Further memorandum from the Ministry of
Further information requested following the
session with the Secretary of State for Defence on 12 January
Q596-7. A note on the readiness of the
Amphibious Readiness Group and the disaster relief roles which
it would be able to fulfil.
The requirement is for an Amphibious Readiness
Group (ARG) to be available for deployment from the UK at five
days notice. If the ARG is already deployed, for example exercising
in the Mediterranean, it would be possible to divert to higher
priority tasks at very short notice. The size and composition
of the ARG will depend on the nature and scale of the operation
to hand. Typically, it would comprise a Landing Platform Helicopter
(LPH) or a Landing Platform Dock (LPD), supported by a Landing
Ship Logistic (LSL) and embarking a Royal Marines Commando Group.
But this could be reinforced, for example. with up to three additional
LSLs deployed in support and, in a slightly longer timeframe,
RM manpower could be increased to a Brigade.
ARGs are extremely versatile and could be used
for a variety of purposes in a disaster relief role. Depending
on the precise nature of the task, this could mean acting in a
command and control function, facilitating communications over
a reliable and secure communication network, providing logistic
support, or the use of manpower for clearance or re-stabilisation
work. Despite this utility, other defence assets were better placed
to respond to the immediate aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami.
It was not subsequently considered appropriate to deploy an ARG
for disaster relief work principally because neither the affected
countries nor the United Nations required this capability; indeed
there was a clear expectation from, for example, the Indonesian
Government that international military forces would begin to draw
down rather than build up further in the weeks following the disaster.
The Committee may also wish to note that, on
current plans, the Department expects to retain RFA DILIGENCE
in service until around 2010. As the Secretary of State indicated
in his evidence studies are underway to examine options for the
future afloat support capability in the round, but no decisions
have yet been taken.
Q610. What consideration was given to
the deployment of the Civilian Affairs Group in response to the
The Civilian Affairs Group is now known as the
Group (JCG). This is commanded by a Lieutenant Colonel and comprises
both regular and reserve elements. The regular element currently
consists of four staff officers and four separate four man teams
(of which one is at 10 days' notice to deploy). The reserve element
comprises 100 reservists at 90 days' notice. Almost all operations
require some interaction with civilian authorities. The Joint
CIMIC Group can provide knowledge of civil issues in the area
of operation, establish effective liaison procedures to deal with
civil authorities and aid agencies, and where appropriate can
train personnel in theatre in the specific skills necessary to
achieve the objectives for that operation.
As part of the UK's response to the Indian Ocean
tsunami, a team of four experienced members of the Joint CIMIC
Group was sent to Banda Aceh on 10 January 2005. Their tasks are
to assist the aid effort in Banda Aceh, and to act as conduit
between the military and civilian relief efforts. Their recent
work has been focused on engineer liaison, replacing communications
in the community and consideration of water sanitation.
It is important to note, however, that MoD policy
is that CIMIC is everyone's responsibility, not solely that of
a specialist organisation. An increasing number of UK Armed Forces
work with civil authorities to achieve military and civil objectives.
In the initial response to the tsunami, this was one of the roles
of the Operations Liaison and Reconnaissance Teams deployed to
Sri Lanka and Indonesia. A smaller liaison team was also deployed
to Thailand. These teams comprised up to 20 experienced personnel
drawn from the Joint Force Headquarters and were deployed to scope
the requirements for military assistancelooking at the
support that DfID and host nations needed, what kind of capabilities
were required, and what was already in place in terms of local
infrastructure and facilities. These teams worked very closely
with DfID personnel, to ensure that the assistance offered would
Q624-5. The requirements (including minimum
height) for entry into the Foot Guards and what special characstics
set them apart from the rest of the infantry and account for the
decision not to reorganise them into large regiments.
The entry requirements for the Foot Guards,
including height, fitness standards and medical requirements,
reflect those for the infantry as a whole. The minimum height
requirement for the infantry is 158 cm.
The reason behind the decision not to re-organise
the Foot Guards Regiments was not, however, based on the individual
entry requirements for personnel, but rather on their role and
commitments. Nearly 50% of the Foot Guards are currently committed
to the uniquely demanding task of Public Duties and State Ceremonial.
To maintain and sustain these commitments, the Foot Guards Regiments
must therefore recruit, retain and develop guardsmen from all
four constituent parts of the United Kingdom while at the same
time delivering five operational battalions. The Foot Guards already
achieve the benefits of a large regiment through the movement
of sub-units and individuals between battalions and roles according
to need. It also has a common ethos, shared responsibilities and
a common headquarters. Any change would therefore be purely cosmetic.
The Army has recognised these arguments and accept the valid reasons
for maintaining the status quo.
Q637-8. A note on what regimental accoutrements
and other distinguishing elements will be able to be retained
by the amalgamated single battalion regiments.
The question of regimental accoutrements is
currently being worked through by the Army. The Department expects
this to be decided before the end of this year.
Q639. A response to Mr Havard's request
that consideration be given to allowing the Royal Welsh Regiment
the same dispensation as regards battalion names as was given
to the Royal Regiment of Scotland.
As the Committee is aware, before decisions
were taken on the future infantry structure, a wide-ranging and
detailed consultation exercise was undertaken, with the infantry
being invited to express views on how the restructuring should
be implemented. Colonels Commandant of each infantry Division
were consulted, as were all the Regimental Colonels. The outcome
reflected what was put forward by each Infantry Division. The
Prince of Wales' Division, within which the Welsh regiments sit,
is no exception.
The decision to endorse the unique solution
for the Scottish Division recognises the bold step Scottish regiments
had taken in agreeing to move directly to a large regiment of
five battalions. The Scottish Division also agreed that all would
be kilted, adopt a common tartan and cap badge, and accepted that
the abbreviated names would be 1SCOTS, 2 SCOTS and so forth. Given
the very different nature and large geographical spread of the
existing regiments from Scotland, this approach would also help
to maintain the best possible recruitment. None of the Colonels
Commandant of the infantry Divisions objected to the proposals
for the Scottish Division.
The Prince of Wales' Division solution preserves
a distinct Welsh identity within the future infantry and it identifies
explicitly the two component battalions with their antecedent
regiments. Their traditional recruiting areas and links to the
local community will also be maintained. The Committee will understand
that while the Army cherishes tradition, it cannot base future
capability on this alone, and it has a proud history of embracing
necessary change to meet current and future challenges. At the
same time, a clear commitment has been made to sustain the traditions,
cultures and ethos of individual battalions within the new larger
Q643, Q646. Whether any research has
been done into the factors which influence recruits to join the
Army and in particular how far joining a specific unit (or cap
badge) is a decisive factor.
The Army has not researched the extent to which
joining a particular regiment or unit is a decisive factor in
individuals deciding to join the Army. However, the organisation
responsible for Army recruitingHQ Recruiting Groupdoes
conduct programmed research every three to four months to determine
interest levels and attitudes to the Army. This research is undertaken
by the Central Office of Information through a private research
company, Jigsaw Research Ltd, and is normally commissioned after
an advertising campaign in the media. The research includes approximately
500 young people (aged between 16-24 years) throughout the UK.
The aim of the research is to determine the interest levels and
attitudes to the Army as a career and provide an indicator of
the key factors that influence the levels of interest and attitudes
to the Army. The latest research was conducted late last year
and established that the key factors that influence recruits to
join the Army are "challenge", "training",
"job interest" and "travel". The supporting
analysis is attached as an Appendix.
Q651-661. A breakdown of the reinvestment
of the posts freed up by reductions in the Northern Ireland commitment
as determined so far, and, as soon as possible, as finally decided.
The figures provided to the Committee by CGS
during the evidence session represent the re-allocation of posts
from the reduction in four infantry battalions. Once this work
is completed, 2,476 posts will be reinvested across the Army.
In addition, we plan to reinvest a further 524 posts, all of which
are currently established in Northern Ireland, when operational
circumstances permit. Taken together, these changes reflect CGS's
announcement on 16 December last year that "FAS will rebalance
the Army with an overall shift from a heavy/light mix to a heavy/medium/light
mix making it more expeditionary in nature and achieving greater
brigade level capability by improving combat and logistic support
at that level . . . Changes will permit the reinvestment of around
3,000 posts across the Army, making unit structures much more
robust and reinforcing hard pressed pinch-point areas".
This remains work in progress. The Army is continuing
to work on the detail which is dependent on a range of factors
including practicalities such as estate availability and training
capacity. Whilst the details may therefore change, at this stage
Some 500 posts will be distributed
to the Infantry to decadreise elements of the Armoured Infantry
battalions, enhance the Reconnaissance Platoons in each battalion
and enable the introduction of new equipment (eg the much needed
Automatic Grenade Launcher). This will be implemented as the Infantry
reorganises in the period up to April 2008.
Significantly improved robustness
and capability will be provided in Intelligence and Signals units:
Intelligence units will gain
over 300 posts beginning from August 2005.
Six Brigade Signal Squadrons
will gain around 25 posts, the 2 Divisional Signal Regiments will
gain around 50 posts each and the Logistic Brigade Signal Squadrons
will gain 10 each. Implementation of these changes is planned
to begin in August 2005 with priority to those due to deploy on
A new port and maritime squadron
is planned which will enhance the military port at Marchwood and
the Sea Ports of Disembarkation capacity on expeditionary operations.
It will also improve tour intervals in this very specialised logistic
unit. The unit will increase by nearly 100 posts, primarily in
the Royal Logistic Corps posts. Implementation will be in two
tranches, beginning in August 2005 and January 2008. Its pace
will depend on the availability of appropriate estate.
New sub-units are planned to enhance
capabilities such as unmanned aerial vehicle, surveillance and
target acquisition and bomb disposal capabilitiesall of
which have been in great demand in recent times. A 4th Unmanned
Aerial Vehicle Battery will be created in 16 Regt RA and a 3rd
Locating battery created in 5 Regt RA from the drawdown of 22
AD Regt. In addition two Heavy Improvised Explosive Device Troops
are planned, in two tranches (September 2007 and March 2010).
An additional strategic communications
unit will be created which will improve the level of signals support
available for expeditionary operations. An additional 30 Royal
Signals posts will be provided, in 3 tranches: April 2005, April
2006 and January 2008.
A logistic support regiment is planned
for each deployable brigade to provide integral combat service
support for medium scale operations. This is an internal re-roling
that begins in April 2005 with 7 and 20 Armd Bdes, with other
brigades complete by April 2008. Around 60 additional Royal Logistic
Corps posts will be invested in Logistic Support Regiments from
August 2006 with a further 40 drivers already provided to Brigade
Equipment Support Regiments from April 2005.
A commando engineer regiment is planned
to enhance the support provided to 3 Commando Brigade. It will
provide more engineering capacity, a planning cell and improved
command and control capability. This enhancement will bring 3
Commando Brigade in to line with all the other brigadeswhere
each have a dedicated Engineer Regiment. This entails an increase
of some 250 Royal Engineer and Royal Electrical and Mechanical
Engineer personnel. An implementation team will be set up in August
2006 with the intention to establish the unit fully by April 2008.
As announced by the Secretary of State, we are
also developing a new unit to provide dedicated support to Special
Q694. An estimate of the numbers of people
who for career development reasons under the new Army structure
will have to move between regiments.
At present career soldiers are moved periodically
because of the arms plot. In future moves will be because of individual
postings. Will those postings continue to be of about two years
each? [If so,] have you worked out how many fewer moves of career
soldiers there will be overall in any given year?
Once the new Army structure is in place, no
more people will have to move between regiments for career development
reasons than is currently the case within the routine posting
process. The reduction in arms plotting will result in an increase
in individual postings, but mainly between the different battalions
of a particular regiment. The career management mechanisms for
such moves have not yet been defined but future postings will
probably be of two years or more. The Department is not yet in
a position to calculate how many fewer moves will take place within
any given year.
There is an argument for allowing people
who have a staff bent rather than a command bent to spend longer
getting good at, say, equipment procurement or financial planning,
rather than insisting on moving them to broaden their experience.
So are you taking this opportunity to look more broadly at the
whole career development process?
The Army is in the process of implementing a
new system of Officer Career Development which combines changes
in career management, with changes in the education and training
programme. The Army has recognised that career development must
be focused on maximising each individual's potential by identifying
talent in each career employment field and increasing specialisation.
This policy offers optimum development for individual officers
and the best use of manpower for the Army. The approach entails
the development of Officers through 3 career stages:
(a) Stage 1Gain experience and ends
on promotion to Major.
(b) Stage 2Broadens experience and
ends on promotion to Lieutenant Colonel.
(c) Stage 3Increased specialisation
as a Lieutenant Colonel and beyond.
Employment opportunities are directed into five
career employment fields: Combat, Logistics, Technical, Human
Resources and Defence Policy, with the aim for each officer to
gain experience in two or more of the career fields in Stage 2,
before exploiting this experience in Stage 3.
How will you ensure that the widespread use of
individual postings will not have the effect of reducing operational
As the Committee is aware, the availability
and efficiency of the infantry is hampered by the re-roling aspects
of the arms plot. It is for this reason, and the need to offer
our soldiers better career management and increased family stability,
that the decision has been taken to end the infantry arms plot.
For the future, refreshment and breadth of experience will be
achieved through a system of individual posting. This system is
already in place across the majority of the Army and follows a
model which aims to ensure that operational effectiveness is not
compromised. The Director of Infantry is working to establish
this model throughout the infantry.
IS AND COMMUNICATIONS
Q664-5. An update on progress with developing
inter-operable and joint computer systems to support the three
Useful progress has been made in improving our
Asset Tracking capability. The development of this capability
for all three services has been brought into a single programme
with a Senior Responsible Officer (SRO) within the DLO and a single
programme manager. This step is a clear improvement to the governance
and management of this important work; it promotes coherence,
convergence and allows responsibilities to be clearly identified.
In terms of the individual strands of work,
the following progress is worth noting:
(a) Consignment Tracking. The Consignment
Tracking capability consists of three core systems; Total Asset
Visibility (TAV), VITAL and RIDELS. The following progress has
TAV. Resources have been allocated
to retain the capability bought to support warfighting operations
in Iraq. The Department is working closing with the US to maintain
and develop the interoperability that TAV provides. There are
indications that other NATO nations now wish to follow our example;
the UK is providing a lead through the NATO Asset Tracking Working
VITAL and RIDELS. Work to improve
the consignment tracking capability offered by these systems is
in hand, including changes to the interfaces between systems to
make them more effective and improvements to the "user friendliness"
of the systems. Release 4 for VITAL, which made a number of key
improvements requested by the Frontline Commands, went live last
year. Planning for future releases is at an advanced stage and
includes plans to link VITAL to key deployed inventory systems.
Planning for an improved database for VITAL is at an advanced
stage which will further improve its capability and make it easier
Doctrine, Policy and Training.
Doctrine, policy and training are also being addressed. The process
of embedding the need to track consignments within the culture
of the services is known as "institutionalisation".
A crucial part of institutionalisation is ensuring that those
who are expected to operate the systems are properly trained and
have a clear doctrinal and policy framework to work within. This
will assist us in ensuring that we fully exploit the Consignment
(b) Management of Material in Transit (MMIT).
This project will allow more effective visibility within and management
of the supply chain. Current efforts include extending the Demand
Tracking System into the Land and Air environments (currently
it operates in the Maritime environment only) to provide a tri-Service
capability. This is due to be complete in early 2005.
(c) Management of the Joint Deployed Inventory
(MJDI). MJDI will provide a simple, joint set of logistic processes
that significantly improve the supply, management, availability,
visibility, maintenance and accounting of materiel, underpinned
by a coherent IT infrastructure. Defence Modernisation funding
of £2.6 million has been provided for the Assessment Phase
and a further £15 million for solution deployment. Current
single-Service processes and underlying IS systems are being evaluated
as part of the Assessment Phase. Pilot Studies have been conducted
at Wattisham (132 Aviation Spt Sqn RLC), Abingdon (32 Bde Sp Sqn)
and Catterick (5 Battalion REME) to determine whether RAF business
processes, supported by their Unit Supply Automatic Data Processing
System could work in the Land environment. The Assessment Phase
is due to complete in late 2005.
Our joint logistics information systems will
increasingly be able to take advantage of the investment we are
making to establish a common, joined up, up-to-date computing
platform across Defence under the Defence Information Infrastructure
(DII) programme. The DII is a critical enabler for the Defence
Change Programme, of which Logistics Transformation is a key component.
The DII is in fact already delivering real capability at reduced
risk through the incremental approach championed by the NAO. Early
DII implementations are in place at the refurbished MoD Main Building,
at Fleet Headquarters, at Strike Command, within the Army, and
under Project Synergythe programme to provide Communications
and Information Systems to support ongoing operations in Iraq.
Building on these early implementations, DII(Future),
the most substantial part of the programme, and the element that
will continue to establish the common information infrastructure
across the whole of Defence, as well as materially contribute
to NEC, is currently in the final stages of selecting a delivery
partner, in anticipation, subject to approval, of a contract award
during the first half of this year (2005). The DII also underpins
the Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) programme, the aim of
which is to modernise Armed Forces personnel management, through
delivery of simplified and harmonised personnel regulations and
processes to all three Services, and supported by a modern Information
System (IS). JPA is on track to roll out to the RAF, RN and Army
in turn during 2006.
What progress is being made with the introduction
of Bowman; whether The Daily Telegraph article of 4 January was
an accurate report of the problems encountered with its introduction;
and whether the remarks ascribed to the Director of Infantry were
made by him?
Encouraging progress continues to be made in
the incremental delivery of the new Bowman capability. Since the
In-Service Date was declared in March 2004, around 10% of the
Army has been converted, including 84% of 12 Mechanized Brigade,
64% of the British Army Training Unit at Suffield in Canada (BATUS),
and 27% of 7 Armoured Brigade. Conversion of 3 Commando Brigade
has just started. The target for the end of 2005 is for about
one third of the Army to have been converted to Bowman. The programme,
which has had to accommodate operational deployments, is expected
to continue until at least the end of 2007.
The report in The Daily Telegraph on
4 January 2005 does not provide an accurate picture of the current
position on Bowman. It rehearses old stories and reflects some
misleading information. As with any programme of the magnitude
and complexity of Bowman, challenges arise and have to be addressed
on a day-to-day basis through proactive management of risk. Such
complex equipment is subject to rigorous testing and evaluation
precisely to identify any safety or operational issues that need
to be resolved.
The old story on radiation burns
relates only to the High Frequency (HF) version of the radio and
is inherent on all HF radios. There have never been any problems
with the VHF radios. Following trials, initial reports of minor
radio frequency (RF) burns were investigated and were resolved
by limiting power output while the HF radios were being carried
in the manpack roleoperationally an entirely sensible and
acceptable measureand by improving insulation on exposed
metal surfaces. Following the latest trial, no further incidents
have been reported.
The weight issue is over-simplified.
Bowman is not a direct replacement for Clansman. It introduces
additional equipment and delivers greater capability. The installation
in a vehicle may be heavier than its predecessor but functionality
and security have improved dramatically. The HF and VHF manpack
radios are of similar size and lighter than their Clansman equivalent;
they are of course far more capable.
The importance of flexibility is
recognised and at the same time we have to be more careful about
security issues with an information system such as Bowman compared
to a traditional radio. Bowman radios are assigned radio role
identities and we are addressing ways through programming and
software changes to make reassignment of radios easier to manage.
(Strictly speaking, call signs are attributed to individuals and
there is no restriction in the use of call signs.)
Lessons have been learned from trials
about operating with Bowman. An improved carrying system, including
radio harness, and stronger wiring are being fielded. The Personal
User Data Terminal and the Keypad Display Unit were never designed
to be worn like a wristwatch. The scaling of this equipment and
its utility on operations is under review.
As Bowman is a far more capable system
than Clansman, comparing battery performance is of limited value.
AA batteries could not meet the requirements of Bowman but the
batteries used are tested rigorously for robustness before acceptance.
The remarks attributed to Brigadier Balfour
in The Daily Telegraph article reflected a personal point of view
and their full context is not reported. It is understood that
Brigadier Balfour was attempting to convey the point that the
Department is contractually committed on Bowman and it was therefore
necessary to overcome any difficulties with the introduction of
this new equipment. It would be wrong to infer that there has
been no input from his area to the delivery of Bowman. The Director
of Infantry and his staff have been extensively involved in trialling
Bowman and in regular dialogue with those delivering this capability.
The Department, all three Services (but particularly the Army)
and an extensive industrial base are all solidly behind the continuing
programme to convert the Armed Forces to the Bowman system.
The restructuring of the Armed Forces is emphasising
agility and mobility, to which the support helicopter makes a
major contribution. The posts saved in Northern Ireland will be
used to support front line forces elsewhere. Yet you are withdrawing
from service altogether some of the support helicopters which
worked with them. Are you confident that you can achieve increased
ground force mobility with a reduced number of helicopters? How?
Last summer's Defence White Paper on Future
Capabilities indicated that "in light of the improved security
situation in Northern Ireland, we plan to make some reductions
in overall helicopter numbers." Current plans for the drawdown
of aviation assets in Northern Ireland will remove six Puma Support
Helicopters from the front line by 1 April 2006. These aircraft
will be retained in a sustainability pool, helping to manage the
Puma fleet through to its planned out of service date of 2010.
The move will also improve crew ratios for aircraft remaining
in the front line. It also allows us to prioritise resources for
platforms with longer service life such as Merlin 3, Sea King
and Chinook. As the Committee knows, the Department is also considering
at present whether, and how best, to bring into service eight
Chinook Mk 3s. Their entry into service would increase support
It is important to note that whilst support
Helicopters do indeed provide an important element of mobility
for the Armed Forces, they are only part of the picture. Improved
ground mobility provided through projects like FRES will also
play an important part in the mobility and agility of future Armed
When do you expect to receive the recommendations
from the Future Rotor Craft Coherency Study for future helicopter
procurement and to announce details of the promised investment
(Future capabilities para 2.23) of £3 billion in new Helicopters?
The Future Rotorcraft Capability (FRC) programme
has been making good progress. An FRC Executive Group has been
established to marshal the efforts of the Equipment Capability
Customer, Defence Procurement Agency and Defence Logistics Organisation
against a taut project plan. The Department is at present testing
existing capability requirements to ensure the right balance between
land and maritime lift, reconnaissance and attack capabilities
to provide a robust force structure for the future. This work
is well underway and is being conducted by an Operational Analysis
Working group and a Requirements Working Group. The output of
these groups will inform the programme and identify opportunities
where common equipment and approaches to training and support
could provide whole life cost benefits.
In parallel, we have been engaging with industry
to ensure that we have accurate and realistic cost and technical
data, and we will take account of industrial considerations to
arrive at the best value for money solution for both Defence and
This is a complex programme of work and we need
to make sure we give due weight to the full range of capability,
affordability, and industrial issuesas set out in our Defence
Industrial Policy. We hope to have a clearer idea of the way forward
towards the summer of this year.
13 Ev 94-113 Back
CIvil MIlitary Co-operation. Back