IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Jul 05, 2020

COVID-19 concerns resulted in the recall last week of a Canadian Armed Forces flight carrying personnel to Latvia where Canada has commanded a NATO battle group since 2017. An individual who had tested positive for the virus, but who was not aboard the flight, might have interacted with the aircraft.

Jul 04, 2020

A Manitoba member of the Canadian Rangers faces 22 criminal charges in relation to an attack on Rideau Hall, the estate housing the Governor General’s residence and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s temporary official residence. Corey Hurren, 46, was arrested after a pickup truck rammed through the estate’s main gate 2 July and the driver proceeded on foot toward the residences until a 90-minute negotiation with RCMP ended quietly. Most of the charges relate to possession and transportation of firearms and Hurren has been remanded in custody.

Jul 04, 2020

Finance Minister Bill Morneau, scheduled to present a federal government “economic and fiscal snapshot” on Wednesday 8 July, says that “as hard as it’s been over the last few months,” mainly due to COVID-19’s economic impact, “the really tough choices will still be to come.” The challenge, he explained, is that “we'll need to think about where we invest and how we support people without creating bad incentives.”

Jul 04, 2020

In response to China’s increasing crackdown on Hong Kong, the Canadian government has suspended an extradition treaty with the former British colony and is restricting exports of sensitive goods. “This process demonstrated disregard for Hong Kong's basic law and the high degree of autonomy promised for Hong Kong under the 'one country, two systems' framework,” Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said 03 July. “Hong Kong's role as a global hub was built on that foundation. Without it, Canada is forced to reassess existing agreements.”

Jul 04, 2020

An audio recording obtained by the Canadian government suggests that Iran permitted air traffic in and out of Tehran’s international airport during a period of intense military activity that saw a Ukrainian airliner downed by missiles six monhs ago. The recording is of a conversation between Iran’s accident investigation team and a Canadian family member of one of the 17 victims. The investigator, who explained that closing Tehran airspace could have exposed an imminent missile attack on U.S. bases in Iraq, has since been removed.

Jul 03, 2020

Manitoba resident Corey Hurren, a Canadian Ranger and former regular member of the Canadian Armed Forces, is being held by RCMP after a pickup truck was used 02 July to ram through the games at Rideau Hall. The driver, who was reportedly armed with a long gun, was arrested without incident after moving on foot toward the official residences of the Governor General and the Prime Minister, neither of whom was home.

Jul 02, 2020

A member of the Canadian Armed Forces, identified only as an armed member of the Canadian Rangers, is in RCMP custody after a pickup truck registered in Manitoba was used to ram the gates at Rideau Hall early 02 July. after which the driver proceeded on foot toward the official residences of the Governor General and the Prime Minister, neither of whom was at home. The Department of National Defence confirmed the suspect’s military status but declined further comment “at this time” as it is an RCMP investigation.

Jul 02, 2020

Nimrod Sheffer, CEO of Israel Aerospace Industries since June 2018, has announced that he will step down after a successor has been trained. The former fighter pilot, who capped 36 years in the military as Deputy Commander of the Air Force, joined the conglomerate as vice president of strategic planning.

Jul 02, 2020

In an era of increasingly netcentric aircraft, Lockheed Martin says U.S. Air Force pilots at a Nevada base now can use a simulator and train alongside various types of virtual aircraft. Air Combat Command formally accepted the company’s Distributed Mission Training system in June and during test at Nellis AFB, pilots in four F-35 simulators interacted with pilots at other bases.

Jul 02, 2020

Nearly 78 per cent of Russian voters have backed constitutional reforms which, among other things, are designed to keep President Vladimir Putin in office until 2036. He is already the longest-serving leader in modern Russia since Soviet-era dictator Joseph Stalin and his political opponents say his aim is to be “president for life.”

Jul 02, 2020

Accusing Turkey of violating an arms embargo against Libya, France has suspended its involvement in NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian. The defence ministry’s announcement comes after France said Turkish naval vessels had threatened a French warship in the Mediterranean in June when it tried to inspect a Tanzanian-flagged ship suspected of smuggling weapons off the coast of Libya. The two countries have since exchanged a series of insults.

Jul 02, 2020

Some $270 billion in increased defence spending over the next decade has been announced by Australian Prime Scott Morrison. It will include long-range missiles and other measures to keep enemies at bay as the government focuses anew on domestic priorities but Morrison said Australia remains open to joining international coalitions.

Jul 02, 2020

Rules barring most foreign travellers from entering Canada have been extended by a month until at least 31 July as the federal government steps up its COVID-19 countermeasures. The restrictions apply to everyone except Canadian citizens and permanent residents, and U.S. citizens entering Canada for “essential” reasons. Closure of the Canada-U.S. border to all but essential workers and trade is covered by a separate order.

Jul 02, 2020

The multinational Airbus consortium has announced plans to lay off 11 per cent of its global workforce, mainly in the commercial aircraft division which, like other original equipment manufacturers, has been hit hard by COVID-19’s impact on international travel. The move affect–s 15,000 of its total workforce of some 134,000.

Jul 02, 2020

A series of flight tests involving software updates designed to correct a controls conflict on Boein737 MAX airliners has been completed by the company and the Federal Aviation Administration. The results are key to returning the aircraft to service after the global fleet was grounded in the aftermath of fatal crashes in Malaysia in October 2018 and in Ethiopia March 2019.

Jul 02, 2020

The U.S. says Turkish defense contractors will still be counted on to supply key components of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter, including centre fuselage sections and propulsion elements, at least through 2022. The Department of Defense disclosure effectively softens a U.S. administration promise to oust Turkey from the fighter program because it purchased a Russian missile defense system.

Jul 02, 2020

U.S.-controlled territory in eastern Syria is under pressure from Russian forces, part of what is described as a move to squeeze the U.S. out of the contested region, according to two current and one former U.S. official. The two countries have supported opposing sides in the long-running civil war but hitherto have communicated regularly to deconflict in the crowded battlespace.

Jul 02, 2020

Electro-optical technology designed by Israel-based Smart Shooter and featuring a “guaranteed hit” fire control system has been selected by the U.S. for dealing with unmanned aerial systems. “Drones . . . have become a persistent threat over the battlefield, enabling opposing forces to gather critical tactical intelligence and even make direct attacks,” says the company’s CEO.

Jul 02, 2020

The Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter has completed initial sea trials for the U.S. Marine Corps. A U.S. Navy spokesperson says the test team completed launch and recovery as well as a range of shipboard compatibility tests.

Jul 02, 2020

Analysis of an Iranian satellite launch 10 weeks ago suggest that the launch vehicle has a strong technical kinship with the country’s ballistic missiles, one of which has a stated range of 1,700km. Iran says its missiles are restricted to 2,000 km but the U.S. maintains that the satellite launch is a cover for building longer-range capability.

Jul 02, 2020

An explosion in Iran’s eastern mountains is believed to have occurred at an underground missile factory. Satellite imagery of the area east of Tehran show extensive charred not seen in previous images in the weeks leading up to the explosion.

Jul 02, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump and 35 others accused by Iran in the January death of a senior military officer in January are the targets of an arrest warrant issued in Tehran, which is vowing to pursue Trump whenever he leaves the White House. While Interpol has said it would not consider Iran’s request, the development underscores the growing tension between Tehran and Washington.

Jun 30, 2020

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Edward Cornwallis, currently undergoing a $12.1-million refit at Shelburne Ship Repair in Nova Scotia, will be getting a new name when commissioned back into service next year. The 18th-century British officer and politician for which it is named offered bounties in the mid-1700s for the capture or scalps of Mi’kmaw men in a bid to stop raids on British settlements. A new name will be recommended by the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs.

Jun 30, 2020

BGen Dyrald Cross assumed command 30 June of the Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group from MGen Mark Misener in a small ceremony at National Defence HQ. Cross is the second commander since the group was mandated in December 2018 to provide enhanced casualty support and transition services to CAF members and their families.

Jun 30, 2020

The Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Fredericton is participating alongside British, French, German, Norwegian and U.S. forces in exercise Dynamic Mongoose off the coast of Iceland. Designed to hone anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare skills, the exercise began 29 June and is set to run until 10 July.

Jun 30, 2020

Even as the U.S. and Canada continue to deploy fighters to intercept Russian aircraft encroaching on North American airspace, the Russians have released footage of an interception of three U.S. aircraft flying toward its Black Sea borders. A Sukoi Su-25 was tasked with approaching the two U.S. reconnaissance aircraft and a tanker.

Jun 30, 2020

President Donald Trump has said he was not briefed about a Russian program which allegedly offeredAfghan terrorists bounties to kill U.S. service personnel but senior White House officials say the administration was aware early last year of the classified information and that it had been included in the President’s daily briefing notes.

Jun 30, 2020

South Korea has approved procurement of an undisclosed number of airborne early warning and control aircraft and more signals intelligence-gathering platforms, most likely Boeing 737 variants. The respective programs are budgeted at the equivalent of approximately $1.8 billion and $1 billion, respectively.

Jun 30, 2020

GM Defense has been awarded a $214.3 million contract to supply 649 new helicopter-transportable infantry squad vehicles for the U.S. Army over the next seven years. There is a follow-on requirement for 1,415 more of the vehicles capable of carrying nine troopers.

Jun 30, 2020

Washington-based Human Rights Watch is accusing Canada of flouting its international obligations by failing to repatriate and provide adequate consular assistance to 47 citizens, including 26 children, detained in northeast Syria. The adults, linked to the Islamic State terrorist organization, are being held by Kurdish forces. The Canadian government said it will not put its personnel at risk to gather evidence and repatriate the combatants.

Jun 30, 2020

The U.S. has imposed new export controls on military and some high-technology products destined for Hong Kong. The administration decided several weeks ago that the former British colony no longer had sufficient autonomy as Beijing consolidated its hold.

Jun 30, 2020

Even though Covid-19 remains a global threat, Canada is on a European Union list of 14 from which visitors are deemed “safe” due to the success of their governments in dealing with the pandemic. So, too, are Australia and Japan, among others, but the U.S., Brazil and China are not.

Jun 29, 2020

The flight data and cockpit voice recorders from Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752, downed by Iranian missiles after takeoff from Tehran nearly six months ago, will be shipped to France for analysis in July, the International Civil Aviation Organization has announced. While French investigators will lead the analysis, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada also will be involved because many Canadians died in the attack.

Jun 29, 2020

The U.S. has labelled Iran as the “foremost state sponsor of terrorism.” In its latest annual Country Reports on Terrorism, the State Department says Iran continues to funnel money and resources to terrorist organizations around the world but possibly less than in previous years due to the current global economic crisis.

Jun 29, 2020

Several U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan are reported to have been killed by Taliban-linked militants encouraged by Russian bounties. This is according to information from captured militants and evidently was the focus of a White House meeting in March but President Donald Trump says he was not briefed.

Jun 26, 2020

A Transport Canada plan to permit some types of remotely piloted aircraft system to be flown out of sight of their operators, and at higher altitudes, is a concern for the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association. Drone advocates complain that current regulations have not kept up with advances in drone technology but COPA “is taking a position against the proposed amendments on safety grounds.”

Jun 26, 2020

President Donald Trump’s nomination of retired Army General Anthony Tata as policy chief at the Department of Defense is being challenged by more than 50 advocacy groups. Accusing him of “bigotry and discrimination” during his military career, the critics say the Senate should not confirm the appointment of “one of the most clearly bigoted executive nominees in recent memory.”

Jun 25, 2020

A special prosecutor at The Hague has accused Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and others of war crimes during the country’s 1998-1999 independence war with Serbia, which resulted in more than 10,000 deaths and ended only after NATO intervention. The accusations are being assessed by a judge.

Jun 25, 2020

Poised to begin a six-month presidency of the European Council, Germany is expected to launch a common threat analysis for the European Union as well as push for non-EU states to have access to defence cooperation projects. Its term begins 1 July.

Jun 25, 2020

Twenty major Chinese companies have been identified by the U.S. Department of Defense as being either owned or supported by the Chinese military. The list includes several telecom giants, including Huawei, and could be the basis for U.S. sanctions.

Jun 25, 2020

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has been directed to exempt Canadians from new restrictions on foreign professionals’ access, according to the American Immigration Lawyers Association. An executive order announced 22 June by the White House blocks entry for most H, J and L visa holders for at least the rest of 2020; President Donald Trump’s rationale is that it would provide job opportunities for U.S. citizens.

Jun 24, 2020

When MCpl Charles Scott retired from the Canadian Army in 2018, his Veterans Affairs file noted that he was at significant risk of post-traumatic stress disorder from his service in Bosnia and Afghanistan as a combat soldier and intelligence operative. In a suit filed in Federal Court, it has been disclosed that he had no knowledge of the risk until he applied to see his file after seeking therapy on his own. His suit alleges the department was not only negligent but also in breach of the Veterans Well-being Act.

Jun 24, 2020

Less than eight weeks after the fatal crash of one of its Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone helicopters in the Ionian Sea, and a week after the RCAF cleared the fleet to resume operations, one helicopter crew has completed the first in a series of training flights. In the meantime, Department of National Defence is preparing to accept deliveries of the remaining aircraft from its order of 28.

Jun 24, 2020

Hundreds of Royal Canadian Legion halls faced with permanent closure or at least a rocky recovery from COVID-19 shutdowns are appealing for help. Most are ineligible for programs already rolled out by Ottawa and while the Legion takes pride in self-sufficiency, National Executive Director Steven Clark says “these are unprecedented times.”

Jun 24, 2020

An extension of its ban on the issuance of green cards outside the U.S. has cast a cloud of uncertainty among Canadians and other nationals employed by multinational companies, notably in the tech sector. In announcing his decision, President Donald Trump characterized it as a way to free up jobs in the U.S. economy for Americans.

Jun 24, 2020

China has orbited the final satellite in its 35-platform BeiDou-3 navigation system, which means it no longer relies on the U.S.-managed Global Positioning System used by militaries and civilians worldwide.

Jun 24, 2020

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to track all federal employees and contractors in its hunt for “insider threats” regardless of whether they require security clearance. It had focused initially on government agency employees with clearance who might pose a threat even inadvertently.

Jun 24, 2020

Israel’s International Defense Cooperation Directorate reports that 120 companies had combined exports worth $7.2 billion last year. Sales had apparently bottomed out at $5.7 billion in 2015 from $7.2 billion five years earlier. The Israel industry, which has seen consolidation in recent years, is dominated by Elbit Systems, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries.

Jun 24, 2020

U.S. Air Force plans to retire its 16 Northrop Grumman E-8C Joint Surveillance Target Attah Radar System aircraft should be put on hold until a suitable replacement is found, according to a congressional subcommittee. The cost of a replacement JSTARs fleet has been estimated at $7 billion.

Jun 24, 2020

General Dynamics has been awarded a $869-million contract to begin materiels procurement for two submarines in a new U.S. Navy class of ballistic-missile boats, a program which eventually could top $9.5 billion if all options are exercised. The contract also involves industrial base development for the SSBNs as well as Virginia-class attack subs and Ford-class aircraft carriers.

Jun 24, 2020

The House of Representatives Oversight and Reform Committee has told Lockheed Martin that the Department of Defense faces “excess costs” due to having to “troubleshoot” issues with its F-35 Lightning II fighters. There have been more than $300 million in unplanned spending since 2015 and the DoD expects to pay $55 million annually if Lockheed Martin does not resolve the ongoing issues.

Jun 24, 2020

U.S. Navy plans for unmanned surface vessels are being challenged by members of a House of Representatives Armed Services Subcommittee. Two are already being tested and two more are under construction out of a projected total of 10. The legislators’ proposed amendment to a defence authorization bill would “prohibit the procurement of any large unmanned surface vessels in fiscal year 2021 until a certification regarding technology maturity has been submitted to Congress.”

Jun 24, 2020

Mike Griffin, the U.S. Undersecretary for Defense for research and engineering, as well as his deputy, Lisa Porter, are leaving 10 July to work in the private sector. During his more than two years in the newly-created post, Griffin has had a sometimes contentious relationship not only with his own team but also with Congress.

Jun 22, 2020

Recent advances in artificial intelligence have prompted the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute to publish an analysis of how nuclear-armed states’ competition premature adoption of AI in weapons and related capabilities could have a negative impact on strategic stability and increase the likelihood of nuclear weapon use.

Jun 22, 2020

The remains of the final four of six Canadian Armed Forces members who died 29 April have been identified. The Department of National Defence says the victims’ families have been notified and the remains will be released to them in the coming days.

Jun 22, 2020

The Department of National Defence has given Ontario motdorists a heads-up about increased military traffic in some regions as some 500 military personnel return to base from being deployed to assist with the response to COVID-19 issues at five long-term care homes in April. “Drivers and pedestrians are asked to remain patient and show their support to the troops as they conduct this road move,” DND said.

Jun 22, 2020

Reports of a CAF member spreading racist images even as senior officials apologize for their slow response to questions about systemic racism are being investigated by the Military Police. “We reaffirm our commitment that no defence team members should feel unwelcome in a room, workshop, drill hall, ship or airfield,” Chief of the Defence Staff Gen Jonathan Vance said in a joint statement with the Department of National Defence’s top civilian, Deputy Minister Jody Thomas.

Jun 22, 2020

Tension between the two perceived front-runners to replace Andrew Scheer as Conservative Party leader heightened over the weekend with former Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole accusing former Defence Minister Peter Mackay’s campaign of stealing confidential information. The allegation is being dismissed as preposterous even though a member of MacKay’s team has been specifically named.

Jun 22, 2020

Jiří Šedivý, the former Czech Republic’s defence minister and now head of the European Defence Agency, has challenged the European Union to “deliver . . . to its full extent” by avoiding pressure to cut military spending and pooling resources “because a collective approach is much more cost-effective than national solo efforts.”

Jun 22, 2020

The first Northrop Grumman RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance platform co-owned by 15 NATO members has begun test flights over the Mediterranean. Based at Sigonella in Sicily, the five-aircraft Alliance Ground Surveillance fleet is designed to reduce demand for U.S. assets.

Jun 22, 2020

The U.S. Department of Defense is broadening its Comply-to-Connect (C2C) program to encompass the entire U.S. military in a bid to ensure that any device touching its network complies with DoD cybersecurity standards. Set up by the National Security Agency, the Marine Corps and the Air Force in 2013, C2C continuously analyzes all connected devices such as smartphones and computers to ensure compliance.

Jun 22, 2020

The U.S. says its Defense Space Strategy is designed to counter what it says is Chinese and Russian “weaponization” of the domain. “Their actions pose the greatest strategic threat with ongoing development, testing and deployment of counter-space systems and the associated military doctrine designed to hold allied and U.S. space systems at risk,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Stephen Kitay said on publication of an unclassified section of the strategy.

Jun 19, 2020

More than 18 months after they were detained by China, two Canadians – former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor – have now been charged with espionage. They were arrested in December 2018 a few days after Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was detained in Vancouver at the request of the United States. China has denied any link but Prime Minister Trudeau has accused China of “using arbitrary detention as a tool to achieve political goals.”

Jun 18, 2020

Some $87 billion in government spending measures have been approved by the House of Commons with the minority Liberals supported by Opposition MPs. The measures tide over federal departments until the fall as well as underwriting COVID-19 assistance programs.

Jun 18, 2020

Former Conservative cabinet ministers Peter MacKay and Erin O’Toole, generally considered the front-runners in the race to succeed Andrew Scheer as leader of the Conservative Party, pretty much dominated a French-language debate 17 June. O’Toole, a former RCAF officer, accused MacKay, a former defence minister, of lying several times.

Jun 18, 2020

A $600-million sale of 16 high-speed patrol boats to Ukraine has been approved by the U.S. State Department. The package, which also includes weapons, sensors and communications gear, is a response Russian expansionism in contested areas of the Azov Sea.

Jun 18, 2020

A pair of extensively upgraded Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets has been delivered to the U.S. Navy for flight tests. The Block III variant incorporates conformal fuel tanks which reduce drag and extend range while presenting a lower radar cross-section than earlier versions.

Jun 18, 2020

For the first time in three years, the U.S. Air Force has sent Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bombers to Alaska in a demonstration of its capability to deploy strategic assets on short notice. The three B-52s from Barksdale AFB in Louisiana arrived 14 June at Eielson AFB near Fairbanks to train with allies, partners and other U.S. services.

Jun 18, 2020

John Bolton, a former U.S. Ambassador to the UN and national security advisor to President Donald Trump, paints a detailed and derogatory picture of his former boss in a new book the White House is trying to supress through a lawsuit. Among other things, Bolton, an acknowledged policy hawk, says Trump, whom he describes as “servile” in dealings with foreign leaders, asked Chinese President for help in winning next November’s election.

Jun 17, 2020

A package of upgrades to 36 of the RCAF’s Hornet fighters has been approved by the U.S. State Department. It includes new radars and weapons and initial delivery is scheduled for 2023. NORAD said 16 June that “this sale will provide Canada a two-squadron bridge of enhanced F/A-18A aircraft to continue meeting NORAD and NATO commitments while it gradually introduces new advanced aircraft.”

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