NEWS IN BRIEF
21 Nov 07. Iraq: OP TELIC. Two Service personnel were killed when an RAF Puma helicopter crashed near Baghdad on 20 Nov 07. UK deaths since the start of the Campaign thus rose to 173, of whom 109 have been classified as Killed in Action and 25 as Died of Wounds sustained in action. (MoD, 21 Nov 07.)
From 1 Jan 06 to 31 Oct 07, 285 personnel were categorised as Wounded in Action and 1,237 were aeromedically evacuated. (MoD, 20 Nov 07.) From 16 to 31 Oct 07, the figures were nil and 26.
The 600-strong 1st Bn Irish Guards Battle Group is training Iraqi Security Forces in Basrah and Baghdad. Naval personnel are also based at Umm Qasr training the Iraqi Navy. (Ministerial Answer (MA), 19 Nov 07.)
Comment: The Defence Secretary said (19 Nov 07) that The Directorate of Operational Capability had produced three volumes of its Lessons Report on OP TELIC. The documents are ‘classified’ but, of course, available to those with the necessary clearances. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0746, 26 Nov 07)
19 Nov 07. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK.From 1 Jan 06 to 31 Oct 07, 279 personnel were categorised as Wounded in Action and 730 were aeromedically evacuated. (MoD, 20 Nov 07.) From 16 to 31 Oct 07, the figures were three and 17.
“The security situation in Afghanistan is stable, if fragile in places.” (Defence Secretary, 19 Nov 07.)
The UK ISAF mandate is due to expire in March 2009. (MA, 19 Nov 07.)
As at 14 Nov 07, 397 locally engaged civilians were employed by the MoD in Afghanistan. (MA, 19 Nov 07.)
The current ISAF strength is approximately 42,000 personnel from 38 countries. The UK is the second largest contributor with approximately 7,800 personnel. (MA, 22 Nov 07.)
Comment: The UN Commissioner for Human Rights reported (20 Nov 07) that “civilian casualties [in Afghanistan] resulting from international military Operations reached alarming levels in the course of the year”.
In another ‘sign of the times’, RHQ RIFLES noted (23 Nov 07) that Salonica Company, 7 RIFLES at Camp Bastion was “made up of soldiers from the Regular Army, Territorial Army and Regular Reservists”.(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0746, 26 Nov 07)
23 Nov 07. Government boost to Veterans healthcare. Health Secretary Alan Johnson and Veterans Minister Derek Twigg announced major improvements to the support available to Armed Forces veterans who have developed health problems as a result of their military service. Ministers announced the expansion of NHS priority treatment to all veterans, whose injuries or ill-health are suspected of being due to their service. NHS waiting times are at an all-time low but priority treatment could still be significant for a small number of veterans.
Clinicians will determine the allocation of priority treatment based on clinical need. In addition, Ministers announced a new model of community mental health services. This will give Armed Forces veterans access to clinicians with expertise in veterans mental health who will provide assessment and help veterans to obtain suitable treatment. The new model will be piloted at six sites across the UK for two years, after which its effectiveness will be assessed, with the aim being for the programme to roll-out nationwide. Each site will have a trained community veterans’ mental health therapist. Veterans will be able to access this service directly or through their GP, ex-Service organisations, the Veterans’ Welfare Service, or Social Service departments.
26 Nov 07. U.K. Treasury Toughens Rules For Urgent Buys. Britain’s Treasury has told the Ministry of Defence that when acquiring urgent operational equipment for overseas operations, the MoD must agree to pay 50 percent of the cost of the equipment beyond a set figure. Until now, the Treasury has paid for the equipment outright. Everything from armored vehicles such as the updated Bulldog to the Predator UAV has been pushed through under the urgent operational requirement (UOR) scheme