Further memorandum from the Ministry of
Defence (26 November 2001)
(i) The establishment and current strength
of the reserve forces, and the level at which reserve units (or
individuals) are able to be deployed [Qs 64 and 81 of the provisional
1. The Strategic Defence Review (SDR) concluded
that, in the light of the likely warning time available for any
large deployment, just over half of the total TA strength should
be "fit for role" at any one time. Members of the TA
are classed as "fit for role" when they have completed
two phases of training that will vary in length depending on an
individual's role and trade. Phase 1 is recruit training and Phase
2 is training designed to prepare the TA soldier to a standard
at which they are sufficiently qualified to take their place in
Unit training with the rest of their colleagues. A target of just
over half being "fit for role" is realistic, given annual
personnel turnover of 25-30 per cent, and the time needed to train
new recruits (from months, to 2-3 years, depending on role, aptitude
and previous experience).
2. Contrary to the impression given in recent
articles, the TA is quite close to meeting its target for the
proportion of its strength which should be fit for role, and is
only 328 personnel short. Following the SDR, the majority of the
TA are at a readiness state that gives them 90 days to prepare
for deployment and we are confident that the majority of the TA
could achieve fit for role status within that time frame. Indeed,
the TA has always responded whenever the call for reservists has
been made, and have consistently provided 10 per cent of the total
UK forces deployed in the Balkans.
3. The latest figures, as at 1 October,
show the strength of the TA as 40,066. This figure includes 1,164
non-regular permanent staff. The number of mobilised reservists
is 647 and the number of TA on Full Time Reserve Service is 812.
4. Most TA Combat Support and Combat Service
Support units are roled and established to operate as formed units
and sub units and as such form an essential part of the Army's
order of battle. TA Combat Arm units are not established to operate
as formed units since their warfighting role does not require
them to do so.
(ii) The lessons that were learnt from the
foot-and-mouth outbreak about countering biological attack, including
those lessons drawn from the MoD's involvement in tackling the
foot-and-mouth crisis [Q83]
5. The origins of the outbreak of foot and
mouth disease (FMD) earlier this year have been the subject of
detailed investigations by the Department of Environment, Food
and Rural Affairs, the police and other appropriate agencies.
They have found no evidence that biological terrorism was the
cause of the outbreak. It would be inappropriate to comment further
on what was the suspected cause as it is possible that legal proceedings
will be pursued.
6. The Joint NBC Regiment is a smaller specialist
nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) military capability intended
to support UK operations worldwide. The regiment can detect and
identify NBC hazards, survey for chemical and nuclear contamination,
and decontaminate affected equipment, therefore enabling the UK
Armed Forces to continue to operate in an NBC environment. The
Regiment is equipped with a number of specialist systems and vehicles
for dealing with nuclear, chemical and biological hazards. These
include the Prototype Biological Detection System (PBDS), a collection
and analysis laboratory mounted on a Bedford lorry chassis, which
detects and identifies airborne biological warfare agents.
7. the Joint NBC Regiment was not deployed
during the epidemic. Airborne FMD is of no danger to humans and
the use of NBC protected vehicles was not required. The range
and capability of these vehicles is, in any case, very limited
in comparison with the human resources which can be deployed in
the UK to identify bacteria. The chief vet and his team undertook
an exhaustive campaign of serology testing of livestock. Scientific
modelling provided analysis on the possible spread of the disease.
8. The lessons learned process is now underway
following the announcement by the Prime Minister of the establishment
of enquiries relating to FMD. The MoD is co-operating fully with
9. The Government had recognised the need
to enhance civil emergency mechanisms as a result of the fuel
dispute of September 2000. Whilst MAFF made every effort to control
FMD, the need for stronger central co-ordination was also recognised
in the early stages of the FMD epidemic. Immediate action was
taken and, for the longer term, the Civil Contingencies Secretariat
(CCS) was established in the Cabinet Office to provide a permanent
focal point for co-ordinating civil emergency planning and a core,
central Government crisis management mechanism. The Committee
was briefed on the work and activities of the CCS by its head,
Mike Granatt, on 15 November.
(iii) A description (or "organisation
chart") of the responsibilities of different government departments
and agencies for defending against, and dealing with, different
aspects of a possible terrorist attack [Q70].
10. The Home Office is the lead Department
for counter terrorism policy and has strategic responsibility
for responding to terrorist incidents in the UK. It is the civil
authorities who have responsibility for providing services to
the public including emergency and disaster relief and the maintenance
of essential services. As such, it would by the Police (who have
primacy) and other emergency services who would be the first to
respond to a terrorist incident. They would call on appropriate
assistance from the Armed Forces in the event of a heightened
threat or an actual incident, especially if it was of the magnitude
of that witnessed on 11 September.
11. The Armed Forces would provide assistance,
under the terms of Military Aid to the Civil Power (MACP) of Military
Aid to other Government Departments (MAGD). Our contingency plans
for responding to a wide range of terrorist threats are well prepared,
regularly exercised, tested, reviewed and refined in the light
of changing domestic and international circumstances. The scope
of the assistance which the Armed Forces could provide is wide
ranging, but would depend on the nature of the attack.
12. Other broad Departmental responsibilities
on counter terrorist related issues are as follows:
Cabinet Office. The recently established
Civil Contingencies Secretariat is primarily responsible for assessing
the resilience of all Government Departments in the face of emergencies.
Enhancing resilience remains, however, the responsibility of individual
Departments and Agencies. Mike Granatt has already been in touch
with you about the supplementary information the Committee required.
FCO. Strategic responsibility for responding
to terrorist incidents involving UK citizens and national interests
Department of Transport, Local Government
and the Regions. Strategic responsibility for transport security
including airport and in-flight security. They are working very
closely with other Departments, including the Ministry of Defence,
to make substantial improvements, primarily in the area of pre-flight
and in-flight security. In the event of a specific threat, and
should the civil authorities feel it necessary, the Armed Forces
can be called upon to provide support at airports.
Department of Health. Strategic responsibility
for public health, including the impact on public health of Chemical,
Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) terrorism, as well
as other forms of terrorism. The Department of Health and MoD
have maintained constant contact on Chemical and Biological issues
to ensure there remains a clear understanding of each other's
capabilities, for example the Joint NBC Regiment and Porton Down.
Department of Trade and Industry. Strategic
responsibility for the nuclear, chemical and other industries.
in particular, they are responsible for issues concerning security,
vulnerability and protection of nuclear power stations and reprocessing
Cabinet Office. Responsibility for
security at key sites rest with a number of Departments but the
Cabinet Office have a co-ordinating role in this and chair the
Economic Key Points committee. The Police can request the support
of the Armed Forces to guard key sites if they fell it necessary.
13. Local Authorities have responsibilities
for emergency planning in their localities. A consultation document,
The Future of Emergency Planning in England and Wales, issued
by the Cabinet Office in August, could develop further their role
and place a statutory obligation on them to have robust contingency
plans in place. We await the results of that consultation process
which could see the enhancement of their partnerships with other
agencies (emergency services, health authorities, Environment
Agency, privatised utilities, transport operators and Government
departments, including MoD). Emergency planning in London is highly
developed and many London agencies are engaged, including the
Greater London Authority. The devolved administrations for Scotland,
Wales and Northern Ireland are also clearly involved in the development
of contingency planning for civil crises. They played important
roles in combating the foot and mouth epidemic.