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07 Oct 13. UK Defence Ministers: New Appointments. HM The Queen approved the Ministerial changes made by the Prime Minister on 7 Oct 13. The Ministerial team at the Ministry of Defence is now:-
• Secretary of State for Defence (Defence Secretary): The Right Honourable P Hammond MP.
• Minister of State for the Armed Forces (Armed Forces’ Minister): The Right Honourable M G Francois MP.
• Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology (including Defence Exports) (Defence Equipment Minister): P M Dunne Esq MP.
• Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans (Personnel Minister): Mrs A Soubry MP.
• Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for International Security Strategy (Internal Security Minister): Dr A W Murrison MP.
• Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and the Lords’ Spokesman on Defence: Lord Astor of Hever DL.
Comment: There is no change in the appointments occupied by Mr Hammond, Mr Dunne, Dr Murrison and Lord Astor. Mr Francois has moved internally, from Personnel Minister, replacing Mr Robathan who has become a Northern Ireland Minister. Mrs Soubry has joined the MoD from the Ministry of Health and is the first female Defence Minister. As may be apparent, there are three Ministerial grades. The most senior are the Secretaries of State, who form the majority of the Cabinet. Ministers of State are the second rung while Parliamentary Under Secretaries are the most junior. A few Ministers are unpaid and Lord Astor is in this select band. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/40, 14 Oct 13)
08 Oct 13. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. The Crossbow capability, which provides near real time imagery intelligence analysis to support the
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, is only delivered from RAF Marham using RAF Tornados. (Written Answer, 8 Oct 13.)
An increase in the redeployment of military equipment from Afghanistan has placed an extra demand on C-17 Globemaster aircraft. (RAF, 9 Oct 13.)
83 Expeditionary Air Group is responsible for the strategic delivery of RAF air power in support of UK and coalition Operations in a joint operating area which includes Afghanistan, Cyprus and the broader Middle East. (RAF, 10 Oct 13.)
7th Armoured Brigade has taken over as Task Force Helmand in Afghanistan, officially marking the start of OP HERRICK 19. 7th Armoured Brigade will be the lead formation in Task Force Helmand until Summer 2014. (MoD, 10 Oct 13.)
Soldiers from 4th Bn The Royal Regiment of Scotland are taking the lead in training Afghan National Army troops at the newly-established Regional Corps Battle School. (Media Ops, 11 Oct 13.)
Comment: The ISAF ‘drawdown’ continues, albeit slowly, as reflected by the figures on page 3. The MoD has confirmed that the UK contribution to ISAF is planned to reduce to around 5,200 personnel by 31 Dec 13. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/40, 14 Oct 13)
07 Oct 13. Syria: More Inspectors Gather. The process of destroying Syria’s chemical weapons programme began on Sun 6 Oct 13. Under supervision, Syrian personnel used cutting torches and angle grinders to destroy or disable a range of items, including missile warheads, bombs and mixing and filling equipment. (UN Briefing, 7 Oct 13.)
The UN Secretary-General proposed the establishment of a joint mission (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the UN) in order to achieve the timely elimination of the Syrian chemical
weapons programme. The joint mission is expected to expand to a staff of approximately 100. The third phase of the joint mission’s work is planned to last fro