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04 June 21. UK and French carriers come together in impressive display. HMS Queen Elizabeth and FS Charles de Gaulle laid on an impressive display of Anglo-French naval and air power as the two nations’ flagships worked side-by-side for the first time.
The UK’s 65,000-tonne carrier and her embarked F-35 stealth fighter jets spent a few days training with the French carrier and French Rafale aircraft in Exercise Gallic Strike in the Mediterranean.
In the Western Mediterranean, the two ships and their respective task groups showcased how the navies could work together on future operations and take forward the Anglo-French Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF) that reached Full Operating Capability last year.
The rendezvous also gave the Royal Navy’s First Sea Lord Admiral Tony Radakin, US Navy’s Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday and the French Navy’s Chef d’état-major Admiral Pierre Vandier the chance to visit both ships and discuss future partnerships.
Admiral Radakin said: “Today’s trilateral meeting between the Marine Nationale, the United States Navy and Royal Navy; the three NATO nuclear nations, and three carrier navies in the alliance, highlights our shared commitment to NATO, and our bold steps towards ever greater interoperability and interchangeability.
“The Royal Navy’s Carrier Strike Group 21 deployment is a clear demonstration of this: a Royal Navy carrier, which will become the NATO carrier, supported by allied fighter jets, frigates and destroyers, working as one.”
The first phase of Exercise Gallic Strike saw Queen Elizabeth and Charles de Gaulle take part in ‘cat and mouse’ style war game, with both task groups testing the others’ abilities to protect and defend against threats.
Next, it was the turn of the jets with UK F-35s of 617 Squadron RAF, ‘the Dambusters’, and US Marine Corps VMFA-211 conducting simulated strike missions with the French’s Rafale twin-jet combat aircraft.
Gallic Strike came towards the end of the French carrier’s Clemenceau 21 deployment, which took her task group into the Indian Ocean and Gulf.
Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander UK Carrier Strike Group, said: “I warmly congratulate the men and women of Charles De Gaulle on the successful completion of their recent operational deployment.
“As the UK Carrier Strike Group prepares to begin its own journey to the Eastern Mediterranean and Indian Ocean, our meeting today offers a glimpse into the possibilities for future carrier cooperation between our navies.
“The fact that we are joined for this occasion by the heads of the navies of Britain, France and the United States is also significant. The Royal Navy could not have reached this point in our carrier renaissance so quickly without the support of our two most important strategic partners.
“Hundreds of sailors, aviators and deck handlers spent time on exchange with the Marine Nationale and the US Navy to maintain our carrier skills.”
Commander Edward Phillips, HMS Queen Elizabeth’s Commander Air (‘Wings’), is one of those who served on exchange with the French Navy to develop his carrier strike skills. Nearly 10 years ago, he served on Charles de Gaulle and said it was a privilege to see both carriers operating alongside each other for the first time.
“The pride, skill and camaraderie I experienced whilst serving with the French are mirrored here in the UK Carrier Strike Group,” he added.
“By working together we have enhanced the potency of our respective carrier forces and, for the UK, it marks another important step in the renaissance of our carrier strike capability.”
The Royal Navy’s Lieutenant Commander Duncan Abbott is currently on exchange with France’s equivalent of the Maritime Battlestaffs – and has been on board Charles De Gaulle for the past month.
He said: “I served in HMS Duncan when she was operating with Charles De Gaulle in 2019, so it’s fascinating to now see how operations are conducted from the other perspective.
“The significance of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s maiden deployment is certainly appreciated by the French and they are extremely enthusiastic about operating together and refining the tactics of dual carrier operations.”
Rear Admiral Marc Aussedat, Commanding Officer of the French Carrier Strike Group, added: “The ambitious dual carrier operations of Gallic Strike confirms the strong and effective cooperation between French and British navies.
“It demonstrates our shared willingness to train our high-end warfighting skills. We are very happy to be part of such historical première, contributing to strengthen our navies for future operations.”
Next week President Macron will travel to the UK for the G7 summit which takes place in Cornwall. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
04 June 21. Fishmongers’ Hall: Firearms officer was surprised Usman Khan survived first shots. Usman Khan’s trip to Fishmongers’ Hall was the first he had taken unescorted out of Staffordshire following his release from prison in 2018
A firearms officer has told an inquest of his surprise that a convicted terrorist had not died despite being shot multiple times.
Usman Khan killed Jack Merritt, 25, and Saskia Jones, 23, at a prisoner rehabilitation conference at Fishmongers’ Hall on 29 November 2019.
He was chased on to London Bridge then shot 20 times in separate bursts.
The officer, who shot Khan four times, told the inquest: “All I could think was: ‘Why aren’t you dead?”‘
The hearing at London’s Guildhall has been told how the 28-year-old was shot twice by officers initially, before being shot 18 more times after he unexpectedly sat up eight minutes later.
The firearms officer – referred to as AZ99 to protect his identity – told the inquest he was concerned Khan was reaching for a suicide belt, which was wrapped about his waist.
image captionKhan was wearing a fake suicide vest
He told the inquest: “At that point there, I thought: ‘We’re dead.'”
“This was the first movement he did that was an action rather than a reaction.
“It felt like a defined movement of: I’m now going to do something to you.”
The belt, which Khan had worn on the journey to London from his home in Stafford, turned out to be fake.
CCTV showed Khan to be breathing deeply, writhing around, and appearing to mutter to himself after being shot twice by police.
The inquest heard after being shot twice, Khan summoned the energy to sit up from his prone position on the floor.
He appeared to turn his head sideways and stare directly at the armed officers for a few seconds when he was hit by police gunfire.
He briefly touched a wound on his forehead before slumping finally to the ground. He was pronounced dead an hour later when the scene was declared safe.
image captionA previous inquest jury found that Saskia Jones and Jack Merritt were unlawfully killed by Usman Khan
AZ99 said: “He did fall back after one shot.
“Quite surreal – he put his hand towards his head, he pulled his hand away to look for blood.
“All I could think was: ‘Why aren’t you dead?”‘
The inquest continues.
BATTLESPACE Comment: It is worth repeating the statement: ‘A firearms officer has told an inquest of his surprise that a convicted terrorist had not died despite being shot multiple times.’ This makes a mockery of the imprisonment of Marine ‘A,’ Sgt Alexander Blackman for firing one shot at the Taleban he was tasked with removal from the battlefield after being hit twice by 30mm Apache chain gun rounds. The Editor asked Jonathan Goldberg QC who acted for Alexander Blackman where the round went and he said that she did not know. There was no Post Mortem on the body to prove that death had occurred due to the one 9mm round but that it ‘speeded up death by more than 5 minutes.’ No ballistics expert was called to give evidence for Sgt. Blackman at his trial He must be one of few people in British legal history to be convicted of murder without a post mortem on the body.
I informed Mr Goldberg that the record number of 9mm hits taken before death is a bank robber in the USA who took 36 rounds prior to dying. Sgt. Blackman should be pardoned immediately and his rights restored.
03 June 21. US, UK, French navies agree to bolster joint operations, tech collaboration. The chiefs of the U.S., U.K. and French navies met in France on Thursday to affirm their commitment to deeper collaboration and interoperability between their fleets to address some of the most vexing maritime security issues around the globe.
U.S. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday, British Royal Navy First Sea Lord Adm. Tony Radakin and Chief of the French Navy Adm. Pierre Vandier signed a trilateral agreement noting their common values, interests and global responsibilities in the areas of the Indo-Pacific, Middle East, High North, Caribbean and Africa.
“No one nation can shoulder this burden alone. Our naval power is amplified by sailing and integrating with like-minded navies. Together, we strive to combat the challenges posed by an increasingly uncertain world. Even during the global pandemic we increased interoperability through exercises in the Indian Ocean enhancing maritime domain awareness, through continued operations across the spectrum of naval functions in support of NATO, and most recently through a carrier operations exercise which concluded today,” read the agreement, referring to an exercise between the British aircraft carrier Queen Elizabeth and the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle.
“We will continue to strengthen our enduring partnership to ensure we prevail across the continuum of day-to-day competition, crisis, and conflict to keep the world’s oceans open and free. We must continue operating together to expand the reach and capability of our naval forces across the globe,” the document added.
As the three leaders signed the agreement in Toulon, the Queen Elizabeth — carrying a squadron of U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Joint Strike Fighters as part of the carrier air wing for its maiden deployment — and the Charles de Gaulle were holding a joint exercise in the Atlantic Ocean in a demonstration of what this trilateral collaboration could look like.
“We are three NATO navies, we are three nuclear navies and we are three aircraft carrier navies. And the fact that we can operate together, the fact that we have the same shared interests and values, is part of our strength,” Radakin told reporters after signing the agreement, according to a recording provided to Defense News. “The level of cooperation and coordination that exists between our three navies means that we can do so much more — so whether that’s that [air and missile defense] exercise Formidable Shield against some of the most serious threats we face; we work in the Caribbean together to support our overseas territories and to also counter illicit drugs; we work together in NATO the whole time, supporting our submarines so that they have freedom of maneuver to operate in the North Atlantic; and then you’re seeing that in the Mediterranean today, and then you’re seeing it further afield in the Indo-Pacific, and you see it all the time in the Arabian Gulf.”
Common hardware among the allies has led to several exchanges in recent years that not only promote interoperability but move toward the notion of “interchangeability” that the naval leaders are seeking.
U.S. Marines flying and maintaining their planes alongside British Royal Air Force F-35Bs is the latest example. But in 2018 French E-2C Hawkeye pilots joined American E-2D Advanced Hawkeye pilots aboard U.S. carrier George H.W. Bush to conduct integrated air wing operations in the Atlantic while the French carrier was in maintenance and unavailable for air wing operations.
To ensure their forces remain interoperable and even interchangeable, the annual trilateral meeting between the naval chiefs is supplemented by a series of war games. In 2019, the U.S. Navy led an anti-submarine warfare-focused event. In 2020, the Royal Navy hosted one focused on multicarrier operations. This year, France is hosting the war game, though the topic has not yet been announced.
The allies are also seeking to collaborate more on technology development, with the U.S. and U.K. last year signing “a future integrated war-fighting statement of intent that sets a cooperative vision for interchangeability,” Gilday announced at the virtual Atlantic Future Forum in October.
“We will synchronize pioneering capabilities, strengthen operating concepts and focus our collective efforts to deliver combined sea power together. By organizing our cooperation on carrier strike, underwater superiority, navy and marine integration and doubling down on future war fighting like unmanned and artificial intelligence, we will remain on the leading edge of great power competition,” he said at the time.
To support that technology development cooperation, the U.S. Navy launched in London its first international “Tech Bridge” — an organization meant to connect innovators in industry and academia with leaders in the Navy.
“We’re going to establish our first-ever overseas Tech Bridge there in London. It will be a place for two-way sharing of ideas. And it’s not just government to government; it’s with industry, it’s with academia. Quite frankly, it’s with everyday citizens who may have an idea,” former Navy acquisition chief James Geurts, who currently serves as acting undersecretary of the Navy, said at the same event. “And the power of these tech bridges is they’re not on bases, they’re not behind barbed wire, they’re not just only a requirements pull. It’s a way that we can get idea push and accelerate that.”
Radakin spoke alongside Geurts and said the U.K. has several research and development programs he hopes to share with the U.S. as part the focus on unmanned, artificial intelligence and cyber technologies. He specifically highlighted an extra-large underwater drone being built in Plymouth that he believes could benefit both navies. He also cited the Maritime Autonomous Platform Exploitation program for controlling drones and allowing them to communicate with one another.
“Where we think that that technology and some of the success we’ve had might be of interest to the U.S. These are the things we’re sharing,” the admiral said.
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
04 June 21. Babcock CEO Hosts Arrowhead 140 engagements in Greece. David Lockwood, Chief Executive Officer, of Babcock International, the aerospace, defence and security company has led a series of meetings in Greece with key industry figures, Government officials and supply chain companies as Babcock continues to build international interest in its Arrowhead 140 general purpose frigate and bid to deliver the Hellenic Navy’s new frigate modernisation programme.
A comprehensive programme of discussions were undertaken as Babcock reinforced the strengths of the offer made by the company and the UK Government to provide the Hellenic Navy with a Hydra Class upgrade programme, an interim frigate capability and four Babcock Arrowhead 140 frigates. The Arrowhead 140 has already been chosen by the UK Royal Navy for its Type 31 future frigate programme.
The company is committed to supporting Greek industry to build and assemble the new frigates in Greece, reinvigorating the domestic supply chain, upgrading infrastructure, modernising domestic facilities, upskilling and growing local workforces and transferring knowledge and technology.
Babcock officials have also been engaging with Greece-based companies interested in being part of its in-country supply chain and recently held a live online event in Athens, under the auspices of the Hellenic MoD Armaments Directorate. This follows on from previous discussions held in Greece between British Government Officials, Babcock and the Hellenic Navy which included visits to both Greek shipyards.
David Lockwood, Chief Executive Officer, Babcock said:, “Our proposals provide the very real potential to deliver to the Hellenic Navy a world-class, highly-capable modern frigate, a cost-effective Hydra Class frigate modernisation programme and the opportunity to reinvigorate the Greek shipbuilding industry with significant and far reaching benefits for the Greek supply chain and defence industries. The Arrowhead 140 frigate will deliver a proven and adaptable warship, which is ready for an in-country build programme. With growing interest in the platform, the Arrowhead 140 provides the opportunity to further strengthen ties between international navies, deliver the highest levels of maritime national security while providing the opportunity for interoperability with NATO allies. Our proposed solution for the Hellenic Navy also brings wider European expertise and experience from our partners in the programme. Our colleagues in Thales, who will provide the Combat Management System for the Arrowhead 140s, will also support the MEKO 200 Hydra Class upgrades delivering commonality of systems from the current frigate fleet to the new fleet of Arrowhead 140s. We would be honoured to work with the Greek Government and the Hellenic Navy to deliver these highly strategically important programmes, while capitalising upon the wealth of Greek defence capabilities and contributing directly to the economic growth of Greece.”
The Arrowhead 140
The Arrowhead 140 design benefits from its proven hull-form that has been tried and tested in real-world operational environments from NATO and coalition task forces, to national, regional and deployed operations. Babcock’s offering provides an efficient and highly effective optimal design with the scope to adapt to specific operational and lay-out requirements.
The platform’s heritage and clever design enhancements enable improved warship capability whilst retaining it proven strengths. International customers also benefit from the design being chosen for the next generation of UK Royal Navy Type 31 frigates through known costs for design and build delivery.
The frigate’s smart build credentials mean that it is primed for pre-outfitting with open compartments allowing for rapid assembly, supporting time and cost reduction efficiencies for entry into service.
This is a modular build, which Babcock, as part of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, has proven effective through the construction of the UK Royal Navy’s Aircraft Carriers – assembled at its facility in Rosyth, Scotland, which is also the site for construction of the UK’s Type 31 frigates.
This approach optimises the buildability of the ships from design, assuring the effective transfer of a UK design to global shipyards for efficient manufacture and assembly and de-risking the build programme while delivering wider national and regional prosperity.
03 June 21. Procurement teams must consider wider benefits of public spending. New guidance sets out how public spending should help drive wider benefits, from job creation to helping protect the environment.
- New guidance sets out how public spending should help drive wider benefits, from job creation to helping protect the environment
- Spending power of public sector should also be used to boost skills training, help small businesses grow and support UK’s recovery from the pandemic
Job creation, investment in skills and opportunities for local growth should be taken into account when awarding public contracts, following new guidance published today for public bodies.
The new guidance – issued to officials in central government as well as those at other public organisations such as local authorities, NHS trusts and police forces – makes it clear that the wider benefits of spending public money should be factored into the procurement process.
This includes considering how public contracts will help to create new businesses and jobs across the UK, lead to the development of new skills and innovations and tackle climate change and environmental waste.
And while securing the best value for money is crucial, procurement teams have been told they must not simply award contracts to the lowest bidder – especially when wider economic benefits can be proved.
Cabinet Office Minister, Lord Agnew, said, “The public sector across the UK, from hospitals and schools to central government, police forces and universities, spends about £290bn a year through public procurement. The huge power of that expenditure must support us in tackling some of the most important issues we face today, from generating economic growth and helping our communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, to supporting the transition to net zero.”
With the new statement published today, procurement teams will have to consider those issues as well as making sure they deliver top-quality public services that are good value for the taxpayer.
When it is done well, public procurement can help small businesses grow, increase employment opportunities in disadvantaged areas and increase training opportunities for people in industries with known skills shortages, and the guidance published today sets out how teams should take these considerations into account.
It also sets out how organisations should ensure they have the right organisational capacity, skills and capability to manage efficient procurements and how transparency should always be a key element of public procurement.
Now the UK has left the EU and the transition period, we have the opportunity to completely overhaul the public procurement rules that govern how this money is spent and create a simpler procurement regime which tackles poor performance in the supply chain while also reducing costs for businesses and the public sector and complying with our international obligations.
The publication of the National Procurement Policy Statement today is the next step in the government’s plans to transform public procurement, following the Queen’s Speech last month, which outlined reforms to make it quicker, simpler and better able to meet the country’s needs. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
BATTLESPACE Comment: This announcement will be welcomed a by UK defence sector SME’s, who over the past years have lost out to orders going overseas through aggressive costs cutting by overseas companies to win MoD business, in what has been a race to the bottom in terms of pricing, without taking thse other considerations into account.
02 Jun 21. NATO leaders set to launch new ‘defence innovation accelerator’ at summit. NATO leaders will consider two controversial proposals during their 14 June Brussels summit: increasing the alliance’s common funding and creating a ‘defence innovation accelerator’ to rapidly develop and absorb emerging disruptive technologies (EDTs) into their militaries. The two agenda topics, among others, were decided by NATO foreign and defence ministers meeting in Brussels on 1 June.
“We need to sharpen our technological edge because we see that disruptive technologies are really changing the way our militaries are going to have to operate in the future,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters after the meeting, adding that the accelerator “will help prevent any [EDT] gaps between the allies.”
He said the leaders should reach a decision “in principle” on the idea, leaving the details of where to site the accelerator, its rules of governance, and other aspects to be worked out after the summit. They will also clarify that allies can opt in or out of the accelerator by providing extra funding for it, he said.
How such funding would be applied or benefit donor countries was not clear. “Exactly what kind of access [to developed EDTs] that those allies who are not part of the accelerator will have is too early to say, but of course they will not have the same access, and will not participate in exactly the same way as those who decide to be part of it and provide funding for it,” Stoltenberg said in response to a question from Janes . “But I believe many allies will actually decide to participate because they see the high value of working with the private sector,” he added.
02 Jun 21. New study maps the minefields the European Defence Fund will have to avoid. The European Defence Fund (EDF) will not spur delivery of the defence capabilities Europe needs unless it strikes a very careful balance between supporting excellence at national levels and promoting cross-border co-operation in capability development, new report by the European Parliament has warned.
Commissioned by the parliament’s sub-committee on security and defence (SEDE), the 110-page study, Lessons for the Implementation of the European Defence Fund, argues that unless the European Union’s (EU’s) big four prime contractors of France, Germany, Italy, and Spain open up their value and supply chains, then “there will be no shared ‘political ownership’ among the 27 EU countries and thus no interest in defending an autonomous European DTIB [defence technological and industrial base]”.
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) debated the study’s merits during a SEDE hearing in Brussels on 31 May.
“The first obstacle the EDF must overcome is the conflict of objectives: reconciling competition with co-operation,” Frédéric Mauro, Belgian lawyer and defence economics researcher, told the hearing. He and two others – French researcher Edouard Simon and Ana Isabel Xavier, professor at Portugal’s Autonomous University of Lisbon – authored the report, a copy of which Janes received prior to its publication, set for later in June. (Source: Jane’s)
02 June 21. Boris Johnson meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Prime Minister Boris Johnson met NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at Downing Street.
The Prime Minister welcomed NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to Downing Street today.
The Prime Minister stressed the UK’s commitment to NATO as demonstrated through our record investment in defence spending and our commitment of cutting edge technology, including the Queen Elizabeth Aircraft Carrier, to the alliance.
The leaders discussed a number of issues affecting NATO, including the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan. They agreed on the need to ensure Afghanistan has a long-term peaceful and democratic future.
They also condemned the recent actions taken by Belarus to arrest Roman Protasevich and Sofia Sapega. They agreed the Belarusian regime must release political prisoners and provide a full explanation for what happened.
The Prime Minister emphasised his support for the Secretary General’s vision for NATO’s future. The leaders agreed that NATO is essential to transatlantic security and has an important role to play in tackling wider geopolitical challenges like climate change.
01 June 21. Tanks risk becoming ‘difficult and dangerous’ on battlefield, warns head of British Army. The head of the British Army has said that tanks risk becoming “very dangerous and very difficult to employ” on the battlefield unless they are upgraded, as he defended the decision to cut the numbers of “obsolete” equipment.
The Army is to see its current fleet of 227 Challenger 2 battle tanks, which have been in operation since 1998, reduced to just 148. The Army’s 758 Warrior infantry fighting vehicles are to be retired ahead of schedule and replaced by 508 new Boxer mechanised infantry vehicles, following publication of the government’s Integrated Review earlier this year.
The proposed cuts, which are detailed in the Defence Command Paper title, Defence in a Competitive Age, have drawn intense criticism, with claims that they will leave the Army incapable of fighting conventional battles.
But in an exclusive interview with The Telegraph, General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, the Army’s Chief of the General Staff, mounts a robust defence of the cuts, arguing they are necessary to make the force battle ready for 21st-century warfare.
As part of the decision to almost halve the number of main battle tanks, the Government is to invest £800m building a new generation of upgraded, fully-digitised Challenger 3 tanks to replace the current model.
Sir Mark said: “We are far better off having a fleet of 148 of the most capable main tanks in the world than a larger fleet of increasingly vulnerable tanks that we would have found very dangerous and very difficult to employ.”
He argues that the dramatic changes taking place in modern warfare have made such changes necessary as the Army makes the transition from using industrial age equipment to embracing the advantages of digital technology.
“We are an industrial age organisation with an industrial outlook that is confronted with the information age,” said Sir Mark. “The pace of change is outstripping the ability of institutions like the Army to reapportion resources to keep up.”
The need to undertake a radical overhaul of the Army’s current war-fighting capabilities also explains the decision to scrap the Warrior, the infantry workhorse which has seen action in conflicts ranging from the Gulf War to Afghanistan.
The decision to scrap the Warrior overturns a previous Ministry of Defence commitment to spend £1.4bn on an upgrade programme.
“It was a straight decision as to whether we were going to pour new money into old legacy equipment,” explained Sir Mark. “And Warrior fell into that bracket of equipment that was becoming increasingly obsolete.”
The Warrior will now be replaced by a new generation of 500 Boxer armoured vehicles, which critics claim have less firepower and offer less protection, issues which Army chiefs say they are keen to address.
“Replacing Boxer with Warrior is not like for like,” admits Sir Mark. “But there is very little point holding on to legacy equipment that is reaching the end of its shelf life.”
Instead Sir Mark wants to embrace a whole range of new technologies that will help the Army to adapt to the rapid changes taking place in the modern battlefield.
“The nature of close combat is potentially changing given the range and precision of modern munitions,” he said.
“In future the decisive battle will be fought increasingly at depth and range, and that really reduces the risk around the close battle.
“This means exposing fewer soldiers to the full lethality and violence of the future battlefield – soldiers will only be exposed when only soldiers can do the job.
“And that is why we have invested much more substantially in the deep battle while seeking to make the equipment used in the close battle much better protected, more lethal and more deployable.” (Source: Daily Telegraph)
31 May 21. NATO restricts Belarusian access to HQ. Personnel at Belarus’ diplomatic mission to NATO will have their access restricted at the alliance’s headquarters, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday, following the forced landing of a passenger plane by Minsk.
Belarus is not a member of NATO but has had ties with the military alliance since 1992 following the fall of the Soviet Union, and has maintained a diplomatic mission to NATO since 1998.
Belarusian personnel can attend seminars and meetings at NATO and in NATO countries as part of a cooperation partnership that tackles issues such as arms control and military education.
“We have decided to restrict the access of Belarusian personnel to the NATO headquarters,” Stoltenberg told a news conference ahead of meetings of NATO defence and foreign ministers on Tuesday, without giving more details.
The forced landing of a Ryanair flight from Athens to Vilnius earlier this month by Belarus to arrest a dissident journalist caused outrage in the West.
However, a proposal to suspend Belarus from bilateral NATO cooperation, known as the Partnership for Peace, was not taken up by diplomats last week, after Turkey blocked the idea for fear of antagonising Russia, Minsk’s closest ally, diplomats said. (Source: Reuters)
01 June 21. UK Ministers lead NATO charge on innovation. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab have backed NATO’s vision of a technologically advanced, globally focused Alliance equipped to confront threats of the future.
Speaking ahead of the first gathering of NATO leaders since London 2019 taking place in Brussels later this month, Mr Wallace and Mr Raab met virtually with Allied counterparts to discuss how the Alliance will continue to adapt to the era of systemic competition – and how the UK will be a steadfast partner in leading that process.
The recently published Integrated Review into security, defence, development and foreign policy, as well as the accompanying Defence Command Paper, placed NATO at the heart of the UK’s vision for its role in the world over the next decade.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said, “Our recently-published Defence Command Paper placed working with international partners and committing to modernisation as fundamental principles for our Armed Forces. I am pleased that these are principles that NATO shares. The UK will continue to be one of NATO’s most active Allies. As the Alliance strengthens its approach to deterring the threats of today, looks ahead to the future, and grows its capabilities in new domains, our Armed Forces will be at the forefront of the collective response to shared threats.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said, “The UK is supporting and reinforcing NATO as we rise to the challenge of tackling hostile states like Russia, whilst also adapting to face new threats – from dangerous cyber attacks to poisonous misinformation, put about by those who want to undermine our way of life.”
As part of that adaptation process, the Defence Secretary agreed with counterparts a new NATO Cyber Defence Policy which recognises the need for Allies to have an active and shared approach to cyber defence, from improved resilience to offensive cyber capabilities, as part of our collective defence.
This closely aligns NATO to the approach detailed in the UK’s Integrated Review, and will equip the Alliance to respond to activities below the threshold of traditional conflict.
Conflict-related sexual violence (CRSV)
Defence ministers also agreed an Allied policy on Preventing and Responding to Conflict-Related Sexual Violence (CRSV).
The UK, in line with its objective to be a force for good in the world, has driven the ambition of this policy which demonstrates that NATO is ready to play its role in effectively preventing and responding to these brutal crimes, today and in the future. The policy will ensure that NATO personnel are trained on how to treat victims and survivors, to help ensure they get the support they need, and when necessary to protect them and provide emergency assistance.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called on NATO allies to take action and respond to Russia’s malign activity, including using political tools at their disposal.
He set out Russia’s unacceptable behaviour including the recent military build-up in Ukraine, GRU officers being behind the deaths of two civilians and an explosion in the Czech town of Vrbetice, and the limiting of staff at the US and Czech Embassies – defying the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
28 May 21. Britain risks becoming a ‘liability’ unless we keep up with the US, says Army chief. General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith says the Armed Forces’ modernisation programme is vital if UK is to remain a valued ally of the Americans.
For General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, the head of the British Army, there is no better illustration of the rapidly changing nature of modern warfare than to compare his own experience with that of one of his distinguished predecessors.
When Field Marshal Lord Guthrie served as Chief of the General Staff in the 1990s, he claimed to be the last Army chief to have had a spear thrown at him, an event he experienced while serving as a young officer. For his own part, Sir Mark claims to be the first Army chief to have been bombed by a drone while conducting operations outside the Iraqi city of Mosul.
“I was bombed by a commercial unmanned aerial vehicle operated by a terrorist organisation,” he recalls. “It just shows how quickly the nature of warfare has changed.”
At the time Sir Mark, a former head of Britain’s Special Forces, was involved in the US-led effort to destroy Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) after it had created its so-called caliphate.
The most radical transformation of the Army of modern times
And, in his current role as Chief of the General Staff, a position he has held since 2018, Sir Mark believes there are many important lessons that can be learned from Britain’s successful involvement in the coalition effort to destroy Isil as he seeks to undertake the most radical transformation of the Army of modern times.
“We fought a very successful campaign that resulted in the destruction of the caliphate in Syria and Northern Iraq,” Sir Mark explains in an exclusive interview with The Telegraph. “That was done by applying some of the lessons from our experiences in Afghanistan.
“We came to realise that the main priority was to build up the Afghan security forces so they could independently manage their own insurgency.”
“We have taken the lessons of how to create local indigenous forces and to harness them with 21st century Western technology. We applied it very successfully against the caliphate, and we did so almost without a single combat fatality.
“This form of remote warfare has almost become our house style.”
Sir Mark is speaking in his spacious modern office at Army Headquarters in Andover which is filled with mementos of an action-packed career during which he has seen active service in all of Britain’s major military engagements of the past four decades, including Northern Ireland, the Gulf War, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.
The ability to fight hi-tech wars of the future
His task now is to undertake the Herculean task of restructuring the Army in such a way that it retains the ability to conduct the type of successful military campaign that was undertaken against Isil while at the same time providing it with the ability to fight hi-tech wars of the future.
The template for the future structure of Britain’s Armed Forces was set out in the Government’s recently published Integrated Review, which set out an ambitious vision for the future role of the military as part of Global Britain. And to fund the ambitious reforms being undertaken by all three Services, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has managed to secure an extra £24bn in funding from the Treasury.
But as part of the restructuring, the size of the Army is being cut from its current establishment of 82,000 to 72,500 by 2025.
Coming after the controversial cuts made in the 2010 Defence Review, which saw the Army’s size cut by 20,000 as part of the drastic defence cuts implemented by the Cameron government, the prospect of the Army being reduced further has led critics to question whether it will in future be able to conduct operations on the scale recently seen in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Concerns have also been raised about its ability to fulfil its Nato commitments and support future US operations. (Source: Daily Telegraph)
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 Home land 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