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EUROPE

30 Nov 12. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. Since OP HERRICK began in 2006, around 123,000 personnel have served in Afghanistan. (Written Answer (WA), 30 Nov 12.)
The First Sea Lord visited 40 Commando, Royal Marines, at Forward Operating Base Price (renamed as HMS PRICE). (MoD, 3 Dec 12.)
At the 2012 NATO Summit and Tokyo Conference, the international community set out its long-term commitment to Afghanistan’s security and development. (WA, 4 Dec 12.)
The incident on 25 Mar 11 is the only one in which civilian fatalities are known to have resulted from a UK remotely piloted aircraft strike. (WA, 4 Dec 12.)
Camp Bastion houses a population of over 28,000. The airfield supports around 3,000 flights per week. Force Protection is shared by an RAF Wing and a US Marine Group. (RAF, 5 Dec 12.)
Troops from 1st Bn The Royal Regiment of Scotland supported an Afghan National Army Operation to secure an area of central Helmand Province. (MoD, 7 Dec 12.)
B Company, 1st Bn The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment have withdrawn from Patrol Base Nahidullah prior to returning to the UK. The Company forms the first part of the reduction of 500 troops already announced.
(MoD, 7 Dec 12.)
Comments: The Foreign Office advised (5 Dec 12) that the Foreign Secretary has held trilateral talks with the Foreign Ministers of Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Ministers discussed the Afghan-led peace and reconciliation process and how to strengthen their joint efforts to address extremism and advance regional peace and stability.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/48, 10 Dec 12)

06 Dec 12. The UK MoD’s spending was hit harder than all other government departments by funding reductions announced on 5 December in the Autumn Statement of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne. Spending reductions across government departments, which have been introduced on top of previous austerity-driven cuts, were announced in response to government predictions that GDP will slip by 0.1% in 2012, down from a forecast of 0.8% growth made at the time of the last budget. Government spending cuts were intended to free resources for capital investment to stimulate the national economy. Cuts of GBP245m (USD394m) and GBP490m to the MoD resource budget, covering all areas of expenditure other than capital projects, were announced on 5 December for the years 2013-14 and 2014-15 respectively. This represents resource budget reductions of 1% in 2013-14 and 2% in 2014-15. Prior to 5 December, the MoD had published resource expenditure estimates of GBP24.9bn and GBP24.7bn for the fiscal years 2013-14 and 2014-15 respectively. The resource budget departmental expenditure limit (DEL) for 2011-12 was set at GBP25bn. (Source: Jane’s)

04 Dec 12. Overseas Territories: Ministerial Council Meeting. The first annual Joint Ministerial Council was opened in London (4/5 Dec 12) by the FCO Minister for the Overseas Territories. The Council agreed “priority issues and a comprehensive action plan for joint work in the coming year”. On the second day, the Prime Minister welcomed Territory leaders to 10 Downing Street.
Comment: Strategy for the Territories (the remnants of the British Empire) was published in a White Paper on 28 Jun 12, as Command 8374. This useful guide is also available on the FCO website (www.fco.gov.uk).
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/48, 10 Dec 12)

05 Dec 12. Defence Budget: Further Cuts. The Chancellor of the Exchequer presented (5 Dec 12) his Autumn Statement. As one of 22 reductions to Departmental Resource Budgets, Table 2.2 shows that Defence is to be reduced by £245m in 2013/14 and by £490m in 2014/15.
The Defence Secretary published (6 Dec 12) the MoD’s Annual Report and Accounts 2011/12. Table 8.3 shows that the Resource Departmental Expenditure Lim

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