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EUROPE

08 May 13. HM The Queen’s Speech: Defence Reform. HM The Queen’s Speech (8 May 13) outlined the Government’s priorities for the forthcoming Parliamentary year. Defence Reform was included in the Speech: “Measures will be brought forward to improve the way this Country procures Defence equipment, as well as strengthening the Reserve Forces.” The Speech also included the pledge that the Government would “ensure the security, good governance and development of the Overseas Territories….”.
Comment: Expanding on the detail of the Speech, the MoD added (8 May 13) that new legislation would enable the MoD to reform the Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) organisation and to “strengthen the arrangements for procurement.” In a Written Statement on 25 Apr 13, the Defence Secretary said that he expected to publish a White Paper (i.e. a policy document) on the future of Defence acquisition. The White Paper is now expected during June 2013. As to the Reserve Forces, a Ministerial speech on 23 Apr 13 included the forecast that a White Paper was to be published “soon”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/19, 13 May 13)

07 May 13. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. Soldiers of 1st Bn The Royal Regiment of Fusiliers handed over control of Check Point (CP) Abpashak East to the Afghan Uniformed Police. There are now 11 UK bases in Helmand Province; down from 37 in October 2012. (TFH, 7 May 13.)
Soldiers from the Brigade Reconnaissance Force destroyed an insurgent bomb cache in the Nad ‘Ali region.
200kgs of explosives as well as remote controls and pressure plates were discovered together with a motorcycle packed with explosives.
Comment: 9,000 UK Service personnel remain in Afghanistan, mainly in Helmand Province. On current planning the number of personnel will reduce to 5,200 by 31 Dec 13. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/19, 13 May 13)

09 May 13. Mali: RAF Support. The MoD reported (9 May 13) that C-17 Globemaster aircraft from 99 Squadron RAF have been flying 5,000-mile round trip missions on a “near daily” basis. The aircraft are transporting personnel, armoured vehicles and other freight from Evreux Air Base in France to Bamako in Mali.
Comment: The above information was released following a visit to RAF Brize Norton by the Prime Minister and other Ministers on 3 May 13. The eighth and final £200m C-17 aircraft arrived at Brize Norton on 24 May 12. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/19, 13 May 13)

07 May 13. Somalia: London Conference. Representatives of over 50 countries and organisations from the international community gathered in London (7 May 13) for a meeting co-hosted by the President of Somalia and the UK Prime Minister. The Conference built on a similar gathering in 2012 when the international community called for an end to Somalia’s transitional government. The UK pledged to support Somalia’s Federal Government in the following areas: Security, Policing & justice, Public finances, Preventing famine, Peace & stability and Tackling sexual violence.
Comment: Within the remit of ‘security’, the UK is to support the Somali Government as it develops “effective and legitimate national security Forces”. British military personnel are to be seconded to assist the Somalis as they mature their Armed Forces. The UK is also to provide practical assistance in securing Somalia’s coastline and aiding in the prosecution of suspected pirates. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/19, 13 May 13)

10 May 13. At the foot of the Balkan mountains, the Bulgarian town of Sopot remembers with nostalgia its glory days as a booming arms industry center under communism. Today, poverty and worries about the future reign, and people are anxio

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