IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Apr 28, 2020

The U.S. is tightening controls on civilian technologies with military potential. “It is important to consider the ramifications of doing business with countries that have histories of diverting goods purchased from U.S. companies for military applications,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said, citing China, Russia and Venezuela.

Apr 28, 2020

The first phase of satellite integration on Project Blackjack for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has been confirmed by Lockheed Martin. The initial phase is expected to comprise a low earth orbit constellation of about 20 satellites in 2022 but is seen as a precursor to a constellation of hundreds.

Apr 28, 2020

As the European Union diverts cash into economies hammered by COVID-19, there are concerns about the prospect of reduced defence spending. There are forceful arguments for doing just the opposite.

Apr 27, 2020

The Canadian Armed Forces has introduced a texting service for its 78,000 youngest family members in Canada, offering free 24/7 confidential support for mental health and well-being. Children with mobile phones can text CAFKIDS at 686868 or JEUNESFAC at 686868 for support in English and French respectively.

Apr 27, 2020

In what is described as “the first overall assessment of Canada's Arctic Ocean”, dozens of federal scientists and Inuit observers have concluded that the region may be changing faster than any other body of water on the planet, with economic and strategic implications. “As the Arctic changes, the rest of the ecosystem is going to track with those changes,” says the project's lead scientist, Andrea Niemi of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. “There isn't going to be a delay.”

Apr 27, 2020

Businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and which qualify for support through the federal government’s $75-billion wage subsidy program can begin applying today, 27 April. If eligible, they will receive 75 per cent of each employee's wages up to $847 per week, retroactive to 15 March. Initial payments are expected to be delivered by 08 May.

Apr 27, 2020

Earlier this month, the Department of National Defence issued a request for proposals for delivery of a readily-deployable “biocontainment aeromedical evacuation system” as developed and refined by the U.S. Air Force in the aftermath of the 2013-2016 Ebola crisis. The RFP seems to have been precipitated by the deployment of Canadian Armed Forces personnel during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Apr 27, 2020

The U.S. Navy has accepted delivery of a new $4-billion stealth destroyer more than three years after its commissioning. The Zumwalt, which has a functional combat system and now is scheduled for further development and sea trials, broke down in the Panama Canal a month after it was commissioned in 2016. The USN originally planned to purchase more than two dozen of the new ships but reduced the buy to three.

Apr 27, 2020

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency has issued a request for proposal for a new generation of interceptors. The goal is to choose two manufactures to compete for the new weapon, the core of homeland missile defence.

Apr 27, 2020

President Donald Trump plans to nominate Shon Manasco, currently the U.S. Air Force assistant undersecretary for manpower and reserve affairs, as Undersecretary, the No. 2 civilian in the USAF. Trump’s announcement did not include a date but the congressional confirmation process can take weeks and even months.

Apr 27, 2020

The U.S. Department of Defense has been advised by its F-35 Joint Program Office that the Lockheed Martin stealth fighter should be flown at supersonic speeds only in short bursts. The problem, which the JPO says is not worth fixing, is a risk of structural damage and loss of stealth capability.

Apr 27, 2020

British intelligence agencies have been told they require computer assistance to counter a variety of threats. The Royal United Services Institute also says new artificial intelligence capabilities are critical to identifying criminal as well as military threats before they become reality.

Apr 27, 2020

The latest annual defence spending review by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute shows a total outlay of at least US$1,917 billion in 2019. Up 3.6 per cent from the year before, it is the largest annual increase in a decade.

Apr 27, 2020

Breaking a peace deal signed in November with the internationally-recognised government of Yemen, United Arab Emirates-backed separatists in the country’s south have declared self-rule. The Saudi-backed government has warned of “catastrophic consequences.”

Apr 27, 2020

The U.S. Navy and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have begun studying a COVID-19 outbreak in one of its aircraft carriers in the hope of contributing to a better understanding of the pandemic. More than 17 per cent of its crew of 4,845 have tested positive.

Apr 27, 2020

Boeing Co. has withdrawn from a $4.2-billion deal to buy Brazil-based Embraer's commercial aircraft division. The U.S. giant accused Embraer of having not met conditions for finalizing the sale but the São Paulo-based company countered that Boeing’s financial difficulties were the reason.

Apr 24, 2020

Trying to address a shortage of some 200 pilots, the Royal Canadian Air Force is approaching former military pilots to rejoin. Among potential recruits are airline pilots, many of whom are military veterans laid off or had hours reduced due to carriers forced to limit service by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Apr 24, 2020

The U.S. Department of Defense is looking for additional insight into how to keep better track of contractors’ cybersecurity practices through its Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification process. It has issued a request for proposals designed to end self-certification, a proposal which would require third-party audits.

Apr 24, 2020

A tweet by President Donald Trump that the U.S. Navy had been “instructed . . . to shoot down and destroy” any Iranian vessels interfering with Persian Gulf operations evidently is redundant. After senior administration officials pointed out that current rules of engagement give USN commanders the authority defend their ships appropriately, Trump agreed “that’s the rules of engagement.”

Apr 24, 2020

Unmanned aerial vehicles designed by Draganfly Inc. of Saskatoon have been deployed near New York City in a pilot project to detect the spread of COVID-19. Draganfly has been working with the University of Southern Australia to equip its drones with sensors that can measure from nearly 60 metres not only social distancing compliance, but also body temperature, heart and respiratory rates, and whether people are sneezing and coughing in crowds.

Apr 24, 2020

Transport Canada now requires all arriving and departing airline passengers to wear face masks while in transit, including through security screening when social-distancing is impracticable. Also, passengers displaying symptoms of COVID-19 will not be allowed aboard regardless of whether they have a mask.

Apr 24, 2020

Anthony Tata, a retired U.S. Army brigadier general, Fox media commentator and novelist, evidently is in line to become the next Undersecretary of Defense for Policy. If confirmed by the Republican-controlled Senate, he would succeed John Rood, ousted in February for certifying to Congress that Ukraine was eligible for U.S. security funding which became the central issue in President Donald Trump's impeachment.

Apr 23, 2020

Premier François Legault has asked the federal government to send 1,000 additional Canadian Armed Forces personnel to help staff long-term care institutions in Quebec which have been hit hard by COVID-19. He says the province has unable to find enough trained workers to meet immediate needs.

Apr 23, 2020

Ontario Premier Doug Ford wants Canadian Armed Forces personnel to help his government stop the spread of COVID-19 in long-term care homes. He said they would be deployed to five homes where infection rates have been extreme. “When you’re in a fight like this, you leave nothing off the table,” he said.

Apr 23, 2020

Some 30 Canadian Army personnel, mostly reservists, have been deployed to provide logistics support for the police investigation of the recent mass shooting in Nova Scotia.

Apr 23, 2020

President Donald Trump says he has directed the U.S. Navy to “shoot down and destroy” Iranian gunboats if they harass USN ships in the Persian Gulf. His tweet comes in the wake of 11 Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps vessels which closed on six U.S. warships in international waters earlier in the month.

Apr 23, 2020

The commander of Iran’s Islamic evolutionary Guard Corps, MGen Hossein Salami, says his forces have been ordered to “destroy” U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf if his country's security is threatened. “Security of the Persian Gulf is part of Iran’s strategic priorities,” he said on state television.

Apr 23, 2020

Countries in Africa, South America and Southeast Asia have expressed interest in buying F-16 Fighting Falcons among those interested in purchasing the jet, according to Kenneth Possenriede, the company’s chief financial officer. “This is a good . . . aircraft for those customers that can’t afford the F-35,” he told investors during a 21 April financial earnings conference call.

Apr 23, 2020

The U.S. Navy’s Blue Angels flight demonstration team and its Air Force counterpart, the Thunderbirds are being tasked with a multi-city domestic tour to “champion national unity.” The Department of Defense says the flyovers in the next few weeks will “thank first responders, essential personnel, and military service members as we collectively battle the spread of COVID-19.”

Apr 22, 2020

A Canada-U.S. agreement to extend restrictions on cross-border travel has prompted Air Canada to suspend all commercial service to the U.S., effective 26 April and until at least 22 May. WestJet also has extended its original suspension until at least 4 June 4 as well as shutting down some domestic services.

Apr 22, 2020

Iran announced 22 April that it had put its first military satellite in orbit. Although it could not be independently confirmed, the development is seen as an escalation of the republic’s ballistic missile capability.

Apr 21, 2020

U.S. federal agencies that heeded President Donald Trump’s push to move operations to the cloud are being reminded that security is paramount. “We want to ensure that in these quick migrations that we’ve done, that we fully understand both the positives as well as some of the assumptions we’ve made,” says Matthew Scholl, chief of the Computer Security Division in the Information Technology Laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He and other officials warn that security could be compromised if vendors aren’t appropriately managed.

Apr 21, 2020

Essye Miller, principal deputy chief information officer at the Department of Defense, retiring at the end of June, is to be succeeded John Sherman, CIO of the Intelligence Community. Miller, who previously held senior Army and Air Force positions, played a key role in preparing the DoD for COVID-19. Sherman, who has been at the IC since September 2017 and is responsible for ongoing IT modernization, previously was with the CIA and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

Apr 20, 2020

U.S. aerospace companies and others in the defence sector have come rely increasingly on outsourcing manufacturing to Mexico and elsewhere. Ellen Lord, the Department of Defense’s undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment said Mexico has been asked through diplomatic channels to open facilities which have been shut down due to COVID-19. “We are seeing impact on the industrial base by several pockets of closure internationally,” she said 20 April.

Apr 20, 2020

Arms control was high on the agenda for a 17 April meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Moscow evidently signaled readiness to include some of its latest nuclear weapons in its proposed extension of the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, due to expire next year, but Washington has to yet to accept the proposal.

Apr 20, 2020

The first docking of two orbiting unmanned commercial spacecraft is being reported by Virginia-based Intelsat Corp. It said 17 April that the mission has demonstrated a satellite life-extension capability of interest also to the military. Its Intelsat 901 communications platform was nearing the end of its operational life and its renewal was made possible by SpaceLogistics, a Northrop Grumman subsidiary.

Apr 20, 2020

Most movements of U.S. uniformed and civilian personnel and their families will remain limited until at least the end of June as the Department of Defense tries to contain COVID-19. The Department of Defense says there will be some flexibility for overseas troop deployment and some priority duty changes.

Apr 20, 2020

Seven squadrons of the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II ground support aircraft, popularly known as the Warthog, will remain in the U.S. Air Force inventory into the 2040s. Despite efforts to reduce the A-10 fleet, LGen David Nahom, deputy chief of staff for plans and programs, acknowledges that “there is no more efficient platform in the low-end fight.”

Apr 20, 2020

Boeing is reopening its Philadelphia-area helicopter manufacturing centre after a two-week shutdown to sanitize it for COVID-19 contamination. The Ridley Park operation produces the H-47 Chinook and MH-138 Grey Wolf (AgustaWestland AW139) transports as well as the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor.

Apr 20, 2020

A U.S. Court of Federal Claims judge has granted a Department of Defense request for a six-month stay to give it time to correct parts of its Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud contract, awarded to Microsoft Corp. last October. Amazon Web Services has protested the award.

Apr 20, 2020

Carmen Gentile, a longtime conflict reporter who was severely injured while embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan in 2010, writes that the angry protests against the COVID-19 lockdowns in some U.S. states frighten him more than his experiences overseas.

Apr 17, 2020

A Canadian Armed Forces advance team is being deployed in Quebec as the first stage of a response to a request from the Quebec government for help in dealing with COVID-19 in long-term care facilities (LTFCs). Announced 17 April by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the team will determine where some 125 nursing officers, medical technicians and other military personnel will be used.

Apr 17, 2020

The U.S. Air Force has disclosed that the instruction manuals for a pair of new Boeing VC-25Bs, the extensively modified Boeing 747s used for presidential transport, will cost $84 million. The USAF explains that the more than 100,000-page manuals, which are not expected to be completed until 2025, include materials developed by Boeing and its subcontractors.

Apr 17, 2020

The fact that China’s continued fortification of islands in the South China Sea has drawn relatively muted response from most of the international community is globally problematic, according to a U.S. Air Force officer who has been involved in an International Studies Association panel on the rise of China. He has called for “a concerted and unified effort to counter the ongoing impacts of the island bases on international trade, the international rule of law and Southeast Asian security.”

Apr 17, 2020

The U.S. Department of Defense insists that a Federal Communications Commission plan to reallocate part of the radio spectrum for broadband communications will do “irreparable” harm to the Global Positioning System used for civilian as well as military navigation. The proposal requires only a majority vote by the five-person FCC to pass.

Apr 17, 2020

Iran’s defence minister, BGen Amir Hatami has dismissed U.S. reports of harassment by Iranian vessels as “baseless”, saying that “what leads to insecurity in the Persian Gulf region is actually the illegal and aggressive presence of the Americans who have come from the other end of the world to our borders.” The U.S. had complained that 11 Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy had come dangerously close to U.S. vessels in the Gulf.

Apr 17, 2020

Iran’s defence minister, BGen Amir Hatami has dismissed U.S. reports of harassment by Iranian vessels as “baseless”, saying that “what leads to insecurity in the Persian Gulf region is actually the illegal and aggressive presence of the Americans who have come from the other end of the world to our borders.” The U.S. had complained that 11 Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy had come dangerously close to U.S. vessels in the Gulf.

Apr 17, 2020

Norway, a founding member of NATO, is expected to publish an updated long-term defence plan for parliamentary review. In addition to setting out military priorities, it also will examine how to deal with the impacts of climate change and pandemics. 

Apr 16, 2020

NATO’s Communications and Information Agency has come up with a way to deal with enemies’ jamming of the Global Positioning System. The Radar Electromagnetic and Communication Coverage Tool, by mapping the area affected by jamming, enables commanders to work with degraded GPS data.

Apr 16, 2020

Focusing its resources on COVID-19, the British government put its integrated defence review on hold 15 April. The chairman of the parliamentary defence committee working on the project agreed that there was no point in proceeding for the time being and said when the review reboots it will have to consider the strategic implications of pandemics.

Apr 15, 2020

The U.S. Navy reported 15 April that six of its ships operating in the northern Persian Gulf had been the target of repeated “dangerous and harassing approaches” by 11 boats operated by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Apr 15, 2020

The U.S. Navy reported 15 April that six of its ships operating in the northern Persian Gulf had been the target of repeated “dangerous and harassing approaches” by 11 boats operated by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Apr 15, 2020

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has confirmed an extension to his department’s 60-day ban on non-essential domestic and international travel, but details were still being worked out 15 April. The initial ban has halted deployments, change-of-station moves, training and temporary duty in a bid to contain COVID-19.

Apr 15, 2020

The U.S. Maritime Administration, through Alaska-based TOTE Services, has contracted with Philly Shipyard (formerly Aker Philadelphia Shipyard) to build up to five ships which will be used to train merchant mariners. The first two national security multi-mission vessels, which also could be used by the federal government for disaster relief, are expected to cost a total of $630 million.

Apr 14, 2020

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and his counterparts across NATO are to discuss the alliance’s COVID-19 response during a videoconference 15 April. The pandemic is being described as the most comprehensive security challenge NATO has encountered.

Apr 14, 2020

Concerns about the security of Zoom, the popular videoconferencing app, has prompted the U.S. Department of Defense to declare it off-limits to personnel for any official use. The FBI recently reported that the app had seen an increase in uninvited participants.

Apr 14, 2020

Boeing has resumed production of the P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft and KC-46 Pegasus tanker after a three-week shutdown due to the spread of COVID-19 in Washington state. They are based, respectively, on the 737-800 and 767 civil platforms.

Apr 14, 2020

A Chinese naval carrier group of six vessels conducted drills off Taiwan’s east and south coasts 12 April in the latest uptick in regional military tensions. The U.S. also has been active in the region recently.

Apr 13, 2020

A recent meeting of NATO foreign ministers to discuss security issues, including the fallout from COVID-19, may be remembered more for its format than anything else, according to two senior members of the Washington-based Atlantic Council. They suggest the virtual meeting could enable the alliance to respond more rapidly to crises than traditional in-person gatherings.

Apr 11, 2020

A $73-billion economic subsidy program designed to help businesses and employees to cope with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic was approved 11 April in an emergency sitting of Parliament. Finance Minister Bill Morneau said funds would be available within two to five weeks.

Apr 11, 2020

The head of the World Health Organizagion says that lifting COVID-19 restrictions too early could result in a “deadly resurgence” of the virus which has now killed more than 100,000 worldwide. Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says that while there is a “welcome slowing” of the pandemic in parts of Europe and the WHO is working on easement strategies, “the way down can be as dangerous as the way up if not managed properly.”

Apr 10, 2020

The federal government has opted against immediate use of the sweeping powers provided for in the Emergency Act to address the COVID-19 situation. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has confirmed this after a teleconference with his provincial and territorial counterparts and says the 1988 replacement for the even more authoritarian War Measures Act remains a last resort for Ottawa.

Apr 10, 2020

Canadian Forces Intelligence Command is reported to have begun generating warnings about COVID-19 in early January. CFIC's medical intelligence cell is mandated to track global health developments with a view to predicting, with the assistance of the Five Eyes intelligence community, implications for military operations. It also was reported earlier this week that the cell’s U.S. counterpart had been tracking the initial Chinese outbreak as early as last November.

Apr 10, 2020

An early response to Canada's COVID-19 outbreak would have done more harm than good, says Ian Culbert, executive director of the Canadian Public Health Association. He told a virtual meeting of Members of Parliament that there would have been “very little” public support for lockdowns and social-distancing in January and that would have undermined health officials’ efforts when the situation became more dire.

Apr 10, 2020

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies in the so-called OPEC+ group of smaller producers have agreed to cut output by some 10 million barrels a day in May and June in an attempt to counter the price slump which began in March. The cuts are supposed to be eased later in the year and into 2021.

Apr 09, 2020

Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne says the government has signed a new contract which will eventually permit a resumption of Light Armoured Vehicles to Saudi Arabia. Declining to go into detail, he says there have been significant improvements to some aspects of the politically-contentious sale of the LAVs built by General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada.

Apr 09, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said 09 April that while his government hopes to begin economic recovery efforts once the first COVID-19 wave has passed, possibly by summer, it could be a year or more before all restrictions on public activities are removed. He said this essentially would reflect the time it takes for development of a vaccine.

Apr 09, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ended nearly a month of self-isolation by arriving on Parliament Hill 08 April for his first live cabinet meeting since his wife tested positive for COVID-19 after attending an event in Britain. He told reporters that the government is keeping current mitigation measures in place “for many more weeks” to give authorities time to consider how to reboot the economy without causing more problems.

Apr 09, 2020

A U.S. Air Force arrangement with Boeing could pave the way for KC-46 refuelling platforms to top up other aircraft without manual controls. Boeing has agreed to update the KC-45’s problematic Remote Vision System with high-definition cameras and lidar sensors to improve depth perception.

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