IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Jan 15, 2021

A diminished expectation of large-scale warfare, combined with modern communications technology, has reduced the emphasis on corps-level structures in western militaries, according to a paper published by the Royal United Services Institute in Australia. Among other things, it argues that overcoming interoperability challenges requires a shift from “rapid reaction” to being “long prepared.”

Jan 15, 2021

The Australian Army’s troublesome fleet of Eurocopter Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters is to be replaced with Boeing AH-64E Guardian Apache platforms. Twenty-nine have been ordered at a cost of $4.5 billion to replace 22 Tigers.

Jan 15, 2021

A $6.5 billion cabinet-approved order for 83 LCA Tejas light combat aircraft will be India’s largest indigenous defence deal. State-owned Hindustan Aeronautics will manufacture 73 fighter versions and 10 trainers.

Jan 15, 2021

The incoming administration of U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will ask Congress to approve a $1.9 trillion economic recovery package which would include more than $10 billion for a spate of IT and cybersecurity initiatives. “This an urgent national security issue that cannot wait,” Biden’s transition team says.

Jan 15, 2021

The International Atomic Energy Agency has been advised that Iran has begun installing equipment for producing metallic uranium, another violation of its multinational agreement to constrain its nuclear capabilities. Iran has told the IAEA that the new development is part of its “declared aim to design an improved type of fuel.” Germany, a party to the 2015 agreement which the U.S. eventually abandoned, says the development is “not likely to build trust.”

Jan 15, 2021

The U.S. Department of Defense has been directed by outgoing President Donald Trump to accelerate development of small nuclear reactors for military use on the ground and possibly in space. An executive order posted Jan. 12 gives the Secretary of Defense 180 days to “establish and implement a plan.”

Jan 15, 2021

Haiying General Aviation Equipment, a subsidiary of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp., is reported to have successfully completed its first flight of a new armed reconnaissance drone. Similar in profile to some western drones, the jet-powered WJ-700 first appeared at a prototype at Airshow China 2018.

Jan 14, 2021

The Washington-based Center for American Progress is suggesting that the next U.S. administration should consider pooling financial resources to set up a bank to facilitate investments in defence. It says NATO members would initially capitalize the bank with a view to eventually creating a self-sustaining institution.

Jan 14, 2021

The world’s two largest defence suppliers, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, have joined the roster of U.S. companies suspending political donations after last week’s riot in Washington which resulted in several deaths and a breach of the capitol.

Jan 14, 2021

The French navy’s Andromède mine-hunting ship has been fitted with a one-tonne 3D-printed five-blade propeller designed and manufactured by Naval Group. “It is the largest metal 3D-printed thruster ever to have been manufactured and the first propeller resulting from this technology, embarked on board a military ship and manufactured for use beyond just sea trials,” a company spokesman says.

Jan 14, 2021

Admiral Art McDonald was appointed Canada’s new Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) during a change of command ceremony held virtually in Ottawa today.

Jan 13, 2021

A Change of Command ceremony, beginning at 2:15 pm on 14 January 2021, will see command transfer from General Jonathan Vance to Vice-Admiral Art McDonald as the incoming Chief of the Defence Staff.

Jan 13, 2021

Donald Trump has become the first U.S. President be to be impeached a second time when the House of Representatives voted 232-197 in favour of a Democratic Party resolution accusing him of “incitement of insurrection.” Prompted by his incitement of a mob which stormed Congress last week, the resolution was supported by a small number of Republicans. Trump now faces a trial once the Senate returns from a seasonal recess.

Jan 13, 2021

François-Philippe Champagne has been promising a tougher line on China for over a year. It is curious that, at the precise moment he finally announced tough new measures aimed at addressing human rights violations in Xinjiang province, he was being shuffled out of the foreign affairs portfolio. John Ivison examines the cabinet shuffle puzzle pieces.

Jan 13, 2021

BAE Systems, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon are on a growing list of defence suppliers which have suspended political donations in the aftermath of last week’s riot in Washington. Northrop Grumman, which contributed a total of $4.8 million to Democrats and Republicans last year, was first up as it considers “the way forward.”

Jan 13, 2021

The Swedish air force will continue to fly 100 Saab JAS Gripen fighters despite an earlier plan which would have reduced the fleet to 60. “Long-range combat capability against ground targets that will be added gives us the opportunity to reach enemy territory with considerable range,” Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist explained. “It is a real strengthening of Swedish operational capability, which is also an important security policy signal.” Also in the works are a new unmanned combat aerial vehicle and a recapitalized airborne early warning and control fleet.

Jan 13, 2021

The U.S. has declassified, with minor redactions, a blueprint for its role in the Indo-Pacific region. Drafted in 2018, it originally was not expected to be made public until 2043.

Jan 13, 2021

The U.S. military high command is planning a conference at the end of January in an attempt to develop effective common data standards for Joint All Domain Command and Control operations. “We are going to attempt to settle this, or at least bring in some courses of action that we can use . . . to have our senior leaders make decisions,” says the project lead, Marine Corps LGen Dennis Crall. “We just have a sordid history of not really delivering.”

Jan 13, 2021

Boeing has secured a $1.7 billion contract this week to build 12 more KC-46A tankers for the U.S. Air Force. The multirole platform, also capable of carrying passengers and cargo, can refuel allied and coalition aircraft compatible with international aerial refueling procedures. Boeing has delivered 42 since August 2016 in a program beset by cost overruns and delays.

Jan 13, 2021

The U.S. State Department is being sued by a small think-tank seeking to block a $23-billion sale of Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters and other weapons to the United Arab Emirates. The New York Center For Foreign Policy Affairs contends that the Trump administration breached the Administrative Procedure Act by failing to provide a reasonable explanation for the sale.

Jan 13, 2021

In a bid to head off potential disruption at next week’s presidential inaugurations, the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff have warned that any protests by service members would be a bad idea. Citing last week’s ransacking of Congress, in which several veterans were involved, they have told personnel that “the rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition, and insurrection.”

Jan 12, 2021

Vice-Admiral Craig Baines assumed the duties of Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy from Vice-Admiral Art McDonald this afternoon in a virtual change of command ceremony presided over by General Jonathan Vance, outgoing Chief of the Defence Staff, at the National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa.

Jan 12, 2021

Former trade minister Jim Carr has returned to the cabinet fold in a mini-shuffle announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Carr stepped down last year for health reasons. His return as a special representative for the Prairies was precipitated by Innovation, Science and Industry Minister to step down to spend more time with his family. Bains is replaced by former Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne who in turn is replaced by former Transport Minister Marc Garneau. Toronto MP Omar Alghabra, first elected in 2006 and who has been serving as a parliamentary secretary to Trudeau for public service renewal as well as to Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland, succeeds Garneau at Transport.

Jan 12, 2021

Founded in late 2019, the NATO Space Centre at Ramstein Airbase in Germany is expected to expand this year. The centre currently houses British, German and U.S. personnel but a spokesman says “we will receive additional personnel from several other allies” not necessarily limited to those with space capabilities.

Jan 12, 2021

Britain is seeking observer status in a French-German program which could yield their next-generation tank, replacing the Leclerc and Leopard 2 platforms. The latter has been sold to armies worldwide, including Canada, where they have been undergoing extensive modernization.

Jan 12, 2021

The ability of munitions to work together to identify, locate, and attack targets in a crowded battlespace has been demonsrated by the U.S. Air Force. A test of its semi-autonomous Golden Horde system involved small-diameter bombs which “collaborated to identify . . . priority targets.”

Jan 12, 2021

Reversing a move by President Barack Obama in 2015, the lameduck administration of President Donald Trump has put Cuba back on its list of state sponsors of terrorism. The move, dismissed by Cuba as “political opportunism”, comes just days before he is replaced by president-elect Joe Biden, who has said he wants to improve relations with Cuba.

Jan 12, 2021

Information Commissioner Caroline Maynard wants the offices of the Prime Minister and other cabinet members to be included under the Access to Information Act. The only exemptions would be material or a personal or political nature. Applying the law to ministers’ offices would honour a promise Justin Trudeau made during the 2015 election campaign but backed away from after assuming power.

Jan 12, 2021

Federal public health officials reportedly failed to act on warnings by Canadian military intelligence sources last January as the COVID-19 crisis began evolving, opting instead to rely on World Health Organization data. Based largely on classified information, the warnings by the military evidently were several weeks ahead of other sources.

Jan 11, 2021

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says that a changing global security landscape means that Canada needs to take “a thorough look” at how North America can be secured against current and evolving threats. That includes continued collaboration within NORAD to build “continental resiliency” and keeping defence industries predictably “informed of future investment opportunities.”

Jan 11, 2021

Some six years after Canada deployed troops to fight Islamist militants, ISIS, the presence of more than 500 who remain in several countries is uncertain as their mission faces the expiry of $1.39 billion in funding at the end of the current fiscal year. Defence Minister Minister Harjit Sajjan declined to say whether it will be extended but Canada would remain “a reliable partner” in the region.

Jan 11, 2021

Preliminary results of an RCMP investigation indicate that the CAF reservist who breached security at Government House last July wanted to see Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrested. Corey Hurren, a Manitoba member of the Canadian Rangers, faces 22 criminal charges.

Jan 11, 2021

More than two dozen domestic terrorism cases have been opened in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 protests and breach of Congress security by extremists supporting outgoing President Donald Trump. Six deaths have been attributed to the riot and firearms and various explosive devices have been recovered.

Jan 11, 2021

Kim Jong-un says he’s not expected any change in his country’s “biggest enemy” after Joe Biden is sworn in as president. He also told his Workers' Party congress that his administration also will expand North Korea's nuclear weapons arsenal but would not use it unless “hostile forces” were planning an attack.

Jan 08, 2021

Gen Mark Milley, Chairman of th U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, has been asked by House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi about safeguards to prevent President Donald Trump from launching a nuclear attack in his final days in office. “The situation of this unhinged President could not be more dangerous, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy,” Pelosi says.

Jan 08, 2021

The British government’s commitment to a £24.1 billion top-up in defence spending over the next four years will not be easy to implement, according Malcolm Chalmers, deputy director-general of the Royal United Services Institute, an independent London-based think-tank. A principal concern is that most of the new funds will be used for capital programs without full regard for operational running costs. “It is still possible that the curse of budgetary overcommitment, which has overshadowed U.K. defence planning for the last decade and more, will remain alive and well,” he says.

Jan 08, 2021

Looking ahead to a NATO defence ministers meeting next month, the alliance’s Secretary-General, Jens Stoltenberg, says 2021 will be a critical year for relations between North America and Europe. “Any attempt to divide Europe and North America will not only weaken the transatlantic bond . . . but also divide Europe, so we need to stand together,” he says. Key issues to be addressed included NATO’s presence in Afghanistan and the future of the U.S.-Russia nuclear arms treaty.

Jan 08, 2021

It’s being reported that China will stop using Russian engines in its latest generation J-20 stealth fighters. Instead, it will install a modified version of a proven domestic engine. The decision apparently was precipitated by Russia’ request that China buy more Sukoi Su-35 fighters in exchange for ongoing engine supplies.

Jan 08, 2021

Boeing will pay $2.5 billion to settle a criminal charge of defrauding the Federal Aviation Administration in connection with development of its 737 Max aircraft. The Justice Department says the total includes a criminal fine as well as payments to the families of victims of two crashes and to airlines and prospective passengers affected by the grounding of the global fleet. Federal prosecutors said Boeing employees had concealed critical information from the regulators.

Jan 07, 2021

Jim Quick, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Aerospace Industries Association of Canada since 2011, will retire at the end of January. He will be succeeded on an interim basis by Senior VP Mike Mueller.

Jan 07, 2021

Ralph Goodale, the former federal cabinet minister advising the government on the Iranian military's downing of a Ukrainian passenger aircraft a year ago, is dismissive of Tehran's offer of $150,000 to the victims’ families. He says compensation remains subject to negotiations. 176 people on board. The 176 victims included 55 Canadian citizens, 30 permanent residents and 53 others travelling to Canada.

Jan 07, 2021

Increased Chinese and Russian activity in the Arctic warrant a more assertive U.S. involvement in the region, according to a new U.S. Navy strategic plan. It notes that the Arctic has significant estimated and proven petroleum reserves as well as strategically important rare earth minerals.

Jan 07, 2021

A judge in Baghdad has issued an arrest warrant for outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump in connection with the killing of a visiting Iranian general and an Iraqi militia leader last January. Year. However, the warrant on a charge of premeditated murder is seen as largely symbolic.

Jan 06, 2021

Shortly after President Donald Trump used an inflammatory speech about his unfounded allegations of voter fraud in the last election, Republican loyalists stormed Capitol Hill in a protest which left one woman dead. In the first incident of its kind since 1954, when a few Puerto Rican nationalists breached security, the mob broke into Congress shortly after it began debating a move by Republican dissidents to overturn the election results and the National Guard was eventually deployed.

Jan 05, 2021

The U.S. nuclear aircraft carrier Nimitz has been ordered back to the Middle East as President Donald Trump reversed a directive from acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller to withdraw. Miller’s decision, ostensibly designed to ease tensions in the region, reportedly caught the Navy leadership by surprise.

Jan 05, 2021

A South Korean naval vessel stationed off Somalia as a piracy deterrent has been ordered closer to the Strait of Hormuz as tensions rise between Seoul and Iran over the seizer of a South Korean tanker. Tehran says the ship was polluting the sea during a transit from Saudi Arabia to the United Arab Emirates, a claim the tanker captain has denied. Meanwhile, Seoul plans a delegation to Tehran “at the earlies possible date” to try to negotiation the tanker’s release.

Jan 05, 2021

The U.S. has positioned a squadron of General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper drones and 90 personnel at Campia Turzii Air Base in Romania. The unspecified number of drones will be tasked with ISR missions and also work with U.S. allies in the region.

Jan 05, 2021

Greece has signed a 20-year contract with Israel, worth some $1.68 billion, to acquire 10 Italian-designed M346 Lavi jet trainers as well as a flight school and maintenance facilities.

Jan 04, 2021

In a move unprecedented during President Donald Trump’s four years in office, the U.S. Senate rejected his attempted derailment of a $740.5 billion defence bill that boosts pay and benefits for troops and adds care for thousands of Vietnam-era veterans exposed to Agent Orange. The bipartisan 81-24 vote overrode Trump’s veto of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act after it had been approved by majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives.

Jan 04, 2021

Renewed U.S. airstrikes against al-Shabaab insurgents in Somalia 1 Jan are taken as a sign of continuing support for the government in Mogadishu even as most of the 700-800 ground troops are being withdrawn. Last year saw at least 51 airstrikes compared with 63 in 2019 and 47 in 2018.

Jan 04, 2021

Travel restrictions are being reinstated at a majority of U.S. domestic and foreign military installations as COVID-19 continues to spike and the government’s vaccine rollout continues.

Jan 04, 2021

All former U.S. Secretaries of Defense have rebuked elements within President Donald Trump’s administration for considering martial law as an option in his ongoing campaign to overturn the latest election results. Stating that "the time for questioning the results has passed," they say such action would take the country into “dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory."

Jan 04, 2021

NATO’s quick reaction force will be under the command of the Turkish Army this year. “Turkey has made substantial investments into the unit – amongst the most mobile in NATO – particularly in its logistics and ammunition requirements planning,” the alliance says.

Jan 04, 2021

Michele Evans, the Lockheed Martin veteran who had headed the corporation’s aeronautics division since 2018, died 1 Jan. Having been seen as a potential successor to CEO Marillyn Hewson, Evans took medical leave in September due to a cancer diagnosis.

Canada commands NATO naval group
Jan 04, 2021

The frigate HMCS Halifax is Canada’s latest naval contribution to Operation Reassurance in central and eastern Europe, a key element of NATO’s collective defence. The 15th RCN deployment since 2014, the frigate, which departed 1 Jan., will serve as the flagship of the alliance’s Standing Maritime Group 1, which normally comprises four to six destroyers and frigates.

Dec 31, 2020

Effective Jan. 7, all visitors aged five years or older who arrive by air will have to have tested negative for COVID-19 within a 72-hour period before boarding the aircraft. The customary 14-day quarantine period on arrival in Canada will continue to apply.

Biden’s top Pentagon picks
Dec 31, 2020

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is turning to experienced civilian professionals for senior roles in the Department of Defense. He plans to tap Kathleen Hicks as Deputy Secretary and Colin Kahl as Undersecretary for Policy. Both veterans of the Obama administration, they would report to retired Army Gen Lloyd Austin, Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Defense.

Dec 31, 2020

Two Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses completed another U.S. show of force over the Middle East this week as outgoing President Trump warned Iran would be held accountable if rocket attacks against Iraq killed any Americans. The North Dakota-based bombers’ 36-hour round trip was the third such deployment in six weeks.

Dec 31, 2020

Although impacted by COVID-19, Lockheed Martin managed to deliver 123 F-35s to domestic and international customers in 2020, 18 short of its initial target. The problem was exacerbated by pandemic-related difficulties in the supply chain, which the company had flagged as a possibility in April.

Dec 30, 2020

At least 25 persons are dead and 110 injured after an explosion at the airport in the temporary Yemeni capital of Aden Dec. 30 as an aircraft carrying the newly-formed government cabinet was landing. A second blast was reported near a palace in the southern port city where cabinet members had been moved after the airport attack for which Iran-backed Houthi rebels claimed responsibility.

Dec 30, 2020

At least 22 persons are dead and 50 injured after an explosion at the airport in the temporary Yemeni capital of Aden.  A second blast was reported near a palace in the southern port city where cabinet members had been moved after the airport attack.

Dec 30, 2020

The U.S. Energy Department has confirmed that it has completed production of new low-yield nuclear warheads for the USN’s Trident ballistic missile submarines. President-elect Joe Biden has said that fielding the weapon is a “bad idea.”

Dec 30, 2020

A live-fire exercise by the Chinese navy from an expanded base on Hainan Island in the South China Sea included helicopter-launched missiles. Also, satellite imagery show progress on a new dry dock at the base, capable of accommodating China’s new supercarrier.

Dec 30, 2020

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team will fly Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets in its 2021 program, an upgrade from the legacy Hornets the team has flown for 34 years.

Dec 30, 2020

Former U.S. Navy analyst Jonathan Pollard, imprisoned in 1985 after pleading guilty to spying for Israel, has been welcomed to Tel Aviv by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Pollard was paroled in 2015 but prohibited from foreign travel for at least five years. Israel had granted him citizenship in 1995.

Dec 30, 2020

The U.S. Coast Guard’s only operational icebreaker, Polar Star, sailed north of 72 degrees latitude on Christmas Day, a new record for the service during a months’ long deployment.

Dec 29, 2020

The Royal Australian Air Force says its 33 Lockheed Martin F-35A fighters have reached initial operational capability, making Australia the seventh country to achieve that status. RAAF crews have flown more than 8,780 flight hours with more than 45 pilots and 600 maintainers supporting the fleet.

Dec 29, 2020

Russian activity in and near NATO airspace increased slightly this year as alliance aircraft were scrambled more than 400 times, approximately 350 of which involved Russian flights. NATO points out that “Russian military aircraft often do not transmit a transponder code indicating their position and altitude, do not file a flight plan, or do not communicate with air traffic controllers, posing a potential risk to civilian airliners.”

Dec 29, 2020

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government continues to insist that Turkey will not yield to U.S. or European pressure over the acquisition of a Russian anti-missile system. Responding to U.S.-led sanctions, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has threatened unspecified “retaliatory steps.

Dec 29, 2020

Congress is raising the profile of the Department of Defense official who liaises with industry to Assistant Secretary of Defense from a Deputy Assistant Secretary. This subjects appointees to Senate confirmation hearings at a time of growing administration concern about Chinese investment in U.S. supply chains.

Pages