Publish the full estimated cost of Afghan Operations, says Commons Defence Committee.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) must put into the public domain the full cost of military operations in Afghanistan, says the Defence Select Committee in its report, published today into the MoD Main Estimates for 2011–12.
The report notes that although there are obvious standing expenses, the Afghan deployment brings with it additional costs in terms of training opportunities cancelled or deferred and equipment wear and tear that will eventually have to be met.
The committee is also disappointed by the Department's inability to provide the detailed information requested about expected write-offs such as Nimrod and the Type 22 Frigate. The committee asked to be provided with the expected total of write-offs and write-downs resulting from the decisions taken in or flowing from the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR), broken down by service, with the largest individual items separately identified. The MoD response was not clear but the committee deduce that some of the 2010–11 provision for depreciation and write-offs will be carried forward to 2011–12 or even later years.
The committee is worried that the voluntary redundancy programme has been over-subscribed and that applications (or even resignations) have been received from individuals who might have achieved high command. The MoD is being called on to show how it will ensure that the voluntary redundancy process does not impact on the future leadership capability and effectiveness of the Armed Services.
Chair of the committee, Rt Hon James Arbuthnot, said:
"The MoD is publishing a great deal of information which we are grateful for but we find it frustrating that in some instances the Department appears to be unable or unwilling to provide the kind of detailed information we ask for, notably in respect of the total cost of military operations and the detail of savings proposed. This prevents proper parliamentary scrutiny. We expect these gaps to be filled."