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  • Decline in political stability expected following Afghan presidential contest as unifying victor unlikely

    Key Points Presidential elections will be held in Afghanistan on 5 April. President Hamid Karzai's term bar means that there will be a new president for the first time since the United States-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, who will oversee the end of the international mission in the country.

  • Pentagon 2015 budget: Under fiscal strain, USAF justifies fleet retirements

    Key Points The USAF wants to purchase new platforms in order to stay ahead of adversaries' increasing technological sophistication At least two entire fleets, A-10s and U-2s, would be retired in the next five years under the USAF plan The US Air Force (USAF) is defending plans to retire entire

  • Spending spree: IHS' Second Balance of Trade Report 2014

    The second annual IHS Balance of Trade report has revealed that 2013 was another strong growth year for defence trade. Traditional markets expanded by USD2 billion to USD67 billion, while some emerging markets are starting to impact on the structure of the global market, according to the 2014

  • Burkinabé president's re-election bid likely to continue despite allied party opposition, increasing risks of violent protest

    EVENT The main allied party of the Burkinabé ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress (Congrès pour la Démocratie et le Progrès: CDP) announced after its annual conference that it is totally opposed to a referendum on removing presidential term limits. The Alliance for

  • Nexter reports profits, orders down in 2013

    France's Nexter Systems announced its 2013 annual earnings on 18 March, revealing a decline from 2012 in orders and net profit. Orders for the group totalled EUR612 million (USD852 million), down from 2012's EUR862 million, with contracts for 37 CAESAR mobile artillery systems and France's

  • Boeing and Karem named as latest VTOL X-Plane contenders

    Boeing and Karem have been officially added to the list of companies awarded contracts under the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) X-Plane programme, the agency announced on 18 March. The companies join Aurora Flight Sciences, and Sikorsky in

  • Country Risk Watch - April 2014

    Security crackdown will not stop anti-Maduro protests in Venezuela University students and civil society groups are likely to continue staging anti-government protests and roadblocks in Venezuela, despite incumbent president Nicolás Maduro's calls for dialogue. The protests, which Maduro has

  • Ukraine futures: borders, boundaries and sovereignty challenges

    Putin's violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and his attempt to annex Crimea is another stark reminder that the dimensions of the international system are not static and nor are they accepted by all for all time. Borders, boundaries and maps change and, more importantly for security and intelligence

  • OSINT Summary: Al-Shabaab leader releases statement in response to Somali offensive

    On 9 March, an audio statement from the emir of Somali militant Islamist group Harakat al-Shabaab al-Mujahideen, Ahmad Abdi Aw Muhammad Godane (alias Sheikh Mukhtar Abu Zubayr), was posted on Somali jihadist websites. The broad theme of the message was a response to the seeming beginning of the

  • Ukraine futures: time for a NATO reboot

    Putin's foray into Ukraine has highlighted NATO's inability to deter and dissuade provocative activity on its borders and has raised fundamental questions about the Alliance's current and future role. For 20 years, NATO and the European Union have sought to take advantage of post-Soviet Russian

  • Chinese marines get first taste of cold weather training

    About 3,000 troops belonging to the People's Liberation Army Navy Marines (PLANM) were deployed together with their heavy equipment and vehicles to a training base in Inner Mongolia for winter warfare training, state media reported in late February. It was the first time a PLANM brigade had been

  • Spanish Army helicopters conduct first ever landing on US warship

    Spanish Army helicopters have landed on board a US warship for the first time, in an exercise on board USS Gunston Hall . The 16,195 tonne full load Whidbey Island-class landing ship dock (LSD) vessel was transiting the Strait of Gibraltar when the compatibility exercise took place at the end of

  • Ukraine futures: escalation or restraint?

    While the potential for escalation and miscalculation persists, an armed conflict between Russia and the United States or NATO in the Black Sea is highly unlikely. The stakes are simultaneously too high – a war would disrupt energy flows to Europe, upset financial markets, undermine diplomatic

  • Iran rolls out ballistic missiles

    The Iranian Ministry of Defence (MoD) held a ceremony on 5 March to mark the delivery of Ghadr, Qiam, Fateh-110 and Khalij Fars ballistic missiles to operational units. The Iranian MoD released photographs showing 15 Ghadrs and 44 Qiams lined up in rows. The Ghadr is the latest variant of the

  • Singapore commits to 'steady' defence investment to 2030

    Singapore's Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen has outlined a commitment to continue the country's "steady" investment in defence as part of its bid to achieve by 2030 a "highly connected" military force. In February Singapore announced a 2014 defence budget of SGD12.56 billion

  • Djibouti, China agree 'strategic partnership'

    Djibouti and China signed a "security and defence strategic partnership" agreement on 25 February, according to the Horn of Africa's Sabahi news service. Sabahi cited Djiboutian Defence Minister Hassan Darar Houffaneh as saying he had signed an agreement with his Chinese counterpart,

  • L-3 Communications buys big data firm Data Tactics

    L-3 Communications has acquired Data Tactics Corporation, a US supplier of big data analytics and cloud computing services to the US Department of Defense. The transaction - terms of which were not disclosed - was announced on 5 March. Data Tactics will be renamed L-3 Data Tactics, following a

  • Risk of violence in Ukraine will rise substantially around Crimean referendum

    EVENT The local parliament in the Ukrainian region of Crimea today (6 March) voted to schedule a previously proposed referendum on 16 March to decide whether the autonomous republic should be integrated into the Russian Federation. The peninsula's residents will be asked whether they favour

  • US considering procurement agreement with Slovenia

    The United States Department of Defense (DoD) is considering liberalising procurement regulations with Slovenia as part of a Reciprocal Defence Procurement (RDP) Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The DoD is currently in the process of soliciting feedback on industry's experience of dealing with

  • Boeing conducts maiden flight of MSA

    Boeing has conducted the first flight of its business jet-based Maritime Surveillance Aircraft (MSA), the company announced on 5 March. The four-hour flight, from Toronto's Pearson International Airport on 28 February, involved a Bombardier Challenger 604 testbed platform with structural and system

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