IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

May 07, 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration is reportedly committed to keeping NATO’s door open for aspiring states which meet the alliance’s requirements. This is according to a White House official who briefed reporters May 6 on Air Force One. Karine Jean-Pierre also noted that Secretary of State Antony Blinken was in Kyiv to affifm U.S. “support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence.”

May 07, 2021

More than 130 members of the House of Representatives are pushing back against other politicians’ call for reduced U.S. procurement of Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters next year. In a newly-disclosed April 28 letter to the Armed Services Committee and a defence sub-panel of the Appropriations Committee, they urged support for the Department of Defense’s request for more fighters. “Cuts in the Fiscal Year 2022 will leave the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps with a capability gap that legacy aircraft or new variants thereof cannot fulfill,” they wrote.

May 06, 2021

In a 12,400-page communique at the end of their two-day summit in London, foreign ministers from Canada and the other G-7 countries included an anodyne critique of China and Russia, both of which rejected the characterizations. Potentially setting the tone for a G-7 leaders meeting in June, they reiterated concerns about Beijing’s human rights record and expansionism and Moscow’s aggression in eastern Europe.

May 06, 2021

Thirteen years after a former administration announced it and four years after its supposed delivery date, the announcement of a new contract for a heavy Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker is expected today. Shipyards in Vancouver and Quebec have been competing for the work ever since the government removed the project from a Vancouver yard.

May 05, 2021

Chinese President Xi Jinping would be making “a very serious mistake” if he ordered an invasion of Taiwan, says U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “We are committed to making sure that Taiwan has the means to defend itself,” he says. “That commitment is not going away. And at the same time, I think it would be a very serious mistake for anyone to try to disrupt by force the existing status quo.”

May 05, 2021

Some 28,000 military personnel from 26 countries began an exercise May 4 in the Balkans and Black Sea region near Russian territories. The U.S.-led initiative is designed to test infrastructure and interoperability along NATO’s southeastern flank.

May 05, 2021

A 20-ton Long March rocket used by China to launch part of its proposed space station last week is expected to re-enter the atmosphere “around May 8”, according to U.S. officials. However, its precise entry point and potential impact area will remain uncertain until reentry begins.

May 05, 2021

Britain’s Royal Marines have produced a video of a successful test of a jet pack for potential use in boarding parties. They normally would fast-rope from a helicopter but the suit developed by Salisbury-based Gravity Industries provides a dramatically different option.

May 05, 2021

Thirty more Dassault Rafale fighters have been ordered by Egypt at an estimated cost of nearly €4 billion. Coming six years after an initial procurement of 24, it would give the Egyptian air force the largest Rafale fleet after France.

May 05, 2021

A new light armoured vehicle prototyped for the U.S. Marine Corps at a cost of more than $6 million has been unveiled by Textron. Systems, named for a venomous water snake, the Cottonmouth advanced reconnaissance vehicle is intended to replace a General Dynamics legacy fleet which has been in service since the 1980s.

May 05, 2021

In a potentially significant shift in the debate over sexual assault in the U.S. military, Army Gen Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says he is open to the idea of take prosecutorial decisions out of commanders’ hands. “We’ve been at it for years, and we haven’t effectively moved the needle,” he says. “We have to.”

May 05, 2021

Nine more individuals, including two from Turkey’s main procurement agency, have been charged in an ongoing industrial espionage case. Others include active and retired military personnel and three persons in the private sector. The government detained 33 other individuals in January and March.

May 04, 2021

The U.S. has reached a settlement with Honeywell over allegations that it illegally exported technical drawings of parts of the Lockheed Martin F-35 and other weapons. The State Department says data shared with Canada, China, Ireland and Taiwan harmed national security but the North Carolina-based company, which voluntarily disclosed its actions, says no detailed manufacturing or engineering expertise was shared and that the technology involved is “commercially available throughout the world.”

May 03, 2021

Five aircraft are competing for Finland’s potential €9-billion replacement for its fleet of legacy Boeing F-18 Hornets. They are the Saab Gripen, the Lockheed Martin F-35, the Dassault Rafale, the Boeing F-18 Super Hornet and the Airbus-BAE-Leonardo Eurofighter.

May 03, 2021

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says the government, having commissioned yet another external review, is prepared to reform his department’s handling of sexual misconduct. “It's possible . . . authorities will need to change,” he said May 2. “There possibly might be legislative changes as well.” Meanwhile, there were 581 documented reports of sexual assault in the military over the last five years.

May 03, 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin could be meeting in a third country this summer. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan says Biden “believes that such a summit would be valuable in establishing better understandings between our two countries and the possibility of getting this relationship on a more stable, predictable path.”

May 03, 2021

MGen Peter Dawe, head of Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, has been placed on indefinite leave by the Acting Chief of the Defence Staff, LGen Wayne Eyre, for having written a letter of support four years ago for a soldier found guilty of sexual assault. Dawe’s deputy commander, MGen Steve Boivin, has been appointed to replace him.

May 03, 2021

The U.S. Army’s concept of portable nuclear reactors to supply dependable power to combat operations is “extremely disturbing” and “based on a lie,” says the author of an academic report released by the Department of Defense. Alan Kuperman, coordinator of a University of Texas nuclear proliferation initiative, says Project Pele means higher costs and is a potential threat to U.S. personnel.

Apr 30, 2021

The 3M Company was found liable today for hearing damage suffered by three U.S. Army veterans who accused the company of covering up design defects in its earplugs. The Florida jury awarded each $2.1 million in punitive damages and a total of $830,500 in compensatory damages.

Apr 30, 2021

U.S. Army leaders have concluded that the modern fast-paced, multi-domain, wide-ranging style of combat could be a platform for changing the laws governing armed conflict. Gen Mike Murray, the head of Army Futures Command, says future leaders will have to rely on artificial intelligence and autonomous and semi-autonomous systems just to do their jobs.

Apr 30, 2021

A bipartisan coalition of U.S. Senators are pressing the Department of Defense to remove sexual misconduct cases from the traditional military chain of command and transfer jurisdiction to an independent counsel’s office. The move comes a week after a Pentagon review commission concluded that independent counsel is better qualified to deal with the complexities of evidence gathering and prosecutorial decisions.

Apr 29, 2021

Louise Arbour, a former Supreme Court of Canada judge as well as a former UN Commissioner for Human Rights, has been appointed to lead a review of sexual harassment and misconduct in the Canadian Armed Forces. She is tasked with providing “concrete recommendations” on how an external reporting system could enable victims to report issues without fear of reprisal.

Apr 29, 2021

The commander of an RCAF Lockheed-Martin CP-140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft has been formally reprimanded for diverting his aircraft during a six-hour B.C. coastal training mission to an area where he could find mobile phone service in May 2019. He was trying to check in for a personal flight scheduled for the next day and the diversion resulted in the training mission having to be reset. He pleaded guilty at a court martial.

Apr 29, 2021

The recent sinking of an Indonesian submarine with all 53 persons aboard is seen by a former Australian submarine commander as a catalyst for other navies to review the likely causes and responses to determine whether there are lessons to be learned from the tragedy.

Apr 29, 2021

South Korea’s defense procurement agency plan to introduce domestically-built attack helicopters for amphibious assault and close-air support. Korea Aerospace Industries is to develop and produce 24 armed variants of the Korea Utility Helicopter, developed with Airbus support, for delivery as early as 2031. Several foreign manufacturers, including Bell and Skimorsky, had bid for the contract.

Apr 28, 2021

More than 2000 travellers landing in Canada have tested positive for COVID-19 variants. Between 22 February and 22 April, 518 international air travellers tested positive for the B.1.1.7 variant first identified in the UK. There are currently almost 95,000 confirmed cases of this variant in Canada.

Apr 27, 2021

Up to three Canadian Armed Forces medical teams will be deployed in Ontario to support hospitals overwhelmed by the latest COVID-19 wave. The federal government confirmed the decision April 28 at the request of the province and it’s understood the military is prepared to ferry civilian medical help volunteered by other provinces.

Apr 27, 2021

The maiden voyage of the Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, will involve visits to Japan, South Korea, Singapore and India even as Australia warns of threats of jurisdictional conflicts in the region.

Apr 27, 2021

The sale of up to 12 General Atomics MQ-9B SkyGuardian drones to Australia has been approved by the U.S. State Department. The $1.6-billion procurement, which also involves engines, weapons, sensors infrastructure and training, now is subject to negotiation of a final contract as well as congressional review.

Apr 27, 2021

Leonardo S.p.A. will acquire a 25.1 percent stake in the German sensor company Hensoldt at a cost of €606 million. The Italian aerospace company will be the joint largest shareholder along with a German state-controlled bank in a move Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo says “reflects our long-held view on the importance of building cooperation across the European aerospace and defense industry.”

Apr 27, 2021

Approximately 650 U.S. Army Rangers troops are reportedly preparing to deploy to Afghanistan to protect the gradual withdrawal of other U.S. personnel over the summer. The Rangers are expected to have air assets to facilitate in-country movement as well as possibly Lockheed Martin AC-130 Hercules gunships for protective cover.

Apr 26, 2021

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has disclosed in a recorded interview that his country’s diplomatic priorities have been “sacrificed” to the agenda of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The leaked portion of the lengthy interview has stirred debate ahead of the country’s presidential elections in June.

Apr 26, 2021

China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi says U.S. political rhetoric and policies will cause global chaos. Firing a diplomatic but politically one-sided broadside during a virtual Council on Foreign Relations, he insisted that his country “is committed to . . . peaceful coexistence.”

Apr 26, 2021

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reported todat that global military spending last year is estimated at more than US$1.91 trillion. It says that was a 2.6 per cent increase from 2019 and was the highest since 1988.

Apr 26, 2021

The U.S. plans to use a June 14 NATO summit to press its allies on “effective burden-sharing,” according to the White House. “President Biden will affirm the United States’ commitment to NATO, transatlantic security and collective defense,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki says. “Leaders will discuss how to orient the alliance to future threats and ensure effective burden-sharing.”

Apr 26, 2021

Turkey’s removal from the Lockheed Martin F-35 program means that engine costs to the remaining program partners will increase, says Matthew Bromberg, head of the Pratt & Whitney military engines division. The F135 engine was initially manufactured with a total of 188 parts from Turkish suppliers but professed security concerns after Turkey bought Russian anti-missile technology is resulting in much of the work being placed with more costly U.S. suppliers.

Apr 26, 2021

Officials who oversee German and British defence procurement have agreed expand the scope of their relationship, highlighting battle tank and other land programs.

Apr 26, 2021

Formal designation by the U.S. of mass killings of Armenians more than a century ago as genocide have angered Turkey, a key regional ally. “Each year on this day, we remember the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide and recommit ourselves to preventing such an atrocity from ever again occurring,” U.S. President Joe Biden said in a statement. “We remember so that we remain ever vigilant against the corrosive influence of hate in all its forms.”

Apr 26, 2021

Myanmar’s senior military commander has been told by other leaders in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations that his forces should stop killing protestors and should release political prisoners “Violence must be stopped, democracy, stability and peace in Myanmar must be returned immediately," host Indonesian President Joko Widodo said. More than 700 demonstrators have been killed since a Feb. 1 coup.

Apr 26, 2021

Four days after an Indonesian submarine went missing with 53 persons aboard off the coast of Bali, Navy Chief of Staff Yudo Margono confirmed April 24 that the vessel has sunk with no survivors. Scattered wreckage was found well below the vessel’s crush depth.

Apr 23, 2021

An independent panel struck by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has recommended that decisions to prosecute sexual assault charges should be made by independent authorities rather than within the chain of command. If acted on, it would reverse decades of Pentagon policy.

Apr 23, 2021

A $444-million cost overrun is being reported on a cockpit computer upgrade on the Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter. The 63% overrun is on a 2018 contract for the aircraft manufacturer to develop and deliver redesigned hardware and software, a project the Government Accountability Office says has proven “more complex than originally thought.”

Apr 22, 2021

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu has ordered the withdrawal of some troops from along Ukraine’s borders. The European Union estimated that 100,000 troops had been deployed in the region but Shoigu said today that the units involved in an “exercise” would be pulled back, an announcement welcomed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Apr 22, 2021

Assuming President Vladimir Putin signs off on a Roscosmos plan, Russia is planning to orbit a “national” space station by the end of this decade. The project, apparently with an initial budget equivalent to US$6 billion, will be “a new step in world manned space exploration,” says Roscosmos head Dmitry Rogozin. Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov said April 21 that Russia would leave the U.S.-led International Space Station program after 2025.

Apr 22, 2021

Nearly a third of the respondents to a U.S. Air Force survey on diversity fear reprisals if they report discrimination, harassment or other poor treatment in their unit. Some 14,000 uniformed and civilian personnel responded to the survey and USAF officials say the results could be the basis for follow-up studies.

Apr 22, 2021

U.S. Africa Command leader Gen Stephen Townsend says China’s expansion of its naval base in Djibouti is the latest sign that Beijing is looking to expand its presence in East Africa. “Around the continent they are looking for other basing opportunities,” he says. Strategically-situated at the end of the Red Sea, Djibouti also is host to several other foreign military outposts.

Apr 22, 2021

The U.S. estimates that research and procurement costs of the Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter have risen by $22 billion even as operating and support costs over the aircraft’s expected lifecycle are projected at nearly $1.2 trillion. The overall increases are tied to current estimates of major upgrades to Block 4 production.

Apr 21, 2021

The Canada-U.S. border will remain closed to non-essential travel until at least May 21, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair confirmed on social media April 20, saying that “we will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available.” Meanwhile, a New York congressman is urging both federal governments to craft a plan to reopen the border, insisting that “with vaccines, face masks and good physical distancing, we can do so safely and successfully.”

Apr 21, 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin used his latest annual state of the nation speech to warn the West not to cross a “red line” which would trigger an “asymmetrical, rapid and harsh” response. He also complained today that Western powers are constantly trying to “pick on” Russia.

Apr 21, 2021

Russia insists it has the right to restrict foreign naval movements in the Black Sea off Crimea. Ukraine, the European Commission and the U.S. have protested the tactic.

Apr 21, 2021

Disturbing testimony about the Canadian Armed Forces’ response to rape complaints has been presented by witnesses appearing remotely before the House of Commons Standing Committee on the Status of Women.

Apr 21, 2021

The Bank of Canada opted today to keep its benchmark interest rate at the record-low 0.25 per cent which has prevailed since March 2020. It explained that the COVID-19 response “continues to require extraordinary monetary policy support” and that the rate is unlikely to change until possibly the latter half of 2022.

Apr 21, 2021

Lockheed Martin Chief Financial Officer Kenneth R. Possenriede says that sustainment of F-35 fighter fleets will be increasingly lucrative as the U.S. and other customers ramp up deployment.

Apr 21, 2021

Britain has agreed to spend £1.4 billion on 14 Boeing Chinook helicopters but will defer the procurement for three due to concerns about short-term budgetary issues.

Apr 21, 2021

A German-built submarine operated by Indonesia with a crew of 53 was reported missing today in deep water off the northern coast of the island of Bali. Australia and Singapore have been asked to assist in the search.

Apr 21, 2021

Germany’s Defence Minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, says she will continue to press for armed Eurodrones even though a parliamentary budget committee wants the Franco-German aircraft to remain unarmed. The committee has agreed that the program should proceed but that that arming the platforms presents ethical challenges.

Apr 21, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court has been asked by the White House to reject a petition calling for the men-only Selective Service to be declared unconstitutional. Acting Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar says the petition is premature because Congress is working on the issue.

Apr 16, 2021

Air Force Gen Glen VanHerck, head of U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, says his country must develop a more persistent Arctic presence. “You have to be on the field,” he says in a Pentagon press release, adding that capabilities are still in the “game plan development” stage. “We're not able to have the persistence that I need to compete day-to-day in the Arctic.”

Apr 16, 2021

NATO officials have vowed to boost the alliance’s cyber defences. During an April 15 virtual conference, they added the commitment to an overarching decision to prevent catastrophic disruptions of member states. Host Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said “malicious” activities had increased as the COVID-19 pandemic evolved and that the alliance needed to “recognize that cyberspace is at the forefront of increased global competition, and democratic nations must stand together against deviations from acceptable behavior.”

Apr 15, 2021

The U.S. has imposed new sanctions on Russia and formally blamed its SVR intelligence agency for last year’s massive SolarWinds breach of government and corporate systems. Designed to choke off lending to the Kremlin, the sanctions against 32 entities and individuals coincided with diplomatic expulsions in Washington. Also, in collaboration with allies, the U.S. has sanctioned eight individuals and entities associated with Russia’s occupation of Crimea.

Apr 15, 2021

The 2,500 U.S. military personnel remaining in Afghanistan on training and counterterrorism missions are to be withdrawn over the next five months, President Joe Biden confirmed April 15. “We cannot continue the cycle of extending or expanding our military presence in Afghanistan, hoping to create ideal conditions for the draw and expecting a different result,” he said. “I’m now the fourth United States president to preside over American troop presence in Afghanistan. . . . I will not pass this responsibility on to a fifth.”

Apr 15, 2021

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the non-U.S. members of the alliance will withdraw some 7,000 troops in parallel with Washington’s planned drawdown. “We will start the withdrawal of NATO Resolute Support forces by May 1,” he confirmed after a meeting with the U.S. secretaries of Defence and State. “We plan to complete the withdrawal of all our troops within a few months.”

Apr 15, 2021

The U.S. has decided not to deploy two warships into the Black Sea from the Mediterranean amid concerns about the Russian building on Ukraine’s borders. The Turkish foreign ministry, which disclosed the plan to transit the Bosphorus Strait, says the U.S. embassy in Ankara had notified it of the decision.

Apr 15, 2021

Interoperability with evolving cloud-computing technologies is presenting a challenge for NATO as it tries to set alliance-wide standards. France, Germany and the U.S. have already initiated their own programs but a researcher points out that “showing results quickly is important for NATO to give a common direction.”

Apr 15, 2021

The U.S. Air Force’s trouble-plagued Boeing KC-46 air-to-air refuelling platform is supposed to be configured with a palletized toilet and galley. However, it’s reported that the toilet cannot be used due to the risk of a leaking holding tank, which evidently limits the aircraft’s flight times with a large number of passengers.

Apr 14, 2021

The “ongoing build-up of Russian forces on Ukraine’s borders” is the focus of a visit to Brussels by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Ukrainian officials to discuss the prospect of a joint NATO statement. “There are more Russian forces massed on those borders than at any time since 2014, when Russia first invaded Ukraine,” Assistant Secretary of State Philip Reeker said. , who leads the State Department’s European affairs bureau, told reporters. “At the same time, Russia has had a disinformation campaign blatantly designed to falsely blame Ukraine for what are the Kremlin's own actions.”

Apr 14, 2021

An RCAF Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone maritime helicopter landed in a Halifax-area park April 12 after the crew noticed a cockpit warning indicator during a routine flight from nearby 12 Wing Shearwater. There were no injuries or damage and the aircraft was towed back to the base later in the day.

Apr 14, 2021

The Canadian Security Intelligence Services says last year saw the highest level of foreign espionage and interference directed at Canadian targets since the end of the Cold War. “The fluid and rapidly evolving environment caused by COVID-19 has created a situation ripe for exploitation,” CSIS Director David Vigneault says in his latest annual report. “Violent extremism, foreign interference, espionage and malicious cyber activity, accelerated, evolved and in many ways became much more serious.”

Apr 14, 2021

An international security think tank is calling on the U.S. and its allies to press for new rules governing the use of outer space. The Washington-based Atlantic Council argues in an April122 report that with more than 70 countries having national space programs, “space governance is prime for a reboot.”

Apr 14, 2021

The British defence ministry’s director general for strategy and international issues, Angus Lapsley, said April 12 that his country’s planned increase in its nuclear warhead stockpile will not be affected if the U.S. abandons plans for a new submarine-launched warhead. “There is a certain amount of . . . mutual support we can provide each other in taking those programs forward,” he acknowledged. “But you end up with a U.K. warhead and an American warhead.”

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