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16 Feb 14. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. Joint Force Support (Afghanistan) continued with the “mammoth task” of returning kit from Camp Bastion. Major work is taking place at Bastion and other locations to pack equipment and return it to the UK ahead of the end of combat Operations later this year. (Media Ops, 19 Feb 14.)
Comment: Official information from Afghanistan was particularly sparse this week. By way of compensation, Christina Lamb had an interesting piece in ‘The Sunday Times’ (16 Feb 14) in which she concluded that “the secrecy has got worse as the war has gone on….treating reporters like this makes us feel the authorities have something to hide.”. The correspondent made the point that she was tired of MoD minders as she revealed “how reports on the war are censored”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/09, 24 Feb 14)

17 Feb 14. Flood Relief: Military Assistance. Personnel from the RN, RM, Army and the RAF continue to provide flood relief in affected parts of the UK. Over 3,500 Service men and women, including around 180 Reservists, have been committed to tasks with thousands more at a state of high readiness to assist. (MoD, 17 Feb 14.)
The Defence Secretary announced that over 200 personnel from the Services are to be trained by the Environment Agency to act as flood defence assessors. Personnel will be tasked by the Agency to support the assessment of around 150,000 flood defences and to use an electronic system to report back their findings. (MoD, 17 Feb 14.)
Service personnel continued to support the Environment Agency, the emergency services and local authorities in a variety of roles including sandbagging, the erection of flood defences and the provision of specialist capabilities such as military engineering and divers. (MoD, 18 Feb 14.)
A Chinook helicopter from 27 Squadron RAF transported 22 Reservists from 7th Bn The Rifles to flooded areas in the Isle of Wight. (RAF, 18 Feb 14.)
Military personnel are to remain available to assist local authorities as efforts start to move from flood relief to recovery work. Current Service deployments include: Chertsey, Surrey; diversion of the River Test in Hampshire; Isle of Wight; Chesil Beach, Dorset and Saltmore. Military personnel remain attached to various (civilian) Headquarters in order to render assistance. (MoD, 20 Feb 14.)
Comment: MoD advice on 17 Feb 14 was that a Chinook had deployed to the Isle of Wight “complete with four vehicles under-slung”. An MoD photograph on the following day showed a Chinook lifting (only) two Land Rovers under-slung. The RAF also reported the transportation of “two military Land Rovers” by Chinook. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/09, 24 Feb 14)

10 Feb 14. Yemen: Support Continues. The International Security Strategy Minister said (10 Feb 14) that the UK continues “to support the Government of Yemen to counter the threat posed by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula”. The Defence Attaché in San’a has regular meetings with members of the Yemeni Armed and Security Forces and with his US counterpart.
Comment: The UK is not currently providing any training to the Armed Forces in Yemen although a small number of Yemeni Officers are attending “professional development courses” in the UK. The Friends of Yemen was established in January 2010 and is co-chaired by the UK with Saudi Arabia and Yemen. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 14/09, 24 Feb 14)

17 Feb 14. Syria: Removal of Chemical Weapons. The RN reported (17 Feb 14) on the activities of HMS MONTROSE as she took part in the Danish-led OP RECSYR (REmoval of Chemical weapons from SYRia). Whilst alongside in Limassol (13 Feb 14) the frigate welcomed on board the Head of the

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