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02 Feb 15. Sierra Leone: OP GRITROCK. Public Health England (PHE) confirmed that a second military healthcare worker has been transported back to the UK following likely exposure to Ebola when treating a person in Sierra Leone. The healthcare worker was admitted to the Royal Free Hospital for assessment but has not been diagnosed with Ebola. (PHE, 2 Feb 15.)
The Armed Forces’ Minister confirmed that the evacuation of a military healthcare worker back to the UK was “entirely a precautionary measure”. (MoD, 3 Feb 15.)
The World Health Organisation (WHO) reported a total of 80 new cases of Ebola in Sierra Leone for the week to 1 Feb 15, compared with 65 during the previous week. (WHO, 4 Feb 15.)
Two RN nurses have set up a volunteer emergency blood donor panel onboard RFA Argus. (RN, 6 Feb 15.)
Comment: Both the House of Lords and the House of Commons debated ‘Ebola’ on 4 Feb 15. Further information is also available from the WHO Situation Summary and from the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency
Response (UNMEER). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/07, 09 Feb 15)
03 Feb 15. Iraq: OP SHADER. Air activity, involving Tornado GR4 or Reaper, was reported for 30 Jan, 31 Jan and 2 Feb 15. (MoD, 3 Feb 15.)
A pair of Tornado GR4 conducted an armed reconnaissance patrol, to assist Iraqi Armed Forces, on 4 Feb 15. (MoD, 5 Feb 15.)
The UK is also taking action to counter the terrorist network’s finances as well as restricting the flow of foreign fighters and providing humanitarian relief for those in need. (MoD, 5 Feb 15.)
Comment: The Defence Committee published a Report on the situation in Iraq and Syria (HC 690 dated 5 Feb 15), concluding that “the Committee was shocked by the inability or unwillingness of any of the Service
Chiefs to provide a clear and articulate statement of the UK.s objectives or strategic plan in Iraq”. Needless to say, the MoD did not agree with the Committee’s assessment and issued a lengthy rebuttal.
03 Feb 15. Afghanistan: OP TORAL. The MoD’s recent focus has been on a successful drawdown from the ISAF combat mission and transition to the NATO Resolute Support mission. No decision has yet been taken on a wider review of combat Operations in Afghanistan. (Written Answer (WA), 3 Feb 15.)
As at 2 Feb 15, there were 19 RAF Officers in Afghanistan. Only those supporting the OP TORAL Aviation Detachment are deployed as part of a formed unit. (WA, 4 Feb 15.)
Three Chinooks from RAF Odiham have relocated to Kabul from Helmand Province. In Spring 2015, the Chinook force in Kabul will be replaced by three Puma HC2 from RAF Benson. (RAF, 6 Feb 15.)
Comment: The MoD confirmed (6 Feb 125) that the UK will have around 470 “non-combat” troops in Afghanistan, principally focused on the UK’s leadership role in advising the Afghan National Army Officer Academy.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/07, 09 Feb 15)
05 Feb 15. NATO: Contingency Plans. The Defence Secretary announced (5 Feb 15) that the UK is to deploy four Typhoon aircraft to augment the Norwegian contribution to the NATO Baltic air policing mission, for the duration of their rotation between May and August 2015. The four Typhoon will operate from the Amari Air Base in Estonia, as requested by NATO. The Defence Secretary also confirmed that the UK is to be lead nation in the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) in 2017 and then on rotation thereafter. As framework nation for the VJTF, the UK will be contributing a Brigade Headquarters and a Battle Group.
Comment: The above announcement followed decisions made by NATO Defence Ministers, on 5 Feb 15, to strengthen the Alliances. collective defence. The plans were approved “in the light of the changing security