IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Jul 30, 2021

Britain has signed a £250 million contract with a group of companies to provide digital and physical infrastructure for its Future Combat Air System, part of a four-year investment of more than £2 billion on the next-generation fighter project. Team Tempest includes BAE Leonardo UK, Rolls-Royce and MBDA UK.

Jul 30, 2021

Afghan interpreters and others who helped the Canadian Armed Forces mission in Afghanistan “absolutely have the right to come to Canada,” says Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, but bureaucratic issues evidently persist. She was responding to criticism that the system proposed effectively made it difficult for prospective refugees, notably a 72-hour window for submitting paperwork, but the government now says that was a mistake and no applications would be rejected.

Jul 30, 2021

The first flight evacuating Afghans who worked with the U.S. in Afghanistan arrived early today at Dulles International Airport near Washington. Fleeing Taliban reprisals, the 221 evacuees included 57 children and 15 infants. President Joe Biden called the flight “an important milestone as we continue to fulfill our promise to the thousands of Afghan nationals who served shoulder-to-shoulder with American troops and diplomats over the last 20 years.”

Jul 29, 2021

A three-day deadline for Afghans who assisted Canadian forces to be brought Canada, coupled with complicated English-only online applications forms, are frustrating the humanitarian program. “The plan sounded good,” a CAF veteran said July 28. “As of this morning . . . the deadlines are completely unreasonable.”

Jul 28, 2021

In what’s seen as an attempt to restore relations generally, North and South Korea are reportedly considering reopening a liaison office that the North demolished last year. South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un evidently have been corresponding since April.

Jul 27, 2021

President Joe Biden says U.S. forces will end their combat mission in Iraq by the end of this year but will continue to train and advise the Iraqi military. His announcement followed a meeting at the White House with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

Jul 27, 2021

A wildfire in central Kenya which razed some 12,000 acres of a private conservancy is causing legal problems for the British Army. The “official” cause of the fire remains under investigation but nearly 1,000 local residents and a lobby group have filed a lawsuit against the Army, which has used the land for training for more than a decade.

Jul 27, 2021

A woman with dual Australian and New Zealand citizenship who is believed to have been involved with the Islamic State is being permitted to return to New Zealand with her two children after Australia refused to take her back. She had left for Syria on an Australian passport in 2014 and was caught entering Turkey from Syria with her children. New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the decision was not “taken lightly” and she accused the Australian government of “abdicating its responsibilities.”

Jul 27, 2021

All physicians and other medical staff at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs are being required to have COVID-19 vaccinations. “It's the best way to keep veterans safe, especially as the Delta variant spreads,” VA Secretary Denis McDonough says. His department employs more than 367,200 full-time health professionals and support staff at 1,293 facilities.

Jul 27, 2021

Frank Kendall, former U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, has been confirmed by the Senate as Secretary of the Air Force. The engineer/lawyer said during confirmation hearings that recruitment and retention are among his top priorities for the Air Force and the Space Force.

Jul 27, 2021

Human Rights Watch has accused Israel of attacks that "apparently amount to war crimes" during an 11-day war in May against Hamas militants in Gaza. The accusation July 26 flows from an investigation of three air strikes that it says killed 62 Palestinian civilians. It also accuses the militants of apparent war crimes for launching more that 4,000 unguided munitions against Israeli communities.

Jul 27, 2021

Last year's fatal crash of a Sikorsky CH-148 Canadian helicopter off Greece was caused by a control software which experts say must be fixed without delay. “It's very likely that another fatality is going to happen if they don't address this,” says a former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot who reviewed the crash reports. Another says that if he was in the Canadian military, “I would stop everyone from using autopilot until I got this problem fixed.” A professor of industrial engineering at the University of Toronto agrees it is “a present safety issue that the Defence Department needs to immediately address with Sikorsky.”

Jul 27, 2021

The Taliban have taken control of more territory in Afghanistan in the last two months than at any time since they were ousted from power 20 years ago. Emboldened in recent weeks by the ongoing withdrawal of western forces, they now have a strong presence n many regions and are closing in on major cities.

Jul 27, 2021

An 84-yerold German war veteran is at the heart of a legal fight over his ownership of a WWII Panther tank, anti-aircraft gun and torpedo six years after they were removed from his house. Prosecutors have been pushing for a stiff fine and a suspended sentence for violating weapons control laws even though his lawyers argue that the equipment was no longer functional.

Jul 27, 2021

The government wants to have a legal complaint by MGen Dany Fortin, summarily dismissed as the head of its COVID-19 vaccine logistics in May, heard by a military tribunal instead of a civilian court. Accused of an incident of sexual misconduct three decades ago, Fortin has said in a Federal Court affidavit that “political interference” has ruined his reputation but the Crown insists that he should not be permitted to “bypass the military grievance process.”

Jul 26, 2021

Mary Simon, an Inuk from northern Quebec, was sworn in as Canada’s 30th Governor General, the first indigenous vice-regal appointee. In a ceremony held in the Senate chamber, she pledged to use her role to work against climate change, advocate for mental health and work toward reconciliation. “I have heard from Canadians who describe a renewed sense of possibility for our country and hope that I can bring people together," she said.

Jul 26, 2021

About 100 firefighters from Mexico have joined their British Columbia counterparts and elements of the Canadian Armed Forces in a concerted effort to contain 259 forest fires burning mainly in the province’s southern interior. A spokesperson for B.C. Wildfire Services says continued outbreaks suggest that “we are looking to definitely break some records this year.”

Jul 26, 2021

Up to $100 million from an emergency fund to meet “unexpected urgent” needs of Afghan refugees, including special immigration visas, was approved July 23 by U.S. President Joe Biden. He also has authorized the release of $200 million in services and articles from government agencies’ inventories as the U.S. prepares to prevent thousands of Afghan allies and their families from being captured and potentially executed by the Taliban.

Jul 26, 2021

During months of unending turmoil after their April coup d'état, Myanmar security forces have killed more than 900 people, including shooting protesters and detaining thousands. An already fragile health care system has collapsed and now physicians and other health care providers have become targets.

Jul 26, 2021

The U.S. House of Representatives have agreed nearly unanimously on the need to expedite visas for Afghan interpreters who fear Taliban reprisals for having worked with the U.S. military. The first group is expected to leave Kabul by the end of this week.

Jul 26, 2021

More than 83,000 CRV7 ground attack missiles developed by Bristol Aerospace in Winnipeg nearly a half-century ago, remain in their original shipping tubes at CFB Dundurn, Sas, but are finally beinf decommissioned. The weapon was retired from service a couple of decades ago but not after it had become a Cold War standard for several NATO allies. which became a stock munition aboard many NATO allies’ fighters.

Jul 22, 2021

The government announced today that “special immigration measures” to rescue Afghans who helped during Canada’s combat mission as well as those still assisting diplomatic staff even as the Taliban continue to gain ground. “Lives hang in the balance,” Citizenship and Immigration Minister Marco Mendocino said in a news conference with Defence Minister Sajjan and Foreign Affairs Minister Garneau, explaining that the initiative is not limited to interpreters. “Canada will do right by those who did right by us.”

Jul 22, 2021

Lockheed Martin CEO Jim Taiclet evidently believes that the defence industry should be involved in writing the U.S. military’s technical standards. “The only feasible way is to literally start connecting individual platforms together within a technology roadmap,” he says. That would involve planning “the best combinations of existing and new platforms to create a network effect and thereby, greater returns, capability, and also greater effectiveness, if deterrence is not successful.”

Jul 22, 2021

Western allies’ recent Sea Breeze exercise in the Black Sea encountered what has been described as an increasingly intense and aggressive Russian presence. Some NATO member ships were threatened and Russia also effectively closed off the western part of the sea. “There is a tactical risk,” explained U.S. Navy Adm Robert P. Burke, commander of U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa and Allied Joint Force Command Naples. “That tactical risk could turn into a strategic issue and that’s a big concern.”

Jul 22, 2021

An electric, fixed-wing drone recently set a certified world record for flight time in its category, operating at continuous thrust for 26 hours with a full-motion video payload and radios. Developed by Brooklyn-based Kraus Hamdani Aerospace, the aircraft’s sailplane profile also enables it to soar up to 20,000 feet, capabilities to be demonstrated at an upcoming U.S. Army exercise.

Jul 22, 2021

MGen Dany Fortin, the highly-esteemed officer who ran the federal government’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout until he was abruptly fired in mid-May, says his three-decade career has been “irreparably tarnished” by political interests. In announcing his firing, the government simply announced that a complaint about sexual misconduct in the early 1980s was under investigation. Details of the allegation have yet to be made public.

Jul 22, 2021

“The reputation I have built up over the course of three decades of service to my country has been irreparably tarnished by the Decision to announce publicly an investigation into my alleged conduct, exacerbated by the fact that the announcement lacked the context that the investigation relates to a single allegation of misconduct dating back over 30 years,” MGen Dany Fortin wrote in an affidavit signed last week and obtained by National Post.

Jul 22, 2021

The U.S. State Department is preparing to move thousands of Afghans who provided interpretation and other services to other countries, along with their families, in anticipation of Taliban reprisals. as the Taliban poses a growing U.S. troops are being moved out with their families. Operation Allies Refuge will include 750 to be transported to a base in Virginia next week while others will relocate temporarily to a third country.

Jul 21, 2021

Canadian military historian Howard Coombs says the U.S. is outpacing Canada in fulfilling a “moral obligation” to extract interpreters who helped the Canadian Armed Forces during their combat mission. “I am at a loss to see why we cannot step up in a similar fashion,” he says as the federal government insists that its own plan is progressing even as Taliban forces tighten their grip on the country.

Jul 21, 2021

Nearly 60 years after early work with “potable” nuclear reactors at various military stations, the U.S. has resurrected the concept as a way of generating carbon-free power at short notice. However, the record to date hasn’t been impressive and there are concerns at senior levels about their vulnerability to terrorists and the potential for a lack of appropriate oversight.

Jul 21, 2021

This week’s transfer of a Moroccan to his homeland from the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo, Cuba, has reopened discussion on the future of the remaining 59 long-term detainees and the facility’s future. It was the first transfer by President Joe Biden’s administration and legal experts say a total shutdown is going to take time because of the slow military commissions processing procedures.

Jul 21, 2021

T-72 main battle tanks from a Russian base in Tajikistan have been deployed to a practice range less than 24 kilometres from its neighbour’s border with Afghanistan. The action follows major Taliban gains in Afghanistan and Russia is concerned about a influx of refugees into its Central Asia allies.

Jul 21, 2021

A British report states that online activity by right-wing extremists in Canada increased last year despite efforts by governments and social media companies to curb extremism and hate speech. The Institute for Strategic Dialogue also found that Canadian extremists are influenced by their increasingly violent U.S. counterparts.

Jul 21, 2021

A prototype of a single-engine stealth fighter was unveiled July 20 at an air show just outside Moscow. Striking similar in general appearance to the Lockheed Martin F-35, the Sukhoi is expected to make its maiden flight in 2023 with a view to deliveries starting in 2026.

Jul 20, 2021

With more than 300 wildfires and growing concerns about deteriorating weather, the B.C. government announced today that a state of emergency would go into effect at midnight. Initially for 14 days, it empowers the to, among other things, order evacuations and to prohibit travel. The Department of National Defence confirmed preparations to support civilian firefighters.

Jul 20, 2021

With the Taliban resurgency gaining ground daily in Afghanistan, local interpreters who helped Canadian troops during their combat mission have yet to hear from the federal government on how it plans to extract them. ““I’m under threat in Afghanistan, they’re not going to let me and my family leave,” says a former interpreter, appealing to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “As soon as possible, please take us out of this country, it’s so very horrible and very dangerous.”

Jul 20, 2021

A Royal Canadian Navy frigate, HMCS Calgary, is in the Coral Sea off northeast Australia for war games with other Pacific Rim countries in the biennial Exercise Talisman Sabre. They are being shadowed by a couple of Chinese vessels. Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton says it’s “a reminder” of the new reality in the Indo-Pacific region and “we need to be very conscious of that.”

Jul 20, 2021

Canada has joined the U.S. and other countries in blaming China for a massive hack of the Microsoft Exchange email server software and accusing it of working with criminal hackers in ransomware attacks and other cyber operations. “This activity put several thousand Canadian entities at risk, a risk that persists in some cases even when patches from Microsoft have been applied,” the government said in a statement.

Jul 20, 2021

Smaller Asian nations are increasing their inventories of advanced long-range missiles, evidently driven by increased concern about China and a desire to reduce reliance on the U.S. “The missile landscape is changing . . . fast,” says Pacific Forum President David Santoro, noting that these missils are increasingly accurate and affordable.

Jul 20, 2021

The U.S. has been asked by Turkish Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for financial, logistical and diplomatic support for Turkish troops to operate Kabul airport once other foreign troops withdraw from Afghanistan. The Taliban has warned Turkey against the plan.

Jul 19, 2021

Philip Breedlove, the USAF General who headed NATO Allied Command Operations from 2013 until his retirement in 2016, says he is “heartened greatly” by President Joe Biden’s stated commitment to the alliance. “Only NATO can deter Russian aggression and assure freedom-loving nations in Europe their territorial integrity,” he says, pointing out, however, that “effective deterrence is hollow without sufficient funding, focused on the right priorities.”

Jul 19, 2021

Neither Lockheed Martin nor the F-35 Joint Program Office in the U.S. Department of Defense are prepared to elaborate but the latter says that as the fighter program inches through operational testing, the number of critical technical deficiencies has falled to seven from 11 since January. A JPO official says that while the deficiencies, each of which is “critical to mission readiness”, are not classified, “details . . . are not publicly releasable because the information is operationally sensitive, and its release could be detrimental to U.S. and international war fighters operating F-35s.”

Jul 19, 2021

U.S. responds to Chinese cyberattacks Measures designed to expose and disrupt China’s government-sponsored cybercrimes have been confirmed by the U.S. in collaboration with its allies. U.S. officials say the international effort flows from President Joe Biden’s meeting last month with G7 and NATO leaders. China’s Ministry of State Security is identified as a key player and there are suggestions the latest development could lead to further sanctions.

Jul 19, 2021

The Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff says the outcome of a war in Europe, as well as NATO’s survival, will depend on Joint Force Command Norfolk, the alliance’s first operation HQ in North America. “The world is entering a period of potential instability, as some nations . . . and clearly terrorist groups and perhaps some rogue actors are seeking to undermine and challenge the existing international order, Gen Mark Milley said. “They seek to weaken the system of cooperation and collective security.”

Jul 19, 2021

A former regimental medical office in an artillery battalion who now practises on Vancouver Island points out that the foes Canada fights are increasingly non-military. Dr. Kevin Patterson suggests that the Canadian Armed Forces should build on its reputation for addressing domestic challenges.

Jul 16, 2021

The Royal Canadian Navy transferred command of the Combined Maritime Forces’ Combined Task Force 150 (CTF 150) to the Royal New Zealand Navy during a change of command ceremony held on 15 July 2021 at the U.S. Naval Base, Naval Support Activity Bahrain.

Jul 15, 2021

The former Chief of the Defence Staff, Jonathan Vance, has been charged with obstruction of justice after an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct. The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service said today that the criminal case against the retired General, who has denied any wrongdoing, will proceed in civilian court.

Jul 15, 2021

Another milestone was reached today in the arrival of the RCN’s future fleet with the delivery of the second Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship (AOPS), the future HMCS Margaret Brooke. She will remain docked at the Halifax Dockyard while post-acceptance work and final ship preparation work are completed. A naming ceremony for the ship is expected to be held later in 2021, with a formal commissioning ceremony expected in fall 2022.

Jul 15, 2021

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak says his country will buy 250 of the latest M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks from the U.S. to counter Russia’s newest T-14 Armata tanks. Poland’s 1st Warsaw Armored Brigade is currently equipped with German Leopard 2A4 and 2A5s.

Jul 15, 2021

In an unprecedented development, the latest Japanese annual defence policy paper explicitly cites Taiwan’s stability as “important for Japan’s security” and urges officials to “pay close attention to the situation with a sense of crisis.” It also notes that the “overall military balance between China and Taiwan is tilting in China’s favour, and the gap appears to be growing year by year.”

Jul 15, 2021

The Department of National Defence is setting up a dedicated team to assess replacements for the Royal Canadian Navy’s next-generation submarines. The current fleet of four Victoria-class boats were acquired two decades ago from Britain at what considered a “bargain” price, but billions have been spent on repairs and overhauls which have meant they have spent more time in drydock than at sea.

Jul 15, 2021

The U.S. business community says partisan squabbling which is frustrating efforts to update immigration laws are contributing to a worrisome brain-drain. They aired their concerns at a congressional hearing, focusing mainly on the loss high-technology workers to Canada. “We're stuck in a time warp,” California Republican Representative Zoe Logren agreed. “It's like driving around with a 30-year-old paper map while others easily navigate the road with turn-by-turn directions from their smartphones.”

Jul 15, 2021

A Taliban spokesman has said that the Islamic insurgency retaking Afghanistan sees China as a “welcome friend” despite its treatment of its Uigher Muslim minority. “We care about the oppression of Muslims, the spokesman said. “What we are not going to do is interfere in China's internal affairs.” Meanwhile, the Chinese foreign ministry has confirmed talks with Pakistan about extending the two countries’ economic corridor to Afghanistan.

Jul 15, 2021

U.S. COVID-19 infection rates have more than doubled in the past two weeks with the advent of the Delta variant. Coupled with stalled vaccination rates, it could justify keeping the Canadian border closed to most visitors after July 21 despite pressure from several business sectors. With a week to go, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has reiterated that the government remains “cautious” about reopening the border.

Jul 14, 2021

An Ontario teenager is worried that a prank involving a $6.49 Nerf gun could hinder his chances of a Canadian Armed Forces career. He and a friend were arrested and charged with assault with a weapon and criminal harassment after they had driven around a nearby community, firing rubber darts at residents.

Jul 14, 2021

Canada's Department of National Defence is taking steps to "green" defence infrastructure and reduce its carbon footprint while providing military personnel with sustainable and efficient facilities in which to work and train.

Jul 14, 2021

A supersonic anti-radiation missile for Turkey’s planned TF-X fighter has been developed by state-controlled Roketsan. Details remain secret but the Akbaaba (Vulture) was listed on a Turkish Air Force briefing on the TF-X and a Roketsan official is quoted as saying that the new weapon will replace Raytheon Technologies AGM-88 HARMs for attacks on radar-equipped air defence systems.

Jul 14, 2021

U.S. has reaffirmed its 1951 commitment to defend the Philippines’ armed forces, public vessels or aircraft assets against any third-party attacks. The announcement comes as tensions remain high in the South China Sea region where China has expanded militarily in the face of counterclaims by several other nations.

Jul 14, 2021

Claims by China that it “drove away” and U.S. destroyer from a contested area in the South China Sea have been dismissed as “false.” The U.S. says its vessel was performing the latest in a series a “freedom of navigation” operations July 12 near the Paracel Islands, a territory China has claimed despite an international court ruling that its claims are illegitimate.

Jul 14, 2021

President Joe Biden has signed off on an executive order his administration says is aimed at “promoting competition” in the U.S. economy by curbing “the trend of corporate consolidation.” It calls on the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department to enforce antitrust law “vigorously” and for agencies to “challenge prior bad mergers.”

Jul 13, 2021

The pace of science and technology breakthroughs are so dramatically redesigning the global security outlook that an Australian think-tank is urging the country’s military, defence industry and universities to pool their resources. It envisages the equivalent of the U.S., Defence Applied Research Projects Agency, calling it “a significant opportunity” to cooperation within the Five Eyes nations.

Jul 13, 2021

Twenty-two members of an Afghan special forces unit who ran out of ammunition during a firefight with the Taliban were gunned down by the insurgents immediately after surrendering. The killings occurred June 16 but have only recently surfaced in a video.

Jul 12, 2021

The lawyer for a Canadian soldier accused of feeding marijuana-laced cupcakes to her colleagues during a live-fire exercise two years ago, says critical evidence has been lost due to incompetence. With Bombardier Chelsea Cogswell’s court martial set to begin in August, her lawyer says DND should toss out evidence of traces found on one cupcake wrapper because the others were lost and never tested.

Jul 12, 2021

University researchers seeking federal government grants are now required to complete a security risk assessment and work with national security agencies and the federal government in a bid to prevent foreign interests from acquiring Canadian intellectual property. The decision, initially applicable to the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council but expected to be broadened, was announced today by Innovation, Science and Industry Minister François-Philippe Champagne.

Jul 12, 2021

Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Boeing, in that order, topped the ranks of 100 defence suppliers in 2020 as the sector’s global revenues rose for the fifth consecutive year. Their combined revenues totalled the equivalent of US$551 billion, up five per cent from 2019. Three Chinese corporations were also in the top 10.

Jul 12, 2021

Canadian Armed Forces veterans who fought in the Panjwaii district of Kandahar province for the better part of five years are reacting to the resurgence of the Taliban last with shock, numbness and resignation.

Jul 12, 2021

Veterans of the Canadian Armed Forces’ combat mission in Afghanistan have taken to social media to share their reaction to the latest developments there. Among them is retired Cpl Matthew Luloff, now an Ottawa city councillor. “It seems quite bleak when you're seeing images of areas that we used to have firm control of just being turned over,” he says. “To see the Taliban on top of places like Sperwan Ghar and Masum Ghar, I just find it heartbreaking.”

Jul 09, 2021

The Department of National Defence expects further delays and more cost increases in its Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships program. DND documents indicate the sixth AOPS is due for July 2025 delivery, 16 months later than original expected. In addition, “a significant portion of contingency funds will be required.”

Jul 09, 2021

A 13-member U.S. Marine Corps diplomatic protection unit has been sent to the embassy in Eswatini, the small southern African country previously called Swaziland. They were deployed as government security forces cracked down on pro-democracy demonstrators in increasingly violent confrontations.

Jul 09, 2021

President Joe Biden said July 8 that the U.S. mission in Afghanistan will end Aug. 31 and that it will be up to the country’s citizens to decide their future. “I will not send another generation of Americans to war in Afghanistan with no reasonable expectation of achieving a different outcome,” he said. “No nation has ever unified Afghanistan.”

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