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Gulf States: Regional Deterrent

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: I will write to my noble friend and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Outer Space: Use of Satellites

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: I will write to my noble friend and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

United States National Security Agency: Activities on British Territory

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: US operations on UK soil are performed with the full knowledge and consent of the UK Government and conducted with full respect for the law. Bilateral and, if necessary,

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confidential agreements between individual nations and third countries that allow the use of their sovereign territory are consistent with the development of the European Union's common foreign and security policy and the Declaration on European Defence agreed by the Prime Minister at St Malo. Indeed, these arrangements provide a valuable contribution to the collective security of all NATO countries and are entirely consistent with our policy of improving European defence capabilities.

Whether other European countries are aware of the activities of the United States National Security Agency is a matter for them.

Space-Based Infrared System

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have been informed by the United States Government about the intended uses of the space-based infrared system, new construction for which by the United States National Security Agency at Menwith Hill is being funded by the United States Ballistic Missile Defense Organisation for use with the United States National Missile Defense programme; and whether these uses are in accordance with the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (to the continuing "integrity" of which the Foreign Secretary committed the United Kingdom on 23 September at the United Nations); and whether their approval for the construction is needed.[HL4672]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Her Majesty's Government have been consulted by the United States about the development and intended uses of the space based infrared system (SBIRS). As I stated in my answer of 25 October 1999 (Official Report, col. WA5), HMG retain legal possession and control over all sites made available for use by the United States visiting forces. It was therefore necessary for the US to seek HMG's permission to construct the European ground relay station of SBIRS at RAF Menwith Hill. Permission was granted on 20 March 1997.

As I explained in my answer of 25 October 1999, interpretation of the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty is a matter for the parties to that treaty.

Kosovo Liberation Army: Relationship with Western Forces

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What, during the military action in Kosovo, was the military relationship between the Kosovo Liberation Army and (a) NATO, (b) United States forces and (c) British forces; and who provided the equipment that was available to the Kosovo Liberation Army.[HL4551]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean): The NATO spokesman confirmed on 30 May that there were no formal links

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between NATO and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) during the air campaign. In addition there was no formal relationship between the KLA and British forces during the air campaign. However, during the course of their normal duties, a number of British military personnel came into contact with members of the KLA. I cannot comment on behalf of other NATO nations.

Following the end of the air campaign there was close contact between NATO-led forces and the KLA resulting in signature on 21 June by the KLA of an undertaking to COMKFOR to demilitarise. COMKFOR confirmed on 21 September that all KLA weapons, as required by the KLA's undertaking, had been handed over and were in especially designated storage sites under KFOR control.

Based on information currently available it is believed that the arms, ammunition and other equipment covered by the UN arms embargo but used by the KLA were either obtained from civilian holdings within Kosovo, captured from Yugoslav forces, or purchased on the black market.

United States Defence Computer Infrastructure: Protection

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the Ministry of Defence is co-operating with the relevant United States authorities in developing protective measures for the United States defence and civil infrastructures declared vulnerable to hacker interference in last year's Presidential decision directives relating to vulnerabilities infrastructures; and whether these include United States defence establishments in the United Kingdom and Dependent Territories.[HL4679]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: I refer the noble Lord to the replies given by Lord Gilbert on 27 July 1998 (Official Report, WA 174) and my noble friend the Minister of State for the Home Office (Lord Williams of Mostyn) on 19 April 1999 (Official Report, WA 137). The Government are fully alert to the risks of electronic attack. They are working closely with key international partners, in particular the United States, to ensure that the protection of the critical national infrastructure, including defence, is as robust as possible.

Information Warfare

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they have been consulted by the United States authorities, within NATO or bilaterally, on the legality of, and on the rules of engagement appropriate to, the waging of information warfare on other countries' computer networks, both civil and military, as discussed by the United States authorities in their Assessment of International Legal Issues in Information Operations; and whether

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    United States forces are equipped and permitted by Her Majesty's Government to carry on such operations from their bases in the United Kingdom and United Kingdom dependent territories.[HL4681]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: The Government have close and frequent contact with the US authorities on a wide range of operational matters. Equipping of US forces for information warfare is a matter for the US Government. The use of US bases in the UK for military operations planned by the US is the subject of long-standing arrangments whereby their use is a matter for joint decision by Her Majesty's Government and the US Government in the light of circumstances prevailing at the time.

RAF Menwith Hill

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether the United States National Security Agency construction activities at Menwith Hill, and elsewhere in the United Kingdom and in United Kingdom Dependent Territories (a) are always in full accordance with Local Plans; (b) have been subjected to fully informed local consultation; (c) are subject to Health and Safety Executive and other specialised inspections; and (d) enjoy Crown Exemption or Crown Immunity from planning and other United Kingdom and international law.[HL4682]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: Planning consultations are always lodged by the Defence Estates Agency in accordance with DOE Circular 18/84 for construction activities at RAF Menwith Hill or elsewhere, on behalf of United States Visiting Forces, where planning clearance is required.

Health and Safety construction and planning laws apply to RAF Menwith Hill in the same terms as other defence establishments.

Defence Co-operation with United States

Lord Kennet asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they intend to increase the United Kingdom defence budget and to recommend increases in other European countries' defence budgets in order, through the Defence Capabilities Initiative (DCI), more effectively to collaborate globally with the forces of the United States; and whether the DCI requires NATO member states to participate in the funding and deployment of theatre ballistic anti-missile defences.[HL4697]

Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean: I will write to my noble friend and a copy of my letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

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