Sponsored by Exensor
24 Feb 22. Austin Orders Fort Stewart Armored Brigade Combat Team to Europe. President Joe Biden has directed that 7,000 U.S. service members be deployed to Germany to enhance deterrence of Russia. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III has ordered the deployment of those 7,000 service members. The major unit in this tranche of troops is the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, Georgia, said a senior defense official speaking on background.
Enabling units will also deploy. The troops will be going to Germany “to reassure NATO allies, deter Russian aggression and to be prepared to support a range of other requirements in the region,” the official said.
This means some 12,000 U.S. troops, total, have deployed or been ordered to deploy to Europe from the United States and another 2,000 troops in Europe who have moved closer to NATO’s eastern flank. They join 80,000 U.S. service members based in Europe. Adding in the service members of NATO members on the continent, this brings the number to more than 2 million, the official said.
Some of the U.S. troops deploying are from the group Austin put on a heightened state of readiness in January, the official said.
The troops will deploy to Germany initially, the official said. They could be repositioned to other NATO countries as needed. “We expect them to depart in coming days,” the official said.
Russian forces continue to attack in Ukraine at the major population centers of Kyiv – the capital – and Kharkiv, in the eastern part of the country. The official said that Ukrainian units are fighting the Russian invasion, but there is no way to categorize their resistance.
Russia has launched at least 160 short-range, medium-range and cruise missiles into Ukraine from land, sea and air, the official said, and more Russian troops have entered Ukraine. The missiles are aimed at military bases and airfields around Kharkiv and Kyiv. Again, there is no way to verify how accurate they are or what casualties they are causing. (Source: US DoD)
25 Feb 22. EU Adopts Targeted and Sectoral Russia Sanctions. In response to the Russian Federation’s recognition of the separatist Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, the European Union has adopted the following package of sanctions:
- Targeted restrictive measures: Within the existing framework for sanctions, the EU will extend restrictive measures to cover all the 351 members of the Russian State Duma, who voted on 15 February in favour of the appeal to President Putin to recognise the independence of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk ”republics”. Moreover targeted restrictive measures will be imposed on additional 27 high profile individuals and entities, who have played a role in undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine. These include decision makers such as members of the government, who were involved in the illegal decisions; banks and businesspersons/oligarchs supporting financially or materially Russian operations in the Donetsk and Luhansk’s territories, or benefitting from them; senior military officers, who played a role in the invasion and destabilisation actions; and individuals responsible for leading a disinformation war against Ukraine. Restrictive measures include an asset freeze and a prohibition from making funds available to the listed individuals and entities. In addition, a travel ban applicable to the listed persons prevents these from entering or transiting through EU territory.
- Restrictions on economic relations with the non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts: New measures will target trade from the two non-government controlled regions to and from the EU, to ensure that those responsible clearly feel the economic consequences of their illegal and aggressive actions. Today’s decision will introduce in particular an import ban on goods from the non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, restrictions on trade and investments related to certain economic sectors, a prohibition to supply tourism services, and an export ban for certain goods and technologies.
Financial restrictions: The Council decided to introduce a sectoral prohibition to finance the Russian Federation, its government and Central Bank. By restraining the ability of the Russian state and government to access the EU’s capital and financial markets and services, the EU aims to limit the financing of escalatory and aggressive policies. The EU urges Russia to reverse the recognition of the non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, uphold its commitments, abide by international law and return to the discussions within the Normandy format and the Trilateral Contact Group. The EU also calls on other states not to follow Russia’s illegal decision to recognise this proclaimed independence. The EU stands ready to swiftly adopt more wide-ranging political and economic sanctions in case of need, and reiterates its unwavering support and commitment to Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. The relevant legal acts, including the names of the persons concerned, will be published soon in the Official Journal. (Source: glstrade.com)
24 Feb 22. Statement by the North Atlantic Council on Russia’s attack on Ukraine. We condemn in the strongest possible terms Russia’s horrifying attack on Ukraine, which is entirely unjustified and unprovoked. Our thoughts are with all those killed and injured, and with the people of Ukraine. We also condemn Belarus for enabling this attack. This renewed attack is a grave violation of international law, including the UN Charter, and is wholly contradictory to Russia’s commitments in the Helsinki Final Act, the Charter of Paris, the Budapest Memorandum and the NATO-Russia Founding Act. It constitutes an act of aggression against an independent peaceful country.
We stand with the people of Ukraine and its legitimate, democratically elected president, parliament and government. We will always maintain our full support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders, including its territorial waters.
We call on Russia to immediately cease its military action and withdraw all its forces from in and around Ukraine, to fully respect international humanitarian law, and to allow safe and unhindered humanitarian access and assistance to all persons in need.
We strongly condemn Russia’s decision to extend recognition to the separatist regions of eastern Ukraine. This further violates Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and contravenes the Minsk agreements, to which Russia is a signatory. Allies will never accept this illegal recognition.
We urge Russia in the strongest terms to turn back from the path of violence and aggression it has chosen. Russia’s leaders must bear full responsibility for the consequences of their actions. Russia will pay a very heavy economic and political price. NATO will continue to coordinate closely with relevant stakeholders and other international organisations including the EU.
Throughout this crisis, NATO, the Allies, and our partners have made every effort to pursue diplomacy and dialogue with Russia, including at the highest levels, and made many substantive proposals to enhance the security of all nations in the Euro-Atlantic region. We have repeatedly invited Russia to talks in the NATO-Russia Council. Russia has still not reciprocated. It is Russia, and Russia alone, which has chosen escalation.
Russia’s actions pose a serious threat to Euro-Atlantic security, and they will have geostrategic consequences. NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to ensure the security and defence of all Allies. We are deploying additional defensive land and air forces to the eastern part of the Alliance, as well as additional maritime assets. We have increased the readiness of our forces to respond to all contingencies.
Today, we have held consultations under Article 4 of the Washington Treaty. We have decided, in line with our defensive planning to protect all Allies, to take additional steps to further strengthen deterrence and defence across the Alliance. Our measures are and remain preventive, proportionate and non-escalatory.
Our commitment to Article 5 of the Washington Treaty is iron-clad. We stand united to defend each other. (Source: NATO)
23 Feb 22. Putin has gone ‘full tonto’ over Ukraine, Defence Secretary says. Ben Wallace said the Russian president has made the mistake of having no allies in his actions. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace during meeting with UK ambassador to NATO at NATO HQ amid Russia invasion threat to Ukraine . The UK Defence Secretary has said Vladimir Putin has gone “full tonto” following the latest escalation in the Ukraine crisis. Ben Wallace said the Russian president has made the mistake of having no allies in his actions, comparing him to Tsar Nicholas I during the Crimean War.
Mr Wallace, a former Scots Guards officer, said his regiment had “kicked the backside” of the tsar in the Crimea and “we can always do it again”.
He also said the UK has 1,000 personnel on stand-by to respond to the crisis.
The unguarded comments came as the Cabinet minister chatted with serving military personnel at the Horse Guards building in Westminster.
“It’s going to be a busy Army,” he said.
“Unfortunately, we’ve got a busy adversary now in Putin, who has gone full tonto.”
Mr Wallace’s assessment of Mr Putin’s mental state came after Prime Minister Boris Johnson accused the Russian leader of being “in an illogical and irrational frame of mind”.
Mr Wallace told reporters he was keeping the possibility of sending further weapons to Ukraine “under constant review”.
“We’re in a pretty good position to deliver any type of aid pretty quickly to Ukraine, no matter what that aid is,” he said.
He suggested that Russian forces invading Ukraine could be followed by a mobile crematorium to help disguise the number of casualties inflicted during the potential war. (Source: forces.net)
23 Feb 22. UK sets out new multi-million dollar economic package of support for Ukraine. The UK government has announced a new economic package that is designed to support Ukraine’s continued stability.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss reiterates the UK’s commitment in standing ready to guarantee up to $500m in loans to support Ukraine and mitigate the economic effects of Russian aggression. Following the Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday, the UK stands ready to offer guarantees of Multilateral Development Bank (MDB) lending for projects that will support economic stability and vital reforms such as tackling anti-corruption. This support will help mitigate economic impacts on Ukraine’s economy due to Russia’s aggression.
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “We are putting our money where our mouth is and using Britain’s economic expertise and strength to support the people of Ukraine. These guarantees can help inject vital capital into Ukraine and help its economy weather the storm of Russian aggression. Britain stands four-square behind Ukraine and its people. We stand ready to offer direct economic support, providing defensive weapons, and exposing Russian attempts to engineer fake pretexts for invasion.”
In December, the UK also increased the amount of financial support available to Ukraine from UK Export Finance (UKEF) – to £3.5 billion – and signed a new treaty that will help Ukraine access the world-class UK supply chain to enhance its naval capabilities.
This economic support comes on top of increased support for military equipment from the Ministry of Defence and enhanced support to the humanitarian system in Ukraine.
- Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) are international financial institutions that provide financial assistance to developing countries and are owned by shareholding governments (eg The World Bank)
- the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is not an MDB
- in addition, a £100 million 3-year package of Official Development Assistance was announced on 17 February 2022, designed to bolster the most vulnerable parts of the Ukrainian economy and reduce Ukraine’s reliance on gas imports. Ukraine is heavily reliant on energy imports such as coal and gas, a fact which Russia has long exploited
- this funding will be used to co-finance a new World Bank energy efficiency programme, which will help Ukraine cut its emissions in line with its COP26 commitments. The UK is the first donor country financing this project and we hope to mobilise with partners to coordinate further support. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
22 Feb 22. UK touts ‘affordable’ defense-spending plan, but auditors are wary. Britain’s Ministry of Defence says its latest equipment spending plans for 2021-2031 are affordable, compared with a $9.9bn deficit reported last year, a projection that auditors here still view with some skepticism. Officials said Feb. 21 it was the first time since 2018 that they had been able to file a rolling 10-year equipment plan expected to fit within spending projections.
Britain’s defense budget woes go back a long way before that, but the MoD figures show a significant upswing with £238bn ($322bn) spending on defense equipment and support planned over the coming ten years compared with £190bn ($25bn) in the 2020-2030 figures.
The MoD may be upbeat about its budget plans, but the National Audit Office, the government’s financial watchdog, was not so sure.
It said in its review of the 2021-2031 equipment plan that while the MoD had taken difficult decisions to reduce spending it still faced questions of affordability.
“Risks remain of over-optimistic assumptions about future budgets, costs and the likely achievement of savings targets. There is a real risk that, despite the additional funding it has received, the department’s ambition outstrips the resources available,” auditors wrote.
The office said the new and significant multiyear spending settlement agreed by the government in 2020 “gives the department a rare opportunity to break old habits and set the plan on course to be affordable. Despite some recent improvements, the department continues to have to take short-term decisions to balance the books, restricting the delivery of equipment and reducing value for money.”
The NAO also raised questions about whether there is sufficient funding for the Tempest Future Combat Air System program to develop the sixth-generation jet.
FCAS is the largest non-nuclear program in the equipment plan and a key driver of military and industrial capability here as it replaces the Typhoon starting around 2035.
Italy and Sweden are partners in early concept assessment work but with a British budget allowance over 10 years of £8.65 bn current assumptions about schedule, capability and international partners suggests Britain will have to spend between £10 and £17 bn, said the NAO.
The financial watchdog said the figures suggest the program could be underfunded by as much as £8.4 bn, or $11.4 bn.
Among the major spending plans in the MoD’s latest equipment budget review is confirmation of its ambition to purchase additional A400M airlifters and money to acquire further F-35 strike jets beyond the 48 aircraft already on order with Lockheed Martin.
Britain has taken delivery of 20 of 22 A400M’s due for delivery to the RAF by 2023.
“Decisions on exact numbers for future A400M aircraft is still under discussion,” said a Royal Air Force spokesman.
The RAF had originally planned to acquire 25 of the Airbus aircraft before technical and cost over-run issues resulted in the order being cut to its current level.
Details in the NAO document showed additional funding becoming available towards the back end of the 10-year plan to fund purchases of airlifters and combat jets – dependent on the affordability of the total equipment plan.
If the budget plans come up to scratch the MoD said that will generate a £4.3bn ($5.9bn) surplus, which the department says it intends to set aside for contingency and other spending.
Defense-procurement minister Jeremy Quin told Parliament it was the “first time in many years we expect to live within our budget without ministers having to take decisions on savings measures in year or running central saving exercises.”
That may be so, but the equipment plan shows that while the MoD says the procurement program is affordable over 10 years, contingency funding figures are currently inadequate in years five and six of the plan.
The scale of the problem is not spelled out, but the document said: “We aim to address this through the coming planning cycles by smoothing delivery schedules, rebalancing across other parts of the defense program and, if necessary, looking at further savings measures.”
Quin said the MoD had achieved its forecast budget surplus through additional investment being made available for defense by the government and “tough prioritization.”
In November 2020 the government announced a £16.5bn ($22.3bn) hike in defense spending over four years to help meet the costs of transforming the military into a modern, high-tech, force in line with the integrated defense, security and foreign policy review revealed early last year.
Beyond the initial four-year spending increase the MoD said that for the six years after 2024/25, the ministry has a planning assumption, agreed with the Treasury Department, of an 0.5% annual real growth in the core budget.
Efficiency and other cost reduction efforts are also part of the budget balancing effort, and the MoD admits that failure to deliver on those targets [as has happened in the past] would risk delivery of the plan.
Not all of the MoD’s capability increases are included in the equipment spending plans, though.
The military space budget is one of the items sitting outside the equipment plan figures. Earlier this month, the MoD announced it would spend £6.4bn ($8.7bn) over ten years on space-related projects.
Another budget line outside the Equipment Plan figures is the £4.1bn ($5.6bn) being set aside from 2025 to exploit spending in research and development.
“We have not categorized it as equipment spend … although it is likely that a significant, but as yet unknown proportion, will ultimately become equipment spend,” said the report.
“This funding has been set aside in recognition of the pace of technological change and to ensure that Defence [the MoD] has the flexibility to address emerging capability requirements without having to make cuts to existing programs,” the equipment plan said.
Cancellation of the Warrior infantry fighting vehicle program and the early demise of the Royal Air Force’s C-130 airlift fleet were among victims of the cuts triggered by the need for a balanced budget and the implementation of the new integrated review.
Other program changes, like the three-year deferral of an expected agreement with Oshkosh Defense to purchase hundreds of Joint Light Tactical Vehicles for the British Army, was among those programs now shown to have taken a hit.
Although not mentioned in the equipment plan, the Royal Navy has also recently opted to ditch procurement of an interim buy of over the horizon anti-surface warfare missiles to fill the gap between its Harpoon weapon going out of service in 2023 and the introduction around 2028 of a new generation missile being developed by MBDA in a joint Anglo-French program. (Source: Defense News)
22 Feb 22. Biden Shifts U.S. Troops in Europe to Defend Frontline NATO States. President Joe Biden ordered U.S. troops already based in Europe to shore up the defenses of nations bordering Ukraine.
Biden directed Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III to move forces within the U.S. European Command’s area of operations to the Baltic Republics, Poland and Ukraine’s southeastern flank.
The forces will move within a week, DOD officials said.
The deployment follows Russia’s renewed invasion of eastern Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s mobilization of forces all along the borders of Ukraine.
Austin has ordered an infantry battalion task force of about 800 soldiers to deploy from Italy to the Baltic region. He also approved the movement of up to eight F-35 Lightning II aircraft from Germany to operating locations on NATO’s eastern flank.
Twenty AH-64 Apache attack helicopters will also deploy from Germany to the Baltic region and 12 Apache helicopters will move from Greece to Poland.
“These additional personnel are being repositioned to reassure our NATO allies, deter any potential aggression against NATO member states, and train with host-nation forces,” DOD officials said in a written statement. All forces are under the command of Air Force Gen. Tod D. Wolters, the commander of U.S. European Command.
Officials said the moves are temporary.
These moves are the latest in a series designed to reassure the frontline states. The United States sent 1,000 soldiers from a Stryker squadron from Germany to Romania. An 82nd Airborne Division infantry brigade combat team will be deployed to Poland from Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Company-sized Stryker units will deploy to Hungary and Bulgaria.
In addition, Austin ordered 8,500 service members to a heightened state of readiness should NATO activate its Rapid Reaction Force.
Overall, there are about 90,000 U.S. service members based in Europe. (Source: US DoD)
21 Feb 22. The UK Defence Equipment Plan 2021 to 2031. This report examines whether the Ministry of Defence has managed to reduce the risks to affordability in its Equipment Plan.
Background to the report
The Ministry of Defence (the Department) publishes its Equipment Plan (the Plan) report each year, setting out its spending plans in equipment procurement and support projects over the next 10 years. The Department introduced its first Equipment Plan in 2012 after a period of weak financial management. The Secretary of State for Defence invited the Comptroller and Auditor General to examine the robustness of the Equipment Plan’s underlying assumptions. Each year since then the NAO has published a report examining the Department’s assessment of the Equipment Plan’s affordability and its response to the financial challenges it faces. These assessments have shown that the Department has consistently found it difficult to strike the right balance between increasing equipment capability and living within its means.
In November 2020, as part of the Spending Review, HM Treasury announced that the Department would receive an additional £16.5 billion above the amount the Department had assumed it would receive between 2021-22 and 2024-25. This was followed by the government’s publication of the Integrated Review of security, defence, development and foreign policy and the complementary Command Paper on Defence in March 2021, which set out policy intentions for defence over the next decade. The Department announced that the combination of these reviews and the settlement represented a real chance to remedy the affordability problems it had struggled with in its equipment planning over many years, as well as a chance to make a step-change in defence capability.
Scope of the report
This report examines whether the Department has managed to reduce the risks to affordability in its Plan. It also examines whether the Department is on track to address the wider management and structural weaknesses which have undermined previous Plans. In particular it examines:
- the impact of the increased settlement and Integrated Review on funding for equipment, and the Department’s assessment of affordability in its 2021–2031 Plan (Part One);
- how the Department is managing the risks to affordability (Part Two); and
- the extent to which the Department has put in place the building blocks needed for a robust and effective Plan (Part Three).
The Department received £16.5bn additional funding over four years in the 2020 Spending Review both to support the 2021 Integrated Review’s ambitious agenda and to cover previous funding shortfalls. The Department has taken difficult decisions to reduce spending in some areas to allow it to spend more on its highest priorities. It will carry out further work to assess what the changes in the Integrated Review mean for equipment in next year’s Plan. However, in this year’s Plan, risks remain of over-optimistic assumptions about future budgets, costs and the likely achievement of savings targets. There is a real risk that, despite the additional funding it has received, the Department’s ambition outstrips the resources available to it.
The new multi-year spending settlement gives the Department a rare opportunity to break old habits and set the Plan on course to be affordable. Despite some recent improvements, the Department continues to have to take short-term decisions to balance the books, restricting the delivery of equipment and reducing value for money. Some key arrangements and capabilities which need to be in place for an affordable and cost-effective Plan are still absent. These include: a consistent basis of preparation and reporting, the right incentives in place in the budgeting process for TLBs to focus on long term value for money rather than short term fixes, sufficient financial skills and a long‑term approach to efficiencies and savings. To build confidence in the Plan, the Department also needs to deliver promised reform of the management of equipment procurement and support.
ISBN: 9781786044143 [Buy a hard copy of this report]
HC: 1105, 2021-22
Published date: February 21, 2022
The impact of the Spending Review and the Integrated Review on the Equipment Plan 6 The government has given a significant increase in funding to defence over the next four years, and the Department is investing more across its activities, including a record increase in equipment. The 2020 Spending Review determined that the Department’s overall budget for the period between April 2021 and March 2025 would be £16.5bn higher than previously assumed. The Department has subsequently set out how it intends to reshape the armed forces to meet future threats. It is spending more on infrastructure and other priorities, such as the National Cyber Force. It expects to spend £11.7bn more on equipment over the four years covered by the Spending Review. Over 10 years, the Plan has increased in value from £190bn in the 2020–2030 Plan to £238bn for 2021–2031, an increase of £48bn (25%). This is by far the largest increase in the Plan’s 10-year history (paragraphs 1.5, 1.6, 1.10 and 1.11).
*MRVP delayed not cancelled. Delayed purchase of new lightly armoured vehicles (the Multi-Role Vehicle Protected programme) by three years £448m
*Morpheus. The Department also needs to decide how to balance the cost of existing projects against the capabilities they deliver. The relevant TLBs’ ‘most likely’ option to keep the Meteor missile in service would cost £790m more than is included in the Plan. It will have to decide whether to prioritise this option over other capabilities. The costs included for the Morpheus programme, which provides digital communication systems for the Army, are £409m less than the estimate produced by the project team’s cost model over the six years from 2025-26.14 These projects are also developing Full Business Cases. We have not carried out a systematic review of whether the costs included in the Plan match project teams’ cost forecasts: the costs included for other projects may also imply that they need to revise their assumptions about scope.
*Ajax – GD to bear costs? The Plan includes £1.9bn to cover the costs of the Ajax armoured vehicle programme, which faces a number of issues that have prevented the vehicles entering service. The Department believes that the contractor will bear the costs of fixing the problems. In any event, the Department’s decision to suspend payments to the main contractor will put additional pressure on the Equipment Plan in later years (see paragraph 2.20). We are carrying out a separate study on this programme, which we will publish shortly.
https://www.nao.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/The-Equipment-Plan-2021-2031.pdf (Source: NAO)
Founded in 1987, Exensor Technology is a world leading supplier of Networked Unattended Ground Sensor (UGS) Systems providing tailored sensor solutions to customers all over the world. From our Headquarters in Lund Sweden, our centre of expertise in Network Communications at Communications Research Lab in Kalmar Sweden and our Production site outside of Basingstoke UK, we design, develop and produce latest state of the art rugged UGS solutions at the highest quality to meet the most stringent demands of our customers. Our systems are in operation and used in a wide number of Military as well as Homeland Security applications worldwide. The modular nature of the system ensures any external sensor can be integrated, providing the user with a fully meshed “silent” network capable of self-healing. Exensor Technology will continue to lead the field in UGS technology, provide our customers with excellent customer service and a bespoke package able to meet every need. A CNIM Group Company