Submission from the Ministry of Defence
WITH UK MARINE
1. A statement on the NERC/MoD Joint Grant
scheme for marine science research and any other MoD-sponsored
schemes to fund research outside the MoD.
The Ministry of Defence/Royal Navy collaborates
extensively with NERC and its research centres (in particular
the British Antarctic Survey, the British Geological Survey, the
National Oceanography Centre, the Scottish Association for Marine
Science, Plymouth Marine Laboratory and Proudman Oceanographic
Laboratory. The main forums are the Co-operative Arrangement for
Research on Ocean Science, the Inter-Agency Committee on Marine
Science and Technology, and the Marine Data and Information Partnership.
The Royal Navy is keen to provide a service to the marine science
community whenever possible.
2. A statement on the formal and informal
arrangements between the OSI, the Research Councils and the MoD
regarding access to naval vessels for scientific research purposes
within the polar and non-polar oceans.
The MOD provides access to Royal Navy vessels
for research purposes on a case by case basis whenever possible
and practicable within the limitations of the operational employment
of the ships concerned. Examples of the contribution made by Royal
Navy vessels were given by Professor Ed Hill in the oral evidence
session on 16 May (Question 235 refers), and details of some collaborative
work are provided below. Defence IntelligenceIntelligence
Collection Strategy and Plans is in the process of arranging for
CAROS members to meet with the Hydrographer of the Navy to discuss
future collaborative work involving Royal Navy Survey vessels.
Data routinely obtained by the Royal Navy, e.g. meteorological
data, and ocean temperature and salinity data from expendable
bathythermographs are also made available through the Met Office
and Hydrographic Office.
HMS ENDURANCE has a close working relationship
with the British Antarctic Survey. Whilst there is no official
agreement between the Royal Navy and the British Antarctic Survey,
support to British Antarctic Survey science is given as one of
the three tasks in the mission statement of HMS ENDURANCE. Whilst
in Antarctica, approximately one third of HMS ENDURANCE's time
is spent in support of British Antarctic Survey science, including
the Antarctic Funding Initiative. This role is crucial to British
Antarctic Survey science, particularly the helicopter capability.
The British Geological Survey has been co-operating
with the Royal Navy for over 25 years in using Royal Navy side
scan sonar and bathymetric data collected in UK waters and interpreting
this data for incorporation in British Geological Survey offshore
maps and digital map products. The British Geological Survey also
acts as a depository for Royal Navy side scan records and sea-bed
samples collected in UK waters.
After the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 26 December
2004, the Royal Navy approached Government to offer the services
of HMS SCOTT, a MOD hydrographic survey vessel with a specific
purpose to acquire high-resolution multi-beam bathymetry. HMS
SCOTT was in the Indian Ocean at the time of the devastating tsunami
and, along with HMS CHATHAM, was offered for use in humanitarian
aid. In collaboration, the British Geological Survey, the National
Oceanography Centre and the UK Hydrographic Office met with the
MOD and developed a survey plan to acquire seabed data over the
earthquake rupture zone. The result was a unique high-resolution
bathymetric dataset that allows insight into the processes taking
place during great earthquakes. The experience on both sides (Royal
Naval and scientific) was very positive.
Since 1971 the Royal Navy has made submarine
platforms available to support environmental science by the academic
community in the UK, notably the ice-thickness studies by Professor
Peter Wadhams (University of Cambridge) in the Arctic. The Royal
Navy remains ready to assist with this research when possible,
ie on an opportunity basis. In addition to offering platforms
for research, the Navy is keen to help the scientific community
promote itself through the media. For example, during the latest
Ice Exercise (ICEX 2007), the Royal Navy welcomed a camera team
to HMS TIRELESS for the filming of a documentary about ice-thinning.
3. A statement on the MoD's participation
in the Inter-Agency Committee on Marine Engineering, Science and
Technology, including attendance and the substance of discussions
held over the last five years.
Defence IntelligenceIntelligence Collection
Strategy and Plans (DI ICSP) attends Inter-Agency Committee on
Marine Science and Technology meetings, including sub-groups (Marine
Environmental Data Action Group, Global Ocean Observing System
Action Group and Marine Data Information Partnership on behalf
of MOD. The substance of discussions has covered the whole of
Inter-Agency Committee on Marine Science and Technology spectrum
of activities. However, the MOD has been most heavily involved
in discussions surrounding the continued support to ARGO floating
buoys, the Marine Bill and Marine Data Information Partnership.
Participation in Marine Data Information Partnership extends to
active involvement in Working Groups and co-ordination of UK Hydrographic
Office and Met Office input the initiative. DI ICSP recently developed
a pilot project with the UK Hydrographic Office and Wessex Archaeology
as a Use Case for Marine Data Information Partnership to demonstrate
the benefits of collaborative data sharing.
4. Other ways in which the MOD research
effort in the area of marine science and technology is co-ordinated
with that of other Government departments and non-Government stakeholders.
There is good co-ordination between MOD and
other Government Departments. A prime example of this would be
HMS SCOTT's move from Military Data Gathering to Marine Scientific
Research (a civilian role rather than military) to provide MoD
assistance to OGDs by the provision of a large quantity of survey
data following the Indonesian Tsunami in 2004 and early 2005.
This is not an isolated case and a close eye is kept to see where
OGDs may benefit from integration with military data gathering
efforts. Defence IntelligenceIntelligence Collection Strategy
and Plans is responsible for Defence Geospatial Intelligence policy
and the research efforts of the UK Hydrographic Office and UK
Met Office in support of marine sciences. Work carried out by
the Met Office as part of the Defence Oceanographic Programme
and by the UK Hydrographic Office, as part of the Defence Hydrographic
Programme is co-ordinated internally between the two MOD Trading
Funds and with the Research and Development work conducted by
the Research Acquisition Organisation to ensure a coherent approach
which delivers an improvement in the ocean modelling capability
provided to the Royal Navy.
5. A statement on the Department's policy
regarding access to MoD data by the scientific community for research
Meteorological data gathered by Royal Navy vessels
is routinely made available to the Word Meteorological Organisation
(WMO) through the Met Office. Oceanographic and Hydrographic data
is held at the UK Hydrographic Office and is released on a case
by case basis subject to classification and security implications.
MOD supports the improved data sharing aspirations of Marine Data
Information Partnership and the EU INSPIRE initiative and has
been actively involved in providing input to both.