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01 Jun 15. HM The Queen’s Speech: Debate. As part of discussions following HM The Queen’s Speech, the House of Commons considered Britain in the World (1 Jun 15). The Foreign Secretary said that the UK faced three immediate challenges:-
• Repelling the threat to the established order from Russia and developing a response to its doctrine of asymmetric warfare.
• Crushing the evil and poisonous ideology of ISIL and extremist Islamism more generally.
• Resolving Britain’s relationship with the European Union.
Comment: Part of the Debate was concerned with Cyprus and it was of interest that the Foreign Secretary said that the UK is prepared to “surrender a significant proportion of the land mass of the Sovereign Base Area in Cyprus to allow the economic development of Southern Cyprus”. The Debate is recorded in ‘Hansard’ for 1 Jun 15, starting in Column 313. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/23, 08 Jun 15)
02 Jun 15. Iraq: OP SHADER. The Armed Forces’ Minister said (2 Jun 15) that the UK is operating and part of a global coalition of over 60 countries to defeat ISIL. The UK is playing a leading role in the coalition, with around 800 personnel in the region. The UK has conducted the second highest number of strikes in Iraq and is providing significant “critical enablers” that few other nations posses. The UK is also providing eight Tornado GR4 aircraft and a number of Reaper UAV. The UK is co-ordinating counter-IED training with a small team in Baghdad and some 30 military trainers based in Erbil.
Comment: An FCO briefing (2 Jun 15) listed 63 nations “working to degrade and destroy ISIL”. The Global coalition is said to be countering ISIL “through targeted military action”. The Coalition is also said to be “working to cut off ISIL’s finances, reduce the influx of fighters [and] provide humanitarian assistance.’ (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/23, 08 Jun 15)
02 Jun 15. Sierra Leone: OP GRITROCK. The UN Secretary-General called on the General Assembly (2 Jun 15) to continue lending political weight to the effort against Ebola and on donors to continue their contributions. The Secretary-General drew attention to an International Ebola Recovery Conference to be held in New York on 109 Jul 15.
The UK’s Ambassador to the UN confirmed (2 Jun 15) that the UK remained “absolutely committed” to the anti-Ebola effort in Sierra Leone and the region. The Ambassador confirmed that the UK’s overall package of support amounted to $650m (approximately £423m).
Comment: The UN mission reported (5 Jun 15) that 27,173 confirmed, probable and suspected cases of Ebola have been recorded in the three most affected countries (Guinea, Liberia & Sierra Leone). 11,149 deaths have been reported. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/23, 08 Jun 15)
01 Jun 15. HMS OCEAN: Fleet Flagship. HMS OCEAN assumed the duties of Fleet Flagship from HMS BULWARK on 1 Jun 15. HMS OCEAN recently completed the fitting of new communications and information technology (IT) systems which allows the ship to host a Staff, headed by a Rear Admiral, commanding UK and NATO Task Groups.
Comment: In addition to the role of Flagship, the Staff in HMS OCEAN will be the Maritime Component Commander of the NATO Response Force in 2016. In preparation for her NATO role, HMS OCEAN and the Staff will take command of a series of major multinational Exercises involving over 50 warships. HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH is expected to assume the role of Fleet Flagship when she enters service. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 15/23, 08 Jun 15)
05 Jun 15. Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS): ‘Ownership.’ The Armed Forces’ Minister said (3 Jun 15) that operational UAS are controlled by Navy, Army and