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02 Apr 04. A Ceremony to mark the accession of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation took place at NATO Headquarters today, Friday, 2 April 2004.

30 March 30. Republican Norm Dicks, a key backer of an U.S. Air Force plan to lease and buy 100 Boeing Co. 767 tankers, on Tuesday raised the prospect of legislation to exclude foreign companies from future tanker deals. Dicks, a Washington Democrat, said Airbus Industries should be banned from bidding for future tanker contracts since it receives subsidies from European governments and the United States had only one commercial aircraft maker left — Boeing (NYSE:BA – News).(Reuters)

25 Mar 04. United Defense Industries, Inc. (NYSE:UDI – News) and Giat Industries of Versailles-Satory, France, have entered into a joint cooperative agreement for United Defense to lead marketing efforts in the United States for Giat Industries’ CAESAR® 155-mm, 52-caliber wheeled self propelled howitzer. The Caesar is a 52-caliber, 155-mm howitzer that is mounted on a 6 x 6 truck. It is designed to be both lightweight and mobile, and it is capable of being emplaced in, and displaced from, a firing position much faster and with much less effort than a traditional towed howitzer. The system’s mobility, light weight, and C-130 aircraft transportability are key capabilities that address current U.S. requirements. In July 2003, the French Army began technical and operational evaluation of their first five Caesar howitzers, and the acquisition of 72 systems is planned in 2004. Additionally, Giat Industries conducted a firing demonstration of the Caesar howitzer at the U.S. Army’s Field Artillery Center at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma, during October 2002.

01 Apr 04. The Department of Defense inspector general and the Naval Air Systems Command will sponsor an industry day conference on Thursday, Apr. 8, at the Marriott Crystal Gateway, 1700 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, Va. The conference will discuss the long-range strategy of outsourcing financial audits with independent public accounting and information technology firms. Keynote speakers will include: Comptroller General David Walker, Department of Defense Inspector General Joseph Schmitz, and Department of Defense Deputy Chief Financial Officer Joann Boutelle.

31 Mar 04. Mike Turner, chief executive of BAE Systems saw his total pay increase by more than 70 per cent last year to £1.2m ($2.2m). Most of the rise came from a £491,000 bonus he received after putting the company’s financial performance back on track. Mr Turner’s base salary increased by nearly 17 per cent, from £577,000 to £675,000. The company said the increase was an attempt by the board’s remuneration committee to keep his pay in line with the rest of the industry. The £491,000 bonus was more than quadruple Mr Turner’s £115,000 in 2002. (Source: FT)

24 Mar 04. Giving evidence to the Defence Committee on the 2003 Defence White Paper, the Chief of the Defence Staff confirmed that the Armed Forces would not be able to undertake another large scale Operation until “around 2008/09”. [During a Defence Debate (25 Mar 04), the Defence Secretary confirmed that “it will take a number of years to recover properly….” While all three Service Chiefs of Staff conceded shortages in specialist personnel, the Army is particularly deficient in the areas of medical services, human intelligence and communicators. The Joint Rapid Reaction Force (JRRF) ‘packages’ are currently undergoing reassessment and conclusions should be forthcoming in the “next nine to 10 months”. Comment: It was a rare occasion to see all four Chiefs of Staff before the Committee. Thus the Committee Chairman was contrite in having to excuse his fellow Members while they left the room for Divisions (voting) in the House – twice. The Inquiry continues on Wed 31 Mar 04 when the Secretary of State for Defence and his Permanent Under-Secretary are due to give evi

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