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Published by Bren-R

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Published by: Bren-R on Jul 22, 2010
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 1 (1.30 pm)2 MR MARTIN HOWARD3 THE CHAIRMAN: Good afternoon and welcome.4 Our fist witness this afternoon is Martin Howard --5 welcome -- who was the Director General of Operational6 Policy at the Ministry of Defence from May 20047 to August 2007.8 This session will look at the conduct of the9 campaign during this period and most specifically10 focusing on security sector reform and the implications11 of the increased commitment to Afghanistan on operations12 in Iraq.13 We expect the session should last about two hours.14 Later this afternoon, we shall be hearing from the15 Rt Hon Bob Ainsworth in his roles as a Minister of State16 for the armed forces and then as the Secretary of State17 for Defence.18 Now, as I say on every occasion, we recognise that19 witnesses are giving evidence based on their20 recollection of events and we, of course, check what we21 hear against the papers to which we have access and22 which we are still receiving.23 I remind each witness on each occasion that they24 will later be asked to sign a transcript of the evidence25 to the effect that the evidence given is truthful, fair1
 1 and accurate.2 With that said, I'll ask Sir Martin Gilbert to open3 the questions.4 SIR MARTIN GILBERT: We have seen you today in your role as5 Director General of Operational Policy in the MoD and6 I wonder if you could start by explaining to us what7 that role entailed.8 MARTIN HOWARD: Well, my role was to provide -- or to help9 provide the political and policy context for the conduct10 of military operations, both at home and overseas.11 I also had a particular policy responsibility for the12 Ministry of Defence contribution to the wider13 counter-terrorism campaign and, as very much a secondary14 responsibility, I had some responsibilities for15 bilateral defence relations with Latin America and16 East Asia, but that was very much a secondary17 responsibility.18 SIR MARTIN GILBERT: To whom did you report?19 MARTIN HOWARD: I reported to what was then the Deputy Chief20 of Defence Staff (Commitments) and is now the Deputy21 Chief of Defence Staff (Operations), a three-star22 military officer. It was Genera
 1 specifically with regard to Iraq?2 MARTIN HOWARD: I think it is very hard to put an exact3 percentage on it, but I would have said, during that4 period, between 2004 to 2007, I would estimate 40 to5 50 per cent of my time, perhaps nearer 40 per cent of my6 time in Iraq, but that's very much a guesstimate rather7 than a precise figure.8 SIR MARTIN GILBERT: How did you prioritise Iraq with regard9 to your other commitments?10 MARTIN HOWARD: Iraq was always the top priority during the11 majority of that period. Towards the end of the period,12 as Afghanistan became more of a live operational policy13 issue, it moved to being a close second and perhaps by14 the time I left it was almost level in terms of15 priority.16 SIR MARTIN GILBERT: Within Iraq, how did you prioritise --17 what were the sort of priorities in Iraq?18 MARTIN HOWARD: Well, it seemed to me that my first job was19 to try to contribute to the overall HMG strategy towards20 Iraq. So I tried to bring a forward-looking strategic21 planning approach to the campaign in Iraq, not just22 concentrated in MND South East in Basra and the23 surrounding provinces, but also more broadly, because,24 obviously, issues -- political and military issues in25 Baghdad had a major impact on the campaign.3

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