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NEWS IN BRIEF

NEWS IN BRIEF

EUROPE

19 Oct 08. Iraq: OP TELIC. The newly-appointed Defence Secretary arrived in Baghdad (19 Oct 08) to begin a series of meetings during his first visit to Iraq. Mr Hutton met the Iraqi Prime Minister and Defence Minister as well as soldiers from 2nd Bn The Royal Anglian Regiment (20 Oct 08). The Defence Secretary then visited UK Forces in Basrah(21 Oct 08). (MoD notifications.)
The number of Reservists mobilised for service in Iraq is: 2000 – 8,284; 2004 – 2,370; 2005 – 1,198; 2006 – 949 and 2007 – 721. (Ministerial Answer (MA), 21 Oct 08.) HMS CHATHAM returned to Plymouth on 22 Oct 08 after seven months protecting Iraqi offshore oil platforms and policing maritime traffic. (MoD, 23 Oct 08.)
Comment: Following his visit to Basrah, the Defence Secretary said that he hoped that “we can reach the point when we can consider a significant change to our mission here next year”.(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0842, 27 Oct 08)

21 Oct 08. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. The Defence Secretary progressed (21 Oct 08) from Iraq to Afghanistan; arriving in the Helmand capital of Lashkar Gah. Mr Hutton visited 3 Commando Brigade and the Field Hospital at Camp Bastion. In the final leg of his journey, the Defence Secretary met (22 Oct 08) President Karzai in Kabul and was briefed by senior ISAF Commanders. (MoD notifications.)
The MoD does not collate or publish figures for civilian casualties in Afghanistan “because of the immense difficulty and risks of collecting robust data”. (MA, 20 Oct 08.)
The endorsed force-level figure for OP HERRICK 9 is 8,067 Service personnel. The exact number in theatre will fluctuate daily for a variety of reasons. (MA, 22 Oct 08.)
Elements of 2nd Bn The Parachute Regiment returned to Merville Barracks, Colchester on 24 Oct 08. (MoD.)
Comment: The Chief of the Defence Staff responded to an incorrect article in the ‘Evening Standard’ by saying that he had not “vetoed” the appointment of Lt Gen A R D Shirreff as the next British Deputy Commander in Afghanistan. Lt Gen J P Riley is to be replaced by Lt Gen J B Dutton, Royal Marines. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0842, 27 Oct 08)

28 Oct 08. Lockheed Martin has completed installation of an air defense and communications network modernization project for the Romanian Air Force. The project, completed by Lockheed Martin and several Romanian subcontractors, enhances the air defense and command and control capabilities of Romania’s Air Sovereignty Operations Center (ASOC) by extending the air space management system’s radar, voice, and data link communication network to provide an enhanced air surveillance picture covering the entire country. “This project provides the Romanian Air Force with significantly improved situational awareness as well as modern command and control capabilities that are interoperable with other NATO assets,” said Rick Udicious, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s Tactical Systems business.

30 Oct 08. BT fined after ‘fixing’ MoD calls. BT has been forced to pay the Ministry of Defence £1.3m in compensation after some of its staff met call-answering targets by phoning each other. The Audit Commission found they fixed figures to help the company avoid fines for not answering calls quickly enough. The targets were part of a £3bn Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deal to operate the forces’ telephone system. BT has sacked some of the “small number of staff” involved and the call centre concerned no longer operates. The company has also paid £1,021,000 in service payments, the £122,000 cost of investigating the fraud and the £197,000 cost of the fake calls. The call centre concerned, in Kettering, Northamptonshire, has been taken out of operation. The Audit Commission, the public spending watchdog, said the discovery showed the need for better monitoring of the way such projects are being run. (Source: BBC)

13 Oct 08. Nimrod R1 Mk1: Replacement (Project Helix). The Internatio

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