Media brief

Army Media & Communication
Army Headquarters
IDL 25, Blenheim Building
Marlborough Lines
Monxton Road

Hampshire SP11 8HT
94393 6118 [email protected] Ref: 20131011-MediaBrf-U.doc Date: 11 Oct 13
AM&C Media Brief – 11 Oct 13

Slide 1 – Media Update
There was widespread media coverage of the Transfer of Authority between 1st Mechanised Brigade and 7th Armoured Brigade in Helmand on Thursday: BBC TV and Radio news carried the story throughout the day, although it erroneously reported that this was the final major deployment of British troops to Afghanistan. This was raised with the BBC by DMC, although the Corporation did not issue a clarification. Slide 2 – Operations Afghanistan
Afghan President Hamid Karzai was critical of NATO intervention in Afghanistan over the past decade, telling the BBC Newsnight programme in an exclusive interview that the West had inflicted a lot of suffering for no gain. The Times commented that Mr Karzai is increasingly seen as an unpredictable partner in Washington and London due to a habit for populist diatribes. There was some reaction from the Tabloids, but this is mainly seen as typical of Karzai. When asked to comment by the BBC, Comd 7 Bde stated that it would be inappropriate to do so and drew attention to the gains Mr Karzai stands down after next year’s presidential election, and the nomination of candidates to replace him have been made. The Wall Street Journal claimed that the election is likely to be dominated by ex-mujahedeen and warlords. Leading candidates are: Ashraf Ghani - the former transition advisor, running with Gen Dostum; Qaym Karzai, the President’s brother; Abdullah Abdullah who led the opposition to Karzai last time round and President Karzai also announced this week that he would call a Loya Jirga (gathering of leaders) next month to consider the Bilateral Security The Independent and Times claimed that MOD “penny-pinching” was the root cause of the insurgent attack on Camp Bastion that killed 2 US Marines and destroyed up to 8 USMC Harriers last year. The papers point to US government documents that claim that recommendations to strengthen security by means of an airfield fence were rejected by the MOD because of cost, and that more than half of guard towers were unmanned. Two US 2-star Marine Corps generals - former commanders of MND SW and the Marine Air Wing were ordered to retire last week following an investigation into the attack. CJO is expected to respond to CDS on the formal US report next Slide 3 – RoW
Events in Libya unfolded at a fairly rapid pace in the last 36 hours. Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was kidnapped from the 21st floor of a hotel in Tripoli in a pre-dawn raid on Thursday, ironically by 150 men from a police group titled the Tripoli anti-crime unit. The seizure was apparently in reaction to the US capture of Al Qaida’s Abu Anas Al -Liby the week before. Although the PM was released within a day, the incident once again points to the deteriorating situation in the country. The Daily telegraph reported this morning that the the French embassy was attacked in April, Italian consulate in July, the EU ambassador’s convoy in August and the Russian embassy last week. Two regions in the East and South of the country have issued declarations of devolution from Tripoli and oil output has been reportedly halved to 700,000 In a separate report today the Times headline reported that the UK was training 2000 Libyan personnel, although the report itself said that the UK had Slide 4 – UK
A paper published by the Defence Secretary on Tuesday has criticised the Scottish Government’s plans for its own armed forces. The Guardian reported that the study claims that a Scottish Defence Force, which would have a £2.5 billion annual budget, would be underfunded, underequipped and badly structured. Plans for the SDF to take control of units such as the Royal Regiment of Scotland or the Scots Guards are also criticised as being an “extremely difficult challenge”, based in no small part on whether personnel would want to quit the British Army for the new organisation. The Telegraph added to recent Times reports that the Army is struggling to find new recruits since the outsourcing of recruitment to Capita. The paper claims to have seen figures that show the number of people attending Army career interviews and selection tests has fallen by 35%. An un-named Army officer said that over-reliance on the internet was “not the same as having a man wearing the uniform of the Regiment you want to join”. The Telegraph also claimed that would-be soldiers have complained that their applications to join have not been answered, in some cases after months of waiting. The Defence Secretary told the Commons Defence Committee this week that Britain is “war weary”, and that it would take an extreme event such as 9/11 to persuade the public to support a new major overseas deployment. This was reported in the Telegraph, but surprisingly not picked up further. Mr Hammond predicted that it would be many years before the Armed Forces took on such a deployment following the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan, saying “public appetite for expeditionary warfare is pretty low”. The report also said that the 2015 SDSR is on the horizon, and that Armed Forces chiefs have based future plans on the assumption that the defence budget will not face further cuts after the next General Election. Slide 5 – People
The independent’s investigation into the use by the Army of the anti-malarial drug Lariam has continued: Tuesday’s paper carried a lengthy piece, including interviews with a former officer, the widow of a soldier and the former wife of another, all of whom claim the drug caused sleep disorder, psychological issues and in one case suicide. Several retired senior officers have called for an MOD review of the drug’s continued use: Lariam was recently banned by the US Army Special Forces Command. The Sun featured a campaign by politicians to set up a credit union for Armed Forces personnel – similar to a system operating in America – to give cheap loans to service personnel in a bid to reduce debts. The paper reported that many soldiers have significant debts, often high-interest loans from payday The anticipated reshuffle of Cabinet ministers and Shadow ministers has been playing out this week. To recap the changes in the Defence sphere: Andrew Robathan has left the MOD and is replaced as Minister for the Armed Forces by Mark Francois. Mr Francois is in turn replaced as Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans by Anna Soubry MP, the first woman to hold an MOD ministerial position. Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy has been replaced by Vernon Coaker, MP for Gedling Slide 6 - Forthcoming Events
Forthcoming events are on the screen now… Slide 7 – And finally
The winners of the Army Photographic Competition were announced this week at a prize-giving ceremony at the National Army Museum in London. Prizes were presented by TV historian Dan Snow, and the images were carried in print and online by most of the major national media organisations. Top Right is the overall winning image, Celtic Warrior by Army photographer The winning and runner-up pictures, multimedia shows and video are on display at the National Army Museum for the next two weeks: once complete, the exhibition will be brought here to Army HQ.


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