Or to be more precise, more on the MoD's plans to extend some future tours for army personnel deploying to Afghanistan to 8 months, and an update about the website Think Defence for those that haven't seen or heard yet. We'll start with TD first.For those who regularly frequent the site "Think Defence", you'll notice it's offline right now. From what I can gather, the site has essentially outlived TD's original expectations and is receiving a heavy traffic load each day. So he's having to up sticks and move to a new server, while taking the chance to update the design of the site (not again TD!!).
I gather this could take a couple of weeks, so if you want to follow the ongoing progress then here are a few links. I'll also post any significant news that I hear about it.
The first is to his flickr, though I still don't understand the point of flickr myself. Anyway, you can trawl through his collection of many hundreds of excellent photos, including container porn, by clicking here.
Then there is tumblr. I don't have a clue what tumblr is, but it's a thing. A thing that seems very similar to flickr, at least in name. Click here to view that. Then there's the Think Defence Facebook page, which I didn't know existed until today. Click here for that. And finally Twitter, for those that have twitter accounts. Click here for the Think Defence twitter. Apparently the database has migrated, whatever that means. Judging by the weather here, I don't blame it.
While we're at it, might as well plug my own twitter for those that are on it. Click here for the "Defence with a C" twitter feed.
Now onto Afghanistan.
The MoD has announced that the next rotation into theatre in October of this year (Herrick 19) will deploy for 8 months, instead of the usual six. This means their deployment will run until June 2014 instead of April 2014. The next brigade after that (Herrick 20) will be deploying for six months till December 2014, though some personnel will see their deployments extended out by another 3 months (March 2015) to provide support for the final withdrawal.
The stated aim is to reduce the total number of personnel who have to rotate into the theatre as the run up to withdrawal begins, and also takes into account the need to provide stability around the time of the Afghan Presidential Election in 2014 (scheduled for April 5th, 2014).
In return, personnel who are deployed to the theatre for more than 7.5 months will be eligible for a new 'Herrick Drawdown Allowance', which is estimated to be worth around £750 before tax (on top of existing allowances) for those who deploy for 8 months on Herrick 19.
You can read more about the details by clicking on this link.