§ Mr. Keetch
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence who is entitled to make a request for an urgent operational requirement; what procedures are followed when a request has been submitted: how long it should take for an urgent operational requirement request to be considered; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Ingram
[holding answer 27 January 2004]Frontline commands, theatre commanders or Directors of Equipment Capability (DECs) can each generate requests for Urgent Operational Requirements (UOR). These are passed to the Permanent Joint Headquarters for endorsement. DECs, in co-operation with Integrated Project Teams in the Defence Procurement Agency or Defence Logistics Organisation, investigate if it is possible to fulfil the requirement through the purchase of new equipment or the modification of existing equipment. Where this is so a business case is drafted. This is then passed through an accelerated approvals process, which allows procurement action to be taken in the minimum amount of time. In most cases, the approvals process can be carried out in around a week (and in some cases as little as 24 hours). The need to ensure coherence of UORs with operational plans and priorities, to explore alternative ways of meeting the requirement or to confirm that a feasible solution can be delivered within acceptable timescales can in some instances add to the length of time needed to approve individual business cases.