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Armed Forces Day 2021


Colin Basnett

As a business working with Defence customers on a daily basis, it is important for us to reflect on the huge contribution that the men and women in our Armed Forces make to our national security and prosperity.  This Saturday, 26th June, Armed Forces Day in the UK provides an opportunity to acknowledge the immense efforts of our Armed Forces personnel, both past and present, and to show our appreciation.

Our UK Armed Forces display their capability and dedication consistently, be they abroad on operations or exercises, or at home where they have continued to demonstrate their versatility throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  In addition to their normal tasking, personnel from all three Services have worked tirelessly to contribute to the national effort to overcome the virus by assisting in the building of vaccine sites, helping with community testing, and delivering clinical support to the NHS; NHS leaders freely acknowledge that they would have been overwhelmed without them.  But, importantly, they have done so without seeking acknowledgement or thanks.

The range of skills and experiences that serving in the Armed Forces provides is unique.  These skills are exploited to great effect by those Reservists and Veterans who, having left full-time service, work in QinetiQ today.  I am delighted that there are so many employed within our ranks, as their contribution enables us to better understand the true needs of our primary customers.  I am also delighted with our support of SSAFA, The UK Armed Forces Charity, which has been our corporate charity partner here in the UK since April 2020.  SSAFA is the UK’s oldest national tri-Service military charity supporting those serving in, and retired from, the UK Armed Forces and their families for more than 130 years.  With over 5,000 trained volunteers providing personalised case worker support and a confidential ‘ForcesLine’ helpline and a mentoring programme, SSAFA’s lifelong support is available to every member of the military community and their families, no matter how long they have served.

Alongside our corporate charitable contributions to SSAFA, Iain Harrison, Director of Strategic Engagement for Land, and Matt Bray, Group Director for Security, are also fundraising for SSAFA with an immense 370-mile bike ride this weekend on Armed Forces Day.  In addition to this support, we look forward to resuming our annual Reserves’ Recognition Dinner when circumstances allow.

While it remains difficult to acknowledge Armed Forces Day in face-to-face settings, we should therefore all take a moment this Saturday to pause, reflect, appreciate and admire the unrelenting devotion, self-sacrifice and positive attitude of those who serve, or have served, their country as part of the UK Armed Forces.  I doff my cap to them.