IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Jul 13, 2020

The downing of a Ukrainian airliner shortly after takeoff from Tehran International Airport 8 January is being attributed to a breakdown in communications between an improperly aligned Revolutionary Guard missile battery and its command centre. Iran’s Civil Aviation Authority said in a weekend report that the battery crew also misidentified the airliner as a threat.

Jul 13, 2020

Even as Taliban leaders preparing for formal peace talks with the Afghan government seem to be prepared for conciliation on on democracy, human rights and power-sharing, hard-core militants in the country’s eastern districts are still talking about overthrowing the government. The chief concern is that even if a peace deal is struck, entrenched differences among the militants could mean a return to widespread violence.

Jul 13, 2020

Poland's conservative President Andrzej Duda evidently has been elected by a narrow margin to a second five-year term in a weekend election, defeating Rafal Trzaskowski, the liberal mayor of Warsaw. The state electoral commission says voting in 99.07 per cent of districts in the NATO member state showed Duda with 51.21 per cent support against Trzaskowski’s 48.79 per cent.

Jul 12, 2020

U.S. approval of 105 F-35 joint strike fighters, moves Japan one step closer to becoming the biggest foreign customer of the Lockheed Martin-produced jet. The package includes 63 F-35A conventional takeoff and landing aircraft and 42 F-35 short takeoff and landing variants, as requested by Japan in 2018. The U.S. Congress was notified last week of the possible sale worth about $23 billion. If Japan moves forward with the purchase, it would have a total of 147 F-35s

Jul 12, 2020

Ottawa Nepean communities in the vicinity of the Connaught Ranges will see multiple helicopter flights and hear blank ammunition fire during training tonight. 

Jul 10, 2020

A shortage of suitable Royal Canadian Air Force transports to ferry Canadian Armed Forces troops to and from Latvia has compelled Canada to turn to the Royal Air Force. A scheduled rotation of 120 personnel within the Canadian-led NATO battlegroup in Latvia 8 July was to have used an Airbus CC-150 Polaris transport but with one of the three aircraft fleet already deployed and the others grounded, an RAF Airbus A330 was used to carry the contingent the following day as well as being tasked with returning CAF personnel to Canada.

Major U.S. arms exports approved
Jul 10, 2020

The U.S. Congress has been advised by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency that four military export packages have the agency’s blessing. The largest by far is the proposed $23-billion Japanese procurement of 105 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters for Japan, as well as recertification of Taiwan’s Patriot missile defence system, torpedoes and related hardware for Germany and Belgium.

Jul 10, 2020

Recently declassified documents show the Department of Defense know that U.S. troops were exposed to toxins and other hazardous material when deployed to a former Soviet base in Uzbekistan in a 2001-2005 counter-terrorism mission. Veterans have since been diagnosed with cancer and other problems but the Department of Veterans Affairs evidently has continued to deny many of them health care and disability support.

Jul 10, 2020

With a U.S.government-wide ban looming on contractors' use of Chinese telecommunications equipment, industry lobbies are pressing the administration for more time to adjust. The National Defense Industrial Association and the Professional Services Council want the 13 August deadline delayed by a year, saying the government should be focusing on recovering from the economic impact of COVID-19.

Jul 10, 2020

An investigation into leaks of classified and unclassified material to news media from within his department and others has been ordered by Secretary of Defense Mark Esper during a Thursday hearing. “All those things … hurt our nation’s security,” he told a House of Representatives committee 9 July. “They undermine our troops, their safety; they affect our relations with other countries.; they undermine our national policy.”

Jul 10, 2020

LGen Scott Berrier, current deputy chief of staff for U.S. Army intelligence, is President Donald Trump’s choice to head the Defense Intelligence Agency. If endorsed by the Senate, he would replace another Army officer, LGen Robert Ashley, who is expected to retire after a traditional three-year term.

Jul 10, 2020

U.S. Army Gen Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, says the Department of Defense is taking a close look at how National Guard operations could be complicated in situations where police are dressed and equipped like troops. The decision was prompted by controversy over whether Guard personnel had recently helped to remove protestors near the White House and Milley told Congress 9 July that it is critical to have “a clear definition between that which is military and that which is police.”

Jul 09, 2020

Efforts by Congress to eliminate the Department of Defense’s core management structure has resulted in vigorous pushback from the Chief Management Officer, Lisa Hershman. On the job only seven months, she counters that any serious reforms require a full-time official with high-level authority to make informed choices and drive change.

Jul 09, 2020

NATO is concerned that the Russian Navy’s submarines based in the Black Sea are increasingly present in the Mediterranean despite a 1936 treaty limiting transit through the Bosporus Strait. Moscow evidently is invoking exception clauses in the treaty which permit transits fore repair purposes but indications that the subs are going on combat patrols. Adm James Foggo, Commander of U.S. Naval Forces in Europe and Africa, calls the Eastern Med “one of the most kinetic areas in the world” from where Russian subs can go anywhere.

Jul 08, 2020

US Army LCol Alexander Vindman a 21-year career officer and key witness at President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, has retired from the military after what his lawyer described as a “campaign of bullying, intimidation and retaliation” by Trump. Vindman’s concern about a telephone call between the President and his Ukrainian counterpart precipitated the trial.

Jul 08, 2020

The Department of National Defence has been accused by the Office of the Auditor General of often failing to deliver materiel on time as requested by the Canadian Armed Forces, and that it did not have appropriate controls on transportation costs. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan responded that DND has developed a “holistic supply management approach” as a part of overall ongoing measures to “ensure that each and every member has the equipment they need.”

Jul 08, 2020

Espionage and theft of intellectual property by China present the “greatest long-term threat" to the future of the U.S., according to FBI Director Christopher Wray. “The stakes could not be higher,” he says. “China is engaged in a whole-of-state effort to become the world's only superpower by any means necessary.”

Jul 08, 2020

The federal deficit is projected at $343 billion in the current fiscal year, boosting cumulative indebtedness to $1.2 trillion, according to a Fiscal Snapshot released 8 July by Finance Minister Bill Morneau. “Some will criticize us on the cost of action,” he said, referring to the sundry COVID-19 support packages offered by the government. “Those who would have us do less ignore that, without government action, millions of jobs would have been lost, putting the burden of debt onto families and jeopardizing Canada's resilience.”

Jul 08, 2020

A bipartisan group in Congress wants the Department of Defense to accelerate Turkey’s removal from Lockheed Martin’s F-35 supply chain. They aired their concerns in a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, saying that DoD plans to continue procuring parts undermines U.S. pressure on Turkey over its purchase of a Russian air-defense system.

Jul 08, 2020

Marine Corps Gen Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command in the Middle East, has questioned the validity of intelligence community suggestions that Russia offer Afghan militants bounties for killing U.S. personnel. He says that although he asked his staff to investigate the “worrisome” reports, he did not increase protective measures.

Jul 08, 2020

British shipments of military equipment to Saudi Arabia, suspended last year amid legal challenges, are set to resume despite concerns they could be used against civilians in Yemen. A review found “isolated incidents” of possible violation of international law but “no clear risk” of continued problems, but The Campaign Against the Arms Trade calls it “morally bankrupt” hypocrisy after Britain banned senior Saudi officials and froze assets in connection with the 2018 death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Jul 08, 2020

The third in a planned constellation of 10 U.S. third-general global positioning system satellites has been launched by SpaceX on behalf of Lockheed Martin. It eventually will orbit at some 21,000 kilometres.

Jul 07, 2020

Members of the public will see a larger number of military vehicles on the roads between Canadian Forces Base Borden and various units across Ontario on 8 July 2020.

Jul 07, 2020

USAF LGen Glen D. VanHerck, Director of the Joint Staff in the Department of Defense, has been nominated by President Donald Trump as Commander of U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command, headquartered at Peterson AFB, Colorado. His appointment, subject to congressional approval, is one of four senior postings announced 6 July.

Jul 07, 2020

China has accused the U.S. of having “ulterior motives” with the unprecedented deployment of two aircraft carrier strike groups for a series of exercises in the South China Sea. State media said 6 July that Beijing, which also is conducting exercises there, is ready to counter what it sees as a challenge in the disputed region.

Jul 07, 2020

Former military journalist Ivan Safronov, who joined the Russian space agency less than two months ago as an advisor to its director general, has been arrested for treason. Roskosmos says the arrest was not related to his job with the agency. Russian state security has accused Safronov of passing on information to an unspecified NATO member.

Jul 07, 2020

The U.S. State Department has approved nearly $7.5 billion in potential military exports, including fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, troops carriers and even aviation fuel. Assuming approval by Congress, the customer countries then have to negotiate price and quantity.

Jul 07, 2020

In the wake of a deadly mid-June border clash with China forces, India’s defence ministry has proposed accelerated procurement of domestic and imported arms in a package valued at some $412 billion Rupees ($7.4 billion), 80 per cent of it from Indian suppliers.

Jul 07, 2020

L3Harris Technologies Inc. has launched a new demonstrator satellite for the U.S. Air Force. The Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles Secondary Payload Adapter system enables operators to change tasking by reprogramming in orbit.

Jul 07, 2020

Using aerial observers to improve artillery targeting has been around since World War I and now the U.S. Army plans to take forward air control to new heights with satellite technology. Gen Mike Murray, head of Army Futures Command, says the Long-Range Precision Fires capability had been demonstrated in Europe earlier this year.

Jul 07, 2020
A U.S. envoy’s arrival in South Korea 6 July is being described as a bid to renew nuclear negotiations, only hours after Pyongyang dismissed the idea and told Seoul to “stop meddling.” Nevertheless, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, who has led working-level talks with North Korean, was due to meet South Korean officials over two days.
Jul 06, 2020

Veteran federal and Ontario politician Bob Rae, 71, has been appointed Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations. He replaces Marc-Andre Blanchard who has served since April 2016 and who had indicated earlier that he would be leaving. Rae, 71, most recently served Trudeau as a special envoy for humanitarian and immigration issues.

Jul 05, 2020

COVID-19 concerns resulted in the recall last week of a Canadian Armed Forces flight carrying personnel to Latvia where Canada has commanded a NATO battle group since 2017. An individual who had tested positive for the virus, but who was not aboard the flight, might have interacted with the aircraft.

Jul 04, 2020

A Manitoba member of the Canadian Rangers faces 22 criminal charges in relation to an attack on Rideau Hall, the estate housing the Governor General’s residence and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s temporary official residence. Corey Hurren, 46, was arrested after a pickup truck rammed through the estate’s main gate 2 July and the driver proceeded on foot toward the residences until a 90-minute negotiation with RCMP ended quietly. Most of the charges relate to possession and transportation of firearms and Hurren has been remanded in custody.

Jul 04, 2020

Finance Minister Bill Morneau, scheduled to present a federal government “economic and fiscal snapshot” on Wednesday 8 July, says that “as hard as it’s been over the last few months,” mainly due to COVID-19’s economic impact, “the really tough choices will still be to come.” The challenge, he explained, is that “we'll need to think about where we invest and how we support people without creating bad incentives.”

Jul 04, 2020

In response to China’s increasing crackdown on Hong Kong, the Canadian government has suspended an extradition treaty with the former British colony and is restricting exports of sensitive goods. “This process demonstrated disregard for Hong Kong's basic law and the high degree of autonomy promised for Hong Kong under the 'one country, two systems' framework,” Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said 03 July. “Hong Kong's role as a global hub was built on that foundation. Without it, Canada is forced to reassess existing agreements.”

Jul 04, 2020

An audio recording obtained by the Canadian government suggests that Iran permitted air traffic in and out of Tehran’s international airport during a period of intense military activity that saw a Ukrainian airliner downed by missiles six monhs ago. The recording is of a conversation between Iran’s accident investigation team and a Canadian family member of one of the 17 victims. The investigator, who explained that closing Tehran airspace could have exposed an imminent missile attack on U.S. bases in Iraq, has since been removed.

Jul 03, 2020

Manitoba resident Corey Hurren, a Canadian Ranger and former regular member of the Canadian Armed Forces, is being held by RCMP after a pickup truck was used 02 July to ram through the games at Rideau Hall. The driver, who was reportedly armed with a long gun, was arrested without incident after moving on foot toward the official residences of the Governor General and the Prime Minister, neither of whom was home.

Jul 02, 2020

A member of the Canadian Armed Forces, identified only as an armed member of the Canadian Rangers, is in RCMP custody after a pickup truck registered in Manitoba was used to ram the gates at Rideau Hall early 02 July. after which the driver proceeded on foot toward the official residences of the Governor General and the Prime Minister, neither of whom was at home. The Department of National Defence confirmed the suspect’s military status but declined further comment “at this time” as it is an RCMP investigation.

Jul 02, 2020

Nimrod Sheffer, CEO of Israel Aerospace Industries since June 2018, has announced that he will step down after a successor has been trained. The former fighter pilot, who capped 36 years in the military as Deputy Commander of the Air Force, joined the conglomerate as vice president of strategic planning.

Jul 02, 2020

In an era of increasingly netcentric aircraft, Lockheed Martin says U.S. Air Force pilots at a Nevada base now can use a simulator and train alongside various types of virtual aircraft. Air Combat Command formally accepted the company’s Distributed Mission Training system in June and during test at Nellis AFB, pilots in four F-35 simulators interacted with pilots at other bases.

Jul 02, 2020

Nearly 78 per cent of Russian voters have backed constitutional reforms which, among other things, are designed to keep President Vladimir Putin in office until 2036. He is already the longest-serving leader in modern Russia since Soviet-era dictator Joseph Stalin and his political opponents say his aim is to be “president for life.”

Jul 02, 2020

Accusing Turkey of violating an arms embargo against Libya, France has suspended its involvement in NATO’s Operation Sea Guardian. The defence ministry’s announcement comes after France said Turkish naval vessels had threatened a French warship in the Mediterranean in June when it tried to inspect a Tanzanian-flagged ship suspected of smuggling weapons off the coast of Libya. The two countries have since exchanged a series of insults.

Jul 02, 2020

Some $270 billion in increased defence spending over the next decade has been announced by Australian Prime Scott Morrison. It will include long-range missiles and other measures to keep enemies at bay as the government focuses anew on domestic priorities but Morrison said Australia remains open to joining international coalitions.

Jul 02, 2020

Rules barring most foreign travellers from entering Canada have been extended by a month until at least 31 July as the federal government steps up its COVID-19 countermeasures. The restrictions apply to everyone except Canadian citizens and permanent residents, and U.S. citizens entering Canada for “essential” reasons. Closure of the Canada-U.S. border to all but essential workers and trade is covered by a separate order.

Jul 02, 2020

The multinational Airbus consortium has announced plans to lay off 11 per cent of its global workforce, mainly in the commercial aircraft division which, like other original equipment manufacturers, has been hit hard by COVID-19’s impact on international travel. The move affect–s 15,000 of its total workforce of some 134,000.

Jul 02, 2020

A series of flight tests involving software updates designed to correct a controls conflict on Boein737 MAX airliners has been completed by the company and the Federal Aviation Administration. The results are key to returning the aircraft to service after the global fleet was grounded in the aftermath of fatal crashes in Malaysia in October 2018 and in Ethiopia March 2019.

Jul 02, 2020

The U.S. says Turkish defense contractors will still be counted on to supply key components of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 fighter, including centre fuselage sections and propulsion elements, at least through 2022. The Department of Defense disclosure effectively softens a U.S. administration promise to oust Turkey from the fighter program because it purchased a Russian missile defense system.

Jul 02, 2020

U.S.-controlled territory in eastern Syria is under pressure from Russian forces, part of what is described as a move to squeeze the U.S. out of the contested region, according to two current and one former U.S. official. The two countries have supported opposing sides in the long-running civil war but hitherto have communicated regularly to deconflict in the crowded battlespace.

Jul 02, 2020

Electro-optical technology designed by Israel-based Smart Shooter and featuring a “guaranteed hit” fire control system has been selected by the U.S. for dealing with unmanned aerial systems. “Drones . . . have become a persistent threat over the battlefield, enabling opposing forces to gather critical tactical intelligence and even make direct attacks,” says the company’s CEO.

Jul 02, 2020

The Sikorsky CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift helicopter has completed initial sea trials for the U.S. Marine Corps. A U.S. Navy spokesperson says the test team completed launch and recovery as well as a range of shipboard compatibility tests.

Jul 02, 2020

Analysis of an Iranian satellite launch 10 weeks ago suggest that the launch vehicle has a strong technical kinship with the country’s ballistic missiles, one of which has a stated range of 1,700km. Iran says its missiles are restricted to 2,000 km but the U.S. maintains that the satellite launch is a cover for building longer-range capability.

Jul 02, 2020

An explosion in Iran’s eastern mountains is believed to have occurred at an underground missile factory. Satellite imagery of the area east of Tehran show extensive charred not seen in previous images in the weeks leading up to the explosion.

Jul 02, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump and 35 others accused by Iran in the January death of a senior military officer in January are the targets of an arrest warrant issued in Tehran, which is vowing to pursue Trump whenever he leaves the White House. While Interpol has said it would not consider Iran’s request, the development underscores the growing tension between Tehran and Washington.

Jun 30, 2020

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Edward Cornwallis, currently undergoing a $12.1-million refit at Shelburne Ship Repair in Nova Scotia, will be getting a new name when commissioned back into service next year. The 18th-century British officer and politician for which it is named offered bounties in the mid-1700s for the capture or scalps of Mi’kmaw men in a bid to stop raids on British settlements. A new name will be recommended by the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs.

Jun 30, 2020

BGen Dyrald Cross assumed command 30 June of the Canadian Armed Forces Transition Group from MGen Mark Misener in a small ceremony at National Defence HQ. Cross is the second commander since the group was mandated in December 2018 to provide enhanced casualty support and transition services to CAF members and their families.

Jun 30, 2020

The Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Fredericton is participating alongside British, French, German, Norwegian and U.S. forces in exercise Dynamic Mongoose off the coast of Iceland. Designed to hone anti-submarine and anti-surface warfare skills, the exercise began 29 June and is set to run until 10 July.

Jun 30, 2020

Even as the U.S. and Canada continue to deploy fighters to intercept Russian aircraft encroaching on North American airspace, the Russians have released footage of an interception of three U.S. aircraft flying toward its Black Sea borders. A Sukoi Su-25 was tasked with approaching the two U.S. reconnaissance aircraft and a tanker.

Jun 30, 2020

President Donald Trump has said he was not briefed about a Russian program which allegedly offeredAfghan terrorists bounties to kill U.S. service personnel but senior White House officials say the administration was aware early last year of the classified information and that it had been included in the President’s daily briefing notes.

Jun 30, 2020

South Korea has approved procurement of an undisclosed number of airborne early warning and control aircraft and more signals intelligence-gathering platforms, most likely Boeing 737 variants. The respective programs are budgeted at the equivalent of approximately $1.8 billion and $1 billion, respectively.

Jun 30, 2020

GM Defense has been awarded a $214.3 million contract to supply 649 new helicopter-transportable infantry squad vehicles for the U.S. Army over the next seven years. There is a follow-on requirement for 1,415 more of the vehicles capable of carrying nine troopers.

Jun 30, 2020

Washington-based Human Rights Watch is accusing Canada of flouting its international obligations by failing to repatriate and provide adequate consular assistance to 47 citizens, including 26 children, detained in northeast Syria. The adults, linked to the Islamic State terrorist organization, are being held by Kurdish forces. The Canadian government said it will not put its personnel at risk to gather evidence and repatriate the combatants.

Jun 30, 2020

The U.S. has imposed new export controls on military and some high-technology products destined for Hong Kong. The administration decided several weeks ago that the former British colony no longer had sufficient autonomy as Beijing consolidated its hold.

Jun 30, 2020

Even though Covid-19 remains a global threat, Canada is on a European Union list of 14 from which visitors are deemed “safe” due to the success of their governments in dealing with the pandemic. So, too, are Australia and Japan, among others, but the U.S., Brazil and China are not.

Jun 29, 2020

The flight data and cockpit voice recorders from Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752, downed by Iranian missiles after takeoff from Tehran nearly six months ago, will be shipped to France for analysis in July, the International Civil Aviation Organization has announced. While French investigators will lead the analysis, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada also will be involved because many Canadians died in the attack.

Jun 29, 2020

The U.S. has labelled Iran as the “foremost state sponsor of terrorism.” In its latest annual Country Reports on Terrorism, the State Department says Iran continues to funnel money and resources to terrorist organizations around the world but possibly less than in previous years due to the current global economic crisis.

Jun 29, 2020

Several U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan are reported to have been killed by Taliban-linked militants encouraged by Russian bounties. This is according to information from captured militants and evidently was the focus of a White House meeting in March but President Donald Trump says he was not briefed.

Jun 26, 2020

A Transport Canada plan to permit some types of remotely piloted aircraft system to be flown out of sight of their operators, and at higher altitudes, is a concern for the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association. Drone advocates complain that current regulations have not kept up with advances in drone technology but COPA “is taking a position against the proposed amendments on safety grounds.”

Jun 26, 2020

President Donald Trump’s nomination of retired Army General Anthony Tata as policy chief at the Department of Defense is being challenged by more than 50 advocacy groups. Accusing him of “bigotry and discrimination” during his military career, the critics say the Senate should not confirm the appointment of “one of the most clearly bigoted executive nominees in recent memory.”

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