Examination of Witnesses (Questions 100-119)|
TEBBIT KCB, CMG, MAJOR
WEDNESDAY 10 APRIL 2002
100. Can you provide the Committee then with
the global figures on an annual basis spent on research and compare
that with the global figuresyou can provide a breakdown
if you wantcombat ID specific equipment compared with what
you spend overall so we can get a feel for those aggregates?
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) I cannot do that.
101. Why not?
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) Let me please explain why I cannot
do it quite like that. There is a basic point here which I am
clearly not getting through to the Committee on. Combat ID consists
of three issues: combat effectiveness is about three issues. One
of them is the target identification systems, the sorts of things
we have been talking about
102. And the other is situational awareness
and tactics, techniques and procedures. Yes, I understand that.
(Sir Kevin Tebbit)and the other is the situational
awareness and the other is tactics, techniques and procedures.
All of those three elements come together and the spending that
is relevant will have to cut across all of those things. An awful
lot is involved and I cannot separate those out for the Committee
because we do not see it like that, we see it in terms of operational
103. The idea is whether you can give us a greater
illumination on how much time you spend on the research phase
of putting the systems in place as opposed to running ahead and
spending enormous amounts of money on them and then perhaps there
could be a question of whether, if we spent more in the first
instance, we might save more lives.
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) I do not want to be difficult but
when we are talking about saving more lives we have to talk about
the overall military capability we are developing. I could give
you a general note about how we use our research budget to increase
the Ministry of Defence's overall operational effectiveness.
104. No, no. We are talking specifically about
combat identification and not killing our own men.
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) I say again that it is avoiding
casualties, it is minimising casualties that is important. I do
not want to sound callous but if we are going to have 100 men
killed, that is what worries me. In spite of the fact that I might
have three from friendly fire and 97 from the enemy, I am still
going to worry about those 100 people who are killed, so all of
these issues are relevant.
105. In some scenarios you intend to go out
and kill a certain number of people who might be driving tanks
for instance. You do not send them a little note saying please
get out or we blow up your tank, do you? So we have objectives
to kill people.
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) I am afraid when we go to war we
try to kill the enemy, yes.
106. That is what we should do. I realise that
we might not want to kill unnecessary numbers of people, in particular
innocent bystanders or our own men, but that is part of the equation.
In terms of your investment strategies, in terms of research and
then kit, etcetera, is there a value on human life that you have
in mind in terms of the value of killing one of our own men? Is
something in the accounting system?
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) No, it is not done that way. It
is to do with trying to achieve military objectives with minimum
casualties, minimum casualties mainly of our own people. We cannot
calculate the difference between one and the other; it is not
a calculation that is susceptible to being achieved.
107. So there is no value.
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) I did not say there was no value.
I said you cannot make that calculation.
108. Major General Fulton, you mentioned some
of these new things which are going forward, radar and all the
rest of it. In operational terms, if you have something moving
around on a battlefield, it could be a tractor, it could be a
tank, and you are 80 per cent sure it is a tank, would you blow
(Major General Fulton) It is not possible to give
you an answer based on that amount of information. What you seek
to do is to have the best possible picture of what is happening
on the battlefield in front of you.
109. Judgements have to be made, do they not?
I was wondering how you get a feel for this. Say you have that
information, do you give any guidelines? If I am the man who has
to blow up the tank, how do you give me the guidance on how much
information I need?
(Major General Fulton) Nobody can give the decision
maker any guidance. The commander who is responsible for making
that decision has to take into account everything he knows about
the circumstances, everything he knows that has led up to it,
he has to analyse all the information that is coming to him and
then ultimately he has to make a decision.
110. So there may be a wide variation between
particular military operators on whether to push the button, given
a certain amount of data. That is true, is it?
(Major General Fulton) Yes. What he will be receiving
is a certain amount of data.
111. I might push the button on 90 per cent
and you might on 85 per cent or something like this?
(Major General Fulton) We might well, because that
information comes to you, that has to be turned by virtue of your
experience into knowledge and on the basis of that you have to
112. Table 3 on page 8 seems to imply that in
terms of attack nearly 20 per cent of the people who are injured
or killed are in fact our own people. That is correct, is it not?
(Major General Fulton) I think what that is saying
is that of the proportion of friendly fire incidents attack is
inherently more dangerous than the other forms of warfare.
113. It seems to be saying, unless I am misinterpreting
this, that over 20 per cent of deaths in an attack are our own
men. Is that incorrect?
(Major General Fulton) No, I think what that is saying
is that of the proportion of friendly fire incidents, over 20
per cent would take place while the force was attacking.
114. In factoring in all these friendly fire
incidents do you include things like the casualties from depleted
uranium? Presumably you do not, do you?
(Sir John Bourn) No.
115. Given the concern of our own people who
are dying many years after wars from the use of various sorts
of weaponry, is there any movement to factor that in, or not,
or indeed where we drop it? It might be the case that we are dropping
things in various places.
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) The basis for your question still
has not been demonstrated. We have not demonstrated that there
is a depleted uranium cause of death to our forces. A lot of studies
have been undertaken but we still have not established that position
you are alleging.
116. Can I infer from your answer that there
will be no safeguards against possible risks of depleted uranium
and cancer and all the rest in our forces and indeed in neutral
citizens who die, that is not being factored in at the moment
in terms of our activities wherever we are operating now?
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) I am just saying it has nothing
to do with combat ID, that is certainly the case.
117. No, but combat ID is about injuring and
killing our own people.
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) No, it is not. I am sorry, that
is part of it, but you are still not taking my point. Combat ID
is about military effectiveness, operational effectiveness, in
order to hit the target.
118. I am all for military effectiveness, I
know one wants to win a war. The focus of this is to win the war
and to minimise the casualties on our own side. What I am saying
is that there is a growing amount of evidence to suggest that
the use of depleted uranium has long-term impacts in terms of
cancer and that has not been decided once and for all. Given there
is evidence, are you taking any notice of it? What you seem to
be saying is that you do not care about it until you have complete
evidence to show that that has been the case.
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) No, I am not saying that. I am
saying that we are putting a great deal of effort into the concerns
from Gulf veterans and the Gulf War syndrome, so-called, as to
why it is that people are ill or feel ill. There has been an allegation
that this may have something to do with depleted uranium but so
far there has been no evidence to suggest that it is, although
we are putting all the effort we can into helping and to sponsoring
119. That is the retrospective side on the victims
of depleted uranium.
(Sir Kevin Tebbit) You are saying there are victims
and I am saying we have not demonstrated that, that is all.