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02 Nov 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. Members of 1st Bn The Royal Regiment of Scotland form part of the Brigade Advisory Group mentoring and advising the Afghan Army. (MoD, 2 Nov 12.)
The Foreign Secretary presented the 21st progress report on developments in Afghanistan since November 2010. The report includes the observation that: “We continue to work closely with ISAF and our Afghan partners to mitigate the threat of insider attacks.”. The full report is published on the FCO website (www.fco.gov.uk). (Written Statement (WS), 2 Nov 12.)
Royal Engineers from 21 Engineer Regiment replaced an important bridge linking the main highways and local communities within Gereshk. (MoD, 7 Nov 12.)
The Sentinel of 5 (Army Co-operation) Squadron had a successful and fully serviceable week. 857 Naval Air Squadron assisted in the interception and seizure of a consignment of 1,400g of narcotics. (RAF, 7 Nov 12.)
Experts from the redevelopment support team in Camp Bastion are sorting out the equipment being returned from patrol bases. (MoD, 9 Nov 12.)
New Orders have been made under the Reserve Forces Act 1996 to enable Reservists to continue to be called out in support of Operations in Afghanistan (and to assist with maritime security). Over 530 Reservists are currently deployed in Afghanistan. (WS, 9 Nov 12.)
Comment: The House of Commons debated ‘Combat Troop Withdrawal (Afghanistan)’ on 7 Nov 12. The debate was largely an opportunity for the ‘anti-war’ lobby to air their views. (The on-line transcript of Hansard, Column 226WH contains a misprint: 437 British troops have died in Afghanistan and not 477. 394 of the 437 deaths were due to hostile action.) The Debate is summed up in Hansard at Column 241 WH et seq. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/44, 12 Nov 12)

07 Nov 12. Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ): Cyber Incident Response. A pilot cyber response scheme has been launched (7 Nov 12) by CESG (Communications-Electronics Security Group), the Information Assurance arm of GCHQ. BAE Systems Detica, Cassidian, Context IS and Mandiant are to provide a Government-certified service to organisations that have suffered a cyber attack.
Comment: The scheme is aimed mainly at organisations that provide the UK’s critical national infrastructure. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/44, 12 Nov 12)

05 Nov 12. Preparations are continuing to base four U.S. Navy destroyers in Rota, Spain, beginning in fiscal 2014 — a move that will allow the ships to provide a near-continuous ballistic-missile defense (BMD) shield for Europe. And while the U.S. remains the only nation so far able to field a sea-based BMD system, the nation’s top naval officer sees roles other navies can play to support the mission. (Source: Defense News)

05 Nov 12. UK owed millions by repressive regimes. Foreign countries owe the UK hundreds of millions of pounds that was originally borrowed by repressive regimes to pay for British-made arms, government data has revealed. Information published by UK Export Finance, the government department that manages foreign debt, shows Britain in the past lent nearly £1bn to countries including Indonesia, Egypt and Iraq to pay for weapons, some of which are alleged to have been used against civilians. Debt relief campaigners have reacted angrily to the revelations, calling on the government to cancel any debt originally incurred by such regimes.
The figures provide a snapshot of the history of UK government lending: they include all recorded loans made to countries that have still not fully repaid the money. They do not include details of loans to countries that have paid off their debt. (Source: FT.com)

05 Nov 12. The growing competition

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