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|Physical Descriptors Technical Working Group( 1)|
|Review of evidence gathering from GPs( 1)|
|(1) Members of the Technical Groups were chosen for the experience they bring to the groups, not the organisations they are employed by or are members of. They do not necessary represent the views of these organisations on the groups.|
Mr. Ingram: The Browning 9 mm pistol entered service in 1967 and no successive marks have been introduced. A replacement pistol is not planned until 2016. The ammunition is manufactured by Israeli Military Industries (IMI). The performance of all weapons systems is continuously assessed and there has been no trend identified regarding stoppages for the Browning 9 mm pistol.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment UK officials have made of the feasibility of making concurrent progress on security and counter-narcotics objectives in Afghanistan. 
Mr. Ingram: The UKs aim in Afghanistan is to support the development of a free, secure and stable state. The drugs trade feeds on and contributes to insecurity in Afghanistan and the wider region, and insurgents and drug traffickers flourish in the same ungoverned space. It needs therefore to be tackled to ensure improvements in the overall security.
This cannot be done by military means alone, and so we are working closely with other Government Departments to deliver a comprehensive package of military, economic, diplomatic and developmental support to the Afghan Government.
Mr. Ingram: To declare the exact vehicle mix currently in or planned for Afghanistan would be detrimental to the safety of UK personnel and disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the security of the armed forces.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 20th June 2006, Official Report, column 1708W, on the Army Continuous Attitude Survey, what the contents were of question 39c in the Army Continuous Attitude Survey September to December 2005; and why this question was not printed in the copy which was placed in the Library on 19 April 2006. 
Mr. Watson: The Serving Personnel Continuous Attitude Survey (CAS) is a management information tool that is used to assess and monitor the attitudes of serving officers and soldiers over time. Its findings inform the development of service personnel strategy and policies. In the ninth Serving Personnel (SP9) survey, which was distributed in September 2005, question 66 was removed and replaced with question 39c, an open-ended question which asks If within the last 12 months you have suffered unfair treatment, discrimination, harassment and/or bullying and you have chosen not to complain please explain why?. The analysis of open-ended questions is complex and not contained in the Technical Annex of the CAS Report, which is placed in the Library of the House.
The analysis of question 39c is summarised as follows. It gives the number of comments made as well as a more detailed breakdown of the negative comments, which are used to identify areas for improvement. Overall, a total of 90 officers and 252 soldiers commented, which equates to 8 per cent. and 16 per cent. respectively of those who responded to the questionnaire.
|Type of comment||Number||Percentage||Number||Percentage|
|Number of comments|
Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department is making contributions of (a) funding, (b) expertise and (c) personnel towards the (i) UN and (ii) EU peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 
Mr. Ingram: UK funding for the UN Mission to the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) is drawn from the Tri-departmental (FCO, MOD, DfID) peace-keeping budget. In 2005-06 this budget made assessed contributions of approximately £37 million to MONUC. The UK also currently provides six officers to MONUC, at a gross additional cost of £740,000 in 2005-06. These officers fill key strategic posts, notably that of the Chief of Staff in the Eastern Division HQ in Kisangani, and the Military Assistant to the Force Commander in the MONUC Force HQ in Kinshasa. In addition, we have provided training support during the stand-up of the Eastern Division HQ and advice, with other nations, through the short-term deployment of a technical assessment mission.
Through the EU Funding Mechanism (ATHENA) the UK has paid, via the same Tri-departmental budget, £1.634 million for the common costs of the EU military mission to the Republique Democratique du Congo (EUFOR RD Congo). EUFOR RD Congo is deploying in support of MONUC and with the approval of the Congolese Transitional National Government. UK MOD is currently providing three personnel for EUFOR RD Congo: one officer for the Operational HQ in Germany; one officer for the Force HQ (FHQ) in Kinshasa, for the duration of the Operation; and one further officer from the European Air Group to the FHQ, to assist with planning and logistics for up to four weeks.
Mr. Ingram: I assume the hon. Member is referring to the financial closure of the UK Military Flying Training System contract. Competitive bids are in the process of being assessed, after which the investment decision will be taken. Current planning assumptions expect financial closure to occur in 2007.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the likely impact of the implementation of the Military Flying Training public finance initiative programme on departmental targets for (a) improved quality of training, (b) cost reduction and (c) contraction of the defence estate. 
Mr. Ingram: The NAO Report, HG 880 Session 1999-2000 Training New Pilots dated 14 September 2000, recommended a more consistent approach to flying training. This report was instrumental in the initiation of the UK Military Flying Training System Project.
Since the project is still in its competitive phase, it is not possible to predict the full extent of the benefits to be realised through the project at this point. It is anticipated that the primary benefits will come from modernising the flying training processes for all three services, realising efficiencies and, since training is currently spread across several organisations, taking advantage of potential economies of scale. It is assumed that the existing estate will be utilised, although it is possible that there may be opportunities in the future for some estate rationalisation.
We currently use three similar types of Explosive Ordnance Disposal vehicle on Operation TELIC. However, the disclosure of any further detail would reveal the strength and capability of UK forces
operating in Iraq, which could have a bearing on our operational security, thereby placing our servicemen and women in additional unnecessary danger or potential harm.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 12 June 2006, Official Report, column 2052W, on search and rescue services, whether the assessment of the future of the Maritime Counter Terrorism role will include consideration of RNAS Culdrose as a possible base for the fulfilment of this role. 
Mr. Ingram: The continued requirement for 771 Squadron's Maritime Counter Terrorism (MCT) role will be fully assessed in due course. Assuming the requirement remains, the task will be fulfilled by an equally capable military unit using an in-service helicopter, operating out of its usual base. Helicopters based at RNAS Culdrose would be considered along with all MOD helicopter types, and Culdrose would be considered as a possible future operating base for fulfilment of the MCT role currently undertaken by 771 Squadron.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 12 June 2006, Official Report, column 2052W, on search and rescue services, whether relevant factors will include the consideration of (a) support for local air ambulance out of hours, (b) medical evacuations, (c) casualty evacuations, (d) availability of back-up aircraft and (e) capacity to call upon competent trained non-search and rescue aircraft and crews from the same base for large scale emergencies which are functions of the 771 Squadron. 
Mr. Ingram: The requirement specification for the future Search and Rescue Helicopter service is being developed in full consultation with key stakeholders, including senior representatives from RNAS Culdrose, to ensure that the service is at least as effective as the current one. For large scale emergencies the Ministry of Defence policy remains to evaluate the need for Military Aid to the civil community on a case by case basis, dependent upon availability.
Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 12 June 2006, Official Report, column 2052W, on search and rescue services, which (a) existing and (b) potential helicopter bases the Maritime Coastguard Agency and his Department have assessed as capable of providing an equivalent search and rescue coverage of the maritime western approaches to that provided by the 771 Squadron at RMAS Culdrose. 
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