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NEWS IN BRIEF

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10 Oct 11. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. 20 Armoured Brigade has taken over command of Task Force Helmand (TFH) from 3 Commando Brigade, Royal Marines, marking the start of OP HERRICK 15. Formal handover took place on 9 Oct 11 at HQ TFH in Lashkar Gah. 20 Armoured Brigade will be the lead formation in TFH until March 2012. (MoD, 10 Oct 11.)
After 2014, the UK will take charge of the Officer Training Academy. A role for Special Forces is also anticipated. (Oral Answers, 10 Oct 11.)
It is too early to comment on the exact number of troops which will be deployed in non-combat roles from 2015 and beyond. (Written Answers (WA), 10 Oct 11.)
1st Bn The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment has taken over responsibility for the Police Mentoring and Advisory Group in Lashkar Gah. 2nd Bn The Royal Gurkha Rifles are returning to Brunei. (MoD, 11 Oct 11.)
British Forces have assisted with the renovation of the Gereshk District Hospital, which is now one of the leading medical facilities in Helmand. (MoD, 12 Oct 11.)
Comment: A House of Commons Written Answer (10 Oct 11) gives an insight into the work of the Department for International Development (DfID) in Afghanistan. DfID helps to deliver basic services, such as health care and education, to the population. By the end of 2015, DfID will have created 200,000 jobs, provided training for 45,000 young people and helped over 100,000 children enrol in school of whom 40% are expected to be girls. DfID is also involved in the construction of roads across central Helmand.

10 Oct 11. Libya: OP ELLAMY. MoD daily briefings, up to and including 14 Oct 11, confirmed continued strike activity by Tornado GR4 delivering Paveway and Brimstone missiles. (MoD, 10-14 Oct 11.)
“In terms of recovering the costs of Operations in Libya from the National Transitional Council, NATO’s intervention in Libya under a clear UN mandate have saved countless lives and is helping to bring new hope to a Country that has suffered tyrannical rule for 42 years, but the UK did not play a leading role in this action for financial return.” (Defence Secretary, 10 Oct 11.)
Weapons have not been sold to the National Transitional Council of Libya and nor have export licences to British companies for such sales been issued. A small military mentoring team has been sent to Libya to enable the National Transitional Council to protect civilians better. (WA, 11 Oct 11.)
HMS LIVERPOOL completes her 150th day on patrol off Libya on 17 Oct 11, as she prepares to hand over to HMS YORK. (MoD, 13 Oct 11.)
HMS BANGOR is currently conducting security patrols off Misratah, “helping maintain confidence in the safe movement of merchant vessels to and from Libya’s ports”. (MoD, 14 Oct 11.)
Comment: Senior RAF Officers are advising that the French have flown more aircraft, dropped more bombs and flown more sorties but that the RAF have hit more targets! Entente cordiale?

10 Oct 11. A review of single-source military equipment contracts has found that the Government could potentially save hundreds of millions of pounds by introducing new rules for industry, the MOD announced today.
Lord Currie of Marylebone chaired the review of single source procurement – which is currently subject to ‘Yellow Book’ rules – where only one Defence supplier is invited to tender. Single-source contracts currently account for 40 per cent of all MOD procurement and in-service support of equipment. The Department is today launching a public consultation on how to take forward the findings of the review, which examines the UK’s existing framework for pricing single-source contracts and considers whether, in future, costs can be cut and efficiency increased while making UK industry more competitive on the world market.
Defence Minister, Peter Luff MP, said:“Current arrangements for single-source procurement have been in place for over 40 years and it is clear that they are no longer fit for purpose. That is why I asked Lord Currie to review them. I welco

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