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Defence Attachés And Advisers

Volume 972: debated on Thursday 25 October 1979

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether he has been able to make arrangements with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for greater integration of the supporting staffs of defence attachés and defence advisers serving overseas, as proposed in the report of the central policy review Staff;(2) whether he proposes to reduce in the coming 12 months the number of defence attachés and defence advisers serving overseas; and if he will make a statement;(3) what is the present number of defence attaché posts in British embassies overseas; and how it compares with the figure 12 months ago;(4) what is the present number of defence adviser posts in British high commissions abroad; and how it compares with the number 12 months ago.

The present number of military and civilian posts for defence advisers and their supporting staff is approximately 105 and for defence attachés and their staff, including the British defence staff, Washington, some 495. Comparable figures 12 months ago were some 110 and 515 respectively. Like other areas of the Department, these numbers have been under examination with a view to establishing the implications of further reductions. It is too early to say whether the outcome of these studies will affect the numbers of defence attachés and advisers abroad.

As regards the particular Central Policy Review Staff recommendation to which the hon. Member refers, arrangements already exist, through the medium of regular Diplomatic Service inspections, for such greater integration as is possible to be regularly studied and where appropriate implemented.