IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Jan 06, 2022

The apparently unprecedented belly-landing earlier this week of one of South Korea’s more than 30 Lockheed Martin F-35A fighters (the same model being offered to Canada) has resulted in the entire fleet being grounded pending an investigation. It was returning from a training flight when an electronics failure evidently caused the landing gear to malfunction.

Jan 06, 2022

Two off-duty U.S Air Force officers flying commercially to Canada from Germany for a holiday Dec. 29 helped to restrain another passenger who became rowdy on their flight, issuing threats “and thereby endangered the safety of the plane.” The unruly passenger was handed over to police on the Lufthansa flight’s arrival in Toronto.

Jan 06, 2022

USAF F-16 fighters from Ramstein Air Base in Germany flew to Poland Jan. 4 to work with Polish and Belgian F-16s on air policing missions. NATO says the three countries’ aircrews will practise “advanced airborne maneuvers” to strengthen command and control procedures in coordination with a German operations centre.

Jan 06, 2022

The UN has a policy designed to prohibit North Korea from nuclear and ballistic missile tests but the “hermit kingdom” recently fired what is believed to be a ballistic missile. Immediately condemned by South Korea and Japan, the test evidently saw the missile land in the Sea of Japan after flying some 500km.

Jan 06, 2022

The Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM) in the U.S. Army has its first chief technology officer. It said Jan. 4 that the appointment of Chaneta Samms, formerly chief of plans and programs at the Army Research Lab, reflects the service’s push to “strengthen the integration of its multi-billion dollar research and technology mission.”

Jan 06, 2022

Xerox is leading a U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency program which uses artificial intelligence and augmented reality to improve training for military mechanics and medics. AMIGOS (Autonomous Multimodal Ingestion for Goal-Oriented Support) is funded by a $5.8-million DARPA contract which also involves U.S. and German universities and a New York-based company, Patched Reality.

Jan 05, 2022

Gov Greg Abbott of Texas has told National Guard members in his state that they can ignore Department of Defense coronavirus vaccination rules. “President Biden . . . is not your commander-in-chief under our federal or state Constitutions,” Abbott said Jan. 4. “As long as I am your commander-in-chief, I will not tolerate efforts to compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine.” Abbott is one of seven Republican state leaders challenging the federal policy.

Jan 05, 2022

A Republican-appointed U.S. District Court judge in Texas has granted a preliminary injunction against the Navy disciplining 35 sailors for refusing mandatory coronavirus vaccinations on religious grounds. There was no indication that the order would affect sailors beyond the 35 who sued the USN and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

Jan 05, 2022

A virtual meeting of NATO foreign ministers is scheduled for Jan. 7 to assess the situation in Ukraine. The extraordinary meeting of the 30 alliance members kicks off a week of intense diplomacy over troop buildups along the Ukrainian border with Russian and U.S. officials meeting in Geneva Jan. 12 followed by talks in Vienna of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Vienna.

Jan 05, 2022

Debris from a Nov. 15 Russian test of an anti-satellite weapon will remain a threat to many military and civilian satellites, including the International Space Station for at least several more years. However, the threat is expected to diminish as more than 900 of some 1,500 fragments being tracked by U.S. Space Command are projected to de-orbit by mid-decade.

Jan 05, 2022

Israel has agreed to buy two Boeing 767-based KC-46A tankers and 12 Lockheed Martin CH-53K King Stallion heavy-lift cargo helicopters with an option for six more. Both aircraft in the $3.1-billion procurement will replace legacy platforms.

Jan 05, 2022

Kristin Robertson, most recently vice president and general manager of autonomous systems dur9ng a 27-year career with Boeing, has been tapped by Raytheon Intelligence & Space to lead its space and command and control business.

Jan 05, 2022

Despite attempts by two U.S. administrations to shut down the military’s terrorist detention and trial facility at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, the Department of Defense has begun a $4-million courtroom expansion. Public attendance at trials in the original Camp Justice courtroom will still be permitted but the new courtroom will only be viewable remotely through a “virtual gallery with multiple camera angles.”

Jan 04, 2022

Charles M. Lieber, a Harvard University professor and government-funded nanotechnology researcher, has been found guilty by a U.S. federal court of lying to the Department of Defense and other authorities about his ties to China. The jury finding is seen as a victory for the Justice Department amidst a crackdown on academic espionage. Lieber was arrested in January 2020 and evidence against him included a contract paying him $50,000 a month for work with the Wuhan Institute of Technology.

Jan 04, 2022

A former Republican party staffer in Congress wants Airbus shut out of the competition to supply the U.S. Air Force with new tankers, a move which would clear the way for Boeing which has put up its 767-based KC-46A against the A330-based Multi-Role Tanker Transport. “The company is guilty of misbehavior when it comes to defense contracting,” writes Lynn Haueter, alluding to fines Airbus agreed to in 2020 to settle international investigations into alleged bribery. “Airbus should be ineligible for new defense contracts . . . until it can prove it has changed its ways.”

Jan 03, 2022

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has confirmed a recent arms deal with Russia which includes man-portable 9M-133 Kornet anti-tank missiles, the latest iteration of which have an 8,000-metre range. “I am pleased that our soldiers are happy about the purchase,” he said Jan. 2, calling the weapons “an important defensive tool to deter anyone from potential aggression against our country.”

Jan 03, 2022

The first of 25 Chingdu J-10 Firebird multi-role fighters to be delivered to Pakistan’s air force is expected to make its debut at a Pakistan Day Parade March 23. Interior Minister Rasheed Ahmed has characterized the acquisition of the Chinese single-engine delta/canard design as a counter to India’s growing Dassault Rafale fleet.

Jan 03, 2022

Against a global backdrop of increased regional tensions, the five permanent UN Security Council members, all nuclear powers, promised today to prevent further proliferation and ensure a nuclear war is never fought. In a rare joint statement, Britain, France, China, Russia and the U.S. said they “We believe strongly that the further spread of such weapons must be prevented” and that “a nuclear war cannot be won.”

Jan 03, 2022

A complaint six months ago by Glock’s Canadian representative, Ottawa-based Rampart International, has prompted Public Services and Procurement Canada to restart the military’s General Service Pistol replacement plan. The process of replacing aging and increasingly unreliable Browning High Power nine-millimetre semi-automatics was derailed in November, when the Canadian International Trade Tribunal effectively agreed with Rampart that the original procurement parameters favoured Beretta and Sig Sauer.

Jan 03, 2022

The RCAF’s plan to replace its remaining Boeing CF-188 Hornets is arguably a politically-loaded situation which threatens to blow up in the federal government’s face regardless of which of two finalists is chosen. The competition is down to the Lockheed Martin F-35 and the Saab Gripen; both manufacturers have been asked to improve their offer before a decision is made later this year.

Dec 31, 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden has urged his Russian counterpart to ease tensions along the Ukraine border or face more economic sanctions if Vladimir Putin opts to invade his neighbour. Putin, who had requested their 50-minute phone call, said new sanctions would be a “colossal mistake.” Athough the call yielded no major breakthroughs, officials on both ends said it had set the tone for scheduled diplomatic talks in Geneva in January.

Dec 31, 2021

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said today that his country will move to “eliminate unacceptable threats” and take “all necessary measures to ensure a strategic balance” if the U.S. and NATO don’t respond to security demands. He also said his ministry would not allow “endless discussions” as tensions simmer between Moscow and Western powers over Ukraine.

Dec 30, 2021

VAdm Craig Baines says the Royal Canadian Navy needs about 1,000 additional mariners to crew his warships. It has been able to make do in recent years with the decommissioning of five older ships but Baines says the advent of the Arctic offshore patrol vessels and anticipated additional ships means crews need to be trained and ready for their arrival.

Dec 30, 2021

NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force comes under French command for 2022. Created in 2014 in response to Middle East and Ukrainian crises, the rapid-reaction unit comprises several thousand troops with a Franco-German brigade of 3,500 at its core. It was under Turkish command this year and Germany is scheduled to take over in 2023.

Dec 30, 2021

Britain evidently is interested in working with the Canadian Armed Forces in the Arctic, offering to participate in cold-weather exercises and potentially deploying nuclear submarines to enhance surveillance and defence. Both NATO members have already cooperated on exercises in Norway and Army Gen Sir Nick Carter, who retired last month as Chief of the Defence Staff, said Britain also wanted to “co-operate in terms of helping Canada do what Canada needs to do as an Arctic country.”

Dec 30, 2021

An engine room fire in November aboard HMCS Fredericton, which entered service with the Royal Canadian Navy in 1994, is seen by VAdm Craig Baines as evidence that the frigate fleet is starting to show its age. The Fredericton was leading a NATO taskforce off t Norway when the fire erupted, taking the crew 22 minutes to suppress in the cramped space. “There's no denying that the ships are aging,” Bains said. “As a result, there's going to be issues that will present themselves that we wouldn't have seen earlier.”

Dec 29, 2021

New U.S. legislation sets the stage for Taiwan to be invited next year to RIMPAC, the world's largest naval exercise. The 2022 National Defense Authorization Act says the invitation would supplement U.S. efforts to support the island in the face of “increasingly coercive and aggressive behavior.” Canada has been involved in the biennial two-week Rim of the Pacific Exercise since its inception in 1971.

Dec 29, 2021

A bid by Oklahoma’s state government and National Guard personnel to challenge mandatory COOVID-19 vaccinations was rebuffed by U.S. District Court Stephen Friot. “The vaccine mandate to which the governor objects is the one — in addition to the nine that already apply to all service members — intended to protect service members from the virus which has, in less than two years, killed more Americans than have been killed in action in all of the wars the United States has ever fought,” Friot wrote. “The court is required to decide the case on the basis of federal law, not common sense. But, either way, the result would be the same.”

Dec 29, 2021

The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said today that the EU should play an active role in the upcoming U.S.-Russia talks over security concerns around Ukraine. “European security is our security,” he said. “This is not simply the case for two states, i.e. America and Russia, or NATO and Russia — even if Moscow imagines it.”

Dec 29, 2021

Northrop Grumman has been awarded a $1.4-billion U.S. Army contract for production of a new command system which will link sensors and shooters in the battlespace. Cleared for production 11 months ago, the program is expected to be completed by the end of 2026.

Dec 29, 2021

In a situation probably reflected in other countries’ militaries, hazing within the U.S. Department of Defense’s rank is likely understated. “The military services have a rich tradition of initiation ceremonies and rights of passage, but at times, they have included inappropriate or abusive behavior,” the Government Accountability says. “According to DOD, hazing jeopardizes readiness and weakens trust within the ranks.”

Dec 28, 2021

Jan. 10 has been set for talks between U.S. and Russian officials about their military activities amidst rising tensions over Ukraine. The U.S. administration says these talks are expected to be followed Jan. 13 by a broader meeting between Russia and NATO.

Dec 27, 2021

The Russian foreign ministry confirmed Dec. 26 that it received a NATO proposal to begin discussions Jan. 12 on Russia’s security concerns. This follows the Kremlin’s publication last week of issues it wants to address, including asking the alliance to stop military activities in Eastern Europe even as Moscow beefed up its border presence.

Dec 24, 2021

The latest model of a turbojet cruise missile developed by Pakistan has been successfully tested at a range of more than 900 kilometres, twice the range of a previous model. The development enhances the country’s nuclear capability in a long-running volatile relationship with India.

Dec 24, 2021

Although still subject to final approval, the U.S. State Department has approved the sale of 341 British-designed Javelin anti-tank missiles and 30 command launch units to Lithuania. The potential sale is worth up US$125 million to Thales Air Defence.

Dec 24, 2021

Japan has approved a supplementary budget equivalent to some US$317 billion which includes additional funding for missile defense systems and other military technologies in the current fiscal year. However, the funding largely is meant for additional coronavirus measures as well as funding to support families and the country’s tourism industry.

Dec 24, 2021

Against a backdrop of perceptions that the U.S. may no longer be a stauch ally of some Middle East countries, French President Emmanuel Macron returned from a brief visit to the United Arab Emirates with a $19-billion order for 80 Dassault Rafale fighters and 12 helicopters. This followed the UAE’s recent suspension of $23 billion worth of weapons from the U.S.

Dec 24, 2021

Attempts by Indonesia to buy Sukhoi Su-35 “Flanker” fighters from Russia since a 2018 have collapsed and now the procurement focus is on either the Boeing F-15EX Eagle II or the Dassault Rafale. Air Chief Marshal Fadjar Prasetyo said Indonesia wants two to three squadrons and while the decision was not explained, there could have been concerns about U.S. legislation designed to discourage military acqusigions from U.S. adversaries.

Dec 24, 2021

Britain and Japan have agreed to collaborate on development of an engine for their separately-designed next-generation fighter aircraft. Britain’s defence minister confirmed the Memorandum of Cooperation for the program led by Rolls-Royce and the Tokyo-based IHI engineering firm.

Dec 24, 2021

A five-day exercise by U.S. Army cyber forces at a training facility in Indiana used a “smart house” riddled with Internet-connected devices was used to train troops on how to gather intelligence by hacking into the realistic structure to force “terrorists” out rather than engage in a firefight.

Dec 23, 2021

Canadian health authorities reported 14,995 COVID-19 cases Dec. 22, a record since the pandemic began. It comes amid a steady rise which was 11,690 new cases the day before and 10,665 two days earlier. Data also show that the seven-day average is at a record 10,488 and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Theresa Tam said “modelling shows that by the beginning of January we could have very high number of cases, which underscores the need to act urgently now to reduce the acceleration.”

Dec 23, 2021

Quebec Liberal MP Yves Robillard, a member of the Standing Committee on National Defence, has censured by the party’s Chief Whip for ignoring advice about non-essential international travel as the pandemic continued to spread. Whip Steve MacKinnon said Dec. 22 that even though Robillard is “fully vaccinated,” he is being removed from committee duties as punishment.

Dec 23, 2021

LCol Philip Marcus, the former commander of 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron in Trenton, has been relieved as the Kuwait-based air commander of Operation Impact. The Department of National Defence says the Dec. 7 action followed an investigation into “inappropriate comments that demonstrated a concerning misalignment with our institution's efforts to evolve our culture.”

Dec 22, 2021

Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi confirmed Dec. 21 that Japan has agreed to increase its share of funding for U.S. troops stationed there for the next five years. The news comes after President Joe Biden’s administration called for Japan to bear more of the cost of coping with China’s regional military buildup.

Dec 22, 2021

As the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues to spread across the country in a fifth wave of the pandemic, threatening to overload health care facilities again, provinces and some cities are hunkering down with pre-Christmas prevention measures that include renewed quarantine and testing requirements as well as tighter limits on public and private gatherings.

Dec 22, 2021

Blaming the West for “tensions that are building up in Europe,” Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed to his military commanders Dec. 21 that he wants guarantees from the U.S. and its allies that NATO will not expand eastwards. His position is part of a proposed security agreement drafted as Russian troops massed along Ukraine’s borders.

Dec 21, 2021

Gen Wayne Eyre, the Chief of the Defence Staff, is backtracking on a suggestion during an October conference that an exodus of personal had contributed to the military’s sexual misconduct crisis and the coronavirus pandemic. He sparked a largely negative response by saying that “we need our mid-level leaders . . . to put service before self, not to retreat into retirement.” He now admits that his comment “did not sit well with some current and former members” and that personnel must do what’s best for themselves and their families.

Dec 21, 2021

The U.S. Department of Defense spent nearly $8.4 billion over the last six years on private companies to provide “enemy” aircraft for training with Air Force costs at home and abroad rising from $83 million in 2015 to $6.4 billion last year. The Government Accountability Office said today future spending on these “Red Air” contracts could be affected by current USAF, Navy and Marine Corps budget reviews.

Dec 21, 2021

A Xerox subsidiary, PARC, has received a $5.8-million U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contract to build an artificial intelligence system able to scan instruction manuals and convert data for augmented reality systems which are growing in popularity in aerospace design and maintenance. PARC will work with universities in California and Germany.

Dec 21, 2021

All U.S. service members would be guaranteed a “pay floor” of at least $15 an hour under a plan revived by a bipartisan group in the House of Representatives. If incorporated into the defence budget next year, it would mean a minimum annual salary of $31,000 compared with the current scale which sees enlisted personnel with less than two years’ experience earning $22,000, which can top $32,000 after four years.

Dec 21, 2021

Adm Christopher W. Grady was sworn in Dec. 20 as the 12th Vice Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. The swearing-in fills a month-long vacancy following the retirement of Air Force Gen John E. Hyten.

Dec 21, 2021

The U.S. Department of Defense issued new instructions Dec. 20 on controlling its personnel from associating with extremist groups – even though the DoD does not specifically prohibit membership in such groups. An official acknowledged that it’s “threading a very fine needle, when we’re engaging in prohibiting conduct that may be protected by the First Amendment” to the U.S. Constitution, which protects freedom of speech and assembly.

Dec 20, 2021

Col Dylan Kerr, Director of Military Prosecutions in the Canadian Armed Forces, expects that 29 criminal cases of sexual misconduct in which charges have been laid will remain within his system. He says that’s based on consultations with the victims and that transfers to civilian courts carry with them the potential for lengthy delays due to backlogs.

Dec 20, 2021

The next generation of USAF fighter lead-in trainers is taking shape inside a Boeing factory in St. Louis that once helped to launch the U.S. program and churned out McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantoms for the Vietnam War. While the T-7A Red Hawk is years away from being operational, the aircraft is being assembled not only as a trainer but also as a progenitor for future aircraft.

Dec 20, 2021

A 10-year-old Afghan girl preparing to come to Canada was recently killed at Taliban roadblock and retired MGen David Fraser, who commanded NATO troops in Kandahar, says her death shows that the federal government isn’t moving fast enough to patriate its former allies. The girl’s father had worked for the Canadian Armed Forces in Kandahar, and Kynan Walper, chief operations officer at a group helping them, agrees that “this young girl is dead because of delays in getting people over here.”

Dec 20, 2021

An Ontario judge has stayed criminal proceedings against a man accused of breaching Canada's secrets law, because of an unreasonable delay in bringing Qing Quentin Huang's case to trial. He was arrested eight years ago following an RCMP-led investigation indicated that he had had communications with China about the federal shipbuilding program but he was refused access to details in a redacted affidavit and warrant.

Dec 20, 2021

The U.S. Army has formally reprimanded 2,767 troops who continue to heed a COVID vaccine order and Army Secretary Christine Wormuth has warned that continued refusal would set the stage for “involuntary separation proceedings.” Members of the Marine Corps have already been discharged and there are ongoing problems with National Guard units.

Dec 20, 2021

A senior official in the current U.S. administration is quoted as saying that Iran has been “rapidly accelerating” its nuclear program since the previous administration withdrew from an international agreement in 2018. The deal with Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the U.S. traded sanctions relief for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program and the official reportedly says Iran’s resumption of development “should not have been a surprise to anybody that knows Iranian behavior.”

Dec 20, 2021

British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace says it’s “unlikely” that NATO allies would deploy troops to defend Ukraine against a Russia invasion. “We shouldn’t kid people we would,” he says, and “the Ukrainians are aware of that” because their country is not a NATO member. As Russia insists that troops buildups along its borers with Ukraine are not a prelude to invasion, Wallace says Britain remains diplomatically “shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ukraine.”

Dec 20, 2021

The Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen Wayne Eyre, has been told in writing by his department’s ombudsman that processes for dealing with grievances, especially about misconduct, seem to run afoul of indifferent commanders. In one highlighted case, one CAF member has waited more nine years for a grievance claim to be processed and that, at last count, 664 grievances had been languished in bureaucratic in limbo for longer than 18 months

Dec 20, 2021

As the federal government advises Canadians to avoid non-essential travel and reinstates mandatory rapid-testing for returning travellers as the coronavirus Omicron variant spreads, policies vary across the country with individual jurisdictions implementing additional restrictions and quarantine requirements.

Dec 20, 2021

James “Aaron” Bishop, who brings a mix of military and private-sector experience to the job, has been confirmed as chief information security office for the U.S. Department of the Air Force. his boss, Chief Information Officer Lauren Knausenberger, says Bishop is mandated to drive cybersecurity across her department.

Dec 17, 2021

A new report from the Parliamentary Budget Office has reignited the political controversy over which shipyard should build the new polar-class icebreakers.

Dec 17, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has suggested that senior commanders played down the misconduct scandals which have shaken the military. However, in hindsight “there’s always things that we wish we had done more and faster,” he acknowledges in a year-end nterview.” But when “the very top levels of the military are insisting that there is no problem, it is a challenge for any government to say ‘okay, you’re wrong, we’re going to get rid of you all, we’re going to bring in an entirely new system’.”

Dec 17, 2021

The British Army’s safety and procurement culture is under investigation after major issues with its Ajax tracked armoured fighting vehicle developed by General Dynamics Land Systems UK. Minister of State for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin disclosed Dec. 15 that he planned to appoint “a senior legal figure” to review the project which disclosed vibration and noise problems during Army pre-acceptance trials.

Dec 17, 2021

Two U.S. Air Force Boeing B-52 Stratofortress bombers from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota hopped the border last week to Canadian Forces Base Shilo in southwestern Manitoba, where they dropped 54 weapons with the support of Canadian tactical ground stations before flying on to California. The Dec. 6-8 “bomber agile combat deployment” was part of preparations for possible conflict in the Pacific which would involve “austere and unfamiliar” locations.

Dec 17, 2021

Amidst spiralling tensions over Ukraine, a Kremlin spokesman said Dec. 16 that Russia has submitted draft security arrangements it wants to negotiate with the U.S. and NATO allies. A spokesman said a senior diplomat is on immediate standby for talks in a neutral country and that President Vladimir Putin may have a call with U.S. President Joe Biden before the year’s end.

Dec 17, 2021

Army LGen. Jennie Carignan, the Canadian military’s chief of professional conduct and culture, says her team is developing a five-year timeline to implement “effective, irreversible positive changes” within the Canadian Armed Forces. “But we have to understand that keeping vigilance over our culture never ends,” she said Dec. 16. “In my 35 years of service I have never seen such engagement and commitment to the issue of culture change.”

Dec 17, 2021

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s hard-line military force, will see its budget more than double in 2022 to the equivalent of US$22 billion over 2021. The budget for the country’s conventional military is projected to rise by some 60 per cent to the equivalent of $7.99 billion.

Dec 17, 2021

The Royal Canadian Navy frigate HMCS Winnipeg was welcomed home to its B.C. homeport of Esquimalt Dec. 16 after a four-month Indo-Pacific deployment which included participation in a couple of multinational exercises. The mission included stops in South Korea and the Philippines.

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