Select Committee on Defence Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 620 - 623)



Mr Cran

  620. Can we move on to doctrines for special forces? If I understood you, Mr Kernohan, I agree with your views about the use of the word "doctrines". I think it is not the right word. Anyway, for the purposes of now we would be interested to know how the doctrine for Special Forces is integrated with all other aspects of military doctrine. Of course, we are asking this question because of the enhanced role which the Special Forces now have. We are of course aware of the fact that much surrounding Special Forces is classified, so I am merely asking you to speak in general terms.
  (Air Vice Marshal McNicoll) I can answer your question in part but not in whole. We have recently produced a Special Forces doctrine at JDCC in conjunction with the UK Special Forces. That document obviously is classified but it is intended to inform the wider audience within the UK armed forces of the utility of Special Forces and how they are employed. What we are not engaged in and what I understand the MoD does not make a practice of commenting on anyway is actual details of Special Forces' internal doctrine.

  Mr Cran: You anticipated my next two questions, which were, are you involved and who else is involved. You have answered those, so we can move on, Chairman.


  621. Should information operations become an overarching strategic concept for UK defence planners?
  (Air Vice Marshal McNicoll) We now view the information campaign as being the central part of the campaign, information in the widest sense encompassing all actions of the campaign. The effects based targeting that I talked about earlier is very definitely part of that and our aspiration to move towards effects based operations is also part of that. I think I am agreeing with your position.

  622. Is specialist information superiority training needed and is it being taught all over again?
  (Air Vice Marshal McNicoll) People do require specialist training for specialist appointments but I think there is a generality which means that everybody involved needs to have a better picture and that in fact is part of policy on information operations.

  623. How are you going to keep current with doctrine? Once you produce your most recent documents you will still be functioning, I presume, and topping up, or will you be disbanded?
  (Air Vice Marshal McNicoll) I think producing doctrine from scratch the way this organisation did was a bit like building the Forth Bridge, but we are now into painting it.

  Chairman: You will still be here. Thank you so much for coming.

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