The BBC reports that the parents of six Royal Military Police soldiers killed in Iraq say they are being 'excluded' from the trial of the men accused of their murder. | The Guardian claims that putting off plans to replace the Trident weapons system until after the next General Election, and scaling down plans to build two new aircraft carriers, are expected to be among key decisions agreed at a meeting of the National Security Council next week. | The Times features a comment piece looking ahead to the Strategic Defence and Security Review which argues that the cuts may not be as dramatic as has been speculated for the Armed Forces, but they will still have a significant impact on industry. | The Daily Express features a comment piece by David Robson on British withdrawal from Sangin which says that the Americans have always been critical of the British strategy in the province. | The Sun reports that British Army dog handlers have appealed to the public to send toys for the working dogs in Afghanistan. | Various media outlets have reported that a British national has gone missing in Afghanistan and it's reported that the female aid worker was kidnapped along with three locals in Kunar province on Sunday morning when their two-car convoy was ambushed by armed men. | The Mail on Sunday claims that the MOD may need to find further cuts following the release of 'defence inflation' figures later this week. | The News of the World claims top military officers are leading pampered lives according to figures detailing the amount spent on official Service residencies and subsidised boarding school fees. | The Sunday Times reports on speculation that President Karzai is suffering manic depression and is trying to compensate by smoking hashish. | The People claims that more than 300 sailors in the Royal Navy have been accused of sexual misconduct in the past five years. | The Times reports that Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox has told the MOD to look again at the feasibility of using the Territorial Army as 'stand alone deployable units' in Afghanistan. | The Financial Times reports that thousands of US and Afghan troops have launched combat missions near Kandahar in what is being seen as a pivotal phase in the campaign against the insurgents. | The Sun reports that Britain's top General in Afghanistan, Lieutenant General Nick Parker, says Britain must hold its nerve over the war. | The Daily Telegraph claims that Special Forces soldiers are calling for parachute training to be taken out of the hands of the RAF.
Royal Navy training
The Mail on Sunday reports that 'Navy chiefs have been ordered to freeze the training of new recruits for six months'. The Armed Forces constantly keep manpower under review to ensure we have the right number of people with the right skills to do the job. There has recently been an increase in the number of people wanting a career in the Services and we are currently at the highest level of manning we have been at for many years.
Because of this, we have reduced the number of recruits who go into the training organisations and in some cases delayed the start of individuals' training. This is to make sure that the forces are balanced and that we don't have more people than we need. We have not frozen recruitment though and we are always looking for enthusiastic, determined and committed young people to fulfil challenging roles.
HMS Raleigh will continue to be the Royal Navy's largest training establishment in the South West. Recruit training is just one element of the training provided at HMS Raleigh; we also conduct specialist training in areas such as submarine operations, seamanship and logistics.
At Britannia Royal Naval College, recruitment will continue with slightly reduced numbers. The standard entry of 144 cadets will be reduced to 96.
Allegations over statements made to judicial review
The Sunday Times claims that 'leaked emails show that Colonel Dudley Giles, Second-in-Command of the Royal Military Police (RMP), told senior investigators to change their witness statements made for a judicial review into one of the most controverial incidents of the British campaign in Iraq'. The newspaper claims that Colonel Giles 'has been accused of ordering his staff to lie to High Court judges about an investigation into allegations that British troops killed 20 unarmed Iraqis'. We are aware of new allegations about Colonel Giles. These are being considered carefully, as would any allegation about any member of the Armed Forces. But this must be done through due process. It would be inappropriate to comment further on the allegations against him at this time.
The High Court's criticism of the MOD and of Colonel Giles in the Al Sweady case is a matter of public record. Colonel Giles is a highly respected RMP officer with over 30 years' exemplary service. As a result of the court criticisms, he no longer serves in an investigative capacity.