Archive for October 19, 2010

U.K. Defense Cuts, Chechen Violence, Pirate Task Force

UK PM: Defense Cuts Won’t Hamper Afghan Mission

Photo by Joseph Plotz via Wikipedia

British Prime Minister David Cameron says cuts to the defense budget won’t affect the UK’s military mission in Afghanistan. On Tuesday (Oct. 19) Cameron announced spending cuts of 8 percent over the next four years that will include manpower cuts and the early retirement of the HMS Ark Royal aircraft carrier as well as four naval frigates and destroyers.

There will be a 40 percent reduction in tanks and 35 percent in heavy artillery. Reconnaissance aircraft and Harrier jump jet programs are also being ended. Two new carriers will still be built, although their longterm future is uncertain. Without the Harriers, UK aircraft carriers will only have helicopters flying off them until 2020, when the Joint Strike Fighter will become available.

But Cameron told Parliament that Britain wasn’t backing off its commitment in Afghanistan — or as a world military force. He noted that even with the cuts, the U.K. still has the fourth-largest defense budget in the world (after the U.S., China and Russia).  In fact, he said, Britain will increase spending for armored ground vehicles like the Warthog, unmanned aircraft and helicopters, which have been in short supply in Afghanistan.

Grozny Attack Leaves Six Dead

Map: Wikipedia

Sixteen years after an independence movement evolved into an Islamic insurgency, touching off  two brutal wars in Russia’s northern Caucasus region, violence has erupted again in Chechnya. Gunmen, believed to be Islamist militants, stormed the parliament building in the Chechen capital of Grozny on Tuesday (Oct. 19), killing three people before being slain themselves. Two of the dead were policemen. No lawmakers were hurt.

The audacity of the attack on one of the most heavily-guarded complexes in the region contradicts the contention by Moscow and Chechnya’s Kremlin-backed leadership that the insurgency has quieted after nearly two decades of war and atrocities. Chechens, who are predominantly Muslim and famously independent-minded, have been battling Russian domination of the oil-rich region since the 1850s.

Australia Takes Over Pirate Patrol Command

A commodore in the Royal Australian Navy has taken over command of the international naval task force that patrols the waters off the Horn of Africa and the Arabian peninsula.  In a change of command ceremony in Bahrain last week, Commodore Gregory Sammut took over control of Combined Task Force 150 (CTF-150) from Pakistan’s Rear Adm. Zafar Mahmood Abbasi.

U.S. Navy photo

CTF-150, part of Combined Maritime Forces — a 25-nation coalition based in Bahrain — was formed to create a lawful and stable maritime environment free from terrorism, smuggling, piracy and other illegal activities. The task force covers a vast area of two million square miles including the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Oman.

The task force’s  principal mission is to deter, disrupt and defeat attempts by international terrorists to use the maritime environment as a way of attacking or transporting  personnel weapons and other materials.

October 19, 2010 at 10:18 pm Leave a comment


October 2010


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