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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

25 Jul 13. The Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC). Select Committee Announcement. The 2013 Inquiry of the Committees on Arms Export Controls. The Committees on Arms Export Controls (CAEC) have commenced their next annual inquiry into the Government’s policies and performance on arms export controls and on arms control issues more widely. The Committees constitute Members of the Business, Innovation and Skills, Defence, Foreign Affairs and International Development, House of Commons’ Select Committees meeting concurrently. The CAEC’s task throughout the year is to scrutinize the UK Government’s arms export controls procedures and legislation, individual arms export licence decisions, arms export policies, and the UK’s role in international arms control agreements.

24 Jul 13. The Defence Committee announces a new inquiry into the deterrence in the 21st century. This inquiry is the fourth of a series which have evolved from our inquiry Towards the next Defence and Security Review. These cover a number of significant strands which the Committee believe would benefit from further Defence Committee consideration. The context in which deterrence must operate has changed in recent years with the diminution in some former threats and the emergence of new ones, but in its widest sense the concept of deterrence remains as important as ever. The Committee will examine:
The concept of deterrence
* Definitions
* Where deterrence sits in the continuum stretching from influence to intervention
The climate in which deterrence must operate and how it has changed
The targets of deterrence
* Is every threat potentially deterrable?
The different levels of deterrence, when each might be appropriate, and the likely efficacy of each
* nuclear deterrence
* deterrence though conventional forces
o the link between the two
* The significance of Ballistic Missile Deterrence
* deterrence by protection of potential targets
The cyber dimension
The importance of credibility
* The sufficiency of the means
* The sufficiency of the will and of the ways in which it is expressed
o Communication of the message, including to the target
How the UK Armed Forces currently contribute to deterrence and how this contribution can be improved
How deterrence can be expected to change in future

24 Jul 13. The House of Lords Constitution Committee published its report on the constitutional arrangements for the use of armed force, in which it criticises the Government’s lack of clarity over the need for a Commons vote before any steps are taken by the UK to arm the Syrian National Council. The Committee point out that it took the Government a significant amount of time before they committed to a Commons vote on the issue and that it is unclear how the Government would involve Parliament if further military involvement in Syria were planned. The Committee had heard from members of the Government, including the Deputy Prime Minister, that the question of formalising Parliament’s role was still under review. The Committee supports the continuation of the constitutional convention that the House of Commons is given the chance to debate and vote on possible military action. However, the Committee says this should not be formalised in law or in a parliamentary resolution. The Committee expresses concern that, at a time when the types of military intervention and the means of warfare are fluid and constantly changing, a formalised approach could limit military flexibility. The Committee also considered the role of the Cabinet and other Government bodies in decisions to deploy armed forces. The Committee noted the increasing importance of the National Security Council, in contrast to the Defence Council. The report says that full Cabinet is the appropriate body to decide whether to use armed force overseas. It recommends that the Government’s internal arrangements should be set out in detail in the Cabinet Manual.

19 Jul 13. The House of Lords Consti

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