NEWS IN BRIEF
25 Jul 07. Defence Budget: Forecast. The Defence Secretary announced (25 Jul 07) that the MoD’s budget was set to rise from £32,800m in 2007/08 to £34,000m in 2008/09, £35,300m in 2009/10 and £36,900m in 2010/11.
Comment: Details of the MoD’s Expenditure Plans for 2007/08 were published on 23 Jul 07 (as Command 7098 for £7:50). Despite the ‘spin’ which accompanied the announcement about future years, the figures alone are fairly meaningless. Comparisons will only be possible when the complete Comprehensive Spending Review is made public later in the year. The MoD’s Finance Director was unable/unwilling (25 Jul 07) to quote his budget as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), other than as a muttered “roughly 2.1%”.(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0730, 30 Jul 07)
21 Jul 07. Iraq: OP TELIC. A Lance Corporal from the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers died as a result of an indirect fire attack on Basrah Palace on 21 Jul 07. UK deaths since the start of the Campaign thus rose to 163, of whom 100 have been classified as Killed in Action and 24 as Died of Wounds sustained in action. (MoD, 21 Jul 07.)
Multinational Division (South East) had reassumed Air Traffic Control responsibility for commercial flight services using Basrah International Airport. (Defence Secretary, 24 Jul 07.)
Comment: During a radio interview (26 Jul 07), the Chief of the Defence Staff said that he expected the Army to hand over control of Basrah to the Iraqis “in the near future”.(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0730, 30 Jul 07)
25 Jul 07. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Lance Corporal from 1st Bn The Royal Anglian Regiment was killed in an explosion near Sangin on 25 Jul 07. A Guardsman from 1st Bn Grenadier Guards was killed during a firefight near Mirmandab on 26 Jul 07. A soldier from 14 Signals Regiment was killed in Southern Afghanistan on 27 Jul 07. UK deaths since the start of Operations in November 2001 thus rose to 67, of whom 38 have been classified as Killed In Action and six as Died of Wounds sustained in action. (MoD, 28 Jul 07.)
The Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System was fired operationally for the first time, in Helmand Province by 35 Battery, 39 Regiment Royal Artillery. (MoD, 24 Jul 07.)
The Board of Inquiry into the loss of Hercules XV206 on 24 May 06 concluded that the aircraft had detonated an anti-tank mine on the Tactical Landing Zone. (MoD, 25 Jul 07.)
A (two-star) Divisional Headquarters is to be formed at York as HQ 6 Division. The HQ will lead the Regional Command Centre, South, in Kandahar (in rotation with Canada and the Netherlands). (MoD, 26 Jul 07.)
Comment: HQ 6 Division, mentioned above, is to be established with a core of 55 personnel “drawn from existing structures” and is planned to be in existence until 2011. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0730, 30 Jul 07)
25 Jul 07. Northern Ireland: OP BANNER becomes OP HELVETIC. The Armed Forces’ Minister reminded the House of Commons (25 Jul 07) that OP BANNER was to end on
31 Jul 07; the Services having delivered continuous support to the Police and civil authorities in Northern Ireland for 38 years. The Armed Forces are to retain “some limited but specific responsibilities” in support of the Police Service of Northern Ireland under a new Operation, to be known as OP HELVETIC.
Comment: Over 300,000 Service personnel served in Northern Ireland during OP BANNER. A Service of Remembrance for those who were killed is due to take place in Spring 2008. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0730, 30 Jul 07)
27 Jul 07. The former French Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin was today placed under formal investigation – a first step towards possible criminal charges – over a smear campaign targeting his great political rival, Nicolas Sarkozy. The scandal started in 2004 when a judge received a mysterious CD-ROM accusing Mr Sarkozy and other top ministers of holding secret accounts purportedly created