The substantial gains made by Islamic State fighters in the last few months, which has seen ISIL forces advance on the northern city of Irbil and forced thousands of people from religious minorities to flee their homes, has prompted the US, UK and other Western governments to take more concerted action in Iraq.
The Government announced the outcome of the second stage of Sir John Holmes' review into military medals in July 2014. This now completes work into various retrospective medal campaigns. The government has stated that no further reviews of historic claims will now take place unless significant, new, evidence is produced that an injustice has occurred.
The European Council Summit is due to be held on 19-20 December 2013. Among the main issues for debate is the EU’s Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). It will be the first time in five years that EU leaders have comprehensively discussed EU defence policy, amid criticisms that CSDP has lost momentum due to a lack of consensus over its strategic direction, an unwillingness on the part of Member States to commit the necessary resources and the prevailing economic crisis which has seen defence budgets fall across Europe and capabilities cut.
Report Stage and Third Several amendments were tabled prior to Report stage, including one which sought to impose an obligation on the Government to report on the viability and cost-effectiveness of the plan to increase the size of the Reserves, which would then be subject to approval by both Houses before the Government could continue with its reform agenda. Despite the support of several Conservative backbenchers, that amendment was, however, defeated on division. A clause seeking to increase the leave entitlement of Reservists was also defeated. Reading of the Defence Reform Bill took place in the House of Commons on 20 November 2013.
This note looks at the discussion and amendments to the Bill made during the Public Bill Committee stage, and the wider debate on the Bill’s proposals, in particular the establishment of a Government-Owned, Contractor-Operated (GOCO) model for Defence Equipment and Support.
British forces have been permanently stationed in Germany since 1945. The Government announced in 2010 as part of its Strategic Defence and Security Review that all 20,000 Service personnel will be withdrawn by 2020. This note provides a short overview of the withdrawal plans.
As offensive military operations in the country have begun to wind down concerns remain that Malian and foreign forces will now face a protracted insurgency from Islamic militants who have continued to conduct counter-attacks from the north of the country.
Between 1968 and 1973 the British Government cleared the entire Chagos Archipelago of its inhabitants, opening the way for a US military base on the biggest island, Diego Garcia. The Archipelago was made a British overseas territory, the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT). Two main disputes have arisen from these events. One has been between the Chagos Islanders and the British Government over the legality of the former’s removal and whether they have a right to return. The other has been between the UK and Mauritius about sovereignty over the BIOT. The UK has said that it will cede sovereignty to Mauritius once the BIOT is no longer required for defence purposes.
This note provides a summary of the main changes to the defence estate that have been announced since the Army basing review was published in March 2013. Further decisions on aspects of the defence estate, including the training estate and the Reserves estate are expected to be made over the course of 2013. This note will be updated as and when those plans are announced.
The outcome of the Army Basing Review was announced on 5 March 2013. This note summarises the main changes envisaged under those plans and where they differ from the previous basing decisions announced in 2011.
This note describes the current military intervention in Mali, led by France, which began on 11 January as a reaction to the southward advance of militant Islamist armed groups with links to al-Qaeda. It also looks at the intervention in the context of upholding humanitarian law.