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Mr. Hoon: The position remains unchanged. We understand the potential role missile defence can play as one element of a comprehensive strategy to tackle a ballistic missile threat. What the events of 11 September show is that there are those who will seek to threaten with whatever means are available the US, its friends and allies.
Mr. Hoon: We continue to assess the threat posed by ballistic missiles. We also continue to assess ballistic missile defence technology, which is evolving rapidly. We do so in the context of needing to tackle the threat with a comprehensive strategy and broad range of defensive measures. We fully support the continuing NATO Theatre Missile Defence Feasibility Studies, and we have a long-standing technical dialogue with the US on the subject of ballistic missile defence. We believe that it remains premature to decide on acquiring a ballistic missile defence capability for either deployed forces or defence of the UK. But we recognise the role ballistic missile defence can play, and our options remain open.
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Mr. Ingram: The UK's warship repair is provided at Devonport by Devonport Management Ltd., at Rosyth by Babcock Rosyth Defence Ltd. and at Portsmouth by Fleet Support Ltd. The Ministry of Defence is currently seeking to modernise arrangements for warship support across the UK's Naval Bases and Dockyards. Within this initiative, as well as pursuing efficiencies at the Naval Bases, the MOD is seeking to increase the proportion of the programme for surface warship repair that is opened up to competition, with the aim of helping the dockyard companies to drive out excess capacity and increase efficiency.
Mr. Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many complaints have been reported in his Department under paragraph 11 of the Civil Service Code since 13 May 1999, and how many of them related to special advisers. 
Dr. Moonie: Officials from the Ministry of Defence, the Department of Health (DoH) and the National Health Service (NHS) met in November 2001 to discuss the provision of sponsored reserve surgical teams. The meeting was very useful and we are encouraged by the drive and enthusiasm shown by DoH and NHS colleagues. Initial scoping work is currently being undertaken on a pilot project which we expect to be finalised in the course of the current year.
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Mr. Hoon: An unclassified summary of the Technology Readiness and Risk Assessment Programme is at an advanced stage of preparation. I expect to place copies of it in the Library of the House within the first quarter of 2002.
Dr. Moonie: We have no immediate plans to immunise members of the armed forces against smallpox or its variants. We continually review the package of defensive measures against chemical and biological attack available to our armed forces, which includes immunisation, commensurate with an assessment of the threat. The Ministry of Defence has in place a series of research, development and procurement programmes aimed at ensuring that personnel are afforded optimum protection against chemical and biological warfare agents, including against smallpox.
Dr. Moonie: Falcon will provide a formation level communication system for UK forces including the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps. Falcon remains a significant component of an on-going programme of continuous improvements in Army communications that also includes projects Bowman and Skynet V. Current plans remain on schedule to begin delivery of Falcon in 200607.
Dr. Moonie: No changes have occurred to the forecast expenditure on Falcon since 30 October 2001. Falcon remains a significant component of an on-going programme of continuous improvements in Army communications systems that also includes projects Bowman and Skynet V. Current plans remain on schedule to begin delivery of Falcon in 200607.
Dr. Moonie: Falcon is currently nearing the end of the concept phase and in keeping with the principles of smart acquisition decisions on precise timing and levels of expenditure will be informed by work both in concept and assessment phases. Current plans remain on schedule to begin delivery of project Falcon in 200607.
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Dr. Moonie: As a tactical radio system designed for use from Divisional level and below, effective operation of Bowman is not dependent upon replacement of the current Ptarmigan system with Falcon. Falcon will provide a highly capable communication infrastructure to enable the rapid passage of data between Bowman networks thus contributing significantly to the programme of planned improvements for Army communications.
Mr. Hoon: Expenditure on new equipment for defence against chemical and biological warfare in 200102 is estimated, in resource terms, to be in the region of £26 million. Expenditure planned for 200203 and 200304 has yet to be finalised.
Mr. Hoon: While there are no plans formally to review the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), EU governments will wish to discuss the implications of the changed international climate as their responses to international terrorism are developed. Our work on producing a "new chapter" for the Strategic Defence Review will include an assessment of the role that international organisations, including the EU, might play.
Mr. Hoon: The European Council agreed at Helsinki in December 1999 that EU member states should be able by 2003, where NATO as a whole is not engaged, to deploy military forces, capable of conducting the full range crisis management operations known as the Petersberg tasks. These include humanitarian and rescue tasks; peacekeeping tasks; and tasks of combat forces in crisis management, including peace making. The European Council at Laeken in December last year agreed that the EU is now able to conduct some crisis- management operations within this definition. The EU will be progressively more able to take on increasingly demanding operations as the assets and capabilities available to it continue to develop and improve. Decisions to launch and participate in operations will be taken by national governments, on a case by case basis, in light of the circumstances at the time.
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