Defence in the media: Friday 8 June 2018

Today’s defence news includes the deployment of 40 extra personnel to Bosnia and Herzegovina, air policing and comments from the outgoing Chief of the Defence Staff.

Troop uplift in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Operation Althea

The Times reports that the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson will announce that Britain will send 40 military personnel to join an EU mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina to promote safety, security and stability. The Defence Secretary made the announcement at a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels and the move demonstrated the important role played by the UK in European security. Troops will contribute to a specialist surveillance and intelligence task force comprised of EU and NATO allies that will cover the run-up to the election and will be a marked increase to the current UK contribution to the mission.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

This deployment demonstrates our commitment to making sure the elections in Bosnia are free and fair - and take place uninterrupted from malign external influence.

Our Armed Forces are playing a leading role in protecting the stability, prosperity and way of life for millions of people in the Western Balkans and across Europe.

RAF jets to patrol over Iceland and Estonia

The Sun has published a story covering the announcement of two new NATO Air Policing deployments for the UK by Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, acknowledging the Alliance’s importance to Europe’s defence, stability and security. In 2019, four RAF Typhoons will return to Estonia, where they conducted Air Policing in 2016, and, for the first time, will patrol Icelandic skies later in the year. This will allow the UK to work closely with allies to deter airborne threats to Euro Atlantic security. The mission will also provide the RAF with unique opportunities to test its skills in different environments.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

In a world that is becoming more dangerous and the threats we face are growing and becoming more complex, Britain is playing a leading role in deterring aggression.

These jets will help police the skies in northern Europe, ready to intercept hostile aircraft and reassure the Icelandic and Estonian people, as well as the British public at home, that our Armed Forces are making sure we are kept safe.

Chief of the Defence Staff Interviews

Outgoing CDS, Air Chief Marshall Sir Stuart Peach yesterday gave interviews as he prepares to leave his post. The Sun reports that CDS has demanded that war veterans should stop being treated as broken heroes as the majority of people who serve in the Armed Forces go on to lead fulfilling lives enriched by their experience. The piece also goes onto report his comments about rehab and mental health, saying that the military has exceptional rehab programmes and that mental health concerns have been listened to and extra funding has been provided to help personnel.

The Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 reported that CDS has defended the RAF’s bombing campaign against Daesh, insisting that the RAF was meticulous in trying to avoid civilian casualties, the report also touched on recruitment and efforts to promote women to senior posts. BBC Online also focused on the airstrikes, carrying CDS’s comments that the RAF had carried out “the most carefully planned air campaign in history”.

Sky News  ran an online article that features his comments on the military needing to do more to promote women into senior military positions. CDS has supported initiatives that allow women to them to better manage family demands, such as flexible working, and in 2016 the UK lifted the ban on women fighting in close combat roles.

Some of Britain’s busiest infantry soldiers will march onto Horse Guards Parade (9 June) in front of 7,500 spectators for the Queen’s Birthday Parade.