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19 Nov 20. Britain’s Defences: The Biggest Spending Boost Since the Cold War. The UK military is to receive an extra £4bn a year over the next four years, the government has announced.
Against all the odds, it appears that the UK secretary of state for defence, the chief of defence staff and the vice chief of defence staff have convinced the prime minister to secure a four-year financial settlement for the UK military. Given that all were pressing for a significant increase in funding against a poor departmental record of financial management, and had to battle alongside more public priorities of health, education and social care as well as the national financial demands of the coronavirus pandemic, their achievements should not be underestimated. Indeed, it is certainly possible that the military financial outcome of the UK’s long-running Integrated Review will be viewed as the most positive outcome for defence since Lord Robertson’s 1998 Strategic Defence Review (SDR), which until now many have viewed as the best of the post-Cold War era.
There is some irony in the comparison. The 1998 SDR has subsequently been criticised for the decoupling of ambition (policy) and resource (funding), since the policy decisions (and associated procurement plans outlined in the original document) were never funded. The latest announcement reverses this conundrum and has articulated what the government is willing to spend on defence, but not how, with what, or a plan to achieve the yet-to-be-issued policy. Neither has there been any announcement over what this means for other departments, including – critically – the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and the Overseas Aid budget.
In Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statement outlining the 2020 financial settlement, as well as in media interviews with Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, it appears that the new investments in defence are being pushed towards ‘new’ technologies and current challenges, while acknowledging that delivery of these capabilities still needs to be designed, recruited for and start to operate: a four-year endeavour. This should constitute a warning sign to observers. Technological presentism that prioritises ‘silver bullet’ military capabilities based on a thin-slice assessment of contemporary conflict could be a grave mistake. A deeper and longer assessment of the future character of warfare by domain is vital.
Of the three single services, only the British Army has consistently worked to develop a rigorous plan of how they will need to operate in the future, and with what. As a result, their future force design, and the forthcoming Army Operating Concept, will put them in a good place. There will be considerable work needed to bring the navy and air force into a similar position. In deciding how they will need to operate, and then with what equipment, as well as how their people need to be skilled, decisions will need to be made about how to keep up with adversaries across the spectrum of conflict.
Choices to sacrifice proven legacy capability in order to develop capacity in areas where adversaries already possess a decade-long advantage is certainly necessary. But there is some danger in pursuing an approach that sees cyber, space and artificial intelligence simply replace military equipment such as artillery, submarines and strike aircraft. Certainly cyber, space, data, electronic warfare, and information (which have been in development in other states for 25 years already) can add value, but cannot perform the same vital tasks. The lessons since 2008 from Georgia, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, India, Pakistan, China, South Korea, Sudan and Nagorno-Karabakh make this extremely clear.
The acknowledgment of a blended landscape of conflict, where the threat is as real at home from military forces as it is abroad, is also a welcome shift in narrative in the UK. Protection of the homeland (and Overseas Territories), together with the UK’s immediate neighbourhood, will become an increasingly important task as the speed, range and accuracy of long-range attack weapons increases, and as these weapons are increasingly democratised. The UK will need to start seriously considering how they protect the population at large, rather than just forces deployed to conflict areas.
Allies will certainly welcome the news of a British increase in defence spending. It might not have the same impact as announcements in Sweden and Australia, or the ambition of Poland, but it will go some way to overcoming the UK’s credibility issues within the NATO headquarters in Brussels. It will also be welcomed by the defence industry.
However, the UK government will want to retain some flexibility in where contracts are let, depending on the outcome of Brexit trade negotiations. Where partnered industrial endeavours are needed, the decision over who to associate with (European, US or Asia-Pacific-based industries) is likely to be more of a political decision than a military one.
Perhaps the most important facet of the announcement is on how competitors and potential adversaries will react. While the British Armed Forces continue to be a much-respected military with friends, the decades-long hollowing out of capabilities and reducing numbers mean they are not the dreaded foe they once were. Rebuilding that reputation with adversaries, not allies, will take some time, and will need to consist of actions rather than words.
None of that should undo the achievement of Wallace, Nick Carter and Tim Fraser. They should be congratulated in delivering on their long-held belief that defence needed more resource to perform better, and that they had the wherewithal to convince this prime minister when all before them had failed. This is a promising start: the armed forces now need to respond appropriately.
The views expressed in this Commentary are the author’s, and do not represent those of RUSI or any other institution. (Source: RUSI)
19 Nov 20. The Tempest programme should be recognised as central to the credibility of the UK’s claim to be an independent military actor. This paper explores its risks and opportunities.
The Tempest programme for a new combat aircraft is arguably the most ambitious in the Ministry of Defence’s portfolio, bringing significant risks and sizeable as yet unknown costs, but also extensive potential benefits. Only the Dreadnought programme might be seen as a rival in terms of difficulty. This paper shows how the Tempest programme can bring potential benefits and how its inherent risks are being managed with prudence.
The development of combat aircraft is an inherently risky activity, with many past examples in the UK and elsewhere being marked by cost overruns and delays. However, there are several reasons to hope that this may not be the case with Tempest:
- The consortium is using a heavily digitised approach to design, development, testing and production which should both speed development and cut testing costs in particular. The US shares similar hopes for aircraft development.
- Government and industry are working together to generate a requirements set that meets military priorities while remaining feasible in terms of the time and funding available.
- There is a significant period until 2025 for technical risk reduction in terms of individual components and sub-systems, a strategic approach endorsed by the Government Accountability Office in the US. With risks much reduced, the UK government should be able to require that companies be incentivised to perform in the later development and production phases through Target Cost and Incentive Fee contracts.
- The four major companies at the centre of the programme have a creditable track record in recent years, and are incentivised to perform well by having to invest significant sums of their own money in development efforts and by the knowledge that there will be a ceiling on government readiness to spend on this project. There is little danger of their feeling complacent.
- Sweden and Italy have been signed up as provisional partners, bringing additional expertise and funding.
However, if good progress is not made, the UK government will have the option of cutting its losses and not putting Tempest through the ‘Main Gate’ approval point in 2025 or early 2026. This would represent a major setback for UK industry and the national prosperity levelling-up agenda, and for the international image of the UK as a capable hi-tech state, one of the very few currently able to take on the tasks associated with developing a fifth/sixth-generation combat jet. It would also fatally wound the government’s credibility about being able to use its armed forces as it sees fit, without foreign control. The UK’s dependence on external suppliers, especially the US, would be publicly underlined in bold text.
In focusing on a piloted aircraft rather than just an unmanned system, the UK shares the judgement of other major powers including the US that, while the use of unmanned air systems, both remotely controlled and autonomous, will increase, there will still be a need for an aircraft with a pilot to manage its capabilities in complex, dynamic and of course hostile environments.
Success for Tempest would mean, besides the generation of a valuable military asset, that a major sector of British industry will gain expertise in digital engineering and manufacture, which could be spread well beyond aerospace. Already, Tempest has meant that a whole new generation of more than 1,000 apprentices are being taken on who will have core expertise with digitised manufacturing technology. It will also mean that a range of export possibilities will open up going well beyond the sale of finished airframes, bringing political as well as economic benefit. Finally, it would be a tangible manifestation putting particular meaning into the phrase ‘Global Britain’ as well as bringing long-term, extra-EU links with important states in Europe.
Thus, the Tempest project is risky but potentially extremely valuable in multiple dimensions, and the structuring of management activities in the coming five years means that significant risk reduction can take place. In committing to the Combat Air Strategy of which Tempest is a core part, the government is clearly taking risks but, as the commercials ask of us all, it is gambling responsibly.
19 Nov 20. UK to boost defense budget by $21.9bn. Here’s who benefits — and loses out. The British government has approved the largest rise in its defense budget since the end of the Cold War, with £16.5bn (U.S. $21.9bn) in additional funding made available for spending on shipbuilding, space, cyber, research and other sectors over a four-year period.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the increase could transform the military and bring to an end an era of retreat in the armed forces.
“For decades, U.K. government has pared and trimmed our defense budget. If we go on like this, we risk waking up to discover our armed forces have fallen below the minimum threshold of viability. I have refused to pick up the scalpel yet again. I’ve decided the era of cutting must end, and end now,” the prime minister told Parliament in a statement.
The retreat to which Johnson referred is made up of capability cuts, program delays and cancellations, reductions in research and development, and slashed personnel numbers amid defense budgets that have regularly failed to match ambitions.
Winners and losers
Among the efforts likely to benefit from the commitment of new money are the Tempest future combat air program; a number of shipbuilding projects, including a fleet of logistics ships; and various space and cyberspace assets. Specifically, the spending commitment will finance the country’s order of eight Type 26 and five Type 31 frigates, which are under construction in Scotland, where the U.K. government faces renewed calls for independence.
Johnson said he is also committed to the embryonic Type 32 next-generation frigate and the building of a multipurpose research ship.
Also included in Britain’s transformation plans are the creation of a Space Command capable of launching a rocket from a site in Scotland by 2022 as well as a new agency focused on artificial intelligence.
But Johnson also warned some programs would not receive equal attention.
“We will need to act speedily to remove or reduce less relevant capabilities — and this will allow our new investment to be focused on the technologies that will revolutionize warfare,” he said.
Johnson gave no clues to where the ax might fall, but new armored vehicle programs, of which the British Army have several currently running, are often cited by analysts as a potential target for cuts.
“Now is the right time to press ahead because emerging technology on the horizon will make the returns from defense investment infinitely greater,” he told Parliament. “We have a chance to break free from the vicious circle where we ordered ever deceasing numbers of evermore expensive pieces of military hardware, squandering billions of pounds along the way.”
The government said military modernization will be underpinned by a record investment of at least £1.5bn extra and £5.8bn in total on military research and development, including a commitment to further invest in the future combat air system.
“This reverses the systematic decline in this crucial area in the last 30 years,” according to the Prime Minister’s Office.
What’s been the reaction?
Commitment to the major hike in extra spending came after the Treasury gave in to pressure from Johnson to provide extra funding for the armed forces over a four-year period rather than accept the chancellor’s preference for a one-year funding settlement.
The announcement is being termed as the first phase of an integrated defense review being conducted to coordinate defense, security, foreign and development policies. The review was expected to already be published, but with plans in flux and the new factor of additional cash, a more detailed review will not likely be public until next year.
The Royal United Services Institute think tank in London said that over the next four years, the “additional cash represents a real-term increase of between 10 percent and 15 percent in the defense budget: equivalent to some £4bn more annually than had been promised.”
RUSI also noted the announcement, “provided little clarity on the foreign policy ambition, and it appears likely that we will have to wait until the new year for the full integrated review to be revealed. In the meantime, the [Ministry of Defence] will be under considerable pressure to ensure that its ambitions do not again outrun its (now significantly enhanced) means.”
Analysts here say that despite the new spending commitment, the MoD will still have to cut a number of programs to balance it’s books.
The National Audit Office, the government’s financial watchdog, has repeatedly warned the 10-year equipment plan is unaffordable, saying it could be too costly by as much as £13bn. The current annual defense budget is about £40bn. The new spending pledge will see the defense budget account for 2.2 percent of gross domestic product, meeting NATO guidelines.
Johnson, who is currently self-isolating, having recently come into contact with a lawmaker who has subsequently tested positive for COVID-19, said he had taken the decision to raise spending in the teeth of the pandemic because the “defense of the realm must come first.”
“The international situation is more perilous and more intensely competitive than at any time since the Cold War, and Britain must be true to our history and stand alongside our allies,” he said.
A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said the increase will cement the U.K.’s position as the largest defense spender in Europe and the second largest in NATO, after the U.S. The announcement drew an immediate and welcoming response from acting U.S. Defense Secretary Christopher Miller.
“The [Department of Defense] applauds the announcement by the U.K. to significantly increase defense spending. The U.K. is our most stalwart and capable ally, and this increase in spending is indicative of their commitment to NATO and our shared security,” he said. “With this increase, the U.K. military will continue to be one of the finest fighting forces in the world. Their commitment to increased defense funding should be a message to all free nations that the most capable among us can — and must — do more to counter emerging threats to our shared freedoms and security.”
The move was also welcomed locally by ADS, a major industry lobby group. “This investment will boost our national security, help the U.K. address new and rapidly evolving threats by developing innovative world-class equipment, and support our economic recovery. The commitment to key projects will embed high-value design and manufacturing skills in all regions and nations of the U.K. for decades to come,” said Paul Everitt, the ADS chief executive.
But Everitt also said the money must be quickly spent with the U.K.’s prosperity a priority.
“It is important that the procurement regime delivers quickly and in a manner that prioritizes U.K. industrial impact, aiding planning and clarity and helping to build back better,” he said.
The £16.5bn in extra spending is over and above the government’s pledge to increase defense spending by 0.5 percent above inflation for every year of the four years remaining of the existing Parliament. The government said that on existing forecasts, this is an overall cash increase of £24.1bn over four years. Johnson told Parliament that would represent spending of £190bn over the next four years.
But how will the government’s massive spending in the fight against COVID-19 impact these spending plans? Media and analysts here reckon Britain’s huge overseas development budget is likely to take a hit to make these new efforts a reality. (Source: Defense News)
19 Nov 20. ‘Strategic Compass’: EU considers military doctrine, new tank development. The European Union aims to draw up a master military strategy document to define future threats, goals and ambitions in defence while focusing on six new areas of joint weapons development including tanks, officials and diplomats said.
The EU’s “Strategic Compass”, the closest thing the EU could have to a military doctrine and akin to NATO’s “Strategic Concept” that sets out alliance goals, is the latest step in accelerating efforts to deepen EU defence cooperation.
After four years of hostility towards NATO by U.S. President Donald Trump, the EU, led by France, wants to become a stand-alone military power in the long term, strong enough to fight on its own and potentially a more useful ally to the United States.
The EU’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, will brief EU foreign ministers by video conference on Thursday on a confidential, intelligence-based threat analysis before EU defence ministers take up the work at a virtual meeting on Friday, aiming to deliver a final document in 2022.
“We need to build a compass. This is a common way of looking at the world, of defining threats and addressing them together,” said a senior EU official.
The document would not be a list of threats, in part because EU governments have different views on their gravity. Russia is seen with more alarm in the Baltics than in France, where Islamic militancy is more pressing, envoys said.
However, it does signal what Borrell has cited as “an increased momentum to strengthen our collective capacity” since a December 2017 EU defence pact to develop more firepower independently of the United States.
OPPORTUNITY FOR PARIS
Britain’s vote in 2016 to leave the EU, while depriving the bloc of a military power, has given Paris an opportunity to push longstanding ambitions for a bigger EU role in defence, with support from Berlin.
During Britain’s membership, London resisted a major military role for the EU, fearing the creation of an EU army, which officials in Brussels say is not under discussion.
Defence ministers will also receive the bloc’s first annual review on joint capabilities on Friday, which is expected to set out 100 areas for governments to develop together from 2025 over six areas, including battle tanks, maritime patrol vessels, countering drones and jamming technology.
France, Germany, Italy and Spain hope that by developing national defences together, the EU will save money by putting an end to competing national industries that duplicate weapons.
“This is not just another report”, a second senior EU official said of the first review. “This is the path for the EU to plan, spend and cooperate together in countering next-generation threats.” (Source: Reuters)
19 Nov 20. Praising union, PM Johnson outlines plans to make navy most powerful in Europe. Prime Minister Boris Johnson pledged to restore Britain’s navy to its position as Europe’s most powerful maritime force on Thursday, highlighting that shipbuilding could also help heal divisions between the four nations of the United Kingdom.
With repeated polls suggesting most people in Scotland now support independence, Johnson was keen to press the case for how England and Scotland can work together.
He announced plans for 13 more frigates as well as committing to a new generation of warships, which he said would spur a renaissance in shipbuilding across the United Kingdom.
This will illuminate “the benefits of the union in the white light of the arc welder’s torch,” Johnson told parliament. “If there was one policy which strengthens the UK in every possible sense, it is building more ships for the Royal Navy.”
Earlier this week, Johnson angered many Scots by calling the devolution of powers to Scotland “a disaster”, a comment that played into the hands of Scottish nationalists.
The bonds holding the United Kingdom together have been severely strained over the last five years by Brexit, the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, and repeated calls by the Scottish National Party for a new referendum on independence.
Johnson is particularly disliked in Scotland, where he is seen as patronising and arrogant. The unpopularity of Johnson is the single biggest factor driving an upsurge in support for Scottish independence, a survey by the political consultancy JL Partners said last month.
The prime minister also guaranteed the future of Scotland’s Black Watch regiment, which earned a fearsome reputation fighting in the British Empire’s campaigns, two World Wars, and more recently in Afghanistan and Iraq. (Source: Reuters)
19 Nov 20. PM statement to the House on the Integrated Review: 19 November 2020.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a statement to the House of Commons on the Integrated Review.
Mr Speaker, thank you and with permission, I will update the House on the Government’s Integrated Review of foreign, defence, security and development policy.
Our Review will conclude early next year, setting out the UK’s international agenda,but I want to inform the House of its first outcome.
For decades, British governments have trimmed and cheese-pared our defence budget and if we go on like this, we risk waking up to discover that our armed forces – the pride of Britain – have fallen below the minimum threshold of viability, and once lost, they could never be regained.
That outcome would not only be craven, it would jeopardise the security of the British people, amounting to a dereliction of duty for any Prime Minister.
So I refused to vindicate any pessimistic forecasters there have been by taking up the scalpel yet again. Based on our assessment of the international situation and our foreign policy goals,
I have decided that the era of cutting our defence budget must end – and it ends now.
I am increasing defence spending by £24.1bin over the next four years,
That’s £16.5bn more than our manifesto commitment – raising it as a share of GDP to at least 2.2 percent, exceeding our NATO pledge, and investing £190bn over the next four years, more than any other European country and more than any other NATO ally, except the United States.
The Ministry of Defence has received a multi-year settlement because equipping our armed forces requires long term investment, and our national security in 20 years’ time will depend on decisions we take today.
I have done this in the teeth of the pandemic, amid every other demand on our resources, because the defence of the realm, and the safety of the British people, must come first.
I pay tribute to my Right Honourable Friends the Chancellor and Defence Secretary, who believe in this as fervently as I do.
Reviving our armed forces is one pillar of the Government’s ambition to safeguard Britain’s interests and values by strengthening our global influence, and reinforcing our ability to join the United States and our other allies to defend free and open societies.
The international situation is now more perilous and intensely competitive than at any time since the Cold War.
Everything we do in this country – every job, every business, even how we shop and what we eat – depends on a basic minimum of global security.
Our people are sustained by a web of lifelines, oxygen pipes that must be kept open open shipping lanes, a functioning internet, safe air corridors, reliable undersea cables, and tranquillity in distant straits.
This pandemic has offered a taste of what happens when elemental requirements are suddenly in question.
We could take all this for granted, ignore the threat of terrorism and the ambitions of hostile states, and hope for the best, and we might get away with it for a while, before calamity strikes, as it surely would.
Or we could accept that our lifelines must be protected, but we are content to curl up in our island and leave the task to our friends.
My starting point is that either of those options would be an abdication of the first duty of Government to defend our people.
My choice – and I hope it will carry every member of this House – is that Britain must be true to our history,
To stand alongside our allies, sharing the burden and bringing our expertise to bear on the world’s toughest problems.
To achieve this, we need to upgrade our capabilities across the board.
We have already united our international effort into a new department combining aid and diplomacy, led with grit and purpose by my RH Friend the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Secretary.
Next year will be a year of British leadership, when we preside over the G7, host COP-26 in Glasgow and celebrate the 75th anniversary of the first United Nations General Assembly in London.
We are leading the world towards net zero with our ten-point plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, and we are campaigning for our values, particularly freedom of religion and the media, and giving every girl in the world access to 12 years of quality education.
But extending British influence requires a once-in-a-generation modernisation of our armed forces, and now is the right time to press ahead because emerging technologies, visible on the horizon, will make the returns from defence investment infinitely greater.
We have a chance to break free from the vicious circle, whereby we ordered ever-decreasing numbers of ever more expensive items of military hardware, squandering billions along the way.
The latest advances will multiply the fighting power of every warship, aircraft and infantry unit many times over, and the prizes will go to the swiftest and most agile nations, not necessarily the biggest.
We can achieve as much as British ingenuity and expertise allow.
We will need to act speedily to remove or reduce less relevant capabilities – and this will allow our new investment to be focused on the technologies that will revolutionise warfare, forging our military assets into a single network designed to overcome the enemy.
A soldier in hostile territory will be alerted to a distant ambush by sensors on satellites or drones, instantly transmitting a warning, using Artificial Intelligence to devise the optimal response, and offering an array of options, from summoning an air strike to ordering a swarm attack, by drones or paralysing the enemy with cyber weapons.
New advances will surmount the old limits of logistics.
Our warships and combat vehicles will carry “directed energy weapons”, destroying targets with inexhaustible lasers and for them the phrase “out of ammunition” will become redundant.
Nations are racing to master this new doctrine of warfare and our investment is designed to place Britain among the winners.
The returns will go far beyond our Armed Forces.
From aerospace to autonomous vehicles, these technologies have a vast array of civilian applications, opening up new vistas of economic progress, creating 10,000 jobs every year – 40,000 in total – levelling up across our country and reinforcing our Union.
We shall use our extra defence spending to restore Britain’s position as the foremost naval power in Europe, taking forward our plans for eight Type 26 and five Type 31 frigates, and support ships to supply our carriers.
We are going to develop the next generation of warships, including multi-role research vessels and Type 32 frigates.
And this will spur a renaissance of British shipbuilding across the UK – in Glasgow and Rosyth, Belfast, Appledore and Birkenhead – guaranteeing jobs and illuminating the benefits of the Union in the white light of the arc welder’s torch.
If there was one policy which strengthens the UK in every possible sense, it is building more ships for the Royal Navy.
Once both of our carriers are operational in 2023, the UK will have a Carrier Strike Group permanently available, routinely deployed globally and always ready to fight alongside NATO and other allies.
Next year HMS Queen Elizabeth will lead a British and allied task group on our most ambitious deployment for two decades, encompassing the Mediterranean, the Indian Ocean and East Asia.
We shall forward deploy more of our naval assets in the world’s most important regions, protecting the shipping lanes that supply our nation, and we shall press on with renewing our nuclear deterrent. We shall reshape our army for the age of networked warfare, allowing better equipped soldiers to deploy more quickly, and strengthening the ability of our Special Forces to operate covertly against our most sophisticated adversaries.
Our security and intelligence agencies will continue to protect us around the clock from terrorism and new and evolving threats, We shall invest another £1.5bn in military research and development, designed to master the new technologies of warfare, and we will establish a new centre dedicated to Artificial Intelligence and a new RAF Space Command, launching British satellites and our first rocket from Scotland in 2022.
I can announce that we have established a National Cyber Force, combining our intelligence agencies and service personnel, which is already operating in cyberspace against terrorism, organised crime and hostile state activity.
And the RAF will receive a new fighter system, harnessing Artificial Intelligence and drone technology to defeat any adversary in air-to-air combat.
Our plans will safeguard hundreds of thousands of jobs in the defence industry, protecting livelihoods across the UK and keeping the British people safe.
The defence of the realm is above party politics and we all take pride in how British resolve saved democracy in 1940, and British internationalism – directed by Clement Attlee – helped to create NATO and preserve peace through the Cold War.
The wisdom and pragmatism of Margaret Thatcher found a path out of confrontation when she met Mikhail Gorbachev in 1984.
In each case, Britain tipped the scales of history and did immense good for the world.
Now we have a chance to follow in this great tradition, to end the era of retreat, transform our armed forces, bolster our global influence, unite and level up across our country, protect our people, and defend the free societies in which we fervently believe.
Mr Speaker, I commend this statement to the House. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
18 Nov 20. Leonardo CEO does not see governments injecting equity in aerospace groups to weather crisis. The chief executive of defence group Leonardo LDOF.MI said on Wednesday he did not see the Italian or British governments injecting equity capital into large aerospace companies to tackle the coronavirus health crisis.
Speaking at a digital event organised by European Aerospace and Defence Association (ASD), Alessandro Profumo, who also serves as ASD Chairman, said that small and medium enterprises in the supply chain were the most vulnerable to the coronavirus, while large companies were more resilient.
Profumo said that the industry was counting on the support from both governments and the European Union to press on with digitalisation and green projects, but this would not imply a state intervention in the capital of large groups.
“Governments are, instead, pressing for small and medium enterprises to merge to become stronger,” he said. (Source: Reuters)
19 Nov 20. Boris Johnson to announce largest UK military investment in 30 years. The biggest programme of investment in British defence since the end of the Cold War will be announced today by the Prime Minister.
- Multi-year settlement will allow MoD to invest in next-generation military capability, defending our people from new and evolving threats and protecting the world’s most vulnerable while creating 10,000 jobs annually across the UK
- Defence settlement underpins wider drive to use our foreign policy to defend free and open societies
- Major announcements mark the first conclusions from the Integrated Review of the UK’s foreign, defence, development and security policy
The biggest programme of investment in British defence since the end of the Cold War will be announced today by the Prime Minister. In a speech to the House of Commons he will set out a £16.5bn increase above the manifesto commitment over four years that will protect our citizens, help us build back better from coronavirus by creating thousands of new jobs and demonstrate to our allies they can always count on the UK.
Our defence forces are operating in a rapidly changing world. This spending increase recognises the need for them to undertake a generational modernisation programme in order to defend the UK, our allies and the world’s most vulnerable people.
Since the Cold War the threat from our adversaries has been evolving. Our traditional defence and deterrence capabilities remain vital, and our Armed Forces work every day to prevent terror reaching the UK’s shores. But our enemies are also operating in increasingly sophisticated ways, including in cyberspace, to further their own interests.
Rather than being confined to some distant battlefield, those that seek to do harm to our people can reach them through the mobile phones in their pockets or the computers in their homes. To protect our citizens, UK Defence therefore needs to operate at all times with leading, cutting-edge technology.
Our Armed Forces are also working in a broader range of areas than ever before to protect the most vulnerable people in the UK and around the world. Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK over 20,000 personnel have been made available to deliver PPE, run testing sites and ensure those in the most remote areas can receive the medical care they need.
Defence has also been on the front line responding to every major international humanitarian disaster of the last decade. In the last year alone HMS Enterprise has come to the aid of Lebanon following the explosion in the Port of Beirut, RFA Argus and Army personnel have delivered disaster relief to Central American countries ravaged by Hurricane Eta, and the RAF has transported vital medical supplies to communities struggling against coronavirus in West Africa and the UK’s Overseas Territories.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said, “I have taken this decision in the teeth of the pandemic because the defence of the realm must come first. The international situation is more perilous and more intensely competitive than at any time since the Cold War and Britain must be true to our history and stand alongside our allies. To achieve this we need to upgrade our capabilities across the board. This is our chance to end the era of retreat, transform our Armed Forces, bolster our global influence, unite and level up our country, pioneer new technology and defend our people and way of life.”
The £16.5bn extra in the Ministry of Defence’s budget over the next four years is the amount over and above the manifesto commitment. The Government has already pledged to increase defence spending by 0.5% above inflation for every year of this parliament. On existing forecasts, this is an overall cash increase of £24.1bn over four years compared to last year’s budget.
It will also cement the UK’s position as the largest defence spender in Europe and the second largest in NATO.
The commitment will allow the Government to invest in cutting-edge technology, positioning the UK as a global leader in domains such as cyber and space and addressing weaknesses in our defence arsenal that cannot be allowed to continue. To support these advancements the Prime Minister will also announce a new agency dedicated to Artificial Intelligence, the creation of a National Cyber Force to protect our people from harm and a new ‘Space Command’, capable of launching our first rocket in 2022.
This will be underpinned by a record investment of at least £1.5bn extra and £5.8bn total on military research and development and a commitment to invest further in the Future Combat Air System. This reverses the systematic decline in this crucial area in the last thirty years, creating new advances which surmount the old limits of logistics and go beyond military use with a vast number of civilian applications such as autonomous vehicles and aviation.
These projects are expected to create up to 10,000 thousand jobs annually across the UK. These will reflect the expertise and ingenuity of British people both inside and outside our Armed Forces, harnessing the UK’s skills in construction and science and reinvigorating those industries in the coming decades.
The Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, said, “This is excellent news for Defence, and provides us with the financial certainty we need to modernise, plan for the future and adapt to the threats we face. It demonstrates the Prime Minister’s recognition of how important Defence is to our resilience and to the reputation of the United Kingdom.
This settlement secures UK jobs and livelihoods, allows us to invest in our fantastic shipyards and aerospace industry, spreading prosperity to every corner of the UK. Next year represents a huge opportunity for this country, and Defence will be at the forefront of creating the jobs and business opportunities that will help us build back from the pandemic. Over the next few months I will set out in more detail our ambitious agenda for Defence.”
Today’s announcements mark the first outcomes from the Integrated Review of the UK’s foreign, defence, development and security policy. The full conclusions of the Integrated Review will be announced in the new year.
PM’s record defence pledge to protect Scottish security and jobs
Scotland and the whole of the UK will be better protected and able to play a more active role defending our allies and values following the landmark defence investment announced by the Prime Minister today.
The Prime Minister said, “Next year will be a year of British leadership, when we preside over the G7, host COP26 in Glasgow and celebrate the 75th anniversary of the of the first United Nations General Assembly.
Britain must be true to our history and stand alongside our allies, sharing the burdens and bringing our expertise to bear on the world’s toughest problems. The returns of this investment will go far beyond our Armed Forces, creating thousands of jobs, reinforcing the Union and levelling up our country.”
The spending commitment will finance the UK’s order of 8 Type 26 and 5 Type 31 frigates, which are currently being constructed on the Clyde, creating thousands of jobs. The Prime Minister will also set out his commitment to the next generation of warship – the Type 32 – which would also be built in the UK.
The record contribution will also allow the Ministry of Defence to invest in research to create the technology of tomorrow – for conflicts on land and sea, and in the air, space and cyberspace.
As we have seen in the past, and as we’re currently seeing in areas such as autonomous vehicles and aviation, these developments will also have civilian applications.
In his speech the Prime Minister will announce a new ‘Space Command’, capable of launching our first rocket from Scotland in 2022.
Scotland has always played a critical role in the UK’s defence. That is thanks to its important geographical position which makes it an ideal home for half of the UK’s typhoon force and the Royal Navy’s entire submarine service, and to its people, who have always answered the call of duty to serve their country. Around 10,000 regular personnel and 4,000 reservists call Scotland home and this number is growing. The projects announced by the Prime Minister today will therefore directly benefit the people of Scotland, bringing security and economic benefits for decades to come. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
BATTLESPACE Comment: Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that the Army might get a ‘haircut’ as part of this deal with smaller armoured forces in particular taking numbers to around 70,000. The beneficiaries look to be the Special forces, RAF Navy and Marines with the Army getting more helicopters and armed UAVs, battlefield surveillance. The army needs to be able to manoeuvre manpower in the UK for homeland security and disaster relief and activities sucha sCOVID testing and support. For incursions a beneficiary would be MRV(P) JLTV having a new systems such as RWS and ATGW as well as C-UAS technology.
18 Nov 20. Boris Johnson’s intervention helps secure spending victory for UK military chiefs. Prime minister persuades reluctant chancellor to award Ministry of Defence a multi-year settlement. Defence chiefs argued successfully that limiting departments to one-year spending plans would have restricted investment in new technology, including drones. UK defence chiefs are to be awarded a multi-year budget settlement to help pay for drones and other new military technology after prime minister Boris Johnson intervened to negotiate with the Treasury on their behalf. The new funding agreement is the result of weeks of tense discussions between Downing Street, the Treasury and the Ministry of Defence. It comes after chancellor Rishi Sunak’s decision last month to cancel his comprehensive spending review and instead award government departments a one-year settlement while he assesses the full economic impact of coronavirus. The settlement could be as much as £16.5bn extra over four years, according to people close to the discussions.
The defence budget is just under £41.5bn for the period 2020/21. The government is expected to set out details of the settlement shortly. Mr Johnson secured a last-minute exemption for defence a week after he promised US president-elect Joe Biden that Britain was determined to remain a valuable military ally. The spending package is expected to be a big boost for the Royal Navy, which Mr Johnson regards as a highly visible representation of his foreign policy, with a crucial role in protecting trade routes. Mr Johnson’s emphasis on “a maritime strategy” has delighted the Navy, which will step up its role around the world and in patrolling domestic waters, where the search for illegal migrants and defusing potential fisheries disputes could be among its duties. The deal he agreed with Ben Wallace, defence secretary, on Tuesday is seen as relatively generous at a time when other departments are facing tough spending controls. Senior government officials have warned that new forecasts for the public finances will be “dire”.
Treasury officials confirmed there had been “robust discussions” with Mr Wallace and that the settlement was “obviously a lot of money”. However, they said the deal had been “collectively agreed” with the prime minister and defence secretary. Military chiefs have repeatedly argued that a one-year settlement could increase waste by allowing continued funding of programmes that are due to be cut in the longer term, and would prevent more ambitious investments in new space and cyber operations. The MoD has also lobbied hard for dedicated funds to pay for upgrades to its Trident nuclear deterrent. The department’s financial problems have been compounded by a £13bn hole in its 10-year equipment plan, which it says cannot be plugged without a settlement that is guaranteed over several years. The prime minister’s election manifesto promised to increase core defence spending by at least 0.5 per cent above inflation every year of the parliament. Mr Wallace, who is a long-term political ally of Mr Johnson, appears to have argued successfully that his department should receive special treatment. “They have an underrated alliance — it’s proving rather stronger than you might think,” said one person close to the budget discussions.
The chancellor reluctantly agreed that a multi-year settlement was justified on the basis of securing jobs for people working on military projects and to ensure there was no disruption to projects that were already in train. Mr Johnson told Mr Biden on November 10 that he looked forward to working with him when he becomes president. Downing Street said the two leaders were committed “to building on this partnership in the years ahead, in areas such as trade and security — including through Nato”. The prime minister is keen to make the case for a strong role for a “global Britain” after the end of the Brexit transition period on January 1. Meanwhile, Mr Sunak is looking to save money by “temporarily” cutting the government’s commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of gross domestic product on overseas aid to 0.5 per cent, saving about £4bn a year. Downing Street denied there was a connection between the savings to the aid budget and the uplift in defence spending. (Source: FT.com)
18 Nov 20. Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention – 18th Meeting of State Parties: UK statement. Aidan Liddle, UK Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament delivered this statement under agenda iteam 9(b) – Clearing mined areas and mine risk education and reduction: conclusions and recommendations related to the mandate of the committee on article 5 implementation.
As this is the first time my delegation has taken the floor, let me begin by thanking you for your astute leadership this year in exceptionally difficult circumstances.
For nearly two decades, the United Kingdom has provided regular updates to the Convention on our progress to clear the Falkland Islands, the only part of UK territory contaminated with mines. I am proud to announce today that clearance operations concluded on Saturday 14 November. The UK and its overseas territories are now free of anti-personnel mines.
The UK has thus fulfilled its obligations under Article 5 of the Convention. In line with Action 25 of the Oslo Action Plan, we will shortly submit a voluntary declaration of completion.
While the Convention entered into force for the UK in 1999, clearance operations in the Falkland Islands could not begin until we had determined the scale and complexities of the task ahead. This commenced with a six-year Joint Feasibility study with Argentina, completed in 2007. This comprehensive study allowed us to fully appreciate the environmental, technical, and logistical constraints we would be up against. This included considering the most effective methods to access mines in challenging locations such as in very remote areas, buried under 10-metre high sand dunes or in swampy peat.
Clearance operations began in 2008 by testing the approach to search for and then remove mines in three areas. The lessons learned from this first operation gave us the confidence to expand the Programme, eventually culminating in the clearance of 122 minefields. Over the course of the Programme, our skilled team built invaluable experience working in unpredictable weather and tackling difficult terrain, developing creative solutions to manage the technical and physical challenges they faced. Indeed, the clearance management processes implemented on the Falklands have informed the universal International Mine Action Standards.
11 years later, we have now released over 23 million square metres of land back to the Falkland Islands community. We are deeply grateful to our diligent international team who have worked tirelessly since the inception of the Programme to ensure the Falkland Islands are now safe.
We are pleased that our Falklands Demining programme team will be joining us virtually on Friday at our side event to discuss the methodologies, best practices and lessons learned on this Programme. We hope the knowledge and insight we have gained will contribute to our shared ambition for a mine-free world by 2025.
Thank you, Mr President. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
18 Nov 20. No 10 wins battle with Treasury over military funding. Downing Street last night won its battle with the Treasury to agree a multi-year funding settlement for the armed forces.
After intense discussions between the prime minister and chancellor yesterday, a four-year financial deal for the Ministry of Defence was agreed, it is understood.
The Treasury had been resisting demands to give defence a settlement beyond the one-year deal awarded to the rest of Whitehall that will be announced next Wednesday, but ultimately lost the battle.
The government’s “integrated review”, an overhaul of foreign, defence and security policy, is to be delayed until the end of January, according to Whitehall sources.
Defence insiders expected the Treasury to agree to about £14.5bn extra for the MoD over four years. The budget this year is £41.5bn.
Boris Johnson has been pushing for a multi-year settlement as he plans to make an intervention tomorrow on his post-Brexit ambitions for “Global Britain”. He is poised to highlight plans for the armed forces to acquire state-of-the-art drones.
Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, is said to have been impressed by Turkey’s effective use of drones in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan this autumn and has been influential in making the case for Britain to develop a similar capability.
Opinion is divided over how far £14.5bn will stretch. The potential for costs to spiral in the defence nuclear enterprise, particularly a replacement nuclear warhead system, has sparked concerns. One senior military source said that £20bn would “come close to delivering what’s needed” in the MoD, adding that “£15bn won’t”.
However, Malcolm Chalmers, deputy director-general at the Royal United Services Institute, the defence and security think tank, said it could represent a generous deal, depending on inflation assumptions and what the Treasury expected the MoD to fund with it.
“Extra resource of around £15bn over four years would mean a real term increase of between 5 and 10 per cent on the overall defence budget,” he said.
“The MoD would not be able to avoid hard choices, but that expenditure would mean our armed forces were more capable at the end of the period than they are now.”
Defence insiders had warned that a single-year settlement would be a poor result for the MoD. One source said the ministry’s internal sums showed that it would have entailed “wasting” £3bn on funding obsolescent programmes and deferring essential upgrades that would cost more if delayed.
A multi-year settlement allows defence chiefs to cancel unaffordable programmes straightaway and get on with upgrades, advocates argue.
Tobias Ellwood, the Conservative chairman of the Commons defence committee, has been among the most vocal campaigners for a multi-year settlement for defence.
He warned: “The Americans are watching this carefully to see what we do; 2021 offers to be an incredible year for the UK on the international circuit, but only if we clarify what our global ambitions are, what threats we face, and what our defence posture should be.”
He accepted that the integrated review could wait until early in the new year if the question of defence funding were settled this month.
Military chiefs are still working on key elements of the review. The army’s initial submission was deemed too unambitious in its plans for modernisation and was rebuffed, it is understood. Service chiefs have been tasked with reworking it and resubmitting it next month. (Source: The Times)
17 Nov 20. It’s Official: Greece Requests Purchase of 5th Generation American F-35 Stealth Fighter Jets. Following the decision of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis to purchase 18 twin-engine French Rafale fighter jets (six new and 12 slightly used), Greece has officially asked Washington for the immediate purchase of the fifth generation American F-35 fighter jet.
The official Letter of Request (LOR) letter from the Department of Defense was sent to the US Government on November 6, reported Proto Thema.
“The decision to enter (Greece) in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program will be based on a variety of factors such as the fighter delivery schedule, the repayment plan, the configuration of the aircraft and a possible combination to obtain a total of 18 to 24 jets (new or used by the US Air Force, if available),” is mentioned in the Letter of Expression of Interest of the Greek Ministry of National Defense dated November 6.
“Your immediate response will be appreciated,” reads the letter from Greece’s Ministry of National Defense, signed by the Director General of Armaments and Investments, Theodoros Lagios.
“Due to internal fiscal arrangements and other applicable rules within the EU budget and deficit framework, it is crucial that the first F-35s are delivered in 2021. For our part, we will do everything possible to implement this ambitious program,” the letter continued.
(defense-aerospace.com EDITOR’S NOTE: Separately, Proto Thema also reported that France is expected to deliver the first used Rafale in January 2021, with the 11 others to follow at a rate of one per month until December.
That however presumes that the contract is signed, and the first down payment is made, by the end of the year. As of last week, Greek media reported that the government had not yet tabled the enabling legislation in Parliament.)(Source: defense-aerospace.com/Greek City News)
16 Nov 20. USMC Preps for Possible War in Europe During Massive East Coast Training Exercise. The Marine Corps has put a lot of emphasis on countering China, but tens of thousands of East Coast leathernecks have their sights set on another part of the world.
Members of II Marine Expeditionary Force wrapped up a training exercise last week that ran from North Carolina to New York. The Marines were tasked with taking back territory in a friendly country that was invaded by a near-peer adversary.
The exercise, called Marine Expeditionary Force Exercise — or MEFEX — 21.1, matches the focus that Commandant Gen. David Berger put on II MEF readying for missions in the Atlantic and Europe.
Lt. Gen. Brian Beaudreault, II MEF’s commanding general, told reporters Friday that if U.S. troops are called up to respond to a crisis in Europe, his Marines are going.
“We’re not just saying we can go do it,” he said. “We’re demonstrating we’re ready to go do it.”
The exercise ran for nearly six weeks, stretching from Camp Lejeune in North Carolina to Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia up to Fort Drum in New York. Troops from several other countries participated in the exercise, including Norway, the United Kingdom and Canada.
The Navy’s 2nd Fleet also participated, and Beaudreault called the naval integration portion of the exercise one of the most important pieces.
“It’s [about] the Marine Corps unlocking the ability of the Navy to maintain naval maneuver,” he said. “That’s important in Pacific theater, given a likely threat, and it’s definitely important in the European theater, given the threat that can emanate out of [Russia’s] Northern Fleet.”
Berger’s planning guidance has come under scrutiny by some for putting so much emphasis on China. But Beaudreault said that, while the planning guidance has a Pacific focus, it’s not a “Pacific-only” strategy.
After decades of land warfare and crisis-response missions, the Marine Corps is moving back toward its naval roots. If war breaks out in Europe, Beaudreault said, there’s “very much a maritime component to that.”
The Marines can set up expeditionary advanced bases, assist in anti-submarine warfare by establishing refueling sites for maritime patrol aircraft, boost ships’ unmanned sensing capabilities, and carry out long-range precision fires from ashore, he said.
The high-end fight Marines were simulating required personnel to think differently about threats. Electronic signatures are a big concern in that type of environment, and Beaudreault said cell phones weren’t allowed inside operating spaces. If it comes to a real-world battle against a sophisticated adversary, the general said he’d issue a MEF-wide order banning Marines from using them in theater.
“We don’t have to keep relearning the lessons we’ve learned,” he said. “I think everybody’s aware of the classic one [in which] somebody at a forward operating base was running web around their compound, over and over.
“It’s a real concern … if you’re trying to stay hidden, so we take it seriously.”
One thing that was absent in the exercise were tanks, as the Marine Corps gets rid of some of its heavy equipment to travel light and save money for newer technology.
Beaudreault said the MEFEX proved that allies can fill the gaps and Marine aviators can “kill armor at ranges that exceed a tank gunner.”
The exercise culminated with one of the longest tactical convoys in recent Marine Corps history.
Members of Combat Logistics Regiment 27, led by a first lieutenant, completed a 916-mile tactical convoy from New York to North Carolina in two-and-a-half days. Beaudreault called it a tremendous accomplishment.
“It’s not unrealistic to think that, based on where the enemy is and based on where we are, and the distances that we’re going to have to cover to push an enemy out, that we may have to go those distances,” he said. “… And in combat is not the first time we want to do that.” (Source: Military.com)
13 Nov 20. US plans to continue and improve military co-operation with Serbia. The United States plans to continue and improve military co-operation with Serbia, US ambassador to Belgrade Anthony Godfrey told Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Nebojsa Stefanovic during a meeting on 4 November, the Serbian Ministry of Defence (MoD) reported on its website later the same day.
Stefanovic thanked the ambassador for US donations of military equipment and for the training and education of members of the MoD and the Serbian Army.
A US embassy spokesman told Janes on 12 November that Washington had provided approximately USD13m in international military education and training, and through the counter-terrorism fellowship programme. More than 1,330 Serbians have been trained under these programmes, including junior, mid-level, and senior officers from both the army and air force, as well as senior non-commissioned officers.
“In the past decade and a half, 69 of Serbia’s senior officers and non-commissioned officers have graduated from the United States’ most prestigious and highest-level military schools,” the spokesman said. In addition, the US has funded training courses on defence enterprise management and law for Serbian MoD civilians.
Serbia has also sent more than 70 trainees to the US to prepare them to support Serbian-funded purchases of US defence equipment. In addition, the US has donated mobility platforms, including Humvees and training aids, and has provided technical advice on training area design and development since 2009. (Source: Jane’s)
12 Nov 20. Eurofighter Procedure Cost the Ministry €7m. The Austrian defense ministry incurred costs of €7m for the discontinued Eurofighter legal proceedings. Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner (ÖVP) announced yesterday to Parliament’s budget committee, according to parliamentary reports.
After the decision of the Vienna Higher Regional Court to discontinue the proceedings, further legal steps are now being examined, Tanner confirmed.
SPÖ does not see airspace surveillance guaranteed
Meanwhile, the SPÖ warned that active airspace surveillance would no longer be guaranteed from next year. According to Tanner’s plans, the cost-intensive Eurofighters would take over the sole control of Austria’s airspace from next year.
According to SPÖ defense spokesman Robert Laimer, the budget discussions yesterday in the committee showed that this will result in additional expenditure that the armed forces could not cover.
€8m more must be budgeted to finance 1,500 Eurofighter flight hours alone, as the Eurofighter flight hour costs ten times as much as a Saab 105, whose fleet will be discontinued next year and which will not be replaced.
“With these hours you cannot guarantee round-the-clock surveillance of the airspace.” For the SPÖ defense spokesman, Tanner is thus becoming more dependent on Airbus. With her statement “Airbus will get to know me”, the minister has now “clipped her own wings”, said Laimer.
Still numerous investigations
The attempt by the Republic of Austria to get rid of the unpopular Eurofighters by legal means has failed, but apart from the suspended fraud proceedings against Airbus, the investigations of the Economic and Corruption Public Prosecutor’s Office (WKStA) continue. It is about infidelity, money laundering and bribery in the procurement and counter-trade of the jets.
As the WKStA announced in a press release, numerous suspects and witnesses have been questioned since the Vienna public prosecutor took over the case in February 2019. 60 suspects are being probed by an investigation team made up of four public prosecutors and an economic expert.
How much longer this will continue is an open question. Accounts were opened, 15 new requests for mutual legal assistance were made, European investigative orders were issued and the special commission set up at the Federal Criminal Police Office was employed. Since then, this alone has generated 35 reports submitted to the WKStA. (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/OAT Austrian Television)
16 Nov 20. Secret Reports: The United States Spied on Danish Ministries and the Defense Industry. The U.S. National Security Agency used a top-secret Danish-American intelligence agreement to spy on Danish government ministries and private companies in Denmark, Sweden and Germany, Danish Radio News (DR News) reported on Sunday.
The illegal intercepts also targeted Eurofighter and Saab, DR News reported, which at the time were competing to win a major contract to supply Denmark with a new fighter to replace its F-16s, as well as Danish defense contractor Terma.
DR News’ report is based on a number of highly classified reports made by an internal whistleblower in the Defense Intelligence Service (FE) around 2015, warning FE top management about possible illegalities in bilateral intelligence cooperation that allowed the United States to intercept Danish internet cables and use the information thus obtained for its own purposes.
“It is basically shocking, because the authority that was supposed to protect Denmark, helped to undermine the security of Denmark’s vital interests,” Jens Elo Rytter, professor of constitutional law at the University of Copenhagen, told DR News.
“According to Danish law, a foreign intelligence service must of course not spy on Denmark in the way that you gain insight into military information or politically sensitive information,” Professor Emeritus in Criminal Law at the University of Copenhagen Jørn Vestergaard said.
In addition to the warnings about American espionage against Denmark, the reports say the whistleblower also warned about NSA espionage against targets in a number of the country’s closest neighbors, including Sweden. The whistleblower also claimed that NSA used the Danish-American intelligence agreements to search for information on the pan-European Eurofighter and the Swedish Saab Gripen fighter programs.
Both aircraft were competing to be chosen as Denmark’s new fighter aircraft, a process that was already well advanced and which, at the time of the alleged intercepts, was moving into its final phase. At the time, Denmark’s selection of the Lockheed Martin F-35, and its government’s rationale for the decision, was widely criticized, as we reported in June 2016.
One source told DR News that the NSA wanted to “nose down in Terma prior to Denmark’s purchase of new fighter jets” in 2015 and 2016, when Denmark made the final decision on the purchase of new fighter jets to replace its aging fleet of F-16s. Terma, based in Aarhus, is one of Denmark’s largest defense contractors and a supplier to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, but was also involved in the Danish fighter competition as a potential offset beneficiary.
“It’s a ‘smoking gun’. Targets have been identified at Terma,” one source told DR News. “These are searches that point directly to specific employees in Terma. The NSA entered keywords into the system that show they have searched for specific email addresses and phone numbers belonging to Terma,” the source said.
DR News was unable to determine exactly what information NSA was looking for, or how the US intelligence service may have used the information about the fighter companies, but the it said the whistleblower prepared, or participated in the preparation, at least two internal reports on the disputed matters.
DR News spoke to several independent sources who have insight into the reports. “The NSA has used the cable collaboration for targeted espionage against Denmark’s closest allies and previously also against Danish interests and goals,” said one source speaking on condition of anonymity.
The sources that DR News spoke to mention the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as Terma as some of the targets for the Americans’ alleged espionage. Denmark’s closest allies – especially Sweden, Germany, France, but also Norway and the Netherlands – were also mentioned as targets.
It has not been possible for DR News to determine whether FE’s management acted on the basis of the whistleblower’s reports.
But it is clearly contrary to the FE’s purpose if the FE has given the NSA access to or otherwise made it possible for the Americans to spy on key Danish social institutions and the defense industry, say two leading experts in the field.
“I would not like to be the political decision-maker who had to tell my colleagues in Germany or Sweden that ‘unfortunately, we have now learned that the Americans have used an access with us to spy on you,” Professor Jens Ringsmose from the University of Southern Denmark, told DR News. (Source: defense-aerospace.com)
12 Nov 20. EU tightens export rules for dual-use technologies. Policymakers in Brussels agreed on 9 November to substantially overhaul the EU’s long-standing export regime for dual-use goods and technologies.
Among other changes, the agreement will impose new risk assessment and reporting obligations on companies, tighten information exchange between national capitals and with the European Commission, and link human rights criteria to the export of cyber surveillance and other technologies. Noting that dual-use technologies carry risks for national and international security, Valdis Dombrovskis, European Commissioner for Trade, announced after the agreement that the Commission “will interact closely with industry, which is the ‘first line of defence’ to guard against proliferators and other malevolent actors”.
The current annual value of the EU’s controlled dual-use trade currently exceeds EUR50bn (USD59bn), according to the Commission.
The compromise text, agreed by the European Parliament and Council, came after years of negotiations on a 2016 proposal by the Commission to amend the EU’s original 2009 dual-use regulation (EC 428/2009), long since rendered outdated by technology developments. Their new accord entails 50 amendments to the regulation.
These harmonise the application of transit controls to non-listed items and military end- uses, and extend the controls to the risk of misuse for terrorist acts and human rights violations. For example, there will be a new EU level co-ordination mechanism for tighter exchanges between the 27 EU countries regarding the export of cyber surveillance items, as well as a new watchlist of banned items to be established. (Source: Jane’s)
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