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25 Feb 13. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. The MoD plans to return all undamaged vehicles and major equipment to the UK. The Defence Secretary met Uzbek Ministers in February and May 2012 to discuss ‘reverse transit’, including the potential gifting of military equipment. (Written Answers (WA), 25 Feb 13.) The Defence Support Group operates the purpose-built equipment workshop in Camp Bastion. The team repairs equipment locally and thus saves money. (MoD, 27 Feb 13.)
70 soldiers from the Scots Guards Battle Group returned early from Afghanistan as the Afghan Police took over their responsibilities in Forward Operating Base Ouellette. (MoD, 28 Feb 13.)
RAF involvement in OP HERRICK includes a TriStar of 216 Squadron, a Sentinel of 5 (Army Co-operation) Squadron, the Hercules Detachment and the Bastion Force Protection Wing. (RAF News, 1 Mar 13.)
Comment: The MoD reported (27 Feb 13) on a visit to the UK by the Afghan Defence Minister. The visit included a tour of the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, which is to serve as a model for the Afghan National Army Officer Academy. When fully operational, the Afghan Academy will have the capacity to train up to 1,350 male and 150 female students every year. The Foreign Secretary published the 24th progress report on developments in Afghanistan since November 2010. The Report is recorded, as a Written Statement, in ‘Hansard’ for 1 Mar 13 and can also be found on the FCO website (www.gov.uk/fco). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/10, 04 Mar 13)
25 Feb 13. Mali: OP NEWCOMBE. The Armed Forces’ Minister said that the Operation in Mali was “emerging” and “continues to evolve”. Cost estimates are currently being compiled and they will be available “in due course”. (WA, 25 Feb 13.)
The Armed Forces’ Minister said that discussions are “ongoing” with other Government Departments to determine the most appropriate source of funding for the military intervention in Mali. (WA, 26 Feb 13.)
An RAF C-17 aircraft transported over 100 Ghanaian troops into Mali, as a coalition of African Forces deployed to help bring peace to the Country. (RAF News, 1 Mar 13.)
Comment: A Foreign Office Minister gave a comprehensive account of the situation in Mali during Written Answers in the House of Commons. (‘Hansard’, 1 Mar 13, Column 760 et seq.) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/10, 04 Mar 13)
25 Feb 13. MoD: Responsibilities. The Defence Secretary said (25 Feb 13) that the MoD’s priority “is and will remain the success of Operations in
Afghanistan”. The MoD is also engaged in a major project of transformation, which involves:-
. Completion of the rebasing of the Army from Germany.
. Securing the target level of trained Reserves.
. Restructuring the Defence Infrastructure Organisation and Defence Equipment and Support.
Comment: The Defence Secretary concluded his remarks with the observation that: “In parallel with the
Defence Transformation Project, I am focused on the steps we need to take to restore confidence in the future to those who serve in the Armed Forces after a period of turbulence and uncertainty.” Indeed! The Defence Secretary’s complete statement can be found in ‘Hansard’ for 25 Feb 13 as a Topical Question, under Oral Answers. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/10, 04 Mar 13)
24 Feb 13. The UK Government has confirmed that Scotland would be banned from having nuclear weapons after independence under non-proliferation treaty rules. Coalition Government officials have acknowledged that, under international law, Scotland “would not be recognised as a state entitled to possess a nuclear deterrent”. The statement, in a government analysis report on the effects of independence, appea