The Battle of Bastion – Corrected Evidence Published

The Defence Select Committee have now published the corrected transcript of evidence regarding the attck on Camp Bastion in 2012

This is a corrected transcript of evidence taken in public and reported to the House. The transcript has been placed on the internet on the authority of the Committee, and copies have been made available by the Vote Office for the use of Members and others.

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The key sentence

Following the publication of the US review, I advised the Defence Secretary and the Chief of the Defence Staff that there was no reason to alter our assessment; that no further UK action was required in respect of events on 14 and 15 September 2012. That advice has been accepted.

Watch in full

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So there you go then.

Nothing to see hear, move along…






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January 20, 2014 11:32 am

The word review appears 41 times and the word report appears 38 times; and the conclusion of all this is:

“there was no single causal factor for the attack and that no further lessons could be gleaned from the existing reviews and their supporting reports. It found no grounds, on the information presented in the reports, for any further investigations to be conducted”


January 20, 2014 1:53 pm

To be fair I think the General’s repeated use of the word ‘further’ and somewhat disjointed chronology of events, leaves the evidence extracts open to some ambiguity. Unless I, in turn, am reading too much into the choice of selected quotes above and thus overestimating the level of cynicism!

The preceding paragraphs to Derek’s quote, indicate that this was the conclusion of a UK-based review, that was being conducted only, after: 1) the UK in-theatre AAR; 2) the regional ISAF review; 3) the separate Commander ISAF review; 4) a US review; 5) a supplemental ISAF review to take into account any lessons gleaned in 4.
In that context I see ‘ further lessons..investigations..’ as – there is little more to learn that hasn’t already been exhaustively captured. In fact CDS went on to ask the AG to conduct yet another review (7th?) outside of the operational chain of command. In this last case, a review of all the reports released to that date.

Ditto the main article quote ‘ reason to alter our assessment; that no further UK action was required..’ is made following a statement that: C2 arrangements; additional Force Protection measures and conducting of regular reviews, have already addressed. This is also open to the interpretation, that the incident has been throughly analysed, necessary corrective actions have been put in place and there is nothing further at -that- point (when advising the Def Sec and CDS) that could be accomplished. Depending of course at which point in the lengthy chain of events, the unalterable assessment was made and fixed in stone.

January 20, 2014 4:08 pm

Could we please stop calling it ‘The Battle of Bastion’

January 20, 2014 4:57 pm

We are in a complex conflict. The enemy got a little win. An expensive win but nothing even remotely showstopping.

It seems to me that the lessons are very simple and that has been acknowledged by the “further” comments.

People took their eye off the ball because fuck all ever happened in Bastion and nearly everyone stagging on there begrudges it with a seething passion. People “forgot to be afraid”. That phrase comes from a book on Safety Culture. Seems its a very generalisable thought.

Deja Vu
Deja Vu
January 21, 2014 8:19 am

Two different thoughts from reading the evidence in the link.

The General seemed to waffle using burocrarctic double speak, probably to avoid public criticism of either the US or UK forces, but the result was to appear shifty and having something to hide.

In my David and Charles reprint of the 1914 Officers Pocket Handbook there is a section on the responsibilities of commanders of lines of communication and base, depot and sector commanders. In 1914 dedicated force protection ( not that they used the phrase) troops were to be provided. Base etc. commanders were specifically banned from “taxing” units passing along the line of communication to provide sentries and piquets.

January 21, 2014 1:22 pm

This February’s Air Forces Monthly has an article on the attack. Their are a few interesting points:

1. Due to continuing Green on Blue attacks, the base commanders became pre-occupied on that threat. And that Vehicle patrols around the base had been reduced to free up personnel to bolster efforts against the Insider Threat!

2. On that day, US UK & Tongan personnel who were guarding the perimeter, had been diverted from guarding the base due an earlier incident inside the base.

This one really got my attention
3. Divided command arrangements between USMC and the RAF Regiment.

This begs the question was the base effectively split in two, when in came to security arrangements!

What is obvious is that their was not enough personnel required to guard such a large base.

January 21, 2014 3:29 pm

– Re point 3 – Its not really clear who is in overall command of Bastion/Leatherneck. The British say that Leatherneck is part of Bastion, the USMC says that Leatherneck is simply conjoined to Bastion.

Since the attack on Bastion the Rock Apes have been deploying 2 regular Field Sqns to Bastion or about a 1/4 of its Sqns (not counting CBRN sqns).

January 21, 2014 6:13 pm

Since the attack on Bastion the Rock Apes have been deploying 2 regular Field Sqns to Bastion or about a 1/4 of its Sqns (not counting CBRN sqns).

The second squadron was never invited nor is it on the OET. It just comes along hiding in the baggage thirsty for glory and WAR. Ready to spring from the EFI and shoot their body armour at a moments notice.