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05 May 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. In the week ended 5 May 12, VC10 aircraft from 101 Squadron delivered more than 100 tonnes of fuel to coalition aircraft over Afghanistan. Recipient aircraft included US Navy F-18 Hornet & EA6B Prowler, US Marine Corps AV8B Harrier and French Air Force Mirage 2000. (RAF Ops Update, 5 May 12.)
Sentinel R1 aircraft of 5 Squadron provided vital intelligence in support of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) objectives. Sentinel provided cover in support of Coalition troops throughout Regional Command (South) and Regional Command (South West). (RAF Ops Update, 5 May 12.)
British advisers have been deployed to train, mentor and ‘authorise-for-action’ Afghan National Army Explosive Hazard Reduction Teams. (MoD, 8 May 12.)
Comment: The NATO Secretary General said (11 May 12) that the Chicago Summit on 20/21 May 12 is expected to set the course for the Alliance’s future engagement in Afghanistan. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/19, 14 May 12)

11 May 12. NATO: Chicago Summit Agenda. The NATO Secretary General said (11 May 12) that Afghanistan, future capabilities and strengthening partnerships are to top the agenda for the Chicago Summit on 20/21 May 12. The Summit will be the biggest meeting NATO has ever organised, with around 60 Countries and organisations represented.
Comment: In Chicago, NATO is to hold an expanded ISAF meeting which will include 22 non-NATO partners. A separate meeting with a group of 13 partner nations is expected to recognise their “important contributions to current and recent NATO missions in Afghanistan, Kosovo and Libya”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/19, 14 May 12)

07 May 12. The United Kingdom is set to axe the annual planning round system it uses as part of its effort to balance defense spending. The Ministry of Defence said the process had fallen victim to the wide-scale reforms underway in the department and will be replaced with an annual budget cycle (ABC) scheme. Planning Round 2012, or PR12 as it is better known, is likely to be the last time the process is used by the MoD ahead of switching to ABC. The planning round system has been in the spotlight in recent years due to its part in the failure to effectively control runaway defense commitments agreed to by the previous Labour government. A high-level committee appointed by the MoD to reform the ministry and the National Audit Office, the government’s spending watchdog, has in the last two years criticized the process as unfit for that purpose. The annual planning round process seeks to balance the MoD’s books for the year ahead and for future years across equipment, support, manpower and other costs. It’s one of a handful of key financial controls used by the MoD to try to balance an annual budget, which currently stands at £34bn ($55.1bn). Planning rounds were introduced by the Labour government in 1998 and have become increasingly discredited. Critics said the need to question and reprioritize virtually every budget line annually leads to inefficiency, decisions fudged, money juggled between years and programs salami-sliced. An announcement that British are moving to the new financial planning system could come after the much-delayed outcome of PR12 is revealed by Defence Secretary Philip Hammond, possibly in the second half of this month. A spokeswoman for the MoD confirmed a change was being considered as part of the wider reform effort at the ministry.
“We are considering ways in which we can update our financial management processes, in line with the Levene Defence Reform Review, which recommended an increased delegation of budgets to top-level budget holders, such as the service chiefs,” the spokeswoman said. “This work, known as the Annual Budget Cycle, is ongoing

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