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05 Nov 08. Future Nuclear Deterrent: NAO Report. The National Audit Office (NAO) published (5 Nov 08) a Report on The United Kingdom’s Future Nuclear Deterrent Capability. The predicted cost of procuring the new nuclear deterrent is between £15,000m and £20,000m, at 2006/07 prices, but the Report points to “major areas of uncertainty in the budget”. A series of “important and difficult decisions” need to be taken by September 2009, when Initial Gate is due, for the programme to be kept on track. Main Gate has to be passed in 2014 if the first of a new Class of submarine is to enter service in 2024. The date of 2024 is dictated by the length of time that the Vanguard Class can remain in service.
Comment: This comprehensive Report draws attention to many aspects of what is described as “a challenging timetable”. In conversation with the authors of the Report, it transpired that the MoD is considering the employment of women in the future SSBN (which would affect the boat’s design, apart from any other consideration). The Report is available as HC 1115 for £14:35. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0844, 10 Nov 08)

Nov 08. The Frigate Surprise – Limited Edition. The Complete Story of the Ship Made Famous in the Novels of Patrick O’Brian. ‘This splendid book will ride proudly at anchor beside my collection of the novels which Patrick gave me over the years. I am confident I shall not be alone in returning time and again to savour its visual and literary joys.’ – Nikolai Tolstoy

03 Nov 08. Recruiting and Retention: Government Response to Report. The Government’s Response to the Defence Committee’s Report on Recruiting and Retaining Armed Forces Personnel was published (3 Nov 08).
Comment: The 61-page Response is an extensive review of the many aspects of recruiting and retention. The Response is available, as HC 1074, for £11:50. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0844, 10 Nov 08)

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