Tuesday, 18 January 2022
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MoDIMG 20181218 1521345 2New Year's Honours for UK's Armed Forces 2022. Click on next page for full listing

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Robin Vienna IMG 20211105 1429357 1Almost daily there are reports of the impact of climate change on Arctic sea ice, and thus the geostrategic implications of greater freedom of navigation. In a very real sense the region has become the new frontier for global competition.

As a geopolitical power, the EU has strategic and day-to-day interests, both in the European Arctic and the broader Arctic region…..The EU’s full engagement in Arctic matters is a geopolitical necessity – EU Joint Declaration on the Arctic (13th October 2021)

The European Union is renowned for grand statements which take an age to come to pass, and are often disappointing. Its latest policy pronouncements in October (see Data Source 1 at the footnote for source) – supporting a Resolution by the European Parliament in September (Data Source 2) - on the Arctic – are mainly vague, wide ranging and worthy.


But they also offer an opportunity which, if the EU deploys mechanisms already in its armoury, allow it to take significant actions which will establish it as a geopolitical actor; which will support Member States, their interests, and associated territories in the Arctic region; and which will help fulfil the commitments it is making therein to international safety, stability and sustainability.

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s200 joseph.fallon
Geopolitics can best be understood as the application of Sir Isaac Newton's Laws of Motion to international relations. These laws "explain the relationship between a physical object [a state] and the forces acting upon it [other states]," writes Joseph E Fallon.

NATO's enlargement and Moscow's response to that enlargement in the Black Sea region is a case in point.

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A new RUSI book reveals an 'institutional blindness' at the heart of UK defence policy. This is exemplified by a pervasive obsession with 'grey zone' tools that ignores both real-world deterrence dynamics and the complex ends adversaries are pursuing using both conventional and unconventional methods.

Necessary Heresies, edited by RUSI experts Dr Jack Watling and Justin Bronk, highlights a range of damaging narratives and assumptions that dominate thinking at the highest levels of UK defence policy.

Emerging technologies are changing how militaries are structured and how they will fight in the future.

However, the authors of this book argue that many of the interpretations currently dominating the discourse in UK Defence about how these technologies and supposedly novel adversary activities will shape the future operating environment are provably false.

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Jean-François MORELCalled an "illiberal democracy" by its current prime minister Victor Orban, a new work by Catherine Horel (in French) explores the history of an emerging Hungary to the present day as a maverick member of the European Union.
In the beginning, it took eight centuries during the Middle Ages to build up a Hungarian state and fully integrate it in the game of the then great powers. The coming of Christianity was a fundamental driver for that.
Groups of Magyar tribes came from the Urals around the year 800, in the wake of the various invasion waves from the East at the end of the Western Roman Empire.

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Euan GrantIMG 20210712 1938206 3Writer Euan Grant has previously highlighted in Defence Viewpoints the rapidly growing activities of the Russian mercenary group - "Wagner" - in Africa, and no longer just in North Africa (Libya) where its presence in the Libyan civil war has been long documented, not least by very brave Russian and Libyan journalists. In reality, the organisation itself - and its crucially important logistical and political enablers - has been in sub Saharan Africa in various forms long before it suffered losses in Syria in early 2018. The three Russian journalists killed in the Central African Republic (CAR) in late July of the same year were investigating a well established presence in that country, not a new one.

His July 2021 article, highlighted that the group's dramatic expansion could not be explained or sustained without it being based on strong foundations in "host" countries. The article also highlighted a commonly but not universally made point, the close correlation between the force's presence and mining operations in remote regions, requiring security. Follow the helicopters.

Read Euan's update on the next page.

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Tatiana-foto-ver-5At the time of writing, Portugal had 13 active missions abroad, with a total of 574 military personnel engaged, with 47 means involved and 11 countries which are: Colombia; The Gulf of Guinea; Mali; Sao Tome and Principe; Central African Republic; Somalia; Somalia-Indian Ocean; Pomegranate; Jordan; Iraq; Afghanistan. (This is Part 3 of the Tatiana del Moraes study of the Portuguese Armed Forces for the U K Defence Forum) .

Portugal has collaborated extensively in United Nations peacekeeping missions, as well as in security and defense missions within the NATO and the European Union (EU). She is a founding member of NATO and an active member state in enhanced cooperation on security and defense matters in the EU.

For example, in 2019, about 392 military personnel participated in three United Nations missions; about 197 military personnel, a submarine and an aircraft for six European Union missions; and approximately 1100 military personnel, a frigate, a submarine, and seven aircraft for eleven NATO missions. The REAL THAW annual exercise of Portuguese joint and combined strength was designed to train a wide range of battlefield missions, in the most realistic environment possible. The exercise also focused on interoperability between different countries. Elements from Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Spain, the United States and NATO (AWACS) were employed under a simulated mandate authorized by the UN, deploying as a multinational stabilization force, and 648 military personnel, two frigates, a patrol vessel, a hydrographic vessel, and two aircraft for nine missions under bilateral and multilateral agreements. Details of operations can be found on the next page.

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INTRODUCTION

 

Tatiana-foto-ver-5The Portuguese Armed Forces include only Portuguese citizens. They have a single organization for the entire national territory and owe obedience to the competent sovereign bodies. They are at the service of the Portuguese people and are strictly non-partisan. Civilian/political control is exercise by the Minister for National Defence (as at 1 July 2021 Dr João Gomes Cravinho) This paper is part 2 of a 4-part study by Tatiana de Moraes for the U K Defence Forum

The Armed Forces increased in numbers during the pandemic. According to the Ministry of Defense, there is greater attractiveness in the career, highlighting the Action Plan for the Professionalization of Military Service, so the military career is now more attractive.

The new military programming law for the period 2019-30 that was passed by Parliament will finance the acquisition of five KC-390 aircraft, six offshore patrol vessels, a refuelling tanker and a multipurpose logistics vessel. In addition there will be investment in cyber defence and combat systems soldiers.

Portugal hosts NATO's cybersecurity academy and the country also contributes to the European Union's military structures.

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Geoff Hoon photo resize"There have been a series of agreements and declarations which have emphasised the need for ever closer cooperation between the EU and NATO..... What is required is for the EU to demonstrate that politically it is better placed to avoid unnecessary military duplication, pool resources and plan collectively for future procurements."

Speaking at an AIES defence conference in Vienna on European Security and Defence in November 2021, Rt Hon Geoff Hoon, former UK Secretary of State for Defence acknowledged the many friends and former colleagues in the audience and on the platform, in particular Senator Alain Richard from France.

He said "The two of us worked closely together in excellent Franco-British cooperation to help establish the early stages of ESDP. It does mean however that it is more than a little strange discussing where those initiatives have now reached recognising that it is highly unlikely that the UK will be involved – at least in an institutional sense given the current politics of the UK.

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