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01-26-03, 03:23 PM

01-28-03, 11:37 AM

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Ministry of Defence - Performance Report 2001/2002



To deliver military capability to meet the Government's requirements.

Performance Measures:

Ability of Armed Forces to meet specified readiness targets.

Ability to sustain the Armed Forces on operations.

Achieve Operational Capability (Phase 2) of the Joint Rapid Reaction Forces by March 2003, and Full Capability (Phase 3) by 2005.

Performance Assessment:

The overall readiness of the Armed Forces improved in the second half of the year, as initiatives to address persistent areas of weaknesses began to take effect.

The method by which we assess sustainability of the Armed Forces continued to improve, enabling specific shortfalls to be identified and addressed. All three Services successfully fulfilled their operational commitments.

Although most elements of the Joint Rapid Reaction Forces are expected to be in place by March 2003, shortfalls in key areas such as manpower and medical support continued.

Performance under this Objective contributes to progress against PSA Target 1 (see Annex B)


37. Readiness of force elements (for example, an Army brigade, Royal Navy ship, or Royal Air Force aircraft and crew) is used as the measure of military capability. Continuing the package of work begun in 2000/01, quantitative and qualitative measures of force element readiness were brought together for the first time in 2001/02. This enabled capability strengths and weaknesses to be identified and addressed more easily. Further work was also initiated to tackle the potential difficulties associated with undertaking a series of operations concurrently. As a result of these developments, the accuracy and coherence of military capability assessments increased significantly.

38. Despite the high level of operational activity, the overall ability of force elements to meet specified readiness targets improved marginally over the year (see Table 2). Although weaknesses persisted in those areas described below, the initiatives set in place to rectify these deficiencies began to take effect.

Table 2: Percentage of Rapidly Available Force Elements at Required Readiness State [1]
2000/01 2001/02
Royal Navy and Marines 95% 93%
Army 72% 81%
Royal Air Force 90% 90%

[1] Percentage of those force elements intended to be rapidly available (i.e. those held at very high, high or medium readiness) that were at medium readiness or above.

39. The naval operational programme was achieved despite a number of significant shortfalls in the readiness of some Royal Navy and Royal Marine force elements. Although
this was largely due to a shortage of trained personnel, the impact on the front line was mitigated by the use of full time reservists. The Royal Navy was also affected by a number of equipment defects, particularly in the submarine fleet, and by a shortage of some helicopter spares.

40. The Army successfully fulfilled all operational tasks in 2001/02. Despite continuing pressures resulting from specific sustainability challenges and continued under-manning, readiness levels improved compared to the previous year.

41. The Royal Air Force continued to experience difficulties in maintaining the required levels of overall force element readiness. This was largely due to continuing manpower shortages in certain key areas of employment, along with some equipment shortfalls. These difficulties did not affect forces assigned to very high and high readiness status and accordingly, the Royal Air Force was able to meet fully all of its operational commitments.

42. The strength of the Armed Forces, on 31 March 2002, is detailed at Annex E.

Joint Rapid Reaction Forces

43. During 2001/02, elements of the Joint Rapid Reaction Forces operated successfully in Macedonia and Afghanistan. These operations were among the first to benefit from improved force projection capabilities, following the entry into service of four C-17 strategic lift aircraft. These aircraft were progressively delivered from 23 May 2001, and the fleet formally entered service on 30 September 2001, three months ahead of schedule. Charter arrangements ensured that three roll-on roll-off container ships were also available at short notice in 2001/02.

44. Considerable progress has been made towards the delivery of the Joint Rapid Reaction Forces. However, manpower shortfalls and the effect of the high operational tempo, continued to place significant pressure on the Public Service Agreement target of achieving operational capability by March 2003. These areas of shortfall continue to be addressed.

Joint Force Logistic Component

45. The utility of the Joint Force Logistic Component was demonstrated, both in support of operations in Afghanistan and on Exercises SAIF SAREEA II and JOINT VENTURE. The two Logistic Brigade Headquarters that have provided the basis of this Joint Force to date are not established for this task and, as such, the Component does not have a standing Headquarters or any dedicated force elements. Work was therefore instigated to improve its overall capability, particularly in the areas of readiness, deployability, and command and control. Strategic and theatre communications for the Component will continue to be provided from centrally controlled assets to maximise use of resources.

Exercises and Military Training

46. The main focus for all three Services in 2001/02 was Exercise SAIF SAREEA II, undertaken in Oman between September and October 2001. This was the largest UK military exercise since the 1980s, and involved around 22,500 Armed Forces personnel, together with 49 aircraft, 44 helicopters, over 4,500 vehicles (of which 547 were armoured), and a Naval task force of 21 ships, all with integrated logistic support. A further 12,800 personnel from the Sultan of Oman's Armed Forces took part.

47. This was the first time since the Gulf War that the UK had deployed a medium-scale joint task force over such a long distance, and the logistics, communications and engineering challenges were particularly significant. The large number of concurrent real-world commitments, including the start of operations in Afghanistan, exacerbated these demands. Nevertheless, the exercise provided invaluable training from unit level up to the joint task force, and identified many important lessons that will enhance the development and effectiveness of the UK's Joint Rapid Reaction Forces (see paragraphs 43-44).

48. The Royal Navy also undertook a number of other major exercises in 2001/02. These included: ARGONAUT 01, the pre- and post-SAIF SAREEA II exercise period for the Amphibious Ready Group; ORACLE force integration training; Exercise SEA DAGGER, an amphibious exercise with the United Arab Emirates; and Exercise BLUE GAME, a NATO littoral warfare exercise in Scandinavian waters. However, the Naval Service's role in post-11 September operations had an unavoidable impact on the exercise programme. The Royal Marines' winter deployment training was significantly reduced, as was Royal Navy participation in the NATO quadrennial exercise, STRONG RESOLVE. This was mitigated by the valuable experience gained from conducting actual operations.

49. The Army's annual exercise programme balances the requirement to train units to the appropriate standard against the need to provide stability for its personnel. In 2001/02, a succession of demanding combined arms exercises were conducted to ensure that both regular and Territorial Army units met their mandated levels of readiness. Of particular note were exercises: HARDFALL, a NATO warfighting exercise in Norway; MEDICINE MAN, a series of field training exercises in Canada; and IRON ANVIL, a formation level field training exercise to deliver the Army's high readiness mechanised formations for the Joint Rapid Reaction Forces. Restrictions on activity due to the foot and mouth disease outbreak led to the cancellation of two major exercises planned for May 2001 (DRUIDS DANCE and MEDICINE MAN 1). A number of other smaller exercises in the UK and abroad were either curtailed, cancelled or reduced in scale.

50. Royal Air Force aircraft took part in an extensive exercise programme in North America, including RED and MAPLE FLAGs, and a major US Air Force exercise in Alaska (COPE THUNDER). Following Exercise SAIF SAREEA II, the Jaguar Force successfully participated in Exercise MAGIC CARPET alongside the Sultan of Oman's Air Force. Contributions to the Defence Diplomacy Mission included: Exercise BRIGHT STAR, a US/Egyptian-led exercise that featured the first major overseas deployment of the UK's Joint Nuclear Biological and Chemical Regiment; and Exercise INITIAL LINK in Bahrain. Adjustments to the planned programme included the cancellation of Exercise SNOW GOOSE, a Jaguar Force winter training exercise in Norway, due to reprioritisation. Participation in Exercise STRONG RESOLVE was curtailed with the withdrawal of Tornado F3 and supporting air-to-air refuelling assets for operational reasons.

51. A comprehensive list of military exercises undertaken by all three Services in 2001/02 is available on the MOD website at http://www.mod.uk.




01-28-03, 11:41 AM

Defence Policy 2001

Strategic Context

Policy Priorities


Ministry of Defence / Defence Issues / Modernising Defence / Defence Policy 2001 / Strategic Context

Defence Policy 2001

4. During the year 2000, we have carried out a thorough reappraisal of the strategic analysis completed during the Strategic Defence Review, paying particular attention to the implications of recent events and emerging trends. We have also sought to look further ahead, assessing certain features of the operational environment up to thirty years out in areas where it makes sense to do so. This is not an attempt to forecast the future in detail but rather to identify the likely major influences on defence and to carry out some sensitivity analysis of the potential impact of some other, less likely, scenarios.

5. Our understanding of the future environment is critical not only in defining the capabilities we need for operational success but also in ensuring that we can create those capabilities in years to come, for example by developing key technologies and recruiting the right mix of people. Our reassessment therefore covered not only the international political environment and strictly military factors but also trends and developments in:

the physical world, including environmental issues, natural resources and demographics;
technology and its application in military and civilian life;
global and regional economics, societies, cultural values and expectations;
law and ethics.
In doing this, we drew on thinking in other Government Departments and outside organisations. As with the Strategic Defence Review, we exposed our thinking to a panel of outsiders with expertise in the various areas and took account of their views. We expect to carry out similar thorough reviews of the strategic context every three or four years.

Broad Implications for Defence

6. Our analysis confirms the Strategic Defence Review assessment that we have entered a period of rapid change bringing new and more diverse risks, security challenges and opportunities, even though there continues to be no direct military threat to the UK.

7. There is no sign that operational demands are likely to diminish. On the periphery of Europe (and in the Balkans) there are instabilities and tensions which are likely to remain as sources of possible problems for European security. At the same time, environmental, demographic, economic and social changes will affect the security situation in a number of regions, potentially causing or aggravating conflict or giving rise to continuing and, quite likely, increasing pressures for peace support, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.

8. We assess that, for the foreseeable future, it is unlikely that a direct threat to the UK could re-emerge on a scale sufficient to threaten our strategic security, whether through conventional means or weapons of mass destruction. Nevertheless, given the need to insure against the long term and the continued existence of nuclear arsenals, our own nuclear deterrent will continue to be the ultimate guarantor of our security.

9. It is very unlikely that any potential adversary would risk a direct military confrontation with NATO provided that the Alliance maintains the effectiveness of its strategic and conventional forces as a deterrent. We cannot however rule out the possibility of such a conflict arising along the borders of Europe through miscalculation or accident. Other scenarios further afield, requiring British forces to participate in a large scale warfighting operation, are more likely. The ‘worst case’ single military contingency for which we need to plan is the participation of British forces in high intensity warfighting operations in a regional conflict. This would require deployment of forces at similar scale to those involved in the Gulf War. We must therefore continue to structure our forces so that they are capable, as part of a coalition, of being successful against all potential opponents in a large scale warfighting operation.

10. In any case, forces engaged in peace support operations will also need to be rapidly deployable, sustainable in theatre, and may need to have (or be backed up by) warfighting capabilities to do their job effectively. Capabilities based on warfighting will give us the ability to contribute to other types of operation but the reverse is not true. Optimising the force structure for either a warfighting or non-warfighting role is not the way forward. Building a force by planning for both will produce a more robust and more versatile force structure with wider utility.

11. The Strategic Defence Review suggested that multi-national peace support operations in various forms would become an increasingly important feature of international security. This perception is now widely shared by European governments who have set out to improve their military capabilities both to contribute to NATO-led operations and to give the European Union the capacity to act where the NATO Alliance as a whole is not engaged. There is likely to be a growing emphasis on multinational approaches to developing improved capabilities, especially in relation to filling capability gaps and sharing the collective and expensive burden of defence.

12. It is also clear that many international security problems can only be tackled effectively by a long term approach harmonising the full range of civilian (including non-governmental) and military instruments. Much more attention will need to be devoted to the management of conflict, notably efforts to prevent it occurring in the first place, to reduce the impact of conflict and to develop post-intervention strategies to resolve the underlying causes of tension. In particular, work is required to develop, build and maintain constructive relationships with other players on the international stage, seeking to work in partnership in responding to regional crises.

13. Against this background, the drive to make our Armed Forces more versatile, adaptable and deployable will need to continue. Military concepts and doctrine will need to evolve to keep pace with trends in the future operating environment. Over time, radical changes in the nature of this environment will require matching changes in concepts and doctrine and, as a result, our force structures. Weapon systems and tactics will need to evolve to cope with limitations on Rules of Engagement required by public, international and allied opinion, and by developments in international law. We will need to continue to access and exploit advanced technologies to maintain a leading edge over potential adversaries and an ability to operate alongside US forces. We must also ensure that we can operate alongside other Allies and Partners and work to encourage common approaches to research, development and capability acquisition, particularly within Europe. And as many key technology areas are increasingly driven by innovation in the commercial, rather than defence, sector, we must focus on partnerships with a more diverse range of suppliers than was previously the case.

14. More than ever, recruiting, retaining and motivating sufficient high quality people will be critical. Demographic and social factors, particularly the aging of the British population, will make this more difficult. It will become increasingly important to maintain the widest possible recruiting pool as well as meeting the increasing expectations of civilian and Service personnel and their families. Pressure to reduce manpower requirements will intensify, and manpower requirements will become a far more significant factor in decisions on equipment procurement and force structures.

Page Modified: 12th November 2001

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