Ministry of Defence
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Armed Forces continue to achieve highest priority of success on operations

Armed Forces continue to achieve highest priority of success on operations

MINISTRY OF DEFENCE News Release (171/2008) issued by The Government News Network on 21 July 2008

MOD Annual Report and Accounts 2007/2008

The Ministry of Defence's Annual Report and Accounts were published today by Des Browne, the Secretary of State for Defence. The Annual Report sets out in detail what we are doing, how we are doing it and how we have performed against Public Service Agreement (PSA) Targets.

It remains a very busy period for defence. The UK's Armed Forces are sustaining a high operational tempo in order to contribute to security across the globe, particularly on operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. At home, the Armed Forces continue to play a vital role supporting civil authorities including through search and rescue, fishery protection and explosive ordnance disposal.

Secretary of State for Defence Des Browne said:

"The selfless commitment shown by all our servicemen and women is truly humbling. Some have paid the ultimate price, and many personnel have been wounded. The demands that we place on them, and their families, are considerable. We remain committed to ensuring that we provide the support that they need and deserve.

"This has been a challenging year for Defence. The operational tempo remains high with the continuing operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. In those theatres and others, British Forces are making a huge contribution to international security.

"Making sure our Armed Forces have the right equipment is crucial to operational success. We are making real progress in developing our relationship with industry, promoting innovation and improving the whole procurement process. Our Armed Forces are now better equipped than ever before.

"We have achieved a great deal this year, huge challenges no doubt lie ahead. We demand a lot of our people, military and civilian. But I know that they will continue to rise to this challenge.

"We owe a continuing debt of gratitude to our brave servicemen and women and our thoughts are with the families, friends and colleagues of all those who have lost their lives while serving their country."

The report states:

* The Armed Forces are achieving their policy and military objectives and met the Public Service Agreement target for Operations. Although the Armed Forces are stretched, the proportion of regular forces deployed on operations and other military tasks decreased from 26 percent in the last quarter of 2006-7 to 19 percent for the same period in 2007-8. This was mainly due to troops pulling out of Northern Ireland and the Balkans.

* There was a significant increase in operational capability in Afghanistan with further increases in helicopter capability enabling provision of more support to commanders.

* There were further improvements to Service personnel terms and conditions including a rise in the operational bonus, the provision of a council-tax rebate for those on operations, and the announcement of a childcare vouchers scheme. The MOD also led the work on the cross-Government command paper on support for Service personnel, their families and veterans.

* Both external and internal opinion of the MoD and the Armed Forces improved this year from already strong starting points. The substantial effort put in to communicating the work of the Armed Forces and the Department continues.

In order to achieve operational success, the department has had to take a level of risk against other defence objectives, including:

* The Armed Forces consistently and reliably deployed and sustained forces at immediate readiness for current operations. However, this meant it was impossible for them to be ready at the same time for the full range of potential contingent operations in planning assumptions.

* The continuing high operational tempo has meant that the Army and the RAF did not meet individual separate service or unit harmony guidelines. The Service Personnel Plan continues to make improvement in this area.

Notes to editors

1. We are publishing our report and accounts before the summer recess as required by the Government's programme for faster closing of its accounts.

2. The Annual Report can be found online at http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/CorporatePublications/AnnualReports/

3. For further information visit http://www.mod.uk.

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