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05 Dec 13. Autumn Statement: Reduction in the Reserve. The Chancellor of the Exchequer presented (5 Dec 13) the Autumn Statement about the economy. In a passing reference to the Armed Forces, the Chancellor announced a reduction of £900m in the “military special reserve” and the availability of an additional £100m for military charities.
Comment: Neither of the above sums has a direct bearing on the MoD.s budget. The Autumn Statement is recorded in Hansard for 5 Dec 13, with the Armed Forces’ reference starting towards the end of Column 1105.
Within the Autumn Statement document (published as Command 8747 for £45:00) there is some detail on Government investment priorities, including: £270m over five years to develop the UK’s quantum research capabilities in areas such as quantum computing and secure communications. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/48, 09 Dec 13)
02 Dec 13. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. The 17th rotation of Joint Force Support took place in Camp Bastion on 2 Dec 13. Joint Force Support works in parallel with Task Force Helmand to provide logistical and technical support for UK Armed Forces across Afghanistan. (MoD, 2 Dec 13.)
The Armed Forces. Minister replied to various Questions concerning the attack at Camp Bastion on 14 Sep 12. (Written Answers (WA), 2 Dec 13.)
The MoD has made no formal assessment of the direct correlation between British Forces in Helmand and the production of opium in Afghanistan. (WA, 2 Dec 13.)
Comment: The ‘Economist’ dated 7 Dec 13 includes two interesting articles about the US presence in Afghanistan: one on aerial refuelling and the other on future involvement in Central Asia.
The ISAF ‘drawdown’ continues to make slow progress. An overall reduction of 2,563 (3%) personnel is mainly accounted for by: Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal & Spain.
AFGHANISTAN: INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE FORCE (ISAF)
TROOP CONTRIBUTING NATIONS (TCN) AS AT 1 DEC 13
United States 60,000
United Kingdom 7,953
Korea (RoK) 50
El Salvador 24
Czech Republic 213
New Zealand 11
It should be noted that the above totals are approximations and actual numbers change daily.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/48, 09 Dec 13)
06 Dec 13. Central African Republic (CAR): RAF Assistance. The Foreign Secretary announced (6 Dec 13) that the UK would assist the French Government to move equipment to CAR with the use of a C-17 transport aircraft. Three separate flights have been scheduled during December 2013.
Comment: On 5 Dec 13, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 2127 authorising the deployment