02 Apr 08. The Armed Forces Community is being invited to offer views direct to Parliament on the subject of military recruitment and retention in a new web-forum opened this week by the House of Commons Defence Select Committee. The Committee has recently launched a new inquiry into the issues that affect recruitment and retention in the Armed Forces and is inviting key MoD officials and commentators to give evidence. However the Committee is also taking advantage of a relatively new web-based system that allows Members of Parliament to hear views from the public using simple on-line web-consultations. Chairman of the Committee, James Arbuthnot, says “During this inquiry we want to hear views on recruitment and retention from former and current Service personnel and also from more diverse sources—religious leaders, parents and guardians and careers guidance councillors. We want to know what motivates some people but not others to join the Services and what factors can affect people’s desire to remain in uniform over time. We are especially keen to investigate the disconnect that exists in the number of recruits from ethnic minorities who choose to join the Services.” The UK Armed Forces are already under pressure supporting major operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This pressure will increase if the MoD cannot recruit enough new personnel and retain established, serving personnel. The Defence Committee highlighted these issues in its recent Report, Ministry of Defence Annual Reports and Accounts 2006-07 (Fifth Report of Session 2007-08, HC 61), noting that the Army had trouble meeting its overall recruitment targets, and some specialist trades were particularly under-staffed. The Committee was also concerned that the MoD had failed to achieve most of its diversity targets, particularly with regard to the recruitment and retention of people from ethnic minorities. The Committee wants to hear from current Service personnel, from those who have recently left the service, and from those who are considering joining. They are also keen to hear from the families and mentors of former, current and future recruits. Full anonymity is respected on the web forum which can be found at www.parliament.uk/defcom
02 Apr 08. Defence Committee inquiry into UK national security and resilience
The House of Commons Defence Committee is today launching an inquiry into UK national security and resilience. Protecting the UK from terrorism and other threats is a critical responsibility of Government, and the Armed Forces play a vital role in delivering the capabilities required for this. Following the publication of The National Security Strategy of the United Kingdom: Security in an interdependent world last month, the Defence Committee will examine how the MoD and the Armed Forces interact with other departments and agencies to ensure the safety and security of the UK.
The inquiry will include the following issues:
What contribution the MoD makes to national security and resilience, and what resources are committed to delivering it;
What specific capabilities maritime, land and air forces provide for national security and resilience;
What the MoD understands to be the nature and scale of the threat to national security, and how it gathers information;
How the changing security agenda has affected Defence Planning Assumptions;
oHow the MoD cooperates with other Government departments and agencies both to determine and, when necessary, to deliver the military component of national security, and how that dialogue is organised.
The Committee would welcome written evidence on these matters. This should be sent to the Clerk of the Defence Committee by Friday 16 May. The Committee intends to hold oral evidence sessions beginning in June. Further details and witnesses will be announced in due course.
House of Commons Hansard Written Answers for 31 Mar 2008
Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operation