NEWS IN BRIEF
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10 Jun 13. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. The Black Hornet unmanned air system has been in UK service on OP HERRICK since May 2012: initial feedback confirms that the system is providing a valuable capability. (Written Answer (WA), 10 Jun 13.)
The Government does not record total figures for insurgent or civilian casualties in Afghanistan because of the difficulty in collecting robust data. (WA, 10 Jun 13.)
No decisions have been taken on the longer term use of unmanned air systems by UK Forces in Afghanistan. (WA, 11 Jun 13.)
The UK has around 150 personnel based in Qatar, focused principally on air support for Operations in Afghanistan. (WA, 12 Jun 13.)
The UK has been forthright in its promotion of the full participation of women in all aspects of Afghan society. (WA, 13 Jun 13.)
The Headquarters of British Forces deployed in Afghanistan is set to move from Lashkar Gah to Camp Bastion, the Defence Secretary announced during a visit to British troops. (MoD, 15 Jun 13.)
Comment: The redeployment of equipment from Afghanistan started on 1 Oct 12 and is due to be complete by 31 Dec 14. As confirmed by the MoD on 15 Jun 13, there were 137 UK bases operating in 2011 and these have now been reduced to 13 remaining in Central Helmand. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/24, 17 Jun 13)
13 Jun 13. Syria: Chemical Weapons Use Confirmed. The US Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications made a Statement (13 Jun 13) on Syrian Chemical Weapons Use. The Statement concludes: “….our intelligence community assesses that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year.” Responding to the US Statement (14 Jun 13) the Foreign Secretary indicated that the UK agrees with the US assessment of Assad.s chemical weapons use and he called for a co-ordinated international response.
Comment: The Foreign Secretary has indicated that the UK will be discussing the necessary “response” with the US, France and others as a matter of urgency. The G8 Summit (17/18 Jun 13) provides an early opportunity for consultation. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/24, 17 Jun 13)
10 Jun 13. Defence Acquisition: White Paper Published. The Defence Secretary published (10 Jun 13) a White Paper (i.e. policy document) entitled Better Defence Acquisition: Improving how we procure and support Defence equipment. The document has two main Chapters: Reforming the Defence Equipment and Support Organisation and A New Framework for Single-Source Procurement. Discussion centres around whether a Government Owned Contractor Operated (GOCO) body or a reformed public entity (known as DE&S+) is the better option. To coincide with publication of the White Paper, the Defence Secretary introduced a Debate (Better Defence Acquisition) in the House of Commons.
Comment: The White Paper is published as Command 8626, for £16:00. The associated Commons Debate starts in Hansard for 10 Jun 13 at Column 50. The MoD has also drawn attention to a further White Paper, “setting out the enhanced role for Reservists”, which is due to be published before the Summer Recess. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/24, 17 Jun 13)
14 Jun 13. British Army chief Sir Peter Wall warns cuts could be
Dangerous. General Sir Peter Wall: “Imposing more [efficiencies] now would be very disruptive.” Gaps between military resources and planned capabilities caused by spending cuts “could become quite dangerous, quite quickly”, the Army’s head says. Chief of the General Staff General Sir Peter Wall said further efficiencies would be “very disruptive”. Gen Wall was speaking ahead of the