Examination of Witnesses (Questions 40-59)|
INGRAM, MP, MR
CBE AND MR
WEDNESDAY 19 DECEMBER 2001
40. Things we do not talk about.
(Mr Ingram) We do not confirm the utilisation of such
forces. I know that there is a debate out there that there may
be a need for a greater clarity and a greater debate on that but
at present that is not something we want to comment upon.
41. Perhaps you could drop us a note please.
You can leave a few blanks if you wish and we can interpret, but
certainly you can tell us what you have kept out of the pot.
(Mr Ingram) If you look at what we have contributed
it is easy to say what we have not contributed in that sense.
The rest of our resources of the 12,500, and I think they have
listed an 18-warship capability in terms of ro-ros, in terms of
nuclear submarines and whatever else and the aircraft, so if there
is something not there then it has been defined as not being necessary
to meet those requirements.
42. Thanks very much. That is a startling revelation.
(Mr Ingram) I am intrigued by the question.
43. You can tell us why something was put in
and why it was not. What was the rationale for including the figure
of aircraft? Was it a whim or did somebody say, "We would
like X number of aircraft", or did you say, "We only
think we can put in X per cent"?
(Mr Lee) We can answer that now. This has not been
approached against the criterion of what we could leave out. It
is approached from the other end of what we should put in, starting
with the Headline Goal itself as the collective goal. That was
elaborated down into a large number of particular capability requirements,
144 different capability requirement areas, and then each of the
countries put forward what they could offer from their own resources
to meet in those capability areas and to meet the various qualitative
criteria which are within the goal in terms of readiness and sustainability
and so on. In our case we looked at our programme, looked at our
own defence planning assumptions and discovered what amount of
forces we had which met those criteria and could be made available
for those tasks. That rules out nuclear weapons because they do
not come within the ambit of peace making in the sense defined.
We were able to put forward what we would assume we could field
for what we call a continuing medium scale operation. That is
how the programme in the UK is constructed. That is what we could
put into the pot as it were for this purpose. That is what we
have done and we know that other countries have done their own
equivalent version of that exercise according to their own plans
and their own availabilities.
44. Force generation: given the little progress
since the Capabilities Commitments Conference a year ago, can
we be confident that the necessary forces will be available by
(Mr Ingram) We are driving towards that. I think it
is more than travelling hopefully. We are travelling with a purpose.
In terms of earlier exchanges that increased awareness and that
increased definition of what is required assists everybody in
meeting those goals. It is a very demanding task we have set ourselves
but we hope we can get there with commitment and will and determination.
45. With the forces that are available now what
could be achieved?
(Mr Ingram) UK forces or European forces?
46. European forces.
(Mr Ingram) Very much at the lower end of the task.
Geoff Hoon when he was here last in March gave an example, and
he may have given it to the House of Lords inquiry, that Mozambique
would be the type of example that could probably be delivered
at the present time. Indeed the communiqué from Laeken
indicates that it would be at the lower end of that. We are only
two years away from the starting position on this to where we
now are with another two years to go to get to that final point
of 2003. It is at the lower end we would be able to deliver.
47. By the end of 2003, the way that progress
is being made, what level of task would you be confident of reaching
by that stage?
(Mr Ingram) I would have to give you the answer that
I would be confident that we could give the commitment and determination
and will and countries seizing of the enormity of what we are
trying to do and driving this through across a range of issues
that they have to face, whether it is in defence budget terms
or whether it is in capability terms, getting to that objective,
otherwise at a low point defining those objectives. Closer to
call I think would be the time to say, "Is this now going
to be achieved?" It would be wrong for me to say we are going
to fall far short because that is almost a recipe for failure
and that is not in our thinking. The closer we get to it may create
of itself a demand to say that we are now significantly short
of achieving our objective in 2003; say it was towards the latter
end of 2002. That of itself may then give a spur to countries
to say, "Okay. We now need to step up what we are doing here".
There is a dynamic in this on where we have come from to where
we now are, and that is why in my opening statement I used phrases
like "significant achievement" and "considerable
progress", because we genuinely do believe that much progress
has been made and much more will be made.
48. We are talking about a figures of 160,000
which, by the time it has been added up will be 100,000; 12,500
from the United Kingdom. You know the formula as well as I do.
If you post one sentry to cover you, you need three to cover him.
How do we sustain 60,000 if we have them in the field for a year?
(Mr Ingram) How would you sustain that in terms of
all the capabilities that are being put in? You are talking about
the multiplier of 60,000 because of rotation and things like that.
49. For a sustained period of, let us say, a
year it is unlikely that you will get even the same forces in
the field for 12 months, one resting, one on stag, one waiting
to go. How do you sustain that?
(Mr Ingram) It is part of our planning assumption
that by making that contribution we have taken that into account.
Other countries are doing the same in the way in which they define
this. In what they are putting into the pot they will have included
in that assumption the rotational training aspects of their troops
in the same way as we would have to do that. By offering 12,500
it is part of our ongoing process of rotation; that is implicit
within all that.
(Mr Webb) Sixty thousand is a commitment to provide
troops for up to a year. That implies that behind their offers
countries must have the rotation to do that. Our 12,500 is not
the total number that might participate in the ESDP operation.
That is our commitment to provide 12,500 and to sustain that.
As you say, we need a lot more than that.
50. We are looking at a division really, are
we not, a division plus to sustain 12,500 in the field?
(Mr Webb) Yes.
51. It is clearly with our other commitments
a huge earmarking of troops.
(Mr Ingram) I think it is a significant contribution
we are making; there is no question at all about that. We are
committed to the concept because it does life capabilities. We
can take some credit from the fact that we are taking a lead in
this. In one sense we were first to the examination of what we
had to do post the Cold War. The SDR gives us an advance in many
ways of being able to define our capabilities, to know the stresses
that puts upon that if we are dealing with other areas. Remembering
what I said earlier, at the end of the day if we are committed
elsewhere because of other events then we do not have that to
draw upon. A decision has to be taken at that time what do we
do, and it is all a question of prioritieswhere lies the
national interest, the European interest, and indeed the NATO
(Mr Webb) I hesitate to correct a soldier, but
52. A former soldier.
(Mr Ingram) I think you may be correcting a politician.
(Mr Webb) The 12,500 is really about a brigade size
formation and that is what we are talking about. If you go back
to the Strategic Defence Review what we said was that we were
going to scale for ability to conduct a medium scale operation,
which is a brigade plus the extra commitment, on a continuing
basis and another medium scale. This is if you like part of our
medium scale capacity. Although you only have a brigade out there
you might have at administrative level a division to sustain that
but it is a brigade. What we are really talking about is that
a part of our SDR capacity could be available to the SDP if it
was not committed elsewhere, so we are not in that sense extending
ourselves any further. It is something we were planning to work
up in any event.
53. The force generationwho physically
puts it together? Where does DSACEUR fit into the process?
(Mr Webb) There are two possibilities. If this is
an operation where there is recourse to NATO assets then one of
the NATO assets you get is DSACEUR and his ability to do force
generation. There is a procedure for that, we do it all the time,
and DSACEUR would provide that process. It could be dealt with
elsewhere in NATO command chain but DSACEUR would I think be the
first port of call. If it was not done there, in other words NATO
assets were not for some reason being used, then a national headquarters
under the ESDP concept would be provided and we see PJHQ as being
able to undertake that role. I would see that happening at PJHQ.
I should say perhaps that they would need a bit of reinforcement
from the MOD to do it and they would need some extra bodies and
we have ideas for that. Basically PJHQ could do that sort of function.
As you know, they have commanded multinational operations before.
54. That is an extremely important point. What
you are saying, Mr Webb, is that in the event that NATO is not
involved it has been decided that the extremely important task
of force generation will not be carried out by DSACEUR? It will
be carried out by PJHQ?
(Mr Webb) What I am saying is that normally it would
be done by DSACEUR but if for some reason that was not feasible
there is an alternative. The French have a similarly capable headquarters.
55. It is a very important issue because it
actually brings together these disparate forces, does it not,
in terms of force generation?
(Mr Webb) It is a technical function.
56. It may be a technical function, Mr Webb,
but it is rather an important one, who is responsible for physically
organising the co-ordination of these forces.
(Mr Lee) The operation commander would be responsible
for that function and, as Mr Webb has said, if the operation was
being conducted with recourse to NATO assets and capabilities
then DSACEUR is the candidate for that.
57. We understand that. I am trying to get to
the position of what happens if NATO is not involved.
(Mr Lee) Then some other person is designated as the
operation commander and that other person would draw on a national
headquarters to be used for these purposes.
58. Surely it has been decided who that person
is to be?
(Mr Lee) No. There is a range of options there.
59. So it has not been decided who that person
(Mr Ingram) In what circumstances are you seeking
a decision, would be the question. What coalition of forces is
being brought together? Who then takes the lead in those circumstances?