dependence on higher technology is not
the answer in all situations and the asymmetric actor will try
and position himself in complex terrain, and by that I mean in
urban situations or in jungle or in mountains where our high technology
gives us less of an advantage, so that the possibility of a move
towards high technology will drive our opponent to seek lower
technology solutions which render our higher technology less effective.
We have also in our thinking looked at the subject
of protection of our forces and understand that with regard to
protection of our networks in the future, for example, if you
rely on a network it is a potential area of vulnerability. We
also understand that we need to protect all our rear area to a
greater extent given that the enemy is likely to adopt asymmetric
means to attack that.
68. Joint Vision, however, is a classified
document. Given its key role in setting out the MoD's understanding
of the nature of asymmetry, we regret this. In the context
of the war on terrorism, which involves a great many other agencies
and outside bodies, its necessarily restricted circulation may
reduce its effectiveness in disseminating the Armed Forces' understanding
of the conceptual basis of the war on terror and how they see
their part in it.
69. Military doctrine for the campaign against
international terrorism has a far longer history, stretching back
through Britain's colonial past and developing a modern relevance
out of the Northern Ireland experience since 1969.
There is no single, distinctive doctrinal contribution that has
arisen from the events of 11 September 2001. Standard doctrine
is reassessed at each appropriate level. At the military strategic
level, the doctrine captures the fundamental principles that apply
to counter terrorism. At the operational level the UK Ops Doc
process covers all aspects of operations, including counter-terrorism,
for senior commanders. At the tactical level, the Army's Field
Manual deals with counter-terrorism and counter insurgency
as part of the spectrum of normal operations, based in part on
tactical procedures drawn from the Headquarters Land and Headquarters
Northern Ireland commands.
70. Insofar as the military have a counter-terrorist
role in home defence, the Government stresses that this must be
led from Home departments rather than the MoD. There is, however,
no doctrine of homeland defence as such. As Mr Kernohan pointed
out, "A single national doctrine for homeland defence is
not, I think, a concept that other people would recognise in those
terms because they are military labels".
He told us
In one sense the outcome of, for example, the
Civil Contingencies Bill, could be analogous in some ways to what
in military terms is doctrine. Doctrine is a concept which means
something within the military environment. It is not one that
a policeman or an emergency planner in the National Health Service
would necessarily recognise. That does not mean they do not do
it but they may call it something different. Within our terms
we are working on the doctrinal aspects of the military contributions,
many of which are well established and will not change, in some
of which, because we are expanding the capabilities, particularly
in command and control and in the regional contingency planning,
there is work going on that is being done within Land Command.
For home defence, liaison for both concepts and practice
still resides predominantly within the Civil Contingencies Secretariat,
inside the Cabinet Office.
Home Versus Away
71. Nevertheless, the Secretary of State accepted
that 11 September 2001 had changed the importance of the home
defence role in MoD thinking
I recognise that in one significant respect
priority of defending the territory of the United Kingdom since
11 September has been given a much more significant place in our
thinking than it was before 11 September and that is the inevitable
consequence of the appalling events in the United States.
72. That "significant place" for
the task of home defence and security translates in the New Chapter
only into measures to improve liaison between the civil and military
authorities with what is described as a "clearer role"
for Headquarters, Commander-in-Chief, Land Forces,
as the principal focus for the provision of military assistance
to civil authorities, joint regional liaison officers, and more
staff in regional Brigade regions. However, in respect of military
assistance to the civil authorities the New Chapter does not contemplate
a greater role for the regular Armed Forces. Rather, it concludes
that "there is a greater role for the Reserves to play".
As we have already noted, the SDR New Chapter's assessment
of the balance between home and away operations is qualified by
the fact that the consultation period on the MoD's proposals for
a role for the Reserves in home defence extended beyond the publication
of the New Chapter in July 2002. What has emerged therefore has
the character of a steady and rather modest evolution of the doctrine
of fighting at distance that was explicitly articulated in the
73. The Public Discussion Paper, published
in February, noted that the Reserves' "wider geographical
spread across the United Kingdom and associated local knowledge
gives [them] a territorial focus and strength at the local and
regional level" and asked "Are there additional or enhanced
roles for our Reserve forces (both in home defence and security
and in overseas operations)?"
74. The results of the separate consultation
process on a role for the Reserves were announced to the House
by the Minister for the Armed Forces, Rt Hon Adam Ingram MP, on
31 October 2002. They were essentially the same as had been proposed
in the discussion paper in Junethe establishment of a capability
to provide assistance to the civil authorities on a regional basis
in the event of a home defence incident, drawn from existing members
of the volunteer reserves. This capability would take the form
of 14 Civil Contingency Reaction Forces (CCRF), one for each of
the Army brigade regions in the UK, each comprising 500 volunteers.
75. But, as Mr Ingram made clear, these forces
would not necessarily be the first to be called upon in the event
of a terrorist incident
[The new arrangements] do not mean that we will
use only volunteer reserves in this role. In future, as now, in
the event of an incident, the regional commander will be able
to judge which of the units at his disposal best match the needs
of the authorities seeking support.
This was confirmed by the Parliamentary Under Secretary
of State for Defence, Dr Lewis Moonie MP, who stated that: "Regular
forces are likely to be the first choice because CCRFs are designed
to cater for exceptional events".
The Secretary of State set out the limited nature of the proposals
in evidence to the Committee
One of the New Chapter's innovations was a decision
to give the Volunteer Reserves a civil contingencies role, as
part of a possible request for assistance from the civil authorities.
We are not creating a separate or self-contained force for this
purpose. We are giving an extra role to existing Volunteer Reserves
by allowing them to volunteer for the 14 regional civil contingencies
reaction units. This provides a source of manpower to give commanders
another option if the Armed Forces are asked for help, but it
does not mean that these Reserves will always be called out or
that regular units will not be used. We were also using Reserve
posts to improve the mechanisms for contingency planning, liaison
and command and control. They are essentially reinforcing what
exists already, not creating a new or separate civil contingencies
chain of command.
76. The new proposals would also involve the
establishment of 280 new reserve posts in Army division and brigade
headquarters, as well as 29 new reserve posts in each of the 14
brigade districts supporting the CCRF role directly, a total of
almost 700 volunteer reserve posts.
The annual cost of the CCRF scheme is estimated to be £4.5
million, with start-up costs in 2002-03 of £2 million.
The total cost of the New Chapter's changes in this area is estimated
at £60 million over four years.
77. Those individuals volunteering for CCRF duties
are to receive five additional days training per year and all
volunteer Reserves will receive two days additional training per
year in civil support contingencies more generally. The MoD also
decided that 2 (National Communications) Signals Brigade will
be assigned the role of providing the communications infrastructure
to support the regional command chain, with an interim capacity
from the end of 2003, "although the achievement of a full
national communications capability
will not be complete before
We expect to have an initial operating capability
in place by the end of the year. We plan a regional full operating
capability by 31 December next year, which will include all new
posts recruited and filled, and all regional plans fully in place
and tested. The complete capability will not be in place until
2006 when the new national communications infrastructure is fully
78. We welcome the establishment of the CCRFs,
but remain concerned that the present approach to their deployment
runs the risk of developing a capability which will then not be
used other than when all regular resources are already committed
and that this may in turn have a damaging effect on the morale
of those who have volunteered and trained for the new CCRFs.
79. We also welcome the steps to improve civil-military
liaison capabilities across the 14 brigade districts through the
establishments of the brigade reaction teams and note the decision
to give the HQ Commander-in-Chief, Land Forces, a "clearer"
role. Nevertheless, we regret that the MoD has not taken the opportunity
afforded by the New Chapter process to think more innovatively
about supporting home defence. We are also concerned that only
an interim communications system will be available for their first
three years. We do not believe that the MoD has adequately established
the appropriate balance between operations at home and away, an
issue that we believe is at the centre of the New Chapter process.
80. It emerged from our work on the Defence
and Security in the UK inquiry that what the civil authorities
wanted from the Armed Forces, in the event of a terrorist attack
or emergency, was a predictable resource to call upon. But, "because
the military could not guarantee to be available, they could not
include them in their plans at all".
The decision to create the CCRFs is a response to this requirement
and does provide an element of certainty for civil emergency planners,
who are now able to plan for reinforcement on the scale of a CCRF
in each brigade region.
81. However, a number of issues
remain. As we noted
It is not clear to us how the MoD will ensure
that the necessary skills and training for even these tasks [i.e.
those set out for the CCRFs] are to be found in a volunteer reserve
force of 500 persons per region and only 5 or 6 days training
a year. The much more sophisticated tasks which our witnesses
suggested they would actually look to the military to provide
are even less likely to be available.
82. Another issue is the speed of response. The
call out time for the availability of the full CCRF capability
of 500 personnel remains somewhat vague. According to the MoD,
within 24 hours of call-out the full CCRF would be available,
but the numbers available at this stage would "realistically
less than the full CCRF manning figure of 500 personnel"
due to "sickness and so forth".
However, lead elements would be "available within a few hours".
These lead elements will, it appears, comprise command elements
assessing likely tasks. As a representative of 145 Brigade told
with regard to the ability of the Civil
Contingency Reaction Force to react
Although we have yet
to prove it (some other Divisions have exercised this already)
it is six hours for what is called the reconnaissance group, that
is the commanding officer and his company commanders, to assess
the task and think through the planning prior to issuing orders
to troops, and it is anticipated that in 12 hours we would hope
at least 100 people would be available.
Witnesses to our Defence and Security in the UK
inquiry indicated that they would be working to response times
of minutes not hours.
83. Furthermore, in predicting what numbers would
be available, the MoD could face the challenge of a relatively
low rate of members of the volunteer Reserves being ready for
call up, or "fit for role" (FFR). Under the SDR the
FFR was set at only 55%. As the Council of the Reserve Forces'
and Cadets' Associations told us
The general assumption is we are talking of something
around 60/70 per cent FFR, fit for role. That is the general assumption
that is made for planning purposes
under SDR, there was only
a requirement to be at the 55 per cent
The TA is not required
to be 100 per cent ready for activity. That was one of the direct
consequences of SDR
84. There are also wide discrepancies around
the UK in recruitment by the volunteer Reserves which may prove
a significant challenge to the MoD in creating the 14 regional
CCRFs. In one of the most critical CCRF brigade regions145
Brigade district based in Aldershotrecruitment of volunteers
to the CCRF had reached some 300 by March 2003.
Colonel Richard Putnam from the Council
of Reserve Forces' and Cadets' Associations suggested that the
inability to recruit the full complement in each district might
lead to regulars being called upon to make up the numbers, which
is clearly not what was intended in the New Chapter
there is no way that the Territorial Army
or other territorial reserves in some areas will get to 500, because
there are not 500 people fully trained on the ground to form the
unit, so the brigade command will have to deploy full time service
troops depending on circumstances. What we do not know and nobody
will know until it actually happens is what they are going to
be asked to do. It might just be a simple cordon around a small
area; it might be picking up bits of stone and boulderswe
simply do not know, but we do not want to kid ourselves, there
will not be 14 times 500 or 7,000 troops on 6 or 12 hours standby
at any one time of the day or night.
85. If the CCRFs are to be the predictable
element for the civil authorities (even if the regulars are likely
to be the first to be called upon), the concerns we raised in
our Defence and Security in the UK report remain valid.
The MoD's list of possible tasks for the Reaction Forces includes
"reconnaissance, assistance with mass casualties, site search
and clearance, transport and communications, the operation of
water and feeding points, control and co-ordination functions,
access control, the control of movement of large numbers of the
public, guarding or other tasks at the request of the civil police".
Some of these clearly require more specialist skills and training
than others. We are concerned that
accurate data on the numbers recruited, their skills and their
availability for call out are still to be provided.
86. We are also concerned that too little
thought has gone into the implications of the establishment of
the CCRFs in each region for the normal activities of the volunteer
Reserve nationally. There is a risk that those volunteering
for the CCRFs may be some of the most motivated individuals in
the standing volunteer Reserve units and if they are deployed
on CCRF duties the fit for role percentage for their home units
may then drop below 55%. In other words will the 500 members of
the CCRFs in each region be part of the 55% FFR of normal units?
We seek assurances from the MoD in their reply to this report
that the Fit For Role figures for the CCRF elements in each brigade
region will not be the same as for the volunteer Reserves as a
87. Overall, we have seen little evidence
that the MoD has taken seriously the need to rethink the capacity
of the Armed Forces to provide predictable support to the task
of home defence in the event of a mass-effect terrorist attack
in the UK.
92 SDR NC Vol 2, para 62. Back
Since publication of the SDR New Chapter, this doctrinal work
has resulted in a new JDCC publication on the topic Ministry
of Defence, Countering Terrorism: the UK Approach to the Military
Contribution, March 2003. Back
Qq 544-564 Back
Ministry of Defence, JWP 0-01, British Defence Doctrine,
2nd Ed, October 2001, Ch 3. Back
Ibid, p 3.4. Back
Ibid p 3.6. Back
HC (2001-02) 348-II, Q 18. Back
HC (2001-02) 348-II, Q 51. Back
Q 566 Back
Q 582 Back
British Defence Doctrine, p3-5, p 3-6. Back
Q 572. See para 20. Back
Q 575 Back
Q 603 Back
Q 604 Back
Qq 606-607 Back
Q 608 Back
Q 611 Back
Q 611 Back
Q 612 Back
Q 695 Back
SDR NC Vol 1, para 79. Back
SDR NC Vol 1, para 81. Back
Public Discussion Paper, paras 25 and 26. Back
HC Deb, 31 October 2002, col 1026. Back
HC Deb, 31 October 2002, col 1102. Back
Q 624 Back
HC Deb, 31 October 2002, cols 1023-1027. Back
HC Deb, 18 Mar 2003, col 625W. Back
HC Deb, 30 April 2003, col 391W. Back
HC Deb, 31 October 2002, col 1027. Back
HC Deb, 31 October 2002, col 1027. Back
HC (2001-02) 518-I, para, 227. Back
HC (2001-02) 518-I, para 232. Back
HC (2002-03) 557-ii, Q 215, fn. Back
Reserves Discussion Paper, para 18. Back
HC (2002-03) 557-ii, Q 219. Back
HC (2001-02) 518-I, para 227. Back
Q 231 Back
HC (2002-03) 557-ii, Q 215. Back
Q 252 Back
Reserves Discussion Paper, para 17. Back