IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Oct 05, 2021

Polish President Andrzej Duda said today that improved cooperation between the EU and an expanded NATO could spur a more robust approach to Russia. “We need a strong partnership . . . that ensures a synergy of both organizations,” Duda said. “Russia is expanding its military presence and it endangers NATO not only from the east, but also from the north and south.”

Oct 04, 2021

Far-right extremists in the Ukraine claim to have been trained by the Canadian military and its NATO allies. Social media tracking of one group by researchers at George Washington indicate that its members “have succeeded in establishing cooperation with foreign colleagues from such countries as France, the United Kingdom, Canada, the USA, German and Poland.”

Oct 04, 2021

Mohammed Khalifa, a Canadian citizen who was a prominent spokesman for ISIS, has been charged in U.S. federal court with conspiracy to provide material support to the terrorist organization. Captured by Syrian forces in January 2019, he was recently transferred into FBI custody. “Khalifa not only fought for ISIS on the battlefield in Syria, but he was also the voice behind the violence,” says the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “Through his alleged leading role in translating, narrating, and advancing ISIS's online propaganda, Khalifa promoted the terrorist group, furthered its worldwide recruitment efforts, and expanded the reach of videos that glorified the horrific murders and indiscriminate cruelty of ISIS.”

Oct 04, 2021

Months after severing its hotline with South Korea yet again, the North Korea restored the link today but said the future depends on the “attitude of South Korean authorities.” The North’s leader, Kim Jong-un had give notice of the move even as it steps up the frequency of its weapons testing.

Oct 04, 2021

The German foreign ministry says it would reject any Iranian demands for the U.S. to release frozen assets as a condition for resuming nuclear talks. A ministry spokesman was responding to Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian's demand that $10 billion in assets be released as a goodwill gesture.

Oct 04, 2021

An Egyptian member of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali has been killed and four others injured by an improvised explosive device near the Algerian border. “Today’s cowardly attack only strengthens MINUSMA’s determination to support Mali and its people in their quest for peace and stability,” the head of the UN mission said Oct. 2. It has recorded about 255 deaths since 2013, making it one of the deadliest of the UN’s more than dozen peacekeeping missions.

Oct 04, 2021

Russia has delivered four helicopters, weapons and ammunition to Mali, where government forces are working with UN peacekeepers against rebels linked to ISIS and al-Qaeda. The delivery last week comes amid tension between Mali and its key military partner, France, over reports that Russian mercenaries could become involved in the long-running civil war.

Oct 04, 2021

Kosovo's main border crossings with Serbia were reopened on the weekend as Serbs removed blockading vehicles and NATO mobilized some of its 3,000 troops in under an EU-mediated deal. It ended a dispute between the neighbouring countries over car licence plates which Kosovo said was retaliation for Serbian measures against Kosovar drivers.

Oct 04, 2021

As Poland emerges as a focus for coordinating NATO defence along its eastern flank, the U.S. Army has proposed a $30-million command and control centre and a $7-million information systems base in Poznan. A bilateral agreement last year paved the way for more U.S. troop rotations using Polish infrastructure.

Oct 04, 2021

The government continues to insist that MGen Dany Fortin should have filed a grievance with his commander about his dismissal as head of Canada’s coronavirus immunization campaign rather than requesting a judicial review. “That's exactly what this process is intended to deal with,” Justice Department lawyer Elizabeth Richards told Federal Court only four months after that very grievance process was described by a retired Supreme Court of Canada justice as fundamentally “broken.”

Oct 02, 2021

Fifty-eight Chinese aircraft, including nuclear-capable bombers, have flown into Taiwan’s air defence zone in two days, the largest such incursion to date. “China has been wantonly engaged in military aggression, damaging regional peace,” Taiwan Premier Su Tseng-chang told reporters today.

Oct 02, 2021

The U.S. and Russia held “intensive and substantive” talks this week in an effort to reduce tensions. The second meeting within a framework flowing from a June summit between presidents Joe Biden and Vladimir Putin.

Oct 02, 2021

Two U.S. service personnel have asked a federal judge to block the military’s coronavirus vaccination requirements. Their complaint against federal officials, including Secretary of Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, is that the requirement is “an unnecessary public health mandate.”

Oct 01, 2021

For the first time since 1954, a Royal Canadian Navy ship has transited the Northwest Passage. The Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ship is due in Vancouver today having left Iqaluit Aug. 7. “It was the longest time a Canadian navy ship has operated in the Arctic in consecutive days in more than 50 years,” says Cdr Corey Gleason, skipper of the Harry DeWolf, the first of seven AOPS.

Oct 01, 2021

Military personnel and civilian staff from Newfoundland and Labrador are being brought into Alberta to help health authorities struggling with a growing COVID-19 crisis which has swamped some hospitals. Premier Jason Kenney confirmed the development Sept. 30, saying “it will help to provide some relief.”

Sep 30, 2021

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Saudi Arabia's crown prince Mohammed bin Salman have discussed the kingdom’s initiative to end the Yemen’s civil war in which the Saudis back the government against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. A Saudi state news agency said Sept. 29 that Sullivan affirmed continued support.

Sep 30, 2021

U.S. and Chinese military officials held two days of “frank, in-depth” virtual talks on a range of defence issues this week on a range of defense issues. The Pentgon said in a statement Sept. 29 that Michael Chase, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for China and MGen Huang Xueping “reeaffirmed consensus to keep communication channels open.”

Sep 30, 2021

Seven months after it was disbanded early in the administration of President Joe Biden after his predecessor had essentially packed it with 11th-hour appointees, one of the Department of Defense’s most influential advisory boards has been reconstituted. The Defense Business Board, which has a diverse membership of 17, now is chaired by Deborah Lee James, the former U.S. Secretary of the Air Force.

Sep 30, 2021

Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, has been promoted to the State Affairs Commission run by her brother. A shakeup of the ruling body also saw the demotion of Ri Pyong Cho as senior military commander, who was replaced by Pak Jong Chon, who has been overseeing the country’s latest weapons development program.

Sep 30, 2021

Mohib Ullah, a prominent member of the Rohingya Muslim exodus from Myanmar after a military crackdown in 2017 was shot to death Sept. 29 in Bangladesh. A UN official and local police say the killing followed months of escalating violence in what has become the world’s largest refugee settlement. Ullah's group had been notable for documenting atrocities against Rohingyas during the Myanmar crackdown, which the UN says had genocidal intent.

Sep 30, 2021

Have received U.S. permission some time ago, Italy plans to arm its General Atomic MQ-9 Reaper drones at a cost of €59 million over seven years. Italy operates unarmed MQ-1 Predators as well as its Reapers, having deployed them in several NATO operations.

Sep 30, 2021

The governments of several countries abutting Afghanistan are being asked by the U.S. to accommodate “over the horizon” counterterrorism operations to facilitate surveillance and strikes in Afghanistan. Pentagon officials said during a classified congressional hearing this week that operations also could be conducted from Russian bases in some countries

Sep 30, 2021

Concerned about a resurgence of terrorist groups in Afghanistan, the U.S. continues to deploy surveillance drones into the country’s airspace, but the Taliban is warning of consequences. “We call on all countries . . . to treat Afghanistan in light of international rights, laws and commitments,” the Taliban say. U.S. policy to date is that such actions are justified when a country is “unable or unwilling” to deal with third-party threats.

Sep 30, 2021

Boeing announced Sept. 28 that it has contracted through the U.S. Navy to build five P-8A Poseidon surveillance/anti-submarine aircraft for Germany. The €1.4 procurement of the variants of the commercial 737 aircraft was approved by the German parliament this summer and first deliveries are expected in 2024.

Sep 29, 2021

The Czech Republic has signed a K13.69-billion deal to acquire surface-to-air missile systems made by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems of Israel but including more than 30 per cent of Czech content. Defence Minister Lubomír Metnar says it will replace an outdated Soviet-designed system.

Sep 29, 2021

Businesses in the eastern Ontario region of Ontario are being reminded that proof of COVID-19 vaccination differs for Canadian Armed Forces personnel. The county includes the major garrison at Petawawa and while most Ontario residents get their proof from the provincial government, military personnel have a discrete vaccination booklet.

Sep 29, 2021

Results of a poll conducted in the closing weeks of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan indicate that a plurality of Americans want fewer troops stationed abroad, Published Sept. 28, they also indicate that a majority prefer more diplomatic engagement on a range of issues such as climate change, migration and human rights.

Sep 29, 2021

Donald Winter, Secretary of the Navy during the George W. Bush administration, has registered as a foreign agent to represent Australia in negotiations with the U.S. and U.K. on acquiring a U.S. nuclear submarine design. To be paid $6,000 per day, Winter has advised Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for years on his Navy’s submarine fleet and evidently had urged him to scrap a deal to buy French subs.

Sep 29, 2021

Greece signed a Memorandum of Understanding Sept. 28 for the procurement at least three frigates built by France’s Naval Group and armed by MBDA, a multinational headquartered in France. Subject to contract negotiations, the first two are expected to be delivered in 2025 and the third in 2026, and the MoU includes an option for a fourth vessel.

Sep 29, 2021

Milorad Dodik, the Orthodox Serb member of Bosnia’s three-member presidency, which also includes Muslim and Croat representatives, wants to withdraw consent for a multi-ethnic army, calling Bosnia “impossible, imposed country” and “experiment by the international community.” His Croat counterpart, Zeljko Komsic, considers the concept “a criminal act of rebellion.”

Sep 29, 2021

Canada remains under pressure from the U.S. to ban Huawei 5G technology over concerns that it could be used to compromise communications security. Having reviewed the situation for three years, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sept. 28 that a decision is forthcoming in the “coming weeks.”

Sep 29, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Sept. 28 that he will name his new cabinet in October, with Chrystia Freeland staying on as Deputy PM and Finance Minister. He also plans to begin the new Parliament “before the end of fall.”

Sep 28, 2021

Navdeep Bains, a common presence at defence trade shows when he was Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, has joined the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s investment banking division, continuing the institution’s long-standing practice of recruiting former politicians. The former Toronto Liberal MP, who quit cabinet earlier this year, opted not to seek reelection in the latest federal vote.

Sep 28, 2021

The first pair of Block III F/A-18 Super Hornets, the latest iteration of Boeing’s fighter which is a contender for the RCAF’s fighter replacement program, have been delivered to the U.S. Navy. Boeing is contracted to build 78 of the aircraft which are rated for 10,000 flight hours and feature an advanced cockpit featuring tactical targeting network technology which enables them to link sensors from ships and other aircraft in the battlespace.

Sep 28, 2021

Any expanded NATO military infrastructure in Ukraine would cross one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's “red lines” and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko says his country stands ready to help Russia. “It's clear . . . to take some kind of measures in response,” he says. Ukraine began exercises with NATO allies last week as Russia and Belarus also conducted large drills.

Sep 28, 2021

Even as it proceeds with increasingly advanced missile tests, North Korea has accused the U.S. of hostility and demanded an end to joint military exercises with South Korea. Ambassador Kim Song said on the final day of the UN General Assembly that his country’s development of a “war deterrent” was needed to counter U.S. and said the South is undermining “national harmony” on the peninsula.

Sep 27, 2021

The French defence budget for 2022 totals €40.9 billion, a further €1.7 billion year-over-year increase in a 2019-2025 policy. It includes commitments to new hardware and technologies designed to cope with a future battlefield dominated by advanced platforms, cyber defenses and space-based capabilities.

Sep 27, 2021

Sweden’s projected defence budget continues its upward surge with parliamentary approval of the latest stage in the country’s Total Defence concept which includes military reorganization and major capital programs. Total spending was SEK59.4 billion in 2020 and it now is projected to reach SEK90.93 in 2025. The increase is buttressed by a parallel strategy to deepen pan-Nordic defense cooperation with Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland.

Sep 27, 2021

Just days after Democrats removed $1 billion from a U.S. budget proposal of $1 billion to restock Israel’s short-range missile defence system, the House of Representatives has voted overwhelmingly to restore the appropriation. A 2016 aid package called for $500 million annually and Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the latest commitment “reflects the great unity in Congress on a bipartisan and bicameral basis for Israel.”

Sep 27, 2021

A day after Taiwan declared its intention last week to join an 11-country Pacific trade group which includes Canada, China responded with yet another show of force, deploying fighters twice toward the island state it considers a rogue province. Taiwan tracked the aircraft and countered with its own assets.

Sep 27, 2021

Centre-left Social Democrats are claiming victory in the Sept. 26 German election, taking 205 of the 735 seats in parliament. Party leader Olaf Scholz said he had a clear mandate to form a government and that it is time for a coalition with Greens and Liberal Democrats who made climate change a priority during the campaign. Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been in power since 2005, is expected to remain in power until a coalition is sorted out.

Sep 27, 2021

China is using an airshow which begins Sept. 28 to show off a two-seat dedicated electronic warfare aircraft. The Shenyang J-16D on static display ahead of the show is based on the J-16 multirole strike fighter, itself rooted in Russian Sukhoi aircraft.

Sep 27, 2021

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan says he still plans to buy more Russian missile defense systems despite the prospect of new U.S. sanctions. “Nobody will be able to interfere in terms of what kind of defense systems we acquire, from which country at what level,” he said Sept. 26. “We are the only ones to make such decisions.”

Sep 27, 2021

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Sept. 26 that Iran has failed to fully honour the terms of a two-week-old deal to allow the UN agency to service equipment monitoring the country’s nuclear program.

Sep 27, 2021

With a post-election cabinet shuffle expected, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is the focus of some speculation after six years in the portfolio. Appointed almost immediately after his election to the House of Commons in October 2015, the former Army and Vancouver police officer has had to deal with increasingly intense pressure for an overhaul of the culture within the Canadian military.

Sep 25, 2021

Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor are back in Canada nearly three years after being detained in China on alleged espionage charges in apparent retaliation for Canada detaining Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the request of the U.S. A legal deal between Meng and the U.S. Sept. 25 set the stage for mutual repatriation. Kovrig and Spavor arrived in Calgary early today aboard an RCAF CC-144 Bombardier Challenger transport; Kovrick was flown on to Toronto.

Sep 24, 2021

Britain’s Chief of the Defence Staff, Army Gen Sir Nick Carter, is “keen to cooperate . . . in terms of helping Canada do what Canada needs to do as an Arctic country.” He says this could include cold-weather exercises and working to improve surveillance and defence in the region. Both countries have participated in exercises in Norway and the British Army has a long history of training in Canada.

Sep 23, 2021

A Canadian resident allegedly involved in Nazi war crimes has died at the age of 97 even as the federal government was finalizing a 26-year effort to deport him. The government’s position was that Helmut Oberlander’s immigration was illegal because he had concealed his role as an interpreter for a Nazi death squad during Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union.

Sep 23, 2021

France’s outrage over Australia’s abrupt cancellation of a $66-billion submarine contract evidently is raising concerns about possible responses which could affect not only European defence sharing but also possible procurements from U.S. industry. As a participant in several multinational EU defence projects, France, which has veto power over other countries’ participation, is angered by U.S. involvement in the submarine controversy

Sep 23, 2021

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights is calling on the international community to forestall catastrophic fallout from last February’s military coup in Myanmar. “The national consequences are terrible and tragicthe regional consequences could also be profound,” Michelle Bachelet said in a statement today. “The international community must redouble its efforts to restore democracy and prevent wider conflict before it is too late.”

Sep 22, 2021

The U.S. Air Force has chosen L3Harris Technologies to provide the latest in ordnance disposal systems. The contract for up to 170 of the company’s T7 units, modified from a design for the British Army, is said to be worth $85 million, including support, maintenance and training with first deliveries expected next year.

Sep 22, 2021

The U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen Mark Milley, met in Helsinki Sept. 21 with his Russian counterpart, Gen Valery Gerasimov. U.S. “basing rights” and other counterterrorism support in countries bordering Afghanistan were the key points of discussion against a backdrop of strong Russian opposition to an extended U.S. presence in the region.

Sep 22, 2021

The Secret Service is the latest U.S. agency to have bought drones from a Chinese company the Defense Department considers a potential national security. Manufactured by Shenzhen-based DJI, they have become a global stable for recreational and other applications. It’s reported that efforts to block other U.S. law enforcement agencies and the military from similar procurements have become stuck in bureaucratic red tape.

Sep 21, 2021

Australia’s recent politically-explosive cancellation of a nuclear submarine project involving France should not have come as a surprise, some politicians in Canberra said today. There had been long-standing concerns about delays, ballooning costs and an independent project oversight board headed by a former U.S. Navy Secretary had said two years ago that Australia should reconsider its options.

Sep 21, 2021

A hoped-for meeting at UN headquarters between Iran and British, European, Chinese and Russian officials did not take place. EU policy chief Josep Borrell, who has coordinated the 2015 nuclear deal from with the U.S. withdrew in 2019, said the tentative meeting to resurrect the deal was “not in the agenda” for the overall UN session. “The important thing is not this ministerial meeting, but the will of all parties to resume negotiations,” he said Sept. 20 in anticipation of a meeting with an Iranian official today.

Sep 21, 2021

Kevin Vuong, a navy reservist who had been running as a Liberal candidate in the Toronto riding of Spadina-Fort York in the Sept. 20 federal election, won the seat despite being dumped by the party after it was disclosed that he had been charged with sexual assault several years ago. The charge was eventually dropped but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the party’s decision was “the right thing to do.” Vuong is expected to sit as an Independent MP.

Sep 21, 2021

The Quebec civil trial of MGen. Dany Fortin, summarily ousted by the government from his job of overseeing Canada’s COVID-19 logistics effort in May, has been adjourned to Nov. 5. The development was announced Sept. 20 after his lawyers gave the prosecution documents they said are relevant to Fortin’s sexual assault case resulting from an alleged incident three decades ago.

Sep 21, 2021

Prime Minister Justin’s push for a parliamentary majority he said was needed for his government to address ongoing issues effectively has failed. With mailed ballots still to be counted today, his party was on track to take 157 of the 338 seats in the House of Commons. This was well short of the 170 needed for a majority and essentially left the Liberals in the same position as when Trudeau called the election in mid-August.

Sep 21, 2021

The USAF Special Operations Command has unveiled plans for an amphibious version of the Lockheed Martin MC-130J Hercules transport, which has a maximum takeoff weight of 74.4 tonnes. AFSOC Commander LGen Slife said Sept. 20 that “our plan is to conduct a demo by the 31st of December next year” in a bid to facilitate a broader range of missions in littoral regions.

Sep 20, 2021

At a time when Russia and Belarus have been holding large-scale exercises, Ukraine today began a joint exercise of its own with military forces from 14 countries, including the U.S., Canada and other NATO members. Exercise Rapid Trident 2021 involves 4,00 Ukrainian and 2,000 foreign troops.

Sep 20, 2021

United Russia, which is loyal to President Vladimir Putin, has won the latest election but with a slightly-reduced margin of victory, taking nearly half the vote compared with 54 per cent in 2016. However, there have been allegations of widespread fraud and one video has surfaced of a ballot box apparently being stuffed.

Sep 20, 2021

A variant of the Airbus A330 Multi-Role Tanker Transport is being offered by Lockheed Martin for the USAF’s upcoming “bridge tanker” competition, which could involve up to 160 aircraft by 2029. Up against Boeing’s incumbent 767-based KC-46 Pegasus platform, the LMXT includes an upgraded communications suite for joint all-domain command and control as well as enhanced range and tanking capabilities.

Sep 20, 2021

Gregory Ford, whose lengthy career includes more than 16 years as a Special Agent with the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service as well as time on the FBI Terrorism Task Force, has been sworn in as the first civilian director of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Command. His appointment comes on the heels of controversy about the military’s handling of the murder last year of a female Army Specialist in Texas.

Sep 20, 2021

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Army Gen Mark Milley, says that calls to his Chinese counterpart in the dying days of President Donald Trump’s administration were “perfectly within the duties and responsibilities” of his job. Some critics have said the calls were inappropriate but Milley says they were a “routine” measure “to reassure both allies and adversaries in this case in order to ensure strategic stability.”

Sep 20, 2021

Having recalled its ambassadors to Australia and the U.S. after the two had announced a nuclear submarine deal last week, France has cancelled a meeting this week between Defence Minister Florence Parly and her British counterpart, Ben Wallace. While the deal resulted in Australia’s abrupt cancellation of a contract for French subs, it also involve security and intelligence cooperation measures seen as a key to countering China’s growing influence in the South China

Sep 20, 2021

Kevin Vuong, a navy reservist who had been running as a Liberal candidate in Toronto in today’s federal election, has been effectively dumped by the party after it was reported that he had been charged with sexual assault several years ago – a charge which was eventually dropped. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau justified the decision, saying on the weekend that “it’s the right thing to do.”

Sep 20, 2021

U.S. Army ordnance disposal troops have begun a deployment to Canadian Armed Forces Base Borden in Ontario for Exercise Ardent Defender. The five-week exercise with military and law enforcement personnel from 11 countries is designed to share best practices and techniques pertaining to what the lead CAF planner, Maj Atif Rizvi, calls “current and emerging threats.”

Sep 20, 2021

The U.S. military has admitted that 10 civilians, mostly children, were killed by a U.S. air strike even as its 20-year mission in Afghanistan was being wound down. There were initial claims that the principal target was associated with a terrorist group but it has subsequently been shown that he was an aid worker. Families of the victims now are seeking “justice” and the U.S. says it is considering reparations in a “very difficult” environment.

Sep 20, 2021

The trial of the former Chief of the Defence Staff on a charge of obstruction of justice has been adjourned to Oct. 15 by Ontario provincial court. Retired Gen Jonathan Vance was charged by military police in July in relation to an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.

Sep 17, 2021

A senior Chinese military officer is reported to have collaborated on virus research as recently as last year with one of two expatriate scientists fired in 2019 from the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. Their dismissal remains a political issue for the Canadian government due to public health agency officials’ lack of cooperation with a parliamentary inquiry.

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