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Force Readiness

Volume 410: debated on Monday 18 August 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what percentage of the (a) Army, (b) Naval service and (c) RAF units, required to be rapidly available, are at (i) very high, (ii) high and (iii) medium states of readiness. [125605]

Data on forces at very high, high and medium states of readiness were collected in support of the Spending Review 2000 Public Service Agreement (PSA) target that by 2005 a minimum of 90 per cent. of rapidly available military units (described as those held at very high, high or medium readiness) should be at the required states of readiness. Information against this PSA target was last collected for the quarter ending 31 March 2003. Performance for that quarter was:

Percentage of Rapidly Available Elements at Required Readiness States (quarter ending 31 March 2003)
ServiceProportion at very high, high and medium readiness (%)
Royal Navy and Royal Marines91
Army29
Royal Air Force91
1 Army data excludes forces deployed in the Gulf or recovering from emergency fire-fighting activities as these were not rapidly available for alternative tasks.
In order to provide a more comprehensive view of military preparedness, performance against Spending Review 2002 PSA Target 3 is assessed on the basis of the readiness state of all forces. Details of the basis for the assessment are set out in the Technical Note to the 2002 PSA targets, available on the Department's website http://www.mod.uk. At the end of the first quarter of financial year 2003–04, the first time when performance was measured against Spending Review 2002 targets, 77 per cent. of force elements were assessed as meeting their readiness requirement with no critical weakness. These figures reflect the impact of both Operation FRESCO and Operation TELIC.I am withholding more detailed information about the readiness of our armed forces under Exemption 1 the Code of Practice on Access to Government Information (1997).