NEWS IN BRIEF
18 Jan 08. Iraq: OP TELIC. From 1 Jan 06 to 31 Dec 07, 295 personnel were categorised as Wounded in Action and 1,304 were aeromedically evacuated. (MoD, 18 Jan 08.) From 16 to 31 Dec 07, the figures were nil and seven.
Between July and December 2007 inclusive, the number of established UK military posts in Iraq was reduced by 1,100. A further 350 posts are due to be reduced in January 2008. The force level is expected to be 2,500 in Southern Iraq from Spring 2008, as already announced. (Ministerial Answer (MA), 14 Jan 08.)
The MoD spends some £54m annually on welfare services for those on Operations. (MA, 15 Jan 08.)
All Hercules aircraft that are routinely deployed on Operations in Iraq (and Afghanistan) are now fitted with Explosion Suppressant Foam. (MA, 15 Jan 08.)
Operations in Iraq (and Afghanistan) are both classed as ‘medium scale’. (MA, 15 Jan 08.)
There are currently 151 telephones and 136 computer terminals available solely for welfare purposes to personnel deployed in Iraq. (MA, 15 Jan 08.)
As at 26 Dec 07, Service personnel were deployed as shown (figures rounded): Iraq – 4,600; At sea – 920; Qatar – 420; Kuwait – 320; Oman – 210 and Bahrain – 30. (MA, 16 Jan 08.)
Comment: There was considerable media coverage of the criticism surrounding a report which had appeared in ‘The Lancet’ in October 2006. The report, claiming that 655,000 people had died in Iraq as a result of the US-led campaign, was considered to be politically tainted and to be based on flawed research.
18 Jan 08. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. From 1 Jan 06 to 31 Dec 07, 318 personnel were categorised as Wounded in Action and 834 were aeromedically evacuated. (MoD, 18 Jan 08.) From 16 to 31 Dec 07, the figures were three and 14.
The deployment of additional Sea King will be complete by April 2008. The balance of helicopter force levels “across theatres” is currently being examined. (MA, 14 Jan 08.)
The Brigade Commander of 52 Infantry Brigade described progress in Helmand as “gradual but steady”.
(Radio 4, 15 Jan 08.)
Welfare services are provided for those on Operations. (As above).
Hercules aircraft have been modified. (As above.)
Operations in (Iraq and) Afghanistan are both classed as ‘medium scale’. (As above.)
There are currently 213 telephones and 85 computer terminals available solely for welfare purposes to personnel deployed in Afghanistan. (MA, 15 Jan 08.)
The Joint Force Explosive Ordnance Disposal (JFEOD) team is made up by personnel from the Royal Engineers and the Royal Logistic Corps. The team provides Conventional Munitions Disposal (CMD), High Risk Search (HRS) and Improvised Explosive Device Disposal (IEDD). (MoD, 16 Jan 08.)
Comment: A former US Ambassador to Afghanistan, Ronald E Neumann, is advocating conscription (the “draft”) for the Afghan Army. An enlarged Army “would strengthen Afghanistan’s central Government”, it is claimed. (‘International Herald Tribune’, 15 Jan 08, et al.)
21 Jan 08. The companies building two aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy have proposed a cost-cutting plan to keep the programme on track. BAE Systems and VT Group, two of the largest companies in the alliance building the carriers, have offered a scheme that will defer £100m ($195m) of government spending over two years. The move follows an informal request from the MoD to industry this month to find ways to slow spending on the carriers. The MoD is believed to be looking for overall savings of some £200m on the programme over the next two years. The department is facing an estimated budget shortfall of as much as £2bn over the next two to three years and is desperately looking for ways to make cost savings on most of its large equipment programmes. Defence analysts said that by delaying activities, such as the procurement of equipment or deferring payment to suppliers, the companies could make savings. Partners in the alliance, which also includes Babcock International and Thales UK, are keen to sign