Today’s defence-related news includes coverage of an announcement on increasing the numbers of Commonwealth recruits and the Defence Secretary’s visit to Oman.
There’s widespread media coverage today, including in The Daily Telegraph, PA, BBC online, BBC Radio 5 live, Sky News, the Today programme, Good Morning Britain, The Sun, The Times, Guardian, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror and Daily Express, on the MOD’s announcement today that it will increase the numbers of Commonwealth recruits in the military. 4500 Commonwealth citizens currently serve in Britain’s armed forces, although numbers in recent years have been as high as 7500.
Minister for the Armed Forces Mark Lancaster said:
As an outward-looking nation, Britain has always counted on the dedicated service of our friends from the Commonwealth to keep this country safe. From Australia to Jamaica, to Fiji and South Africa, Commonwealth recruits are already playing a key role in our Armed Forces. So we’re stepping up the numbers of recruits from the Commonwealth, knowing that they will bring key skills and dedicated service to our military. Their different perspectives will also help us to enhance our cultural understanding, giving us an operational advantage over our adversaries.
You can read more about the announcement here.
Defence Secretary visit to Oman
The Daily Mail reports on that ‘Britain is to open a major military base in Oman to try to boost UK influence post-Brexit’. The article explains that hundreds of British troops will deploy there in March 2019 and features comments from SofS who said: “This is the largest military exercise going on in the world at present. Britain isn’t retreating from the world. We are stepping out.” The Sun meanwhile features a piece on the recent Budget, including the announcement on extra defence spending. As well as highlighting the major military exercise, the Sun features comments from Sgt Major Glenn Haughton who rebutted claims that today’s troops are a ‘snowflake generation.’
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
Our relationship with Oman is built on centuries of cooperation and we are cementing that long into the future with the opening of our new joint base. We stand as a beacon of stability in the region. This has never been more important as malign activity by hostile states and violent extremist organisations seek to undermined stability and subvert the rules based order on which we all rely.
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