IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Feb 22, 2022

Two breakaway regions of eastern Ukraine, home to many ethnic Russians and the focus of repeated military confrontations, prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to recognize them as “independent” and to deploy “peacekeeping” troops. The U.S. has derided the deployment as “nonsense” while Ukraine’s president says his country is “not afraid of anything or anyone.”

Feb 21, 2022

Data analysis techniques are critical in maximizing opportunities and strengthening the business case for a data analysis strategy, yet Accenture reports that only 32% of companies can currently extract business value from their data. This report defines different categories of data analysis, then examines quantitative, qualitative and statistical data analysis techniques, and wraps up with advice on how to unlock the business value of such techniques.

Feb 19, 2022

Even as many provinces are easing pandemic restrictions, a highly contagious Omicron coronavirus sub-variant known as BA.2 is gaining a foothold in Canada. New data indicate that it could be 1.4 times as contagious as BA.1 and as it becomes dominant in the coming weeks, it could undo progress to date, as evidently has been the case in Denmark, which lifted all pandemic restrictions in January.

Feb 19, 2022

Defence Minister Anita Anand said Feb. 18 that Canada is considering deploying more troops to Eastern Europe as Russian-driven tensions continued to escalate. “The issue is . . . how Canada can reinforce its presence in the region from an operational standpoint,” she said in Belgium after a two-day NATO defence ministers meeting. “These are conversations I'm having with my chief of the defence staff, with my deputy minister and with the government writ large.”

Feb 19, 2022

A U.S. Navy engineer's wife pled guilty Feb. 18 to helping her husband to try to sell secrets about nuclear-powered submarines to a foreign entity. In a plea deal with the prosecution, Diana Toebbe, who acted as lookout while her nuclear engineer husband left information at a “dead drop” set up by the FBI, faces imprisonment for up to three years. Jonathan Toebbe, who pled guilty a few days earlier, faces at least 12 years in prison.

Feb 18, 2022

Canada is being urged by Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares to resume the search, weather permitting, for 12 crewmembers missing after a 50-metre trawler sank Feb. 15 off Newfoundland. The search, which involved two RCAF aircraft and a Coast Guard vessel, was called off late Feb. 16. Three crewmembers were rescued and the bodies of nine others were found at the site about 460 kilometres east of St. John's.

Feb 17, 2022

NATO has asked its military commanders to draw up plans for new combat units in central and southeastern Europe in response to the Russian buildup along Ukraine’s border. The “battlegroups” could be based in Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia.

Feb 17, 2022

Nine members of the Canadian Armed Forces have been identified so far as having allegedly participating in protests against mandatory coronavirus vaccinations or supporting protests on social media. Military police are investigating two situations and the others are being handled at unit levels.

Feb 17, 2022

France announced today that together with its allies in Operation Barkhane in Mali, it is pulling troops out of the country’s long-running counter-insurdgency mission. We cannot remain militarily engaged alongside de-facto authorities whose strategy and hidden aims we do not share,” President Emmanuel Macron said. His troops are to be redeployed elsewhere in the Sahel region.

Feb 16, 2022

Canada’s planned shipment of weapons and ammunition to Ukraine is a package previous destined for Kurdish forces but put in storage in 2016 after Iraq protested. It includes enough sniper and assault rifles, mortars and grenade launchers, pistols, ammunition, imaging technology and medical supplies to equip a force of 500-600 but not anti-tank weapons specifically requested by Ukraine.

Feb 16, 2022

Russia said today it is pulling more troops and weapons away from its border with Ukraine, backing its statement with imagery of trainload of armoured vehicles, but NATO remains skeptical. “At the moment, we have not seen any withdrawal of Russian forces,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said, before a meeting of alliance defence ministers in Brussels. “If they really start to withdraw forces, that's something we will welcome but that remains to be seen.”

Feb 16, 2022

British-based Babcock International and Germany’s Thyssenkrupp Marine Systems have been shortlisted by Poland to build three coastal defence frigates for Poland at an estimated cost of C$2.6 billion. “The vessels will begin to be built in 2023, and the first unit is to be ready by June 2028,” the defence ministry’s Armament Agency said Feb. 15. “Deliveries of further units are scheduled to take place until 2034.”

Feb 15, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that despite his country’s military buildup along its border with Ukraine, he does not want war in Europe but remains adamantly opposed to the idea of his neighbour joining NATO. “We need to resolve this question now,” he said after talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. “We hope very much our concern will be heard by our partners and taken seriously.”

Feb 15, 2022

The federal government plans to do away with pre-arrival coronavirus PCR tests for fully vaccinated travellers at the end of the month. Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said Feb. 15 that travellers may opt for a rapid antigen test approved by their country of origin 24 hours before their scheduled flight or arrival in Canada. The government also is downgrading its advisory that Canadians avoid non-essential travel for the time being.

Feb 15, 2022

Four months after he and his wife were charged with trying to sell classified information about nuclear submarines, a U.S. Navy engineer pleaded guilty Feb. 14 to one felony count in a plea deal which leaves him facing up to 18 years in prison. His wife, who also remains in custody, has pleaded no guilty even though she accompanied him to dead drops.

Feb 15, 2022

A metallurgist in Washington state was sentenced Feb. 14 to 30 months in prison and fined $50,000 for faking the results of strength tests on steel used by two companies to build U.S. Navy submarines for more than three decades. Elaine Marie Thomas, 67, had pleaded pleaded guilty last November to what the judge said was a “crime of pride and ego, that in some way she knew better than those who set the standards.”

Feb 15, 2022

Britain and the U.S. have signed an agreement to assess potential cooperation on future vertical lift programs. The U.S. Army said Feb. 14 that continuing “a long history of partnership and cooperation” could “ensure interoperability between the two nations’ future rotorcraft aviation forces.”

Feb 15, 2022

Russia said today that some of the 130,000 troops massed along its border with Ukraine would be returning to their bases after participating in exercises. There were no details but Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said “we’ll believe . . . when we see troops pulling out.”

Feb 14, 2022

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that Canada is providing Ukraine with $7.8 million worth of weapons and ammunition as it faces the prospect of a Russian invasion. He also said the government is increasing its financial support with a new $500 million loan atop $120 million offered in January.

Feb 14, 2022

The P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, developed from Boeing’s 737-800ERX commercial platform, will be a contender for Canada’s Multi-Mission Aircraft project to replace the RCAF’s ageing but upgraded fleet of Lockheed CCP-140 Auroras. Boeing says “the range, speed and endurance of the P-8 makes it the perfect platform to monitor Canada’s northern and maritime approaches and . . . ensure allied interoperability.”

Feb 14, 2022

For the first time since it replaced the War Measures Act in 1988, the Emergencies Act was invoked today by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a move to clear out a massive coronavirus protest which has paralyzed Ottawa’s core for more than three weeks. The PM informed provincial and territorial leaders of what he described as a time-limited and geographically-targetted initiative which would not impinge on Charter rights or involve the military. The legislation authorizes the federal government to prohibit travel within a specified area, remove personal property, and fine or detain protestors.

Feb 14, 2022

The approximately 260 Canadian military trainers deployed to Operation Unifier in Ukraine have been “temporarily” moved to Poland amid growing concerns about a Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Canadian embassy in Kyiv has relocated to the western city of Lviv near the Polish border.

Feb 14, 2022

Lockheed Martin has officially ended its attempted $4.4-billion acquisition of Aerojet Rocketdyne. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission had sued to block the takeover, saying it would enabled LM to cut off other contractors off from Aerojet’s missile components even though LM insisted it would not.

Feb 14, 2022

Armoured vehicles upgraded with lasers to detonate unexploded ordnance on airfields are to enter service with the U.S. Air Force last year after a $40 million development program. The Recovery of Airbase Denied By Ordnance vehicles will use a three-kilowatt Zeus III laser capable of detonating “heavily cased” UXO at up to 300 metres.

Feb 14, 2022

A police raid on an Italian aviation company’s headquarters last years has prompted the country’s intelligence watchdog to call for stricter monitoring of corporate acquisitions after it was found that China had purchased the drone manufacturer. Alpi Aviation’s 10-kilogram Strix can relay real-time imagery and was used by Italy’s special forces in Afghanistan.

Feb 14, 2022

Two Canadian Special Operations Forces Command members and an Army officer in New Brunswick are under investigation for their alleged involvement in protests avainst mandatory coronavirus vaccinations. The two CANSOFCOM members are in the process of being released from the military but MGen Steve Boivin, the CANSOFCOM commander, said if the allegations are true, “this is wrong and it goes against CAF values and ethics.”

Feb 11, 2022

Turkey has confirmed that its first indigenous anti-ship cruise missile will replace more than 350 U.S.-made Harpoon missiles on combat ships in what an official said will be “a smooth substitution over the next years.” The Atmaca missile evidently incorporates features of the Harpoon and French Exocet.

Feb 11, 2022

Four U.S. Navy guided-missile destroyers have joined the 6th Fleet in Europe as “independent deployers” tasked with “a range of maritime activities in support of the ,. . . fleet and our NATO allies,” a USN spokesman said Feb. 10. They join four U.S. destroyers and a carrier strike group, the largest such presence in Europe in more than a decade.

Feb 11, 2022

Satellite images released Feb. 10 by Colorado-based Maxar Technologies show new Russian military deployments in Crimea, Belarus and western Russia near Ukraine.

Feb 10, 2022

Dozens of SpaceX communications satellites were knocked out of orbit by a solar geomagnetic storm a day after being launched Feb. 3. The company said “each satellite achieved controlled flight” before the storm hit at least 40 of them.

Feb 10, 2022

Even as negotiations continue in Vienna in a bid to revive its “peaceful uses” nuclear agreement which the U.S. abandoned in 2015, Iran unveiled a new missile Feb. 9, claiming a range of nearly 1,500 kilometres. That would put U.S. bases in the region as well as Israel within range and while insisting its program is for deterrence only, Iran also claimed the weapon can defeat missile shield systems.

Feb 10, 2022

The procurement by Indonesia of 42 Dassault Rafale fighter aircraft are among a number of agreements signed with France during a visit by Defence Minister Florence Parly. “It’s official,” she said Feb.9. Other agreements include submarine development and ammunition manufacturing.

Feb 09, 2022

French President Emmanuel Macron says he reassured by Russian President Vladimir Putin during a recent visit to Moscow that there would be “no deterioration or escalation” in Russia’s troop buildup along its border with Ukraine. assured him that Russian forces would not ramp up the crisis near Ukraine's borders. However, the Kremlin has said that any suggestion of such a guarantee was not “right.”

Feb 08, 2022

Delegations from Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, France, Germany and the U.S. were meeting with Iranian officials in Vienna today for a ninth round of talks about salvaging Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal which the U.S. walked away from in 2015. U.S. economic sanctions remain a key hurdle as Iran continues to ramp up developments it says are for peaceful purposes.

Feb 08, 2022

The U.S. Army wants to ensure that all operational and strategic exercises and simulations will consider their climate impact d part of an ambitious program which would include microgrids on all bases and fully-electric tactical vehicles. “The climate strategy is important to address the changing climate and the threats that are coming from climate change — both how our forces operate in a climate-altered world, but what the Army can do to influence this and to mitigate our greenhouse gases and to reduce the effects of climate change,” a senior official said Feb. 7.

Feb 07, 2022

The De Havilland Canada CC-115 twin turboprops were operational with the RCAF for 55 before the last handful, stationed on Vancouver Island for search and rescue work, were retired recently. However, although they were arguably iconic, the RCAF is having trouble giving one to the national aviation museum in Ottawa because of a moratorium on new acquisitions.

Feb 07, 2022

Canada's Chief Public Health Officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, says the COVID-19 virus pandemic response is shifting to a stage where it could be handled like other seasonal illness such as influenza. “What we need to do . . . is recognize this virus is not going to disappear,” she said Feb. 5. “We do need to get back to some normalcy” which means “learning to live with the virus.”

Feb 07, 2022

Veterans Affairs Canada says the government has agreed to extend the contracts of only about a third of temporary staff dealing with nearly 34,000 backlogged disability claims by former military personnel. Although VAC pushed for contract extensions eight months ago, VA Minister Lawrence MacAulay told a parliamentary committee last week that more funding must await the next federal budget.

Feb 04, 2022

Sailors are being discharged by the U.S. Navy for refusing coronavirus vaccinations. As of Feb. 2, they include 96 active-duty sailors and 22 still in initial training. The USN says that more than 5,000 active personnel and nearly 3,000 reservists remained unvaccinated.

Feb 04, 2022

The U.S. Air Force is upgrading its Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning IIs, a contender for Canada’s next generation of fighters, to operate near thunderstorms where they could be struck by lightning. The goal is to have the first one resuming unrestricted operations for the first time in nearly two years after it was found that a critical system might not operate correctly if struck by a bolt.

Feb 04, 2022

An anonymized critique of the Canadian Armed Forces says they are unprepared for war and, for the most part, “cannot be brought to recognize or care that it is” despite have many dedicated people in uniform. “It can’t fight a modern war,” the author says. “Much of this sorry state comes from the legitimate political and funding choices of a legitimately elected democratic government.”

Feb 04, 2022

The U.S. donated two Sikorsky UH-60M multipurpose Black Hawk helicopters to Croatia, which is engaged in an arms race with neighboring Serbia, a Russian ally, amid simmering tensions in the Balkans. As the aircraft arrived on a USAF transport flight to Zagreb, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Mark Fleming said “Croatia has earned a reputation as a committed and capable NATO ally.”

Feb 04, 2022

Retired U.S. Army Col Alexander Vindman, a witness in President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial in 2019, is suing Trump’s eldest son and others, accusing them of participating in an “intentional, concerted campaign of unlawful intimidation and harassment.” Filed in Federal Court in Washington Feb. 2, the suit alleges that after Vindman was summoned by Congress to testify, “false narratives” included that he was a spy for Ukraine.

Feb 04, 2022

A General Motors Defense vehicle designed to transport small Army tactical units has been slammed by the Pentagon’s director of operational test and evaluation. Even though the Army insists that the helicopter-deployable Infantry Squad Vehicle meets its operational requirements, the new review says it the four-wheeler is not only uncomfortable but also vulnerable due to its open architecture.

Feb 04, 2022

A U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s intervention in Lockheed Martin’s planned $4.4 billion purchase of Aerojet Rocketdyne is being taken as a sign of tighter scrutiny of vertical corporate acqusitions. Aerojet is a key missile and rocket motor manufacturer and the FTC has rejected an LM proposal that Aerojet could continue to supply components to competitors.

Feb 04, 2022

The Indian government’s latest defence budget includes the equivalent of US$13.84 billion to promote domestic industry at it plans to spend $22.26 billion on army, navy and air force procurements in 2022-2023. The overall budget also includes $20.26 billion for pay and allowances for the more than 1.5 billion military personnel.

Feb 04, 2022

The shadowy ISIS leader, Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, killed himself, his family and a senior deputy commander by setting off an explosion as U.S. Special Forces closed in on a house in northern Syria earlier this week.

Feb 04, 2022

New frigates originally designed by BAE Systems for the Royal Navy and being considered for Canada are getting a less than glowing assessment from the Australian defence ministry, which finds the basic design operationally deficient. Canada plans to build 15 of the Type 26 frigates at an estimated cost of up to $77 billion but Australia says they will have higher than expected running costs while being “substantially” slower with shorter range than intended.

Feb 03, 2022

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that using the military to end the anti-vaccination protest which has paralyzed the capital’s downtown core and spread into nearby neighbourhoods is “not in the cards” for the present. “One has to be very, very cautious before deploying military in situations engaging Canadians,” he said, explaining that the government had received no request for military intervention.

Feb 03, 2022

Poland has joined a growing list of countries ready to supply weapons to Ukraine as tensions continue over troop buildups in border regions. Defense Minister Mariusz Błaszczak identified short-range man-portable air defense systems and munitions after Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki had confirmed Poland’s willingness to supply a broader range of weaponry.

Feb 03, 2022

Fifty-eight Canadian Armed Forces regular personnel have been discharged for refusing coronavirus vaccinations and proceedings are under way to discharge 246 more. The Chief of the Defence Staff initially ordered blanket vaccinations by mid-October but that was extended by two months and 66 troops have left voluntarily.

Feb 03, 2022

The remaining small percentage of U.S. Army personnel who have refused coronavirus vaccinations without an approved exemption or pending request for one face discharge without separation pay and with possible recovery of unearned pay or incentives. “Unvaccinated Soldiers present risk to the force and jeopardize readiness,” Army Secretary Christine Wormuth said Feb. 2. The order applies to troops, active reservists and cadets.

Feb 03, 2022

The U.S. plans to keep the International Space Station operating until the end of 2030, after which it will be moved out of the orbit it has occupied since 2000 and allowed to crash into the South Pacific at “Point Nemo”, the furthest point from any land at 48.52.6S 123.23.6W. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said Jan. 31 that it will instead rely on commercially-operated platforms.

Feb 03, 2022

ISIS Leader Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi was among those killed by U.S. Special Forces in northwest Syria Feb. 2. The Department of Defense says there were no U.S. casualties in the mission but sources on the ground report multiple other fatalities, including children.

Feb 03, 2022

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in Kyiv today for talks with his counterpart, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, about possibly mediating between Ukraine and Russia.

Feb 02, 2022

Manitoba MP Cheryl Gallant defeated eight challengers in a secret caucus vote today to become interim leader of the Conservative Party of Canada after Erin O’Toole was ousted hours earlier. First elected to the House of Commons in 2008, she was a junior minister in Stephen Harper’s government, served as Opposition Leader under Rona Ambrose, and had been O’Toole’s deputy.

Feb 02, 2022

Seventeen months after he was elected as leader of the Conservative Party of Canada, Erin O’Toole was voted out of office today by a majority of his parliamentary caucus. The secret ballot vote was 73-45, ending a protracted fight which has launched the CPC into its third leadership race since 2015.

Feb 02, 2022

President Joe Biden has approved the deployment of some 3,000 additional U.S. troops to Eastern Europe. A Department of Defense official said today that the troops, including 1,000 already in Germany, would deploy to Poland and Romania in a bid to reassure that “we are going to be prepared to defend our NATO allies” in the event of any Russian intervention in the region.

Feb 01, 2022

Sixty of the 200 Canadian Armed Forces personnel deployed to Operation Unifier in Ukraine have been relocated away from five locations due to ongoing concerns about a possible Russian attack. Their commander, LCol Luc-Frederic Gilbert said Feb. 1 that they had been repositioned to continue training Ukrainian troops west of the Dnieper River.

Feb 01, 2022

Ukrainian officials want closer collaboration with NATO’s Estonia-based cyber centre of excellence even though a request for formal membership in the centre was rejected last year. The concern is Russian cyber activities which could accompany a kinetic attack and the Estonians, optimistic about the prospect of stronger overall regional defences, have worked to build less formal ties between Ukraine and NATO.

Feb 01, 2022

In his first public comments about the Ukrainian situation since December, Russian President Vladimir Putin today accused the U.S. of trying to spark armed conflict. “Their most important task is to contain Russia’s development,” he said. “Ukraine is just an instrument of achieving this goal.”

Feb 01, 2022

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy committed today to boosting his country’s armed forces by 100,000 over the next three years and promised troops a pay increase. He urged calm, saying it was “not because we will soon have a war” with Russia “but so that soon and in the future there will be peace in Ukraine.”

Feb 01, 2022

The U.S. and European allies appear on the cusp of restoring the deal that limited Iran’s nuclear program, but a State Department official said Jan. 31 that it now is up to the new government in Tehran. The cost of relief from international sanctions would be dismantling much of Iran’s nuclear production equipment.

Feb 01, 2022

Seven U.S. governors have been told by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin that they must ensure that National guard units in their jurisdiction are vaccinated against coronavirus because the states’ refusal to mandate vaccinations “jeopardizes our ability to meet mission requirements.” Alaska and Texas are challenging the federal edict in court even though another suit brought by Oklahoma failed. The four other states involved are Iowa, Mississipi, Nebraska and Wyoming.

Jan 31, 2022

Bellicosity was front and centre in the UN Security Council today with Russia accusing the West of “whipping up tensions” over Ukraine and saying the U.S. had brought “pure Nazis” to power in Kyiv. U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield retorted that “the largest mobilization" in Europe in decades has been accompanied by a spike in cyberattacks and disinformation as Moscow tried “without any factual basis, to paint Ukraine and Western countries as the aggressors to fabricate a pretext for attack.”

Jan 31, 2022

Ongoing and upcoming military exercises between the U.S. and allies in the Western Pacific are being taken as a warning to China not to pull a “stunt” to distract its citizens from domestic issues. The U.S. Air Force is launching Cope North 2022, a large-scale aerial combat, force employment and disaster relief exercise with Japan and Australia Feb. 2-18. It follows the Jan. 26-Feb. 3 Keen Edge 2022 exercises with Japanese and local forces in the Philippines.

Jan 31, 2022

The U.S. has been accused by Russia’s deputy ambassador to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyansky of setting up a public relations “stunt” today by having the Security Council consider the Russian military presence along its border with Ukraine. U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield called it “a clear threat to international peace and security” but Polyansky could not recall “another occasion when a SC member proposed to discuss its own baseless allegations and assumptions as a threat.”

Jan 31, 2022

A few days before Russia was to begin an eight day naval exercise southwest of Ireland this week, the country’s embassy in Dublin says the exercise, which would include live-firing, would be held outside Ireland’s offshore economic management zone so as “not to hinder fishing activities.”

Jan 31, 2022

In what’s being described as North Korea’s most significant missile test since 2017, an intermediate-range ballistic mission was confirmed today to have landed in waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. The purpose of the test evidently was to verify its accuracy.

Jan 31, 2022

Even as Ukrainian officials tried to play down the threat of a Russian invasion, Defence Minister Anita Annand echoed allies’ warnings about the prospect after arriving in Kyiv Jan. 30 for talks with officials.” It is difficult for me to say what intelligence the Ukrainian government has,” she said, but “the intelligence we are utilizing is consistent with our allies across the NATO alliance.”

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