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Armed Forces Personnel

Volume 406: debated on Monday 9 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of (a) Naval Service, (b) Army and (c) Royal Air Force personnel are available for operational duties. [112013]

The Government will continue to ensure that sufficient troops are available to meet the tasks that we ask them to perform. The exact percentage of personnel available for operational duties at any given moment is a combination of a number of factors. These include the level of preparedness of forces, governed by readiness and position in the training cycle, and by the nature of the operation. Time would be needed to bring some force elements to the required level of training for particularly demanding operational theatres. Equally, the medical condition of individual service personnel may impact on their availability for operations, though it does not immediately follow that personnel who are medically downgraded are unfit for all operational tasks.