08 Mar 10. Strategic Defence Review: Only Trident Exempt. In a Written Answer (8 Mar 10), the Defence Secretary said: “….that everything other than Trident is included in the Strategic Defence Review.”. However, he continued: “….aircraft carriers are likely to remain critical elements of our force structure. That is why we have signed the contracts and cut the steel.”.
Comment: Six UK yards are involved in the manufacture of the carriers’ hulls, supporting some 8,000 jobs in the construction and up to a further 3,000 throughout the supply chain. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/11, 15 Mar 09)
17 Mar 10. The newly-created Joint Committee on The National Security Strategy will hold its first ministerial evidence session on Monday 22 March at 3.30pm. Witnesses will be the Home Secretary Rt Hon Alan Johnson MP, The Secretary of State for Defence, Rt Hon Bob Ainsworth MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Security and Counter-terrorism), Lord West of Spithead GCB DSC and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Chris Bryant MP. The meeting will be held in public at 3.30pm, 22 March, in Committee Room 4A in the Palace of Westminster.
Members of the Committee:
Rt Hon Margaret Beckett MP (Labour, Derby South) (Chair)
Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP (Conservative, North East Hampshire)
Rt Hon Lord Cope of Berkeley (Conservative)
Rt Hon Sir Alan Beith MP (Liberal Democrats, Berwick-upon-Tweed) Rt Hon Lord Fellowes (Cross Bench)
Rt Hon Des Browne MP (Labour, Kilmarnock and Loudon)
Rt Hon Lord Foulkes of Cumnock (Labour Co-op)
Rt Hon Malcolm Bruce MP (Liberal Democrats, Gordon)
Lord Harris of Haringey (Labour)
Mike Gapes MP (Labour Co-op, Ilford South)
Lord Lee of Trafford (Liberal Democrats)
Rt Hon Dr Kim Howells MP (Labour, Pontypridd)
Baroness Manningham-Buller (Cross Bench)
Peter Luff MP (Conservative, Mid Worcestershire)
Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale (Labour)
Rt Hon Paul Murphy MP (Labour, Torfaen)
Lord Sterling of Plaistow (Conservative)
Rt Hon Sir Malcolm Rifkind MP (Conservative, Kensington and Chelsea)
Rt Hon Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean (Labour)
Paddy Tipping MP (Labour, Sherwood)
Rt Hon Lord Waldegrave of North Hill (Conservative)
Rt Hon Keith Vaz MP (Labour, Leicester East)
09 Mar 10. Defence Sales: Target Markets. A Ministerial Answer (9 Mar 10) revealed that the current UK TIDSO (Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation) priority markets are: Algeria, Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Greece, India, Iraq, Jordan, Korea (RoK), Kuwait, Libya, Malaysia, Mexico, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UAE and the USA. UK TIDSO is supporting campaigns in 52 countries.
Comment: Following a Written Statement on 11 Dec 07, responsibility for Defence trade promotion was transferred from the Defence Export Services Organisation (DESO) within the MoD to TIDSO on 1 Apr 08. The Conservative Shadow Defence Secretary is on record as saying that his Party would reinstate the DESO, should it form the next Government.
10 Mar 10. Compulsory Drug Testing (CDT): 2009 Results. The Junior Defence Minister released information (10 Mar 10) about CDT and positive results. 126,911 tests were conducted during 2009, of which 495 (0.4%) were positive. By Service, 11,563 tests in the RN/RM produced 32 (0.3%) positive results, 102,949 in the Army with 451 (0.4%) positive and 12,399 in the RAF with 12 (0.1%) positive.
Comment: A random CDT programme was introduced in the Army in May 1995, in the RN/RM in April 1997 and in the RAF in November 1998. Service personnel are liable to be tested “anytime, any place, anywhere”. A positive test will result in discharge from the Services, unless there are exceptional circumstances and/or if the individual is very young.
Mar 10. House of Commons: Defence Debate. The House of Commons debated Defence in