Scottish Affairs Committee - Minutes of EvidenceHC 140-I

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Oral Evidence

Taken before the Scottish Affairs Committee

on Wednesday 30 January 2013

Members present:

Mr Ian Davidson (Chair)

Mike Crockart

Mike Freer

Jim McGovern

Mrs Eleanor Laing

Graeme Morrice

Pamela Nash

Simon Reevell

Lindsay Roy


Examination of Witnesses

Witnesses: Stuart Crawford, former Lieutenant-Colonel in the Royal Tank Regiment, and Richard Marsh, Economist, 4-Consulting, gave evidence.

Q2304Chair: Gentlemen, could I welcome you to this meeting of the Scottish Affairs Committee? I apologise for holding you back a little; I am afraid we had to spend some time discussing the report of the Electoral Commission. We very much welcome the fact they have sided with us in rejecting the idea of an outrageously biased question. We also welcome most of the other points that they have made. Their recommendation about making it clear to people what the consequences of a yes or no vote would be ties in quite well with the series of dialogues we are having with people like yourselves about what would happen in a separate Scotland.

We can only repeat what we have said to you before. We very much welcome the fact that you have done so much work. You seem to have done more work than any other living beings that we have been able to identify in sorting out what a defence pattern in a separate Scotland might look like.

For the record, can I ask you to introduce yourselves and tell us why you are here?

Stuart Crawford: My name is Stuart Crawford. I am a former Army officer. Currently, I work as a political defence and media consultant in Edinburgh, and I am a coauthor of the recent RUSI report A’ The Blue Bonnets Defending an Independent Scotland.

Richard Marsh: I am Richard Marsh. I am an economist with a small consultancy based in Kirkcaldy in Fife. I specialise in economic statistics and sit on an expert group advising the Scottish Government on economic statistics.

Q2305Chair: Can I start off by asking you how things have moved on since the last time you spoke to us? In particular, you have now written your document; the SNP have produced their motion. At the time we were last discussing things, there were a number of issues about which you were not quite clear and you had not quite done all the work. It would be helpful if you indicated, first of all, how you think the nature of the debate has gone on and how what you are thinking or proposing gels with the SNP resolution.

Stuart Crawford: The last time we were here was mid-summer last year, I think. I can’t remember; it was either May or June. At that time Richard and I were trying to write this report, and we were about halfway through it. Consequently, while there has not been much divergence from the direction in which we thought we were going at the time, we had not produced the background information to support some of the things that we thought we might be proposing.

Since then, we have completed that and RUSI has been kind enough to publish our report. There are a number of things that we changed slightly after our appearance here last time. There was a debate about fast jets and aircraft, which I see is a recurring theme during this inquiry. I changed the emphasis, having spoken to a couple of people here on the Committee and also some RAF people thereafter, which has slightly changed the emphasis of what we were doing.

I also hoped that my good friend and colleague, the late Clive Fairweather, was going to write a piece on special forces, but, sadly, at about the time we were here last he fell ill and died in October. I did get permission to use his notes from a presentation he had made, so I have incorporated those, but they are very much his words and not really mine because my area of expertise was not the same as his.

Now that we have seen other proposals for the defence of an independent Scotland, should that ever come about, to which you have alluded, a general consensus seems to be emerging, in very broad terms, about the budget parameters, the modest rather than high-end sort of defence forces that the independent state might have, and some of the difficulties that might be encountered in setting that up. That is where we have come to with this report.

Richard Marsh: To echo what Stuart said, since we were here last we have managed to firm up on some of the figures. As Stuart has been at pains to say all the time, this is a model of how you might defend an independent Scotland; it is not the model. But all the reasonable models put forward seem to suggest an emerging consensus of what the forces might comprise and also a ballpark figure for the costs.

Q2306Chair: In particular, the SNP motion that was passed focused most attention, quite naturally, on Trident, NATO and so on, but were there other things in there that did not quite gel with what you are proposing? I appreciate that yours is a model, but in a sense it is the most fully worked-out one that we have got to look at.

Stuart Crawford: I think it is the only model. We are experts in a field of one at the moment, which is always a slightly difficult position to be in. No doubt we will be corrected in due course. The SNP motion, which I have seen, is short on detail, but it does give a budget of £2.5 billion per annum and calls for armed forces, which comprise 15,000 regulars and 5,000 reservists across all three services, but there is no indication of how they will be divided up into Navy, Air Force and Army, if indeed that is the model they choose. There is nothing in particular that jars with me in that general proposal, but the devil is always in the detail. I am assuming that we will see some of that this year, and that will be interesting.

Q2307Chair: Do you want to add anything to that, Mr Marsh?

Richard Marsh: Building on what Stuart said, the difference seems to be that what has been proposed is a plan that would take around £2.5 billion per annum. Our upper estimate of the cost is £1.84 billion. Last time we said to the Committee, and we continue to say it, that we very much encourage people to think of this in the context of the larger budget considerations. If you want to spend an additional £600 million to £700 million per annum, given that we think you could defend an independent Scotland for the budget we have set out here, it is useful to think of that in the context of housing, education and so on.

Q2308Mike Freer: I want to follow through on some of the costings in terms of, say, intelligence. Previous evidence we have had is that the budget could build the physical infrastructure of a Scottish GCHQ but is unlikely to be able to afford the specialists because it is quite a shallow pond, and many of the specialists required may not be tempted to go and work for a smaller country rather than the current set-up. Do you have a view on whether that cost could be met within the budget? Is that assessment accurate?

Stuart Crawford: That is a very good question. We have a small section in the report on the intelligence needs of an independent Scotland. In my opinion, there is absolutely no question that Scotland would be able to replicate GCHQ and all its tentacles because the budget would be prohibitive-not just the capital cost of setting up a GCHQ in Scotland, but also the running costs, which I understand on the UK budget are in the order of £200 million a year on top of the build. It is a hugely expensive project for a small country. An independent Scotland would have to rely on intelligence being fed down from the rest of the UK, should it ever come to that particular state.

On the question of whether there would be a sufficient pool of experts to man any sort of thing, I am not quite so sure. I take the point absolutely that the population pool will be much smaller. Sometimes the same question is asked about why anyone in the British Army, for example, would choose to transfer across to an independent Scottish Army. There are arguments both pro and against that. I suppose one of the arguments might be that, if the pay and conditions were different, it might be more attractive to attract people across, if indeed the budget provisions are there for that.

Q2309Mike Freer: If they threw enough money at it then you can recruit people, but surely in the intelligence world the chief spooks would want to work for a significant power rather than a smaller one dependent on someone else to pass information down the line, should they so choose.

Stuart Crawford: In part, yes. The Five Eyes Agreement means that everybody-the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and Canada-interchanges information. It is fairly open and is a dialogue rather than a one-way monologue. Yes, it would be much better to have your own intelligence-gathering system and intelligence service, and indeed parts of the UK intelligence service are based in Scotland, as everyone knows-in Glasgow, for example. I cannot really argue against the point that from a smaller pool you are likely to get a smaller number of suitable individuals.

Q2310Lindsay Roy: Can you clarify whether the budget of £2.5 billion includes the operational costs of fast jets and the capability gaps highlighted in terms of lack of frigates, conventional submarines and maritime patrol aircraft?

Stuart Crawford: The £2.5 billion is the SNP figure; ours is £1.8 billion.

Q2311Lindsay Roy: Would that include those items?

Stuart Crawford: I am sorry; I forgot the assets.

Q2312Lindsay Roy: The SNP say they will have fast jets.

Stuart Crawford: Our model has jets, but, as we know from previous discussions, they are dual-purpose trainer and big operational jets-the BAE Systems Hawk.

Q2313Lindsay Roy: If they were fast jets, what would the budget implications be for that?

Richard Marsh: We had this conversation before we came in.

Chair: Good. It is not much use to us, though.

Lindsay Roy: You will have the answer then; you will have a response.

Richard Marsh: Here it is, I suppose. On a first look at the SNP’s plan, we did think that a good bulk of the additional money would be going towards fast jets, but it is quite difficult for us to say that with any certainty because we do not know what lies behind the figures. I know we had a healthy conversation last time about the use of some of the equipment and the men that we proposed, but all the calculations are there for people to agree or disagree. What we don’t really get from the SNP document is a sense of how those figures are built up and how much the fast jets-

Q2314Lindsay Roy: There is a vacuum in terms of detail, but in your opinion would it be more than £1.8 billion if fast jets were included?

Richard Marsh: Yes, on the assumption that in approaching the £1.9 billion on our figures we have not included the fast jets.

Q2315Lindsay Roy: Nor have you included the building of conventional submarines and maritime aircraft, which are part of the agenda of the SNP.

Stuart Crawford: We have mentioned the lack of maritime aircraft in Scotland, and indeed across the UK at the moment, and hypothesised that they would have to be either purchased from elsewhere off the shelf or replaced by some sort of UAV-type system, or possibly a combination of both.

Q2316Lindsay Roy: Do you have any estimate of what that would cost?

Stuart Crawford: No.

Q2317Lindsay Roy: How much would a conventional submarine cost?

Richard Marsh: We did not really go down to that level of detail. As we said last time, the way this has worked is that Stuart has done much of the heavy lifting on this to work out what Scotland would need to defend itself. I think we came to the conclusion that submarines-

Stuart Crawford: We did not have any submarines, so we did not end up costing them at all.

Q2318Lindsay Roy: I understand that, but the SNP are now saying that that is part of the defence portfolio.

Stuart Crawford: Submarines obviously have a utility. If a country is prepared to spend that extra amount of money, or indeed have them instead of something else-for example, instead of frigates-that would be an option open to the Government of that country at that time.

Q2319Lindsay Roy: But the point I am making is that it would be far in excess of £1.8 billion.

Stuart Crawford: As far as our model goes, which has no submarines, then, no, it cannot be done.

Q2320Lindsay Roy: It cannot be done at that level of budget.

Stuart Crawford: It cannot be done at £1.8 billion. Whether it can be done for £2.5 billion, I do not know.

Q2321Lindsay Roy: I would not have thought so.

Stuart Crawford: If it is a question of having fast jets-i.e. Typhoons instead of Hawks, and submarines-our back-of-the-fag packet calculation was that that would be quite a big ask.

Q2322Chair: That is leaving aside the costs of buying the seven submarines. Your figures are steady-state rather than transition figures.

Stuart Crawford: We do not assume in our figures that anything is paid for up front. One would imagine that much of the equipment of an independent Scottish defence force would inevitably be negotiated as part of the socalled share of the UK defence force, but there are obvious gaps, trade-offs and so on. Any new equipment that had to be bought-for example, an F16, whatever one pays for that-would not be paid up front but over a period of 20 or 30 years, like a mortgage, so it would be part and parcel of the annual spend.

Q2323Mrs Laing: May I clarify something you said earlier about intelligence? Did you say that there would not be a replication in a separate Scotland of GCHQ and, therefore, Scotland would rely on intelligence from the rest of the UK?

Stuart Crawford: From the rest of the UK and other allies. I do not think there is any question of GCHQ being replicated in Scotland; it would be far too expensive.

Q2324Mrs Laing: So Scotland would rely on the goodwill of the rest of the UK.

Stuart Crawford: On the goodwill or by treaty obligations or other agreements. We cannot always talk plainly about these things. I am conscious that there are some elements of the UK’s intelligence-gathering system that are already north of the border.

Q2325Mrs Laing: I was just coming to that point, which is rather important. So Scotland would be dependent on the UK for intelligence gathering.

Stuart Crawford: Yes, and vice versa to a certain extent.

Q2326Mrs Laing: Looking at the "vice versa", you said that there are some UK intelligence facilities based in Scotland. Are they valuable? Are they important?

Stuart Crawford: They are very important. I have signed the Official Secrets Act.

Q2327Chair: We can put you under oath if you wish-if that would make things more helpful.

Stuart Crawford: I think they are very important, yes.

Mrs Laing: That is enough, Chairman. I will not ask for any difficult information.

Q2328Chair: The things that are in Scotland could be replicated south of the border, but the things that are south of the border could not be replicated in Scotland.

Stuart Crawford: That is the gist of it. There are things in Scotland that are very useful to UK intelligence in terms of various movements and things.

Q2329Mrs Laing: One can imagine that that would be the case and they are valuable. Would separating those important functions which happen in Scotland and taking those away from the UK’s intelligence service make the UK’s intelligence service as a whole more or less effective?

Stuart Crawford: It would be to their detriment; it would make it less effective.

Q2330Mrs Laing: So separating Scotland’s current intelligence bases will make the UK intelligence services, on which Scotland would depend if it became separate, less effective for both the UK and Scotland?

Stuart Crawford: Yes, that is correct, but, if that was the case, Scotland would not wish to deny those facilities to the rest of the UK.

Q2331Chair: That is right. To be clear about two points, one of which is the Five Eyes Agreement. There are bases in places like Cyprus, Turkey and elsewhere which contribute intelligence to that Five Eyes structure, but the intelligence gained from those bases is not then shared with the host country.

Stuart Crawford: That is correct.

Q2332Chair: The Cypriot Government do not necessarily get everything that is gathered from Cyprus, and similarly with the Turkish Government.

Stuart Crawford: Absolutely, yes.

Q2333Chair: Simply having a facility in Scotland would not necessarily mean that the Five Eyes group felt obliged to share all that with a Scottish Government.

Stuart Crawford: No. There would have to be a fairly comprehensive agreement as to what was-

Q2334Chair: There would have to be an agreement. How likely is it to be an agreement reached harmoniously if Trident has just been expelled at a relatively few days’ notice?

Stuart Crawford: The negotiations would be robust.

Q2335Chair: What does "robust" mean?

Stuart Crawford: There would be a great deal of argument over it and a certain amount of hardball playing by both sides.

Q2336Chair: One of the questions we have asked the Scottish Government-we have been promised a response-is whether or not they intend to remove Trident in days or decades. You will, of course, have read our paper.

Stuart Crawford: Absolutely.

Q2337Chair: That choice is there. Until, presumably, the Scottish Government identify whether it is days or decades, lots of these other things or the mood music for the whole dialogue are unclear. Is that fair?

Stuart Crawford: Trident and the independent nuclear deterrent, so-called, are the nub of the whole problem; everything else flows from that. I have said before that, should Scotland vote to become an independent state, there is no guarantee that the current Scottish Government and the political party enjoying that position at the moment would be the political party that governs an independent Scotland. It may be that the Government of an independent Scotland in the fullness of time reverses its position on Trident.

Q2338Chair: You use the phrase "in the fullness of time". Some of these agreements about intelligence and so on would be getting struck immediately after a decision on separation and, therefore, what might happen in the long term does not necessarily help us.

Stuart Crawford: My personal view is that Trident will remain on the Clyde until it is either obsolescent or obsolete, whether or not Scotland is independent.

Chair: That is not a secret, though; that is not one of these things you have sworn not to tell us, is it?

Q2339Lindsay Roy: On what basis do you assert that?

Stuart Crawford: I cannot see any circumstances where it is an easy negotiation. I am conscious that the Scottish National Party has never placed a time frame on the removal of Trident from the Clyde, as far as I am aware. There would be such immense pressure brought by other NATO allies, particularly the USA, on that topic. I defer to other experts like Professor William Walker of St Andrews university, who has also been here, that the demand for the removal of Trident from the Clyde is essentially demanding the unilateral disarmament of the United Kingdom. I do not think the international community would allow that to happen.

Q2340Chair: I suppose this takes us beyond defence and into the realms of politics, but so much of the SNP’s appeal to certain categories of people in Scotland has been on the basis of a unilateral disarmament of Trident as quickly as possible. Surely, the political pressures on the SNP Government to deliver this quickly would be enormous, and we could not count on them reversing their present drive towards unilateralism for the rest of the UK.

Stuart Crawford: In the general public in Scotland, the consensus would be that the population would not wish the nuclear deterrent to be stationed there in general terms, but I cannot see any practical way of getting it removed in short order.

Chair: That is very helpful.

Q2341Pamela Nash: Before I move too far away from intelligence and security, can I ask what you think of the Deputy First Minister’s comments earlier this week about the Scottish intelligence service, which she says they are already working on? From the comments you have just made, that sounds at odds with what she is suggesting.

Stuart Crawford: All I think I know, without going into known unknowns and unknown unknowns, is that there is a team working on a whole raft of these issues in preparation for the White Paper, which we are promised some time this year. Part and parcel of that remit will be to deal with the whole intelligence thing, but that is all I know; I know no more than that.

Q2342Chair: But that is what you are telling us.

Stuart Crawford: No, because no one will tell me.

Q2343Lindsay Roy: You have not been consulted on that.

Stuart Crawford: No. May I reiterate that this report is completely and utterly independent of any external influence? If you like, it is a labour of love done by Richard and me. I hesitate to say that it was done in our spare bedrooms when the kids had gone to bed, but there is an element of that in it. No one has paid us for it, unfortunately. It has had no input from any political party; it is completely and utterly our work. Therefore, it should be seen as a stand-alone, because I note that in certain elements of the media we have been described as SNP advisers and so on. That is not the case; this is completely independent. It does not seek to answer whether an independent Scotland should have its own defence forces. It seeks to answer the question: could Scotland could have its own defence forces? That is all.

Chair: We understand that, but now it has been broadcast to a grateful nation everybody else out there will hear it as well.

Q2344Pamela Nash: That is absolutely not why I asked the question. I was interested in your opinion on something which has been very much a story this week.

Stuart Crawford: I am led to understand that there is a team within the Scottish Government that is working on all these issues-defence, intelligence and all that sort of stuff-and their work will be part and parcel of the White Paper, which is to appear this year.

Q2345Pamela Nash: Thank you. I will move on to my actual questions now. We have been looking at the report. Could you explain to the Committee how you came to the figure for the Scottish defence expenditure of £3.3 billion for 2010-11?

Richard Marsh: The figure was taken from Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland. That is a publication produced by the Scottish Government which looks at everything that is spent on behalf of Scotland and the taxes that would have been taken in from Scotland.

Q2346Pamela Nash: Would you say that again?

Richard Marsh: The publication is called GERS. It looks at all the money spent for the benefit of Scotland. It specifically identifies defence expenditure, so that is defence expenditure spent for the benefit of Scotland. Most of it is allocated to Scotland on a population basis rather than what is actually spent in Scotland.

Q2347Pamela Nash: Does that figure take into consideration taxes collected in Scotland? I thought you touched on that.

Richard Marsh: My understanding is a separate issue from the figure that we have just talked about. Yes, it should. The publication does look at the suggestion that, if there were a Scottish Treasury, it would collect this amount of corporation tax, this much income tax and so on.

Q2348Pamela Nash: On the figures, you said that it also looks at population. Does that mean the land mass and coastline of Scotland are not taken into consideration here?

Richard Marsh: My understanding is no. To give this some context, defence statistics below the UK level are pretty poor, so we had a fairly limited set of data that I think were suspended within the last couple of years. The figure from Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland is probably the best we have available to try to allocate what proportion of the defence spending for the UK is currently put on the cross-section of Scotland at the moment.

Stuart Crawford: That is a very good point. Scotland has 8.4% of the population, but it is 33% of the land mass and 50% of the coastline. We do say that in the preamble.

Q2349Lindsay Roy: It does not take account, for example, of where the assets are located-that is, where the frigates or fast jets might be at any one time controlling UK or Scottish airspace.

Richard Marsh: No. I am not sure you would want to do that anyway. Ideally, you would have what activity is taking place on Scottish soil and Scottish territory, so, rather than where the boats might be at any one point or where the jets might fly, it is where the airbases and ports might be and their normal place of work within the defence sector. Once you have that, you could top it up and that would ideally go into the books to provide a better, more accurate set of accounts for Scotland’s economy.

Q2350Lindsay Roy: For example, if frigates based elsewhere, from Portsmouth or wherever, were off the north-west coast of Scotland for a particularly long period of time, that would not be taken into account.

Richard Marsh: Purely in terms of pulling together a set of Government and economic accounts, we would probably try to look at where people are based and where their normal place of work would be and where the base is for that vessel rather than where it normally sails.

Q2351Lindsay Roy: But the point I am making is that it would not necessarily be an accurate reflection of deployment.

Richard Marsh: That is a fair point.

Q2352Pamela Nash: I want to pursue these figures. I appreciate that they were not your original figures, but, as you said, it is difficult to try to ascertain the line between what is Scottish and what is British protection. Do these figures take into consideration the protection of Scotland as a land mass, not just what is spent on defence but the level of protection that the country has, and also in terms of NATO membership? Is it just manpower and equipment, or are we looking at the benefits we get from the defence forces in the UK?

Richard Marsh: That would be incredibly difficult to do-I think probably impossible.

Q2353Pamela Nash: It is probably much higher than the figures that we have. The point I am trying to make is that it would be extremely difficult, so I am assuming that those have not been taken into consideration in these GERS figures before; they have not been included.

Richard Marsh: Given the lack of data, we would need to take a very heroic leap to say they would be higher or lower. The data that you have there is a sizeable sum. As we point out in the paper, if you adopted the model we suggest, in some years that might be enough to flip Scotland’s operating budget from surplus to deficit, and vice versa. To have it allocated on a population basis is not desirable. If you wanted to improve the quality of the statistics presented, you would probably want to give some time and attention to this particular area.

Q2354Pamela Nash: Are those figures that the Ministry of Defence would have to provide, or do you think it would be possible to analyse this? Is there enough public information to make that calculation? I realised that was a bit simple.

Richard Marsh: at the moment, you have simply a UK figure broken down into how many people are living in Scotland relative to the whole UK. Given that we know where some of the bases are-Stuart has alluded to some of the issues of secrecy-and broadly some of the activities for which these assets are deployed, it would seem that any reasonable attempt to try to do something would be an improvement on what we currently have there on Scotland’s books.

Pamela Nash: That is quite interesting.

Q2355Chair: At the moment, nobody can make a realistic statement that Scotland either is or is not getting its fair share of either the money spent or the protection being afforded. That is the issue, is it not? How do you know exactly where all the money is spent? In terms of protection afforded, how do you allocate all that out? Where are the submarines and all the rest of it? All of this is entirely hypothetical at the moment, isn’t it, and presumably it is only if you have a separate country that runs its own separate accounts that you would be able to identify what it was doing for itself, but when it is in an agglomeration with overlaps and cross-cutting cleavages it is all just figures grabbed out of the air?

Richard Marsh: I agree with much of that. The point of putting in this table is that currently the overall publication is the one used to say whether or not Scotland’s Government is in deficit or surplus. It is a useful figure to say, "Here is what would happen to spending patterns in the case of an independent Scotland that had to defend itself."

Q2356Chair: Does it make sense in defence terms to say that different portions of the country should get a pro rata proportion of the spend? If all the technical issues about allocating it to the right place were overcome, is that the right way of doing it? I know that when it comes to procurement the United States, by a process of log-rolling, pork-barrelling and all the rest of it, can identify where lots of things are spent. But we have never tended to go down that route, have we?

Stuart Crawford: I do not think you can anyway, because if you accept the hypothesis that the defence of terrorism in Britain’s streets is the reason why we are in Afghanistan, for example, obviously a large part of the defence of the UK is being spent outwith the UK in providing that force. Likewise, the defence of Scotland does not necessarily mean that the forces have to be deployed in Scotland per se; they have to be deployed where Scotland’s interests are best protected.

Richard Marsh: This was a point raised by the Committee last week. It is absolutely right that in terms of the effectiveness of the defence capacity it pretty much does not matter where you put it; it should be where it is best delivered. In terms of whether different parts of the UK deserve to have, or should be lobbying for, a certain proportion of it, there has been quite a strong theme within the UK which says Government can spend a bit more money on certain activities where perhaps the location is not as fundamental, but it will try to move it to areas of deprivation. That has been a fairly big part of regional policy in the UK, and it has played a part in defence.

Chair: Indeed. I have Govan shipyard in my constituency. That is why, if the rest of Scotland becomes separate, I want Govan to remain part of the United Kingdom so that it can continue to get Royal Navy orders, but I digress slightly.

Q2357Mike Crockart: The SNP try to make the point that there is more contributed in Scotland than spent in Scotland, but, given the amount of defence spending that happens outwith the UK entirely, that fact would be true for the vast majority of the UK.

Stuart Crawford: It is true for the UK. The country’s spending on defence is best allocated where that defence is best effected. If that happens to be in the middle of the Atlantic by the provision of whatever naval assets are there, that is where it is being spent.

Q2358Jim McGovern: Mr Crawford, I think you said "if we believe that British forces in Afghanistan are to protect the people of Britain", and you went on to enlarge on that. Could I ask for your opinion, and I know it would be a matter of opinion? Do you believe British forces are in Afghanistan to protect British people?

Stuart Crawford: That may have been the rationale produced to justify their deployment there, but I have a certain amount of sympathy for the view that suggests that the very fact and act of deploying British troops to Afghanistan may also have the effect of inculcating a certain amount of radicalism in the UK-in other words, radicalised young people in particular because they see their spiritual home being invaded, if you like. The short answer is that I do not quite buy the argument that having troops in Helmand prevents terrorism in the UK.

Q2359Jim McGovern: Given what you have said, would I be reasonable in deducing that you are saying British troops in Afghanistan are probably detrimental to the defence of British people?

Stuart Crawford: They could well be.

Q2360Jim McGovern: Mr Marsh, do you have a view on that?

Richard Marsh: I have no view on that.

Chair: He can tell you the cost of it, possibly, but not necessarily the value of it.

Q2361Pamela Nash: Before we go on from picking apart the figures, if my understanding of the Scottish defence expenditure figures is correct, they compare quite wildly with the SNP’s figures of £2 billion, which was the spend in 2010-11 by the MOD. Is this something you have looked at? Do you have any thoughts on what the discrepancy is?

Richard Marsh: We did not look at this explicitly, but I remember reading a report by the SNP in which they looked at how much the MOD spent in Scotland. That comes to £2 billion. Is that the figure you are referring to? The problem is that some of those figures are now quite historic because they are several years old. There is a report making a case that there was not as much being spent in Scotland. I do not know about the credibility of the statistics; I have not had a chance to look at them, but the fact there is a difference does not mean there is an issue about the credibility of the statistics. I would not expect them to be particularly close, if you look at how much you actually spend on the ground in Scotland versus how much Scotland might benefit from defence spending, assuming every person in Scotland benefits to the same amount as anyone else living in the UK.

Q2362Pamela Nash: The £1.3 billion difference is between what the Ministry of Defence is actually spending on the ground in Scotland and the additional benefits that people are getting from the Ministry of Defence over and above infrastructure and manpower.

Richard Marsh: I am struggling with that slightly.

Q2363Pamela Nash: Would you like me to phrase it differently to make it less loaded? The point is that the people of Scotland get a lot more from the Ministry of Defence than just the expenditure on wages and bases in Scotland. I would argue that there is a bigger benefit to them than that, and it seems that the difference between your figures and the SNP’s is quite a vivid reflection of that difference.

Richard Marsh: Yes; that is absolutely correct.

Q2364Simon Reevell: Colonel Crawford, can I come back to the answers you gave to Mr McGovern? I was intrigued by your use of the words "spiritual homeland". I just wondered what you meant by that.

Stuart Crawford: There is a large Islamic population in the UK, particularly in England, and possibly many of the younger or more radical members of that community will see the incursion of British troops into Afghanistan, which is by and large a Muslim community, as something that irritates them, to the extent it might radicalise them to take action in the UK in the form of acts of terrorism or civil disobedience.

Q2365Simon Reevell: It is commonality of religion as opposed to geographical location.

Stuart Crawford: I think so, yes.

Q2366Simon Reevell: It really is a question of the extent to which terrorism is suppressed by the military operation, compared with the extent to which individuals in this country are radicalised by it.

Stuart Crawford: That is absolutely right.

Q2367Simon Reevell: Do you have any figures for either?

Stuart Crawford: No, neither.

Q2368Simon Reevell: Your estimation for the operating costs of a Scottish Army assumes that it is up and running.

Stuart Crawford: Yes.

Q2369Simon Reevell: To use an infantry battalion as an example, it is everybody on parade; one flag down and one flag up; swap the painted boards outside the guard room, and carry on as before but in a different context.

Stuart Crawford: In a different context, yes.

Q2370Simon Reevell: Is it a reasonable assumption to make in terms of the establishment of the entire Scottish Army that there would be no transitional cost?

Stuart Crawford: No. I think there would be transitional cost, and, as I said before, there is no guarantee that a Scottish Army could be exclusively recruited to its full establishment by transfer across from the UK. Scottish soldiers, or arguably others, who wish to serve in a Scottish Army, in an independent state, would have to be asked. Some would say they would like to come and some would say they would not like to come. I would have no way of guessing what that proportion might be, but I have said previously that one way of encouraging people to make that transfer across might be for an independent Scottish state to offer enhanced rates of pay and conditions of service.

Q2371Simon Reevell: If a Scottish Army was established, any reequipment or additional equipment in future years could be costed out over a period of time in the way that you have described in terms of acquisition of other assets, but any transitional cost would have to be funded up front by definition, simply in terms of the pure cost of turning x into y.

Stuart Crawford: I do not think the costs would necessarily be overwhelmingly large.

Q2372Simon Reevell: What do you think the cost would be?

Stuart Crawford: I have no idea, but the infrastructure is there by and large.

Q2373Simon Reevell: Can I ask why you do not think it would be large if you have no idea what it would be?

Stuart Crawford: Because the infrastructure is already in place for much of what the Scottish Army would require north of the border.

Q2374Simon Reevell: There would be some cost, but you cannot quantify it.

Stuart Crawford: There would be some cost, yes. I do not think the costs would be as low as just a number of pots of paint to paint the Saltire on the barracks, but the existing infrastructure in most places is in a state where it could be occupied almost immediately.
There would be some infrastructure upgrade costs for some of the barracks, for example.

Q2375Simon Reevell: There would be some up-front cost. There would be the cost you have identified, which is effectively the running cost of an army once it is established.

Stuart Crawford: Yes.

Q2376Simon Reevell: That would be an army equipped with what happened to be in the armoury at the time one flag came down and the other flag went up. Any acquisition would be an additional cost.

Stuart Crawford: Yes, indeed. I think you have built this into your figures. Most of the equipment would be inherited. There are huge gaps in capability, but I have suggested in the model that, for example, an independent Scottish Army would not want any main battle tanks, heavy artillery and probably would not want any attack helicopters. All of those are things for which nominally the Scottish taxpayer has paid its share already.

Q2377Simon Reevell: Are you making the assumption that, at that particular time in Scotland, there would be enough Bowman radios for everybody, or are you assuming some sort of divvying-up across the UK and a movement of equipment?

Stuart Crawford: I think there would be a divvying-up across the UK and some horse trading as well.

Q2378Simon Reevell: There would be a cost associated with the radios-for example, working out where they all are, how many there are and how many need to be moved. To divide up all the radios of the British Army and all the equipment that goes with them, and move some north and some south is a reasonably extensive logistical operation, isn’t it?

Stuart Crawford: I do not think it is unmanageable; it is a fairly straightforward logistical process, but there would be a cost attached to it.

Q2379Simon Reevell: Let’s do the same with ammunition and the straightforward A2 rifle.

Stuart Crawford: Yes.

Q2380Simon Reevell: The same goes for anything a little bit heavier, and with mortar and anti-tank rounds.

Stuart Crawford: But there will be stuff to come the other way as well.

Q2381Simon Reevell: Absolutely. There is a cataloguing and distribution of everything that is used on a day-to-day basis.

Stuart Crawford: Yes.

Q2382Simon Reevell: I have looked there only at an infantry battalion. If we look at a REME unit, engineers’ unit or whatever, there is the same identifying and dividing up.

Stuart Crawford: Yes.

Q2383Simon Reevell: That sounds like quite complicated logistics. I am not saying it could not be done, but it is more than is routinely done at the moment, isn’t it?

Stuart Crawford: To a certain extent, yes. We have quartermasters and technical quartermasters. Every battalion in the Army will have an absolutely up-to-date and at-the-minute record of what equipment they hold, to whom it has been issued, and in what they are deficient or have in surplus. The records will be there instantaneously, so it is not the documentation; it is more to do with the physical movement.

Q2384Simon Reevell: By the way, have you ever met a quartermaster who admits to having surplus, by the way?

Stuart Crawford: No. They all used to say the quartermaster’s stores was a little Aladdin’s cave.

Q2385Simon Reevell: There is quite a bit of work that has a cost to start this up. There is then the cost that has been identified in running it at the level it would be the day after it started, but any new equipment cost, or replacement of equipment that was used-radio batteries, ammunition rounds, or anything you like-has to be added to the running cost that you have identified.

Stuart Crawford: Absolutely, yes.

Q2386Simon Reevell: Presumably, there has to be some sort of command structure that culminates in a headquarters.

Stuart Crawford: Yes.

Q2387Simon Reevell: Looking at the scale of this, presumably it is a joint force headquarters.

Stuart Crawford: Probably the estate would have to establish its equivalent of the Ministry of Defence, although it might not be called a defence department; and there would also have to be a joint force headquarters established somewhere, and perhaps also individual service headquarters, although the joint headquarters might suffice.

Q2388Simon Reevell: There are two possibilities: the establishment of force headquarters for air, sea and land, and a joint headquarters, but the minimum is a new joint headquarters.

Stuart Crawford: Yes.

Q2389Simon Reevell: Again, in terms of establishment, there is a cost there.

Stuart Crawford: Yes. I think you have incorporated all those costs into your costings.

Richard Marsh: It is worth saying that we have looked at operating costs and capital costs. When we did a conference on this in Edinburgh last year, there was very much a consensus that the best way of looking at it was that there probably would not be a day one of setting all this up; there would be a much longer period of time to get it all up and running. We have looked at the cost of running the Army, Navy and Air Force but also the capital costs that you need to meet to replace, maintain and buy new equipment, and so on. A lot of that is already included in our cost. We have not included the unknown events that would happen-Stuart has referred to horse trading-where what you ideally want is simply not available in the short term.

Q2390Simon Reevell: Let’s assume that in this brave new world there is a Scottish Navy, Scottish Air Force and Scottish Army. Presumably, someone will decide that it is a good idea to be able to command and control that from a joint headquarters as soon as possible. Do your costings include the establishment of a joint headquarters in terms of the building asset but also the communications and the people so that these separate new forces can be coordinated?

Stuart Crawford: Just in personnel terms, yes. The way you have costed the personnel costs would incorporate a costing for that.

Richard Marsh: In broad terms, yes.

Q2391Simon Reevell: Yes for people.

Richard Marsh: And yes for buildings and property. We have included equipment, estates, buildings and so on within this. It might be difficult to say at a very practical level that you might want that particular asset up and running very quickly. What we have not done is to say whether you might need to pay a considerable sum of money to get that up and running.

Q2392Simon Reevell: Because your costings allow for an amount of money to be spread over a period of time.

Richard Marsh: Exactly so.

Q2393Simon Reevell: That provides comfort, if you like, to the simple running costs of the three services, but if somebody says, "Hang on. We need to be able to coordinate and run this thing from day one", the up-front cost of that is not included. Is that right?

Richard Marsh: Some of it would not be included.

Stuart Crawford: The buildings are there, probably.

Q2394Simon Reevell: "Probably" in the sense that you are not sure which ones.

Stuart Crawford: I am quite sure which ones are there. There is the current 2 Div headquarters at Craigiehall outside Edinburgh and the Army personnel centre in Glasgow, which are both options. There is Faslane, which also has an option for a joint force headquarters, and there is also the possibility of using Leuchars. There is a wide variety of real estate that will be equipped with command and control equipment already, so it will be a case of taking that over and optimising it.

Q2395Simon Reevell: The advantage of the Edinburgh site is that it is close to the seat of Government.

Stuart Crawford: Yes.

Q2396Simon Reevell: Is that something that you would regard as desirable?

Stuart Crawford: Very desirable, particularly when short-order decisions are taken in matters of national significance. So much can be done by modern communications, but sometimes there is nothing better than a face-to-face. It would be useful for the First Minister of Scotland to be able to summon his chief of the Scottish defence staff.

Q2397Simon Reevell: In the way that they can cross Whitehall to go to No. 10.

Stuart Crawford: Absolutely.

Q2398Simon Reevell: By the nature of the equipment based at Faslane, we can make the working assumption that there is a fairly sophisticated command and control setup there. If the joint headquarters was to be in Edinburgh for the good reasons you have identified, presumably that would draw away from Faslane; otherwise, there would be some duplication.

Stuart Crawford: Yes. You would have to set up your headquarters with the equipment available where you wanted it to be at the time.

Q2399Simon Reevell: The role of Faslane is to do whatever is done at Faslane in terms of general provision, repair and the like, but the main command and control function would switch to somewhere closer to the seat of Government.

Stuart Crawford: That would be my preferred option, yes.

Q2400Simon Reevell: We perhaps do not know what the numbers are, but inevitably there are implications because that would require fewer people at Faslane, as more of those people would be required at the new Edinburgh site.

Stuart Crawford: Yes.

Q2401Simon Reevell: In terms of joint command headquarters, a lot of people there would be cap-badged, and also civilians would be working there. Do your calculations include the cost of civilian employees or simply the cost of military personnel?

Stuart Crawford: They do in very general terms, in that in the parameters of the Army, for example, that I have drawn up I have been fairly generous with figures. I have suggested that the Army element might have roughly between 10,000 and 12,500 personnel all-told. That is really predicated on two brigades, which I have calculated as being at the high end. A brigade can be anything from 3,000 to 5,000 personnel. I have gone for 5,000 because it puts a little bit of slack into the system. Likewise, if you take those two brigades aside, there are an additional 2,500 personnel available for other Army-orientated matters. From that sort of figure, the headquarter element is more or less covered.

Richard Marsh: Civilian employees are included in the costs. In this paper we have not said how many we think they would be, because the way we have approached it is for Stuart to come up with a plan of how many tanks there would be.

Q2402Simon Reevell: There is a cost per head, but you have not necessarily gone firm on how many heads.

Richard Marsh: We have not counted the heads-exactly.

Stuart Crawford: I think there are about 6,000 MOD-employed civilians in Scotland at the moment. I think that is a 2010 figure.

Q2403Chair: Can I seek clarification on one point? On the question of the joint headquarters, as I understood you, militarily it makes sense to have it in or around Edinburgh.

Stuart Crawford: Close to.

Q2404Chair: If you start from another perspective, however, that because the nuclear submarines are to be removed from Faslane you have to keep employment there, I want to be clear about whether or not you could have it in Faslane and what the major operational difficulties would be. I understand the point about "face-to-face", but presumably you could overcome that-or could you-by having the officer commanding in a wee office in Edinburgh and all his or her staff in Faslane and communicating?

Stuart Crawford: I don’t think it would present insurmountable problems. It would not necessarily be ideal, but Faslane is not geographically very far away from Edinburgh, certainly not by helicopter. It wouldn’t be insurmountable, no.

Q2405Chair: What sort of numbers are we talking about for a joint force headquarters? Is it 1,000, 2,000?

Stuart Crawford: In the order of 1,000 to 1,500. It depends on so many things.

Q2406Chair: We will come on to that in a moment, but we have been told that, if the nuclear missile submarines go, then the nuclear-powered submarines will go; all the Royal Navy stuff will go.

Stuart Crawford: Everything leaves, apparently.

Q2407Chair: One out, all out, as it were.

Stuart Crawford: Yes.

Q2408Chair: But we have been told that a new Scottish Government would replace those numbers by relocation of other military facilities. We just want to add up the figures at the moment. Our understanding is that 6,700 are employed there at the moment, going up to 8,200 in 2017 when the new submarines come.

Stuart Crawford: When the Astute class is based there.

Q2409Chair: We are looking at whether or not that figure can realistically be reached by the reallocation of forces in a separate Scotland, and what the military deterioration is as a result of putting them in places that are not as sensible as might be if you were starting with a blank sheet of paper.

Stuart Crawford: I can say that a joint headquarters in peacetime would not require 8,000 personnel.

Q2410Chair: No, otherwise, you would have a headquarters of 8,000, according to your figures, and forces of 7,000. I understand that. You reckon that it will be between 1,000 and 2,000.

Stuart Crawford: And that is fairly generous.

Chair: We will come to the other bits as we go through.

Q2411Jim McGovern: On the subject of what defence might look like in Scotland post-separation, if that ever happens, the SNP have said they would reinstate the Scottish regiments-for example, the Black Watch. That was formerly a regiment and is now 3rd Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland. The SNP, I think, using some sort of emotional bribery, have said that there will be a Black Watch regiment again. I have spoken to people from the Combined ExServices Association in Dundee, the Black Watch Association, the Veterans Association and current serving officers from the Black Watch. They have all said this is nonsense or it will never happen. Do you have a view upon that?

Stuart Crawford: Personally, I have quite an emotional attachment to the traditional regiments of the Scottish division and was involved to a certain extent in the campaigns that sought to prevent their disbandment and their rebirth in the Royal Regiment of Scotland. For the old and bold like me, that is still an issue. For those who have joined the Royal Regiment of Scotland since it was constituted in 2006, it is much less of an issue, to be honest.

Both the Scottish National Party and the Conservative Party, as I understand it, are pledged to restore the traditional Scottish regiments, should they ever have the power to do so. The problem is that, since the Royal Regiment of Scotland has been formed, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, 5th Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland, is due to be reduced to company strength and ceremonial duties only. It is actually a matter of personal choice and almost personal taste. Personally, I would love to see the traditional Scottish regiments restored in all their former glory. As time goes on, the demand and support for it will diminish with age. It could be done, but they would not necessarily all be regular battalions.

Q2412Jim McGovern: Are you talking about reservists?

Stuart Crawford: Yes.

Q2413Jim McGovern: I imagine that to restore them would be a great cost.

Stuart Crawford: Not really. It would just be a few kilts and a change of cap badge. It would not be a huge cost.

Q2414Chair: If you restore them, what do you restore them from, as it were? Presumably, you are not creating a new regiment of foot, so you are changing the badges on somebody that you already have there.

Stuart Crawford: Yes. You would be taking the 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland and saying, "You are no longer the 1st Battalion Royal Regiment of Scotland; you are now the 1st Battalion of the Royal Scots Borderers, as you were pre2006. Take that cap badge off; put this cap badge on." Your regimental colours are brought out from wherever they have been laid up, delivered to regimental headquarters and you crack on.

Jim McGovern: You said, "Just give them a kilt and a change of cap badge."

Chair: And we will tell them where you live.

Q2415Lindsay Roy: There would not be an increase in numbers; it would be a redistribution.

Stuart Crawford: In terms of the Scottish infantry battalions?

Lindsay Roy: Yes.

Stuart Crawford: There would be an increase in the number of the Scottish infantry battalions-no, I don’t think so.

Q2416Chair: If you are restoring the traditional Scottish regiments, that is not recreating the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders; that is accepting lots of changes that have taken place, and you are only talking about the amalgamation into the Royal Scots or the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

Stuart Crawford: You could do it that way. There are other ways you can do it without going into too many flights of fancy. For example, British infantry battalions are traditionally 600-men strong, but there is no reason why you couldn’t have a 400-strong infantry battalion, if you wished to have more units.

Q2417Chair: That is cheating a bit, though, isn’t it?

Stuart Crawford: It is just manipulating the figures.

Chair: "Cheating" is what we meant. I understand that.

Q2418Mike Crockart: Essentially, if you are designing an army, you are designing it to have a particular function and be able to perform particular roles.

Stuart Crawford: Of course.

Q2419Mike Crockart: That has to come first.

Stuart Crawford: Of course; absolutely.

Q2420Mike Crockart: What we are talking about is that you design your army; you have the number of regiments that you need; and you just badge them according to historically what you had.

Stuart Crawford: If you wanted to.

Q2421Mike Crockart: You could make it any number you wanted to.

Stuart Crawford: Traditionally, people have looked at the topic of independence and Scottish defence and said either it will be 10% of what the UK has or it will be the same as Denmark, Norway or some other small nation. We have attempted in this report to approach it from the view of what an independent Scotland would have to defend and sustain; what forces it would need to achieve those ends; and whether it could be afforded.

That becomes an iterative process, because in all military appreciations, as they used to be called in the dark days when I went through the Army, you always ended up with far more tasks than you had troops. You had to drop tasks off, double-hat people or phase operations so that you did one thing after the one consecutively rather than concurrently. There are all sorts of different ways of doing it, but you are absolutely right. I would not start off by saying we have got six Scottish battalions and we want to have six Scottish regiments, and, therefore, our army will be six regiments, because I do not think that is the right way to do it.

Q2422Mike Crockart: If we accept that you have an emotional attachment to your regiment, we also have to accept that, if you are designing an army in a proper way with roles in mind, those six regiments ain’t going to be anything like what they were in 2004.

Stuart Crawford: It would be unlikely.

Q2423Mike Crockart: Some would be reservists.

Stuart Crawford: Some would be reservists. The Argylls, arguably, have already disappeared. Would a Scottish Government wish to revive them? Emotionally, perhaps yes. One thinks back to the last Save the Argylls campaign. Is it feasible? I do not know.

Q2424Chair: Before Graeme comes in on the Navy, can I come back to the question of headquarters? Am I right in thinking that, if you were trying to get maximum numbers into Faslane, headquarters and so on, that would be the end of Kentigern House? Admittedly, most of the Kentigern House facilities would apply to the UK armed forces, as I understand it, but there would still be some residual activities carried on there. Are these headquarters functions that would always be transferred to the new joint headquarters and be moved to Faslane?

Stuart Crawford: Kentigern House is a building that can be used for military and other purposes, which perhaps we do not wish to discuss. There is a military facility in Kentigern House-it is a modern building, with which I am sure you are familiar-which currently administers the personnel functions of the British Army as a whole. Arguably, you would not need the same number of staff officers doing it for a much smaller force, so that building could be used for other purposes, if the Government chose to do so.

Q2425Chair: But would the functions carried out in Kentigern House move with the joint headquarters to Faslane?

Stuart Crawford: Not necessarily. Basically, it is the HR department.

Q2426Chair: That could be separate.

Stuart Crawford: It could be anywhere.

Q2427Mike Crockart: Just before the Chair moves everything to Faslane, can I ask you a little more about the proposal for an HQ in Edinburgh? That would be in Craigiehall, presumably, which is 2 Div HQ. What size was 2 Div HQ in terms of personnel?

Stuart Crawford: It is quite small. I have served there; I was a member of that headquarters for a couple of years. It was probably 80 to 100 strong at the most.

Q2428Mike Crockart: If we are talking about a joint headquarters of 1,000 to 1,500 people, I cannot see how there is an easy infrastructure in Edinburgh to fit that in.

Stuart Crawford: No, I do not think you could.

Q2429Mike Crockart: I can be fairly certain that it would not fit in Craigiehall, for sure.

Stuart Crawford: No; Craigiehall is too small.

Q2430Mike Crockart: If you are going to put it in Dreghorn or Redford, you will have to create an infrastructure to put it into, so there will be extra costs involved in that.

Stuart Crawford: There will be extra costs. There is no doubt you cannot just magic it from nothing. Maybe my figure of 1,000 is too large, but I take your point absolutely. Craigiehall is probably too small, but it could be the advanced headquarters of the joint force headquarters.

Q2431Chair: That is the face-to-face bit, as it were, so it is fairly close.

Stuart Crawford: Yes. Having alternative headquarters is a fairly standard bit of military doctrine.

Q2432Mike Crockart: In relation to the Scottish regiments, I forgot to ask about the Scots Guards. What is your view? Is that a Scottish regiment?

Stuart Crawford: The Scots Guards is undoubtedly a Scottish regiment, but it is also part of the Brigade of Guards. The Brigade of Guards is irretrievably linked with the UK state, and in our report I have said that it would be more likely that the Scots Guards would wish to remain part of the Brigade of Guards.

Q2433Mike Crockart: They might need to rename it.

Stuart Crawford: The ultimate argument is to ask them. I do not see any reason why not.

Q2434Mike Crockart: Ask them.

Stuart Crawford: Ask them.

Q2435Chair: Like a vote.

Stuart Crawford: Yes, exactly.

Q2436Chair: This is heretical. This is the first time I have ever heard the idea that military forces would be dispersed in the UK according to a vote.

Stuart Crawford: I think that, if you are to ask every Scottish member of the UK armed forces whether they wish to move across to the Scottish defence forces, you are honour-bound to ask the Scots Guards as well.

Q2437Chair: You can ask them individually. It is not quite the same thing as asking them-

Stuart Crawford: That is what I mean.

Q2438Chair: My understanding from the Scottish Government is that everybody in the UK armed forces would be given the opportunity to decide whether or not they wanted to come into the new Scottish forces. In an artillery or naval setting it would not just be the Scottish regiments, HMS Glasgow or anything like that that came. Everybody would be there, so they would already be given the opportunity to say, as they would in the Welsh Guards, whether or not they wanted to come to Scotland. But your suggestion, which I thought was even more heretical, was the idea that the unit as a unit would get a vote, so that the lowliest private would have the same vote as the commanding officer and there would be a counting of heads.

Stuart Crawford: I just think they are so much an integral part of the Brigade of Guards that that is probably the right place for them to stay. Having said that, I suppose that, if they voted 90% to transfer to the Scottish defence forces, the Scottish Government would be minded to pay attention to that.

Q2439Chair: In all your costings you are not including the Scots Guards. I saw that in your report, so that is without the Scots Guards.

Stuart Crawford: Yes.

Q2440Chair: It is without the Coldstream Guards who are not from Coldstream.

Stuart Crawford: They may have been originally.

Q2441Graeme Morrice: I thought everything was moving out to the proposed new super-barracks in Kirknewton in my constituency anyhow, hopefully. Absolutely, no, it’s not happening. I was just being facetious. To come back to costs in relation to the Navy, you estimate two different figures for the likely cost, either based on the operating costs of each vessel or the personnel costs. Could you explain the difference and the possible reason for the differences in the figures? In particular, you mentioned that for operating costs the figure is £650 million and for personnel it is £550 million. What would be included in one and not the other?

Richard Marsh: In both of those figures the difference is not what is or is not included; it is simply a different method to say how much that force might cost. Stuart has described what the Navy looks like. You can cost it per vessel, and that would include the people on it and all the operating and capital costs; or you could try to do it by person.

Q2442Graeme Morrice: If you use the average operating costs of a Royal Navy ship as your starting point, how do you account for the different type of ship you require? Would you get the same estimate if you had one frigate or six frigates?

Richard Marsh: We have used a figure that after the event we think is probably quite high. That is for operating costs and capital costs, to make sure that you have enough in the bank to buy a new vessel once it has reached the end of its life. The figure we used was around £26 million, and that was based on the Navy that Stuart has described. That is probably a slightly generous treatment.

Q2443Graeme Morrice: To what extent are your choices a compromise based on what you might inherit from the Royal Navy and the division of assets, or what you could afford, as opposed to what Scotland would really want? For example, we have discussed the various reasons why Scotland might want certain assets like frigates or submarines. Would you agree that the reality is more likely to be an emphasis on patrol boats, and more patrol boats would meet your objectives, rather than expensive ocean-going vessels?

Stuart Crawford: If I may take the first part of that, clearly I am not a naval expert but the suggested format of the Scottish Navy was done purely on perceived operational requirements against various threats and risks. I went through the normal process of trying to allocate assets to deal with those risks, and that includes-you have read it all-defending what Scotland has and also the facility to be able to contribute to coalition or alliance operations, should the Government of the day decide to do so.

As part of that intellectual process, I saw no part to be played by submarines, for example, given their running costs. That decision was taken partly on the advice of senior naval officers to whom I spoke, who said that basically Scotland cannot afford the Astute class of submarines. There are no SSKs, diesel-powered at the moment, so probably there are no submarines. It was dealt with in the same we very quickly dismissed the idea of an aircraft carrier, because I do not think that would have any utility at all. It has been done on that basis. It has not really been a case of deciding how much money we have got and what we can get for it.

Richard Marsh: Stuart has drawn up different vessels that we think might be needed to defend Scotland, and I have just used the MOD statistics to say, "Here are the running and capital costs for those vessels", and I have applied them out.

Stuart Crawford: To answer your specific question, it would be much more oriented towards fast patrol boats and probably minesweepers than a blue-sea navy.

Q2444Lindsay Roy: Without submarines, fast jets and frigates, how would you protect the North sea oil assets?

Stuart Crawford: With the other assets one would have on air, sea and land. There is a provision for a form of special forces built into the programme. We said it would be a squadron of 75plus, although in this case those are Clive Fairweather’s calculations and not mine. I think that would be adequate.

Q2445Chair: Am I right in thinking that Faslane is the worst possible place to have a naval base for Scotland on the basis that the main areas of interest for Scotland are north and east, whereas Faslane, particularly if you have to go down to the very bottom of Argyll to get round the corner, as it were, is in the extreme south-west? It is not really a rational place to have your navy.

Stuart Crawford: It is not a rational place to have all your navy. There is a very good case to be made for having some sort of naval base on the east coast as well.

Q2446Chair: What do you think is the best site?

Stuart Crawford: Some say Rosyth. If you spoke to some of the civilian contractors there, they would say it would be reinstatable as a naval base without a huge amount of trouble. I do not have a figure for the finances. In terms of basing small navy vessels like patrol boats and so on, there are lots of harbours that could take them on a temporary basis, but you would probably need a naval base for refurbishment, maintenance work and that sort of stuff.

Q2447Chair: If it made military sense to have the force split, how many would you still leave in Faslane? There is the issue of whether Faslane will suffer enormously as a result of the removal of nuclear submarines, and, if not, whether the amount will be made up by relocation. The naval side of things is obviously important. Can I phrase this in a different way? If the entire Scottish Navy that you are proposing was all situated in Faslane, how many personnel do you think that is?

Stuart Crawford: Personnel is about 1,750 to 2,000.

Q2448Chair: If we take the upper limit of 2,000, that is helpful. Am I right in thinking you are saying that, militarily, it does not make sense to have the entire 2,000 there?

Stuart Crawford: Strategically, it is very dangerous to put all your eggs in one basket.

Q2449Chair: Can you give a ballpark figure for the split?

Stuart Crawford: 50:50. I really have not gone into that sort of detail, but half and half would be fair, not necessarily in terms of the same sorts of vessels but in terms of numbers of vessels.

Q2450Chair: Long-term repair, maintenance and stuff would be done in Faslane and the operational aspect would be more on the east coast. I understand that.

Stuart Crawford: That sort of thing could be done.

Q2451Chair: Can I come back to submarines? This relates to the question of construction and so on. We have been worried about the possibility, as we have said in one of our reports, of separation shutting shipyards. Under your proposed naval structure there is no way in which you will be able to feed the shipyards, is there?

Stuart Crawford: No.

Q2452Chair: Potentially, there might be no shipyard work at all.

Stuart Crawford: There will always be refurbishment, retrofitting and upgrading work, but that is not of a major nature. There would also be replacement work in due course. We are talking about a small fleet mainly of small boats. If your question is whether the indigenous work for a Scottish Navy would keep all the naval shipyards in Scotland open, as they are at the moment, the answer has to be no.

Q2453Chair: Maybe this is not within your area of expertise, but would there be enough of a flow to keep anything going on its own? I can see how, if you are building patrol boats, you would need a certain amount of flow for a certain period. If you needed refurbishment of your two frigates, say, that would require a certain amount of work for a certain period, but I cannot see-I want to clarify whether or not you have looked at this-any continuous flow that would keep things going. Therefore, since it does not make sense to have the yards opened for patrol boats, then closed, reopened again for a bit of refurbishment and then closed, maybe with something coming along later, in those circumstances all the work would go elsewhere and all the shipyards on the Clyde would just close.

Stuart Crawford: I think there is a great danger unless they could source their work from elsewhere overseas. I do not know how they are orientated for that. I do not know enough about shipbuilding on the Clyde to be able to comment.

Q2454Chair: Similarly, if they wanted to build submarines or have submarines, you have not thought about how they would go about that.

Stuart Crawford: They could build them under licence, but I do not know what amount of technical expertise would have to be imported.

Q2455Chair: Last week, somebody said that they would be the most expensive submarines ever built if you had a short run in a yard that had to be reconfigured entirely for that sort of programme.

Stuart Crawford: From my own personal experience of defence procurement within the UK context, it is always cheaper and quicker to buy off the shelf, and the MOD consistently does not go down that route.

Q2456Chair: Yes, largely as a result of political pressure, presumably, from people like myself who want it built in Govan.

Stuart Crawford: You are absolutely right, but in pure intellectual terms you do not predicate a defence policy on the number of civilian jobs it provides. It is a very important secondary consideration in pure terms-in intellectual terms.

Q2457Chair: Are we not in the position where a defence strategy is about to be predicated on almost that basis? The number of jobs at Faslane is being drawn up on the assumption of the same number of jobs as are provided in the existing structure; you are reconstituting old regiments and spending a certain amount of money. Therefore, once that is all fitted in, there is not all that much flexibility to address foreign affairs issues and defence policy.

Stuart Crawford: I do not think that is what our report says.

Chair: I was not speaking about you.

Stuart Crawford: Yes; I think there is a danger of doing that. I can understand the pressures and the realpolitik of people looking at losing their jobs. It is a terrible thing for anyone to be made redundant. Obviously, the politics of it are such that a great deal of cognisance and importance has to be put on the jobs provided by the defence industries, but, purely in intellectual terms, you do not design your defence policy on the number of civilian jobs it provides, no more than you would build a hospital just to give jobs to doctors and nurses.

Richard Marsh: Stuart and I had a very brief chat about this earlier. I fully agree with everything he has just said. It is a difficult position because, looking at the last numbers, from memory, there are various impact models we build in Scotland to say how many jobs are supported. Shipbuilding is pretty much right at the top in terms of how many jobs you get back for every pound you spend. Shipbuilding is a particularly good way of spending your money. We have completely ignored that; we did not take it into consideration. It just happens that the model would not require that on the same scale that is there presently.

Chair: I think that is right. You have started from a different premise. My premise as a local MP is what is necessary and what is best to keep my employees or my work force-my constituents-running the shipyards, and separation is not it. You have come at it from your perspective and I must come at it from mine.

Q2458Lindsay Roy: Am I right that your calculation for the cost of the Air Force was done on personnel costs rather than operating costs? From what I can recall, your initial calculation of the cost is more in terms of people than aircraft. Would that be right?

Richard Marsh: We have done both, so it is the same as the Navy. We looked at the operating and capital costs for fixed-wing aircraft from the MOD and the type of aircraft that Stuart is proposing, and we applied a figure to keep those aircraft in the air. We also looked at how much operating and capital cost is associated with a person employed in the Air Force. I think we came up with two separate figures of 300 or 370. Out of the three different parts we looked at it in a fairly similar way.

Q2459Lindsay Roy: Was that calculation done on the basis of Hawk aircraft, and how many?

Stuart Crawford: I do not think we looked at the difference in operating costs. Did we look at the difference between Hawk aircraft and Typhoons?

Q2460Lindsay Roy: Are you comparing those costs?

Stuart Crawford: It is not chalk and cheese, I don’t think.

Richard Marsh: We had some figures for Tornados and Typhoons, which we did not include.

Q2461Lindsay Roy: Did the average operating cost of £5 million include the Hawk aircraft in particular?

Richard Marsh: Yes.

Q2462Lindsay Roy: But, if they were to be fast jets, that figure would be much higher.

Richard Marsh: Correct.

Stuart Crawford: Anecdotally, the operating costs of a Typhoon Eurofighter are probably twice that of a Hawk aircraft or in the order of.

Richard Marsh: It is significantly higher, but, as a point that has been made to the Committee previously, it depends how the various aircraft are kitted out.

Q2463Chair: We had some information on that. I seem to remember that it was much more than twice.

Stuart Crawford: It is a significant difference.

Chair: Absolutely.

Q2464Lindsay Roy: It would also depend upon the state of readiness and frequency of sorties.

Stuart Crawford: Absolutely.

Q2465Lindsay Roy: If we were to remain near to budget and there were jets, presumably they would be less sophisticated jets that might have to be purchased.

Stuart Crawford: Yes.

Q2466Lindsay Roy: For example, the F16.

Stuart Crawford: The F16 is the aircraft of choice for smaller nations because it is both relatively inexpensive and very effective. The whole context has shifted slightly now that every political party in Scotland is signed up to remain part of NATO or to rejoin it. At a stroke, one could anticipate that an independent Scotland would come under the NATO air umbrella. Therefore, perhaps the absolute requirement for Scotland to have sophisticated fighter jets might be less, because they would be provided by other nations. For example, an independent Scotland might want to specialise in something else. The context is now slightly different.

Q2467Lindsay Roy: The SNP paper talks about fast jets for domestic air patrol, so that is part of their deployment.

Stuart Crawford: That might be because they wish to contribute to NATO. If I was advising the Government of an independent Scotland, of whatever political hue, I would probably be suggesting that at least they make the offer of establishing a NATO air base in Lossiemouth in Scotland, which would seem to make a lot of sense from both a defence and economic point of view.

Q2468Lindsay Roy: Last time we talked about maritime surveillance and we spoke about a P-3 Orion. Have you any idea what the cost of that would be?

Stuart Crawford: I do not know the answer to that.

Q2469Lindsay Roy: Is it safe to say that, if that is not included in the budget figures, there would be a higher proportion of spend on new capital assets?

Stuart Crawford: If we have not included it, it would have to be added. I thought we might have included it.

Richard Marsh: I can certainly check the figures.

Stuart Crawford: There were six to eight Hercules. It was between six and eight, so I came up with the figure of 60 aircraft. That is probably the basis on which Richard has done his costings, but they are all different types. The maritime surveillance aircraft would have been included in the general costing, but specifically the per item costing.

Q2470Lindsay Roy: A change in number and a change of type would require an adjustment.

Stuart Crawford: You would have to adjust it further.

Q2471Lindsay Roy: Is there anything else that you would recognise a Scottish Air Force would need that it could not negotiate from the UK because it does not have the capability at present?

Stuart Crawford: I suppose strategic lift aircraft would be one, but, arguably, would a small nation need strategic lift if other nations would provide it, like the French who are using the RAF’s C17s? I cannot really think of any other-

Q2472Lindsay Roy: Transporting troops might be an issue.

Stuart Crawford: It would be, but you can use civilian airliners. I have travelled in civilian airliners into operational theatres and back out time and time again, so everything could be chartered for operations. As for tactical transport, we have built in some Hercules aircraft. I have been slightly optimistic; the rest of the UK might surrender up to eight of those, but they would give the facility for moving troops in company strength.

Q2473Lindsay Roy: But there is a difficulty in terms of negotiating which assets would be where.

Stuart Crawford: Absolutely. There would have to be a lot of give and take.

Q2474Lindsay Roy: That would depend on the climate and goodwill.

Stuart Crawford: Climate and goodwill would be absolutely imperative.

Q2475Chair: That brings us back to Trident again, doesn’t it?

Stuart Crawford: Yes; everything comes back to Trident.

Q2476Chair: It is helpful just to have my prejudices confirmed.

Lindsay Roy: Again.

Chair: Is the Hawk a fast jet?

Stuart Crawford: The Hawk aircraft comes in all sorts of forms and fit-outs in terms of avionics and so on. At one end of the spectrum, it is a training aircraft pure and simple, which does not need to have any sophisticated radars or target-acquisition stuff. It goes up and people learn to fly in it. At the other end, it is a low-cost dual trainer/ground attack, general utility aircraft, which can have a different avionics and radar fit. They are produced in all sorts of different versions and sold to all sorts of different countries round the world along that spectrum, but it is not, and never will be, the equivalent of a Typhoon.

Q2477Chair: When the SNP motion says "fast jets", is it feasible within that categorisation to include the Hawk?

Stuart Crawford: Yes, you could. I would not, but you could.

Q2478Chair: That is helpful, because we will pursue further clarifications from the SNP. We just want to have your view on whether or not that would include it. Richard, you look sceptical on that.

Richard Marsh: No. Stuart and I talked about this earlier. Ideally, looking at the other document, we would like someone to sit down and explain exactly what is a fast jet, what has been assumed in terms of operating and capital cost and so on, and how that stacks up with the £2.5 billion.

Chair: Once you define what "fast" means other things fall into place, and we are just trying to get that sorted out.

Q2479Lindsay Roy: What is the maximum speed of a Hawk?

Stuart Crawford: It is subsonic.

Q2480Chair: It is not very fast.

Stuart Crawford: It is faster than an airliner but it is not as fast as an F16, which will go supersonic.

Q2481Lindsay Roy: What is the difference in its capability and capacity compared with a Typhoon?

Stuart Crawford: The capability is very much limited in terms of weapons, payload, range, avionics sophistication and pilot training.

Q2482Lindsay Roy: What can it do in terms of protecting our assets and territory?

Stuart Crawford: It can do some of the stuff that the Typhoon does, but not as well.

Q2483Lindsay Roy: Like what?

Stuart Crawford: It can intercept, if it has the correct radar direction, which it may or may not have fitted already; it could engage other air targets, but not necessarily with the same level of sophistication as a modern fighter jet. It can carry bombs and do ground attack, but not nearly as effectively as a Typhoon, F16 or Tornado.

Lindsay Roy: That is very helpful.

Chair: One of my colleagues has to leave to host a reception for Army cadets-how appropriate-so he hopes to come back. Therefore, we will jump a couple of questions.

Q2484Jim McGovern: My question is either for Mr Crawford or Mr Marsh. Could you describe the difference in scale between a possible Scottish defence force as opposed to the RAF, British Army and Royal Navy?

Stuart Crawford: In the UK as a whole or within Scotland?

Jim McGovern: If Scotland separates, what would be the differences in scale between the Scottish defence force and the Royal Navy, RAF and British Army?

Stuart Crawford: It would be very much smaller and, in our opinion, would have a completely different focus in terms of what it was going to be used for. I suspect that on its own it would not have any global ambitions or reach.

Q2485Jim McGovern: I think you would accept, and everybody would know, that with the reduction in numbers it is obviously much smaller.

Stuart Crawford: It would be 10% to 15% of the size of the UK force. I have not done a comparison.

Richard Marsh: It is a good point, and you touched on it last time. When I was going through the numbers of aircraft, vessels and boots on the ground, after Stuart had thrown the model at me, it was of the percentage that Stuart is talking about. In terms of the proportion of Scotland’s population, it was probably slightly higher. The calculation got interesting when it talked about the quality of what we have, so it is not just the scale of what the defence force would look like; it is the vehicles and craft that would be inside it.

Q2486Jim McGovern: Is it also accepted that it would be much more army-centric than air force and navy-centric?

Q2487Stuart Crawford: That is the model we have come up with, and that might be slightly biased by the fact that I am ex-Army. A trade-off could be made between the size of the Army in terms of personnel and the number of ships or types of aircraft, and so on. In my general estimation, the proportions for our model are about right.

Q2488Jim McGovern: So it would be based more on the Army.

Stuart Crawford: It would be based more on the Army, yes.

Q2489Chair: I do not know whether you saw the evidence last week.

Stuart Crawford: Yes, I did.

Q2490Chair: They seemed to be suggesting that what Scotland needed was a naval and air force-focused military defence group on the basis of where we were in the world, what we were going to be doing and all the rest of it. Having heard what they said, would that influence your opinion at all? Would you want to reconsider?

Stuart Crawford: I read it and thought it was a perfectly valid point of view, and not one that I necessarily disagree with. I have just got a different emphasis. Part of the answer to that would be: to what extent would an independent state want to contribute to overseas operations or expeditions in conjunction with allies? For example, in the Libya campaign the Danes and Norwegians contributed fast jets-F16s. It may be that a future Scotland state might want to contribute field hospitals and specialise in that way. I do not think there is a right or wrong here; it is almost a matter of opinion.

Q2491Chair: In striking this balance, it seems to me that the danger of your structure is that it is very much army-centric. Essentially, you have, not quite a parade-grade army, but lots of soldiers who can march up and down. However, there is nothing for them to do the rest of the time, unless they are going abroad as part of a foreign adventure. Those who are going to be actively engaged in protecting Scotland would be an air force or naval force. We do not know about the willingness of a future Scottish Government to send troops abroad, but, if we look at Iraq, Afghanistan and the Balkans, which was described as an unpardonable folly, there is not an enthusiasm for foreign adventures. I am not quite sure that is why people are signing up to separation.

Stuart Crawford: The Army also has a certain utility internally for domestic duties. I do not mean putting down riot and subversion but generally military assistance to the civil community from health scares and that sort of thing.

Q2492Chair: Surely, you do not need as many as this.

Stuart Crawford: My Army force is predicated on two brigades whose composition is a mixture of regulars and Territorial Army reservists. I have not really come down one way or t’other on exactly what it would be. Your view is that the model is 75% regular and 25% reservists for costing. I have to say that came out before the SNP’s 75% regular and 25% reservists announcement was made. It need not be that way.

Q2493Jim McGovern: Possibly you have touched on this. Mr Crawford, aspirationally, someone who joins the armed forces, whether it is the RAF, Royal Navy or British Army, presumably knows what they are joining up for. Although it is very commendable that if there are floods or any national disaster they help clear up, but I do not think that is why they join the armed forces. Why would someone want to join a Scottish defence force?

Stuart Crawford: There are two arguments here. There is a general perceived truth that, because the Scottish defence forces might be considerably smaller than the UK’s, there would be a corresponding reduction in opportunities for those who serve in them. I do not know whether that is the case, because, for that to happen, the commitments and interests of the Scottish Government would have to diminish by the same proportionality.

If you look at the analogy of the diplomatic service-I am going only from what I read in the press-the UK has something like 270 consulates and embassies around the world. Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister of Scotland, has said that an independent Scotland would be likely to have 100. That is not a proportional reduction, so for those in the Scottish diplomatic service who are transferred from the UK the opportunities would increase.

Q2494Jim McGovern: I am not talking about the diplomatic service but the armed forces.

Stuart Crawford: But the same would apply to the armed forces.

Q2495Jim McGovern: I go to schools quite often and speak about careers and stuff like that. If a young man or woman said to me, "If in a separate Scotland I sign up to join the armed forces, what will I be doing?" how could I answer that?

Stuart Crawford: I cannot answer it until we see a foreign policy for an independent Scotland. I do not think anyone has produced one of those yet.

Q2496Jim McGovern: You do not have a view on it.

Stuart Crawford: I have a view that the opportunities will be there. Whether they will be the same or fewer, I don’t know.

Q2497Chair: Can I come back to the parallel with the diplomatic service? Presumably, there is an irreducible minimum. Small African states will have a certain number of diplomatic missions, but the same does not necessarily apply, surely, to military forces. I presume you have to produce a guard force for your consulates and embassies abroad, so I can see a slight tie-in there, but I cannot see any other correlation between the number of embassies you have abroad and the use of your forces in third countries.

Stuart Crawford: Maybe it was a bad analogy, but the point I was trying to make is that an independent Scotland, which in terms of population is 10% of the UK, would not necessarily have only 10% of the foreign policy and overseas ambitions of the UK. It might have proportionally more than that. Therefore, if a small country with a small armed forces retained a larger proportion of interests abroad, the opportunity for those armed forces to be employed abroad would be greater.

Q2498Chair: That would have to be made explicit, presumably, by a Scottish Government before people were voting whether or not to transfer, wouldn’t it?

Stuart Crawford: Yes.

Q2499Chair: I cannot remember whether it was you or someone else who said it was more likely that, in the transfer process, younger people who wanted travel and adventure would go into the British Army and those nearer retiral would stay with Scotland, basically as a "Dad’s Army".

Stuart Crawford: There is an element of truth in that. When one joins as a young man or woman, part of the attraction is the travel, seeing different places and doing different things in different countries. As one gets older, gets married and has children, there are elements of stability. It could be your spouse has got a job; your children need continuing education; you do not want to send them to boarding school. That would militate against their having such a peripatetic military career.

Q2500Jim McGovern: For example, if someone wanted to fly jets, it is fairly obvious that they would probably want to join the RAF.

Stuart Crawford: An ambitious young man or woman wanting to fly fast jets would want to fly the most sophisticated ones available to them, I would suggest; I would agree with that, and that would be the RAF.

Q2501Jim McGovern: Presumably, that would not be a Scottish defence force; it would be the RAF.

Stuart Crawford: Yes. If the Air Force was equipped in the way I think it might be, the only opportunity would be to fly fast jets of that nature in the RAF.

Q2502Jim McGovern: As regards training and facilities for training, do you think a Scottish defence force would have to be trained elsewhere, outwith Scotland?

Stuart Crawford: A lot of the basic infantry training, for example, could be done in Scotland, and has been in the past, although I know that most of it is now done at Catterick; but Glencorse was previously a training barracks and there are other barracks that can be used for that.

There are a number of difficulties when it comes to things like officer training, for example. To replicate the sort of officer training that one would get at Sandhurst, West Point or equivalent officer training schools in Germany would be a considerable undertaking. Therefore, I would anticipate, and have said so in the report, that officer training would probably take place elsewhere for all three services, but that is not uncommon across Europe and the rest of the world. I attended the US Army staff college, for example.

Q2503Chair: You attended for a course or something; you did not do all your training there.

Stuart Crawford: No. I was the UK representative on their staff course.

Q2504Chair: But the point Jim was making was what would the run-of-the-mill soldier or officer cadet have to do? Would they all have to go abroad?

Stuart Crawford: No. We could do basic training certainly for the Army, and arguably both for the RAF and the Navy here. There are no facilities for specialist training in Scotland that I know of, so for officer training initially I would probably look to Sandhurst for the Army, Cranwell for the RAF and Dartmouth for the Navy.

Q2505Chair: For specialist training.

Stuart Crawford: Officer training and also specialist training.

Q2506Chair: For normal, run-of-the-mill training of officers you would see it being done by the UK.

Stuart Crawford: Yes, initially, until such time as the Scottish Government did or did not decide to set up their own facilities.

Q2507Chair: Do you not need certain numbers for throughput? It is a bit like the viability of primary schools or secondary schools, isn’t it, given the choice of options?

Stuart Crawford: Yes, it is.

Q2508Chair: Surely, in intellectual terms you need a certain throughput to make something like that viable.

Stuart Crawford: You need a critical mass. I could probably do a quick calculation, but I do not know; I have not looked at that.

Jim McGovern: A throughput calculation.

Chair: This is something that had not occurred to us before.

Q2509Jim McGovern: As regards training, we accept that Scottish defence force personnel might have to go outwith Scotland to get that training.

Stuart Crawford: Undoubtedly.

Q2510Jim McGovern: Does your report cover costings?

Stuart Crawford: It will by default rather than design.

Richard Marsh: We have included the costs for training but have not made explicit where it will be. Stuart was saying that some of it might need to be outside Scotland. We have not been able to say how much of that will be outside Scotland.

Q2511Jim McGovern: So there are no costings available.

Richard Marsh: No, not broken down.

Q2512Chair: As to personnel, the witnesses last week suggested that the mindset of people coming from the British forces might be a difficulty because they were attuned to big force thinking and, therefore, a separate Scotland might want to recruit people from small countries to run things initially just to change that mindset. What do you think of that idea?

Stuart Crawford: I read it in the evidence and thought it was an interesting idea.

Q2513Chair: Is that a euphemism?

Stuart Crawford: No, not at all; it is an interesting idea, and one I really had not thought of before. I can see the utility of it, like bringing in a Canadian to run the Bank of England. There is a utility in doing that. I do not know how it will be done, but I am sure it could be done.

Q2514Pamela Nash: You have already touched on the possibilities of specialism and the qualities of the Scottish defence force going overseas, but I want to concentrate on the scale and the figures. What do you envisage is the scale of the military capability for the Scottish defence force overseas? What would be the maximum number of personnel we would have?

Stuart Crawford: I would not anticipate a Scottish Army sending more than a brigade-sized force overseas, and that would be quite a big ask. We are talking of somewhere between 3,500 and 5,000 personnel all-told at the maximum effort, but that is a big ask for a small force, and it might be more likely that the normal maximum deployment would be about a battalion strength between 700 and maybe 1,000.

Q2515Pamela Nash: From the limited detail we have had so far on the SNP’s model, do you think that would be a distinct possibility?

Stuart Crawford: I do not know what the model is. People have asked, but I do not think their defence model has yet broken down the number of personnel into different arms. We know there will be 15,000 regulars, but we do not know whether they will be regulars of the Navy, Air Force or Army. We can probably anticipate that the Army would be the biggest proportion, but how big I do not know.

Q2516Pamela Nash: When you referred to a brigade, are you also looking at those figures across the different forces?

Stuart Crawford: I was talking about the Army. In terms of aircraft, maybe you would be looking at sending a maximum of half a dozen to join in any sort of joint force, and for the Navy you might send a frigate, if you have one, or a couple of patrol boats. I do not think it would be a huge contribution but it would be a token; it would be making a political statement.

Pamela Nash: Thank you. I think everything else has been covered.

Q2517Chair: We are coming to the end. Normally, we ask whether or not there are any answers you had prepared to questions we have not asked. Is there anything that you feel we have not touched on?

While you think about that, let me raise with you a couple of points. From all the stuff we have gone through, am I right in thinking that your force would need to have 6,700 people at Faslane, and it is very difficult to see how, if the Royal Navy goes, you would have that number of people there?

Stuart Crawford: I think that is right.

Q2518Chair: Is that Mr Sums’s view?

Richard Marsh: Yes.

Q2519Chair: I have covered the point about Kentigern and submarines. The other point, which perhaps is not your direct area of expertise, is how votes for people in the services ought to be dealt with. We touched on it last time. We were minded that, if you were possibly going to have the opportunity to die for Scotland by joining the services, you ought to be given the opportunity to vote in the referendum. On reflection, does that still seem to you to be a reasonable view?

Stuart Crawford: My personal view is that servicemen and women should have the vote in the referendum.

Q2520Chair: We identified three categories in other sessions, not dealing with military things but section 30 and so on. First, military based in Scotland could presumably register in Scotland and there would be no problem.

Stuart Crawford: Yes.

Q2521Chair: The second category is military registered abroad, say, in Germany. As I understand it, they can make arrangements to have a postal vote.

Stuart Crawford: They can, although I have to say from personal experience that the military abroad tends not to vote. I am slightly out of date here, but in my day it was almost impossible to register to vote and the services were essentially disenfranchised.

Q2522Chair: Were they? Without wishing to clarify your age, how long ago was that?

Stuart Crawford: We are talking about probably 1995 and 1996. It was very difficult to get to vote. It was not facilitated by the MOD.

Q2523Chair: Maybe we will put that on the list of things that we want to raise with the Secretary of State. You can see how legally they have got the right.

Stuart Crawford: Absolutely.

Q2524Chair: The third category is those from Scotland who are based in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, who are generally expected to register where they are.

Stuart Crawford: Yes.

Q2525Chair: Exceptional measures would have to be taken for them. It seemed to us unfair that whether or not you got a vote was almost random depending on where you were allocated. Therefore, there ought to be some commonality of ruling in these circumstances. Does that seem reasonable to you as a military officer, or is there anything about it that causes a difficulty?

Stuart Crawford: The question is one of degree. Where do you draw the line? If you extend the argument-one would not-the Scottish diaspora is probably 25 million-plus worldwide, so at some point a line has to be drawn. Maybe those who have joined the armed services to serve the UK in the way they have, and who essentially are prepared to be put in harm’s way if need be, have a special case pleading here. How you would translate that into those Scots who, for example, live in England-the figure bandied around in the media is about 800,000-and beyond that I would not know. It is very difficult.

Q2526Chair: We have taken the view that, in principle, we are in favour of many of these people being able to vote, but we recognise that perhaps it is more properly dealt with by the Scottish Parliament and is devolved. However, since the armed services are clearly a UK responsibility, making sure that UK service personnel who may choose to move into a Scottish defence force have the right to vote is more appropriately our responsibility. Therefore, we want to pursue that.

Stuart Crawford: I agree with you wholeheartedly. The Argylls are based in Canterbury at the moment and will not have a vote in the Scottish independence referendum, unless they happen to have declared their main residence to be north of the border. There is something not quite right about that.

Q2527Jim McGovern: We should also put on the record that not only do we support the right of people who are serving in the armed forces to vote in a referendum but also their families, who might also be based outwith Scotland. I was not around during the 1945 general election, but I remember reading somewhere that it took about three weeks to announce the result because so many of the votes were coming from armed forces personnel. I am not quite sure when you say armed forces personnel tend not to vote.

Stuart Crawford: It is just my personal experience. I was always quite keen to vote. It certainly was not made easy, and I think most of my soldiers would not have voted when we were stationed in Germany, for example.

Q2528Chair: But these are exceptional times and therefore possibly exceptional measures are called for. Richard, you were asked to come in on that but then Stuart spoke about it himself. Is there anything you want to add?

Richard Marsh: No. I am quite keenly aware that I do not have a military background and Stuart has covered that pretty well.

Q2529Chair: Accountants, presumably, are not covered by the dispensation. Accountants throughout the world will not be given the opportunity, or will be in a category, to transfer to the Scottish Government. Are there any points you want to raise with us that we have not touched on?

Stuart Crawford: I do not think so. We are both flattered to have been invited twice now to provide evidence here, and by and large we have enjoyed the process.

Chair: You are not here to enjoy yourself. Goodness me, something must be going wrong.

Lindsay Roy: So you will be back again, then.

Chair: We very much appreciate the work that you have done in your garages or back bedrooms, because it helps to make a lot of issues clearer than they would otherwise have been. Our regret is that there are not many more people like you working in different areas of policy and politics to come forward with this sort of discussion, because the votes of the Scottish people are going to be based on their understanding of the options.

At the moment there are so many areas that are quite murky and unknown. I take your point about known unknowns and unknown knowns and so on. I close the meeting by thanking you very much, not only for your attendance here-for the second time-but for the work you have put in over the years.

Prepared 3rd October 2013