HC Deb 27 February 1998 vol 307 cc375-6W
Mr. Beard

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement on the rules for the roulement of army, navy and RAF forces in peacekeeping deployments. [31343]

Dr. Reid

There are no hard and fast rules for the roulement of British forces engaged in peacekeeping deployments. We do, however, take very seriously indeed the need to minimise the disruption caused by overseas deployments. In general, we aim, where possible, to rotate personnel engaged in peacekeeping operations at intervals of between two and nine months.

In all cases, consideration of the length of any given deployment reflects the nature of the task, the size of the pool from which the deployed personnel are drawn and the time elapsed since the last deployment (of either the individual or unit). Other factors may, however, cause certain categories of personnel to be rotated more frequently than others. The specialist surgeons, physicians and anaesthetists deployed to Bosnia, for example, are frequently rotated, thereby allowing them to maintain currency in specialist skills that cannot be trained for in theatre. Conversely, where individuals or units with more unique capabilities are deployed, and where their skills cannot easily be replaced in theatre, such personnel may be rotated less frequently than others.