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NEWS IN BRIEF

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25 Sep 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Captain of Royal Marines died at Bagram Air Force Base on 24 Sep 12 from what are believed to be natural causes. UK deaths since the start of Operations on 7 Oct 01 thus rose to 433, of whom 390 were killed as a result of hostile action. (MoD, 24 Sep 12.)
The outgoing Governor of Helmand Province thanked ISAF for their service and sacrifices during his four years in office. The Governor and the Commander of Task Force Helmand exchanged gifts. (TFH, 24 Sep 12.)
40 Commando, Royal Marines, completed the transfer of command of Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (North) from 1st Bn Grenadier Guards on 21 Sep 12. Throughout OP HERRICK 17, 40 Commando will be working closely with Danish Team 14. (MoD, 25 Sep 12.)
Comment: Jane’s Defence Weekly (26 Sep 12) reviewed the events at Camp Bastion on 14 Sep 12 and concluded that the assault “was the worst security breach inflicted on an ISAF base since Coalition operations in the Country began.”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/38, 01 Oct 12)

26 Sep 12. Scotland: Defence Report Commissioned. The Scotland Institute announced (26 Sep 12) the commissioning of a Report on Security and Defence in an independent Scotland. The Report is an attempt to put forward a Strategic Defence and Security Review for a fledgling Scottish State. The Institute will consult a panel of experts, such as former Defence Secretaries, chaired by Major General A D MacKay CBE. The Report is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.
Comment: The Scotland Institute was launched on 29 Jul 12 “to deal with the changing face of Scotland”. General MacKay resigned his commission shortly after being promoted in 2009 and subsequently wrote a paper critical of the MoD’s organisation. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/38, 01 Oct 12)

24 Sep 12. Diego Garcia: UK Policy. A Foreign Office Minister reiterated (24 Sep 12) that the UK’s policy on the use of Diego Garcia by the US is based on a 1966 exchange of ‘notes’ (updated in 1976 and with subsequent amendments and additions). The ‘notes’ “allow the US to use the base as a forward operating location for aircraft and ships….”.
Comment: The British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) has no permanent population; only UK and US military personnel and their civilian (mostly Filipino) employees. The BIOT is governed by a Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner and Administrator based in the FCO in London. The Commissioner’s representative in Diego Garcia is an RN Commander, who is also Commander British Forces (some 40 RN/RM). The BIOT is not a tourist destination and access is restricted.

26 Sep 12. Arms Trade Treaty: Agreement Still Needed. The Foreign Secretary issued (26 Sep 12) a joint communiqué with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the Swedish Minister for Trade reiterating the importance of achieving a strong Arms Trade Treaty. The Ministers called on the UN General Assembly to convene a follow-up conference as early as possible, to build on the agreed draft text for a Treaty.
Comment: The Foreign Secretary had said that he was “disappointed” when negotiations for an Arms Trade Treaty failed at the United Nations on 28 Jul 12. The draft Treaty was opposed by both the American and the Russian delegations, who needed more time to “clarify and resolve” some issues. The UK position on a Treaty was explained in a House of Commons Written Statement on 5 Sep 12. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/38, 01 Oct 12)

28 Sep 12. With the signature of a framework contract between the European Defence Agency (EDA) and Astrium Services, five Member States – France, Italy, Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom – can as of today benefit from pooled procurement of commercial satellite communication

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