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15 Nov 2004 : Column 1049W—continued

Black Watch

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the composition is of the Black Watch Battlegroup serving in Iraq. [197548]

Mr. Ingram [holding answer 11 November 2004]: The 1 Black Watch Battlegroup comprises:

Two Puma helicopters and one Lynx helicopter are supporting the Battlegroup specifically for this operation.

Mr. Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence to what duties 1 Black Watch will be returning in the UK. [197887]

Mr. Hoon: On return to the United Kingdom, the 1st Battalion The Black Watch (The Highland Regiment) will have a period of post operational tour leave before resuming its commitment as the Land Warfare Centre Battle group, providing support to the training of units and individuals across the Army.

Bowman Radios

Mr. Dhanda: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the testing of the Bowman radios being used by the Royal Anglian Regiment; and what action he is taking to ensure the radios are compatible with other equipment used by the armed forces. [196733]

Mr. Ingram: The Bowman tactical communications and information system is being delivered incrementally and is subject to a comprehensive test and trials programme, ranging from laboratory integration and analysis to operational field trials by the eventual users. 1 Royal Anglian is a significant constituent element of
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these trials. Successful integration with in-service equipment is part of the Bowman requirement and is being evaluated.

Within the team that is developing and introducing Bowman, there is a dedicated group pioneering a System of Systems management approach to ensure that the capability delivered by Bowman will develop over time as new platforms, communications and information systems, and battlefield applications are delivered over the coming years.

Cadet Transport

Mr. Robathan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what regulations govern the type of transport which may be used for transporting cadets (a) to training areas and (b) within training areas. [197899]

Mr. Caplin: The regulations governing the type and use of transport systems used in transporting cadets both to training areas and within those training areas, are found in "JSP(Joint Service Publication) 341, Defence Road Transport Regulations, Chapter 3, Article 3.052—"Vehicles to be used by Cadets".

The decisions reflecting the choice and suitability of transport of cadets both to and within training areas is based on a full "duty of care" risk assessment of the operation required. The regulations for producing the latter are contained in "JSP 375, the MOD Health and Safety Handbook", which contains within it, separate leaflets relating to all relevant "duty of care" health and safety situations.


Mr. Gordon Prentice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which 10 (a) ships and (b) submarines have spent the shortest period of time in service since 1974 with the Royal Navy before decommissioning. [197481]

Mr. Ingram: The information requested will take some time to collate. I will write to my hon. Friend and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Defence Crisis Management Organisation

Mr. Keith Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) who the members were of the Defence Crisis Management Organisation in the lead up to the conflict in Iraq in 2003; [197197]

(2) on what date and for what reasons the Defence Crisis Management Organisation ruled that mobilisation of forces for Iraq could not begin before the political process had run its course. [197196]

Mr. Hoon [holding answer 9 November 2004]: The Defence Crisis Management Organisation (DCMO) is responsible for the strategic level planning and execution of military operations, including operations in Iraq, and acts as a channel for operational briefing to Ministers and Chiefs of Staff. The DCMO comprises both civilian and military personnel and is made up of elements of Ministry of Defence Central Staff, the Permanent Joint Headquarters (PJHQ), single-Service front-line commands and other relevant Departments.
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We do not release names of officials under Exemption 12 of the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information (privacy of an individual).

The DCMO provides advice to the Chiefs of Staff and Ministers on a range of issues, including mobilisation and other military preparatory measures. Final decisions on these issues are made by Ministers. The Prime Minister stated on 24 September 2002 that there had to be genuine preparedness and planning to take action against Iraq if diplomacy failed and it proved impossible to bring Iraq into compliance with UN Security Council Resolutions by diplomatic means. It was made clear in a Commons Debate on 25 November 2002 and Defence Questions on 9 December 2002 that the Government was undertaking prudent preparations and planning in the event that military action was required. The decision to start mobilising reserves was made by Ministers in early January once it became appropriate to do so in order to further military preparations, and a call-out order under the Reserve Forces Act 1996 was put before Parliament.

The decision on the participation of UK forces in military action against Iraq was made following the Parliamentary debate on the 18 March 2003 on Iraq's continued non-compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 1441 and the Parliamentary vote in favour of military action to enforce the UN Resolutions.

Defence Exports/Imports

Mr. David Marshall: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the value of defence (a) exports from the UK to the United States of America and (b) imports from the United States was in each of the last five years. [197651]

Mr. Ingram: The values of the physical export of defence equipment from the United Kingdom to the United States of America are reported in the Annual Reports on the United Kingdom Strategic Export Controls. The figures are derived by Her Majesty's Customs and Excise using specific tariff codes (see Annex C of Cm 6173, the Annual Report 2003, for further details).

The HMCE figures for equipment imports to the UK from the USA have been derived using similar tariff codes: they are provided in the following table.
£ million


(30) Changes to the HMCE quality assurance methodology may have contributed to the drop in this figure from that recorded in the previous year. HMCE have set up a review team to address issues concerning the provision of defence data. The 2003 figure is, therefore, provisional.

EU Defence White Paper

Mr. Gerald Howarth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) if he will make a statement on the EU White Paper, "New Frontier for an Expanding Union"; and
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what effect he expects the action plan for implementing the European Space Policy will have on UK defence policy; [190055]

(2) what implications the EU White Paper "New Frontier for an Expanding Union" published in June has on the European Security and Defence Policy. [190076]

Mr. Hoon: The European Commission's White Paper proposes, amongst other things, a number of space-related initiatives aimed at improving the EU's crisis management capability. Whilst space-based assets and applications could play an important role in helping to meet the EU's security and defence needs, the provision of military capability remains a member state responsibility under the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP). This will not be changed by the White Paper, and the White Paper does not therefore determine the priorities for UK Defence policy. The EU's future requirements for military space capabilities are being examined through the ESDP's European Capability Action Plan process.

EU member states, including the UK, are fully engaged in the development of the EU Space Policy that will follow on from the White Paper. The UK has emphasised that decisions on the defence and military aspects must be taken on an intergovernmental basis, where member states have a veto, and that implementation of the Space Policy must be driven by actual—rather than assumed—requirements.

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