BFBS Radio Sitrep
NYF and Sony Radio Award winning Sitrep brings you discussion and analysis on defence, foreign policy and the stories affecting the British Forces. Presented by Kate Gerbeau with defence analyst Christopher Lee.

We assess the impact of the military's response to Covid 19: Russia's security services under the spotlight.

One of the RAF’s first female fast jet pilots tells Sitrep what it was like to be a pioneer in her field and our ambassador to Washington enlists the help of the Army, the Navy and the RAF in making the perfect cup of tea!

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Direct download: Sitrep_25_June_2020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:49am UTC

Tributes paid to Dame Vera Lynn, the forces sweetheart.

President Trump has confirmed that 9,500 US troops are to leave Germany, so how will that affect NATO's strategy in Europe?

The Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee tells Sitrep of his deep concern over the fatal clashes at the border between China and India

Plus -  why a new research project has been launched to see how veterans are coping during the Covid 19 pandemic. 

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Direct download: Sitrep_18_June_2020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:39am UTC

One of the Army’s most senior officers has told BFBS Sitrep why he wrote an open letter about tackling racism, following the protests over the death of George Floyd.

Commander, Home Command, Lieutenant General Tyrone Urch told Sitrep that the British Army was not immune to incidences of racism and he's written to all commanders saying he is determined the army will push back against racism, hatred and division.

We also hear from a former United States permanent representative to NATO about a warning this week from the organisation's head about the growing economic and military power of China. Jens Stoltenberg said the West must stand together to face any challenges.

And the oldest Admiral in the fleet... we look at Prince Philip's war time experiences - including witnessing  Japan's surrender - in the week he celebrates his 99th birthday.

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Direct download: Sitrep_11_June_2020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:27pm UTC

We hear about the new regiment being formed to counter the threat from digital attacks. The first dedicated Cyber regiment is designed to protect defence networks at home and on operations overseas. Brigadier John Collyer - the Commander of 1st Signal Brigade - tells us about the threats and explains how the 13th Signal regiment is made up from different specialist teams. 

 

The military have been widely praised for their work throughout the COVID 19 crisis but questions are being asked now about the impact of the pandemic on government spending overall, and on defence spending in particular. We hear from the Defence Secretary giving evidence in parliament and from defence experts.

 

And what advice on leadership and motivation would you give a 14 year old? We hear from a father who, when working at Downing St, asked world leaders, authors and sports stars to write down their life advice for his son we hear what George W Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev and J.K. Rowling, among others.

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Direct download: Sitrep_4_June_2020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:32pm UTC

We hear from scientists at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down who have been using their expertise to assess how the coronavirus behaves and to support the government's testing programme.

We assess the impact of Dunkirk 80 years after the evacuation of over 300,000 thousand British and Allied troops from the beaches and hear from a 100 year old veteran who was taken prisoner.

And we hear how the US Army is using skilled gamers in its ranks to reach out to prospective recruits  at a time when coronavirus makes career fairs difficult. The army e-sports team competes full time and organises large online tournaments where they can meet prospective soldiers.

 

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Direct download: Sitrep_28_May.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:31am UTC

It’s Mental Health Awareness week, and this year’s theme is “kindness” — in this week’s Sitrep we hear how one military charity’s helping some of those struggling to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

We’ll find out how NATO’s combating disinformation around the virus — with help from the British military.

And we’ll hear from the head of the UN relief mission in Yemen — a country battered by years of civil war, and now struggling with Covid-19.

Plus updates on how the pandemic’s affecting British forces communities in Canada and Cyprus — and the Red Arrows have a new home — not too far from the old one.

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Direct download: Sitrep_21_May_2020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:04am UTC

MPs on the Commons Defence Select Committee want to know if the military could have been used sooner to boost Britain's response to the coronavirus pandemic -- we'll speak to the committee's chairman.

We'll also ask why America sent its fleet of bombers into the skies above Europe and the Indo-Pacific this week in a show of strength — aimed in part at China.

Most military personnel who think they have a valid complaint about their treatment don’t actually make one. And according to the Ombudsman overseeing service complaints, the system is neither efficient or fair.

We hear from Nicola Williams about what’s working, what’s not, and why women in the military are nearly five times more likely to file a complaint than men.

We’ve updates on how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting reserves in Northern Ireland, and the impact of a slight easing of restrictions in Germany.

Plus we take to the skies with the Covid Aviation Task Force, which has been helping the NHS in its response to the pandemic.

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Direct download: Sitrep_14_May_2020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:50am UTC

We look at the government’s plans to re-start military training programmes, despite the continuing coronavirus lockdown. Ministers say it’ll be done in a “responsible, socially distanced way” — but how?

Who could be trying to hack into the labs working on a coronavirus vaccine? A warning this week pointed the finger at “hostile actors” — we’ll look at why it’s happening.

We’ll hear from one military charity worried about the mental health of veterans dealing with the pandemic.

And ahead of the VE Day anniversary, we’ll find out how it’s being marked at home and online, hear from Cyprus about the role the island played in the war, and we’ve a special report from Germany on what surrender meant for its citizens.

 

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Direct download: Sitrep_7_May_2020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:52am UTC

What will the world look like when the coronavirus pandemic is in the past? Will relations with China collapse? How will Russia respond? And where does it leave Britain? We’ll discuss the potential for major change with the director-general of RUSI

We report on the military’s latest role responding to the pandemic — setting up dozens of mobile testing facilities

We get updates on how forces communities around the world are coping with the lockdown.

And on Captain Tom Moore’s 100th birthday, we hear from the postmaster who’s had to cope with more than 100-thousand cards.

Plus, a former MoD expert on UFOs tells us why the Pentagon’s suddenly being so open about potential close encounters.

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Direct download: Sitrep_30_April.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:04am UTC

Thousands of military personnel are part of Britain’s response to the Coronavirus crisis, but should they be doing more?

What are the parallels between being in a war zone and being on the frontline of the medical battle against Covid-19?  Sitrep speaks to an expert in military mental health,

And, as the head of MI5 steps down, what are the security threats we need to be worried about once the pandemic has passed?

Plus, how are military charities coping as many face financial crisis?

 

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Direct download: Sitrep_23_April_2020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:35am UTC

The coronavirus pandemic respects no borders, striking the wealthiest countries, and the poorest. This week, we look at the potential impact on conflict zones.

A former adviser to the US State Department tells us Afghanistan will have to cope without much international support.

In the United States, Donald Trump comes under more pressure over his response to the pandemic. Will it prompt him to withdraw even further from America’s decades-old role as global leader?

We get an update from Cyprus on how the outbreak is affecting the lives of the British forces community.

And we tell the story of Captain Tom Moore, the 99-year-old veteran who’s raised millions for the NHS.

Direct download: Sitrep_16_April.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:37am UTC

With the Prime Minister in hospital, who’s in charge of Britain’s security? As the Government continues to fight against the coronavirus pandemic, former RUSI head Professor Michael Clarke tells us some will see an opportunity to exploit.

The Chief of the Defence Staff is telling the forces to treat the virus response as a long-term operation — we speak to retired Major General Tim Robinson, formerly in charge of military assistance to civilian authorities, about the different mindset that’s required.

And as the coronavirus reaches Africa, are there lessons from the way British forces helped to tackle the Ebola outbreak there in 2014. We hear from Kate Dooley, from the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, who’s normally based in Sierra Leone.

Plus care homes call on the public to get in touch with lonely veterans, forced to isolate while the outbreak continues.

Direct download: Sitrep_9_April_2020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:44am UTC

The giant NHS Nightingale Hospital in London’s docklands prepares to receive patients — built in just a few days with help from the Army. We’ve a special report from inside the hospital.

As thousands of reservists are called up and the RAF and Royal Navy make their own contributions to the national response to the pandemic, we’ll hear from the First Sea Lord, and get updates from forces communities in Germany, the Falklands and Cyprus.

Plus we learn more about the call to veterans to help their local communities cope with the virus.

Fake news connected to the pandemic is spreading around the world — we’ll explore the task facing the new government unit set up to combat conspiracy theories.

And we hear how a group of veterans in Scotland are using technology to keep in touch despite the rules on social distancing.

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Direct download: Sitrep_2_April_2020_v2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:58am UTC

We hear from some of those in the forces helping the UK’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Former Chief of the Defence Staff Lord Richards tells us the Army’s “perfect” to help build a giant new hospital in London — and remembers his experiences of being drafted in to help in past civil emergencies.

We learn about the military personnel training to deliver vital oxygen supplies to hospitals up and down the country, and find out how the outbreak could threaten charities working with veterans.

Plus we look at how prepared the UK was for this emergency — do we need to think more about civil defence?

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Direct download: Sitrep_26_March.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:24am UTC

After an extraordinary week for the UK and the world, this week’s Sitrep looks at the role the military is likely play in the response to the coronavirus outbreak.

We’ve a full update on the MoD’s plans so far, and former defence minister Tobias Ellwood tells us how the military will fit into the overall response.

Michael Clarke, the former director-general at the Royal United Services Institute, remembers past occasions where the military’s been called in to help out, and chemical weapons expert Hamish de Bretton Gordon talks through the lessons from the Novichok attack in Salisbury that could come in handy in the coming weeks.

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Direct download: 11_Sitrep_Pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:48am UTC

It’s five years since Saudi Arabia first intervened in the fighting in Yemen. Since then it’s escalated into the world’s worst humanitarian disaster — and this week aid agencies have warned the situation could get even worse.

We’ll hear from the Red Cross, on the ground in Yemen, on the crisis facing its population — and learn more about Saudi Arabia’s huge surge in arms imports during the conflict — and who’s selling them the weapons.

Plus a special report from Africa on Britain’s growing military role in the continent, and find out more about the coming deployment to Mali.

And if you thought you’d soon see the back of Vladimir Putin — think again. Find out how Russia’s leader plans to effectively become president for life with Russia analyst Stephen Dalziel

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Direct download: 10_Sitrep_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:47pm UTC

Should the military be helping in the fight against coronavirus?  

Lord Dannatt, former head of the Army, tells Sitrep his thoughts.

How British troops are training African soldiers to combat the Islamist extremists in the Sahel.

And find out what it's like to be a RAF reservist....

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Direct download: 09_Sitrep_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:01am UTC

Downing Street has launched a huge review of defence, security and foreign policy. It's like nothing we've seen before.  Lucy Fisher, Defence Editor at The Times and Professor Michael Clarke, Distinguished Fellow at RUSI explain how it might work.

Our reporter Sian Grzeszczyk talks to former Major General John Henderson who is now Chief Executive of Staffordshire County Council about life after service.

And Ed Jennings reports on the new technology which could make it easier for pirates to operate at sea.

Presented by Kate Gerbeau with Christopher Lee.

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Direct download: SITREP_WK_8_POD.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:44pm UTC

The scale of the humanitarian tragedy unfolding in Syria is hard to comprehend.   Close to 1-million civilians — the majority women and children — have fled towards the Turkish border in the depths of winter.  Western nations, though, appear unwilling to do anything.

Germany’s president criticises the US, and Mike Pompeo insists the transatlantic alliance remains strong. We’ll look at those competing claims, and why the UK only sent a very junior representative to the first big international security conference since Brexit.

 

Sir William Patey talks about the impending peace deal in Afghanistan, the way the Taliban has managed to win a key role in deciding the country’s future, and the political pressure pushing Trump to sign the deal.

 

A lot has changed in the two decades since the government lifted the bar on gay and bisexual people serving in the armed forces.  Now a group of veterans and serving personnel - some of them instrumental in fighting to remove that ban - are giving their backing to a new charity called "Fighting with Pride".

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Direct download: 07_Sitrep_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:53am UTC

The Army has some rare good news on the shortfalls in its ranks.  It is about to meet its recruitment target for the first time since it started a controversial private partnership with Capita in 2012.

The cabinet reshuffle didn't go quite as expected but are there any defence implications?  We talk to Lucy Fisher, Defence Editor at the The Times

Africa’s Sahel region, is currently at the centre of huge conflict and displacement with different armed groups, including Al Qaeda and Islamic State moving in. We talk to Paul Melly, consulting fellow at Chatham House.

The United States is a hundred percent committed to NATO.  So says a US General involved in the planning of the largest deployment of U.S.-based forces to Europe for an exercise in more than 25 years.

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Direct download: 06_Sitrep_Pod.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:28am UTC

President Trump’s made his annual State of the Union address to Congress.  Malcolm Brown from Feature Story News in Washington explains how it went down with the voters and Dr Karin von Hippel the Director General of RUSI talks about the current state of Britain’s relationship with the US.

Does the United Nations need reform? Antonio Guterres, the Secretary General of the UN, is angry because countries are ignoring security council resolutions. 

The new chairman of the House of Commons Defence Committee, Tobias Ellwood, tells us what he hopes to achieve in the job.

And aviation expert Paul Beaver gives his view on the RAF’s new Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

Presented by Kate Gerbeau with Christopher Lee.

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Direct download: 05_Sitrep_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:31am UTC

The Government’s made its decision on Huawei and the new 5G Network – but is it the right one?  James Sullivan, head of Cyber Research at the Royal United Services Institute looks at the concerns surrounding the announcement.

As we remember the Holocaust, why are we ignoring the human-rights atrocities happening right now?  Paul Rogers, Professor of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford, reminds us of today’s brutalities.

Sian Grzeszczyk speaks to Bae System’s Human Factors lead researcher, Suzy Broadbent, about the new technology that will read the minds of future fast-jet pilots to improve their performance. 

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Direct download: 04_Sitrep_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:54am UTC

The 2020 Defence Review – is it big enough to shape Britain’s future defence policy?  Defence analysts Francis Tusa and Christopher Lee discuss the possible options.

The former First Sea Lord, Admiral Lord West explains why is there concern over the repair programme for the Type 45s.

Did the government do a deal with Sinn Fein that could lead to more veterans being prosecuted?  Former defence minister Mark Francois voices his concern.

And remembering Peter Hobday, the first presenter of Sitrep.

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Direct download: 03_Sitrep_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:21am UTC

Higar Chemali, the former spokesperson for the US mission to the United Nations and Professor Scott Lucas from Birmingham University tell us

why the UK has changed its policy on the  Iran nuclear deal, and look at America’s reaction one week after the air strikes against US forces in Iraq.

Former Kremlin advisor Alexander Nekrassov looks at President Putin’s big plan for the future leadership of Russia

Who’s fighting who in Libya? Mary Fitzgerald is a writer and frequent visitor to the beleaguered country and explains all the different factions in the current crisis.

According to a recent survey carried out by the International Committee of the Red Cross, millennials across the globe are worried about war, but why?

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Direct download: 02_Sitrep_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:03am UTC

This week Sitrep takes an in-depth look at the Iran-US crisis,

Was it a bad decision by the United States?  Should the UK's foreign policy should be aligned so closely with America's?

How have Europe & Russia reacted to the rising tensions?

And where does this leave British and American troops based in Iraq and what are the longer-term consequences for the Middle East?

That’s all in this week’s Sitrep with James Hirst and Christopher Lee

 

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Direct download: 01_Sitrep_Podcast.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:52am UTC

BRIXMIS was a unit of the British Army set up at the end of the Second World War as part of a liaison mission between the wartime allies: Britain, France, America, and The Soviet Union.

BRIXMIS stands for the 'British Commander-in-Chief’s Mission to the Soviet Forces in Germany'.

However, BRIXMIS rapidly became, in common with United States (USMLM) and French Allied Military Liaison Missions (FMLM), something quite different.

In this special edition of Sitrep, BFBS reporter Rosie Laydon tells Kate Gerbeau how she took former BRIXMIS operative Dave Butler back to Germany, where he spied on Soviet troops at the height of the cold war.  As well as Dave, Rosie spoke to other former spies from Britain, the US and the former Soviet Union, who all have dramatic tales of espionage in plain sight.

Want more?

To read Dave's story in his own words and see photos from the time:  forces.net

To see the Forces TV documentary:  youtube.com/playlist

You can hear more stories about the British Forces every week by  subscribing to Sitrep.  New Episodes are released on Thursdays.

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Direct download: All_Parts_Brixmis_Edit_Mixdown_2.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:10pm UTC