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Army Exercises

Volume 405: debated on Monday 12 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what mechanisms are in place to monitor the process of applying lessons learned from past army exercises to future activities; and who is responsible for ensuring such processes take place; [110553](2) who is responsible within his Department for the planning and execution of army exercises; and what procedures are in place to assess their performance and that of their subordinates. [110552]

There is a robust system in place to ensure that appropriate training is undertaken by the Army, and that relevant lessons are learned from exercises. Ultimately the responsibility for the planning and execution of Army exercises lies with Headquarters Land Command. The exercise programme is disseminated through the Land Command Collective Training Programme, which is designed to ensure that the right number of troops achieve the right level of readiness, in line with the Formation Readiness Cycle.Individual exercises are planned against the Mission Essential Tasks List (METL) that each unit is asked to undertake. The specific manner in which these METLs are met is a decision for the Chain of Command to take, at the appropriate level dependent on the size of the exercise. Headquarters Land Command undertakes the formulation of the METL, through a consultation process with the relevant Chain of Command. The procedure for assessing the individual performances of the personnel involved in the planning and execution of exercises, and that of their subordinates, is through the annual appraisal system, which is informed by an After Action Review conducted immediately at the end of each exercise.Following soon after the completion of each exercise a Post Exercise Report is produced examining the success of the exercise against its aims. This not only enables the Chain of Command to assess the Collective Performance of the units/formations involved, but also provides an avenue for feedback, which allows the Army to learn appropriate lessons. The Land Warfare Centres Mission Support Group, which is part of Land Command, is responsible for the effective collation and dissemination of lessons learned from past Army exercises.Throughout the year, all collective training establishments systematically analyse the performance of all unit, battlegroup and brigade level exercises. These observations are then used to inform Land Commands lines of development, such as concepts and doctrine, sustainability, structures, training development, equipment and technology and people.In addition, the Mission Support Group issues Observations from Training (OFT), a collation of the lessons learnt from the exercises undertaken in the preceding year. The OFT seek to identify trends and general observations from training. It is the responsibility of the Chain of Command to ensure that the OFT receives widespread distribution, and that the lessons learned inform future training and operations.