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10 August 2018 – Cambridge, UK

by Robert Grayston

United Kingdom

A dating app has been used to try and steal information on the F-35 fighter jet from the RAF. The efforts did not yield any results and no details were passed on, but the RAF has since updated guidance covering online activity.

The UK’s military modernisation programme will be unveiled later this year according to Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. This would involve “having the most high-tech platforms and the ability to change those high-tech platforms” according to Williamson, who also mentioned his hopes over the US acquiring the Tempest fighter which is currently under development in the UK.


German politicians have rejected a possible return to compulsory military service. “This would mean there would be more new recruits than soldiers in the Bundeswehr. This is absurd,” said Hans-Peter Bartels, the German parliament’s commissioner for the armed forces.

Russia has warned NATO over the potential membership of Georgia into the alliance. It has been ten years since the conflict between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia, and whilst relations have improved they are not yet normalised. Recently a delegation with members from Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Ukraine visited the capital Tbilisi and urged Russia to withdraw its military presence from Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Troops from NATO states and cooperative nations have also recently been engaged in exercises in Georgia which may have contributed to the Russian statement.

Pakistani troops will be training at Russian bases after a recent agreement aimed at strengthening bilateral defence ties. With a recent downturn in the relationship between the US and Pakistan, it has increasingly turned to China and Russia for its security requirements. Russia and Pakistan have also held joint exercises code-named ‘Friendship’.

North America

The US is imposing sanctions on Russia after the failed attempt to kill Sergei Skripal on British soil. The sanctions forbid Russia from access to a range of US technologies and will possibly cost Moscow several hundreds of millions of dollars. The chair of the House foreign affairs committee said, “Vladimir Putin must know that we will not tolerate his deadly acts, or his ongoing attacks on our democratic process.”

President Donald Trump has said he wants Space Force to be operational by 2020. The planned sixth branch of the US armed forces has divided opinion both politically and militarily, with many considering it to be a waste of resources in an already bureaucratic environment.


The UK Defence Secretary has met several defence ministers in East Africa, in addition to announcing the extension of the British Army’s infantry training mission in Kenya. The UN mission in Sudan (UNMISS) was also discussed, as well as Williamson opening a new training centre to combat sexual violence in conflict zones.

Middle East

The US is closely observing Iranian naval manoeuvres in the Strait of Hormuz. It is possible that Iranian action is partially linked to the recent imposing of sanctions on Iran by President Trump, but the Iranian government has said that it is a routine exercise by its Revolutionary Islamic Guard.

According to Israel, Syria’s ground forces have now grown above than their pre-civil war numbers. Although there was a recognised manpower shortage for Syrian government forces, assistance from Russia and Iran helped overcome these issues to the point of concern for neighbouring Israel. Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israeli tanks positioned in the Golan Heights were “our crushing strike force and will know how to defend the border in any eventuality”.

The UN has said it wishes to avoid “a civilian bloodbath” in the last Syrian rebel bastion of Idlib. Government forces have recently attacked the area with rockets and artillery in preparation for a major assault. There are severe concerns over the humanitarian cost of military action here owing to the large number of civilians.


President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan is seeking to increase the defence budget in an environment of increasing hostility with China. “Our national security is faced with more obvious and complicated threats,” President Ing-wen said, at a time when Taiwan is increasingly looking to the US as an ally. Recently the US did agree to allow a licence for selling submarine technology to Taiwan.

Taiwan has reportedly moved cruise missiles to pose more of a threat to mainland Chinese targets.  The Taiwanese Defence Ministry has declined to comment and said all reports were “all speculation by media.” However, Song Zhongping, a missile expert and ex-PLA Artillery Corps member, has said that “Taipei can only use this weapon as a deterrent and a political card… not as an actual military weapon to target the mainland.”

China and Russia are to have joint talks in Moscow as part of their joint strategic security consultation. Both Beijing and Moscow are seeking closer ties at a time when the USA is acting in a less predictable fashion than it has historically.

Not to be outdone by President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a unmatched new missile delivery system, China has now announced its first hypersonic vehicle test. This is the first time China has officially announced its development of this technology, with one expert stating this “showed that China is advancing shoulder-to-shoulder with the US and Russia.”


Social media wires

NATO troops during urban fighting training.


Three northern towns in Afghanistan have fallen to the Taliban as they routed the ISIS Khorasan chapter.

Feature photo – Tinder app – MaxPixel, 2018

The Wires Brief is a weekly breaking news report incorporating wire service news and social media updates. DefRep can not verify the authenticity of social media reporters nor the accuracy of social media updates.

By Robert Grayston

Robert Grayston is DefenceReport’s marketing coordinator and occasional contributor. His most recent experience has involved security policy work for a member of the Shadow Defence team in the British Parliament. He can be emailed at [email protected]