IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Mar 27, 2020

The Conservative party has suspended its leadership race indefinitely in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and has shelved a membership vote scheduled for 27 June. “It is no longer possible to meet the deadlines necessary to process memberships and donations, or print, process and count ballots in time,” the party said 26 March.

Mar 27, 2020

Special pay and allowances have been set up for U.S. military personnel affected by COVID-19, whether involved in the response, quarantined after contracting the virus, or separated from their families due to assigned relocations. Service members can receive $100 a day for up to 15 days each month if they meet the requirements.

Mar 27, 2020

Lockheed Martin has secured a $932 million Department of Defense contract to supply Saudi Arabia with 44 Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missiles, launchers and related gear. LM builds and integrates the THAAD system which uses Raytheon radar and is designed to shoot down short-, medium- and intermediate-range ballistic missiles.

Mar 27, 2020

The Luftwaffe is reported to be ready to buy up to 90 more Eurofighter Typhoons as well as 30 Boeing F/A-18E/F Super Hornets and 15 EA-18G Growlers as replacements for the remainder of its fleet of aging Panavia Tornados. The Super Hornets ostensibly would be used to meet a NATO requirement for aircraft capable of deploying the B61 variable-yield nuclear gravity bomb but a Boeing spokesman noted that the aircraft is not yet certified for that weapon.

Mar 27, 2020

The Bank of Canada reduced its key lending rate to 0.25 per cent 27 March in what Governor Stephen Poloz described as a bid to cushion the economic shock of the COVID-19 outbreak. Now at its “effective lower bound,” the rate has been reduced three times from 1.75 per cent at the beginning of the month.

Mar 26, 2020

Career diplomat Kirsten Hillman was confirmed 26 March as Canada’s new Ambassador to the U.S. A former assistant deputy minister at Global Affairs Canada, she was appointed Deputy Ambassador in 2017 and had been acting ambassador since the resignation last summer of her predecessor, David MacNaughton. Hillman was central in the 13 months of negotiations for the new North American trade pact.

Mar 26, 2020

The prospect of U.S. troops being stationed at the border with Canada is constrained by an 1878 act of Congress. The original Posse Comitatus Act limited federal use of the Army to enforce domestic policies at home and a 1956 amendment added the U.S. Air Force. Last updated in 1981, it does not apply to the Navy or Marine Corps nor does it prevent state-level use of National Guard personnel on home soil.

. . . but there are legal constraints
Mar 26, 2020

The prospect of U.S. troops being stationed at the border with Canada is constrained by an 1878 act of Congress. The original Posse Comitatus Act limited federal use of the Army to enforce domestic policies at home and a 1956 amendment added the U.S. Air Force. Last updated in 1981, it does not apply to the Navy or Marine Corps nor does it prevent state-level use of National Guard personnel on home soil.

Mar 26, 2020

The Department of Defense issued a 60-day “stop-movement” order 25 March to all uniformed and civilian personnel in a bid to contain COVID-19. Exceptions are medical patients or providers, ship movements, personnel currently travelling and those away on temporary duty.

Mar 26, 2020

The U.S. Army announced 25 March that it is taking another run at getting a new attack reconnaissance platform to replace its fleets of Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopters and Boeing AH-64 Apache attack helicopters. Sikorsky and Bell Textron have been chosen to build and fly prototypes.

Mar 26, 2020

A seven-page document released by the U.S. administration sets out its strategy for 5G telecommunications infrastructure “arm-in-arm with closest partners and allies.” Its release marks the administration’s initial move to meet requirements in new legislation President Donald Trump signed earlier this week.

Mar 25, 2020

Effective at midnight 25 March, most travellers returning home to Canada are legally required to self-quarantine for 14 days, the only exception being essential workers. Confirmed by Health Minister Patty Hajdu, the measure designed to curb the spread of COVID-19 is the government’s response to situations in which some returnees essentially ignored requests that they go into voluntary self-isolation.

Mar 25, 2020

Federal legislation designed to provide an array of financial support to companies and Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic received Royal Assent 25 March. The House of Commons had passed Bill C-13 earlier in the day after opposition concerns about government fiscal over-reach had been addressed. The Senate passed it a short time later before referring it to the Governor General for final approval.

Mar 25, 2020

A U.S. market analyst says defence sector stocks could take at least “a couple of years” to recover from the beating they have suffered since COVID-19 hit the markets and government efforts to address the overall economic impact take priority over defence spending. Byron Callan of Washington-based Capital Alpha Partners says a rebound in interest rates could mean “a world of hurt.”

Mar 25, 2020

The U.S. government executive branch is now legally obliged to develop a strategy for securing 5G and subsequent generations of communications technologies. President Donald Trump signed off on the Secure 5G and Beyond Act even as his administration continues to press its allies to eschew foreign companies such as China’s Huawei.

Mar 25, 2020

The House of Commons has passed a bill to enact the government's $82-billion COVID-19 economic aid package and referred it to the Senate for approval. However, Bill C-13’s parliamentary progress wasn’t as smooth as the government had hoped because opposition parties objected to extraordinary powers it would have given the government through to 2021.

Mar 24, 2020

The universally-accessible Global Position System is widely beneficial but it evidently has vulnerabilities which various “bad actors” exploit.

Mar 24, 2020

Having failed to convince feuding Afghan presidential foes to resolve an ongoing dispute over who should lead their country, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has announced a $1 billion cut in aid this year. He also said in a 23 March statement that a similar amount would be cut in 2021 and that all other programs and project funding would be reviewed.

Mar 23, 2020

As the incidence of COVID-19 continues to grow in the U.S., National Guard personnel have been deployed in the three hardest-hit states: New York, California and Washington. The federal government is covering the entire cost rather than the usual 75 per cent.

Mar 23, 2020

A bipartisan coalition of 130 members of the House of Representatives One is urging congressional approval of the procurement of more Lockheed Martin F-35s. Calling for 24 per cent more than the Department of Defense has requested in its latest budget plan, the Representatives say a larger fleet is needed to maintain air dominance and to yield lower unit costs.

Mar 23, 2020

The U.S. has confirmed that it has successfully tested a hypersonic vehicle capable of gliding and changing altitude and direction at speeds of up to Mach 5. Launched from a Hawaiian facility 19 March, the vehicle flew to a designated “impact point” and the Army-Navy test is seen as a key step in the technology’s development.

Mar 23, 2020

A former national security advisor to the British government is recommending that plans to complete an integrated review of defense, security, foreign policy and development should be put on hold. Peter Rickets echoes others in warning a parliamentary committee that the review, announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in December, will suffer from being rushed.

Mar 23, 2020

The federal government is considering criminal penalties for travellers who ignore COVID-19 self-isolation recommendations on their return to Canada. Health Minister Patty Hajdu says “every measure in our toolbox” is being considered, including “monetary penalties up to and including criminal penalties” provided for in the Quarantine Act.

Mar 23, 2020

A quorum of approximately 30 Members of Parliament are being back to the House of Commons 24 March for a brief sitting to adopt a package of emergency measures designed to address the economic impact of COVID-19.

Mar 21, 2020

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the spreading COVID-19 outbreak reinforces a critical need for continued defence and security investments even as the virus impacts government budgets. “You have to remember that when NATO allies agreed to invest more in defense, they did so because we live in a more uncertain, unpredictable world,” he says. “By investing more in our security and armed forces, we’re providing surge capacity for all our societies to deal with unforeseen events.”

Mar 21, 2020

The Chief of the Defence Staff says the Canadian Armed Forces is preparing for continued outbreaks of COVID-19 for up to a year or more.  Gen Jonathan Vance says in a planning directive, which he calls a “worst-case scenario”, that calls for assistance will come from all levels of government and the private sector. He also says that rather than have the public think of armed troops during a crisis, “people need to see the response as more akin to a humanitarian response.”

Mar 20, 2020

Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the UN from January 2017 to December 2018, has resigned from Boeing’s board of directors after the company sought government financial support as its business suffers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The former Governor of South Carolina, who was appointed as U.S. envoy by President Donald Trump and joined the Boeing board in early 2019, says she opposes any bailout “as a matter of philosophical principal.”

Mar 20, 2020

LGen Jean-Marc Lanthier’s confirmation 19 March that he retire this summer as Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff was an issue at a parliamentary committee later in the day. Conservative defence critic James Bezan expressed dismay about the “high turnover” in the Vice-Chief’s officer (Lanthier is the sixth VCDS since 2015) and said it was “not providing a morale boost to our troops.”

Mar 20, 2020

The Canadian Army has cancelled this year’s Exercise Maple Resolve as the command structure tries to limit the spread of COVID-19. The Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen Jonathan Vance had indicated previous that the operation alongside allied troops at CFB Wainwright would go ahead but Army commander LGen Wayne Ayre says the cancellation was necessary to “protect the force and keep us poised to conduct operations.”

Mar 20, 2020

Two Royal Canadian Navy coastal defence vessels have been recalled early to their homeport in Victoria from operations in the Eastern Pacific and the Caribbean as the COVID-19 outbreak spreads. They were deployed in February as part of U.S.-led Operation Caribbe.

Mar 20, 2020

Irving has suspended operations at its shipyard in Halifax for art least three weeks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It says the move is necessary “given the high density of the employee population in certain work areas, high absenteeism, and reduced critical vendor support in materials and services.”

Mar 19, 2020

The Department of Defense evidently is still storing out whether key suppliers need to shut down production as part of a U.S effort to contain the spreading COVID-19 outbreak. A market analyst says that by the time companies do their April earnings calls and review the initial weeks of the outbreak, they should have a better idea of how to proceed.

Mar 19, 2020

Former Veterans Affairs Minister Erin O’Toole, considered one of the front-runners in the federal Conservative leadership race, has called for Canada to e put on a “war footing” to combat the spread of COVID-19. He says the government should invoke the Emergencies Act which would, among other things, enable it to mobilize the Canadian Armed Forces.

Mar 19, 2020

Details are still being finalized with the U.S. but the border is expected to be closed to tourism and other non-essential travel late Friday. In the meantime, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said 19 March, the government is working with airlines to facilitate Canadians’ return as soon as possible.

Mar 16, 2020

James Taiclet, a U.S. Air Force veteran with a background in telecommunications, real estate and commercial aerospace services, will become president and CEO of Lockheed Martin 15 June. Replacing Marillyn Hewson, who will remain executive chair, Taiclet is the first outsider to head LM but has worked at Honeywell and Pratt & Whitney.

Mar 16, 2020

LGen Mike Rouleau, former commander of Canadian Joint Operations Command, will become Vice-Chief of the Defence Staff this summer. It was one of a series of promotions announced 16 March by Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan. He will replace LGen Jean-Marc Lanthier and is to be succeeded at CJOC by LGen Christopher Coates, Canada’s senior military representative at NORAD.

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.

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