A look at the Defence news 5 June - 12 June

Gaining new insight into the threat posed by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and intensifying collaboration to counter it was central to the counter-IED information day held at the National Military Museum in Soest on 9 June. As recent attacks in Europe have made clear, the threat from IEDs does not only affect military personnel on missions.

Robots to disfuse IED's.
Robots to disfuse IED's.

Working together to counter IEDs

The Defence Counter-IED Centre of Expertise wants to share knowledge and join forces. A range of speakers provided insight into the developments in their field. Major Jaap van Gelder, head of the Prepare the Force agency, spoke to the around 80 participants about the mission area in Mali. The number of civilian victims of IED attacks in the West African country is rising, as is the IED threat. Mr Geert Pattyn, Chief Superintendent of the Belgian Federal Police, spoke about the changes that have been made to the procedures for crisis situations since the attacks of 22 March 2016. The knowledge of the Belgium Explosive Ordnance Disposal Service will also be shared with a wider audience.

Raid of Chatham

“As our king Charles II said at the time, ‘Don’t fight the Dutch, imitate them,’” quoted British First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Philip Jones during the commemoration of the Raid of Chatham. “This led,” he continued, “to a period of reconstruction and two centuries of British dominance of the world’s oceans.” This sore defeat worked as a wake-up call for the English naval forces.

In Chatham yesterday, the Royal British Navy and the Royal Netherlands Navy marked the occasion 350 years ago when a Dutch fleet wreaked havoc at this seaport in the south of England. The fleet was under the leadership of Michiel de Ruyter. During a daring action in June 1667, the fleet broke the defensive chain across the Medway and destroyed and captured parts of the English fleet.

The Commander of the Royal Netherlands Navy Lieutenant General (Marines) Rob Verkerk spoke of his pride of “this first integrated operation of the fleet and the Marine Corps,” saying he now saw the chain – once intended to keep out the Dutch – as a symbol of joint defence and long-term collaboration.