HC Deb 25 July 1986 vol 102 c650W
Mr. Viggers

asked the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a further statement about Exercise Brave Defender.

Mr. George Younger

Last October my predecessor informed the House that he was placing in the Library an unclassified initial assessment of Exercise Brave Defender. This gave our initial judgment that the exercise had been an overall success and in particular demonstrated that the revised military home defence concept for guarding vital installations worked in practice.

The exercise was not designed to test our total military home defence capability nor could it realistically simulate wartime conditions in the nation as a whole. Nevertheless, further detailed analysis has confirmed our first impressions. We were particularly pleased with the cooperation between all three Services, the integration of United States forces and the participation of the reserves on such a large scale. The participation of civilian police forces nationwide was particularly useful since it under lined the fact that the primary responsibility for the internal security of the United Kingdom rests with the police. Following the exercise, studies are under way into improvements to mobilisation procedures; refinements in the deployment of static and mobile guard forces in the defence of vital installations; and the training and equipment available for Home Defence Forces.

We intend to build on the foundation of Brave Defender by conducting further military home defence exercises on both a local and national scale; although no date has yet been fixed for any future national exercise.