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Armed Forces: Deployment

Volume 488: debated on Monday 2 March 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to reduce levels of overstretch in the armed forces. (258823)

While the current situation is manageable it is recognised that the continuing level of operations means that the demands on our armed forces remain significant. While the overall manning situation is improving, there remain challenges in maintaining overall manning levels and significant shortfalls remain in some specific trades. Additional measures to reduce the burden on personnel include: reducing the level on non-operational tasking and ensuring all deployments are essential; regularly reviewing the scale and mix of personnel deployed; increasing recruitment and training; and providing financial and non-financial incentives including retention bonuses for certain trades or specialisations that are experiencing shortfalls and continuance of Service beyond the end of engagements. The Services are also undergoing a restructuring programme to rebalance force structures. The continuing drawdown from Iraq will also improve tour intervals and stretch.