15 Jan 16. British soldiers deployed to Nigeria to support fight against Boko Haram. Around 35 British Army soldiers from the Royal Anglian Regiment (2 R ANGLIAN) will be deployed to support Nigerian armed forces in the fight against Boko Haram, an Islamic extremist group based in north-eastern Nigeria.
The decision is part of the UK’s commitment to double the number of personnel deployed on training tasks in Nigeria during 2016.
UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: “Boko Haram is a brutal organisation that has murdered and kidnapped innocent civilians. We stand united with Nigeria in its efforts to defeat them.
“Stepping up our training efforts will help support the Armed Forces of Nigeria (AFN) for crucial counter-insurgency operations.”
The country will also deploy a specialist team to provide assistance in countering improvised explosive devices (IED), as well as medical training and advice. A new Royal Air Force (RAF) training team will train the Nigerian Air Force in airfield defence and counter-insurgency.
The decision follows the Nigerian military’s appeal to the international community for assistance, following a recent attack on the north-eastern town of Baga.
The extremist group attacked Baga and the surrounding villages after overrunning the headquarters of the Multinational Joint Task Force, which consists of soldiers from Nigeria, Niger and Chad. The group reportedly killed 2,000 people.
Claimed to be the deadliest massacre in the group’s five-year insurgency, the attack wounded hundreds of civilians, and forced a least 20,000 to flee. Around 130 UK military personnel are currently carrying out training tasks in Nigeria. Tasks include training in infantry skills, civil-military affairs, media operations, command and leadership, IED awareness, as well as support to Nigerian military training schools and establishments. (Source: army-technology.com)
12 Jan 16. Lord Levene outlines defence reform progress. Latest Lord Levene report welcomes departmental changes to critical business operations in last four years, but calls for urgent action in other areas. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is undertaking a top line review of its operations that is expected to include potential changes to how it provides back office functions, according to a fourth annual report by Defence Reform Group chairman Lord Levene.
The latest Levene report from November has raised concerns around performance data, as well as the operation of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO).
Four years on from the launch of the defence reform programme, Lord Levene said the MoD had successfully transformed a number of what are described as the most critical areas of its business and operations.
These include creating a smaller defence board found to have made a “demonstrable improvement” in regards to top level decision making, as well as a 25% reduction in the size of the department’s head office since 2011.
Praise was given to efforts to strengthen financial management over the last four years and the creation of the Joint Forces Command (JFC) to bring an improved focus to key technological enablers required to support the department’s modern warfare strategy.
Levene also noted the creation of the Defence Business Services (DBS) delivery organisation – set to be brought in-house temporarily from April pending a further review of future operations for HR, payroll, vetting, and finance – as laying a solid foundation for the MoD’s corporate services going forward.
However, a number of issues around further reforms needs within the MoD have been raised including a need to simplify and reduce senior managerial roles in line with cuts to military and civilian staff.
“This is not a criticism of the calibre of current ministers or senior officers and officials, who are working hard and operating well, but simply reflects the rigidity of the existing structure,” said Lord Levene.
“The central aim should be to increase the speed flex