28 Dec 15. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. The MoD reported that successful attacks were delivered by RAF aircraft on Daesh terrorists in the period between 28 Dec 15 and 3 Jan 16, supporting Iraqi ground forces in Ramadi and to the North. (MoD, 4 Jan 16.) Daesh terrorists suffered further losses following intensive RAF strikes as part of the coalition‟s air campaign on 4/5 Jan 16. (MoD, 6 Jan 16.)
The Armed Forces‟ Minister said (5 Jan 16) that the MoD does not maintain total counts of enemy combatants killed in UK military action. The Minister was not aware of any reports of civilian casualties resulting from UK air strikes in Syria since 3 Dec 15.
Comment: The UK and China (PRC) issued (5 Jan 16) a joint commitment to promote a political settlement in Syria; following talks in Beijing between the Foreign Secretary and the Chinese Foreign Minister. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/02, 11 Jan 16)
05 Jan 16. Flooding: OP SHAKU. The Environment Secretary delivered (5 Jan 16) a Statement on Flooding to the House of Commons. The Minister confirmed that the UK had experienced the wettest December in a century, with the North-West having had the wettest December on record. The result was the flooding of about 9,000 properties, which together with the earlier flooding brought the total to some 16,000 flooded properties in England.
About 600 military personnel were deployed in support of emergency operations, with a further 1,000 on standby. The RAF employed a Chinook helicopter to deliver power generators in York and to assist with the repair of defences in Lancashire.
Comment: Prior to the above Statement, the Armed Forces’ Minister issued (1 Jan 16) a fulsome note of gratitude to those in all three Services who had assisted with the emergency response to flooding during December (2015). Particular mention was made of 2nd Bn The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment, whose personnel were deployed on Christmas Day in order to assist with the preparation of flood defences.
During Questions on 6 Jan 16, the Prime Minister commented that in response to the current flooding crises the Government was “putting in the money and doing so more quickly and the military got involved more quickly”. At the time of the Somerset floods of 2013/14, it was over a month before the military was called-upon to provide assistance. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/02, 11 Jan 16)
Dec 15. Germany: Return of Army Units. Soldier (December 2015) confirmed that the last units will return from Germany in 2019, a year earlier than originally planned. All transfers due to take place in 2016 are to go ahead as scheduled. 2016 moves include 6 Regt, Royal Logistic Corps moving to Dishforth and elements of 1 Regt, Royal Logistic Corps transferring to Bicester. The MoD has confirmed that the following closures are to take place in 2016/17: Princess Royal Barracks, Gütersloh; Alanbrooke Barracks, Paderborn; Tower Barracks, Dülmen and Kiel Training Centre.
Comment: British Forces, Germany has already moved about 74% of personnel back to the UK with over 5,000 troops and their dependents returning during the past Summer. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/02, 11 Jan 16)
08 Jan 16. Japan: Co-operation. The Foreign Secretary and the Defence Secretary met their Japanese opposite numbers in Tokyo (8 Jan 16) for the Second Japan-UK Foreign and Defence Ministerial Meeting. The Ministers welcomed progress in Defence and Security Co-operation over the year “and re-affirmed the dynamic strategic partnership between Japan and the UK.”
The Defence Secretary said that Defence co-operation would be increased through joint Exercises, reciprocal access to military bases, personnel exchanges and co-operation on equipment including a new air-to-air missile. Additional co-operation could include: mine hunting in the Gulf, amphibious capability and counter-IED (improvised explosive device) expertise.
Comment: The Ministers also agreed to