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Armed Forces: Deployment

Volume 457: debated on Wednesday 7 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for how many months the (a) 1st Battalion The Royal Welsh (The Royal Welsh Fusiliers), (b) 1st Battalion The Scots Guards, (c) 19th Regiment Royal Artillery, (d) 5th Regiment Royal Artillery and (e) 39th Regiment Royal Artillery will have been on operational duty at the end of their immediate future tour in Afghanistan over the last 30 months; and how the harmony guidelines are applied to (i) those units and (ii) the armed services in general. (124661)

[holding answer 2 March 2007]: Information on how many months each unit will have been on operational duty at the end of Op. Herrick 6 over the previous 30 months is shown as follows:

Ser

Unit

Months on operations

1

1st Battalion the Royal Welsh

10

2

1st Battalion the Scots Guards

6

3

19 Regiment Royal Artillery

12

4

5 Regiment Royal Artillery

6

5

39 Regiment Royal Artillery

12

Army harmony guidelines are that individuals should not exceed 415 days of separated service in any period of 30 months. At unit level, tour intervals should be no less than 24 months.

The decision on who should deploy is made by Joint Commitments in consultation with Headquarters Land Command, ratified by the chain of command.

Royal Navy harmony guidelines are that no individual should exceed 660 days of separated service in a three-year rolling period. Over a similar time span, ships or other units should not be deployed for more than 60 per cent. of their time.

Harmony Guidelines for the RAF are based on formed unit tour intervals rather than individual personnel, whereby formed units, or sub-elements within them should spend four months on deployed operations followed by 16 months at base.

The RAF Individual Separated Service assumption is that an individual should spend no more than 140 days of duty detached away from home in a rolling 12-month period. This allows for a four-month operational tour followed by three weeks of separated service due to routine tasks, unestablished commitments, unit assistance, pre-detachment training etc.

These are guidelines only and there will be shorter tour intervals where operational demands require it.