IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Oct 15, 2019

U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy says modernization programs are threatened by budget haggling in Congress. “Our adversaries are investing in tomorrow today, unconstrained by a continuing resolution and singularly focused on shifting the current balance of power," he says, lamenting a congressional measure which could effectively freeze spending.

Oct 15, 2019

Nearly 60,000 Kurds trained by the U.S. and allies over the last few years are under sustained assault by Turkish forces in northern Syria. A counterterrorism campaign to knock out Daesh sleeper cells is at risk of collapsing as Turkish aerial bombardments destroyed a camp tasked with taking out insurgents and their financial backers. President Donald Trump, who effectively paved the way for the Turkish invasion, said Oct. 14 that the Kurds may intentionally be releasing Daesh prisoners to draw the U.S. back in to the conflict.

Oct 11, 2019

The U.S. Air Force says its newest missile early warning satellite has passed a preliminary design review. The Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared system is being built to replace the Space-Based Infrared System. Contracts for five of the new satellites have been awarded: three to Lockheed Martin for geosynchronous orbit and two to Northrop Grumman for polar surveillance.

Oct 11, 2019

A National Iranian Oil Co. oil tanker has been damaged by two missiles and a NIOC spokesman says the weapons were “possibly” from Saudi Arabia because it was only 96km from the Jeddah seaport on the Red Sea. Despite the damage, the vessel apparently is continuing its voyage.

Oct 11, 2019

Four more Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bombers and approximately 350 personnel from Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana, have been deployed to Royal Air Force Fairford in England. for integration and interoperability training. Six B-52s were flown to Fairford from Barksdale in April, the largest such deployment since the beginning of the Iraq War in 2003.

Oct 11, 2019

The North Korean foreign ministry is threaten yet again to resume nuclear and long-range missile tests, accusing the U.S. of having instigated a European condemnation within the UN Security Council of the latest weapons tests. The ministry says talks in Sweden last weekend by Pyongyang and Washington had collapsed because the U.S. offered no new proposals.

Oct 11, 2019

Sikorsky’s “optionally manned” S-70 helicopter, one of the latest iterations of its Hawk platform, is being used to test autonomous technology which the company says can be easily retrofitted to other models. A fully-autonomous flight is expected next year.

Oct 11, 2019

South Korea is preparing for the second phase of its procurement of Lockheed Martin F-35s, which will increase its fleet to 60 from 40. The cost of the additional buy is put at approximately US$3.3 billion.

Oct 11, 2019

Shareholders in United Technologies Corp. and Raytheon are scheduled to vote Oct. 11 on a proposed merger which would create one of the largest defense and aerospace companies in the world. The proposed all-stock deal, unveiled in June, would result in a company called Raytheon Technologies, which would be second in the U.S. aerospace and defence sector only to Boeing in terms of revenue.

Oct 10, 2019

In the first of a series of election-oriented speeches earlier this year, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said that if he becomes prime minister, he would remain committed to traditional allies, “depoliticize” military procurement, buy new submarines and join the U.S. ballistic missile defence program. There were no fiscal commitments. As of Oct. 10, his party has yet to present its platform for the Oct. 21 election but a review of its website showed only brief points on those military alliances and the procurement proposal.

Oct 10, 2019

The Liberal Party’s campaign platform for the Oct. 21 federal election devotes just 315 words (page 70) to reaffirming Canada’s long-standing defence commitments. They include “stronger oversight and responsible investments” as well as continued involvement in international peacekeeping and expanding role in NATO and the UN, including more funding.

Oct 10, 2019

Oct. 17-18 has been set aside by an Ottawa court to hearing a bail application by Cameron Ortis, the former RCMP intelligence director charged with breaching the Security of Information Act and other statutes by allegedly collecting information for possible disclosure. He faces seven counts from early 2015 until his arrest in mid-September.

Oct 10, 2019

The Congressional Budget Office says the U.S. Navy would have to spend $200 billion more than its original budget of $600 billion to expand its fleet to 355 ships over the next couple of decades. The latest forecast assumes all ships proposed in the USN’s latest plan but the fleet mix could change as the Department of Navy considers large unmanned vessels. The USN currently has 290 vessels but would need to commission 304 replacements and additions by 2034 to attain its stated target

Oct 10, 2019

Two British militants believed to be part of an ISIS group commonly referred to as “The Beatles” are being detained by U.S. officials after their extraction from a Kurdish detention centre in northeastern Syria. They and others were removed due to concerns that they could escape during the current Turkish invasion of the region. El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexanda Amon Kotey were part of an ISIS group that had held more than 20 western hostages in 2014-15, including seven American, British and Japanese journalists and aid workers as well as Syrian prisoners who were beheaded on camera.

Oct 10, 2019

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says there was “no blackmail” by U.S. President Donald Trump during a July 25 telephone conversation which has fuelled the push for Trump’s impeachment. Playing down suggestions that Trump pressed him to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden in exchange for military aid to help Ukraine battle Russian-backed separatists, Zelenskiy says he only learned afterward that the U.S. had blocked the aid.

Oct 10, 2019

Henry Kyle Frese, a Defense Intelligence Agency official in Virginia, has been charged ith leaking classified information to two journalists. Arrested by the FBI Oct. 9 when he arrived for work, the 30-year-old is alleged to have accessed at least five classified reports and provided information about another country’s weaponry to one of the journalists with whom he had a relationship.

Oct 10, 2019

President Donald Trump’s proposed Space Force as a sixth branch of the Department of Defense is being questioned by members of the Sustainable Defense Task Force within the Washington-based Center for International Policy. Pointing out that its development depends partly on how the current National Defense Authorization Act addresses parallel proposals, the task force argues against its creation because of the increased bureaucracy, “unworkable” high-tech weaponry and overall cost.

Oct 10, 2019

A Royal Canadian Air Force Boeing C-17 had U.S. support on this year’s resupply run to Canadian Forces Station Alert on the northeastern tip of Ellesmere Island. Operation Boxtop out of Thule, Greenland, also involved Lockheed Martin C-130 Hercules transports flown by the 109th Airlift Wing of the New York Air National Guard. More than 45 tonnes of cargo was transported between Sept. 26 and Oct. 4.

Oct 10, 2019

Legislators on both sides of the U.S. Congress are alarmed by reports that the White House is considering withdrawal from the 2002 Open Skies Treaty. The pact enables the U.S., Russia and 32 other countries, including Canada, to conduct short-notice flights over each other’s territories to monitor military movements.

Oct 09, 2019

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland used her Twitter account, @cafreeland, to “firmly” condemn Turkey’s military incursion into northern Syria. “This unilateral action risks undermining the stability of an already-fragile region, exacerbating the humanitarian situation and rolling back progress achieved by the Global Coalition Against Daesh,” she said. “We call for the protection of civilians and on all parties to respect their obligations under international law, including unhindered access for humanitarian aid.”

Oct 09, 2019

The first of three new U.S. Navy guided missile “stealth” destroyers won’t be fully combat-ready until next year, close to six months behind schedule. It is the latest slip in a $23-billiion program already six years behind schedule. The previously undisclosed delay for the first, the USS Zumwalt, has been confirmed by the USN. Completion of the hull and mechanical and engineering installations at General Dynamics in Maine will be followed by testing on the east Coast and then combat systems activation in California by Raytheon and BAE Systems.

Oct 09, 2019

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used his Twitter account, @RTErdogan, at 0915EDT today to say his military was moving into Kurdish-held part of northeastern Syria with the cooperation of Syrian forces. The U.S. says that since Turkish airstrikes are not coordinated with American assets, they are a threat to coalition forces and civilians.

Oct 09, 2019

There are three potential contenders for a U.S. Army contract to procure 651 infantry squad vehicles capable of being parachuted into theatres of operation. Oshkosh-Flyer, Polaris-SAIC and General Motors have until Nov. 13 to deliver two vehicles for testing.

Oct 09, 2019

The U.S. Air Force dropped 948 munitions in Afghanistan last month as peace talks with the Taliban began to collapse. It was the highest single-month tally in nearly a decade. 

Oct 09, 2019

The Netherlands has confirmed a planned procurement of nine more Lockheed Martin F-35s, which would increase its fleet to 46. The €1-billion acquisition would be “the foundation” for a third squadron, which would require an additional six aircraft. That would facilitate the air force’s objective of having four available for NATO missions while providing domestic defence.

Oct 09, 2019

NATO works only when its members are committed to “die for your neighbour,” says Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu. Speaking at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank in Washington, he said it took Russia’s 2010 attack on Georgia and its annexation of Crimea in 2014 to prompt NATO to reassess security needs. Noting that his own country of 1.3 million spends more than two per cent of its GDP on security, he said NATO membership means “you have to deliver” on money and manpower.

Oct 09, 2019

The importance of civil nuclear power as a tool for geopolitical influence is highlighted in a new report released by the Helsinki-based European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats. Citing case studies of situations in Belarus, Hungary and Finland, the report concludes, among other things, that “nuclear energy employed as a tool for any hostile intent has a different logic compared to oil and gas, for example, which have more explicit physical and logistical dependencies.”

Oct 09, 2019

The U.S. administration is reported to be considering withdrawal from the 1992 Open Skies treaty which enabled 34 countries to conduct unarmed surveillance flights over each other’s territory.  In effect since 2002, it was designed to assist with arms control verification. While Democrats in Congress are alarmed by the prospect, the State Department says only that the U.S. remains “fully compliant” with the terms of the accord.

Oct 08, 2019

A hitherto unknown unit within Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, is reported to be conducting operations to destabilize Europe and its allies. The New York Times quotes a retired GRU officer as saying that Unit 29155 is comprised of agents who carry out assassinations and other missions designed to foment unrest abroad.

Oct 08, 2019

The U.S. administration’s counsel, Pat Cipollone, says the House of Representatives’ move to impeach President Donald Trump violates precedent and the President’s right to due process. Accordingly, neither the President nor the executive branch would willingly provide testimony or documents to a “partisan and unconstitutional inquiry.” Cipollone’s letter to House leaders followed an administration refusal to let Gordon Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, testify before a committee.

Oct 08, 2019

As commander of U.S. Central Command for three years until his retirement last March, Army Gen. Joseph Votel was responsible for overseeing operations across the Middle East, including the campaign against ISIS. He says President Donald Trump’s decision to “seemingly” abandon Kurdish partners could not come at a worse time. “The decision ... threatens to affect future partnerships at precisely the time we need them most, given the war-weariness of the American public coupled with ever more sophisticated enemies.” Now a non-resident Distinguished Senior Fellow on National Security at the Middle East Institute in Washington, Votel previously commanded the U.S. Special Forces Command and the Joint Special Operations Command.

Oct 08, 2019

Purchased by the Government of Canada for the RCAF fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft replacement program, the new aircraft showed off its final livery today. The bright yellow paint scheme provides high visibility for those in the air and on the ground.

Oct 08, 2019

President Donald Trump says he'll meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House Nov. 13. The announcement came on the heels of the U.S. leader’s promise of “big trouble” if any Americans are injured in Turkey’s proposed incursion into northeastern Syria.

Oct 08, 2019

Senior U.S. security officials worry that thousands of ISIS fighters will be broken out of makeshift prisons run by the Syrian Democratic Forces in northern Syria. The concern arises from the fact that if the Kurdish militia abandon the prisons, there is no indication of how a Turkish move into the region might maintain security.

Oct 08, 2019

A Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification process being set up by the U.S. Department of Defense is designed to measure the effectiveness of industry suppliers’ cybersecurity practices. The CMMC would be managed by a nonprofit organization mandated to certify their effectiveness.

Oct 08, 2019

The U.S. Navy has conducted “high-end warfighting exercises” in the South China Sea, part of it says is a campaign to preserve regional stability and security in the Indo-Pacific region. The exercises included maritime strikes and interdiction, search and rescue, air defence and anti-submarine warfare operations.

Oct 08, 2019

The U.S. Air Force has met its recruitment goals for 2019 but its retention of personnel apparently means a reduction in the number of personnel moving to the USAF Reserve. Part of the ongoing problem is aggressive private-sector competition for pilots and other personnel.

Oct 08, 2019

Ahead of a UN Security Council meeting Oct. 8, North Korea issued a cryptic warning to Britain, France and Germany and the U.S. about discussing its recent missile tests. Germany proposed that the topic be brought up but North Korea’s ambassador to the UN says “we know well that the United States is behind impure moves of the UK, France and Germany” and any discussion “will further urge our desire to defend our sovereignty.”

Oct 08, 2019

A $325.2-million Department of Defense contract for Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter depot maintenance equipment has been awarded to the Pratt & Whitney division of United Technologies Corp. It includes two full-scale engine mockups and four test modules. Most of the work will be done in the U.S.

Oct 08, 2019

The last Boeing F/A-18C Hornet in the U.S. Navy fighter fleet has been retired from service, flown by a pilot who was born at the same time the aircraft was manufactured – in 1988. The final flight was at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., finalized the USN’s transition to the F/-18F Super Hornet.

Oct 08, 2019

How does 4.5kg of food sound for a seven-day food supply? That’s what U.S. Army and Marine Corps researchers are considering as they seek for ways to lighten troopers’ loads from the current 14.5kg usually carried on a week-long mission.

Oct 08, 2019

The Department of Defense says U.S. troops would not support or be involved any Turkish operations in northern Syria. Its statement is in response to President Donald Trump’s announcement that U.S. troops in the region would be pulled out ahead of a Turkish move against Kurdish forces.

Oct 08, 2019

Senior members of his own Republican Party have joined in the widespread criticism of  President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northeastern Syria. South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham is in the forefront, saying that the “impulsive decision ... has undone all the gains we’ve made (and) thrown the region into further chaos.”

Oct 08, 2019

Has the U.S. Army shot itself in the foot by disqualifying one of the two remaining contenders for an engineering and manufacturing design contract for a new Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle? Rheinmetall was unable to ship its Lynx-41 prototype from Germany by an Oct. 1 deadline. That leaves Virginia-based General Dynamics Corp. as the sole contender, but that is no guarantee it will be awarded a 2023 production contract.

Oct 07, 2019

Controls on dual-use products and technologies with both military and civil application are scheduled to be reassessed by the European Parliament, European Commission and governing council. The goal of the “mid-October” trialogue is eventual harmonization of the three institutions’ approaches. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has published a backgrounder on the controls, which are seen as a crucial element of global non-proliferation efforts.

Oct 07, 2019

A Raytheon team in Arlington, Va. is designing a new system which they say will warn pilots of cyberattacks. The project’s engineering lead says the goal is to give pilots “real time” information so that pilots can respond to threats immediately.

Oct 07, 2019

An advanced manufacturing policy announced by U.S. Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy could see 3D-printing, robotics and artificial intelligence being used to fix military equipment on the field rather than having it shipped from distant depots. Pushing what he calls an “aggressive” approach to parts replacement, McCarthy says the initiative begins with strategic guidance to the Army and industry.

Oct 07, 2019

The U.S. Marine Corps is considering major changes to re-enlistment and retention policy that focus on capability rather than routine promotions. USMC Commandant Gen. David Berger says enabling personnel to re-enlist in their second or third year of service is one option and that local commanders would have approval authority. Currently, Marines near the end of their enlistment are at the mercy of Corps headquarters in the Pentagon.

Oct 07, 2019

Hundreds of Russian mercenaries are propping up what the head of U.S. Southern Command, Adm. Craig Fuller, calls the “illegitimate regime” of President Nicolas Maduro, who also is seeking North Korean support.

Oct 07, 2019

U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Kalilzad has met in Islamabad with a Taliban delegation, the first such encounter since President Donald Trump announced a month ago that there was no prospect of a peace deal. More than 14,000 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan.

Oct 07, 2019

The U.S. is stepping aside for an imminent Turkish operation against Kurdish-led forces within Syria which have been a key U.S. ally in defeating Islamic State forces. Turkey regards the Kurds as terrorists. President Donald Trump threatened last January to “devastate Turkey economically” if it attacked the Kurds.

Oct 07, 2019

The U.S. is reported to be finalizing a $36-million agreement with Montenegro for 67 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles manufactured by Oshkosh Defence. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo aid during a visit to Montenego tht th U.S. had “offered an agreement ... for the largest sale of military equipment in the history between our two nations.” Montenegro would become the fourth NATO ally to express interest or buy the vehicle, which was developed for the U.S. Army and Marine Corps.

Oct 07, 2019

Boeing’s F/A-18 Hornet seems to be edging the Airbus Eurofighter Typhoon in the race to supply Germany with replacements for its Tornado fleet. The U.S. aircraft evidently has gained the advantage from being immediately nuclear-capable compared with at least three to five years for most of Germany’s Typhoons. A German defence ministry spokesperson would say only that there have been “continuous conversations” with the U.S.

Oct 07, 2019

A total of $67.9 billion in weapons exports were authorized by the U.S. State Department in the latest fiscal year. Spread among 64 procurement requests by 28 countries and a NATO consortium, the exports were down for the second year in a rowbut the FY2019 total was still nearly double the value of exports in 2016.

Oct 07, 2019

The U.S. ability to deter Iran in the Persian Gulf is collapsing, according to Christopher J. Nolan, professor of Middle East Security Studies at the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa. Citing an escalating series of violent acts either confirmed or suspected of being Iranian at source, he says Washington must address the issue if the region is not to career into war.

Oct 07, 2019

Negotiations in Sweden between the U.S. and North Korea about the latter’s nuclear weapons program have broken off. North Korea’s lead negotiator says the U.S. side was being inflexible, a comment the State Department says did not reflect “the content or spirit” of the eight-hour meeting.

Oct 04, 2019

A look ahead at the U.S. Marine Corps’ future suggests that it’s likely to be much smaller than it is today. It is expected rely more on unmanned aerial vehicles and work in smaller teams much as Special Forces have done for years. The outlook is courtesy of Gen. David Hilberry Berger shortly after he assumed command of USMC.

Oct 04, 2019

Huntington Ingalls Industries, the largest military shipbuilder in the U.S., spun off from Northrop Grumman in 2011, has been accused of falsifying tests and certifications on stealth coatings of its submarines. In a complaint filed in federal court, a whistleblower says the company “put American lives at risk” by filing falsified records about the coatings which ostensibly would not react to enemy sonar.

Oct 04, 2019

The Department of Defense is being forced to revamp various databases in response to protect personal data on millions of active military personnel and veterans which allegedly have been exposed to identity thieves. The president of Vietnam Veterans of America, which has filed suit against the DoD, says “monetizing our service members by sharing their personal information for profit while compromising their identities is despicable and damaging to our national defense.”

Oct 04, 2019

The U.S. Air Force has set up a Program Executive Office for Advanced Aircraft tasked with overseeing development of the next generation of fighters. Col. Dale White, most recently the program executive officer for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and special operations forces, will be in charge.

Oct 04, 2019

Faced with external pressures on access to export markets, China and Russia are extending their economic, military and technological ties. The apparent appeal on the Chinese side is Russia’s military engineering and mathematical skills while in the other directiion it’s Chinese products, services and experience which could help Russia curb western imports.

Oct 03, 2019

Bell Textron has unveiled its proposal for the U.S. Army’s next attack-reconnaissance aircraft. The 360 Invictus, with a reported top speed of more than 200 knots in testing, is based on the company’s commercial 525 platform rather than a tilt-rotor, but is reduced in size and has a smaller rotor diameter.

Oct 02, 2019

Boeing Co. has referred an internal ethics complaint by a senior Boeing engineer to the U.S. Department of Justice. The complaint is that the company rejected a safety system to minimize costs during development of the 737 Max jetliner.

Oct 02, 2019

Virginia Commonwealth University has been awarded a $50-million grant by the U.S. Defense and Veterans Affairs departments to study the long-term effects of concussions during combat. It builds on a $62 million grant to VCU in 2012 to lead a consortium of 30 universities and 27 medical facilities to study the chronic effects of brain injuries.

Oct 02, 2019

The People’s Republic of China celebrated its 70thanniversary by showing off an array of new missiles and unmanned platforms in a massive parade in Beijing. The unmanned technologies included a large underwater vehicle and a high-speed unmanned aircraft believed to be capable of supersonic flight.

Oct 02, 2019

Adm. James Foggo, the U.S. commander of Naval Forces Europe, says he needs more ships to provide presence, training and crisis response capability in his area of responsibility. He says there have been more Russian surface vessels, submarines and aircraft in the Atlantic and Arctic oceans and the Baltic, Black and Mediterranean seas even as political tensions increase. The U.S. 6th Fleet within NFE has four destroyers, two fast transports and a command ship.

Oct 02, 2019

In a bid to keep up with rapid technological change, the U.S. Air Force proposed an in-house game environment where personnel could evaluate new developments at a faster rate. Its Warfighting Integration Capability office plans to engage with industry and universities over the next two months.

Oct 02, 2019

NASA has completed testing of a new high-aspect wing for its X-57 Maxwell all-electric research aircraft. The highly-modified Tecnam P2006T, a four-place high-winged twin marketed for flight training and private ownership, is being prepared for a first flight.

Oct 02, 2019

Only weeks after the scheduled end of a Canadian Armed Forces medevac mission in Mali, more than two dozen 25 Malian soldiers have been killed and 60 more reported missing after two towns near the border with Burkina Faso were attacked by Islamic militants. The Malian government says 15 attackers were killed and the area has been recapture, but that equipment was lost.

Oct 02, 2019

U.S. officials say North Korea has launched a ballistic missile from an underwater platform a day after the two countries agreed to resume nuclear talks. While the missile evidently was designed to be launched from a submarine and is at least the second such test, the U.S. officials don’t believe a submarine actually was involved.

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