Displaying items by tag: Ministry of Defence

The Archbishop of Canterbury has called on the government to ‘put right’ the fact that a group of war widows who remarried after the deaths of their husbands, are not allowed to claim their pensions. He said, ‘One of the Bible's strongest, clearest, and most often repeated commands is to care for and honour the widow. The plight of the war widows who are not able to receive their military pensions is a very great wrong. To find love and happiness again after such loss and heartbreak only to be denied their rightful pension, and for many their means of living, leaves them in a cruel and unjustifiable situation and facing unbearable decisions. It must be put right.’ In 2015, changes were introduced and all who qualified would receive the pension for life. But the changes were not applied retrospectively, leaving around 200 women unable to claim the money.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 23 September 2021 22:03

Two data breaches imperil Afghans

Two defence ministry blunders in one week have put Afghan lives at risk. The UK said not everyone eligible for relocation could be evacuated before forces left Afghanistan, but the Ministry of Defence (MoD) would help those left behind to leave. The first data breach was an email containing addresses of 250 Afghan interpreters mistakenly copied by the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy team (ARAP) pledging assistance with their relocation to the UK. Some of the addresses showed people’s names and associated profile pictures. The mistake could cost lives. Following that error, officials sent another message 30 minutes later advising the recipients to change their email addresses. The second blunder saw MoD officials mistakenly copy 55 people into an email, making their details visible to all recipients. The defence secretary instigated an investigation into data handling, and one official has been suspended pending an outcome.

Published in British Isles
Thursday, 15 August 2019 23:40

Army 40% under strength

Ministry of Defence data show that numbers in infantry units have consistently been falling over the past five years. Some UK combat regiments are operating at almost 40% less than their required strength, due to declining recruitment numbers. A quarterly report noted a 7.6% drop in army personnel on 1 January. Defence secretary Ben Wallace has been urged to address the issue. Tory MP Bob Seely criticised the firm Capita, which began managing recruitment for the MoD in 2012. He said, ‘I’m afraid to say that Capita have not been a success. If you talk to people who are wanting to go into the Army, the most common way they describe it is shambolic and chaotic.’ A Capita spokesperson said that they are in the middle of a re-set, which started last year but is already seeing excellent results.

Published in British Isles
Friday, 31 May 2019 06:11

British Visas for Afghan translators

On 11 April you were asked to pray for Afghan translators, living in fear of retribution from the Taliban because they once served alongside British forces in wartime situations. The men and their families were promised visas for UK entry, but years later they are still in hiding in Afghanistan. You prayed for ‘the MoD to honour visa promises swiftly'. (Proverbs 3:23) On 27 May the media reported ‘the first Afghan translator arrived in the UK to start a new life with his family after years of death threats from the Taliban.’ Niz, his wife and their five children will live near Coventry, after living five years ‘in the shadows' because Niz worked as interpreter and was branded an infidel spy. Last week he became the first Afghan translator to begin a new life in Britain.

Published in Praise Reports
Friday, 15 March 2019 10:22

MoD-funded psychological research

The Ministry of Defence is looking for a contractor for its new psychological research, which will allegedly boost troops’ performance and well-being. The ministry’s agency is seeking contributions from specialists in the fields of psychiatry, neuroscience and social sciences to help shape future strategies and policies. The University of Cambridge was shortlisted to take part in an almost £70 million research programme. Initially the university’s participation was approved by the board which scrutinises funding for ethical and reputational risks. Now over forty academics have expressed ‘deep concern’ over the university’s involvement in secretive military programmes without consulting staff and students.

Published in British Isles