The RN’s third major humanitarian mission in three years

In a state of civil war and with no clear government to police its borders, migrants can pass easily through Libya to its coast where people traffickers promise to get them into Europe. Migrants have been attempting to cross the Mediterranean in flimsy boats for many years but numbers are rising sharply,

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Parliamentary debate in wake of Trident safety allegations

The Scottish National Party secured a special ‘adjournment debate’ in Parliament on 28th May in the wake of the allegations made by a Royal Navy junior rating who completed one patrol aboard HMS Victorious carrying the nation’s nuclear deterrent. AB William McNeilly claimed to have witnessed multiple security and safety failures.

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Vanguard class SSBN returns to Faslane

Response to claims by RN submariner that “Trident is an accident waiting to happen”

On 17th May the Sunday Herald (Scotland) ran an exclusive based on an authorised ‘report’ written by a junior submariner in which he claimed “Trident is an accident waiting to happen” and the story has since been picked up by media around the world. You can read the original piece in all its rambling glory here.

ET McNeilly, is a very junior rate who served for less than 2 years in the RN and has completed a single deterrent patrol, hardly in a position to pass credible judgement on submarine operations. 

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Election ‘shock’ just means more of the same for defence

Contrary to predictions, the 2015 General Election has delivered a small majority for the Conservative party who will continue to govern but are now no longer reliant on Liberal Democrat support. Mr Cameron remains Prime Minister and has quickly re-appointed the same Chancellor of the Exchequer and Foreign Secretary while Michael Fallon will continue as Secretary of State for Defence. Instead of the horse-trading and uncertainties of minority government, this seamless transition means we can make some assumptions about the future defence planning based on Tory pre-election statements.

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RFA Argus, Freetown, Sierra Leone

The Royal Navy – prime force for delivery of emergency aid and disaster relief

The size of the Britain’s £11Bn overseas aid budget is becoming increasingly controversial at a time when we are cutting defence spending and trying to reduce national debt. There are good reasons for wealthier nations to help the poorest in the world but whether these hand-outs create lasting peace and prosperity is questionable. There is however, a clear moral imperative when natural disasters occur to assist our fellow man struggling for their very survival. This important and frequently required humanitarian aid mission is often forgotten in political discussions around the size and shape of the navy.

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CND protest Parliament

In search of the Royal Navy’s political friends (Part 2: minority parties)

Summoning only a handful of MPs between them, the fringe parties have until now had a very limited ability to influence national issues. The absence of a legacy that can be criticised maybe to their advantage but they lack the political inexperience and the gravitas that comes with office. Any judgement of them must therefore be made mainly on their pronouncements, not their actions. The mainstream parties are mainly composed of ‘career politicians’ more concerned with power than ideology, but at least the fringe parties are predominantly ‘conviction politicians’ who actually believe in something. They tend to have stronger and sometimes extreme views on defence matters which must now be scrutinised.

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In search of the Royal Navy’s political friends (Part 1: the mainstream parties)

The general election due in May this year promises to be a tight contest and the result is unusually difficult to predict. Whatever the complexion of the new administration a defence review will be conducted in October that will be critical for the future of the RN and the security of the nation.

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Operation Sealion

Our new Battle of Britain – Have the lessons of history been forgotten or misunderstood?

This is a guest post by Dr. Anthony J. Cumming, graduate of Plymouth University and winner of the Julian Corbett Prize for Research in Modern Naval History. This piece provides a historical perspective on myths about defending Britain that continue to influence allocation of precious defence resources.

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Strategic Defence & Security Review 2015

SDSR 2015 Rumour Mill

This is an open post to that will be kept updated in the run up to the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) – the results of which are due to be announced by the Prime Minister on 23rd November. Here we will track and comment on the multiple rumours and media speculation about how the RN in particular maybe shaped by the defence review. Some of this will prove to be unfounded press stories, some are leaks from within different service factions indulging in ‘kite-flying’ to test reactions and some may prove to be true.

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