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06 Nov 13. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. A Warrant Officer Class 2 from 3rd Bn The Mercian Regiment was killed in action near Kamparak when his vehicle was subjected to a suicide attack on 5 Nov 13. (MoD, 6 Nov 13.) UK deaths since the start of Operations thus rose to 446, of whom 403 were killed due to hostile action.
Members of the Afghan National Army, supported by soldiers from the Mercian Regiment, seized machine guns and ammunition after overpowering their opponents in an ambush. A number of casualties were inflicted and several enemy captured. (MoD, 5 Nov 13.)
A Foreign Office Minister visited Kabul on 5/6 Nov 13 for talks on the UK-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership and the 2014 elections. (FCO, 6 Nov 13.)
A new order has been made under Section 54 of the Reserve Forces Act 1996 to enable Reservists to continue to be called out to support Operations in Afghanistan. Almost 1,500 Reservists have been called out during the last year. (Written Statement, 6 Nov 13.)
Comment: On 8 Nov 13 a Court Martial found a Royal Marine Sergeant guilty of the murder of an Afghan in 2011. Following the verdict, the Deputy Commandant General Royal Marines issued a statement which can be found on the Royal Navy website (www.royalnavy.mod.uk). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/44, 11 Nov 13)
07 Nov 13. Syria: Additional Site Verified. The Joint Mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations (OPCW/UN) has now verified 22 of the 23 chemical weapons sites declared by Syria. The additional site inspected is in the region of Aleppo and was one of the two sites that could not be visited earlier for safety and security reasons. The site was confirmed as dismantled and long abandoned. (UN Briefing, 7 Nov 13.)
The UK has pledged £500m in humanitarian assistance for the Syria crisis. Both the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development are committed to making sure humanitarian assistance gets to those who need it. (Written Answer (WA), 8 Nov 13.)
Comment: The destruction of production facilities is a precursor to destroying some 1,300 tons of chemical weapons by mid-2014. Although the dismantling of Syria’s chemical weapons facilities has attracted attention, more conventional warfare is taking its toll. An estimated 110,000 have been killed since March 2011. The plight of refugees was discussed in the House of Lords on 6 Nov 13 (Hansard, Column 213 et seq). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/44, 11 Nov 13)
06 Nov 13. BAE Systems: Restructuring of Naval Shipbuilding. BAE Systems announced (6 Nov 13) that the Company “has reached agreement in principle with HM Government on measures to enable the implementation of a restructuring of its UK naval ships business”. BAE Systems has agreed with the MoD that Glasgow would be the most effective location for the manufacture of the Type 26 frigates and the Company therefore proposes to consolidate its shipbuilding operations in Glasgow. Shipbuilding operations at Portsmouth are due to cease in the second half of 2014.
An employee reduction of 1,775 is anticipated: 940 in Portsmouth and 835 across Filton, Glasgow and Rosyth. These reductions are to take place “progressively through to 2016”, with the cost of restructuring being borne by the MoD.
Comment: As widely noted the above announcement has as much political as economic impact, with the Prime Minister accused of ‘playing politics’ with an industry buried in the Country’s history. Portsmouth can trace its naval shipbuilding glory back to the days of Henry VIII (1509-1547).
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/44, 11 Nov 13)
06 Nov 13. Aircraft Carriers: Total Cost