IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Mar 17, 2021

Critics in South Korea's governing Democratic Party are threatening to block draft legislation would would ratify their administration’s defence cost-sharing agreement with the U.S. They say that a 13.9 per cent hike in the domestic share “unfairly” targets the U.S. ally

Mar 17, 2021

Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng has told Taiwan’s parliament that the island state has strengthened deployments in the disputed South China Sea and that the United States has approved the export of technology for Taiwan’s submarine fleet. China has increased military activities near what it considers a “rogue” province. “They are capable of starting a war,” Chiu explained. “My goal is for us to be ready at all times.”

Mar 17, 2021

An international arms embargo imposed on Libya in 2011 is “totally ineffective,” according to a UN report which highlights “extensive, blatant” violations. The report cites an array of backers on both sides of Syria’s civil war, including mercenaries and non-state actors. “Their control of the entire supply chain complicates detection, disruption or interdiction” and “makes any implementation of the arms embargo more difficult.”

Mar 16, 2021

When former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati was released by Iran in a 2016 diplomatic deal, he was declared eligible for $20 million in compensation from a special U.S. government fund. Hekmati said he had travelled to Iran to visit his grandmother when he was arrested but now the FBI says he was trying to sell classified U.S. information, so there has been no payout. His lawyer says the government “should put up or shut up” and indict Hekmati but says it won’t because there is no evidence to support its allegations.

Mar 16, 2021

A Canadian arm of Virginia-based Serco Inc. has been awarded a 10-year $694-million renewal contract at CFB Happy Valley-Goose Bay in Labrador. Public Services and Procurement Canada said March 15 that if two five-year extension options are exercised, the potential value of the work by Serco Canada Inc. could be up to $1.5 billion over 20 years.

Mar 16, 2021

A total of 28,000 troops from 27 countries have embarked on Defender Europe 2021, one of the largest exercises in decades. Running until June and led by the U.S. Army, it will include “nearly simultaneous operations across more than 30 training areas.”

Mar 16, 2021

Is NATO contemplating a cooperative approach to developing hypersonic weapons? Britain, France and the U.S. have begun separate developments to counter Chinese and Russian technologies but now the alliance is reported to be considering it can best approach the challenge to a threat highlighted at a 2019 ministerial meeting.

Mar 16, 2021

The sale of five Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft to Germany has been approved by the U.S. State Department. The procurement is expected to be a stopgap until the planned replacement in the 2030s of Germany’s five Lockheed Martin P-3C Orions which have been in operation for several decades.

Mar 15, 2021

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute reported today that deliveries of arms were flat in the 2016-2020 period after more than a decade of increases. While the U.S., France and Germany increased their foreign sales, that was offset by reduced Russian and Chinese exports. “The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could see some countries reassessing their arms imports in the coming years,” says SIPRI researcher Pieter Wezeman. “At the same time, even at the height of the pandemic in 2020, several countries signed large contracts for major arms.”

Mar 15, 2021

On the heels of another weekend of brutal crackdowns on pro-democracy demonstrators, Myanmar’s ruling junta has declared martial law in parts of the country’s largest city. At least 38 people were killed and dozens injured March 14 in one of the deadliest days of the crackdown which began six weeks ago when the military staged a coup.

Mar 15, 2021

As its military has evolved over the past few decades, the U.S. evidently has come to rely increasingly on Special Operations for combat deployments. One expert says that “despite initially stiff resistance from the conventional military branches . . . they are now responsible for much of the military’s on-the-ground engagement in real or potential trouble spots.”

Mar 15, 2021

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has released still and video images of a new base it says is armed with cruise and ballistic missiles and electronic warfare capabilities. Broadcasting the images today, state television called the base a “missile city.”

Mar 15, 2021

President Joe Biden’s nominee for the U.S. governments chief information office is Clare Martorama. She began her public career in 2016 at the U.S. Digital Service, working with Veterans Affairs.

Mar 15, 2021

Finland is rebuilding defence capabilities in a region abutting Russia and part of the initiative involves not only professional armed forces but also civilians. A current exercise in the Finnmark region, home to sensitive installations such as an air base, focuses on local infrastructure protection and the civilians’ role reflects a reality that everyone has role safeguarding their country.

Mar 15, 2021

A British parliamentary committee has issued a scathing analysis of the country’s armoured fighting vehicle fleet, calling it “deplorable” victim of “bureaucratic procrastination, military indecision, financial mismanagement and general ineptitude.” It says this has stymied plans to replace the 30-year-old fleet.

Mar 15, 2021

If the new U.S. administration plans to hold the line on defence spending for the coming year, as has been reported, a new review sees it as “a mistake with serious consequences.” A bipartisan commission has said that the budget must grow by three to five per cent annually if the U.S. is to “project power” and uphold commitments to its allies.

Mar 15, 2021

Five Chinese companies—Huawei, ZTE, Hytera, Hangzhou and Zhejiang Dahua—have been confirmed by the Federal Communications Commission as threats to U.S. national security. “That will ensure that as next-generation networks are built across the country, they do not repeat the mistakes of the past or use equipment or services that will pose a threat,” Acting FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said March 12.

Mar 11, 2021

Jan Kallberg, a scientist at the U.S. Army Cyber Institute, says NATO has been has been extremely successful safeguarding peace since the western alliance was created. Also an assistant professor at the Military Academy, he predicts that future conflict “will be a fight fought together with European allies, from numerous countries, in a terrain they know better.”

Mar 11, 2021

The foundation for the third reactor at Turkey’s first nuclear power plant, which was begun in 2018 and is slated to start generating electricity in 2023, was laid by Turkish and Russian officials March 10. The project is owned by Moscow’s Rosatom, raising concern that the financing arrangements increasing Turkey’s already significant energy dependence on Russia.

Mar 11, 2021

A court which handles German procurement disputes has ruled that the government cannot be forced to reactivate a tender for heavy transport helicopters it abandoned last year due to cost concerns. Lockheed Martin-Sikorsky, which was competing with Boeing for the contract, had lodged a formal protest.

Mar 11, 2021

Adm Philip Davidson, head of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, says China’s rapid military advances in his area of jurisdiction are creating a strategic imbalance which could “embolden China to unilaterally change the status quo before our forces may be able to deliver an effective response.” He also told the Senate Armed Services Committee March 9 that China would invade Taiwan within the next six years.

Mar 11, 2021

South Korea has agreed to a 13.9 per cent increase in its contribution to a sustained U.S. military presence, ending a stalemate that had strained relations after the former administration had demanded a five-fold increase. South Korea also has agreed to link its contribution to increases in its defence budgets over the next four years.

Mar 10, 2021

The Bank of Canada elected March 10 to maintain its benchmark overnight lending rate at 0.25 per cent. It also committed to holding the rate there until inflation is consistently above two per cent, which the bank doesn’t expect until sometime in 2023.

Mar 10, 2021

The Canadian Armed Forces reservist arrested on the grounds of Government House last July after ramming the main gates with his truck was sentenced March 10 to six years in prison, less time already spent in custody. Manitoba resident Correy Hurren had pleaded guilty to eight charges, included possessing firearms for “a purpose dangerous to the public peace.”

Mar 10, 2021

Chinese President Xi Jinping says his country’s military must be “prepared to respond” to complex and difficult security challenges. Xi, who also heads the Central Military Commission, said March 9 that the military “must coordinate the relationship between capacity building and combat readiness, be prepared to respond to a variety of complex and difficult situations at any time, resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, and provide strong support for the comprehensive construction of a modern socialist state.”

Mar 10, 2021

An independent Washington think-tank is suggesting that some $7 billion in budgetary funding could be shifted to State from Defense in what it says would mean more effective oversight of U.S. security assistance programs. The Center for American Progress said in a March 9 report that the current “bifurcated” system of funding foreign militaries is “inefficient and ill-suited for the present foreign policy environment.”

Mar 10, 2021

Operating under U.S. National Guard command, Kosovo has deployed its first international peacekeeping mission, a six-month deployment to Kuwait. “We’re not just importing peacekeeping troops, we’re also exporting them,” Acting President Vjosa Osmani said March 9, referring to the former Yugoslav province’s 22 years of civil war.

Mar 10, 2021

India is understood to be planning to buy 30 General Atomics MQ-9B Predator armed drones from the U.S. as tensions persist with neighbouring China and Pakistan. Its current drones are limited to surveillance and reconnaissance.

Mar 10, 2021

Rick Kewley, most recently executive director of Global Product Development Quality at GM Defense, has been appointed executive chief engineer, responsible for all engineering and program execution at the General Motors subsidiary. The former U.S. Army air defence artillery officer has been with the company for 27 years.

Mar 10, 2021

Heated flight suits are a key element, as it were, of a USAF wish-list for its aircrews in two solicitations of industry interest. Powered from their aircraft or personal battery packs, the suits are seen as an improvement on traditional layered clothing.

Mar 09, 2021

The U.S. Department of Defense and Lockheed Martin have struck a deal whereby the company will invest $70.6 million in the F-35 fighter program to compensate for failing to deliver spare parts in a timely fashion. Confirming the agreement, the House of Representatives oversight and reform committee said today it remains “concerned about DOD’s transition to a new F-35 information technology system.”

Mar 09, 2021

RCAF LGen Frances Allen, Deputy Vice Chief of the Defence Staff since 2018, was promoted to Vice Chief today as part of a Canadian Armed Forces senior command realignment. Army LGen Mike Rouleau, who has held the VC position since last July, has been appointed a senior advisor on future capabilities.

Mar 08, 2021

Service dogs evidently are better than companion dogs at supporting veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The project, which involved 227 former service members, showed that while both types of dogs were beneficial at reducing PTSD symptoms, results were more significant with service dogs.

Mar 08, 2021

Boeing, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon Technologies and General Dynamics spent a combined $60 million on lobbying last year, the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics reports.

Mar 07, 2021

Army LGen Wayne Eyre, the acting Chief of the Defence Staff, says some aspects of Canada's military culture “need, must and will change” because they are “beyond troubling.” In a March 6 statement to Canadian Armed Forces personnel and their families, he said “the road ahead will not be easy, but we will emerge . . . stronger, better, and more effective.”

Mar 07, 2021

China plans to spend the equivalent of C$255 billion on defence next year, a 6.8 percent increase reflecting continued modernization of its military. The figures were released by the finance ministry ahead of the annual National People’s Congress in Beijing.

Mar 07, 2021

Dassault Aviation CEO Eric Trappier, whose company leads Europe’s tri-national New Generation program to replace French, German and Spanish fighter fleets, says there is “trouble” in getting Spain and additional suppliers involved. While “we still believe in the program”, he says any responsible CEO “always has a Plan B” and that could mean that France could go it alone.

Mar 07, 2021

Adam Smith, the chairman of the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, has described the Lockheed Martin F-35 program a “rathole” and says the U.S might “cut its losses” by investing in other aircraft to give the military more flexibility. Smith is a Democrat from Washington state, headquarters of Boeing, manufacturer of the competing F/A-18 Super Hornet.

Mar 07, 2021

A new extended-range version of the U.S. Army’s Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System has been successfully tested at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Developed by Lockheed Martin, the munition’s range was proven at 80 kilometres in the March 4 test after a November shot failed due to problems with a guidance fin.

Mar 05, 2021

A new report on five major U.S. weapon platforms confirms that although security measures associated with weapons systems procurement have improved since the Government Accountability Office last reviewed them in 2018, the Department of Defense continues to struggle with cybersecurity. The Air Force was the only service with broad guidance to incorporate requirements in its contracts

Mar 05, 2021

U.S. President Biden’s call for a “reset” of NATO funding has reopened debate on the issue but an analysis of national budgets within the alliance since 2014 shows that spending has risen nearly across the board as many more partners have met the U.S. target of two per cent of gross domestic product. But questions remain about how that figure is arrived at.

Mar 05, 2021

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was told March 4 by U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris that the U.S. opposes an International Criminal Court investigation into possible war crimes in the Palestinian territories. The ICC said last month that the territories fall under its jurisdiction and Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, a Gambian national, has promised the inquiry will be conducted “independently, impartially and objectively.”

Mar 05, 2021

A day after seizing power in Myanmar Feb. 1, military coup leaders tried to shift about $1 billion held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. U.S. officials immediately blocked the move, an apparent bid by the generals to limit the impact of international sanctions.

Mar 05, 2021

NATO is trying to come to grips with Chinese investments in European transport hubs which the alliance fears could frustrate troop movements. “I have my doubts if we really clearly understand where we have Chinese influence,” says German Army Gen Jörg Vollmer, who commands Allied Joint Force Command Brunssum in the Netherlands.

Mar 04, 2021

Canadian and U.S. Canadian search and rescue helicopter crews lifted 31 seafarers from a sinking scallop dragger off Nova Scotia March 3. The Atlantic Destiny had reported that it begun taking on water in large seas after catching fire.

Mar 04, 2021

Provincial governments are being urged by a national panel of vaccine experts to extend the interval between COVID-19 shots to four months in order to accelerate the national vaccination agenda. Some provinces have already amended their programs, but broad acceptance would mean that up to 80 per cent of Canadians 16 or older could receive a first shot by the end of June.

Mar 04, 2021

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was notably absent from U.S. President Joe Biden’s first round of routine calls to other world leaders since taking office. The perceived slight is being taken as a sign of, among other things, continued annoyance with the NATO state’s decision to acquire a Russian anti-missile system.

Mar 04, 2021

Germany plans to sail a frigate through the South China Sea next August in yet another demonstration by western nations that they have rightful access to a region increasingly dominated by China. A Chinese foreign ministry official says international law guarantees freedom of navigation but the West “cannot take it as an excuse to undermine the sovereignty and security of littoral countries.”

Mar 04, 2021

The U.S. Navy Board of Inspection and Survey has found that the service’s surface fleet continues to struggle with maintenance issues. The fleet was found to be “degraded” in more than half of the “functional areas” inspected and 67 per cent were either as bad or worse than five years earlier.

Mar 03, 2021

Former military ombudsman Gary Walbourne told a parliamentary committee today that he informed Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan in March 2018 of allegations of misconduct against Gen. Jonathan Vance, the former Chief of the Defence Staff. Sajjan had told the committee Feb. 19 that he was surprised when news media reported the allegations early last month.

Mar 03, 2021

In what the United Nations says is the “bloodiest day” since Myanmar’s military toppled the country’s government a month ago, at least 38 pro-democracy demonstrators were killed today.

Mar 03, 2021

Canada’s protection of whistleblowers has emerged at the bottom of a ranking of 37 countries by the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the Britain-based International Bar Association. The report’s authors concluded that many protective measures were ineffectual and that “too often the rights that look impressive on paper are only a mirage of protection in practice.”

Mar 03, 2021

Corey Hurren, the armed Manitoba reservist who was arrested last July after driving his truck through the gates of Rideau Hall and who faces a range of charges, is reported to have told a psychiatrist that he was prepared to be “shot down” by RCMP. He surrendered about 90 minutes later without further incident.

Mar 03, 2021

According to a report by GlobalData, the Turkish Government’s defence expenditure is set to steadily increase between 2019 and 2025 as the government prioritizes its defence industry and attempts to re-join the F-35 program.

Mar 03, 2021

An all-party House of Commons committee is unanimously pressing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau not to call an election as long as COVID-19 persists. However, the committee shied away from recommending that opposition parties refrain from forcing an election through a vote of no confidence in the government.

Mar 03, 2021

U.S. officials want access to a European Union project designed to ease the flow of military forces on the continent. Officials on both sides traditionally have traditionally worked through NATO.

Mar 03, 2021

A $125-million U.S. aid package for Ukraine facilitates delivery of more armed naval vessels and artillery countermeasures in the face of Russian expansionism in Eastern Europe. “This action reaffirms the U.S. commitment to providing defensive lethal weapons to enable Ukraine to more effectively defend itself,” the Pentagon explained.

Mar 03, 2021

The Royal Australian Air Force has signed a $115-million contract for three Boeing autonomous Loyal Wingman drones, raising its total buy to six just days after the RAAF’s inaugural flight at its Woomera Range Feb. 27.

Mar 03, 2021

Assembly of an experimental twin-engine South Korean fighter is nearly complete, with Korea Aerospace Industries preparing for roll-out in April. “After working only with the blueprint so far, we will now have something we can actually see and test,” a KAI official says. The goal is a replacement for the Korea Air Force’s legacy fleets of F-4D/E Phantom IIs and F-5E/F Tiger IIs.

Mar 02, 2021

CAE confirmed March 1 that it is planning a $1.05 billion acquisition of L3Harris Technologies’ military training division. It evidently would position the company to be better prepared as the U.S. Air Force works on next-generation fighters and other programs.

Mar 02, 2021

North American Aerospace Defence Command has turned to AI technology to enhance detection of potential threats which previously went unnoticed. The Pathfinder technology uses data from normally discrete military, commercial and government sensors to create a more detailed picture of activities within its jurisdiction.

Mar 02, 2021

The U.S. Navy has contracted with to Raytheon for versions of its Coyote unmanned aerial vehicle configured as loitering munitions or “suicide drones.” The USN says it wants the $33-million contract to support development of surface and submarine options for drone launch platforms.

Mar 02, 2021

Singapore, one of the busiest maritime ports in the world, is testing unmanned patrol vessels equipped with a locally-developed AI-driven navigation system. The Singapore Navy is expected to field the USVs to free up larger vessels for more strategic purposes.

Mar 01, 2021

Canada’s decade-old national shipbuilding strategy has been “slow to deliver” on new Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Coast Guard vessels, says Auditor General Karen Hogan. In a report to Parliament, she faults poor departmental management as well as a shortage of skilled workers at the country’s two main yards.

Mar 01, 2021

The U.S. Department of Defense has published training materials it says are designed to address the challenge of extremism among military personnel. The materials are related to a one-day force-wide stand-down ordered by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and expected to take place by early April.

Mar 01, 2021

Efforts by the U.S. and Europe to bring Iran back to the nuclear negotiating table have been rebuffed. “Considering the recent actions and statements by the United States and three European powers, Iran does not consider this the time to hold an informal meeting,” an Iranian foreign minister official said Feb. 28.

Mar 01, 2021

Recently published research by the U.S. Army, the National Institutes of Health and the University of North Carolina suggests that personnel exposed to shockwaves from explosives are at a higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. A UNC researcher says the finding “may explain those many blast-exposed individuals returning from war zones with no detectable brain injury, but who still suffer from persistent neurological symptoms.”

Mar 01, 2021

The U.S. Army is testing a new vehicle is hopes will afford troops more mobility in the battlefield. Largely based on a mid-size Chevrolet pickup truck, the Infantry Squad Vehicle is designed to carry an infantry squad’s nine troopers and their gear.

Mar 01, 2021

Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations has been fired by military leaders who overthrew recent democratic elections. Kyaw Moe Tun had urged other countries not to cooperate with the junta until it restores the democratically elected government.

Mar 01, 2021

The U.N. says that at least 18 people were killed on the weekend during protests against Myanmar’s Feb. 1 coup. The military’s forceful response signalled a renewed determination to quash unrest which has seen thousand or protestors taking to the streets in major centres.

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