04 Aug 16. Resignation Honours: Defence Secretary Nominated. The Rt Hon MC Fallon MP, Secretary of State for Defence was awarded the title KCB (Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath) in the Registration Honours (published on 4 Aug 16). The honour was awarded “for political and public service”.
Comment: A total of 46 people featured in the former Prime Minister’s Resignation Honours list. 16 Resignation Peerages (13 Conservative, one Labour and two Crossbench) were also awarded. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/31, 08 Aug 16)
03 Aug 16. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 26 Jul 16 Typhoons bombed a terrorist mortar position in Northern Iraq. On 27 Jul 16 Typhoons destroyed Daesh strong points in Syria as Tornados attacked a ‘safe house’ in Northern Iraq. Reaper provided close air support to Syrian forces near Manbij on 28 Jul 16 as Tornados destroyed a mortar in Northern Iraq and Typhoons bombed a bunker in Western Iraq. On 30 Jul 16 a Reaper provided close air support in Syria and on the following day Tornados attacked a group of terrorists in Northern Iraq. On 1 Aug 16 Tornados took part in a coalition air strike on Saddam Hussein’s former palace in Mosul, used by Daesh as a Headquarters and training establishment. Also on 1 Aug 16, Typhoons destroyed a network of fortified positions on the outskirts of Manbij. (MoD, 3 Aug 16.)
During a visit to RAF Akrotiri (2 Aug 16) the Defence Secretary announced that additional troops are to deploy to Iraq from the UK “later this month”. The troops will be based at the Al Asad airbase where they will provide counter-improvised explosive device training, first aid and infantry training. (MoD, 3 Aug 16.)
Comment: Before arriving in Cyprus, the Defence Secretary visited the crew of HMS ENTERPRISE in Valletta. The Defence Secretary announced that the crew had been selected as the RN‟s recipient of the Firmin Sword of Peace; awarded to the unit that has carried out “exceptional service beyond the call of duty”. In a single year, HMS ENTERPRISE has rescued over 7,000 migrants. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/31, 08 Aug 16)
31 Jul 16. Afghanistan: An Enduring Commitment. The BBC broadcast (31 Jul 16) a report from Afghanistan, intimating that British Forces had left Helmand Province too early. In its rebuttal (1 Aug 16) the MoD pointed out that the UK currently has some 450 personnel in Afghanistan; working to train, advise and assist the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces (ANDSF). The UK-mentored Afghan National Army Officer Academy has helped to train over 1,300 graduates since 2014. The UK also provides support for OP RESOLUTE SUPPORT through leading the Kabul Security Force which includes base protection.
Comment: The UK has an enduring commitment to Afghanistan, contributing £70m a year until 2020 in order to support the ANDSF. During 2017, the number of UK personnel in Afghanistan is expected to increase (from 450 to 500). The extra personnel are to provide further support to the Army Officer Academy and advice to the fledgling Afghan Air Force. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/31, 08 Aug 16)
06 Aug 16. Home Affairs Committee: Migration Crisis. After a year-long inquiry, the Home Affairs Committee says that European action to address a crisis it should have foreseen has been “too little, too late”. The Committee concludes that UK Border Force “is clearly underresourced, with the number of Border Force vessels in operation worryingly low. Royal Navy vessels should be made available to Border Force to make up for shortfalls, where necessary.”.
Comment: The MoD will not be grateful for the above suggestion, given the shortage of vessels available (!). The Committee’s Report, entitled Migration Crisis,’ was published on 3 Aug 16 as HC 24. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 16/31, 08 Aug 16)
02 Aug 16. Aircraft Carriers: Power Facilities. The MoD confirmed (2 Aug 16) that facilities to power the two new aircraft