IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Apr 25, 2022

The Communications Security Establishment says finding recruitment a challenge even though the government has pledged nearly $1 billion to bolster cybersecurity. The CSE receives 10,000-15,000 job applications annually but only one or two applicants are hired. “Recruitment for high-tech organizations remains challenging and highly competitive,” spokesman Evan Koronewski says. “At CSE, the same is true due to the specific technical competencies we require for many of our positions, the necessary security clearances, and the current requirement for successful candidates to relocate to the National Capital Region.”

Apr 25, 2022

French President Emmanuel Macron has secured a second five-year term in office, capturing 58.55 per cent of the April 24 run-off vote despite an improved showing by right-wing challenger Marine Le Pen, who finished with 41.45 per cent. One issue facing voters was the prospect that a Le Pen vote could mean France’s withdrawal from NATO.

Apr 25, 2022

At least 168 people have been killed and 98 injured in tribal clashes in the western Darfur town of Kreinik. The violence reported April 24 is the latest uptick in the region which has been in a state of civil war since early in the last decade when the government suppressed rebel groups with the help of Arab militants. President Omar al-Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court on war crimes charges.

Apr 25, 2022

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reported today that worldwide military spending last year was a record US$2.1 trillion, the seventh consecutive annual increase. The U.S., China, India, the U.K. and Russia topped the ranks in that order, accounting for 62 per cent of the global expenditure. Canada is ranked 13th at $26.4 billion, up 3.1 per cent from 2020.

Apr 24, 2022

The federal government has shipped four of its 37 BAE Systems M777 howitzers, as well as ammunition, to Ukraine for use against Russian forces. With a stated range of 40km but accurate up to 30km, the 155mm guns were taken from the Canadian Army’s stock and are to be replaced. The government also promised more rounds for its Swedish-manufactured Carl Gustaf anti-tank recoilless rifles already in Ukraine and said it is finalizing contracts for armoured vehicles.

Apr 24, 2022

David Cohen, the U.S. Ambassador to Canada, says he has been assured Canada will follow through this year on crucial investments to modernize Arctic defences, even though this month's budget included no specific funding. He says he has pressed the issue in “candid conversations” with senior cabinet ministers and although this “this budget does not include funding for NORAD, for modernizing and improving the northern defence for Canada and for the United States . . . it will be forthcoming during the course of this fiscal year.”

Apr 24, 2022

At least one crewmember died and 27 are missing after the Moskva, flagship of Russia's Black Sea fleet, sank earlier while under tow earlier this month. Another 396 crewmembers were evacuated to nearby ships. The Kremlin, which hitherto had not acknowledged any casualties, has insisted the missile cruiser was disabled by a fire of undetermined origin but Ukraine says it struck the ship with two cruise missiles.

Apr 24, 2022

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which accounts for more than a third of Iran’s defence budget, says it will keep trying to avenge the U.S. killing of its top officer in Iraq in January 2020. The IRGC threat complicates multilateral negotiations to revive a 2015 nuclear agreement the U.S. abandoned in 2018.

Apr 22, 2022

The federal government confirmed today that an unspecified number of BAE Systems M777 howitzers, as well as ammunition, have been delivered to Ukraine for use against Russian forces. Accurate up to 30km, the 155mm guns were taken from the Canadian Army’s stock and are to be replaced. The government also promised more rounds for its Swedish-manufactured Carl Gustaf anti-tank recoilless rifles already in Ukraine and said it is finalizing contracts for armoured vehicles.

Apr 22, 2022

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda said today that NATO should increase its deployment of troops in his country and elsewhere on Europe's eastern flank following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. He said during a visit by German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock that the alliance’s Enhanced Forward Presence Battalion should be increased to “at least” brigade size and that air defences should be improved.

Apr 22, 2022

The Department of National Defence announced new Army, Navy and Air Force commanders April 21. The leadership shakeup includes the Army’s first indigenous leader, LGen Jocelyn Paul, previously deputy commander of NATO's Allied Joint Force Command in Italy.

Apr 22, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed victory/April 21 in the besieged Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, even as he ordered his troops not to risk more losses by storming holdouts in a sprawling steel plant. Instead, he ordered his forces to seal off the plant, where 2,000 Ukrainian troops and 1,000 civilians have been trapped, “so that not even a fly comes through.”

Apr 22, 2022

Satellite imagery released April 21 by Colorado-based Maxar Technologies show apparent mass graves near the beseiged southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol, where local officials accuse Russia of burying up to 9,000 civilians of their invasion. Maxar said the imagery shows more than 200 mass graves stretching in rows away from an existing cemetery.

Apr 22, 2022

New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern says her country has been aware for some time of China’s “growing assertiveness” in the South Pacific, most recently manifest in a “disappointing” security pact with the Solomon Islands. However, she says, her country has a “a mature relationship” with China and there is an ongoing need to cooperate on areas of “natural mutual interest.”

Apr 22, 2022

About 50 Ukrainian artillerymen have been getting a crash course on U.S. 155mm howitzers. A first batch of 18 weapons and 40,000 rounds of ammunition was announced earlier this month, followed by 72 more howitzers and 144,000 rounds. “What we’re providing is done in full consultation with the Ukrainians,” a Pentagon spokesman said April 21.

Apr 20, 2022

More than 120 hitherto classified tactical drones designed by the U.S. Air Force are included in the latest U.S. arms package for Ukraine. Similar in concept to the proven Switchblade “suicide” weapon, the Phoenix Ghost was developed to meet requirements which “very closely” match what Ukraine needs against Russian invaders in the Donbas region.

Apr 21, 2022

In their first bilateral meeting, Canada's Defence Minister Anita Anand spoke on the phone with Norway's Defence Minister, Bjørn Arild Gram. They discussed the importance of defence relationships and other topics of mutual interest.

Apr 20, 2022

A successful test today of Russia’s Sarmat ICBM, launched from the country’ northwest and hitting targets on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the far east drew praise and a threat from President Vladimir Putin. “This truly unique weapon will strengthen the combat potential of our armed forces, reliably ensure the security of Russia from external threats,” he said in a televised address, adding that it would “make those who, in the heat of aggressive rhetoric, try to threaten our country think twice.”

Apr 20, 2022

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland joined representatives from several other countries in a walkout from today’s G20 economic summit, say that Russia should not be participating in the event. “This week's meetings in Washington are about supporting the world economy,” said Freeland, participating in her capacity as Finance Minister. “Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine is a grave threat to the global economy.”

Apr 20, 2022

As Russian forces mount a new offensive in Ukraine, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said April 19 that Canada would have news “in the coming days” about supplying “heavy artillery” to Ukraine. he offered no details but the Canadian Army’s largest artillery piece is the British M777 155mm howitzer, which has a range up to 40 kilometres.

Apr 20, 2022

Even though a Florida judge ruled that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not justified mandatory coronavirus masking on all forms of mass transportation, Canada has no immediate plans to drop its requirement for air and train passengers. “Masks are proven to provide additional layers of protection and we will continue to follow the advice of our public health experts,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said April 19.

Apr 19, 2022

In a bid to distance itself from senior military leaders who give good character references to convicted criminals, the Canadian Armed Forces is prohibiting the use of CAF letterhead. The new policy evidently is in response to a judge’s decision not to “burden” former CDS Jonathan Vance with a criminal conviction for obstruction of justice after considering positive character references from retired and serving members.

Apr 19, 2022

China has begun deploying its most advanced fighter, the J-20 stealth platform, to patrols in the East and South China Seas. State-run media confirmed the development several weeks after U.S. Air Force F-35 pilots reported encounters in some disputed areas

Apr 19, 2022

Gen Wayne Ayre, the Chief of the Defence Staff, says “the No. 1 issue that comes up as I travel around the country is cost of living and the challenges our people are facing in terms of finding affordable accommodations,” he said. Acknowledging that “while many Canadians are facing the same challenges, the impacts are particularly acute on members of the Canadian military, who are frequently required to move to different bases and locations.”

Apr 19, 2022

French President Emmanuel Macron’s far-right challenger, Marine Le Pen, says she rejects NATO’s “herd-like conformity” with the U.S. and would quit the alliance’s integrated military command and focus on “a strategic rapprochement” with Russia. She also has dismissed multilateralism in general as she and Macron prepare for an April 24 run-off election after first-round voting April 10 left them with only a few percentage points difference in support.

Apr 19, 2022

Poland’s air force commander says Russian aircraft based in Belarus are increasingly harassing NATO aircraft near Polish air space. “Fighters are scrambled twice or three times . . . typically in 24 hours, so that’s a lot.” BGen Ireneusz Nowak said April 14. “The problem for us is that, with relatively small airports like we have, and we have a small fighter fleet, it’s exhausting for us, so we cannot rotate like you can.”

Apr 19, 2022

The Vancouver-based Veterans Transition Network, having raised $3.6 million and helped to rescue 2,061 Afghanis since the Taliban took control, is refocusing its efforts to help veterans deal with mental-health issues. Among other things, VRN Executive Director Oliver Thorne blames “government policy that is very risk averse to the point of being selfish.”

Apr 14, 2022

Ukraine said today that its forces used missiles to sink Russia’s Black Sea flagship cruiser but Moscow says the Moskva was damaged by an internal explosion and sank while being towed. Armed with 16 missiles and typically with a crew of 500, its loss, regardless of the cause, reduces the navy’s regional firepower significantly.

Apr 13, 2022

U.S. President Joe Biden used the word “genocide” April 12 to describe Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “It has become clearer and clearer that Putin is just trying to wipe out the idea of being able to be Ukrainian and the evidence is mounting,” he said. “We’ll let the lawyers decide internationally whether or not it qualifies, but it sure seems that way to me.”

Apr 13, 2022

Chelsea Manning, a former U.S. intelligence analyst, is prohibited from entering Canada due to her 2013 conviction for leaking classified information. Ruling on her case last week, an Immigration and Refugee Board agreed with the federal government that Manning, who U.S. sentence has been commuted, should be denied entry. Her lawyers say they will seek a judicial review of the ruling.

Apr 13, 2022

With ground forces pretty well everywhere experiencing increased needs to power a growing array of battery-powered gear, the U.S. Army is preparing its first operational energy strategy. Expected to be completed by year’s end, it is expected to focus on the Army’s readiness to work with a range of energy options that could include renewables, fossil fuels and host nations’ power grids.

Apr 12, 2022

Kathleen Hicks, the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, expressed concern today about a “decline” in competition within the defence industries. “We’re down to about five prime contractors, a substantial decline over the years on the small business side,” she said, explaining that this complicates her department’s efforts to capture innovation and value for taxpayers. “Competition can get us better results.”

Apr 12, 2022

President Vladimir Putin said today that the “main goal” of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is “to help people” in the country’s eastern fringes while “taking measures to ensure the security of Russia itself.” As his forces were marshalling to step up their onslaught after encountering stiff resistance in the north, he also said “there is no doubt” of success.”

Apr 12, 2022

U.S. Northern Command wants congressional approval of a $29.8 million procurement of equipment to optimize artificial intelligence and machine learning infrastructure at its joint operations centre with NORAD. The plan would aggregate data across the Pentagon’s cloud-computing environment and share intelligence information across all domains.

Apr 12, 2022

There have been more than 10,000 civilian deaths in the besieged southern Ukraine port city of Mariupol after weeks of indiscriminate shelling by Russian invaders, the city’s mayor said April 11. Corpuses “carpeted through the streets,” he said, expecting the toll to surpass 20,000.

Apr 12, 2022

Treasury Board President Mona Fortier says the federal government could convert some of its downtown Ottawa office space into housing as thousands of public servants continue to work from home. “Hybrid work is here to stay,” she says. “We have to look at how we’re going to strengthen our downtown core and making sure that we don’t keep these offices empty.” Local business and politicians have been pressing the government to send more employees back downtown.

Apr 12, 2022

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer had a “tough” meeting April 11 with Russian President Vladimir Putin, the first such meeting since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February. “I have just come from Ukraine and have seen with my own eyes the immeasurable suffering caused by the Russian war of aggression,” he said after the meeting outside Moscow. Nehammer also said Putin blamed Ukrainians for Russian brutalities.

Apr 12, 2022

China has delivered anti-aircraft missile systems to Serbia under a contract signed in 2020. Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said April 11 that the delivery was part of the two countries’ annual cooperation plan and has “nothing to do” with current regional tensions.

Apr 11, 2022

As historically-neutral Sweden and Finland consider bids for NATO membership, the Kremlin’s spokesman warned against it, saying that that “the alliance remains a tool geared towards confrontation.” Dmitry Peskov was responding to reports that U.S. State Department officials met last week with the Finnish and Swedish foreign ministers whose governments are concerned about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and potentially other neighbours..

Apr 11, 2022

Veterans Affairs Canada says a computer error is to blame for the families of nearly 700 deceased veterans recently receiving T4A income tax slips. One case involved an Army corporal who died in a roadside bombing in Afghanistan 16 years ago.

Apr 11, 2022

When Sgt Nina Usherwood joined the Canadian Armed Forces in 1979, she went by a different name and gender. After transitioning and a legal name-change, she applied for a medical discharge, but says it took “months” for Veterans Affairs Canada to reflect her new identify in its files. She says the bureaucratic process is potentially “traumatic” and has joined others in calling for a more inclusive process.

Apr 11, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed Gen Alexander Dvornikov, one of his country’s most experienced officers, to take control of the Ukraine invasion now well into its seventh week. Dvornikov gained a reputation for brutal attacks against civilians during operations in support of the Syrian government.

Apr 07, 2022

The prospect that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will be prolonged, NATO is divided on how to manage the next stage of the conflict and the ensuing uncertainty. Some countries such as Poland and the Baltic states, concerned that anything that Moscow can present as a victory will damage to European security, want a total break but others such as France, Germany and Turkey evidently want to maintain links with President Vladimir Putin despite alleged war crimes.

Apr 07, 2022

Newly-released video verified by the New York Times appears to show Ukrainian soldiers killing captured Russians in a village near Kyiv. The newspaper said today that it shows a Russian being shot three times as well as the nearby bodies of three others on the road near an BMD-2 airborne combat vehicle.

Apr 07, 2022

On the eve of today’s federal budget, the House of Commons passed a Conservative motion calling for increased defence spending to “at least” the NATO target of two per cent of GDP. The vote was 303-27 with the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois voting for it while the NDP and Greens voted against it.

Apr 06, 2022

RCAF investigators said April 6 that last month’s crash of a CH-149 Cormorant search-and-rescue helicopter in Newfoundland was caused by a malfunctioning pilot seat while the crew was hovering in a training flight. The crash at 9 Wing Gander injured the crew of six to varying degrees and left the aircraft fuselage on its side.

Apr 06, 2022

A multimillion-dollar 5G challenge issued by the U.S. Department of Defense and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration is designed to promote growth and adoption of a fifth-generation open ecosystem and related technologies. Participants will be eligible for awards of up to $3 million. Amanda Toman, DoD’s lead on 5G, said the technology is “too critical a technology sector to relinquish to countries whose products and technologies are not aligned with our standards of privacy and security.”

Apr 06, 2022

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said April 5 that while the alliance would welcome traditionally neutral Finland and Sweden as members. “It's for them to decide, of course, but if they apply, I expect that 30 allies will welcome them.” he said.

Apr 06, 2022

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak has signed a deal worth some $4.75 billion to buy 250 M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 main battle tanks from the U.S. “We are strengthening the Polish military, and we are deterring a potential aggressor,” he said in an April 5 statement released by his department. An initial batch of 28 is expected to be delivered this year.

Apr 06, 2022

The Czech Republic has sent five Soviet-design T-72 tanks and five Czech-built BVP-1 tracked infantry fighting vehicles to Ukraine, a gift agreed to by its NATO allies. While Defence Minister Jana Černochová told parliament April 5 that she would neither confirm nor deny the decision, she said her country “is helping Ukraine as much as it can.”

Apr 06, 2022

Australia, Britain and the U.S. have agreed to cooperate on hypersonic weapons and electronic warfare capabilities, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office announced April 5. Australia and the U.S. already have a hypersonics weapon program but while Britain’s involvement is designed to increase all three countries’ options, it would not be joining the bilateral program at this time.

Apr 06, 2022

The U.S. Air Force and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency have confirmed the successful test of a hypersonic missile in March. The development was not announced earlier to avoid exacerbating tensions with Russia as it invaded Ukraine. Developed by Lockheed Martin and Aerojet Rocketdyne and released from a Boeing B-52 Stratofortress, the missile surpassed Mach 5, topped 65,000 feet altitude and flew more than 300 miles.

Apr 06, 2022

A week after he was appointed the ranking Military Police non-commissioned officer, CWO Jonathan Lacoste’s posting was recently rescinded by Provost Marshal BGen Simon Trudeau. The explanation is that three years earlier, Lacoste was sanctioned for making sexual comments about three women at a MP Christmas function.

Apr 06, 2022

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says Russian forces are regrouping for a southeastern offensive designed to connect the occupied Crimean Peninsula with separatist-controlled territory in the eastern Donbas region. “This is a crucial phase of the war,” he said on the eve of today’s NATO foreign affairs ministers, urging the allies to have weapons and other materiel ready for Ukraine.

Apr 05, 2022

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several members of his cabinet have turned to social media to condemn retreating Russian forces’ killings of civilians in Ukraine. “Those responsible for these egregious and appalling attacks will be brought to justice,” Trudeau said, echoing a tweet by Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly, who said “Canada will not spare any effort, including investigations of war crimes, to ensure that those responsible are held to account.”

Apr 05, 2022

The U.S. Department of Defense is sending Ukraine an additional $300 million of war-fighting equipment. Procured from manufacturers rather than DoD stockpiles, it includes laser-guided missile systems and surveillance and tactical drones as well as array of other gear on top of $1.6 billion in “security assistance” already shipped since Russia’s invasion began.

Apr 04, 2022

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has renewed his country’s commitment to spending at least two percent of its GDP on defence, but he is delaying implementation by four years amid a domestic political row over budgets. Italy currently spends 1.4 per cent of its GDP on defence, short of NATO’s requested two per cent.

Apr 04, 2022

A county court judge has overturned a Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission’s decision last year that U.S. Navy SEALS could use up to 28 parks as training grounds. The original approval rankled many recreational park users and in addressing their appeal, Judge James Dixon said the commission’s decision was illegal and outside its purview, which includes protecting and enhancong parks.

Apr 04, 2022

Russian efforts to build support for its invasion of Ukraine by claiming that that Ukraine has been harvesting organs from fallen soldiers as well as women and children have resulted in a rare public warning by Canada’s Security Establishment. The CSE says there has been a coordinated effort by Moscow to create and spread the false reports and that there had been “amplified fake stories and narratives falsely claiming that only military targets were being attacked, and that civilian causalities in Ukraine were lower than what confirmed.”

Apr 04, 2022

An announcement by the Solomon Islands government that it intends to “broaden its security and development cooperation with more countries”, notably China, has raised hackles in the region. A key concern is a draft agreement whereby the Solomons could ask Beijing to send military or law enforcement personnel with neither country, without consent, sharing details with other states.

Apr 04, 2022

Russia’s 331st Guards Parachute Regiment had hoped to distinguish itself in its country’s invasion of Ukraine but the reality on the ground has been quite the opposite. After its commander was killed last month, open-source material shows that at least several dozen other members have died in the face of stiff resistance.

Apr 01, 2022

As of today, all travellers entering Canada are no longer be required to provide a pre-entry coronavirus test as long as they are “fully vaccinated. That means two doses of an accepted vaccine or at least one of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least 14 days prior to arrival. All arriving travellers must complete a questionnaire on the ArriveCAN app or on the government's website within 72 hours of their arrival, but anyone exhibiting symptoms will not be permitted entry.

Mar 31, 2022

The historic U.S. military and civil helicopter manufacturer, MD Helicopters, which was a division of Hughes Aircraft until it was taken over by McDonnell Douglas in 1984 and then sold off when MD merged with Boeing in 1997, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy today. Planning to continue operations for the time being, the company is trying to recapitalize and discharge potentially crippling debt.

Mar 31, 2022

Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino has confirmed that seven more RCMP officers will join three others “as quickly as possible” to help with an International Criminal Court investigation of possible Russian war crimes in Ukraine. “This will be a team of dedicated experts who understand how to collect evidence which could be marshaled into a future prosecution,” he said March 29.

Mar 31, 2022

Members of 11 unions at Seaspan’s Victoria shipyard have served a strike notice on the company potentially leading to a shutdown April 1 over a number of contract issues. Among other things, Seaspan works on Royal Canadian Navy ships and submarines.

Mar 30, 2022

Former Chief of the Defence Staff Jonathan Vance pled guilty today in a virtual Ottawa court appearance to a charge of obstruction of justice arising from an investigation into alleged sexual misconduct. The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service (CFNIS) charged him in 2021 and Ontario Provincial Court documents allege that he asked a former partner in the Canadian Army to make false statement to investigators.

Mar 30, 2022

A tribunal of human rights experts was established by the UN today to investigate possible war crimes in Ukraine where Russia has been accused of indiscriminate bombardment of civilians and Ukrainians are alleged to have mistreated captured invaders. The panel is led by Norwegian jurist Erik Mose, who presided over the 2003-2007 International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

Mar 30, 2022

Forty-three Russian diplomats suspected of espionage, nearly half in Belgium alone, are being expelled in a coordinated move which also involves the Czech Republic, Ireland and the Netherlands. The announcement today follows similar actions by other EU members.

Mar 30, 2022

At $48.6 billion between its Department of Defence and Signals Directorate, Australia’s latest military and intelligence budget is 3.8 per cent higher after inflation than in 2021-2022. One analysis says that while Canberra’s plan responds to a changing global environment, it’s a relic of earlier times in that it follows a 2016 policy paper developed in 2015.

Mar 30, 2022

A day after Russian negotiators promised to scale down its invasion of Ukraine, Russian forces bombarded a besieged city in northern Ukraine today. Western allies had already dismissed the Russian plan as a ploy to regroup its battle-scarred troops.

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