MPs gain insight to defence

MPs gain insight to defence

Members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords have been welcomed to the Defence Academy this week to gain valuable insight to armed forces life.

From 15-17 September, 22 MPs and peers attended the annual Introduction to Defence course delivered as part of the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme (AFPS).

For three decades, the AFPS has educated cross-party parliamentarians in military matters, giving them insight that they might not otherwise have and enabling more informed defence debates in their respective houses. This comprehensive two-day residential event combines expert speakers with practical, hands-on demonstrations, to increase attendees’ awareness of what defence delivers for the UK.

Defence policy, capability and acquisition, crisis response and strategic engagement were on the agenda across the two-days. This year’s cohort attended a series of lectures delivered by senior representatives of the Ministry of Defence, UK Strategic Command, the Defence Academy’s academic partner King’s College London, and each of the single services.

The programme also included a visit to the Defence College for Military Capability Integration (DCMCI), part of the Defence Academy, where students were taken through a series of demonstrations by subject matter experts in cyber, simulation, and air and space. DCMCI delivers multi-domain education and training to maintain strategic advantage, reflecting the government’s intent to further integrate science and technology as key elements of national security and international policy.

Parliamentarians enrolled on the AFPS can select a single Service with which to continue their learning, and wear service uniform to help reinforce this connection. On completion of this introductory course, the MPs and peers will embark on single service courses delivered by the Army, Royal Navy and RAF, as well as Strategic Command, over the coming year, to further enhance their understanding.

Major General Andrew Roe, Chief Executive and Commandant of the Defence Academy (pictured delivering his welcome address), said: "It was an honour to host another cohort of MPs at the Defence Academy on the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme. As the MPs and peers gained understanding into how defence operates and delivers UK objectives, we were able to showcase how the Defence Academy is always evolving to provide the right training and education for our people."

The Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme is administered from within Parliament under the chairmanship of James Gray, MP for North Wiltshire, and one full-time employee.

The scheme is fully endorsed and resourced by the MOD in the form of a staff officer from each of the three single services. In addition, a MOD 2-star officer provides military direction to the scheme on an annual rotation across the three services.

The Armed Forces Parliamentary Trust is the overarching body that provides governance in the form of a board of trustees and financial support is generously provided from industry.