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Des Browne: The Ministry of Defence does not make assessments of the impact of UK military deployments on UK security. The Home Office is responsible for assessing threats to the UK. As the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have said, the UK was a target for international terrorism before Iraq. Over the last 12 years there have been terrorist attacks in over 36 countries, not all of whom have been involved inor even supportedmilitary action in Iraq. There is no excuse or justification for terrorism and we cannot let our foreign policy be dictated by it. The establishment of a stable, democratic Iraq, enjoying the rule of law, will be our and Iraqs best defence against terrorism.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many attacks on multi national forces were recorded in the Iraqi provinces of (a) Al Basrah,
(b) Al Muthanna, (c) Dhi Qar and (d) Maysan in June 2006. 
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Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the number of people injured or killed in Iraq in the last 12 months for (a) wearing shorts, (b) wearing jeans, (c) wearing hair gels and similar products, (d) not wearing a hijab, (e) having a goatee beard, (f) wearing a necklace and (g) using a cell phone in public. 
In recent months there has been an increase in the level of violence against some ethnic, religious and social groups in Iraq to which the Government of Iraq, with the backing of the multi-national forces in Iraq, have responded by tightening their security regime. Clearly, we condemn the use of violence against any groups but we do not compile statistics of such attacks. Among other things we are working with the Ministry of Human Rights to develop its capacity so that it can promote the fundamental concepts of inclusiveness that will help overcome any social movement against particular minority groups.
Danny Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the extent of Turkish military activity in northern Iraq in the last 12 months; and if he will make a statement. 
Des Browne: Turkey has maintained a limited number of troops in northern Iraq since the late 1990s. Coalition forces are aware of their presence. We are not aware of any of these troops being engaged in offensive operations in the last 12 months.
Sandra Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average waiting time is for the issue of Iraq medals from when the application is received at the medal office on behalf of personnel who have completed the 30-day qualifying period. 
(3) how many (a) USB (i) flash drives and (ii) memory sticks, (b) compact discs, (c) DVD-ROM discs, (d) laptop computers, (e) external computers hard drives, (f) internal computer hard drives and (g) desktop computers were purchased for use in his Department in each month since March 2005. 
Mr. Watson: The average time to pay claims into the banking system for short-term allowances claimed through the joint personnel administration system i-expenses tool is some 14 working days, although performance has improved steadily such that the July average is below five working days. Some claims do take longer than average to resolve when authorisation by the claimants superior officer is required.
Mr. Watson: Much of the RAF data were transferred from legacy systems to JPA by a team of RAF clerks to ensure that data input was effectively controlled. Wherever possible, data are input by using lists of values contained in drop-down menus which reduces the opportunity to input data incorrectly. Free text boxes are used in only a handful of scenarios where drop-down menus are deemed to be inappropriate. Where errors have been identified in data transferred from legacy systems the individual is encouraged to amend the details either through the self-service facility or though unit HR staff. Improved training packages for users are currently being developed.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average response time has been to complaints made through the i-query service for the joint personnel administration system since the system was implemented. 
Mr. Watson: Currently 71 per cent. of joint personnel administrative telephone inquiries, (currently about 5,000 per week) are dealt with at first call. Up until 21 July 2006, the average response time to inquiries made via the web based i-support tool or by telephone, which could not be dealt with immediately, was 11.5 days. This compares with the customer charter target of 10 working days. The software tool which tracks queries does not distinguish between verbal and i-support queries.
Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he expects the armed forces personnel administration agency to meet the key targets for delivery of joint personnel administration. 
Mr. Watson: The key target to roll-out joint personnel administration to the Royal Air Force by the end of March 2006 has already been met. I expect the key target for financial year 2005-06 to roll out to the Royal Navy and the Army by October 2006 and March 2007 respectively to be achieved.
The key target for the inquiry centre during financial year 2005-06 is for 75 per cent. of queries to be answered at the first call. While the initial volume of calls and early telephony problems have contributed to a current response rate of 71 per cent. for joint personnel administrative queries, I expect that the target will be met by the end of the financial year.
Mr. Watson: As at 30 June 2006, £124.6 million had been spent on joint personnel administration. Based upon current forecasts, the overall cost of the programme is expected to be some £163.2 million. (The impact of adjustments to the programme to ensure alignment with the availability of defence information infrastructure is currently being assessed, but is likely to increase the forecast).
Mr. Watson: Eighty four full-time equivalent staff (82 full-time and four part-time) are employed within the Enquiry Centre to cover the peak periods of enquiries from Royal Air Force personnel. Plans are well advanced to augment this number for the roll out of joint personnel administration to the Royal Navy.
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many designated dangerous areas the Kosovo protection corps cleared in each year since 2003; how many of the areas contained (a) cluster
munitions and (b) BL-755 cluster munitions; how many designated dangerous areas remain to be cleared; and how many known locations of ordnance contamination remain to be cleared in Kosovo which are not within designated dangerous areas. 
Des Browne [holding answer 24 July 2006]: The UK does not hold this information directly. Munitions clearance activity in Kosovo is monitored by the United Nations through their administrative mission in Kosovo as well as the UN Mine Action Service.
Des Browne: The UK has already offered assistance to other countries that wished to evacuate their citizens from Lebanon; the UK has assisted with the evacuation of some 4,500 people, from over 50 different nations.
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether he has carried out an evaluation of the use of Mambas formerly owned by his Department operated by Blackwater Security Consulting in Baghdad for personnel protection; and if he will make a statement; 
(2) whether any (a) Foreign Office and (b) other UK officials have been transported in Mambas operated by Blackwater Security Consulting in Iraq; and whether this form of transport has been assessed as offering sufficient protection when travelling in areas where there is a risk of exposure to insurgent attack; 
(3) what assessment his Department has carried out of the vulnerability of Mambas operated by Blackwater Security Consulting in Baghdad to attack by improvised explosive device; and whether any lessons learned will be applied to enhancing force protection for British troops in (a) Iraq and (b) Afghanistan. 
Mr. Ingram: To my knowledge, no Foreign Office or other UK Government personnel have been transported in Mambas operated by Blackwater Consulting in Baghdad, though records may not cover such detail and the possibility cannot be excluded.
We have not carried out a specific evaluation of the use of Mambas by Blackwater Security Consulting in Baghdad for personnel protection, nor have we carried out a specific assessment of their vulnerability to improvised explosive device (IED) attack.
We do, though, make regular assessments of the threats facing UK forces (including that from IEDs) and of the potential vehicles available from manufacturers around the world that might help us defeat those threats. We use these assessments to keep our force protection measures, including tactics, techniques and procedures and equipment, under constant review.
On 26 June my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence informed the House that the Ministry of Defence was urgently reviewing the options for protected patrol vehicles, with a view to identifying what else could be done as quickly as possible and in the longer term. The RG-31, a more modern vehicle derived from the Mamba family, was considered, alongside a number of alternatives. On 24 July 2006, Official Report, column 75WS, he announced the results of the review.
We do not comment on the relative protection of our vehicles, or those used by our Allies, as to do so would prejudice the safety of our and our allies personnel. The additional vehicles announced by the Secretary of State on 24 July will provide more options for commanders to use as they see fit to best meet the mission and counter the threat.
Mr. Ingram: The future rotorcraft capability programme is considering how best to structure our helicopter fleets for the future. As part of this, we announced in January a capability sustainment programme for the upgrading of the Royal Navy's Merlin helicopters. We also announced in June an order for 70 new Future Lynx helicopters for use by the Royal Navy and Army.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what recent research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effectiveness of the Snatch Land Rover in protecting troops in (i) Iraq and (ii) Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement; 
Mr. Paterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he will purchase a quantity of BAE Land Systems RG-31s for deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan to provide enhanced protection for Army patrols pending a longer-term review of more suitable vehicles. 
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