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NEWS IN BRIEF – EUROPE

07 May 14. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. The Afghan National Army (ANA) in Kabul took part in an Exercise carried out across miles of desert. The show of force demonstrated the ANA’s military capability and planning. (MoD, 7 May 14.)
The forthcoming tour by 20 Armoured Brigade (OP HERRICK 20) will see it continuing the work undertaken by 7 Armoured Brigade; acting in a predominantly advisory role to the Afghan National Security Forces. There are currently around 5,200 UK personnel in Afghanistan, but the final deployment will see the number reduce to 4,100. (MoD, 8 May 14.)
Two RAF Regiment personnel are being investigated in connection with inappropriate behaviour following the 14 Sep 12 attacks on Camp Bastion. (MoD, 9 May 14.)
Comment: The Defence Committee is to publish a Report on ‘Afghanistan’ on 13 May 14. The Report is due to be on the Committee’s website (www.parliament.uk/defcom) from 00.001hrs on Tue 13 May 14 and copies may also be purchased from the Houses of Parliament Shop. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/19, 12 May 14)

08 May 14. Baltic Air Policing (BAP): Typhoons on Duty. The RAF confirmed (8 May 14) that the four Typhoon aircraft deployed from RAF Coningsby on 28 Apr 14 are now on Quick Reaction Alert duty. The Typhoons from 3(F) Squadron are supported in Lithuania by personnel from 21 different RAF Stations across the UK.
Comment: For the past 10 years, the BAP mission has seen NATO allies deploy fighter aircraft to secure the airspace over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The Baltic States have no air defence fighter aircraft of their own but their NATO allies provide “strong reassurance”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/19, 12 May 14)

06 May 14. Syria: ‘London II’ Meeting. The Foreign Office announced (6 May 14) that the Foreign Ministers of the ‘London II’ will meet in London on 15 May 14. Foreign Ministers are to ‘discuss how best to significantly step-up our support to the Syrian opposition, make urgent progress on improving the deteriorating humanitarian crisis and reinvigorate a political process that has stalled due to regime intransigence.’ Following reports of the evacuation of Homs, a UN Spokesperson explained (9 May 14) that the UN role was that of ‘observations for the evacuation process.’
Comment: On 30 Apr 14, the Foreign Secretary indicated “strong support” for the OPCW (Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) in its mission to determine the facts behind recent reports of chemical weapon use in Syria. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/19, 12 May 14)

06 May 14. Germany: British Military Withdrawal. The International Security Minister said (6 May 14) that “significant progress” has been made on the withdrawal of British troops from Germany. Celle Station was closed in 2012 and the closures of the Rheindahlen Military Complex and Münster Station were completed in 2013. Hameln Station is to close by December 2014. It is anticipated that Elmpt and Herford Stations will close by December 2015, followed by the closure of Hohne and Fallingbostel Stations by March 2016.
Comment: The number of military personnel in Germany has already been reduced by a third, through preliminary moves and unit disbandments. The first ‘tranche’ of major unit moves and re-roling from Germany is due to occur in 2015. The number of military personnel in Army bases in Germany is expected to reduce to 12,480 by December 2014 and to 6,800 by December 2015. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/19, 12 May 14)

06 May 14. Missing Aircraft: Continuing Mystery. A Transport Department Minister said (6 May 14) that the Air Accidents Investigations Branch ‘continues to give its full support to the investigation [for Flight MH 370] and to share its expertise and analysis with the Malaysian authorities and international partners.’
Comment: The Minister confirmed that HMS TIRELESS and HMS ECHO have been stood down from the search. Most of the military aircra

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