Today's Defence news includes coverage of the UK air campaign to defeat Daesh in Iraq and Syria, Remembrance, a Russian Open Skies flight over the UK and Army recruitment.
Campaign against Daesh is in the endgame
Following a media briefing from senior RAF officer Air Commodore Johnny Stringer, a number of today's papers report that as the campaign reaches its endgame, the RAF will likely drawdown its fast jet contribution as the focus switches to intelligence and surveillance support.
The Daily Telegraph, Times, Sun, Mail, Star, Express, FT, Independent and The Scotsman all report that the campaign against Daesh is winding down and that RAF fast jets may be brought home as early as March, although a number of papers also quote Air Commodore Stringer saying that Daesh will morph into an insurgent organisation.
Secretary of State for Defence Gavin Williamson said:
As the campaign to defeat Daesh in Iraq and Syria enters its final phase, we will continue to support the international coalition to decisively defeat our common enemy. It is only by defeating them and their poisoned ideology that we can keep Britain safe.
A number of commentators have responded to a report which said that a third of young people won't wear a poppy as many believe it glorifies war. Julia Hartley-Brewer in the Daily Telegraph, Amanda Platell and Peter Oborne in the Daily Mail and Janet Street-Porter in The Independent all write that the wearing of a poppy is an act of Remembrance.
Open Skies flight
The Sun reports that Russian military chiefs exploited a loophole to gain an additional flight as part of the international Open Skies Treaty. The Treaty is designed to enhance military transparency, build confidence and reduce risk, and any of the participating countries, which include the UK and Russia, can conduct observation flights over any other.
A Ministry of Defence spokesperson said:
This was a completely routine flight. UK military personnel were on board the Russian aircraft throughout the flight, ensuring compliance with Treaty conditions.
The Mirror claims that hundreds of places on courses to train frontline soldiers have gone unfilled.
An Army spokesperson said:
The Army has enough people to perform its operational requirements that help keep Britain safe. 95% of posts are filled and in the last year we’ve recruited nearly 8,000 people into a variety of posts in the Army.
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