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03 Jun 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Private from 3rd Bn The Yorkshire Regiment was killed by small arms fire in the Nahr-e Saraj District on 3 Jun 12. UK deaths since the start of Operations on 7 Oct 01 thus rose to 417, of whom 377 were killed due to hostile action. (MoD, 3 Jun 12.)
A BAe 146 transport aircraft of 32 (The Royal) Squadron has been deployed from RAF Northolt to increase the support to Operations provided by the Command Support Air Transport fleet. (RAF, 7 Jun 12.)
Comment: In his speech to the Land Warfare Conference (Item 2), the Defence Secretary referred to “an end to enduring Operations in Afghanistan”. The Defence Secretary also noted that 679 members of the Territorial Army are currently serving in Afghanistan in a variety of roles. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/23, 11 June 12)
07 Jun 12. Future Force 2020: Defence Secretary’s Speech. In his speech to the Land Warfare Conference (7 Jun 12), the Defence Secretary stressed that decisions on the future structure of the Army have yet to be finalised. When the process is complete, the Defence Secretary will make a full announcement to Parliament.
A “new financial discipline” to manage the Equipment Plan is promised. The Core Committed Equipment Programme includes a £4,500m programme of new armoured fighting vehicles such as Scout and a £1,000m upgrade of Warrior under the Sustainment Programme.
The MoD is “thinking innovatively about how combat service support is provided”. A “whole force concept” is being introduced, built on three pillars: the Regular and Reserve Armed Forces; MoD civilians who work beside them and the supporting contractors.
“Army 2020 provides the opportunity to transform the role of Reserve Forces in delivering capability on Operations.” However, as the Defence Secretary pointed out, some estimates put the trained strength of the Territorial Army as low as 15,000.
Comment: The speech provoked a flurry of ill-informed speculation in the national Press (continuing what the Defence Secretary described as “severe provocation”). An announcement to Parliament is expected “in the coming weeks” (but rumour still suggests 12 Jun 12 as a possibility). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/23, 11 June 12)
04 Jun 12. NATO: Monthly Briefing. The NATO Secretary General held his monthly Press briefing (4 Jun 12) in which he confirmed that three goals had been achieved at the Chicago Summit (20/21 May 12):
* To shape the next stages of NATO’s engagement in Afghanistan.
* To ensure NATO invests smartly in future capabilities, even in times of austerity.
* To strengthen relationships with NATO’s partners.
Agreement was also reached on ‘reverse transit’ from Afghanistan with three Central Asian partners: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. These agreements give NATO “a range of new options and [a] robust and flexible transport network”.
The Secretary General also recorded progress in two other key areas: an Alliance Ground Surveillance capability (the Global Hawk unmanned air system) and an Interim Missile Defence capability.
Comment: Agreement on ‘reverse transit’ from Afghanistan follows visits to Central Asia by the Defence Secretary, the Armed Forces Minister and various senior Officers from the UK. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/23, 11 June 12)
03 Jun 12. Japan: Defence Co-operation Memorandum. The Defence Secretary announced that the first ever Defence Co-operation Memorandum between Japan and the UK had been exchanged, following signature, on 3 Jun 12. The agreement is said to strengthen existing areas of Defence co-operation, such as “work on peacekeeping Operations and in science and technology”.
Comment: On 10 Apr 12, during an official visit to Tokyo, the Prime Minister indicated that the above