May 09. Defence Committee
NEW INQUIRY – the contribution of istar to operations
Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) is a key military capability that generates and delivers specific information and intelligence to decision makers at all levels in support of the planning and conduct of operations. The Committee’s new inquiry follows on from its previous Report, published in July 2008, which examined the contribution of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles to ISTAR capability (HC 535). This new inquiry will examine the contribution of ISTAR to current UK operations, particularly in Afghanistan. It will include a focus on answering the following questions:
How are the various ISTAR capabilities being managed and coordinated: who has overall Command and Control in the UK and on operations?
1. What contribution have existing systems in Afghanistan made to ISTAR capability?
2. What difference has ISTAR made to the security of UK deployed troops, for example in reducing the number of IED casualties?
3. To what extent has ISTAR increased the accuracy of coalition targeting and reduced civilian casualties?
4. To what extent are the right personnel in place, and trained, to deliver ISTAR in operations?
5. Have the benefits of Network Enabled Capability been realised in permitting a greater variety of sensors and weapons to be available on demand to commanders and troops on the ground?
6. What are the gaps in current ISTAR capabilities?
7. What more needs to be done for the full benefits of ISTAR to be realised?
8. To what extent are existing ISTAR systems and capabilities interoperable with coalition forces?
9. What lessons can be drawn from current operations for developing future capabilities?
The Committee would welcome written evidence to this inquiry, addressing the questions posed above, by Friday 19 June 2009. The Committee expects to take oral evidence in July.
SUBMISSION OF WRITTEN EVIDENCE:
* Submissions should be in Word or rich text format and sent by e-mail to . If you have any queries on the submission of evidence contact Sara Turnbull, Inquiry Manager, tel: 020 7219 6951, email:
15 May 09. More clarity needed for military assistance in national emergencies, says Defence Committee. Guidance for government departments in need of assistance from the Armed Forces in a national emergency needs improving, says the Defence Select Committee in its report ‘The Defence contribution to UK national security and resilience’, published today. The group of MPs charged by the House of Commons with scrutinising the Ministry of Defence draws attention to the arrangements for military aid to the civilian authorities and maritime security. Guidance is published by the Ministry of Defence, but currently lacks an adequate system for managing the requirements from other government departments. General Sir David Richards (Commander-in-Chief, HQ Land Forces and Standing Joint Commander (UK)), told the Committee that the current framework for providing military aid to the civil power could still be improved. The Committee’s Chairman, Rt Hon James Arbuthnot, said, “If ever there were an emergency where a government department misunderstood what the military could deliver, there could be serious consequences. It is essential that when a request is made for assistance, it is accompanied by a clear statement of requirement.” The Committee also learned of the contributions being made by several organisations to national security in the maritime environment. The Committee expressed concern first at the small number of vessels dedicated to maritime security, and also at the arrangements for co-ordinating the forces concerned. Comparing the defence of critical national infrastructure to the defence of military vessels travelling along the Clyde, the Committee concluded that “there is a strong case for developing a deterrent capability in r