26 Jan 06. US military ‘at breaking point’. Donald Rumsfeld said the military was capable and battle hardened. The US military has become dangerously overstretched because of the scale of its operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, two reports have warned. One, by former officials in the Clinton administration, said the pressure of repeated deployments was very corrosive and could have long-term effects. The second, ordered by the Pentagon and yet to be released, reportedly calls the army “stretched to breaking point”. The US defence secretary dismissed the claims as out of date or misdirected. About 138,000 US troops remain in Iraq, on top of deployments to
Afghanistan and Kosovo. The study commissioned by Democratic members of Congress listed former Defence Secretary William Perry and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright among its authors. It said the US military had performed admirably in recent operations but was under “enormous strain”. (Source: BBC)
17 Jan 06. RAF Communications: To Move to RAF Leeming. The Armed Forces’ Minister announced a change of plan for some Air Combat Service Support Units’ (ACSSU) personnel. While the logistics units would still move to RAF Wittering, as announced in July 2004, the communications units are now to concentrate at RAF Leeming instead of at RAF Scampton. Communications personnel from RAF Sealand are to move to Leeming by April 2006, while those at Brize Norton and High Wycombe are to move during 2007. Comment: The build-up of the ACSSU logistics hub at RAF Wittering is said to have proceeded well and is due to be completed by April 2006. Moving the ACSSU communicators to Leeming rather than to Scampton is said to offer “best value for money by a margin of £55m” (a meaningless figure on its own!). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0604, 23 Jan 06)
19 Dec 05. Northern Ireland: Troop Numbers. On 19 Dec 05 the Armed Forces’ Minister said that, as at 30 Nov 05, there were 9,790 Service personnel in Northern Ireland; including 3,150 members of the Royal Irish Regiment.
On 11 Jan 06 the Minister said that, as at the same date (30 Nov 05), there were some 9,500 Armed Forces personnel stationed in Northern Ireland. This number was expected to reduce during 2006 as the Armed Forces moved towards a permanent military garrison of no more than 5,000 by 1 Aug 07. A “structured plan” for the reduction is to be published by 31 Mar 06. Comment: No explanation has been offered for the discrepancy between “9,790” and “some 9,500” as the figure for 30 Nov 05. How on earth such careless Staff work passes through the system is almost beyond comprehension (but, of course, nobody will be to blame). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0604, 23 Jan 06)
25 Jan 06. Group Urges Berlin To Guard Aerospace Industry’s Interests. IG Metall, the Frankfurt-based interest group for German workers, is calling on the new government to give special attention to local defense aerospace firms and develop a strategic policy for the industry, group officials say. IG Metall this month issued a 20-page working document, “About the Situation of the Military Aerospace Industry in Germany.” DefenseNews.com obtained a copy of the paper. (Source: Defense News)
23 Jan 06. DTRC Opening Ceremony. Director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency James Tegnelia hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony for DTRA’s new headquarters building, the Defense Threat Reduction Center, on the grounds of the McNamara Headquarters Complex, Defense Logistics Agency, at Fort Belvoir, on Thursday, Jan. 26.
26 Jan 06. Airbus grant to create 650 jobs. The Broughton site is making wings for Airbus’s new A350 passenger jet. Airbus is to create 650 new jobs with an expansion at its wing-making factory at Broughton in Flintshire, north Wales. The Welsh Assembly Government is giving the company a grant of £5.2m which it said would help boost production. Employing more than 6,000 people, the Airbus plant is already Wales’ biggest man