Supplementary memorandum submitted by
the Ministry of Defence (11 June 2002)
At Q1467 Mr Mann told the Committee the MOD would
"join the club" on secure communications network. Was
Mr Mann referring to the MDP or to all of the Armed Forces? At
Q1473 Mr Ingram promised a note on secure communications.
The Committee has been briefed, including at
its session on 22 May, on plans for the police and emergency services
progressively to field communications equipment compatible with
the TETRA technical standard. One key goal of this programme will
be securing communications inter-operability between those deployed
to the scene of an incident. For the same reason, we intend to
replace our current ICP communications equipment (MOULD) deployed
with 2(NC) Signals Brigade, which is in any case coming to the
end of its life, with similar TETRA-compatible equipment. We also
propose that 2 Signals Brigade should also take on the formal
role of providing communications support to MoD units and personnel
deployed to the scene of an incident.
Separately, the Ministry of Defence Police is
involved in the development of digital communications operability
between police forces.
At Q1511 Mr Ingram promised a note on whether
any military units other than air defence squadrons have been
given any contingency tasking since 11 September.
The staff branches responsible for MACA within
MoD have undertaken considerable contingency planning in light
of the events of 11 September 2001. This has included a review
of the readiness, preparedness and suitability of specialist units
that might be called upon to perform counter-terrorist tasks in
the UK, and a review of contingency plans to identify revisions
were required in light of the changed circumstances. This led
to some fine-tuning including the provision of additional EOD
equipment. The review found that MoD plans were generally robust
in the face of the new challenges and did not require significant
short term amendment.
The review of these plans is a continuing process,
however, linked amongst other things to the training and exercise
programme. For example, enhancements to the chemical, biological,
radiological and nuclear response have followed the full-scale
exercise in February of this year. The Home Office led planning
for this exercise, which began in late 2000. It forms part of
a regular national exercise programme.
A number of additional actions and tasks have
also been undertaken to increase the ability of the Armed Forces
to provide counter terrorist support to the Home Office and the
emergency services. These include:
*** enhancements to the MACA Joint Command
Structure, designed primarily to enhance the rapidity and effectiveness
of the consequence management response, in support of the emergency
*** during the attacks on 11 September the
notice to move of
*** was reduced to
*** This involved
*** The readiness of the unit's contingent
to this task remained heightened for
*** for the period immediately following
the 11 September attacks, the notice to move of the high readiness
*** was reduced to
*** Additional support was also provided
to the police and emergency services during the anthrax scare.
*** Provision of NBC equipment to the police
to help sustain their response to the surge of Anthrax incidents.
These enhancements and reviews have themselves
contributed to the medium and long term review of the MOD contribution
to the UK counter-terrorist response which forms an important
element of the SDR New Chapter.