NEWS IN BRIEF
09 Oct 07. Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR): Chancellor’s Statement
The Chancellor of the Exchequer presented his Pre-Budget Report and CSR to the House of Commons
(9 Oct 07). The CSR confirmed the MoD’s Departmental Expenditure Limits (DEL) as: 2007/08 – £32,600m; 2008/09 – £34,100m; 2009/10 – £35,400m and 2010/11 – £36,900m. This funding is calculated to enable the MoD to “enhance conventional capability” with:-
* Two new aircraft carriers for the RN.
* Protected vehicles for the Army (i.e. the Future Rapid Effect System).
* Further Air Transport capability for the RAF (i.e. the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft).
Comment: Whether expressed as a percentage of Total Managed Expenditure or of DEL, the forecast for Defence expenditure for the next three years remains static (despite the spin put on the figures by the MoD).
‘2007 Pre-Budget Report and CSR’ was published by HM Treasury on 9 Oct 07 as Command 7227 for £45:00. The document can also be accessed through the Treasury website (www.hm-treasury.gov.uk).
12 Oct 07. Iraq: OP TELIC. From 1 Jan 06 to 15 Sep 07, 282 personnel were categorised as Wounded in Action and 1,170 were aeromedically evacuated. (MoD, 12 Oct 07.) From 1 to 15 Sep 07, the figures were four and 15.
The Prime Minister made a Statement (8 Oct 07) to the House of Commons about future proposals for Iraq. The Prime Minister paid tribute to coalition partners from Australia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Lithuania and Romania. Numbers of UK troops in Iraq are expected to fall to 4,500 immediately after Provincial Iraqi control and then to 4,000. By Spring 2008 a UK force of 2,500 is anticipated for Iraq, with 500 support personnel based “elsewhere in the region”.
“Training the Iraqi Army is now the main focus for the British Forces in Iraq.” (MoD, 9 Oct 07.)
Between 1 Oct 06 and 30 Sep 07, 398 indirect fire attacks were made on UK personnel stationed in Basrah
Air Station. Three Servicemen were killed as a result of these attacks, all on 19 Jul 07. (Ministerial Answer (MA), 9 Oct 07.)
Comment: The Prime Minister’s Statement is recorded in Hansard for 8 Oct 07, starting at Column 21.
12 Oct 07. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. From 1 Jan 06 to 15 Sep 07, 256 personnel were categorised as Wounded in Action and 670 were aeromedically evacuated. (MoD, 12 Oct 07.) From 1 to 15 Sep 07, the figures were 11 and 23.
Between 1 Oct 06 and 31 Aug 07 there were 1,359 attacks by enemy forces on UK troops in Regional Command (South). (MA, 8 Oct 07.)
Commander 52 Infantry Brigade, Brigadier A D MacKay OBE, assumed command of Task Force Helmand on 10 Oct 07. 52 Infantry Brigade replaced 12 Mechanised Brigade and 40 Commando, Royal Marines, took over from 1st Bn The Royal Anglian Regiment. The ISAF Task Force of 7,000 also includes Danish and Estonian elements. (MoD, 10 Oct 07.)
48 Field Squadron, Royal Engineers, won a ‘special award’ from the British Construction Industry for the building of Camp Bastion during four months of 2006. (MoD, 11 Oct 07.)
Comment: Meeting in Reykjavik (6-9 Oct 07), NATO Parliamentarians called for greater resources and enhanced co-operation by NATO, the UN and the EU in Afghanistan.
09 Oct 07. Astute Class: In-Service Dates. During the Defence Procurement Debate (9 Oct 07) the Armed Forces’ Minister said that First of (SSN) Class ASTUTE would enter service in 2009, to be followed by AMBUSH in 2010 and ARTFUL in 2012.
Comment: In a Written Answer on 16 Jul 07, the same Minister gave the in-service dates of the first four Astute Class as 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2015. These dates are obviously wrong and should be ignored. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0740, 15 Oct 07)
09 Oct 07. Future Aircraft Carriers (CVF): In-Service Dates. Expanding on the CSR (Item 1) during the Defence Procurement Debate (9 Oct 07),the Armed Forces’ Minister confirmed that the two new 65,000 tonne aircraft carriers were expected to enter service in 2014 and 2016.