Various papers give coverage of the Defence Secretary's speech and First Sea Lord's comment yesterday on Scottish independence. | The Guardian reports that lawyers for Iraqi families, British soldiers and the Ministry of Defence will make their case for the final time today after more than a year of public hearings about the fierce battle that took place in Iraq a decade ago.
Camp Bastion attack report
This morning there has been widespread reporting on the HCDC report into the Camp Bastion attack in September 2012. The MOD contributed fully to this review, as it has with previous International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), US and UK reports into the incident, responding to all the Committee's requests. This included evidence sessions with the Secretary of State for Defence and the Chief of Joint Operations, who briefed members on how the incident unfolded in both open and closed session. The MOD also provided a considerable amount of classified information that was within its gift to release, and addressed specific questions on the events preceding and following the attack. In addition, the MOD facilitated a visit by the Committee to Camp Bastion itself during which they had a briefing from commanders on the ground.
As the HCDC made clear in its press release yesterday, the Committee is satisfied that 'the vulnerabilities which led to this extraordinary attack have now been addressed'. We are confident that we have identified all significant lessons and acted upon them, and content with our earlier assessment that no further UK action is required.
In response to the report, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said yesterday:
"The MOD is not complacent and always seeks to capture and learn lessons from current operations. Commanders in the field have to prioritise resources against potential threats in theatre and at the time a threat to Camp Bastion was considered to be lower than to other ISAF assets in Helmand. UK commanders have identified and acted upon all lessons following the attack on Camp Bastion in 2012. A considerable amount of classified information has been given to the Committee to help answer questions on the events preceding and following the attack. I would like to again pay tribute to the bravery of the ISAF personnel, including those from the UK, who repelled the insurgents. My thoughts remain with the families of the 2 US Marines who lost their lives."