IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Nov 15, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in late September that a decision on Huawei Technologies’ participation in Canada’s fifth-generation mobile networks could be expected “within the coming weeks.” That a decision could be imminent has prompted security experts to reiterate that the Chinese telecom giant will be excluded on grounds of national security, already the case in its Five Eyes partners: Australia, Britain, New Zealand and the U.S.

Nov 15, 2021

Significantly upgraded protective suits for Explosive Ordinance Disposal personnel are being tested by the U.S. Army. They are supposed to be lighter than current gear, which has been in general service for a couple of decades, while offering a greater range of motion, a better center of gravity, better air flow and voice-activated lights, among other features.

Nov 15, 2021

Poland, Lithuania and Latvia are considering asking NATO to hold emergency talks about the increasingly tense migration standoff on their borders with Belarus. Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Nov. 14 he and his two Baltic counterparts are discussing whether to request talks under the alliance’s treaty, which allows any state to request consultations if it feels its territorial integrity, political independence or security is threatened.

Nov 15, 2021

More than 140 cases of alleged sexual misconduct in the military could be transferred to civilian police to investigate. “This number could change as each case progresses and is assessed,” says a spokesperson for the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal, adding that the PM’s office is “already engaged” with the RCMP and police chiefs.

Nov 12, 2021

Dmitry Polyansky, Russia’s deputy envoy to the UN, said Nov. 11 that his country would not invade Ukraine unless provoked by its neighbour or a third party. Citing what he said is U.S. provocation in the Black Sea, he was responding to a question about the buildup of troops along the border which had prompted U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken to reassure Ukraine’s foreign minister of continued “ironclad” support.

Nov 12, 2021

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recently said said the rise of China makes the transatlantic military alliance even more relevant to the U.S., but there is a body of opinion that the new focus could turn European allies into a liability. One analyst says the “growing European willingness to confront China on its doorstep . . . has less to do with a perceived military threat China poses to Europe and more with the concern about losing the United States' security guarantee.”

Nov 12, 2021

Ukrainian officials say that a growing Russian military presence near Ukraine’s border, including short-range ballistic missile systems could set the stage for armed conflict. “All available information indicates that the armed forces of Russia permanently sustain a powerful offensive grouping around Ukraine,” Roman Mashovets, deputy head of Ukraine’s Office of the President for national security and defense, said Nov. 10.

Nov 12, 2021

The Remembrance Day ceremony at the National War Memorial in Ottawa was delayed briefly while police investigated a suspicious package found minutes before the service was to begin. RCMP said its Explosive Disposal Union “cleared” the package a few minutes later.

Nov 12, 2021

The RCMP is investigating after dozens of anti-vaxxers disrupted a Remembrance Day in B.C. “Kelowna RCMP officers support a person's or groups' right to protest, but when they choose to willfully interrupt the assembly of citizens at a Remembrance Day ceremony, this is a step too far,” Insp. Adam MacIntosh said, adding that the incident would be investigated “to determine what offence, criminal or otherwise, may have been committed and, if appropriate, the submission of charges or fines.”

Nov 12, 2021

A Myanmar military court has sentenced a U.S. online journalist to 11 years in jail, ruling that he had broken immigration law and associated unlawfully with critics of the junta which seized power last February. Danny Fenster, one of dozens of detained locally-based journalists, also faces trial on charges of sedition and terrorism, which carry a life sentence.

Nov 12, 2021

A new report by the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, which has been reporting annually since a UN-led convention was signed in Ottawa in 1997, says the U.S., China, Russia, India, Pakistan, Iran and both Koreas continue to stockpile the munitions, never having ratified the accord.

Nov 12, 2021

President Joe Biden has signed off on legislation designed to prevent Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE, deemed by the U.S. to be national security threats, from receiving new Federal Communications Commission licences.

Nov 11, 2021

It will be up to individual federal departments and agencies to determine how they will implement Health Canada’s new occupational health guidelines. “There is no one-size-fits-all approach,” Treasury Board President Mona Fortier said Nov. 11. The increased risk of COVID-19 spread is notable at healthcare and correctional facilities as well as dormitories for operational training programs.

Nov 11, 2021

A Department of Defense investigation has led to the conclusion that U.S. military commands have been mishandling sexual assault cases. “DoD cannot ensure that all victims of sexual assault are receiving support services,” says Sean O’Donnell, the department’s Acting Inspector General. “We also found that the DoD cannot ensure that all commanders and investigators are making decisions based on the best possible information because of, among other things, inexperienced or untrained prosecutors.”

Pakistan hosts Afghanistan multilateral
Nov 11, 2021

Diplomats from the U.S., China and Russia have been meeting in Pakistan to discuss the growing humanitarian crisis in neighbouring Afghanistan which has forced many Afghans to migrate to neighbouring countries since the Taliban takeover in August. Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi, warned before the meeting that Afghanistan is “at the brink of economic collapse” and the international community must urgently resume its support.

Nov 11, 2021

Chinese President Xi Jinping warned today that tensions in the Asia-Pacific region could cause a relapse into a Cold War mentality. His comments on the fringes of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum came weeks after the U.S., Britain and Australia announced a new regional security alliance.

Nov 10, 2021

Josep Borrell, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, is proposing an umbrella military doctrine which would enable the bloc to conduct actions abroad. The EU currently has 27 national defence ministries.

Nov 10, 2021

A group of U.S.-trained Afghan pilots and other personnel, detained for nearly three months after fleeing into neighbouring Tajikistan, were evacuated Nov. 9. Their plight had drawn congressional scrutiny as legislator and veterans criticized what they saw as a sluggish rescue effort.

Nov 10, 2021

The European Union was blamed by Russia today for a migrant crisis between Poland and Belarus and Moscow stepped up its presence by deploying two Tupolev bombers to test Belarusian defence systems. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said he hoped the EU, which has slapped sanctions against Belarus, would “not allow themselves to be drawn into a spiral that is fairly dangerous.”

Nov 10, 2021

A Spanish air force official said Nov. 9 that the country is not interested in acquiring the Lockheed Martin F-35 as a replacement for its legacy fighters. Responding to published speculation about the U.S. jet, the official said Spain is committed instead to the Future Combat Air System along with France and Germany.

Nov 10, 2021

A planned breakup of the General Electric conglomerate would see GE Aviation, a major supplier of jet engines and other technologies to the U.S. Air Force and others, spun off as an independent company. The Boston-based parent company said Nov. 9 that the plan, to be implemented over a couple of years, is designed to reduce overall debt and that its health care and energy divisions also are to become separate entities.

Nov 09, 2021

Airbus is already considering a new “clean sheet” design as a potential contender to replace Spain’s decades-old fleet of fighter training aircraft by the end of this decade. Spain’s legacy fleet comprises U.S. and Spanish platforms but a modern trainer would prepare them to fly Boeing EF-18A Hornets and Eurofighter Typhoons.

Nov 09, 2021

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has told his Iranian counterpart, Hossein Amirabdollahian, that when talks to revive a stalled nuclear accord resume Nov. 29, they must pick up where the left off in June. The statement reflects concern about Iran’s public rhetoric about resurrecting a 2015 multinational agreement abandoned by the former U.S. administration.

Nov 09, 2021

An Iranian foreign ministry official said Nov. 8 that the U.S. must guarantee that it will not abandon any resurrected nuclear agreement if talks scheduled to begin Nov. 29 restore the 2015 multinational accord the U.S. walked away from in 2018. “The U.S. should show that it has the capability and will to provide guarantees that it will not abandon the deal again if the talks to revive the deal succeed,” the official said.

Nov 09, 2021

Airbus, Lockheed Martin, MDA, Northrop Grumman and BAE Systems are among the companies looking ahead to NATO’s eventual replacement of Boeing E-3A Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft. The legacy fleet is expected to remain operational until the mid-2030s.

Nov 08, 2021

The lawyer for VAdm Haydn Edmundson says the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service is consulting civilian prosecutors on whether to lay criminal charges arising from an alleged rape in 1991. Edmundson denies the allegation.

Nov 08, 2021

A VA Canada case manager has told an inquiry into a Nova Scotia murder-suicide involving an Afghanistan combat veteran that she and other support staff are long been frustrated by huge caseloads. The federal government promised in 2015 that managers would be required to handle no more than 25 ill or injured vets at any one time, the norm has been in the 35-40 range.

Nov 07, 2021

Canadian flags at all federal buildings were at full-mast today for the first time since May 30, when they were lowered to half-mast when unmarked graves were found at the site of a former Indian residential school in B.C. After being lowered again for Remembrance Day and Indigenous Veterans Day, the flags will remain at full-mast, lowered only for the traditional wartime commemorations and on Sept. 30 thereafter to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Nov 05, 2021

The first military sale to Saudi Arabia under the Biden administration has been approved by the U.S. State Department despite ongoing human rights concerns. Subject to congressional oversight, the $650-million package would include 280 Raytheon air-to-air missiles and 596 launchers, spares and engineering support.

Nov 05, 2021

A new multi-purpose tank round, in development for 15 years, has been tested by the U.S. Army as sit moves on with further modernization of its M1 Abrams tanks. The line-of-sight munition developed by Northrop Grumman Defense Systems consolidates the capabilities of four weapons into one.

Nov 05, 2021

Contemplating replacements for its legacy fleet of more than 70 Boeing EF-18A fighters, Spain evidently is considering discrete fleets of Eurofighter Typhoons and Lockheed Martin F35s. While the procurement is still being developed, the two types could be deployed differently.

Nov 05, 2021

Norway’s largest pension fund announced today that it has divested its holdings in 14 companies, including Rolls Royce, Raytheon Technologies and Thales, because of their role in weapons manufacturing. “Companies do not need to produce the actual weapons components themselves,” said a spokesman for KLP, which manages the equivalent of US$35.4 billion in investments. “It is sufficient that they contribute in other ways.”

Nov 04, 2021

Defence Minister Anita Anand said today that she has “accepted in full” a recommendation by former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Louise Arbour that civilian investigators should handle military sexual misconduct cases. ““The Canadian Armed Forces are working with federal, provincial & territorial partners to implement these interim recommendations,” the new minister added.

Nov 04, 2021

The roster of Canadian airports accepting international flights will increase to 18 from 10 at the end of this month. “Opening these airports to international travel is another step forward in rebuilding and reopening our travel system,” Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said, noting that federal COVID-19 vaccination protocols will have been fully phased in by Nov. 30. Halifax, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto International and City, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver will be joined by St. John’s, Hamilton, Waterloo, Regina, Saskatoon, Kelowna, Abbotsford and Victoria.

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Nov 04, 2021

Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Ali Bagheri Kani, has confirmed his country will attend multilateral talks set to begin Nov. 29 in Vienna in the hope of reviving its nuclear deal with major powers. “We agreed to start the negotiations aiming at removal of unlawful and inhumane sanctions,” he says, referring to U.S.-led sanctions imposed by the previous U.S. administration in 2018.

Nov 04, 2021

NSO Group Technologies, an Israeli company known primarily for it Pegasus spyware, has been added to a U.S. trade blacklist after it was reported that it had been used by some countries to target human rights advocates and journalists. “Dismayed” by the decision, the company insists that its software helps to prevent “terrorism and crime” and is sold only to countries with good human rights records.

Nov 04, 2021

A U.S. Defense Department report says China wants to achieve global superpower status by 2049 and that it is already on the way. The report notes that China achieved a milestone last year with overall mechanization of its military and that networked weapons and systems give it “more credible military options” for dealing with Taiwan.

Nov 04, 2021

A new NATO focus is expected to help the alliance to invest in critical next-generation technologies and avoid capability gaps. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the Defense Innovator Accelerator fund with a potential €1 billion budget will support industry development of dual-use technologies.

Nov 04, 2021

Boeing and General Atomics Electromagnetic Systems have been awarded a U.S. Army contract to develop a lightweight 300-kilowatt Distributed Gain High Energy Laser Weapon System which would comprise GA lasers and Boeing’s targetting technology. This technology represents a leap-ahead capability for air and missile defense that is necessary to support the Army’s modernization efforts and defeat next-generation threats in a multi-domain battlespace,” says GA-EMS President Scott Forney.

Nov 04, 2021

The U.S. Army’s resurrected Victory Corps, responsible for overseeing units operating up and down NATO’s eastern flank in Europe, became “fully operationally capable” Nov. 3. Headquartered in Kentucky, it has a forward-operating base in Poland which was re-established last year to improve command-and-control capabilities in the face of potential Russian aggression.

Nov 04, 2021

U.S. Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco says the Justice Department is stepping up its campaign against ransomware and cybercrime through arrests and other actions as the administration responds to what ir considers an urgent economic and national security threat. “If you come for us, we’re going to come for you,” she warned in an interview this week.

Nov 03, 2021

Milorad Dodik, Bosnia-Herzegovina's senior Serb politician and a member of his country’s shared presidency, has been threatening to withdraw Serbian territory from various national institutions, notably the military. While not technically secession, the notion frightens many in Bosnia as the national government’s authority is further diminished.

Nov 03, 2021

Allies are pressing the U.S. Senate to revise the U.S. administration’s proposed “Buy American” legislation, saying that approval as it stands would upend long-standing defence trade. Twenty-five military attaches warn in a letter to the Armed Services Committee that the bill as drafted would apply to a third of the U.S. government’s annual procurements and affect, among others, Canada, Australia, France, Germany and Britain.

Nov 03, 2021

Military and civilian police have investigated up to 70 cases of alleged hateful conduct and racist attitudes within the Canadian Army since the acting Chief of the Defence Staff ordered a crackdown 14 month ago. Some reported incidents date to 1997.

Nov 02, 2021

The tiny island of Tinian in the Marianas Archipelago of the Western Pacific was the centre of an epic World War II battle between Japan and the Allies with the latter eventually prevailing in the summer of 1944. This summer, the U.S. Air Force tested Tinian’s suitability for standing up large-scale operations more than 2,000 kilometres from the nearest continent as part of an “agile combat employment” strategy for working with small bases.

Nov 02, 2021

The U.S. administration’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate for federal contractors faces pushback from some suppliers which suggest that the cost of compliance may not be worth the federal revenues. Among others, the trucking industry is warning that reliable troops supplies could be an issue, which one executive says “has the potential to seriously impact military readiness.”

Nov 02, 2021

A renewed buildup of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border has raised concern among U.S. and EU officials tracking what they say are irregular movements of equipment and personnel. They say the situation has reignited concerns that were sparked last April during a large Russian buildup in the region.

Nov 02, 2021

Even as Moscow bristled at the presence of two U.S. warships in the Black Sea, Russian ships destroyed simulated enemy targets today and air defence systems were on alert at bases in Novorossiysk and on annexed Crimea. Meanwhile, the U.S. Navy confirmed that its Sixth Fleet command ship had arrived in Istanbul enroute to joining other ships.

Nov 02, 2021

A Canadian Army combat veteran’s suicide in 2017 after he killed three family members is the focus of an inquiry in Nova Scotia which was told by a psychiatrist Nov. 1 that Lionel Desmond was still dealing with PTSD when he returned home from a Montreal treatment centre. Dr. Scott Theriault, who conducted a psychological autopsy, also testified that talks with Veteran's Affairs Canada had not translated into a detailed discharge plan.

Nov 01, 2021

Lebanon’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia was ordered out of the country for what the Saudis say were “insulting” comments about a Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen. The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait immediately followed suit despite Arab League concerns about deteriorating relationships.

Nov 01, 2021

Canada’s new Minister of International Trade, Mary Ng, is “disappointed” with a new U.S. budget plan which does not reflect the realities of integrated supply chains, especially in the automotive sector. Canada also says the plan is “inconsistent with U.S. obligations under the United States Mexico-Canada Agreement and the World Trade Organization.”

Nov 01, 2021

Protectionist tariffs on U.S. aluminum and steel imports imposed by the previous administration in 2018 are being eased in a deal with the European Union. However, the agreement does not fully revoke tariffs already in place.

Nov 01, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the leaders of the 19 other major world economies have approved an agreement to impose an income tax of at least 15 per cent on their countries’ largest companies, beginning in 2023. The U.S.-led initiative at the G20 summit in Rome is in response to growing concerns that multinationals route profits through low-tax jurisdictions.

Oct 29, 2021

Flags on federal buildings across the country have been at half-mast since May as the indigenous residential schools scandal continued to evolve but there are questions about how flags will be flown on Remembrance Day, when lowering flags is a long-standing tradition. A retired naval officer and the son of a residential school survivor want to see flags raised so that they can be lowered on Nov. 11.

Oct 29, 2021

The outgoing Vice Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, USAF Gen John Hytern, is lamenting the Defense Department’s evident bureaucratic inertia at a time when major potential adversaries are ramping up their capabilities. He told journalists Oct. 28 that there is a worrisome philosophy in the department which ensures nothing gets off the ground until there is a guarantee that it will work.

Oct 29, 2021

Two key U.S. Senators, a Democrat and a Republican, want the administration to waive sanctions against India over its purchase of a Russian air defence missile system, the same technology which forced Turkey out of the F-35 fighter program. India plans to complete the deal by mid-decade, potentially setting it up for sanctions, but the Senators argue that it would threaten a valued alliance.

Oct 28, 2021

India’s Strategic Forces Command has successfully tested its Agni-5 indigenous nuclear-capable ICBM. The Oct. 27 test to demonstrate “credible minimum deterrence” covered some 5,000 kilometers.

Oct 28, 2021

Patrik Mathews, a former Canadian Army reservist from Manitoba, was sentenced today in a Maryland court to nine years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, for U.S. authorities said was his participation in a neo-Nazi plot to instigate a race war. Under investigation by the RCMP, Mathews crossed into the U.S. and was missing for several months before his arrest in January 2020.

Oct 27, 2021

Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, in Brussels for meetings with EU officials, said today on social media that his country has agreed to resume stalled nuclear talks “before the end of November.” They aim to resurrect the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action through which Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

Oct 27, 2021

Canada’s new defence minister, Toronto MP Anita Anand, said Oct. 26 that she will be “reviewing everything” on her department’s ongoing sexual misconduct crisis. “I am thorough, I am determined, I am dogged and I am results-oriented,” she said shortly after replacing Harjit Sajjan. “I will be dedicating all of my energy toward this task and this position.”

Oct 27, 2021

A bipartisan group in the House of Representatives is pressing the U.S. administration not to permit the sale of more F-16 fighters to Turkey. They have expressed “a profound sense of concern” over Turkey’s decision to buy more Russian missile defence systems, saying “we “cannot afford to compromise our national security by sending U.S.-manufactured aircraft to a treaty ally which continues to behave like an adversary.”

Oct 27, 2021

Citing “national security” concerns, the U.S. has revoked the licence of China Telecom and told it to stop U.S. services by late December. State Department officials said Chinese government control of the company, which has provided services in the U.S. for 20 years and has customers in 110 countries, gives it an opportunity “to engage in espionage and other harmful activities.”

Oct 27, 2021

The U.S. Air Force has completed a week-long operational test of two of Boeing’s F-15EX Eagle II fighters. The tests highlighted improvements on the legacy C platforms, notably digital flight controls and a passive/active electronic warfare system.

Oct 27, 2021

Eight Boeing F-15EX Eagle II fighters have been ordered by the U.S. Air Force at a cost not to exceed $1.2 billion, the first batch in a program expected to eventually cost nearly $23 billion. Considered complementary to Lockheed Martin’s F-35, the upgraded Eagles are seen as key to increasing overall USAF fighter capacity.

Oct 27, 2021

In a paper written for the Virginia-based Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, a senior fellow and former F-16 pilot says the U.S. Air Force should abandon its plans to revive “fourth-generation” fighters with the Boeing F-15EX Eagle II. Heather Penney expects it would play a limited defensive role in warfare at a time when USAF has a limited fighter inventory.

Oct 27, 2021

Turkey has signed a letter of intent whereby two South Korean companies will supply engines and transmissions for the Turkey’s domestic Altay battle tank project. Talks with German manufacturers have failed due to an embargo on arms sales so Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu considers the LoI “a landmark development for the Altay program” which began in the mid-1990s.

Oct 26, 2021

President Xi Jinping called on his country’s military today to “break new ground” on weapons and other equipment development. He told a Beijing audience that China’s strategic capabilities, already enhanced by “leapfrog development”, could be further improved by an “all-out” push to accelerated modernization.

Oct 26, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s extensive cabinet shuffle today saw B.C. MP Harjit Sajjan, an Army veteran who had held the National Defence portfolio for six years, moved to a portfolio covering international development with responsibility for the Pacific Economic Development Agency. He is replaced by Anita Anand, an Ontario MP and lawyer/acadmic who has been Minister of Public Services and Procurement since November 2019. Former astronaut and navy officer Marc Garneau, shuffled to Foreign Affairs last January after some five years at Transport, is out of the cabinet, replaced by fellow Montrealer Melanie Joly, a lawyer who had been Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages since November 2019. At 39 members, including the PM, it is one of the largest federal cabinet ministers in Canadian history.

Oct 26, 2021

Department of National Defence documents made public through an access-to-information request indicate that while DND played a critical role in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, its efforts likely were undermined by inadequate intelligence. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan repeatedly said the government’s response to the escalating problem was based “on sound intelligence,” which proved not to be the case.

Oct 26, 2021

The Canadian Armed Forces is some 7,500 shy of optimum personnel levels, a shortfall the acting Chief of the Defence Staff, Army Gen Wayne Eyre could take seven years to address. Particularly concerned about a decline in the number of experienced leaders, he called on them Oct. 26 to “put service before self, not to retreat into retirement.”

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