Defence in the media: Friday 8 March 2019

Today's defence-related news includes an interview with the Army's highest-ranking female officer on International Women's Day and an increase in pensions for Gurkha veterans.

International Women's Day

Major General Sharon Nesmith has been interviewed by The Times to mark her appointment to the Army's executive board, making her the first woman to be made a two-star general. She has described the appointment as proof of improved attitudes towards women in the armed forces.

The interview reveals how Maj Gen Nesmith's trailblazing career involved her becoming the first woman to command a brigade and operational service in the Balkans and Iraq.

When Sharon joined the Army, 80% of roles were barred to women. Her role as Army personnel director now requires her to reach out to all sections of society to hire the best men and women for the Army's ranks.

She told The Times: "We need to up our game in terms of translating what the Army offers to young men and young women from all backgrounds."

Gurkha veterans

Defence minister Mark Lancaster has announced an increased support package for 22,000 Gurkha veterans and their families.

The Sun reports that the new funding, delivered in partnership with the Gurkha Welfare Trust, will see some veterans receiving an increase of 34% in their pensions, depending on their service. The payments will be backdated to January 2016.

Minister for the Armed Forces Mark Lancaster said:

This pension increase for Gurkha veterans, alongside long-term funding for healthcare support in Nepal, will make a difference to the lives of Gurkha veterans and their families.

I have huge respect for the Gurkhas, who have been important to the British military for more than 200 years, and I hope will be for many years to come.

These are significant sums which reflect the outcome of dialogue with Gurkha veterans and the Government of Nepal.

Image of the day

The Royal Navy's Admiralty Board meet in the Admiralty Board Room in Whitehall, London, as pictured in The Telegraph today.

Share this page