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Armed Forces: Joint Warrior

Volume 710: debated on Monday 11 May 2009

Statement

My right honourable friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces (Bob Ainsworth) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

Joint Warrior is a biannual tri-service major exercise with invited NATO and allied nations and usually takes place over a two-week period in the spring and autumn.  Its aim is to provide high-quality joint collective training and pre-deployment training in a multithreat environment for participating units and their staffs.  Each unit will operate from various bases in the UK and abroad but specifically there is an increase in air and land activity across Wales, Scotland and the border regions of England, as well as an increase in maritime activity in the north and west of Scotland.

These exercises have now become routine and I therefore wish to update the House that, with immediate effect, it is my intention to write only to individual Members who have raised specific concerns.  I have also written to the First Ministers for Scotland and Wales to advise them of this decision.

Joint Warrior is a complex exercise which requires careful planning and co-ordination to minimise the possibility of environmental damage.  I would like to reassure the House that, in order to achieve this, the exercise planning teams will continue to work closely with local authorities, various national rural agencies, landowners and other interested parties.

Collective training is a key priority for defence.  It is a vital component of the UK Armed Forces’ ability to generate forces at the right time, with the right skills and in the right numbers and Joint Warrior has the additional benefit of giving UK forces the ability to train and operate with other coalition countries.  The next exercise, Joint Warrior 091, commences on 11 May 2009 and a press release will be issued for public information.