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Defence in the media

Defence in the media: 18 January 2016

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In today’s news of interest for Defence there are reports on Army Reserves and veteran’s mental health support, as well as further reporting on calls for an apology for the former head of the British Army, Lord Bramall.

Nuclear submarines

The Financial Times publishes a piece on the nuclear submarine industry. The article, informed by a visit to BAE Systems, Barrow, says the Astute class contract was flawed and work is being done to manage costs more realistically for the Successor programme.

Commodore Tim Hodgson, Head of Nuclear Capabilities, said:

Building a nuclear submarine, and operating a deterrent force, ranks among the most complex and demanding projects undertaken in this country. This venture, the culmination of many decades experience within the Royal Navy, the Ministry of Defence and our industrial partners, is only possible through the continuing professional expertise and industrial skill found within this enterprise.

Afghanistan report

The Times follows yesterday’s Sunday Times in reporting on the Army’s review of the Herrick campaign, leading on the observations that British military leaders were considered unwilling to accept ideas by coalition partners and that the initial deployment to Helmand was poorly planned.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said:

Our Armed Forces served with professionalism and bravery throughout the span of our operations in Afghanistan, risking danger and injury to deliver vital security gains for the people of that country.

Army Reserves

The Daily Telegraph reports that the Defence Secretary has acknowledged in a letter that some Army reservists don’t feel valued by their regular counterparts. The article quotes from a letter to Lieutenant General Robin Brims, chairman of the UK Reserve Forces external scrutiny committee, and refers to an expectation that the use of reservists will become increasingly commonplace.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said:

Changing attitudes is not an overnight process; however we have made it very clear that the Reserves are an integral part of the UK Armed Forces. As Regulars and Reservists increasingly work alongside each other, more and more will come to acknowledge the skills and benefits that each can bring and gain from the relationship. Reserves deliver many different capabilities at home and abroad, including operational deployments in Afghanistan and Cyprus, supporting emergencies, such as floods in the UK, or carrying out prestigious guarding duties at the Tower of London.

Mental health

The Daily Mirror follows yesterday’s broadcast reporting of the Royal British Legion’s calls for the Government to do more to help veterans with Gulf War Syndrome.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said:

We are indebted to all those who served our country in the 1990/1991 Gulf conflict. In recognition of this financial support is available to veterans and dependants, where an illness or death is due to service, through the War Pensions Scheme and Armed Forces occupational pensions schemes. We are clear that veterans should receive fair treatment following service and we are absolutely committed to supporting them and the wider Armed Forces community.

Separately the Sun reports that a former soldier is suing the MOD for £200,000 after he claimed his PTSD was not properly investigated. The report incorrectly states that the MOD has admitted negligence in the High Court case.

A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said:

The Government is absolutely committed to the mental health of our Armed Forces and provides a wide range of support. This matter is subject to ongoing legal proceedings and therefore it is inappropriate to comment further.

Exercise Spartan Hike is the regional ski championships run by Force Troops command. Over 550 competitors compete in both Alpine and Nordic disciplines.
Exercise Spartan Hike is the regional ski championships run by Force Troops command. Over 550 competitors compete in both Alpine and Nordic disciplines.

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