Sitrep 26th November 2020

What could be the future shape of UK Defence after funding settlement? 

Sitrep focuses on future Defence priorities and funding with the Armed Forces Minister James Heappey, Labour's Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey, the former Chief of the Defence Staff, Lord Richards and Professor Michael Clarke from RUSI . 

Plus Hannah King reports on how 'gun bubbles' are helping troops train for a deployment to Estonia.


What could be the future shape of UK Defence after funding settlement? 

Sitrep focuses on future Defence priorities and funding with the Armed Forces Minister James Heappey, Labour's Shadow Defence Secretary John Healey, the former Chief of the Defence Staff, Lord Richards and Professor Michael Clarke from RUSI . 

Plus Hannah King reports on how 'gun bubbles' are helping troops train for a deployment to Estonia.

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Defence Spending; Afghanistan drawdown; Hurricane aid. 

Defence is to get a four year funding deal - what should the new money be spent on and how will it reshape UK Defence policy?  

President Trump orders more US troops out of Afghanistan - but what does that mean for the fragile peace process? 

And how RFA Argus is supporting Hurricane relief efforts


US and NATO; Falklands mine clearing; Space and Defence 

What is the future for US-NATO relations under a Joe Biden Presidency?  

The mission to rid the Falklands of landmines nearly 40 years after the conflict 

And we look at the role for defence in Space.


Covid military response; US Election; Remembrance Sunday 

The armed forces helping to carry out rapid coronavirus testing in the government’s first mass pilot... 

What are the future defence, foreign and security challenges for the winner of the Presidential election in the US?  

And how different will Remembrance Sunday be this year due to the Covid pandemic?


Covid military response; US Election; Remembrance Sunday 

The armed forces helping to carry out rapid coronavirus testing in the government’s first mass pilot... 

What are the future defence, foreign and security challenges for the winner of the Presidential election in the US?  

And how different will Remembrance Sunday be this year due to the Covid pandemic?


In less than a week, the United States chooses its next President. In this week’s Sitrep, we get the latest on the race for military votes, and ask what four more years of Donald Trump, or a new start under Joe Biden, would mean for the UK, and for Nato. 

In the week special forces raided an oil tanker in trouble off the Isle of Wight, we ask whether the military could dragged into the ongoing Channel migrant and refugee crisis. 

We’ll find out how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted Gurkha recruitment, and hear from a former head of GCHQ who says we could all learn a lot by thinking the way spies do. 

Plus the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, tells us about his own relationship with the military, and why he thinks MPs should spend time with the forces learning how they work.


Integrated Review; Drone technology; GCHQ history. 

The future of the Integrated Security and Defence Review.  

Why is NATO planning to open a new Space Centre ? 

How will Drone technology change combat? 

And what impact did GCHQ have in the Falklands War?


Army Recruitment; North Korean missiles; Submarine Hunters 

How has Army recruitment been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic? Sitrep speaks to the Assistant Director, Army Recruiting. 

What lies behind North Korea’s decision to showcase its latest missile? 

The RAF has welcomed the arrival of the first of the P-8A Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft to its permanent home at RAF Lossiemouth. 

And the campaign to honour Caribbean armed forces personnel with a new monument at the National Memorial Arboretum.


Russian armed forces; Women in Royal Navy; Gurkha training 

A new report from the IISS think tank says the Russian armed forces are significantly smaller than their Soviet predecessors, but better equipped with more professional personnel.  

We mark thirty years since women were first deployed operationally at sea with the Royal Navy. 

And why the Gurkhas are doing ‘wet gap crossing’ training in Northumberland.


Integrated Operating Concept; HMS Queen Elizabeth; NHS & military 

The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nicholas Carter, has set out the 'Integrated Operating Concept' this week. It's been described as the most significant shift in military thinking in generations. What is it and what impact could it have on the armed forces in the future? 

The new carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, is to join a major NATO exercise from this weekend. We hear from a former Naval commander on its capabilities. 

What’s the best way to improve NHS services for serving armed forces families and veterans?


Former National Security Adviser on Chemical and Bioweapons. 

Lord Sedwill, the former National Security Adviser and Cabinet Secretary who stepped down this month, talks exclusively to Sitrep about chemical and biological weapons, the changing nature of threats and the Integrated Defence and Security Review. 

Why a new Institute has been set up to study air and space power issues in defence and security and - out mortar training with the Duke of Lancaster’s regiment.


NATO on future extreme threats; Battle of Britain  

NATO’s Assistant Secretary-General for Defence Investment talks exclusively to Sitrep about possible long-term extreme threats to the UK and other NATO members. 

And remembering the Battle of Britain 80 years on - we hear about the letters written by a Pilot Officer about the battle to his wife in France.


Cyber security; US troops; British Army in Germany 

Where are the Cyber threats to the UK coming from? The former head of the National Cyber Security Centre, Ciaran Martin, on Russia, China and the impact of Covid 19. 

More than two thousand US troops are to leave Iraq but is it the right time to drawdown forces? We speak to the Chair of the Commons Defence Committee Tobias Ellwood. 

More than a million British soldiers have lived and served in Germany over the past 75 years. A new exhibition at the National Army Museum examines this unique deployment .


Novichok Poisoning; Gurkha recruitment; Tensions in Eastern Med 

How will the international community react to Germany's claims of a Novichok poisoning in Russia? 

What’s behind the recent tensions between Greece and Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean?  

Sitrep looks at how the Gurkhas are changing their recruitment process.  

We join the Royal Marines on training exercises.  

And how some of Britain’s rarest reptiles are thriving in a military fuel site.


Defence Review; Mali deployment; Sennelager training 

We look at the options facing the government as part of the Integrated Review of foreign policy, defence and security. Lord Dannatt, former Chief of the General Staff, tells us that the government must find more money for defence  

We ask what will be the impact of the recent coup in the West African state of Mali on plans to send 250 British troops there as part of a UN mission?  

Sitrep reports on how German soldiers are using the British run Sennelager training area to prepare for a mission in Afghanistan next year. And we hear how the last surviving landing craft from D-Day has finally reached its new home.


As protests continue in Belarus, this week’s Sitrep looks at the wider implications. 


In the United States, the race for the White House is hotting up, with Joe Biden setting out his pitch to American voters. A former head of GCHQ joins us to discuss the idea of “principled spying” — is it even possible? 


Plus we report from Biggin Hill airfield, 80 years after it played a key role in the “hardest day” of the Battle of Britain.


75 years on - what’s the legacy of VJ day? 

How should the government review the UK’s security and defence needs? 

We hear what military personnel are doing to help after the devastating explosion in Beirut. 

Why did the script of the film 'The Bridge on the River Kwai' cause concern in the War Office?


Covid 19 and food supplies; Gurkha training; Balaclava medals.  

The Government offers aid and support from military personnel after the massive explosion in Beirut.  

What impact is the Covid 19 pandemic having on food supplies around the world?  

And a special report on training with the UK Gurkha Company.


US plans to withdraw 12 thousand troops from Germany. What will be the impact on NATO? 

What is the role of Artificial Intelligence in future combat air systems?  

And the end of the daily tot of Navy rum…50 years ago this week.


Russia Report; Commando Helicopter Force; Staying in the military. 

What should be done to counter cyber threats from Russia? A new report says there needs to be more investment in military personnel and their families to keep them in the armed forces. We report on Exercise Merlin Storm with Commando Helicopter Force.


HMS Queen Elizabeth; Yemen appeal; Potsdam conference. 

Vice Admiral Sir Jeremy Blackham on the future deployment of aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.  

The Red Cross tells Sitrep how the conflict in Yemen is having a devastating impact on the treatment of those affected by COVID-19. 

We report from Germany on the 75th anniversary of the Potsdam Conference that shaped the future of post-war Europe.


The Chief of the Defence staff on the future shape of the armed forces. Why have so many countries become involved in the conflict in Libya? A day in the life of military personnel working on coronavirus Mobile Testing units. What will the Government do about Huawei and 5G? The significance of the Battle of Britain in the Second World War.


On this week's Sitrep, as Afghanistan deals with the spread of Coronavirus, a British Army officer tells the programme what precautions are being taken on their deployment in the country.  

A new National Security Adviser has been appointed but what will be the impact of the change at the top of Whitehall? Professor Michael Clarke unpicks the changes. 

And searching for the right words to find fitting inscriptions for military graves. We speak to Peter Francis from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.


In Armed Forces week, the military's response to Covid 19; Russia's security services under the spotlight; What was it like to be one of the RAF’s first female fast jet pilots; And our ambassador to Washington enlists the help of the Army, the Navy and the RAF in making the perfect cup of tea!


Tributes are paid to the 'Forces' Sweetheart' Dame Vera Lynn who's died at the age of 103. 

The Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee tells Sitrep of his deep concern over the fatal clashes at the border between China and India. And why a new research project has been launched to see how veterans are managing during the Covid 19 pandemic.


One of the Army’s most senior officers has told BFBS Sitrep why he wrote an open letter about tackling racism, following the protests over the death of George Floyd. 

We also speak to a former US permanent representative to NATO about a warning this week from the organisation's head about the growing economic and military power of China.  

And in the week he celebrates his 99th birthday, we hear about Prince Philip's war time experiences - including witnessing Japan's surrender.


In this week’s Sitrep find out how a new Cyber regiment has been formed to protect the UK’s defence networks at home and on operations overseas 

We ask what impact will the pandemic have on defence spending and budgets?. And what advice on leadership and motivation would you give a 14 year old?


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.