IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Nov 20, 2020

A potential successor next year to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says any U.S. attack on his country could spark a “full-fledged” regional war. “We are not after starting a war,” says Hossein Denghan, a former Revolutionary Guard member and defence minister. “But we are not after negotiations for the sake of negotiations either.”

Nov 20, 2020

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and U.S. Marine Corps Gen David Berger have pledged to maintain an effective deterrence against Chinese expansionism in the Western Pacific. “I understand this severe security environment you are in and that, I think, drives us to move ahead to change, to maintain the deterrence.” Berger says in a video of their meeting posted by the PM’s office.

Nov 19, 2020

Transport Minister Marc Garneau says Canadian fleets of Boeing 737 Max jetliners owned by Air Canada and WestJet will remain grounded for now, but he expects recertification “very soon”. He was commenting on the U.S. recertification of the aircraft, all of which were taken out of service after two crashes attributed to flight controls conflicts.

Nov 19, 2020

Ellen Lord, U.S. undersecretary of defense for acquisition and sustainment, says that despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, suppliers should be able to maintain production through the winter. “We’re very hopeful that all of the steps that industry took . . . have really prevented severe cases and the need to shut down,” she says. “I’m optimistic that although cases are going up, industry is going to continue to be very resilient.”

Nov 19, 2020

With Dan Schultz set to retire as president of Sikorsky Aircraft at the beginning of 2021, his successor at the Lockheed Martin-owned company will be Paul Lemmo, LM’s vice president of integrated warfare systems and sensors. Lemmo will be succeeded by Jon Rambeau, LM’s VP of C6ISR programs who in turn will be succeeded by Gregg Bauer, LM’s VP of undersea warfare projects.

Nov 19, 2020

State-sponsored cyber activity by China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea pose the “greatest strategic threats” to Canada’s critical infrastructure, intellectual property and politics, according to the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security. In its latest threat assessment report, the agency within the Communications Security Establishment says the foreign cyberattacks are “almost certainly” continuing.

Nov 19, 2020

A four-year internal inquiry has found “credible evidence” that Australian special forces killed “prisoners, farmers or civilians” in Afghanistan between 2009 and 2013. Blaming an unchecked “warrior culture”, the inquiry has recommended that 19 current or former troops should be investigated further. Australia has had forces in Afghanistan since 2002 as part of a U.S.-led coalition.

Nov 19, 2020

The rolling monthly closure of the Canada-U.S. border, in effect since March and currently due to expire this week, evidently will be extended again except for “essential” travel.

Nov 19, 2020

NORAD says the spreading COVID-19 pandemic won’t stop its traditional “Santa tracking” on Christmas Eve. However, personnel safety concerns at headquarters in Colorado mean that only small rotations of volunteers will be available to field children’s phone calls this year. “There is going to be some disappointment but we’re trying to keep it safe for everyone,” a spokesman says.

Nov 18, 2020

Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Corp. will be getting a new president and chief executive in April. The manufacturer of a range of military and civilian vehicles has confirmed that John Pfiefer, who joined Oshkosh in May 2019 from Mercury Marine, will succeed the retiring Wilson Jones.

Nov 18, 2020

An intercontinental ballistic missile fired by the U.S. has been shot down over the Pacific north of Hawaii in a test of a destroyer-based defence system. It is the first time that an ICBM has been downed by anything other than land-based interceptors. The missile was launched from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands some 4,000 kilometres west-southwest of Hawaii.

Nov 18, 2020

Mexico’s defence minister from 2012 to 2018, Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda, has been freed by the U.S. so that his own government can investigate alleged involvement in drug-related corruption. Cienfuegos was arrested in Los Angeles last month but in announcing the decision to drop criminal charges, U.S. officials said Nov. 17 that “important foreign policy considerations outweigh the government’s interest in pursuing the prosecution.”

Nov 18, 2020

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg fears that a rapid U.S. troop reduction in Afghanistan after 20 years could have serious consequences for the alliance. The U.S. currently accounts for roughly half of the NATO troops training Afghan national security forces. “No NATO ally wants to stay any longer than necessary,” Stoltenberg says. “But at the same time, the price for leaving too soon or in an uncoordinated way could be very high.”

Nov 18, 2020

Twenty months after the global fleet of Boeing 737 Max jetliners was grounded, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has authorized a return to service. The fleet was taken out of service in March 2019 after crashes in Indonesia and Ethiopa resulted  in the combined deaths of 346 passengers and crew.

Nov 18, 2020

Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller says the number of troops deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq each will be reduced to 2,500 by mid-January. “This is consistent with our established plans and strategic objectives supported by the American people and does not equate to a change in U.S. policy or objectives,.” he said 17 November.

Nov 18, 2020

A spokesman for Afghanistan’s National Security Council says a rapid reduction in the number of U.S. troops in his country would encourage terrorists and hamper his country’s military effort. Calling it “a failed strategy for war and peace,” Javid Faisal says “such policy blunders don’t mitigate the risks and embolden the threat of global terrorist networks to our region and the world.”

Nov 18, 2020

Senior advisors to U.S. President Trump reportedly persuaded him last week not to order an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. Their meeting followed an International Atomic Energy Agency report that Iran had significantly increased its stockpile of nuclear material.

Nov 18, 2020

The U.S. Air Force spends billions annually on new aircraft but Gen Charles Q. Brown, confirmed as Chief of Staff last June, says that isn’t his No. 1 modernization priority. Rather, the former fighter pilot and squadron commander says recapitalizing nuclear weaponry and delivery systems tops his list. That’s followed by implementation of an advanced battle management system and new procurement policies which would accelerate procurements at lower cost.

Nov 17, 2020

Deployment of CAF personnel to 54 Quebec and Ontario long-term care homes overrun by COVID-19 is seen as a likely learning experience by MGen Marc Bilodeau, the Surgeon General. Fifty-five personnel contracted the coronavirus while in the homes but none required hospitalization and all recovered. “We are trying to learn some lessons from this experience to enhance our reaction to any next crisis," Bilodeau has told a parliamentary committee.

Nov 17, 2020

The National Reconnaissance Office has a new intelligence satellite in orbit, its fourth successful launch this year. “NROL-101 is another example of the NRO’s commitment to constantly evolving our crucial national security systems to support our defense and intelligence partners,” says Col Chad Davis, director of the NRO Office of Space Launch.

Nov 17, 2020

The U.S. Army is being urged by a Senate Appropriations Committee subpanel to add $8.25 million to the administration’s 2021 budget to accelerate procurement of more Arctic-capable vehicles. The recommendation apparently is driven by concerns about increased Russian activity in the region.

Nov 17, 2020

Italian Defence Minister Lorenzo Guerini and his Austrian counterpart, Klaudia Tanner, have tasked their departments with cooperating on helicopter procurements. A letter of intent is based on Austria’s selection of the Italian-built Leonardo AW169M light utility helicopter, a required shared with Italy.

Nov 17, 2020

U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has been asked by a couple of Democrat members of the House of Representatives to ensure that whomever he chooses for his Secretary of Defense should have no history of employment by defence contractors. Several of President Donald Trump’s appointees have had strong industry ties and the two Representatives point out that almost half of all senior Pentagon officials are similarly connected.

Nov 17, 2020

Oregon-based FLIR Systems has moved to full production of a robotic explosive ordnance disposal system for the U.S. Army less than a year after winning the contract for the “heavy common ground robot.” The current order is for 34 of the tracked units but options could mean at least 300 more.

Nov 17, 2020

China is preparing to use one of its massive Long March-5 boosters to launch a mission which is expected to return lunar materials to Earth for the first time in several decades. The launcher been moved from its hangar to the nearby Wenchang launch site on the southern island province of Hainan. A robotic lander would drill two metres into the lunar surface, capturing core materials and regolith.

Nov 17, 2020

Three U.S. and one Japanese astronauts have arrived at the International Space Station, the first crew rotation to be delivered by a civilian contractor, SpaceX, which has a NASA contract for six crew deliveries. Three crewmembers still aboard the ISS are scheduled to return to Earth on a Russian Soyuz capsule while the SpaceX capsule remains docked for the duration of the latest six-month rotation.

Nov 17, 2020

The Canadian Armed Forces is trying to figure out how to delicvery holiay heer to the nearly 150 Canadian families deployed to NORAD headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. “As military members, we sign up for all sorts of hardships,” says LCol. Apollo Edmilao, commanding officer of the Canadian Forces Support Unit. “Our families really didn’t sign on the dotted line. They are associated with us for better or worse.” With most CAF personnel eligible for less than a month’s leave, the prospect of a 14-day quarantine means families are staying put. 

Nov 16, 2020

Canada’s next-generation frigates, the Canadian Surface Combatant ships, are slated to have “impressive and particularly diverse” armaments for ships their size. Irving Shipbuilding is expected to begin construction of 15 replacements for the current Halifax-class frigates within the next few years.

Nov 16, 2020

A year-long Canadian military peacekeeping mission in Mali, providing aeromedical and transport services, ended in August 2019. Now Canada is being urged to provide new military assistance to help fight Islamic militants as well as join a diplomatic push for peace and reconciliation among warring factions.

Nov 16, 2020

Working through the U.S. government, Lithuania has signed a €181-million contract to procure four Lockheed Martin UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters and related equipment and services. With delivery scheduled to begin in late 2024, they are to replace Soviet-era Mil Mi-8T “Hip” transports.

Nov 16, 2020

Three U.S. and one Japanese astronaut were launched to the International Space Station by SpaceX, the first full “taxi flight” by a private company. The capsule is due to dock with the ISS late Nov. 16 after needing some 27 hours to achieve the necessary orbit.

Nov 16, 2020

The military is once again asking Canadians to bolster the morale of deployed personnel with seasonal greetings. “Many of us will spend the holidays with our families (but) many of us will not,” the CAF says. “It would mean a great deal to us if you sent them a greeting.” It points out, however, that cards or letters must be limited to correspondence; anything else will be returned to senders at their cost.

Nov 16, 2020

Morris Fish, a former Supreme Court of Canada judge who retired in 2013, has been appointed to head up an independent review of the military justice system. With a mandated to report to Parliament on his findings, he will have “complete access” to all DND and CAF personnel.

Nov 13, 2020

National Defence has shut down a controversial plan that allowed military public affairs officers to use propaganda against Canadian citizens and data-mine the public’s social media accounts. Embraced by some, others warned the initiative could do serious harm to the military’s reputation. The shut down had the approval of Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, Chief of the Defence Staff General Vance, and Deputy Minister Jody Thomas.

Nov 13, 2020

U.S. president-elect Joe Biden’s transition team for the Department of Defense as he prepares to take office in January features a significant number of women. The team is headed by Kathleen Hicks, who was principal deputy undersecretary of defense for policy, as well as deputy undersecretary of defense for strategy, plans, and forces in the Obama administration. She is currently the director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies' International Security Program.

Nov 13, 2020

The aerospace and security sectors are among 17 chosen by the British government for tighter regulation which would block foreign direct investment by potentially hostile interests. The measure is part of a National Security and Investment Bill designed to review mergers, acquisitions and other considered a threat to national security.

Nov 13, 2020

President Donald Trump has signed an executive order which bars investment in 31 companies his administration says are linked to China's military. It prohibits U.S. businesses and individuals from owning stock directly or indirectly and gives them until next November to divest.

Nov 13, 2020

Recent Russian military operations inside the U.S. economic management zone off Alaska were the latest in a series of escalated encounters across the North Pacific and the Arctic, where the retreat of polar ice continues to draw new commercial and military traffic. The local U.S. Coast Guard chief, RAdm Matthew T. Bell Jr., says that while Russian operations in the Bering Sea are not unusual, “the surprise was how aggressive they got on our side of the maritime boundary line.”

Nov 13, 2020

Korea Aerospace Industries is considering adding transport aircraft to its product line, including through partnerships with foreign manufacturers, and has estimated the domestic and export markets at approximately 100 aircraft each. Founded in 1999, KAI has developed a successful portfolio of indigenous products including trainer, fighters, and helicopters

Nov 13, 2020

New night-vision goggles fielded by the U.S. Army evidently feature impressive additional sensor fusion and other technologies. A recently-released video shows they not only improve troops’ ability to see at night, but also gives them valuable additional information about what's going on around them on the battlefield.

Nov 13, 2020

Taking its cue from the Army, the U.S. Air Force plans to begin replacing its up-armored Humvees with approximately 3,230 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles next year. The JLTV, which provide better crew protection, will be the main tactical vehicle for guarding missile silos and launch facilities, among other roles.

Nov 13, 2020

The International Atomic Energy Agency says its inspectors have confirmed that Iran has 2,442.9kg of low-enriched uranium, 12 times as much as permitted under a multinational agreement. Some of the material was discovered by IAEA inspectors at a previously undisclosed site.

Nov 13, 2020

The recent €5.4 billion sale of 38 Eurofighters by Airbus Defence & Space, part of a planned acquisition of at least 93, is seen as a possible stepping stone to procurements by Switzerland and Finland. “In addition to an expected Eurofighter order from Spain to replace its legacy (Boeing) F-18s, procurement decisions in Switzerland and Finland are imminent in 2021,” ADS says.

Nov 13, 2020

Gen David W. Allvin has been named the U.S. Air Force vice-chief of staff. Previously director for strategy, plans, and policy for the Joint Staff, he succeeds the retiring Gen Steven W. Wilson.

Nov 12, 2020

The troublesome backlog of processing veterans’ applications for disability benefits is not likely to be completely “under control” next year, Veterans Affairs Minister Lawrence MacAulay has acknowledged. He says that due to the expectation that his department will have to deal with a “more complex” backlog, it will be 2022 before it is expected to be fully addressed.

Nov 12, 2020

Ontario has announced $200,000 toward the cost of building 25 small modular houses for homeless veterans in Kingston, the first project of its kind in the province. The funds will support a partnership with the Homes For Heroes Foundation.

Nov 12, 2020

A four-year investigation into allegations and rumours about Australian military personnel committing war crimes in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016 has led to the announcement of a new Office of the Special Investigator. Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the agency is needed because the workload would “seriously overwhelm” existing resources. “We deal with this stuff . . . honestly, but in accordance through the rule of law.”

Nov 12, 2020

What appears to have been an accident during a routine helicopter flight in Egypt has resulted in the deaths of all but one of nine members of an international keeping mission. Six of seven U.S. members of the Multinational Force and Observers group died in the crash, as did French and Czech personnel.

Nov 11, 2020

The Italian Navy is in the early stages of considering the acquisition of a pair of 10,000-ton destroyers, which its deputy chief of staff, VAdm Aurelio De Carolis, considers “fundamental for a blue-water fleet.” The 175-metre ships would replace two destroyers which entered service in rhe early 1990s.

Nov 10, 2020

Responding to a Royal Canadian Legion call for help, Veterans Affairs Minister has announced a $20-million emergency support fund that includes $14 million for the Legion. “The last few months have been rough on folks and our veterans are certainly no different,” MacAulay said on the eve of Remembrance Day. “It’s been a tough time on them and a tough time on the organizations that support them.”

Nov 10, 2020

The Washington-based Center for European Policy Analysis contends that NATO has not done enough to motivate younger European leaders, going so far as to suggest the alliance’s very existence is at stake. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg seems to have taken the warning to heart, telling a youth summit in Brussels that “tomorrow’s leaders” need to “step up and safeguard your future, your freedom your alliance.”

Nov 10, 2020

Former Army BGen Anthony Tata, once rebuffed by the Republican-controlled Senate as President Donald Trump’s nominee for Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, now has been appointed directly by Trump. Among other things, Tata called former President Barack Obama a “terrorist leader” and a Muslim.

Nov 10, 2020

The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) will conduct flybys for several Remembrance Day commemorations across Canada on November 11. These will be carried out by aircraft from RCAF Wings throughout Canada at various times throughout the day. This list shows which aircraft will conduct flybys in each community across Canada.

Nov 10, 2020

Poland has ratified an agreement that enhances U.S. military presence there, calling it a symbol of a partnership that continues regardless of political developments such as the impending change of U.S. leadership. “We are waiting for the new U.S. president to take office," says Polish President Andrzej Duda.

Nov 10, 2020

Although full operational capability is generally considered years away, the U.S. Army is experimenting with “surrogate unmanned vehicles” delivered by British-based QuinetiQ as a potential precursor to a full armoury of robotic command vehicles.

Nov 10, 2020

Lockheed Martin is working on directed energy system it hopes will be suitable for installation on fighter aircraft by mid-decade, says Mark Stephen, business development lead in the company’s missiles and fire control division. “We’re committing to putting a laser pod equipped with a high-energy laser in the air within five years,” he says.

Nov 10, 2020

General Dynamics Mission Systems–Canada has been awarded a $182 million contract to provide in-service support for combat systems on Royal Canadian Navy frigates over a six-year period. In addition to maintaining the ships’ operational capabilities, the contract also involves the RCN’s fleet schools, maintenance facilities and test ranges.

Nov 10, 2020

Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia have signed an agreement designed to end six weeks of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed area of Azerbaijan with a mainly Armenian population. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan used social media to announce the agreement, which was confirmed by the other parties.

Nov 09, 2020

President Donald Trump has fired Mark Esper as U.S. Secretary of Defense, replacing him in an acting capacity by Christopher Miller, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center. Trump offered no explanation in his social media announcement but Esper has been at odds with the President for several months on the proposed use of troops for law enforcement.

Nov 09, 2020

Israel is looking at the more capable laser systems for missile defence. According to IAI, a laser cannon prototype for intercepting mortar shells and similar short-range threats is in a very advanced stage of development. Indications are that the first tests with an electrical laser will be conducted in Israel in early 2021.

Nov 06, 2020

A widespread public outcry and high-level political intervention has resulted in Whole Foods, a national chain of 14 grocery stores owned by Amazon, reversing a ban on staff wearing Remembrance Day poppies.

Nov 06, 2020

The first of four German-built Sa’ar 6 corvettes, scheduled to be delivered to Israel next month, is seen as part of a broad shift in Israeli naval doctrine. Protection offshore structures such as natural gas platforms is expected to be a key part of their mission.

Nov 06, 2020

The Canadian Armed Forces is evaluating some Bluebird Aero/IAI vertical take off and landing (VTOL) unmanned aerial systems. Bluebird's VP Business Development has confirmed the Israeli company is currently pursuing several very "promising" Canadian opportunities.

Nov 06, 2020

Whole Foods, a national chain of 14 grocery stores owned by Amazon, has told staff they cannot wear Remembrance Day poppies. Recently-updated uniform policy evidently implies that wearing the Royal Canadian Legion poppy is “supporting a cause.”

Nov 04, 2020

The U.S. administration’s approval of the $600-million sale of four “weapons ready” General Atomics MQ-9B Reaper drones to Taiwan, which China considers a breakaway province, has prompted Beijing to promise a “proper and necessary response” if the deal goes through. The foreign ministry says it “brutally interferes in China’s internal affairs and seriously undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests.”

Nov 04, 2020

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says the European Union and its allies stand to benefit politically, strategically and economically from developing principles and standards for “responsible” military use of artificial intelligence. Responding to a call last year by several EU states for greater collaboration, the institute uses a new report to map out common principles and best practices.

Nov 04, 2020

No decisive winner in the U.S. presidential election is evident despite President Donald Trump’s insistence, while awaiting final counting of mailed ballots, that the incumbent Republicans had “already won it.” He also repeated his unsubstantiated claim that there would be “fraud” and that the Republican-dominated Supreme Court likely would have to intervene.

Nov 04, 2020

British and U.S. air forces are in Denmark for a two-week Agile Combat Employment exercise. ACE is a developing U.S. Air Force strategy built around the concept rapid sustainable deployments from anywhere. This latest exercise involves training alongside NATO’s partners in the Baltics.

Nov 04, 2020

Australian, Indian, Japanese and U.S. navies have begun the Malabar 2020 exercise in the Bay of Bengal, the first of its kind in more than a decade. It’s described as “an opportunity for like-minded navies, sharing a common vision of a more stable, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific, to operate and train alongside one another” at a time when “regional security and stability is important now more than ever.”

Nov 04, 2020

The U.S. Navy flight demonstration team, the Blue Angels, were scheduled for their last flight with Boeing F/A-18 Hornets 4 November before transitioning to the larger Super Hornets. The team has flown the legacy fighters since 1986.

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