The National Security Capability Review (NSCR) conducted by Sir Mark Sedwillhad the brief “to look at the UK security needs in the round, taking in the intelligence agencies as well as the MoD” and “also to evaluate the risks posed by terrorists and cyber-attacks as well as from conventional forces”.
“By the autumn of 2017, it was clear the intelligence agencies had come out on top and the MoD was looking at being forced to make cuts, with options ranging from reducing the size of the army from 77,000 to 70,000, cutting 1,000 Royal Marines and decommissioning two specialist amphibious landing ships, HMS Bulwark and HMS Albion.
That was the reason that our world-beating amphibious capability – vital for projecting land-power from the sea – was about to be sacrificed. Fortunately, when the Defence Committee's highly critical report Sunset for the Royal Marines? came out in February 2018, it dominated the television news cycle for fully 24 hours with its description of the proposed axing of the Albion and Bulwark, 15 years early, as “militarily illiterate”.
For once, we avoided a disastrous wrong-turning. Losing our ability to deploy troops from the sea in a far-flung theatre would indeed have betrayed our global strategic interests. Not only were the Albion and Bulwark saved, they are now to be joined by two Littoral Strike Ships, enabling the Future Commando Force – in the words of the Defence Secretary’s 11 February speech at RUSI – “to respond at a moment’s notice bringing the fight from sea to land”.
Taken from an article in the “House Magazine” by the Chairman of the Defence Select Committee, Dr Julian Lewis
Soldier F' will face prosecution for the murders of James Wray and William McKinney and the attempted murders of Joseph Friel, Michael Quinn, Joe Mahon and Patrick O'Donnell.
Sixteen other veterans and two ex-members of the Official IRA, all of whom were investigated, will not face prosecution.
The Public Prosecution Service has been looking at the case of 18 soldiers - one of whom has since died.
Founder of the "Justice for Northern Ireland Veterans Group" Alan Barry said: "It's one soldier too many as far as we're concerned. It happened 47 years ago, a line in the sand needs to be drawn and people need to move on. Under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement veterans are being left open to prosecution while terrorists have been cleansed of their past crimes."
The Ministry of Defence is working across Government to drive through a new package of safeguards to ensure our armed forces are not unfairly treated. The Government will urgently reform the system for dealing with legacy issues. "Our serving and former personnel cannot live in constant fear of prosecution.” Says the Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson.
Conservative MP and former British Army officer Johnny Mercer tweeted that the decision to prosecute was ”an abject failure to govern and legislate, on our watch as a Conservative administration". He tweeted: ”When I speak of a chasm between those who serve and their political masters in this country, I mean this.”
UKNDA is inclined to agree.
15th March 2019
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