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16 May 13. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. From 1 Jan 06 to 30 Apr 13, 2,130 personnel were Wounded in Action and 6,722 were aeromedically evacuated. (DASA, 16 May 13.) For April 2013 the figures were 14 and 59.
Troop numbers will be at 7,900 by 31 May 13 and at around 5,200 by 31 Dec 13. The Brigade deploying in October 2013 (OP HERRICK 19) will deploy for eight months until June 2014. The subsequent Brigade
(OP HERRICK 20) will deploy for six months, from June to December 2014. Current estimates suggest that
between 2,200 and 3,700 overall may deploy for more than six and a half months. An allowance of £50 per day,
in addition to the standard Operational allowance, will be paid to eligible personnel who serve for over seven
and a half months in Afghanistan from September 2013. (Defence Secretary, 14 May 13.)
“Work is progressing on reviewing how to make appropriate provision to support locally employed civilians as we draw down our combat mission in Afghanistan.” (Written Answer (WA), 15 May 13.)
There are strict procedures intended to both minimise the risk of casualties occurring and to investigate any incidents [following unmanned aerial vehicle strikes] that do happen. (WA, 15 May 13.)
Comment: The Defence Secretary’s comprehensive statement on OP HERRICK is recorded in Hansard for 14 May 13, starting at Column 499. As the MoD has advised, the changed pattern of Brigade rotations does not mean that all military personnel will deploy for longer: most will serve for up to six months. Claims in the popular press that extended tour lengths could mean greater mental health issues for deploying personnel can be dismissed as silliness. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/20, 20 May 13)
15 May 13. HM The Queen’s Speech: House of Lords’ Debate. The House of Lords debated Defence aspects of HM The Queen’s Speech on 15 May 13. In his summing-up the junior Defence Minister, Lord Astor, covered a lot of ground including confirmation that the White Paper on Future Reserves 2020 is to be published “by the Summer Recess” (i.e. by 18 Jul 13).
Comment: The Debate is recorded in Hansard for 15 May 13, starting in Column 403. A number of distinguished military personalities spoke during the Debate, with the important summing-up starting in Column 515. The Minister said little that was new but delivered a useful ‘round-up’ of MoD thinking. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/20, 20 May 13)
16 May 13. Syria: Continuing Unrest. A Foreign Office Minister said (16 May 13) that the evolving situation in Syria is discussed with our international partners on a regular basis at Ministerial and official level. “This includes conversations with the US, France and Germany on ensuring that all appropriate restrictive measures are being taken against the Assad regime.”
Comment: An article in ‘The Economist’ (18 May 13) discusses “….the regime’s vast stock of chemical weapons getting into the hands of groups with links to al-Qaeda.”. In ‘The Spectator’ (18 May 13) a former Ambassador to Syria argues that it would be folly to send weapons there. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/20, 20 May 13)
17 May 13. France expects the US will soon approve the speedy shipment of two Reaper surveillance drones after sending a formal request in early May, American and French sources said. French acquisition of the first batch of unarmed General Atomics Reapers seals a long-running, politically charged debate on what type of aircraft the Air Force will use to fill a capability gap in medium-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aircraft. The Reaper deal aims to boost military capabilities, but a tight budget means France will cut orders for the Rafale fighter a