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29 Nov 07. MPs criticise housing for forces. Living conditions for the armed forces will remain substandard for 20 years unless improvement work is given a higher priority, MPs have said. The Commons public accounts committee said half of the Ministry of Defence’s housing for single soldiers was poor, as well as 40% of its family homes. Committee chairman Edward Leigh said the government should “get its priorities straight”. But Defence minister Derek Twigg said improvement work was “making progress”. The committee noted that the MoD had cut £15m from its estates management budget in 2006/07 after “unforeseen rises in the cost of fuel and other problems”. Its report said: “It decided to cut planned maintenance work, including re-roofing projects and repairs to hangar doors, rather than postponing other work such as the construction of all-weather pitches and the resurfacing of tennis courts.” Mr Leigh said: “In response to funding cuts the MoD put off essential maintenance work such as re-roofing buildings, but still found the cash to build all-weather sports pitches and spruce up tennis courts. “Nobody is saying it is inappropriate to offer a range of leisure facilities on site, but the department has to get its priorities straight. (Source: BBC)

26 Nov 07. Landing Ships Dock (Auxiliary) (LSD(A)): Class Complete
The MoD announced (26 Nov 07) that the fourth and last of the LSD(A) Bay Class, RFA Lyme Bay, had been accepted into service. The 16,000 tonne LSD(A) provide “a significant enhancement” to the Armed Forces’ sealift capability.
Comment: While the four vessels are a welcome addition to the Fleet, their procurement has been an embarrassment. The whole of the Bay Class should have been in service in December 2005 at a cost of £323m. In the event the last of Class entered service in November 2007 and the cost was £596m. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0747, 03 Dec 07)

26 Jul 07. As part of a $1.7m investment, Qioptiq Singapore has formally registered and incorporated Changchun Qioptiq Co. Ltd (QCN) – a new Chinese operation as Qioptiq further expands its network of operating units. The new company, which is fully dedicated to the Civil Optics market, has secured a two-storey factory measuring some 3,000 sq. m. in Changchun High Tech Park, China which has recently been developed by the JiLin Province. Initially, there will be approximately 35 employees based at this site – half of whom will be relocated from Qioptiq’s Singapore site. These employees have an average of 7 years’ working experience in QSG.

30 Nov 07. The Defense Center of Excellence (DCoE) for Psychological Health (PH) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) began initial operations today. The DCoE will be fully functional by October 2009. It is currently operating in temporary office spaces in Rosslyn, Va., as part of its initial phase. The Department of Defense (DoD), with support from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), is leading a national collaborative network to advance and disseminate PH/TBI knowledge, enhance clinical and management approaches, and facilitate other vital services to best serve the urgent and enduring needs of warrior families with PH and/or TBI. “The center will integrate quality programs and advanced medical technology to give us unprecedented expertise in dealing with psychological health and traumatic brain injuries,” said Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs Dr. S. Ward Casscells. “In developing the national collaborative network, the DCoE will coordinate existing medical, academic, research, and advocacy assets within the services, with those of the VA and Health and Human Services, other federal, state and local agencies, as well as academic institutions.” The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center (DVBIC) is now integrated into the center. DVBIC has DoD’s primary subject matter expertise on TBI and many of its functions are transitioning t

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