IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Nov 03, 2020

Be sure to check out the Senate of Canada building during Remembrance Week. The old train station, which once welcomed soldiers returning from war, will be illuminated every night with images of red poppies to honour those who lost their lives in war. 

Nov 03, 2020

The Canadian Forces has spent more than $1 million to train its operatives on "behaviour modification" techniques for use in Canada. Examples include the mission to manage public perception surrounding Op Laser (COVID response) and the more bizarre mission that had our military creating and disseminating fake news and forged letters to warn the Nova Scotia public that wolves were causing problems in the province (which was untrue).

Nov 03, 2020

A strategic communications group within the Canadian Armed Forces evidently is seeking to promote “national interests by using defence activities to influence the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of audiences” at home and abroad. However, the initiative is stalled because Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is reportedly concerned about the implications of such a program.

Nov 03, 2020

The U.S. has begun talks with Japan on updating how much the host country pays to support the presence of 54,000 U.S. troops. One report has the U.S. administration demanding an increase to $8 billion a year from the current $1.9 billion.

Nov 02, 2020

Management of British nuclear weapons facilities, in the hands of an industry-led consortium since 1999, will be back under Ministry of Defence control by next June. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has told Parliament the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston, which develops, produces and decommissions warheads for Royal Navy submarines, become “an arms-length body” wholly owned by the ministry.

Nov 02, 2020

Challenging denials of U.S. government involvement, a former special operations sergeant says two administration officials expressed support for Operation Gideon, a failed attempt last May to unseat Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Details of the plan are included in a court documents filed in Miami.

Nov 02, 2020

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has been confirmed as the prime contractor in a potentially US$40 billion project to build Japan’s next generation of fighters. Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi reportedly says his country, which currently operates a mixed fighter fleet, will shortly identify an overseas partner.

Nov 01, 2020

Corporal James Choi, a member of the Royal Westminster Regiment based in British Columbia, died on 31 October 2020 as the result of a gunshot wound sustained during live fire training at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Wainwright. He was 29 years old. The incident remains under investigation.

Oct 30, 2020

If Canada opts to buy Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets as a replacement for its legacy CF-188 Hornets, final assembly of the new aircraft would be done in the U.S. Jim Barnes, Boeing Defense, Space, and Security director of business development in Canada, says “the benefits of standing up these types of operations in Canada were not worth the investment” in a procurement of 88 aircraft.

Oct 30, 2020

The sale of as many as 50 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters to the United Arab Emirates, which would give it parity with Israel, faces pushback in Congress as some Democrats urge a more deliberate approach to the sale. “This technology would significantly change the military balance in the Gulf.” says Eliot Engel, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “The export of this aircraft requires very careful consideration and Congress must analyze all the ramifications.”

Oct 30, 2020

A push by the U.S. administration to have India commit to buying General Atomics MQ-9 Reaper armed drones apparently has encountered resistance in Delhi. The State Department has already cleared the procurement but U.S. officials are saying that a visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper wasn’t enough, robbing the administration of a foreign policy success in the dying days of President Donald Trump’s re-election bid.

Oct 30, 2020

The U.S. is not ruling out further sanctions against Turkey if it makes its Russian anti-aircraft missile system fully operational. “Sanctions is very much something that is on the table,” says Assistant Secretary of State R. Clarke Cooper. “Operationalizing such an asset . . . incurs further risk of sanctions and further risks of restrictions.”

Oct 30, 2020

Ostensibly unchanged for decades, tank warfare continues to rely on human factors even as militaries worldwide embraces robotics, artificial intelligence and newer communications technologies. “Everything is done manually still,” says a U.S. Army master gunner, pointing out that tankers continued to rely on traditional time-consuming techniques to “detect, identify and engage targets.”

Oct 30, 2020

Rather deploying to Antarctica to support an annual resupply mission to the U.S. research stations, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Polar Star will be in the Arctic this winter in what the USCG says is a mission to protect maritime sovereignty and security. “The Arctic is . . . a region of growing national importance,” says VAdm Linda Fagan, commander of USCG Pacific.

Oct 29, 2020

A senior U.S. State Department official is downplaying speculation that the COVID-19 pandemic could prompt allies to restructure their procurement of U.S. weaponry. While there is a current “steady state,” he says some customers “may have looked to reframe or push right to a later date particular procurements, we've not seen dramatic changes.”

Oct 28, 2020

Raytheon Technologies is cutting 15,000 staff and 4,000 contractor positions, largely at its Pratt & Whitney and Collins Aerospace divisions. CEO Greg Hayes says “difficult but necessary actions” were needed and that he expects the rebound to be “long and slow.”

Oct 28, 2020

A member of South Korea’s governing party says it would be cheaper for his country to buy new transport helicopters than to upgrade its current fleet of decades-old Boeing Chinooks. Min Hong-chul, who sits on the National Assembly’s defence committee, aired his concerns in a parliamentary audit of the Defence Acquisition Program Administration.

Oct 28, 2020

The head of national security studies at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University, N.Y., says the Department of Defense cannot “efficiency” its way out of hard choices imposed by a “flatlined” budget. Steve Grundman advocates better planning, more competition for contracts, and resisting “the seductive call of scale to reduce cost.”

Oct 28, 2020

New satellite imagery indicates that Iran has begun construction at its Natanz nuclear facility, effectively confirming an International Atomic Energy Agency disclosure that the country is accelerating its uranium enrichment program.

Oct 27, 2020

As much as $250 million in maintenance, cleaning and other contracts at military bases can’t be properly scrutinized by the public to determine if the work is actually being done, warns the Union of National Defence Employees (UNDE). Requests for verification of work can get shuffled from PSPC to DND then to the contractor where the request is ultimately blocked. UNDE recommends change.

Oct 27, 2020

A U.S. academic consortium led by Texas A&M University has received a Department of Defense contract worth $20 million annually for five years to further research into hypersonic technologies. The development mirrors one already in place in China.

Oct 27, 2020

Lockheed Martin CEO Jim Taiclet says partnerships with other companies could be the key to U.S. and allied militaries as they move to 5G networking while also enabling L-M to diversify its product lines. The U.S. Air Force alone plans to spend at least $9 billion over the next five years connecting its weapons systems.

Oct 27, 2020

The British lobby, ADS Group, which represents the aerospace industries, says the future of Britain’s £34-billion sector, which employs 110,000, is at risk if there’s no agreement with the European Union about mutual recognition of parts. It warns that customers could “go elsewhere” or British-based companies might opt to relocate.

Oct 27, 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country and NATO should inspect each other’s military bases in a bid to move along a moratorium on the deployment of new missiles in Europe. The U.S. and Russia, each accusing the other of violations, withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty last year. “Vigorous efforts are needed to ease the shortage of trust, to strengthen regional and global stability, and to reduce the risks stemming from misunderstandings and disagreements in the field of missile weapons,” Putin says.

Oct 27, 2020

A delay in critical simulation tests has forced the U.S. Department of Defense to delay moving Lockheed Martin’s F-35 production to full rate. It was expected to ramp up in December, having already been delayed by a year, but now is not expected until sometime in 2021.

Oct 27, 2020

Embraer’s Lineage 1000 has been chosen by Pakistan as a replacement for its Boeing P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. It is unclear whether the new platform is being procured directly from the Brazilian manufacturer or another party.

Oct 27, 2020

The Chinese foreign ministry is planning to impose sanctions on Boeing’s defence division?, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and “revelevant American individuals” for supplying weapons to Taiwan. However, a ministry spokesman gave no further details.

Oct 27, 2020

A pledge by French President Emmanuel Macron to defend his country’s state secularism has prompted his Turkish counterpart, to call for a boycott of French products over what he considers “oppression against Muslims.” The interaction between the two NATO members follows the murder of a teacher in retaliation for his displaying contentious cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. 

Oct 26, 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested that a military alliance with China is “certainly imaginable, in theory." Some Chinese observers have called an alliance unlikely but say that even broaching the idea is a sign of good will.

Oct 26, 2020

Ottawa Police Service is seeking the public’s help in identifying a man who carved a swastika on the gravestone helmet at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier 22 October. The damage, described by Veterans Affairs Minister Laurence MacAulay as “disgusting,” has been repaired.

Oct 26, 2020

The U.S Coast Guard is deploying enhanced response cutters in the Western Pacific. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien says China’s “illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing, and harassment of vessels operating in the exclusive economic zones of other countries in the Indo-Pacific threatens our sovereignty, as well as the sovereignty of our Pacific neighbors and endangers regional stability.”

Oct 26, 2020

Bombardier Recreational Products has suspended the delivery of its Rotax engines to “countries with unclear usage.” This is in response to reports that the engines, manufactured in Austria and certified for civilian use, are powering Turkish combat drones deployed by Azeri forces fighting Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Oct 26, 2020

Roman Waschuk, Canada’s ambassador to Ukraine from 2014 to 2019, says Canada’s presence in Eastern Europe shows that while we have military “bite” there, it could benefit from added “bark” in regional discussions.

Oct 26, 2020

Five days of talks in Geneva have yielded a UN-brokered ceasefire agreement between Libya's warring factions. UN envoy Stephanie Williams, former Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, says that “all military units and armed groups on the front lines shall return to their camps” and that this would be “accompanied by the departure of all mercenaries and foreign fighters . . . within a maximum period of three months.”

Oct 26, 2020

Armed drones pose an increasing threat to fighting forces. Gaming technologies have contributed to the creation of a new "drone killer" that has been developed in Israel. 

Oct 26, 2020

Pratt & Whitney Military Engines has received a contract to study modernization of the F135 engine which powers Lockheed-Martin F-35s for Block 4.2 and subsequent aircraft. PWME President Matthew Bromberg says “growth in aircraft capability must be met with matched propulsion modernization” and that the F135 “has ample design margin to support agile and affordable upgrades.”

Oct 26, 2020

While domestic shipyards will get “a significant percentage” of the work on three new Royal Navy logistics vessels, the British defence ministry expects some of the £1.5 billion program will go to foreign yards. The decision reflects ministry arranges for involvement when it purchased new armored vehicles from General Dynamics.

Oct 26, 2020

A report released by U.S. European Command recommends that other NATO countries which either don’t operate the Lockheed Martin F-35, or have no plans to do so, should configure their fighters to work with them. Prepared by the Rank think-tank, it's predicated on the concept that the F-35 is the only aircraft capable of initial contact with Russian forces.

Oct 23, 2020

Senior national security officials have indicated that the U.S.-driven goal of NATO countries spending two per cent of GDP on defence is now the “gold standard” for all allies. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has added that “we also expect them to be ready, capable and willing to deploy when trouble calls, and we expect them to stand shoulder to shoulder with the United States in confronting Chinese bad behavior and Russian aggression.”

Oct 23, 2020

Canada and U.S. allies in Europe have increased defence spending for a sixth consecutive year but a new NATO report highlights a continued shortfall. France and Norway are forecast to join eight other countries spending at least two percent of GDP on defence this year.

Oct 23, 2020

Russian President Vladimir Putin says nearly 5,000 people have been killed in the fighting between Azeri and Armenian forces in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. He also has called on the U.S. to help with arranging a peace agreement in the region which is part of Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic with a large ethnic Armenian population.

Oct 23, 2020

The U.S. has approved a $1.8-billion arms sale to Taiwan which includes cruise missiles, mobile rocket launchers and fighter-mountable reconnaissance pods. Taiwan says the procurement would help to “build credible combat capabilities and strengthen the development of asymmetric warfare.”

Oct 23, 2020

A Chinese foreign ministry official has threatened “legitimate and necessary responses” to Taiwan’s $1.8-billion procurement of U.S. weapons and surveillance gear. The official says the sale sends “a very wrong signal to separatist forces advocating for Taiwan independence, and seriously damages China-U.S. relations.”

Oct 23, 2020

A proposed sale of Lockheed Martin F-25s to the United Arab Emirates is being challenged by two Senate Democrats who have tabled a bill designed to block delivery unless the U.S. administration meets certain criteria. Among other things, they want a report detailing the technical risks of selling the F-35 to non-NATO countries except for a few allies.

Oct 22, 2020

Israel's new navy corvettes being built in Germany will carry a variety of sea-sea and sea-air missiles that have been developed in Israel. The successful trial of a new sea-to-sea missile system will help determine the configuration of the combined air defense system to be carried by the corvettes.

Oct 22, 2020

A Departmenrt of National Defence report indicates that five years into Operation Honour, the military is still having to deal with bullying and harassment. Many who report abuse complain of having been abandoned by the chain of command despite assurances by senior leaders and the government.

Oct 21, 2020

According to local media in that country, Turkey has been testing its Russian-made S-400 air defense system in recent days, and ties between Turkey and Iran seem to be warming up. What does this mean to other NATO members?

Oct 21, 2020

RCAF veteran Karen McCrimmon, the first female navigator and first woman to command a squadron before a tour in Afghanistan and then a posting to NATO Air headquarters in Germany, has been re-elected chair of the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence. 

Oct 21, 2020

Shrinking sea ice in the Arctic, resulting in a longer navigable season, is accelerating a race among global powers for control over its waters and resources. China and Russia have been particularly assertive.

Oct 21, 2020

The National Security Agency has issued an advisory that Chinese-connected adversaries are targetting vulnerable U.S. systems. “It can be hard to prioritize patching and mitigation efforts,” says NSA Cybersecurity Director Anne Neuberger. “While these vulnerabilities are already public, they’re still being successfully leveraged by malicious cyber actors,” highlighting the need for action.

Oct 21, 2020

Adm Mike Gilday, the U.S. Navy chief of operations, says he and Adm Tony Radakin, Britain’s First Sea Lord, are to sign an “integrated warfighting statement of intent that sets a cooperative vision for interchangeability.” Specifics are unclear but the two navies have been increasingly collaborative in recent years.

Oct 21, 2020

Only days after each side had rejected the other’s latest nuclear Terrence offers, the concept of a mutual nuclear warhead freeze between the U.S. and Russia has been raised by the latter’s foreign ministry. The quid pro quo for Moscow would be an extension of their last treaty.

Oct 21, 2020

A request by the U.S. Navy to refuel its Boeing P-8 Poseidon surveillance aircraft in Indonesia reportedly has been rejected by Prime Minister Joko Widodo. U.S. officials “high-level” approaches this summer apparently surprised the country which has a long-standing policy of neutrality.

Oct 21, 2020

U.S. Marine MajGen. Stephen Neary, commander of USMC Forces Europe and Africa, has been dismissed due to “a loss of trust and confidence in his ability.” He is under investigation for allegedly asking junior personnel how they felt about the “N-word”.

Oct 20, 2020

Thales Canada has received a $4.6-million contract to provide in-service support for the company’s medium- to long-range air and surface 3D radars aboard the Royal Canadian Navy’s 12 Halifax-class frigates. Thales will provide critical engineering and repair and overhaul services.

Oct 20, 2020

The Azeri and Armenian foreign ministers are scheduled to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington this week in an attempt to quell the territorial dispute in Nagorno-Karabakh, part of Azerbaijan with a large Armenian population. It is not clear, however, whether the two ministers will themselves meet as well as independently with Pompeo.

Oct 20, 2020

The Greek defence minister is being given the opportunity to co-build three new frigates in an American-owned shipyard on Syros as an incentive to buy four new ships from the U.S. Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador in Athens, calls the proposal “unique” and “very competitive.”

Oct 20, 2020

Europe’s Border and Coast Guard Agency has awarded Airbus Defense & Space and Israel Aerospace Industries a contract to supply a long-range Remotely Piloted Aerial Surveillance system to be operated out of Greece or Malta. IAI’s maritime Heron RPAS can fly more than 24 hours at a time, providing real-time imagery.

Oct 19, 2020

Humanitarian relief workers with the UN and other organizations are increasingly at risk in many regions as state and non-state actors using violence to achieve their objectives. Their protection remains an ongoing and critical challenge.

Oct 19, 2020

Concerned about the environmental impact of growing use of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the pandemic, the Canadian government has challenged industry to come up with products that won't end up in landfills. A key challenge is transforming contaminated materials into “valuable materials that can further be used in manufactured products.”

Oct 19, 2020

The European Aviation Safety Agency has declared the Boeing 737 MAX “safe” and is predicting return to service in the European Union by year’s end. U.S. and Canadian regulators have yet to sign off on recertification after control issues resulted in two crashes in late 2018 and early 2019.

Oct 19, 2020

Minutes after a weekend ceasefire in the disputed region of Naforno-Karabakh ostensibly took effect, Armenia and Azerbaijan were accusing each of violations. A previous Russian-brokered ceasefire also saw each side violating it through the week.

Oct 19, 2020

Despite calls from French politicians for more government support their country’s defence industry, Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly is standing firm. She points out that the military had €18 billion more to spend in 2018 than in 2017 and that between 2019 and 2023, its investment budget will total €110 billion.

Oct 19, 2020

A new Dutch defence ministry “vision document” cautions that the country would need to nearly triple its annual military budget, currently some USD$13 billion, to achieve what is described as “a string of vague proposals” designed to yield a multi-use networked fighting force by 2035. Moreover, meeting a NATO target of two per cent of GDP would require an additional $8 billion hike from current spending.

Oct 19, 2020

The U.S. Army has stopped accepting Boeing AH-64E Apache attack helicopters after the company found that an employee had kept “improper” records. Boeing says it notified the customer immediately when the problem came to light at its Arizona factory.

Oct 19, 2020

Lockheed Martin and California-based Aerojet Rocketdyne plan to compete jointly for the next-generation U.S. missile defence interceptor. It would replace an earlier Redesigned Kill Vehicle program which was terminated by the Department of Defense last year due to technical challenges, but the goal now is to have a new system ready in 2028.

Oct 19, 2020

The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale of surface-skimming coastal defence missiles and related gear to Romania, a deal worth some $300 million. Developed by Raytheon and Norway’s Kongsberg, the weapon already has been chosen by the U.S. Navy.

Oct 19, 2020

A compact EASA radar for small and medium-sized platforms has been shown off by Thales. Although still subject to further testing, the French military have already confirmed plans to procure it for their future light joint army helicopter. Some 30 per cent smaller than others in its class, the new unit is said to be easier to integrate and operate.

Oct 16, 2020

David Markowitz, former assistant deputy chief of staff at the U.S. Army’s G-8 office, which matches available resources to the overall Army plan, is the service’s new chief data officer. His promotion comes as the Army looks to enable multi-domain operations through massive data transfers.

Oct 16, 2020

Contrary to President Donald Trump’s social media messaging, U.S. troops will not be withdrawn from Afghanistan by Christmas. National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien says the drawdown will begin in early 2021.

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