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19 Sep 21. France cancels defence meeting with UK over submarine row, sources say. France has cancelled a meeting between Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly and her British counterpart planned for this week after Australia scrapped a submarine order with Paris in favour of a deal with Washington and London, two sources familiar with the matter said.
Parly personally took the decision to drop the bilateral meeting with British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace, the sources said.
The French defence ministry could not be immediately reached. The British defence ministry declined comment.
The sources confirmed an earlier report in the Guardian newspaper that the meeting had been cancelled.
The scrapping of the multi-billion-dollar submarine contract, struck in 2016, has triggered a diplomatic crisis, with Paris recalling its ambassadors from Washington and Canberra.
France claims not to have been consulted by its allies, while Australia says it had made clear to Paris for months its concerns over the contract.
French President Emmanuel Macron and U.S. President Joe Biden will speak by telephone in the coming days to discuss the crisis, the French government’s spokesman said on Sunday. (Source: Reuters)
16 Sep 21. MoD Permanent Secretary meets with Joint Expeditionary Force counterparts. Permanent Secretaries from the 10 Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) participant nations met for the first time this year. MOD Permanent Secretary, David Williams, met with his 9 counterparts from the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) (Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden) on 15 September 2021.
Together, they discussed the challenges of the last 12 months, as well as the successes that the JEF has achieved, in spite of the challenges of COVID-19. They discussed the key security challenges facing the JEF nations and exchanged views where they could further increase cooperation between the participant nations.
They reflected on achievements this year, they noted the first maritime security activity in the Baltic Sea lead by the Royal Navy, the JEF officially welcoming Iceland as their 10th member and deployment of the JEF headquarters to Sweden to participate in Exercise JOINT PROTECTOR.
The meeting of Permanent Secretaries and country representatives follows a meeting of JEF Defence Ministers in Helsinki in June of this year, which saw all 10 participant nations sign the JEF Policy Direction, helping set the policy framework which will allow the nations to rapidly deploy in response to military threats or crises. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
17 Sep 21. DOD Policy Chief Kahl Discusses Strategic Competition With Baltic Allies. The United States and its allies are involved in strategic competition with China and Russia, and Colin Kahl, the Defense Department’s undersecretary for policy, explained how this competition should be approached. Kahl spoke via video to the Baltic Military Conference being held in Lithuania.
He stressed that the answer to strategic competition is allies and partners working together.
Strategic competition is exacerbated by threats that know no borders. These include COVID-19, climate change, cyber threats, violent extremism and more, he said.
Further complicating these threats are the challenges from China and Russia to the rules-based international order that has served the world well since the end of World War II. “The global landscape is more complex than ever and rapidly changing,” he said. “We all know this, but the question is, how should we compete in this evolving world?”
None of the global threats can be effectively addressed by one country alone, Kahl said, and that is where strategic competition comes in. Strategic competition “recognizes the importance of our greatest strategic asset: Working alongside our allies and partners to advance common interests and shared values,” he said. “At the same time, alliances, institutions, agreements and international norms that underwrite this international system are increasingly being tested as never before. Reversing these trends is a vital U.S. national security interest.”
This ties in with Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III’s concept of “integrated deterrence.” This calls for the United States and its allies to work more closely together in ways not done before. “In our changing global landscape, we are looking at deterrence in a new and more comprehensive way,” Kahl said.
Deterrence has to cover all domains, “across the spectrum of conflict from high end to gray zone encounters across our instruments of national power — not just the military, but intelligence, economic, financial, technological, and crucially alongside our allies and partners,” Kahl said. “Whether we’re talking about strategic competition or integrated deterrence, our allies and partners are at the core of our concepts, and we have no closer allies than our allies in Europe.
“The transatlantic alliance is the essential forum for consultation, decision making and action, and the foundation on which our collective security and our shared prosperity has built,” he continued. “NATO, of course, is the bedrock of enduring transatlantic security and serves as a bulwark of our shared values of democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law.”te
And NATO is taken seriously by U.S. leaders. Kahl stressed that American commitment to Article 5 of the NATO Treaty — an attack on one country is an attack on all — is rock solid and unshakable. “It is not a transactional arrangement,” he said. “It is for the president of the United States, a sacred commitment.”
Kahl said that while China may be “the pacing threat” for the United States, Russia may actually be a larger problem in the short run. “In the coming years, Russia may actually represent the primary security challenge that we face in the military domain for the United States and certainly for Europe,” he said. “Russia is an increasingly assertive adversary that remains determined to enhance its global influence and play a disruptive role on the global stage, including through attempts to divide the West.”
Russian behavior — in Europe, in the Middle East, in Asia and in the cyber world — is a major challenge for the United States and its allies. “Far too often, Moscow erodes transparency and predictability, uses military force to achieve its goals, supports proxy groups to sow chaos and doubt, undermines the rules-based international order through cyber and international activities and violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbors,” Kahl said. “The United States continues to closely monitor Russian military activity along NATO’s eastern flank and in the Black Sea region.”
America is clear-eyed about the challenges from Russia. “We will engage Russia from a position of collective strength,” the undersecretary said. “U.S. military forces in Europe remain robust, ready and flexible, providing a credible and effective deterrent. At NATO, we are working with allies and partners to ensure military readiness to enhance a combat credible deterrent across the transatlantic community.”
Kahl is quick to say the door remains open if Russian leaders change their behaviors and want to resume constructive dialogue. Kahl also said that the competition with China does not preclude the United States working with China where it makes sense and where interests converge. (Source: US DoD)
13 Sep 21. UK Defence Budget: Still a balancing act. On the opening day of DSEI 2021, taking place at London’s ExCeL centre, Ana Popescu, lead analyst for European budgets at Janes explored the current status of Europe’s largest defence spender. The UK is Europe’s largest defence market, with the country’s defence industrial base featuring world-class capabilities across most domains. It continues to be a major force in global export markets, with UK government figures indicating that orders of GBP80 bn were achieved between 2011 and 2019. Its defence and security strategy is underpinned by a government commitment to maintain defence spending at 2% of GDP or higher.
Out with the old, in with the new: UK government expresses support for defence but cuts still on the horizon for older capabilities
After the 2008 crisis, the UK defence budget was cut in real terms for five consecutive years. As a result, Janes interconnected industry intelligence highlights that the UK’s defence budget fell from 2.5% of GDP in 2010 to 2% by 2015. Increases following that were relatively small, 2-4% in nominal terms. This means the real value in 2020, when accounting for inflation, was less than 0.5% higher than the 2016 one. Moreover, the Ministry of Defence’s annual Equipment Plan which is the Department’s forecast budget to cover the costs of procurement and support of military equipment for the next decade had been running with a deficit for years. The UK MoD entered 2020 with a shortfall between GBP2.9 and GBP13 bn over 2019-2029, according to its own estimates.
That said, in November 2020 Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced additional funds for military expenditure, with UK defence spending seeing a significant nominal increase of around 12% in 2021, bringing the budget up to GPB50.6 bn, or USD68 bn in real terms according to Janes data. This is followed by much smaller nominal increases averaging 0.7% for the following three years, which translates to real cuts of 1.5% over the same time.
Johnson’s announcement was also notable as Defence was one of the few cabinet departments given the certainty of a multi-year spending package. This marks a difference from the previous decades, throughout which successive governments announced their support for defence, but other political and economic issues, particularly UK’s exit from the European Union, took precedence.
Nonetheless, the boost in spending may prove less impactful than initially hoped. At the same time as the budget increase, Prime Minister Boris Johnson also announced the creation of a new National Cyber Force, a new Autonomy Development Centre and RAF Space Command, making it clear that the new funds would not be allocated just to funding the existing gap in the MoD’s budget.
Indeed, the UK’s Defence Command Paper released 22 March this year made it clear that cuts are to be made, as the MoD looks to reconcile shifting strategic priorities with new technologies and the ever-present need to balance its books. Nonetheless, the defence increase announced in November last year marks an important and much needed step in UK’s journey to establishing its role outside the European Union and cementing its position as the second biggest spender in NATO. (Source: Jane’s)
16 Sep 21. British Army’s land industrial base strategy due out this year. The British Army is crafting its new Land Industrial Base Strategy, meant to move the service toward a more collaborative relationship with industry as it develops a force capable of fighting on the future battlefield, according to Col. Tobias Lambert, the British Army’s assistant head of industrial strategy.
“The challenge for me is working out how we grease the wheels of the machinery that allows us to work in concert from strategic planning … through the delivery and through life [cycle] management of our capabilities, through how we partner internationally, work collaboratively and do exports,” Lambert said at the DSEI defense exhibition in London on Sept. 15.
Key to the effort, Lambert said, is being “really, really clear” with industry “about what it is that we value.”
In a recent meeting, he recalled, someone challenged him with the question, “How on earth can you align on values when industry only ever cares about the bottom line?”
“I wanted to counter that because that, to me, sounds like a transactional world,” Lambert said. “It sounds like a world based on short-term returns and short-term gains, and it’s the same thinking that I see in a lot of our past procurement activity where investments have largely been shaped and driven by compliance against a set of 4,000 requirements and a really simple three- to five-year lowest price deal.”
Future relationships with industry need to focus on capability management across the life cycle and the benefits of long-term investment.
The Army needs to make sure it is buying the right things, and that means making sound investment choices that balance short- and long-term gains, Lambert added. “In the Army, we often talk about the ‘fight tonight’ versus the ‘fight tomorrow,’ but in an industrial strategy sense, I don’t think those two things have to be antagonistic.”
The Army also needs to better invest in human capital, science and technology and the skills it needs for the future.
“We’ve got to connect up the pipeline of investments so that we don’t end up in the feast and famine cycles that we’ve seen in the past,” Lambert said, “and that could look like a different set of commercial arrangements that are more through life and based on spiral development pathways or it may look like a steadier drumbeat of orders that have been well-sequenced within the Army’s portfolio.”
To get after this, it requires “an absolute shift” in the way the Army creates its spending plans and shares them with industry, Lambert said, which would ideally come in the form of a 20-year comprehensive plan of well-planned projects and programs.
But the Army also needs to track where industry is investing, he said, calling on industry to help the Army see those investment plans.
Additionally, the strategy needs to include working internationally “and be[ing] an international partner of choice,” Lambert said.
“Very few, if any, supply chains these days are genuinely sovereign,” Lambert said, “and given the relatively low volumes that we deal with in the British Army, there is an expense and certain fragility to being in a user club of one.
“But if we are to do our bit on the international stage, play our part within our respective alliances, we need to be able to come together, governments and industry, to put a solid UK offer on the table,” Lambert stated.
While the strategy is due out this year, Lambert said “it’s more important to get it right than publish it early, I think, and the feedback that we’ve had within from industry has been incredibly valuable, but it has sent us back to the drawing board a little bit too.”
There are areas relating to programs and technology the Army needs to prioritize and invest in, “which we’ve got to run to ground,” Lambert said. “If we can get that right up front, I think it’d be worth the wait.” (Source: Defense News)
17 Sep 21. France recalls envoys from US and Australia in protest at submarine deal. Foreign ministry condemns ‘unacceptable behaviour between allies and partners’ Jean-Yves Le Drian, France’s foreign minister, said the consequences of the Aukus deal ‘touch the very foundation of what we do with our alliances and our partnerships.’ France has recalled its ambassadors from Washington and Canberra for consultations, in a diplomatic protest against a new security pact under which Australia will buy nuclear-powered submarines from the US and cancel its existing contract with Paris. Jean-Yves Le Drian, French foreign minister, issued a statement on Friday night saying he had been told to make the protest by president Emmanuel Macron. The so-called Aukus deal between the Australia, the UK and the US “constitutes unacceptable behaviour between allies and partners, whose consequences touch the very foundation of what we do with our alliances and our partnerships and on the importance of the Indo-Pacific for Europe”, he said. France is particularly incensed at being excluded from the deal because it has had close military co-operation with each of the three countries involved in the new strategic arrangement, including anti-terrorist operations in the African Sahel and Afghanistan.
Macron has also taken the lead in pushing the EU to do more for its own defence by promoting “strategic autonomy”, and has worked to prove to Australia and the US that France is a power in the Pacific. It has island territories there, including French Polynesia, across vast expanses of the ocean, as well as almost 2m citizens and 7,000 troops. “We have been in close touch with our French partners on their decision to recall Ambassador [Philippe] Étienne to Paris for consultations. While we regret that they have taken this step, we will continue to be engaged in the coming days to resolve our differences, as we have done at other points over the course of our long alliance,” a White House official said on Friday. This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional gravity of the announcements made on September 15 by Australia and the United States Jean-Yves Le Drian, French foreign minister “France is our oldest ally and one of our strongest partners, and we share a long history, democratic values, and a commitment to working together to address global challenges.” A spokesperson for Australia’s minister for foreign affairs said: “We note with regret France’s decision to recall its ambassador to Australia . . . Australia understands France’s deep disappointment with our decision, which was taken in accordance with our clear and communicated national security interests. “Australia values its relationship with France, which is an important partner and a vital contributor to stability, particularly in the Indo-Pacific. This will not change.” Withdrawing ambassadors is a highly unusual protest among allies, and is usually reserved for use against states deemed to have taken hostile or unacceptable actions that affect the nation making the protest. “This exceptional decision is justified by the exceptional gravity of the announcements made on September 15 by Australia and the United States,” Le Drian said. The Aukus deal — announced by Joe Biden, US president, Boris Johnson, UK prime minister, and Scott Morrison, Australia’s prime minister — is aimed at strengthening defence co-operation in the face of a rising China.
Leaders of the US and the UK had tried to mollify the French over the impact of the deal and reassure Paris of its continued importance as an ally. On Thursday Antony Blinken, US secretary of state, said: “We co-operate incredibly closely with France on many shared priorities in the Indo-Pacific but also beyond, around the world. We’re going to continue to do so. We place fundamental value on that relationship, on that partnership.” Aukus leaves some awkward questions However, one French complaint was about the complete lack of consultation that preceded the surprise announcement of Aukus. Just as Biden failed to inform France, the UK and other allies when the US decided to withdraw all its forces from Afghanistan — triggering an initially chaotic evacuation from Kabul airport — so he and Morrison kept France in the dark about Aukus until the news had already started to leak on the day of the announcement. The White House did not give France notice until after it had already briefed the media in Washington. Australia said it understood France’s disappointment but would continue to work closely with the country. (Source: FT.com)
14 Sep 21. UK Armed Forces deploy on 60-day operation to Kosovo. The armed forces were deployed to support the relocation of former Nato Afghan staff. The UK Government has deployed troops from the Royal Gurkha Rifles and additional personnel on a 60-day operation to Kosovo.
This military operation is part of the government’s commitment to helping resettle former Nato Afghan employees via third countries. A total of 140 troops from the Royal Gurkha Rifles and an additional workforce from the armed forces have been deployed for the Kosovo operation.
These troops will provide protection and help to process some 2,000 former Nato contractors and their families. Nearly 150 former Nato Afghan employees and their families will be relocated to the UK following their evacuation from Afghanistan.
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “This rapid deployment demonstrates the UK’s ability and readiness to relocate vulnerable Afghans from around the world.
“Our commitment to those who worked alongside the UK and our Nato allies endures far beyond the end of Operation PITTING.”
The Kosovo Government has provided Nato with temporary accommodation for many Nato contractors and their families. The UK Government also stated that the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) remains open, in addition to the relocation of Nato contractors.
As of last month, ARAP has already supported more than 3,100 former Afghan staff and their families moving to the UK. During Operation PITTING, UK Armed Forces evacuated more than 15,000 people from Kabul under extremely complex situations. In August, Nato coalition forces evacuated around 120,000 people from Kabul. Last month, Ben Wallace authorised the deployment of 600 troops. (Source: army-technology.com)
14 Sep 21. Defence Secretary announces National Ship Building Office. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace announces National Ship Building Office during DSEI 2021. I’m delighted to kick off this week because Shipbuilding is incredibly important to us all. It’s not only important to me in the MOD as a customer, but it’s incredibly important to 44,000 people whose livelihood is taken from the Shipbuilding and maritime industry. And as the Government is going to meet the ambition of our Prime Minister for a Global Britain’ we must make sure thus maritime industry delivers for the whole nation. As Shipbuilding Tsar, I want the UK to be the country of choice for specialist commercial and naval vessels, as well as the systems, components and technologies which underpin them.
We shouldn’t forget the armada of rib makers, yacht designers, builders and suppliers and so forth that make up the wider maritime industry. Some of which sectors we actually lead the world in, and are the first in class for many shipbuilders in other countries as well.
I want our shipbuilding to be not just more productive, but more competitive, more enterprising and more innovative.
I want this nation to be a world leader in green maritime technologies.
And I want our brightest and best to actively seek out work in this sector, knowing they will have long, exciting and varied careers ahead of them.
This year we’ve made considerable progress.
I recently called on our nation’s shipbuilders to design and build a new National Flagship.
The ship, the first of its kind to be built and commissioned by the UK, will represent the very best of UK values, ingenuity and entrepreneurship across the globe.
We received significant interest from UK design houses and industry. Many more from the UK supply chain have come forward showcasing the cutting edge of seafaring technology and innovation.
19 qualifying bidders will now take part in a design competition to develop their proposals and bring this beacon of British maritime expertise to life.
I think we should take tremendous confidence in the fact that 19 came forward. Not one or two – Sometimes the customer has no or little choice , but 19. It shows how many people can be unearthed who are doing that around the world, but are based here in the UK. And I hope that we truly have an innovative design at the end of it, that we can be proud to say is British that we’ll take round the world and deliver that wow factor, as well as being a bridge between soft and hard power.
Later this year I’ll be publishing the National Shipbuilding Strategy Refresh, that will not just extend our scope well beyond the purely naval to commercial shipbuilding but also reach beyond just hulls to internal systems and sub-systems.
So what will it mean for you and the industry?
You will get a much clearer demand signal about what we are trying to achieve with our procurement programmes.
For the first time we are releasing a 30-year pipeline of all Government vessel procurements.
As well as MOD vessels, this will include ships such as those procured by Home Office; the Departments for Transport, Defra, and the Scottish Government.
You’ll have a thorough understanding of both our policy and technology priorities – from net zero commitments to green capabilities requirements.
And you’ll be given the support you need to seek out and win orders both domestically and internationally. You will hear more from Minister Stuart about our export ambitions shortly
Finally from me. We want you to be working with an industry that is much more joined up. Government, industry and academia all working as one – addressing our shared priorities, creating a pipeline of skills and drawing on those proud traditions of shipbuilding in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to deliver for all parts of the U.K.
I’m sure many of you will want to know how we deliver these plans.
Today I am starting with launching a new National Shipbuilding Office
Hosted within the MOD and reporting directly to a ministerial group that I will chair, it will be the strategic centre that drives transformative change across the shipbuilding enterprise
Staffed by officials from across Government alongside experts from industry it will oversee all of our interests and effort to coordinate the long-term pipeline. And in doing so, capture the best of our thinking to ensure the skills priorities are aligned across the enterprise.
I am delighted that our senior team from the National Shipbuilding Office are here this evening. Led by CEO Rear Admiral Rex Cox, who will brings a wealth of experience to the role, and the whole team are eager to work with you, the industry.
The Prime Minister and I will continue to provide the political drive. The strategy refresh will explain our plans for future success. And now the National Shipbuilding Office will create the coherence for successful execution.
So today, as we embark on this journey, I am calling all of you in the industry – the UK’s brilliant shipbuilders and maritime supply chain companies, whether large or small, to seize this opportunity.
Demonstrating your expertise, boosting your businesses, but helping us promote the long overdue renaissance in our shipbuilding. One that encourages evermore nations to seek the made-in-Britain stamp. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
08 Sep 21. The NATO JSEC (Joint Support and Enabling Command) was today declared as having reached Full Operational Capability at its Ulm headquarters. The Joint Support and Enabling Command`s road to full readiness reaches its final milestone – Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Tod D. Wolters, declares the Command’s Full Operational Capability. As a result of its biggest adaptation since the Cold War era, NATO celebrated the foundation of a new full operational Headquarters in Ulm on September 8, 2021. The Supreme Allied Commander Europe, General Tod D. Wolters, declared the Joint Support and Enabling Command’s full readiness in the presence of high-ranking international representatives of its allied nations, as well as high-level political guests. Parliamentary State Secretary at the Ministry of Defence, Thomas Silberhorn, represented the framework nation Germany.
“This is a very happy day for me, but more importantly, for the whole JSEC Staff,” stated JSEC Commander, Lieutenant General Jürgen Knappe, “Everyone worked hard over the last three years to achieve this and we’re more than proud to celebrate this moment today with our allied friends.”
The road to successfully join the NATO family has been a long ongoing one. Starting in 2018, the Joint Support and Enabling Command has been implemented into NATO’s command and control structure over the past three years and successfully provided evidence of its capabilities during the NATO exercise STEADFAST DEFENDER 2021. With the declaration of Full Operational Capability, the Joint Support and Enabling Command is now ready to facilitate the enablement of the Supreme Allied Commander Europe’s Area of Responsibility, the reinforcement of forces and their sustainment.
With over 20 different nations represented at the Command in Ulm, the Joint Support and Enabling Command already established a network to its NATO allies and has the potential to become NATO’s knowledge hub for reinforcement and logistics. (Source: www.joint-forcescom)
16 Sep 21. Naval Group begins deconstruction of French ex-SSBN Le Foudroyant. Veolia and NEOM are Naval Group’s two main partner companies for the deconstruction operations. Credit: Naval Group.
Naval Group has started hull deconstruction work on Le Foudroyant, a former Le Redoutable class nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (ex-SSBNs) of the French Navy.
The deconstruction programme for the five first-generation SSBNs was launched in September 2018.
In October 2016, Naval Group was notified by the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) of a contract to deconstruct the hulls of these previously dismantled ex-SSBNs.
Work on Le Foudroyant marks a milestone in the programme, which has already completed the task on the first and second ex-SSBNs, Le Tonnant and L’Indomptable.
Le Tonnant was deconstructed between September 2018 and February last year, followed by L’Indomptable’s deconstruction between March last year and August this year.
The remaining three first-generation ex-SSBNs will be deconstructed one after the other until 2026.
The company is performing the work at its site in Cherbourg, France.
Naval Group Ex-SSBN deconstruction programme director Olivier Lezin SAID: “As a pioneer in naval submarine technologies, Naval Group has mastered the entire life cycle of SSBNs: design, production, maintenance/upgrades, dismantling and deconstruction.
“Thanks to this strong expertise, Naval Group is proud to be pursuing a program that is completely new in France, together with its partners and on behalf of its customer, the French procurement agency.”
Naval Group serves as the sole project manager with Veolia and Vinci Construction France subsidiary NEOM as two main partner companies for this programme.
The company noted that nearly 60 people were deployed on the deconstruction site to perform various services, such as production, project management, steering and general organisation.
In February this year, France launched a programme to build the French Navy’s third generation SSBN.
Called the SNLE 3G, this programme’s launch was announced by French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly at the DGA Centre of expertise for Hydrodynamic techniques.
The new submarines are being designed to replace the second-generation SSBN.
The French Navy’s second-generation SSBN will be phased out from being operational between the 2030s and 2040s. (Source: naval-technology.com)
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