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13 Feb 18. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 22 Jan 18 a Reaper conducted three attacks on terrorists. On 24 Jan 18 Typhoons destroyed two buildings held by Daesh as a Reaper attacked two groups of terrorists. On 26 Jan 18 Tornados struck a Daesh-held building and a Reaper hit a group of terrorists. On the following three days terrorist positions were engaged.
On 30 Jan 18 a Reaper successfully targeted terrorist flying a drone against the Syrian Democratic Forces. A Reaper eliminated a sniper team on 31 Jan 18 and on the next day Tornados destroyed a heavy machine-gun
position as a Reaper struck three additional terrorist positions. Typhoons and Reapers engaged a variety of terrorist targets on 2, 3, 4 & 5 Feb 18. On 7 Feb 18 Tornados eliminated a Daesh observation post and a
booby-trap team as a Reaper engaged an enemy-held building. On 9 Feb 18 Tornados destroyed two Daesh buildings as a Reaper struck a group of terrorists. On 10 Feb 18 a Reaper conducted four attacks on terrorists
as well as tracking a Daesh command team. (MoD, 13 Feb 18.)
Comment: A Parliamentary Reply (7 Feb 18) from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) indicated that the total spend for the Syria CSSF (Conflict, Stability and Security Fund) in 2016/17 was £64.75m. [The CSSF
replaced the Conflict Pool in 2015.] (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/07, 19 Feb 18)
08 Feb 18. Afghanistan: Deployed Troops. The Armed Forces’ Minister confirmed (8 Feb 18) that “the UK will increase its troop contribution in Afghanistan from 500 to 650 in 2018”. The troops are being deployed to support the training and development of the Afghan Army, Police and Air Force.
Comment: In June 2017 it was announced that troop numbers in Afghanistan would increase from 500 to 585. Subsequently (17 Nov 17) the Defence Secretary said that “an additional 60 service personnel” were to be
deployed. [The commitment to Afghanistan will thus total 645 troops.] (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/07, 19 Feb 18)
14 Feb 18. NATO: Command Structure. During a two-day meeting in Brussels (14-15 Feb 18) NATO Defence Ministers agreed to the establishment of a
new Joint Force Command for the Atlantic, to help protect sea lines of communication between the US and Europe, and a new support Command for logistics, reinforcement and military mobility. The timetable for
implementing the NATO Command Structure reforms will be agreed when Ministers meet again in June 2018.
Comment: Burden-sharing was also discussed, with the expectation that 15 Allied countries will be spending 2% of their GDP or more by 2024. In addition, Ministers agreed to start planning for a NATO training mission in Iraq, to include the establishment of specialist academies and schools. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/07, 19 Feb 18)
15 Feb 18. Russia: Cyber Warfare. The FCO announced (15 Feb 18) that the UK attributed the NotPetya cyber-attacks of June 2017 to Russia.
According to the FCO, the attacks aimed at the Ukraine “masqueraded as a criminal enterprise but its purpose was principally to disrupt…. Its indiscriminate design caused it to spread further…”. The Defence Secretary added (15 Feb 18) that: “We have entered a new era of warfare, witnessing a destructive and deadly mix of conventional military might and malicious cyber-attacks”.
Comment: The NotPetya cyber-attack spread to European businesses (including in the UK) with trade links to the Ukraine and is said to have cost companies more than £850m. Russia has denied that it was responsible. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/07, 19 Feb 18)
16 Feb 18. Typhoon for Belgium: Final Offer. The MoD announced (14 Feb 18) that a “final Eurofighter Typhoon offer” has been made to Belgium. The
proposal comes with the “full support” of the governments