05 Mar 10. The French defense minister and European Union foreign policy chief discussed the creation of a permanent operational headquarters for EU defense missions, a long-standing difference between France and Britain, the ministry
said in a March 5 statement. British newspapers have reported a whispering campaign by German and French officials criticizing Catherine Ashton’s performance as the EU’s high representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, including what they see as a virtual takeover of senior posts in the new EU External Action Service by British staffers. “Catherine Ashton and Hervé Morin discussed the interest of having a permanent capability for planning and conduct of operations of the EU in Brussels,” the statement said. “This capacity, desired by a majority of member states, would improve the Union’s responsiveness in the launch of operations and would also be a factor for making cost savings.” French ministry officials were unavailable for comment.
Britain has consistently opposed setting up an operational HQ for the European
Union on the grounds that it would duplicate and undermine NATO, seen as the main defense relationship. (Source: Defense News)
03 Mar 10. Hyperbaric Medicine Unit (HMU): Now Opened. The MoD announced (3 Mar 10) that an HMU has been opened at St Richard’s Hospital, Chichester, for the treatment of decompression illness (‘the bends’) in RN divers. QinetiQ operates the hyperbaric chamber on behalf of the MoD, as part of the Maritime Strategic Capability Agreement between the MoD and QinetiQ.
Comment: While the HMU is available to civilian divers, the facility is situated conveniently for the Naval Diving Unit at Portsea. [The Concise Oxford Dictionary (10th Edition) defines ‘hyperbaric’ as ‘relating to or denoting a gas at a pressure greater than normal’.] (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/10, 08 Mar 09)
PLANT CLOSURES, JOB LOSSES AND STRIKES
04 Mar 10. Boeing said Thursday it will close its engineering factory in
Sydney and transfer the work of building rudders and other parts to another of its Australian plants in Melbourne. Most of the 350 affected staff at the Sydney plant will be offered jobs in Melbourne but there will be some redundancies, said Boeing Co., the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft combined. Mark Ross, managing director of Boeing Aerostructures Australia, said the two factories were underutilized. (Source: Google/AP)
08 Mar 10. Saab serves notice of 70 redundancies in Karlskoga. Due to reduced order volumes, Saab Bofors Dynamics will be giving notice to 70 employees in Karlskoga. “Despite having received several important orders during the current recession, our order volumes have decreased. We are therefore forced to implement these measures,” says Tomas Samuelsson, who heads Saab Bofors Dynamics AB, while noting that the company has not lost any market shares. Those affected are persons employed under a collective agreement at Saab in Karlskoga, working with support weapons. This downscaling will be made during 2010. The public employment office has been notified and discussions with the concerned union organisation have begun.
MILITARY AND GOVERNMENT
03 Mar 10. Territorial Army (TA): Mobilisation. The Armed Forces’ Minister said (3 Mar 10) that, as at 1 Dec 09, the strength of the TA including the University Officer Training Corps (UOTC) was 34,520. Approximately 1,300 TA members are currently mobilised in support of Operations and a further 19,000 are available for mobilisation (subject to being released from civilian commitments and completing additional training).
Comment: The disparity in numbers is accounted for by the 19 UOTC units, whose members are not liable for mobilisation and by those who have already been mobilised recently. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/10, 08 Mar 09)
Mar 10. Armed Forces: Trained Requirements an