IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Oct 18, 2019

The U.S. Department of Defense Department is close to finalizing a new Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification framework for assessing suppliers’ protection of sensitive data. After extensive feedback since the first draft was released six weeks ago, Ellen Lord, undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, says the next iteration should be published in the first week of November, setting the stage for a final version in January after further comment.

Oct 18, 2019

President Donald Trump has called his former Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, “the world s most over-rated general.” Once one of his most highly-praised cabinet members, the former Marine Corps general resigned last December.

Oct 18, 2019

Retired USMC Gen James Mattis is using humour to respond to derisive criticism by President Donald Trump. The former Secretary of Defense says he’s “not just an overrated general” but “the world’s most overrated.” He says he was honoured to be described thusly by Trump because the president once called actor Meryl Streep overrated. “I guess I’m the Meryl Streep of generals, and frankly that sounds pretty good.”

Oct 18, 2019

Mick Mulvaney, acting chief of staff to President Donald Trump, has acknowledged that Trump used promised military aid to press Ukraine to investigate a U.S. domestic political matter involving the Democratic Party. The administration had denied for weeks that it had demanded the quid pro quo but Mulvaney has admitted the ploy to reporters.

Oct 18, 2019

As it contemplates how to manage the digital identities of all users of the U.S. military's IT infrastructure, the Defense Information Systems Agency is reaching out to the private sector. Its proposed Enterprise Identity Service would store usernames and passwords for employees, vendors and other authorized users in a single record, facilitating broad oversight of digital credentials and online.

Oct 18, 2019

The U.S. Army has refined its search for new rifles to three prospective suppliers of prototypes which would use a common 6.8mm round for not only the Army but also the Marine Corps and Special Operations Forces. The latest list, which could be refined further, includes AAI Corporation Textron Systems, General Dynamics-OTS and Sig Sauer.

Oct 18, 2019

A replacement for the U.S. Patriot missile defence system’s radar is to be supplied by Raytheon, which designed and supplied the original hardware. The new installation, budgeted at $384 million, will provide 360-degree threat detection capability.

Oct 18, 2019

Three proposals to supply some 210 infantry fighting vehicles have been received by the Czech Republic’s defence ministry. The competitors for the $2.2 billion contract are General Dynamics European Land Systems’ Ascod, BAE Systems’ CV90, and Rheinmetall’s Lynx. A fourth bidder, a joint venture between Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall, opted not to compete, saying it would require a costly rebuild of its Puma platform.

Oct 18, 2019

After failing to secure a sale to the Philippines, Korea Aerospace Industries is seeking other markets for a heavily-armed version of its twin-engine KUH-1 Surion utility helicopter, developed in collaboration with Eurocopter (now Airbus Helicopters). A KAI spokesman says the KUH-1E has been in development for four years.

Oct 18, 2019

Improvements in artificial intelligence technologies means that government procurement agencies need to renew how they approach industry, according to the World Economic Forum. It says in a discussion paper that traditional processes might not be suitable due to new and unique risks to manage and the possibility of unintended consequences.

Oct 18, 2019

A day after Turkey agreed to suspend its incursion into neighbouring Syria, the noise of artillery and small arms could still be heard Oct. 18 around the northeast Syrian town of Ras al-Ayn ​​​. A spokesperson for the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said the militia would not withdraw until the firing stopped.

Oct 18, 2019

The U.S. and Turkey have markedly different interpretations of the 120-hour northern northern Syria “ceasefire” announced Oct. 17. Turkey prefers “pause”, pending talks between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russia counterpart, Vladimir Putin, who supports Syrian President Bashir al-Assad. The deal struck by Erdogan and U.S. Vice-President Mike Pense requires Kurdish militias to withdraw from a "safe zone," but that zone hasn't been properly defined.

Oct 17, 2019

Turkey has agreed to what could become a permanent ceasefire in northeastern Syria after an initial 120-hour ceasefire has facilitated the withdrawal of Kurdish-led militia from the region. The decision has been confirmed by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence hours after an Oct. 17 meeting in Ankara with President Tayyip Erdogan. In return, the U.S. administration agreed to remove sanctions on Turkey.

Oct 17, 2019

Bucking the US tradition of non-intervention in Canadian elections, former US President Obama stepped into the spotlight to sway voters by saying  "I hope our neighbors to the north support [Justin Trudeau] for another term." This is not Obama's first public endorsement of a foreign leader during elections.

Oct 17, 2019

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker confirms that Britain and the European Union have agreed a new Brexit deal. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We’ve got a great new deal that takes back control.”

Oct 17, 2019

Two years after the U.S. Army said that a new combat vehicle was among its top priorities, the floor at this week’s Association of the United States Army’s annual conference and trade show was crowded with robotic technologies. Prospective domestic suppliers have been joined by competitors from Germany and South Korea. Meanwhile, commanders are concerned about linking up all the new technologies available to them.

Oct 17, 2019

Rethinking a key element of its training, the British Army is enlisting the private sector to deliver a “surrogate for warfare” by the time the syllabus is overhauled over the next few years. The Ministry of Defence plans to issue Requests for information Nov. 1, formally launching an industry competition to secure the first phase of the project. “Collective training will become a surrogate for warfare; driving adaptation, generating combat ethos, empowering commanders, and delivering tactical innovation,” the Army says.

Oct 17, 2019

U.S. Cyber Command is working with the Department of Energy and industry on a more coherent approach to cyberattacks. A philosophy of “persistent engagement” is predicated on the notion of constant contact with potential enemies in cyberspace and officials have stressed this includes enabling other partners. It also includes using its unique authorities to operate outside U.S. networks as a way to provide warning for domestic agencies about potential threats.

Oct 17, 2019

The U.S. Army is to be provided with open-source capabilities by BAE Systems through a $437-million task order. Working with publicly-available sources but through a secure cloud environment, the company is to provide training, policy and governance recommendations, assessments and implementation of emerging capabilities.

Oct 17, 2019

U.S. companies sold more than $55 billion in weapons to foreign buyers in the 2019 fiscal year and LGen Charles Hooper, head of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, is looking to increase sales. He says that while they have long been a foreign policy instrument, government-sanctioned sales now are “a tool of first resort.” One of his levers is a continued push for furtgher reductions in various surcharges and other fees.

Oct 17, 2019

There evidently are problems with integration of Javelin anti-tank missiles onto the U.S. Army’s Stryker combat vehicle, according to program manager Col. Bill Venable who has confirmed that the project is being delayed by more than a year. An earlier iteration required the vehicle operator to dismount and fire the missile but the Army, in trying to mount the system alongside a 30mm cannon, has had difficulties linking it to the Strykers’ remote weapons station.

Oct 17, 2019

The House of Representatives has voted 354-60 for a resolution condemning the withdrawal of troops from northern and facilitating Turkey’s attack on the local Kurdish population. The vote saw 129 members of the president’s Republican Party join ranks with 225 members of the Democrat majority in the House. The resolution also calls on the U.S. to continue humanitarian support for Kurdish communities while working to ensure that Turkey acts with restraint.

Oct 15, 2019

Ethical hackers apparently have found critical vulnerabilities in Department of Defense systems through a “hack the proxy” program which probed the DoD’s virtual private networks. Of the 312 vulnerabilities identified, nine were considered “high severity.” An Army secure file-sharing site was taken offline last year after a similar exercise disclosed a critical weakness.

Oct 15, 2019

Defender Europe 2020, a U.S.-led exercise involving at least a dozen NATO allies, is expected to be the largest military exercise in Europe in the last 25 years. Drills involving 37,000 personnel are to be held in 10 counties, mainly in Germany and Poland. U.S. forces and equipment are expected to begin arriving in February to prepare for the April-May exercise.

Oct 15, 2019

Approximately 500 U.S. Army troops are being deployed to Lithuania for winter training staring in the Pabradė region of eastern Lithuania. The exercise includes 30 tanks and 95 other vehicles.

Oct 15, 2019

Capt. Kevin Domon-Grenier, Snowbird 5 in the RCAF’s CT-114 Tutor demonstration team, ejected safely from his Tutor jet just before an Oct. 13 airshow in Atlanta, Ga. There were no injuries on the ground when the aircraft crashed in a sparsely-populated area. The rest of the show was cancelled.

Oct 15, 2019

A merger of Raytheon Co. and United Technologies Corp. has been approved by shareholders in separate meetings. The transaction, resulting in Raytheon Technologies Corp., is expected to close early next year once UTC has divested non-aerospace subsidiaries and the deal has regulatory approval.

Oct 15, 2019

If test shots of precision strike missiles being developed by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin later this year are successful, they could set the stage for the U.S. Army to push its potential range parameters to at least 550km. The tests are scheduled for November and December at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

Oct 15, 2019

A strategic cannon with a potential range of nearly 2,000km is being considered by the U.S. Army. It is collaborating with the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico and a U.S. Navy support centre in Virginia on development of a prototype by 2030.

Oct 15, 2019

U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy says modernization programs are threatened by budget haggling in Congress. “Our adversaries are investing in tomorrow today, unconstrained by a continuing resolution and singularly focused on shifting the current balance of power," he says, lamenting a congressional measure which could effectively freeze spending.

Oct 15, 2019

Nearly 60,000 Kurds trained by the U.S. and allies over the last few years are under sustained assault by Turkish forces in northern Syria. A counterterrorism campaign to knock out Daesh sleeper cells is at risk of collapsing as Turkish aerial bombardments destroyed a camp tasked with taking out insurgents and their financial backers. President Donald Trump, who effectively paved the way for the Turkish invasion, said Oct. 14 that the Kurds may intentionally be releasing Daesh prisoners to draw the U.S. back in to the conflict.

Oct 11, 2019

The U.S. Air Force says its newest missile early warning satellite has passed a preliminary design review. The Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared system is being built to replace the Space-Based Infrared System. Contracts for five of the new satellites have been awarded: three to Lockheed Martin for geosynchronous orbit and two to Northrop Grumman for polar surveillance.

Oct 11, 2019

A National Iranian Oil Co. oil tanker has been damaged by two missiles and a NIOC spokesman says the weapons were “possibly” from Saudi Arabia because it was only 96km from the Jeddah seaport on the Red Sea. Despite the damage, the vessel apparently is continuing its voyage.

Oct 11, 2019

Four more Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bombers and approximately 350 personnel from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, have been deployed to Royal Air Force Fairford in England. for integration and interoperability training. Six B-52s were flown to Fairford from Barksdale in April, the largest such deployment since the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003.

Oct 11, 2019

The North Korean foreign ministry is threaten yet again to resume nuclear and long-range missile tests, accusing the U.S. of having instigated a European condemnation within the UN Security Council of the latest weapons tests. The ministry says talks in Sweden last weekend by Pyongyang and Washington had collapsed because the U.S. offered no new proposals.

Oct 11, 2019

Sikorsky’s “optionally manned” S-70 helicopter, one of the latest iterations of its Hawk platform, is being used to test autonomous technology which the company says can be easily retrofitted to other models. A fully-autonomous flight is expected next year.

Oct 11, 2019

South Korea is preparing for the second phase of its procurement of Lockheed Martin F-35s, which will increase its fleet to 60 from 40. The cost of the additional buy is put at approximately US$3.3 billion.

Oct 11, 2019

Shareholders in United Technologies Corp. and Raytheon are scheduled to vote Oct. 11 on a proposed merger which would create one of the largest defense and aerospace companies in the world. The proposed all-stock deal, unveiled in June, would result in a company called Raytheon Technologies, which would be second in the U.S. aerospace and defence sector only to Boeing in terms of revenue.

Oct 10, 2019

In the first of a series of election-oriented speeches earlier this year, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said that if he becomes prime minister, he would remain committed to traditional allies, “depoliticize” military procurement, buy new submarines and join the U.S. ballistic missile defence program. There were no fiscal commitments. As of Oct. 10, his party has yet to present its platform for the Oct. 21 election but a review of its website showed only brief points on those military alliances and the procurement proposal.

Oct 10, 2019

The Liberal Party’s campaign platform for the Oct. 21 federal election devotes just 315 words (page 70) to reaffirming Canada’s long-standing defence commitments. They include “stronger oversight and responsible investments” as well as continued involvement in international peacekeeping and expanding role in NATO and the UN, including more funding.

Oct 10, 2019

Oct. 17-18 has been set aside by an Ottawa court to hearing a bail application by Cameron Ortis, the former RCMP intelligence director charged with breaching the Security of Information Act and other statutes by allegedly collecting information for possible disclosure. He faces seven counts from early 2015 until his arrest in mid-September.

Oct 10, 2019

The Congressional Budget Office says the U.S. Navy would have to spend $200 billion more than its original budget of $600 billion to expand its fleet to 355 ships over the next couple of decades. The latest forecast assumes all ships proposed in the USN’s latest plan but the fleet mix could change as the Department of Navy considers large unmanned vessels. The USN currently has 290 vessels but would need to commission 304 replacements and additions by 2034 to attain its stated target

Oct 10, 2019

Two British militants believed to be part of an ISIS group commonly referred to as “The Beatles” are being detained by U.S. officials after their extraction from a Kurdish detention centre in northeastern Syria. They and others were removed due to concerns that they could escape during the current Turkish invasion of the region. El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Amon Kotey were part of an ISIS group that had held more than 20 western hostages in 2014-15, including seven American, British and Japanese journalists and aid workers as well as Syrian prisoners who were beheaded on camera.

Oct 10, 2019

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says there was “no blackmail” by U.S. President Donald Trump during a July 25 telephone conversation which has fuelled the push for Trump’s impeachment. Playing down suggestions that Trump pressed him to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden in exchange for military aid to help Ukraine battle Russian-backed separatists, Zelenskiy says he only learned afterward that the U.S. had blocked the aid.

Oct 10, 2019

Henry Kyle Frese, a Defense Intelligence Agency official in Virginia, has been charged ith leaking classified information to two journalists. Arrested by the FBI Oct. 9 when he arrived for work, the 30-year-old is alleged to have accessed at least five classified reports and provided information about another country’s weaponry to one of the journalists with whom he had a relationship.

Oct 10, 2019

President Donald Trump’s proposed Space Force as a sixth branch of the Department of Defense is being questioned by members of the Sustainable Defense Task Force within the Washington-based Center for International Policy. Pointing out that its development depends partly on how the current National Defense Authorization Act addresses parallel proposals, the task force argues against its creation because of the increased bureaucracy, “unworkable” high-tech weaponry and overall cost.

Oct 10, 2019

A Royal Canadian Air Force Boeing C-17 had U.S. support on this year’s resupply run to Canadian Forces Station Alert on the northeastern tip of Ellesmere Island. Operation Boxtop out of Thule, Greenland, also involved Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules transports flown by the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard. More than 45 tonnes of cargo was transported between Sept. 26 and Oct. 4.

Oct 10, 2019

Legislators on both sides of the U.S. Congress are alarmed by reports that the White House is considering withdrawal from the 2002 Open Skies Treaty. The pact enables the U.S., Russia and 32 other countries, including Canada, to conduct short-notice flights over each other’s territories to monitor military movements.

Oct 09, 2019

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland used her Twitter account, @cafreeland, to “firmly” condemn Turkey’s military incursion into northern Syria. “This unilateral action risks undermining the stability of an already-fragile region, exacerbating the humanitarian situation and rolling back progress achieved by the Global Coalition Against Daesh,” she said. “We call for the protection of civilians and on all parties to respect their obligations under international law, including unhindered access for humanitarian aid.”

Oct 09, 2019

The first of three new U.S. Navy guided missile “stealth” destroyers won’t be fully combat-ready until next year, close to six months behind schedule. It is the latest slip in a $23-billiion program already six years behind schedule. The previously undisclosed delay for the first, the USS Zumwalt, has been confirmed by the USN. Completion of the hull and mechanical and engineering installations at General Dynamics in Maine will be followed by testing on the east Coast and then combat systems activation in California by Raytheon and BAE Systems.

Oct 09, 2019

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used his Twitter account, @RTErdogan, at 0915EDT today to say his military was moving into Kurdish-held part of northeastern Syria with the cooperation of Syrian forces. The U.S. says that since Turkish airstrikes are not coordinated with American assets, they are a threat to coalition forces and civilians.

Oct 09, 2019

There are three potential contenders for a U.S. Army contract to procure 651 infantry squad vehicles capable of being parachuted into theatres of operation. Oshkosh-Flyer, Polaris-SAIC and General Motors have until Nov. 13 to deliver two vehicles for testing.

Oct 09, 2019

The U.S. Air Force dropped 948 munitions in Afghanistan last month as peace talks with the Taliban began to collapse. It was the highest single-month tally in nearly a decade. 

Oct 09, 2019

The Netherlands has confirmed a planned procurement of nine more Lockheed Martin F-35s, which would increase its fleet to 46. The €1-billion acquisition would be “the foundation” for a third squadron, which would require an additional six aircraft. That would facilitate the air force’s objective of having four available for NATO missions while providing domestic defence.

Oct 09, 2019

NATO works only when its members are committed to “die for your neighbour,” says Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu. Speaking at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank in Washington, he said it took Russia’s 2010 attack on Georgia and its annexation of Crimea in 2014 to prompt NATO to reassess security needs. Noting that his own country of 1.3 million spends more than two per cent of its GDP on security, he said NATO membership means “you have to deliver” on money and manpower.

Oct 09, 2019

The importance of civil nuclear power as a tool for geopolitical influence is highlighted in a new report released by the Helsinki-based European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats. Citing case studies of situations in Belarus, Hungary and Finland, the report concludes, among other things, that “nuclear energy employed as a tool for any hostile intent has a different logic compared to oil and gas, for example, which have more explicit physical and logistical dependencies.”

Oct 09, 2019

The U.S. administration is reported to be considering withdrawal from the 1992 Open Skies treaty which enabled 34 countries to conduct unarmed surveillance flights over each other’s territory.  In effect since 2002, it was designed to assist with arms control verification. While Democrats in Congress are alarmed by the prospect, the State Department says only that the U.S. remains “fully compliant” with the terms of the accord.

Oct 08, 2019

A hitherto unknown unit within Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, is reported to be conducting operations to destabilize Europe and its allies. The New York Times quotes a retired GRU officer as saying that Unit 29155 is comprised of agents who carry out assassinations and other missions designed to foment unrest abroad.

Oct 08, 2019

The U.S. administration’s counsel, Pat Cipollone, says the House of Representatives’ move to impeach President Donald Trump violates precedent and the President’s right to due process. Accordingly, neither the President nor the executive branch would willingly provide testimony or documents to a “partisan and unconstitutional inquiry.” Cipollone’s letter to House leaders followed an administration refusal to let Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, testify before a committee.

Oct 08, 2019

As commander of U.S. Central Command for three years until his retirement last March, Army Gen. Joseph Votel was responsible for overseeing operations across the Middle East, including the campaign against ISIS. He says President Donald Trump’s decision to “seemingly” abandon Kurdish partners could not come at a worse time. “The decision ... threatens to affect future partnerships at precisely the time we need them most, given the war-weariness of the American public coupled with ever more sophisticated enemies.” Now a non-resident Distinguished Senior Fellow on National Security at the Middle East Institute in Washington, Votel previously commanded the U.S. Special Forces Command and the Joint Special Operations Command.

Oct 08, 2019

Purchased by the Government of Canada for the RCAF fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft replacement program, the new aircraft showed off its final livery today. The bright yellow paint scheme provides high visibility for those in the air and on the ground.

Oct 08, 2019

President Donald Trump says he'll meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House Nov. 13. The announcement came on the heels of the U.S. leader’s promise of “big trouble” if any Americans are injured in Turkey’s proposed incursion into northeastern Syria.

Oct 08, 2019

Senior U.S. security officials worry that thousands of ISIS fighters will be broken out of makeshift prisons run by the Syrian Democratic Forces in northern Syria. The concern arises from the fact that if the Kurdish militia abandon the prisons, there is no indication of how a Turkish move into the region might maintain security.

Oct 08, 2019

A Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification process being set up by the U.S. Department of Defense is designed to measure the effectiveness of industry suppliers’ cybersecurity practices. The CMMC would be managed by a nonprofit organization mandated to certify their effectiveness.

Oct 08, 2019

The U.S. Navy has conducted “high-end warfighting exercises” in the South China Sea, part of it says is a campaign to preserve regional stability and security in the Indo-Pacific region. The exercises included maritime strikes and interdiction, search and rescue, air defence and anti-submarine warfare operations.

Oct 08, 2019

The U.S. Air Force has met its recruitment goals for 2019 but its retention of personnel apparently means a reduction in the number of personnel moving to the USAF Reserve. Part of the ongoing problem is aggressive private-sector competition for pilots and other personnel.

Oct 08, 2019

Ahead of a UN Security Council meeting Oct. 8, North Korea issued a cryptic warning to Britain, France and Germany and the U.S. about discussing its recent missile tests. Germany proposed that the topic be brought up but North Korea’s ambassador to the UN says “we know well that the United States is behind impure moves of the UK, France and Germany” and any discussion “will further urge our desire to defend our sovereignty.”

Oct 08, 2019

A $325.2-million Department of Defense contract for Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter depot maintenance equipment has been awarded to the Pratt & Whitney division of United Technologies Corp. It includes two full-scale engine mockups and four test modules. Most of the work will be done in the U.S.

Oct 08, 2019

The last Boeing F/A-18C Hornet in the U.S. Navy fighter fleet has been retired from service, flown by a pilot who was born at the same time the aircraft was manufactured – in 1988. The final flight was at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., finalized the USN’s transition to the F/-18F Super Hornet.

Oct 08, 2019

How does 4.5kg of food sound for a seven-day food supply? That’s what U.S. Army and Marine Corps researchers are considering as they seek for ways to lighten troopers’ loads from the current 14.5kg usually carried on a week-long mission.

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