Memorandum from the Ministry of Defence
(30 September 2002)
Did the New Chapter use the same foreign policy
baseline as the original SDR? If so will you provide it to the
Committee? If not, what were the differences?
It was considered prudent to begin the New Chapter
by reviewing the original Foreign Policy Baseline for the SDR
(as articulated in the 1998 White Paper and its Supporting Essays).
It was the judgement of the working group responsible (that included
FCO officials) that, with some minor changes in emphasis to reflect
the scale and potential of the asymmetric threat especially posed
by International Terrorism, the Foreign Policy Baseline was still
What does network-centric capability (NCC) mean
for existing structures, what time frames are envisaged for implementation
and what capabilities are deemed less than critical in the delivery
of military effect to prevent, deter, coerce, disrupt and destroy
in the post 9/11 world ?
Which elements of the armed services are likely
to be the primary focus of the New Chapter and the NCC? Which
platforms or types of platforms may be no longer required to provide
capability? What barriers to integration with NCC face reserve
A key aim of the New Chapter is to increase
our capability rapidly to deploy forces capable of undertaking
operations against international terrorists. The detailed implications
of the New Chapter, and of a further shift in investment towards
NCC, for force structures and equipment programmes are being considered
as part of the Department's normal planning process, and we expect
to be able to reflect the outcome of this work in a further White
Paper next year.
As stated in the New Chapter, the key to delivering
NCC is the ability to collect, fuse and disseminate accurate,
timely and relevant information rapidly to deliver situational
awarenessie a better and shared understanding amongst commanders
at all levels. The early capability enhancements announced in
the New Chapter will help to contribute to the overall goal of
improved situational awareness. For example, the extra mission
console for the E3-D aircraft will improve the quality of the
radar picture and this additional fidelity will enable targets
to be passed to other aircraft with greater precision. This will
help reduce uncertainty and potentially shorten mission times,
increasing operational tempo. The WATCHKEEPER UAV will also provide
an important collection and analysis capability, providing an
essential part of the integrated sensor matrix required to help
realise the benefits of NCC. Whilst WATCHKEEPER will be focused
on the land component's information requirements, we are conscious
of the wider potential of UAVs and the joint-service UAV Operational
Development Unit will examine this broader utility.
The focus of the New Chapter work in respect
of the reserve forces has been on their closer integration with
the UK emergency services and local authorities. This is the ethos
behind the volunteer reaction forces proposal.
How are capabilities designed to dominate the
battle-space useful in fighting terrorist networks?
UK military doctrine already emphasises the
need to deliver military effect precisely, rapidly and reliably.
The aim is to maximise combat effectiveness by making decisions
and acting quicker than an adversary, highly relevant to exploiting
the fleeting opportunities to engage terrorist groups. This is
known as manoeuvre warfare. Underlying this approach is the ability
to absorb and exploit large quantities of raw data and transform
it rapidly into the direction of military action. These capabilities
support the concept of Knowledge Superiority and are equally applicable
in the combating of terrorist networks.
The SDR NC study determined that the military
could contribute to a range of effects. For example, precision
weapons and their supporting sensor systems, that contribute to
domination of the battlespace, are particularly effective where
there is a particular need to limit collateral damage, and to
respond to fleeting targets.
It has been argued that the MoD's vision of NCC
differs from that of the Pentagon. Can you explain these differences
and their implications for interoperability?
Network Centric Warfare (NCW) is a formal US
networking concept and doctrine at the heart of the US transformation
process. It has been described as `the embodiment of the information
age transformation of the DoD'.
The central tenets are:
robustly networked sensors, headquarters,
units and weapons systems improve situational awareness;
situational awareness contributes
to the quality of command and decision-making;
that in turn increases tempo, operational
effectiveness and the likelihood of mission success.
The UK's NCC thinking shares the philosophy
of NCW, but is focused on evolving the concept pragmatically through
the provision of a coherent framework to link sensors, decision
makers, units and weapon systems. Crucial to the realisation of
this concept is ensuring that we have the right calibre people
and that they are well trained to cope with the demands of the
information age. The aim is to realise an ability to implement
more effectively a range of military effects such as prevention,
deterrence, coercion, disruption and destruction.
The SDR spoke of going to the crisis before the
crisis comes to us. The New Chapter discusses the attractions
of fighting the enemy abroad rather than at hometo what
extent does this represent an evolution in MoD thinking of the
balance between home and abroad?
The essential logic remains the same. SDR focused
on developing our expeditionary capabilities, with the creation
of the Joint Rapid Reaction Forces and planned purchases of new
strategic transport aircraft and ships. As outlined in Section
2 of the New Chapter White Paper, it is better where possible
to engage terrorists before they get the opportunity to attack.
The New Chapter recognises more explicitly that expeditionary
or power projection capabilities are a necessary component of
our ability to ensure the immediate and direct security of the
The Secretary of State said on 30 July 2002 that
in most deployments the UK would be working with "more than
one ally". Which allies are being considered in this regard?
Which allies have or are planning to have NCC that would be interoperable
NATO remains the cornerstone of our defence
and security policy and as such we will continue to develop common
doctrine, training and equipment compatibility to consolidate
our ability to operate alongside our NATO Allies. For some operational
theatres where the US or NATO may not be actively engaged, possibly
at lower scales, we could expect to play a leading or prime supporting
role to other NATO allies, EU partners or the UN. Equally, we
are keen to explore and develop regional links with nations beyond
these alliances, recognising the political as well as military
importance of host nation support.
Network Centric Capability has the potential
to revolutionise future military operations. Currently, our focus
is on our interface with the US, recognising their likely leadership
role in NATO and other operations. However, we would wish to be
able to provide similar connectivity, possibly at lesser scale,
with EU partners in due course: much will depend on their ability
to invest appropriately.
The Secretary of State has referred to safeguards
in existing command structures that may be lost in NCC. How will
those safeguards be replicated in the new structures? Is the MoD
considering the pressures that NCC potentially places on decision-makers
and their advisers, in light of the opportunities and challenges
of near-real time information?
The provision of training facilities to help
commanders understand and maximise the benefits of NCC will be
an important element in ensuring normal safeguards are developed,
and is an issue being taken forward in the course of further work.
NCC is intended to enable more timely decisions
to be made on better information. The Secretary of State noted
the challenges this presents. The significant improvements we
plan through networked capability will help to clear the "fog
of war", providing greater clarity to all levels as to what
actions need to be taken. The safeguards we currently use to ensure
political control of military operations, including through the
appropriate delegation of ROE, will continue to be fundamental.
The challenge is to make decisions more quickly whilst preserving
Does the MoD have a clear picture of how the Command
chain is going to be changed by the development of NCC and what
elements of old-decision making structures are to be eliminated?
It is still early days in the MoD's analysis
of what real opportunities networked capability will provide for
changing elements of existing decision-making structures, and
which of these may no longer be required.
In parallel with the development of NCC, studies
are currently underway that will look at a broad range of possible
command structures. Issues to be examined will include the removal
of command layers and/or the development of more integrated and
joint multinational Headquarters. These studies will also consider
the relevant safeguards provided by current structures and how
they can be maintained in the future environment.
What specific new roles are envisaged for Commander
in Chief Land Forces?
The New Chapter White Paper set out, in paragraph
79, that there would be a "clearer", as opposed to a
new, "role for the Headquarters of the Commander in Chief
Land Forces, as the principal focus for the provision of military
assistance to civil authorities in a wide range of operations".
The Commander in Chief Land Forces will therefore be responsible
for co-ordinating support from all three Services (where appropriate),
not just the army.
Is the MoD considering a new overall command structure
for Special Forces, or elite forces (ie Marines/Paratroops and
others), beyond the JRRF concept?
Following our analysis, it was decided there
would be no operational benefit in changing present arrangements.
Improved arrangements for the integration of Special, and other
Forces into the JRRF have been implemented as a result of New
Chapter work and lessons learned during recent operations.
When will full capacity for the Reaction Forces
from the Volunteer Reserves be achieved? What does the New Chapter's
target of initial capacity mean? How many more staff will be available
in each brigade headquarters under current proposals for strengthening
joint liaison arrangements?
Our proposals for the formation of Reaction
Forces have been subject to formal consultation, and comments
from the Reserves were due by Friday 13 September. Once we have
analysed all of the responses, we shall look again at our various
proposals, before the Secretary of State makes his decision on
the use of Reserves in Home Defence and Security, and presents
this to Parliament.
If the Reserves are supportive of the Reaction
Force concept, then we would aim to have an initial capacity in
place by the end of the year. This would mean that the structures
would be in place, and volunteers identified, but that the full
training cycle would not yet have begun. The Reaction Forces would
be available to respond to crises but the individuals would not
have trained together. Communications would be provided by existing
Our current proposals are that each of the regional
brigade headquarters will have two additional staff (one of which
will be TA) for strengthening liaison arrangements. These could
be augmented when circumstances dictated.
What number of concurrent operations is now being
planned for, at what scale and for what duration? Do the SDR's
small, medium and large categories still apply? If more small
operations are envisagedis the SDR's assumption that two
medium operations should be sustainable still valid? Can several
small operations be undertaken during a large-scale operation
under the SDR's categories?
The SDR New Chapter has recognised that frequent
smaller-scale operations are becoming the likely pattern of future
commitments for our forces. However, as the Secretary of State
for Defence made clear in his speech to RUSI on 30 July 2002,
the Department is now working through the implications of the
new challenges that have been identified and no decisions of any
kind have yet been taken. It is anticipated that the outcome of
this work will be included in the general Defence White Paper
that will be published next year.
The New Chapter White Paper mentions a number
of equipment capability areas that may be affected by the New
Chapter reviewWatchkeeper, FRES, E3-D AWACS, air-defence
radar systems, and "critical enabling assets" including
deployable headquarters, communications, "MARS" and
deployable logistics support. The Committee would like information
on each of these and any other programmes that will be modified
or introduced (or indeed cancelled) following the SDR New Chapter.
For each programme, this should include details of changes to
timescales, cost estimates, acquisition approach, and the envisaged
implications for operational capability.
The New Chapter publication announced some changes
to specific programmes. These were: WATCHKEEPER, E3-D Sentry and
air defence radar systems. Further information on all these programmes
is provided below. These and other programmes raised in the question
contribute to the outcomes we are seeking from networked capability.
The need for changes in those programmes not subject to formal
announcement will be addressed as part of the Department's normal
annual equipment planning process, which considers the forward
FRES is a family of Armoured Fighting Vehicles
in which we hope to replicate, over time, the levels of protection
and firepower currently available within our heavy forces, whilst
providing improved tactical mobility, in a platform which is strategically
and operationally air-transportable. It is currently envisaged
that FRES will provide the capability to conduct sustained, expeditionary,
full spectrum operations in a combined-arms, joint and multi-national
context, in a wide range of future operating environments. FRES
will support the achievement of rapid effect and it is a capability,
therefore, that is fully coherent with the direction of the SDR
New Chapter. Initial approval of the programme is due in 2003,
with the aim of an In Service Date of 2009. It is intended to
use innovative approaches to the acquisition of FRES to meet the
demanding timescale, including the possibility of partnering with
industry. The plan for acquisition is one of the elements to be
confirmed during the Assessment Phase.
WATCHKEEPER will provide accurate, timely and
high quality imagery and image intelligence to satisfy the land
manoeuvre commanders' critical information and intelligence requirements
throughout a range of environments and operations. The UAV-based
solution will form a vital part of the land component's ISTAR
mix. The total costs of WATCHKEEPER are being reviewed as part
of the annual planning round but, as a result of the SDR New Chapter,
additional funding up to £50 million over the period 2003-06
has been made available in order to bring forward the ISD by up
to two years.
Joint Service UAV Operational Development Unit
A joint service UAV Operational Development
is to be established to examine the use of UAVs in areas beyond
those currently defined and exploited in the WATCHKEEPER programme.
The Unit will be manned by personnel from the 3 Services and will
experiment widely to scope the roles that UAV Systems might play.
It will also gather information to support the analysis for meeting
capability gaps and to reduce the risks associated with the development
of operational concepts and information management. Specific objectives
for such a Unit are still being refined by the Directorate of
The costings are subject to the normal annual
planning considerations but are expected to be in the order of
£60-70 million to support the establishment of this Unit,
which will form by the end of 2003.
E3-D Extra Mission Console
The extra mission console will enable the E3-D
to conduct full airborne battle management at a level that will
ensure interoperability and interchangeability with the USAF AWACS
aircraft in the face of increasing operational complexity and
tempo. As discussed earlier (Questions 2, 5 and 19), the key aspect
of this increase in capability will be improvements in situational
awareness. Work is to be completed by the end of 2003 at a cost
of around £5 million
This measure will provide the Air Surveillance
and Control System with additional information from selected primary
radar's based at civil airfields to complement current coverage
of UK airspace by military radar systems. Costs are expected to
be in the order of £20 million over the next decade.
What measures will be undertaken to establish
a Quick Reaction Alert aircraft capability at Marham, St Mawgan
and Yeovilton, and in what timescales and at what cost?
The general requirement is to provide a facility
that, if activated, will allow the deployment and operation of
air defence fighters in the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) role for
an unspecified period. This therefore covers the provision of
first line maintenance support of the aircraft, technical and
domestic accommodation for their crews and personnel, and provision
of live weapon storage facilities commensurate with appropriate
licensing regulations. The facility must be capable of sustaining
24 hour alert. Furthermore, robust communications with the tasking
authority and air defence radar network will be required.
At RAF Marham, which already accommodates ground
attack Tornado aircraft, deployment of air defence (F3) Tornado
aircraft is not an uncommon occurrence, although it would be rare
for live-armed Tornado F3 aircraft to deploy. Indeed, with scheduled
runway resurfacing work due to commence at RAF Coningsby next
year, possible redeployment of Coningsby-based Tornado F3 aircraft
had already been expected, prior to the new QRA requirement emerging.
Infrastructure requirements at RAF Marham include
the purchase and build of a portacabin complex to provide operational
and domestic accommodation, together with the necessary communications
and IT linkages. Deployed aircraft would be housed in extant Hardened
Aircraft Shelters. The total cost is expected to be some £650k.
The full facility is expected to be available from June 2003 (although
Tornado F3 aircraft could deploy in extremis before then).
RAF St Mawgan is already used on an occasional
basis for deployments of RAF aircraft. It, too, has operated Tornado
F3 aircraft during exercises in the past. Building works are limited
to the conversion of operational and domestic facilities within
an existing Visiting Aircraft facility, together with the provision
of communications and IT facilities as for RAF Marham. Existing
Hardened Aircraft Shelters are available and compatible with the
QRA task. This work will be completed in April 2003 and is expected
to cost approximately £150k.
Of the three bases, RNAS Yeovilton requires
the most extensive investment. Additional hangarage, in the form
of a Rapid Erect Shelter, together with revetted aircraft parking
slots will be required. Additionally, modification will be needed
to the existing weapon storage facility to meet current licensing
regulations. As RNAS Yeovilton is not currently scaled for 24-hour
operations, additional manpower would be required to operate beyond
current airfield operating hours. This might be provided by detaching
manpower from parent units; this area is now being studied. The
work is expected to take three years to complete at a cost of
£4 million for infrastructure requirements. Here, too, aircraft
could deploy to the base if necessary in a crisis.
1 DoD Report to Congress on NCW Jul 2001. Back