IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Mar 16, 2020

Effective 18 March at noon and with a few exceptions, Canada will permit entry only of citizens, permanent residents or their immediate families as part of a more restrictive approach to dealing with COVID-19. The exemptions confirmed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau 16 March include air crews, diplomats and Americans. He also announced that arrivals from overseas will be processed only through Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver international airports.

Mar 16, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is “not taking anything off the table” when it comes to tackling the spreading COVCID-19 outbreak. Closing the borders to international travellers and making self-isolation were among the options discussed at a weekend cabineg meeting.

Mar 16, 2020

A domestic travel ban for all U.S. Department of Defense uniformed and civilian personnel and their dfamilies has been put in place until at least 11 May due to COVID-19. The DOD says this is needed not only to help contain the virus but also “to preserve force readiness.”

Mar 13, 2020

The Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen. Jonathan Vance, is worried about anything that would give China easier access to Canadian military computer networks. However, he says, he is confident that any security risks from Huawei's participation in expanding 5G service in Canada can be addressed.

Federal budget postponed
Mar 13, 2020

No alternate date has been announced but the suspension of Parliament until 20 April due to the COVID-19 issue means that Finance Minister Bill Morneau will not be tabling his budget 30 March as scheduled. Details will follow as they become available.

Mar 12, 2020

The prime contractor on the U.S. Missile Defense Agency’s plan to ballistic and hypersonic weapons is still using “aggressive schedules and other risky practices” to fast-track the work. The Government Accountability says MDA, having been paid $174 billion since 2002, is asking for $9.2 billion more. The fiscal watchdog also says annual reviews have found MDA falling short of its goals partly because of its high-risk approach.

Mar 12, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, are self-isolating after she began showing flu-like symptoms after she had returned from a trip to Britain and is being tested for Covid-19. Trudeau’s office said the PM’s doctor had advised him to continue daily activities but he opted to self-isolate at home at least until the results of his wife’s tests are known.

Mar 12, 2020

Elbit Systems of Israel has struck a deal with Rheinmetall Canada to provide mobile satellite communications for the Canadian Armed Forces. Part of an ongoing Land Command Support System Life Extension program, the recently-signed contract is for real-time broadband services using military and commercial satellites.

Mar 12, 2020

Uniformed and civilian personnel and their families have been told by the Pentagon that travel restrictions will be in effect for at least 60 days, effective midnight 13 March, in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19. Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s announcement was followed by a statement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that it was expanding its list of countries with the two highest exposure risk factors.

Mar 12, 2020

Effective at midnight 13 March, travel to the U.S. from Europe is being prohibited for 30 days in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19. Announcing the initiative 11 March, President Donald Trump said the restrictions would be subject to change depending on “conditions on the ground.”

Mar 11, 2020

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has announced that he would table the minority Liberal government’s first budget on Monday 30 March.

Mar 11, 2020

The World Health Organization officially declared the spreading COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic 11 March in accordance with its own definition as “an epidemic occurring worldwide, or over a very wide area, crossing international boundaries and usually affecting a large number of people.” Announcing the decision, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was “deeply concerned” by “alarming levels of inaction” over the virus.

Mar 11, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced 11 March that the federal government is “pulling out all the stops” by setting up a $1-billion fund to address the potential continued spread of Covid-19. The total includes $275 million for more research, including vaccine development and, among other things, the one-week waiting period for employment insurance is being waived.

Mar 11, 2020

Canadian and U.S. personnel are using the Arctic Edge 20 exercise in Alaska to ensure that their training includes disabling explosive devices at low temperatures. Among other things, they are experimenting with a remote-controlled robot to blast suspected explosive devices in the hope of disabling them by freezing their electronics.

Mar 11, 2020

RCAF CF-188 Hornets and USAF F-22 Raptors were despatched by North American Aerospace Defense Command to intercept two Tu-142 “Bear” reconnaissance aircraft over the Beaufort Sea 09 March. NORAD says the Russian aircraft, while remaining within the Alaskan Air Defense Identification Zone for four hours, did not intrude into Canadian or U.S. airspace.

Mar 11, 2020

The U.S. Army is planning what it describes as the most comprehensive reform of its officer personnel system since World War II. It also has unveiled Assignment Interactive Module 2.0 which tackles key recruitment and retention issues.

Mar 11, 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin said 10 March that is open to constitutional changes that would allow him to remain in power until 2036 – when he would be in his early 90s. The 67-year-old leader also said he favoured term limits once the country is politically “mature.”

 

Mar 11, 2020

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is preparing to release 1,500 Taliban prisoners as long as they are prepared to guarantee that they would not return to the battlefield. Ghani had previously rejected the notion as part of an initiative to end decades of fighting.

Mar 10, 2020

Nearly 16 years after the 9/11 Commission released its report on the 2001 attacks on the U.S., the commission’s advice on how to counter terrorism financing evidently has been largely “forgotten”, according to a paper released 10 March by the Royal United Services Institute. Targetting policymakers, law enforcement and the private sector, it urges a more informed and dynamic response to an evolving threat.

Mar 09, 2020

A private member’s bill before the House of Commons would amend the National Defence Act so as to eliminate a section which states that any Canadian Armed Forces members who “wilfully maim or injure” themselves are in violation of the Code of Military Justice. Introduced by B.C. MP Randall Garrison, the New Democratic Party defence critic, Bill C-203 is an attempt to address the issue of suicide among serving personnel and veterans.

Mar 09, 2020

The Sea Venom missile jointly developed by France and Britain has completed initial firing trials. Launched from a Eurocopter AS365 Dauphin helicopter, the 188.9kg missile delivered a 29.9kg warhead at a range of more than 19km.

Mar 09, 2020

The Japan Maritime Self Defense Force has commissioned its first diesel-electric submarine to use lithium-ion batteries. Previous versions had used Stirling-cycle engines to recharge conventional lead-acid batteries and the newer technology is said to yield longer submerged endurance at high speed while requiring less maintenance.

Mar 09, 2020

Legacy Australian F/A-18 Hornets are being acquired by Illinois-based Air USA to provide training services for the U.S. Air Force. It has signed an agreement to purchase up to 46 of the aircraft the Royal Australian Air Force is replacing with Lockheed Martin F-35As.

Mar 09, 2020

A spherical robot initially designed for NASA as a Mars rover has found new life as an amphibious surveillance and reconnaissance platform developed by Connecticut GuardBot Inc. Tested by the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, the modular sentinels are equipped with a range of sensors and range in diameter from about two metres down to 16.5cm.

Mar 08, 2020

The International Criminal Court at The Hague is permitting an unprecedented investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan by the U.S. military and Central Intelligence Agency as well as by Afghan forces and the Taliban. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calls the decision a “breathtaking action by an unaccountable political institution, masquerading as a legal body.”

Mar 08, 2020

Texas Republic Congressman Ted Cruz is pushing to curtail the International Criminal Court through a planned resolution which would call on the UN Security Council to prevent the ICC from bringing charges against persons in states which don't recognize the ICC. Those include not only the U.S. but also Russia, China and Israel. Cruz also is said to be expecting Britain and France to be receptive to his plan.

Mar 08, 2020

Pentagon officials are “quite likely” to have overlooked a material error in Microsoft’s bid on the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure multi-billion-dollar cloud data storage project, according a federal judge who has placed a hold on work in response to an Amazon injunction request. Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith issued the ruling Feb. 13 but her reasons have only now been released by the court.

Mar 08, 2020

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper says he and his British counterpart, Ben Wallace, have agreed to “further” reduce Huawei’s presence in 5G telecom infrastructure, but Esper is not elaborating. Britain has agreed to limited Huawei involvement while the U.S. remains vehemently opposed on security grounds, and it remains unclear that the two administrations had struck an actual deal.

Mar 08, 2020

Bashir Mohamed Qorgab, a senior member of the al-Shabab terrorist organization in Somalia, was killed more than two weeks ago by an air strike. While the U.S., which had offered $5 million for information on his whereabouts, has yet to comment, his family confirmed his death.

Mar 08, 2020

The U.S. Army has tested a howitzer shell at a range of approximately 64 kilometres at an Arizona proving ground. The rocket-assisted Excalibur precision-guided munition was tested for mainly for range but evidently struck its target.

Mar 08, 2020

Boeing is proposing a single-engine helicopter for the U.S. Army’s next generation of attack reconnaissance Aircraft. The single-main rotor concept would feature fly-by-wire, tandem seating, a six-bladed main rotor, modular cockpit. Two companies are expected to be awarded prototype contracts with the goal of first flights in early 2023.

Mar 08, 2020

A study conducted for the U.S. Army has concluded that taller and heavier female trainees and active-duty soldiers are generally better for physically-demanding roles. The report in Military Medicine suggests, among other things, that “allowances should be considered for soldiers and trainees who can successfully perform soldiering tasks with high physical demands despite less desirable measurements.”

Mar 08, 2020

The latest three-week biennial U.S. Navy exercise in the Arctic is under way. Operating from Camp Seadragon, a temporary ice-floe, ICEX 2020 is built around two fast attack submarines, Connecticut and Toledo, which are conducting several transits as well as surfacing near the North Pole.

Mar 05, 2020

Russian and Chinese advances in missile technology could paralyze other countries’ leaders and decision-makers in a crisis, says the Chief of the Defence Staff. Gen Jonathan Vance told a national conference 04 March that the new generation of missiles can be launched further from targets, travel faster and are more manoeuverable.

Mar 05, 2020

Canadian Armed Forces base commanders have been given detailed “pre-pandemic planning” orders for how to address the new coronavirus domestically and overseas. Among other things, commanders can cancel large gatherings in the event of a Covid-19 spike and other precautions include reviews of all non-essential travel.

Mar 05, 2020

A published suggestion that conflict in urban environments doesn’t present extra risk to well-trained troops is being challenged in a paper from the Modern War Institute at West Point. Its authors say history does not support that viewpoint.

Mar 05, 2020

Two former Canadian Liberal MPs are challenging a U.S.-led notion that there’s no need to maintain a ban on land mines. Former foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy (1996-2000) and John English (1993-1997), a special envoy on land ministers, say landmines still strewn in some parts of the world remain an obvious danger to civilian populations.

Mar 05, 2020

Years into an attempt to come to grips with persistent pilot shortages, the U.S. Air Force has conceded that it remains 10 per cent short of the 21,000 pilots it says are central to the National Defense Strategy. It blames aggressive recruitment by “deep-pocked” airlines and inadequacies in its own training programs. 

Mar 04, 2020

A series of agendas and PowerPoint presentations obtained by CBC News amount to an admission by Veterans Affairs Canada that access by vets and their families to provincial health care can be “disjointed and irregular.” Family mental health services is a focus for an advisory group providing feedback to Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay.

Mar 04, 2020

The U.S. administration’s latest move to divert billions of dollars from defence programs to continue construction of a border wall with Mexico is being met by a lawsuit by 19 state government. Filed in federal court 03 March, it contends that the diversion is “contrary to Congress’s intent and in violation of the U.S. Constitution.”

Mar 04, 2020

Three senior U.S. officials visited Turkey's border with Syria 03 March, crossing brfiefly into contested Syrian territory. Their activity is being taken as a sign that the U.S. supports its NATO ally’s fight against the Syrian government and its Russian supporters.

Mar 04, 2020

Five days after agreeing to wind down its combat presence in Afghanistan as part of a peace agreement with the Taliban, the U.S. carried out a a “defensive” airstrike 04 March against militants who were attacking an Afghan checkpoint. The Taliban opted to resume attacks after Afghan President Ashraf Ghani said that he would not agree to the exchange of up to 5,000 Taliban prisoners for up to 1,000 Afghan security force prisoners as a precondition for the agreement.

Mar 04, 2020

The head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees development of warheads, is defending a nearly 20 per cent budget hike requested by the White House is justified. Lisa Gordon-Hagerty told a House committee that “we have very limited margin for error” to sustain weapon modernization.”

Mar 03, 2020

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says that neither the European Union nor China, having benefitted from their evolving relationship, seeks confrontation or an adversarial relationship going forward. However, in an “insights paper” published 03 March, SIPRI cautions that increasing connection between military and non-military dimensions of security have prompted EU states to develop new ways of addressing potential threats to transport and digital communications networks.

Mar 03, 2020

Maintenance and repair of Department of National infrastructure has been chronically underfunded for years. Rob Chambers, the assistant deputy minister responsible, says that while there’s ongoing discussion about managing 20,000 buildings as well as roads and other elements across the country, health and safety concerns have top priority.

Mar 03, 2020

Shortly after telling the House of Commons Standing Committee on Veterans Affairs 27 February that no veterans’ families had been “cut off” from counselling services, a senior Veterans Affairs Canada official has acknowledged that some families had indeed been refused coverage. The overall issue is expected to be back on the agenda when the committee resumes hearings but there is nothing on its calendar as of 03 March.

Mar 02, 2020

Two former Conservative cabinet ministers generally considered the front-runners in the party’s leadership race, say they are prepared to force a vote of no-confidence in the House of Commons, which could force another general election if the Liberal government was unable to secure the support of other parties. Former defence minister Peter MacKay disclosed his intentions on social media while former veterans affairs minister Erin O’Toole echoed that in an email. A third contender, Ontario MP Marilyn Gladu, vice-chair of the party's aerospace caucus, also has said she would put forward a motion of no-confidence.

Mar 02, 2020

Valery Gerasimov, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Russia, has told his French counterpart, Gen François Lecointre, that Moscow has become increasingly worried about NATO activities near the Russian border. However, he also lauded an agreement with France designed to prevent air and naval incidents.

Mar 02, 2020

Three months after Saab Canada President Simon Carrell said the Swedish company was still interested in putting up its JAS 39 Gripen E as a successor to the RCAF’s fleet of Boeing’s CF-188 Hornets, the company confirmed 02 March that CAE, GE Aviation, IMP Aerospace and Peraton have signed on to the Saab team.

Mar 02, 2020

A fundamentally healthy French economy, coupled with major contracts, enabled the country’s defence industries to prosper in 2019. Among other things, Naval Group orders rose by 44 percent to €5.3 billion.

Mar 02, 2020

The U.S. administration’s campaign against Huawei being involved in the next-generation communications networks is prompting questions about whether the push is over security or trade issues. A senior lecturer at Harvard says that when the White House tries “to play both ends of that”, it undermines relations with allies.

Mar 02, 2020

Senior Democrats in the U.S Senate are warning that President Donald Trump’s threatened withdrawal from the Open Skies Treaty would harm not only U.S. security interests but also those of its allies. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper recently pressed other NATO members to take a tougher line with Russia about its restrictions on military overflights.

Mar 02, 2020

Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and other breakthrough enterprises, used an appearance at a U.S. Air Force Association symposium to suggest that the era of manned fighters is passing and that the future or aerial combat lies in autonomous drones. He also suggested that current U.S. capabilities could be enhanced with an additional stealth fighter.

Mar 02, 2020

Retired U.S. Navy Adm James Stavridis, a former NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe, says Turkey and Syria seem headed for outright war now that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stepped up attacks against Russian-backed Syrian forces in northern Syria.

Mar 01, 2020

Two Syrian fighter jets were shot down by Turkish forces 01 March. While it sparked fears of a major escalation with Syria and its Russian backers, Turkey's Defence Minister, Hulusi Akar, said his country did not want conflict with Russia, only that it should rein in the Syria forces.

Mar 01, 2020

President Ashraf Ghani of Aghanistan is challenging statements that the peace agreement between the U.S. and Taliban includes a commitment by his government to free at least 5,000 Taliban prisoners. Less than 24 hours after the deal was signed off, Ghani said that a prisoner release “cannot be a prerequisite for talks."

Feb 29, 2020

Public Services and Procurement Canada’s website still shows the budget for a new polar icebreaker to be “under review” but shipyards have been asked to reassess their capabilities. The Canadian Coast Guard Ship John G. Diefenbaker proposed by the former Conservative government more than a decade ago was to have entered service in 2021-2022.

Feb 29, 2020

A pact to restore peace in Afghanistan after 18 years of warfare has been signed by the U.S. and the Taliban. The U.S. and its NATO allies have agreed to withdraw all troops within 14 months if the militants adhere to the terms of the agreement. President Donald Trump said Feb. 29 that 5,000 American troops would be withdrawn by May and that he would be meeting directly with Taliban leaders.

Feb 27, 2020

A senior Turkish official says at least 29 Turkish soldiers were killed by Syrian “regime forces” in north-western Syria 28 February. A London-based human rights monitor had previously blamed Russian air strikes for 34 deaths in the city of Idlib, which Russian-supported Syrian forces are trying to retake from Turkish-backed rebels.

Feb 27, 2020

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a London-based organization which has been monitoring the situation in Syria for more than a decade, has reported that at least 34 Turkish soldiers have been killed in Russian air strikes on the city of Idlib. The troops were part of a large deployment in support of rebels trying to hold back an offensive by Syrian and Russian forces.

Feb 27, 2020

Flight training for Saudi Arabian students, suspended late last year after three U.S. personnel were shot by a student, has been resumed at two U.S. naval air stations in Florida. Saudi Royal Air and Naval Forces officers had been restricted to classroom studies or had their classes postponed pending a review.

Feb 27, 2020

Spousal employment, child care, education and fundamental family stability have been identified as persistent issues for current and former U.S. military personnel and their families. There were more than 11,000 responses to an 11th annual survey by the Blue Star Families organization in collaboration with Syracuse University.

Feb 26, 2020

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused his country’s second-largest opposition party of criminal activity. He said 25 February that his chief prosecutor will investigate the Peoples’ Democratic Party for alleged terrorist links after a national congress two days earlier which the government says became a propaganda tool for the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

Feb 26, 2020

NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Europe, U.S. Air Force Gen Tod Wolters, says the alliance’s military leaders have a “growing realization” about the risks of using Chinese-sourced 5G telecom to enhance Europe’s 5G networks. It’s the latest element of a concerted push by Washington, which has added Shenzhen-based ZTE to Huawei on its list of security concerns.

Feb 25, 2020

Former Defence Minister and now Conservatives Party leadership contender Peter MacKay said 25 February that if he eventually was able to form a government, he would not permit Huwei 5G communications technology to be used in Canada. His statement, in which he also said Britain would eventually reverse its decision to permit limited 5G use, came during a wide-ranging interview.

Feb 25, 2020

Low-earth orbit commercial satellites from OneWeb and SpaceX are being considered by the U.S. Department of Defense to improve connectivity in the Arctic. At the urging of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command, the air force has awarded contracts to test the platforms’ broadband capabilities in regions where satellite communications have traditionally been limited. 

Feb 25, 2020

The U.S. Congress is being lobbied by a coalition of advocacy groups to “restore the balance of national security powers” between itself and the White House “All Americans have a stake in decisions to go to war, bypass ordinary laws through emergency declarations or sell weapons to foreign regimes,” they say. “However, the system of checks and balances enshrined in the Constitution is broken.”

Feb 25, 2020

The deadline for prospective suppliers to submit preliminary proposals for Canada’s next generation of fighters has been extended by three months, to 30 June. Public Services and Procurement Canada said 25 February that the extension was requested by industry.

Feb 25, 2020

The Indian government confirmed 24 February that it will spend an estimated $3 billion on new helicopters built by Lockheed Martin and Boeing. Announced during a visit by the U.S. president, the deal includes an initial $2.6 billion for 24 Lockheed Martin SH-60 SeaHawk helicopters and a planned procurement of Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters.

Feb 25, 2020

Two key Royal Canadian Navy fleet upgrades, the Canadian Surface Combatant and Joint Support Ship projects, have seen significant expenditure of public funds since they were politically launched more than a decade ago. However, details tabled in the House of Commons indicate that it will be years before the first ship in either program is physically launched.

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