Sitrep 28th May 2020
NYF and Sony Radio Award winning Sitrep with Kate Gerbeau
This Week on Sitrep: Rare access to the scientists at Porton Down supporting the fight against Covid-19, Dunkirk remembered 80 years on by a veteran who was taken prisoner there and how gamers are helping the US Army to recruit.
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It’s Mental Health Awareness week, and this year’s theme is “kindness” — in this week’s Sitrep we hear how one military charity’s helping some of those struggling to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
We’ll find out how NATO’s combating disinformation around the virus — with help from the British military.
And we’ll hear from the head of the UN relief mission in Yemen — a country battered by years of civil war, and now struggling with Covid-19.
Plus updates on how the pandemic’s affecting British forces communities in Canada and Cyprus — and the Red Arrows have a new home — not too far from the old one.
MPs on the Commons Defence Select Committee want to know if the military could have been used sooner to boost Britain's response to the coronavirus pandemic -- we'll speak to the committee's chairman.
We'll also ask why America sent its fleet of bombers into the skies above Europe and the Indo-Pacific this week in a show of strength — aimed in part at China.
Most military personnel who think they have a valid complaint about their treatment don’t actually make one. And according to the Ombudsman overseeing service complaints, the system is neither efficient or fair.
This week, we hear from Nicola Williams about what’s working, what’s not, and why women in the military are nearly five times more likely to file a complaint than men.
We’ve updates on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting reserves in Northern Ireland, and the impact of a slight easing of restrictions in Germany.
Plus we take to the skies with the Covid Aviation Task Force, which has been helping the NHS in its response to the pandemic.
In this week’s Sitrep we look at the government’s plans to re-start military training programmes, despite the continuing coronavirus lockdown. Ministers say it’ll be done in a “responsible, socially distanced way” — but how?
Who could be trying to hack into the labs working on a coronavirus vaccine? A warning this week pointed the finger at “hostile actors” — we’ll look at why it’s happening.
We’ll hear from one military charity worried about the mental health of veterans dealing with the pandemic.
And ahead of the VE Day anniversary, we’ll find out how it’s being marked at home and online, hear from Cyprus about the role the island played in the war, and we’ve a special report from Germany on what surrender meant for its citizens.
What will the world look like when the coronavirus pandemic is in the past? Will relations with China collapse? How will Russia respond? And where does it leave Britain? We’ll discuss the potential for major change with the director-general of RUSI
We report on the military’s latest role responding to the pandemic — setting up dozens of mobile testing facilities
We get updates on how forces communities around the world are coping with the lockdown.
And on Captain Tom Moore’s 100th birthday, we hear from the postmaster who’s had to cope with more than 100-thousand cards.
Plus, a former MoD expert on UFOs tells us why the Pentagon’s suddenly being so open about potential close encounters.
Coronavirus: What more can the military do?
The head of the UK military calls the coronavirus pandemic the biggest logistical threat in decades. Already thousands of military personnel are part of Britain’s response. But should they be doing more?
One former defence minister’s already said the military could make up for what he says are government failings — we ask what else the forces could be doing.
And we hear from an expert in military mental health, who says there are parallels between being in a war zone and being on the frontline of the medical battle against Covid-19.
We report from the opening of another emergency coronavirus hospital, in Cardiff.
And we’ll look at the financial crisis threatening many military charities.
Plus, as the head of MI5 steps down, what are the security threats we need to be worried about once the pandemic is in the past?
Coronavirus: The military prepares for a long haul
The coronavirus pandemic respects no borders, striking the wealthiest countries, and the poorest. This week, Sitrep looks at the potential impact on conflict zones.
A former adviser to the US State Department explains how Afghanistan will have to cope without much international support.
In the United States, Donald Trump comes under more pressure over his response to the pandemic. Will it prompt him to withdraw even further from America’s decades-old role as global leader?
Find out how the outbreak is affecting the lives of the British forces community in Cyprus
And the incredible story of Captain Tom Moore, the 99-year-old veteran who’s raised millions for the NHS.
With the Prime Minister in hospital, who’s in charge of Britain’s security? As the Government continues to fight against the coronavirus pandemic, former RUSI head Professor Michael Clarke tells us some will see an opportunity to exploit.
The Chief of the Defence Staff is telling the forces to treat the virus response as a long-term operation — we speak to retired Major General Tim Robinson, formerly in charge of military assistance to civilian authorities, about the different mindset that’s required.
And as the coronavirus reaches Africa, are there lessons from the way British forces helped to tackle the Ebola outbreak there in 2014. We hear from Kate Dooley, from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, who’s normally based in Sierra Leone.
Plus care homes call on the public to get in touch with lonely veterans, forced to isolate while the outbreak continues.
The giant NHS Nightingale Hospital in London’s docklands prepares to receive patients — built in just a few days with help from the Army. We’ve a special report from inside the hospital.
As thousands of reservists are called up and the RAF and Royal Navy make their own contributions to the national response to the pandemic, we’ll hear from the First Sea Lord, and get updates from forces communities in Germany, the Falklands and Cyprus.
Plus we learn more about the call to veterans to help their local communities cope with the virus.
Fake news connected to the pandemic is spreading around the world — we’ll explore the task facing the new government unit set up to combat conspiracy theories.
And we hear how a group of veterans in Scotland are using technology to keep in touch despite the rules on social distancing.
We hear from some of those in the forces helping the UK’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Former Chief of the Defence Staff Lord Richards tells us the Army’s “perfect” to help build a giant new hospital in London — and remembers his experiences of being drafted in to help in past civil emergencies. We learn about the military personnel training to deliver vital oxygen supplies to hospitals up and down the country, and find out how the outbreak could threaten charities working with veterans.
Plus we look at how prepared the UK was for this emergency — do we need to think more about civil defence?
After an extraordinary week for the UK and the world, this week’s Sitrep looks at the role the military is likely play in the response to the coronavirus outbreak.
We’ve a full update on the MoD’s plans so far, and former defence minister Tobias Ellwood tells us how the military will fit into the overall response.
Michael Clarke, the former director-general at the Royal United Services Institute, remembers past occasions where the military’s been called in to help out, and chemical weapons expert Hamish de Bretton Gordon talks through the lessons from the Novichok attack in Salisbury that could come in handy in the coming weeks.
It’s five years since Saudi Arabia first intervened in the fighting in Yemen. Since then it’s escalated into the world’s worst humanitarian disaster — and this week aid agencies have warned the situation could get even worse.
We’ll hear from the Red Cross, on the ground in Yemen, on the crisis facing its population — and learn more about Saudi Arabia’s huge surge in arms imports during the conflict — and who’s selling them the weapons.
Plus a special report from Africa on Britain’s growing military role in the continent, and find out more about the coming deployment to Mali.
And if you thought you’d soon see the back of Vladimir Putin — think again. Find out how Russia’s leader plans to effectively become president for life with Russia analyst Stephen Dalziel
Can the military help with the coronavirus outbreak? The British troops training African soldiers in Senegal, Army women celebrate International Women's Day and what it's like to become an RAF Reservist.
The defence review to end all defence reviews, life after service and the high tech piracy threat on the high seas.
The scale of the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in Syria is hard to comprehend. Close to 1-million civilians — the majority women and children — have fled towards the Turkish border in the depths of winter. Western nations, though, appear unwilling to do anything.
Germany’s president criticises the US, and Mike Pompeo insists the transatlantic alliance remains strong. We’ll look at those competing claims, and why the UK only sent a very junior representative to the first big international security conference since Brexit.
Sir William Patey talks about the impending peace deal in Afghanistan, the way the Taliban has managed to win a key role in deciding the country’s future, and the political pressure pushing Trump to sign the deal.
A lot has changed in the two decades since the government lifted the bar on gay and bisexual people serving in the armed forces. Now a group of veterans and serving personnel - some of them instrumental in fighting to remove that ban - are giving their backing to a new charity called "Fighting with Pride".
The Army's about to meet its recruitment target for the first time since it started working with Capita. James Hirst reports.
A cabinet reshuffle but what are the defence implications? We talk to Lucy Fisher, Defence Editor at the The Times.
Why has Sinn Féin done so well in the Irish General Election and what does it mean for the Island of Ireland? Tommie Gorman from RTÉ explains.
Africa’s Sahel region, is currently at the centre of huge conflict and displacement with different armed groups, including Al Qaeda and Islamic State moving in. We talk to Paul Melly, consulting fellow at Chatham House.
The United States is a hundred percent committed to NATO. So says a US General involved in the planning of the largest deployment of U.S.-based forces to Europe for an exercise in more than 25 years.
Presented by Kate Gerbeau with Christopher Lee.
President Trump’s made his annual State of the Union Address to Congress. Malcom Brown from Feature Story News and Dr Karin von Hippel of RUSI discusses the current state of Britain’s relationship with the US.
The Government’s made its decision on Huawei and the new 5G network – but is it the right one? James Sullivan, head of Cyber Research at the Royal United Services Institute looks at the concerns surrounding the announcement.
After Brexit, the UK will no longer be part of the Galileo, so does this affect defence? Dr Bleddyn Bowen from the University of Leicester thinks it won't.
As we remember the Holocaust, why are we ignoring the human-rights atrocities happening right now? Paul Rogers, Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, reminds us of today’s brutalities.
And our reporter Sian Grzeszczyk speaks to BAE Systems' Human Factors lead researcher, Suzy Broadbent, about the new technology that will read the minds of future fast-jet pilots to improve their performance.
Presented by Kate Gerbeau with Christopher Lee.