Defence news today includes reporting that Royal Navy warship HMS Monmouth has helped carry out a number of drug seizures in the Gulf and Indian Ocean.
Following coverage at the weekend, there is further reporting today in The Times, The Sun, Daily Telegraph, The Scotsman and The Glasgow Herald about HMS Monmouth and the Royal Navy's role in seizing drugs while in joint command of the Combined Task Force 150 (CTF150) alongside France. During this five-month joint command, the task force conducted eight drug seizures, taking £400m of narcotics out of circulation, including a significant seizure by HMS Monmouth worth £65m. Command of CTF150 has now been handed over to the Pakistan Navy.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said:
The success of this joint task force with our French allies is a demonstration of Britain’s firm commitment to global maritime security and our ability to work with European allies to tackle the threat from drug smuggling.
The money made from these nefarious criminal activities fund the terrorists who threaten us at home and abroad. As we leave the EU we will continue to work alongside our allies to tackle smuggling in the region and maintain the free flow of shipping.
Deputy Commander Combined Task Force 150, Royal Navy Captain Paul Pitcher, said:
The deployment of a combined French-UK staff has successfully demonstrated French-UK naval integration in an operational maritime environment. The ships under our command have enjoyed considerable success in seizing illegal drugs at sea, as well as providing naval presence to reassure the shipping community in and around the strategic chokepoint of the Bab Al Mandeb Strait.
Read more about CTF150 here.
The Times today reports on a blog post by industry consultant Roland Sonnenberg, which it says raises questions about the Defence budget. The MOD's position can be seen in full below.
An MOD spokesperson said:
These figures are entirely speculative. We work tirelessly to ensure our rising defence budget focuses on frontline priorities, helping keep us safe and tackling emerging threats. We have made good progress towards our target of £7bn of savings by 2021 and will continue to prioritise spending on the front line.
The Daily Mirror today reports on recruitment in the Armed Forces, writing that training centre capacity figures and unfilled places on training courses are evidence of issues the military faces over recruitment.
An MOD spokesperson said:
It is wrong to confuse the number of Army Training Centre places with recruitment targets. Armed Forces recruitment levels are good and the Army has enough people to perform the operational requirements that help keep Britain safe.