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NEWS IN BRIEF

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EUROPE

08 Oct 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. “Afghan and International Forces operating in Helmand continue to make tangible progress….nine of the 14 Districts in Helmand have begun the transition process, including all three Districts within Task Force Helmand….”. (Written Answer, 8 Oct 12.)
4 Mechanized Brigade took over as Task Force Helmand from 12 Mechanized Brigade on 10 Oct 12, marking the official start of OP HERRICK 17. The Brigade is reinforced with 40 Commando, Royal Marines. The handover ceremony was witnessed by Danish, Estonian and US personnel at the Lashkar Gah Headquarters. (TFH, 10 Oct 12.)
A ceremony has taken place at the site of the future Afghan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA). When fully operational, the ANAOA will train up to 1,350 male and 150 female students each year. While the UK is leading the ANAOA project, personnel from Australia, Denmark, Norway and the US are also involved.
(MoD, 10 Oct 12.)
A 2 Squadron Tornado released a Brimstone missile directly on to the source of small arms fire which had trapped a joint ISAF/Afghan patrol. (MoD (Air), 12 Oct 12.)
Comment: The MoD advised that the Royal Military Police arrested seven Royal Marines on 11 Oct 12, on suspicion of murder. The arrests relate to an incident in Afghanistan in 2011, following an engagement with an insurgent. The MoD Press Office stressed that it will not be making any further statement (and media speculation on the subject should be ignored). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/40, 15 Oct 12)

06 Oct 12. Danish Firms Want Bigger Slice of JSF Pie. Denmark’s center-left minority coalition has come under renewed fire from rankled industry chiefs, who claim the government has not done enough to help local companies win more systems and component contracts from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) development program. Danish defense companies have secured a paltry $138m in JSF-related orders since the Scandinavian country signed up as a Tier-3 partner in the U.S.-led stealth fighter jet development program in 1997, said Jan Jørgensen, CEO of Danish Aerotech. (Source: glstrade.com/Defense News)

USA

08 Oct 12. The Pentagon will move to protect major weapon programs, including those locked into fixed-price procurement deals, should mandatory U.S. government spending cuts go into effect under sequestration in January. The Defense Department would also consider furloughing civilian workers as a last-ditch way to pay for combat operations in Afghanistan, should the Pentagon have to absorb a $50bn sequestration cut to its 2013 budget, Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale said. DoD leaders have consistently maintained that they are not making detailed plans for possible sequestration. Hale’s remarks, however, shed some light on how the Pentagon might proceed if further cuts are necessary. Gordon Adams, an analyst who oversaw defense budgets during the Clinton administration, said the Pentagon would likely send a $15bn to $20bn reprogramming request to Congress, should sequestration go into effect.

08 Oct 12. GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney offered few new details about his agenda for the Pentagon in an Oct. 8 national security address that mostly slammed President Barack Obama’s foreign policy record. Romney criticized Obama’s Middle East strategy numerous times and panned him for failing to “shape” events there and around the globe. If elected, Romney said he would “firmly and actively” use American power to that end — but he offered few specifics on how. Notably, Romney used his speech at the Virginia Military Institute to announce that he would buy three submarines per year. That is part of Romney’s plan to swell U.S. Navy shipbuilding to 15 vessels

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