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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

16 Feb 11. Military Covenant: Commons’ Debate. The House of Commons debated the need for a Military Covenant (16 Feb 11). Ministerial replies indicated some future actions. The review on military medals has been completed and the report is to be published “before Easter”. The Government is writing the Covenant as a new tri-Service document to be published “in the Spring”. The Defence Secretary is to present an Armed Forces Covenant Report to Parliament every year, starting in Autumn 2011. The Personnel Minister is to receive the Reserves Review “this year”.
Comment: Apart from the points listed above, very little useful information was produced by the debate. There is still confusion surrounding what is meant by a “Military Covenant” (or why it is necessary). The debate is recorded in Hansard for 16 Feb 11, starting in Column 1026. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 11/08, 21 Feb 11)

15 Feb 11. Redundancies: Premature Announcements. The Defence Secretary commented (15 Feb 11) on Army and RAF redundancy announcements. 38 Army personnel received notice of their redundancy by e-mail, which “is a completely unacceptable way to treat anyone” and the Defence Secretary reiterated the unreserved apology already made by the Army. In a separate incident, the redundancy of trainee RAF pilots was published by a national newspaper with inaccurate details.
Comment: Outline particulars of the personnel reductions (5,000 RN, 7,000 Army & 5,000 RAF) were published on 19 Oct 10 and so there should have been little surprise in these ‘stories’. Regrettably, both incidents were misreported by newspapers with little understanding of the Armed Forces. The public relations angle was also handled badly; a better move would have been to announce the removal of a few Admirals/Generals/
Air Marshals before notifications concerning Army Warrant Officers and RAF trainee pilots. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 11/08, 21 Feb 11)

16 Feb 11. Afghan Police Mission: Report. The House of Lords’ European Union Committee published (16 Feb 11) a Report on The EU’s Afghan Police Mission. In part, the Report’s Summary concludes: “It may not have been the EU’s fault that the mission was late but this was compounded by a low degree of commitment by the EU to providing staff; problems in the Afghan Police of illiteracy, corruption and desertion…”.
Comment: The Report (published as HL Paper 87) makes depressing reading, concluding that “overall there is a strong risk of failure”.(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 11/08, 21 Feb 11)

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