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PARLIAMENTARY QUESTIONS

03 May 12. Defence Committee. Select Committee ORAL EVIDENCE:
DEFENCE ACQUISITION
Thursday 10 May 2012
Grimond Room, Portcullis House (room subject to change)
At 9.30 am
Witnesses:
* Sir Brian Burridge, Vice President, Strategic Marketing, Finmeccanica UK
* David Hansell, Managing Director, MSI-Defence Systems Ltd
* Robin Southwell, Chief Executive, EADS UK
* Graham Chisnall, Deputy CEO and MD, Aerospace, ADS

30 Apr 12. Defence Committee: Government Responses Published. The Defence Committee published two Special Reports on 30 Apr 12:-
* Operations in Libya (Government Response as HC 1952).
* Developing Threats – Electro-Magnetic Pulses (EMP) (Government Response as HC 1925).
Comment: In HC 1952, the MoD replies: “We are pleased that the Committee has concluded that the international community was right to take decisive action to protect civilians in Libya. The intervention in Libya was indeed legal, necessary and right.” (Para 15.) The “heavy reliance on US command and control functions” is discussed, as a matter of considerable concern.
‘The Daily Telegraph’ (2 May 12) carried an article entitled ‘Pulse bomb could be in hands of terrorists’
which was somewhat alarmist. The MoD was particularly keen to stress that the threat of EMP is taken seriously and proportionately.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/18, 07 May 12)

04 May 12. The NATO operation in Libya shows stark military gaps in the defence sectors of the EU member states, according to a new report published by the UK House of Lords. The report ‘European Defence Capabilities: lessons from the past, signposts for the future’ suggests that the US ‘leading from behind’ involvement in Libya was essential as European states lack sufficient levels of military intelligence on their own. Surveillance capability, air-to-air refuelling, smart munitions, strategic and tactical transport, as well as sufficient medical support are other shortcomings in the defence sectors of individual EU states, says the report. European External Action Service (EEAS) secretary-general Pierre Vimont told the EU sub-committee on foreign affairs, defence and development policy conducting the inquiry that a repeat of the Libya operation would not be viable if the EU had to rely only on its own military capabilities. European Defence Agency (EDA) director Madame Claude-France Arnould agreed, stating that a common ground of European defence capability is necessary; with nations needing to improve the way communications and information systems are used. Arnould suggested that the EDA could help Member States to develop standardisation, common certification, a common concept of employment, which could add to interoperability on the ground. (Source: armytechnology.com)

01 May 12. The House of Lords European Union Sub-Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Development Policy published a report on European Defence Capabilities. The Committee have considered how the EU should respond to America’s refocusing of its defence priorities away from Europe and toward the Asia-Pacific region. They have taken evidence on EU Member States’ military capabilities, the role of the European Defence Agency and the relationship between the EU and NATO. The report is expected to focus on how EU Member States can improve their military effectiveness and strengthen their ability to coordinate their efforts and deploy troops if necessary. The Committee have also considered the relative roles of the UK, France and Germany in European defence.
The strong message from the Report is that the pressures on European Defence are changing radically with reduced budgets and with the US looking increasingly to the Asia Pacific region. It is also “essential that the EU’s Member States engage in a profound debate about the circumstances under which they would be prepared to use force”.
“With 21 members of both the EU and NATO, what is good for the EU is good for NATO and Europe as a whole. T

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