IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Oct 06, 2020

Russia’s ambassador to Iran, Levan Jagarian, has said he would have “no problem” with his country selling its S-400 anti-aircraft missile hardware to Iran once a UN arms embargo expires 18 October.

Oct 06, 2020

The export of drone targetting technology to Turkey has been suspended pending investigation of its alleged use by Azerbaijani forces against Armenians in the escalating conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Announcing the decision 5 October, Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne cited a complaint by Project Ploughshares that the L3Harris technology is being used in Turkish-supplied combat drones.

Oct 06, 2020

Turkey has been asked by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to use its influence to reduce tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia, locked in a violent territorial dispute in Nagorno-Karabakh, geographically part of Azerbaijan but predominantly inhabited by Armenians. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has countered by asking why NATO and others in the international community are not supporting Azerbaijan.

Oct 05, 2020

Davie Shipyard workers and Canadian Coast Guard personnel were exposed to lead-based paint for months during an extensive refit of three ships at the company’s facility in Lévis, Que. After one had been delivered to the CCG, work on the others was halted last February after a CCG inspection confirmed the contamination in both vessels which were built in 2000.

Oct 05, 2020

An investigation into the crash of a Lockheed Martin F-35A Lightning II at a Florida USAF base earlier this year was caused by the pilot trying to land at an excessive speed while dealing with a flight control logic problem with the aircraft’s tail. The pilot, who ejected with non-life-threatening injuries, also had been compromised by “cognitive degradation” caused by a misaligned helmet display.

Oct 05, 2020

Special orders which would give ship and base commanders explicit directions in dealing with personnel suspected of hateful conduct and extremism are proposed by the Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force. Their decision followed Army commander LGen Wayne Eyre’s recent announcement that troops are responsible for reporting incidents.

Oct 05, 2020

Sexual assault charges against a Canadian Armed Forces officer have been stayed by the judge, Cdr Martin Pelletier. His explanation that Capt Mark Iredale could not be guaranteed his right to trial by an independent and impartial tribunal is the latest development in a debate triggered by the Chief of the Defence Staff’s decision to put courts martial under the direct command of his deputy vice-chief.

Oct 05, 2020

The U.S. military is being called on the congressional carpet to explain how an estimated $1 billion in COVID-19 relief funds allegedly were used to pay contractors rather than to purchase medical supplies. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has been told by several House subcommittees that the funds were supposed “to prioritize the domestic production and distribution of urgently needed medical supplies and personal protective equipment” and not used for “lucrative contracts . . . for non-medical projects.”

Oct 05, 2020

Stood up to get urgently needed capabilities into the field during the Iraq and Afghanistan combat deployments, the U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force is being shut down. So too, as part of a transition to large-scale operations, is the Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group after nearly 15 years. Both are to be fully deactivated by the end of fiscal 2021.

Oct 05, 2020

The U.S. Army is shifting to division- and corps-level tactics, away from its historic brigade-centric approach, in an attempt at least match increasingly sophisticated adversaries. The shift includes a stronger presence in nonphysical environments such as the electromagnetic spectrum.

Oct 05, 2020

LGen David Allvin has been confirmed as the next USAC vice-chief of staff. He has flown an extensive array of fighters and transports, including 800 flight hours as a test pilot, and is a former commander of NATO air training.

Oct 05, 2020

The French Armed Forces Ministry has presented a €49.7 billion ($77.5 billion) draft 2021 defence budget to parliament. A 4.5 per cent increase from the current year, it includes 44.8 per cent for procurements.

Oct 05, 2020

Eyes firmly on China’s military modernization and North Korea’s missile developments, Japan’s Ministry of Defence has proposed a ¥5.4-trillion ($67.6 billion) budget for the fiscal year beginning next April. An eight per cent increase from the current year, it is the eight consecutive annual increase.

Oct 02, 2020

Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne is willing to halt military export permits to Turkey if an investigation determines that Canadian technology is leading to human rights abuses in a conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan. It has been alleged that a targeting sensor made by L3Harris WESCAM is being used in Turkish drones deployed by Azerbaijani forces.

Oct 02, 2020

An executive order by President Donald Trump is designed to increase domestic U.S. production of rare earth minerals while reducing dependence on China. The order states that the current situation “constitutes an unusual and extraordinary threat . . . to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.”

Oct 02, 2020

The Massachusetts-based Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has received a U.S. Navy contract worth more than $12 million to develop unmanned submarine vehicles and buoys as well as a communications and data sharing network. The stated goal is enhanced monitoring of environmental changes in the Arctic.

Oct 02, 2020

The U.S. will continue to buy parts for Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters from Turkey despite Ankara's purchase of a Russian air defence system. The administration has banned Turkey from the overall program but the Pentagon says the hundreds of parts sourced from Turkey are needed to sustain production.

Oct 02, 2020

EllisDon-EBC Inc. Joint Venture of Ottawa has been awarded a $12.1-million contract to design a 12,500m3 operations, maintenance, planning and simulator training facility at 3 Wing Bagotville, Que., home to the RCAF’s 425 and 433 tactical fighter squadrons.

Oct 02, 2020

Video footage of a new combat exoskeleton has been released by Rostec, a Russian state-owned defence supplier. It shows an armed trooper climbing stairs and running in wooded terrain with the Shturmovik (Stormer) kit which weighs 6kg but significantly increases load-carrying capacity.

Oct 02, 2020

President Donald Trump and his wife have tested positive for COVID-19 but Vice-President Mike Pence and his wife have been confirmed negative. A persistent skeptic about the effectiveness of masks, Trump evidently was suffering “cold-like” symptoms but was continuing to work from isolation in the White House as the international community and global markets reacted to the announcement.

Oct 01, 2020

Driven by controversy over how its military handles major procurements, the Australian government has published revised guidelines on how agencies and departments assess their economic benefits. But a push beyond economics to undefined and unweighted “broader benefits,” such as impact on national sovereignty and supply chains, is raising concern that the new approach could reduce transparency.

Oct 01, 2020

As Moscow prepares to assume the chair next year of the eight-nation Arctic Council, which includes Canada, growing military and economic interest in a region made increasingly accessible by global warming has prompted a warning from the internationally-respected journal Nature. “It is imperative that both the incoming chair and the . . . member countries oversee a smooth handover (from Iceland) and ensure that the council’s vital scientific work isn’t disrupted,” it says.

Oct 01, 2020

British Chief of Defence Gen Nick Carter wants his government to “fundamentally change” how it counters spreading authoritarianism rivals or risk being overwhelmed. His advice coincides with publication of a new Integrated Operating Concept which underscores the value of improved domestic and international cooperation and equipment modernization. “In an era of persistent competition, our deterrent posture needs to be more dynamically managed and modulated,” Carter says.

Oct 01, 2020

NATO members France and Turkey have traded angry recriminations as international tensions mount over combat lashes between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan.

Oct 01, 2020

The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale to Switzerland of Lockheed Martin or Boeing fighter aircraft as well as a Raytheon Patriot surface-to-air missile defence system.

Oct 01, 2020

The U.S. Coast Guard has begun issuing Glock Gen5 9mm pistols to its personnel, a replacement for its .40-calibre Sig Sauer P229 DAKs, which have been in service since 2006. The Army, Navy and Marine Corps has opted for Sig Sauer’s 0mm modular M-18.

Sep 30, 2020

Veterans who have suffered emotion and psychological damage from being constrained by operations orders during overseas deployments are the focus of a DND study. The aim is to understand how to not only diagnose “moral injuries” but also prevent and treat them.

Sep 30, 2020

Health Canada has approved a new rapid COVID-19 swab developed by U.S.-based Abbott Laboratories and said to deliver results within minutes. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said it will be available across the country “in the coming weeks.”

Sep 30, 2020

Erik Myggland, a member of the Canadian Army Reserves in B.C. whose personal political activities are under investigation, says the allegations against him are “rubbish.” Moves to discharge him are prompted by his public role in a U.S.-based survivalist organization and a European white-supremacist group. He says reports of his involvement are biased and fail to cite years of community services.

Sep 30, 2020

No, not the common fish-eating bird, but the RCAF’s search and rescue whirlybird. An AgustaWestland CH-148 Cormorant from 413 Sqdn in Nova Scotia, parked overnight at a radar station in northern Labrador earlier this month, evidently suffered “superficial” exterior damage by a polar bear searching for food.

Sep 30, 2020

Lockeed Martin and Boeing proposals for new heavy transport helicopters for Germany have been rebuffed as “uneconomical.” However, what had started out as an “off the shelf” replacement for an ageing fleet of Sikorsky CH-53 Sea Stallions became increasingly complicated and, hence, more costly as German planners piled on requirements.

Sep 30, 2020

Lockheed Martin and the Pentagon have agreed on a plan which would require the aerospace giant to require the defense giant to invest some $70.6 million on addressing an ongoing spare parts problem with F-35 fighters. More than 15,000 spares have been delivered with incomplete or inaccurate “electronic equipment logs” which implies more in-house costs for Department of Defense managers.

Sep 30, 2020

As the U.S. Congress considers an administration push for stricter domestic content rules for major Department of Defense procurements, some former DoD officials as well as European interests argue that national security is better served by more collaboration with allies.

Sep 29, 2020

Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux is projecting that the federal deficit for this fiscal year will reach $328.5 billion, due in no small way to an estimated $225.9 billion in emergency benefits due to COVID-19. Expected to be a major factor in future spending government-wide, it would represent 15 per cent of gross domestic product, the largest in more than 50 years of comparable data. The government said in July that the deficit would be $343.2 billion, but that did not include either new spending or emergency measures which came in under budget.

Sep 29, 2020

Canadian Special Operations Forces Command remains committed to U.S.-led training exercises in Africa despite links to uprisings in Mali, where the country’s president was ousted after a coup last month. Many of the Malian troops had trained at annual exercises in which Canada has been involved for a decade.

Sep 29, 2020

U.S. Strategic Command reportedly has been asked by the White House to assess how quickly it could retrieve nuclear weapons from storage if an arms control treaty is permitted to expire next February. It’s suggested that the request is a bid to bring Moscow back to the negotiating table before the upcoming presidential election.

Sep 29, 2020

NATO Deputy Secretary Mircea Geoană says the alliance is adapting to cyber security threats despite vulnerabilities exploited during the COVID-19. Among other things, the Romanian career diplomat points out that NATO is creating up a Cyberspace Operations Centre in its command structure, setting the stage for an Article 5 response which could see all NATO members responding in concert to a cyberattack against any one member.

Sep 29, 2020

The U.S. has contracted with Maryland-based On Demand Pharmaceuticals to further develop production of drugs at the point of care. The contract flows from a 2016 Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency project aimed at providing immediate care on the battlefield and in other harsh environments.

Sep 29, 2020

The Finnish telecom giant Nokia has contracted with British Telecom to provide 5G technology for BT’s “radio access network” as well as replacing its Chinese competitor, Huawei, in BT’s other networks. The government announced in July that all service providers would be prohibited from installing new Huawei technology next Jan. 1 and remove all existing installations by 2027 due to U.S.-driven national security concerns.

Sep 29, 2020

A flare-up of a long-standing conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia has resulted in battles in the mountainous Nagorno-Karbakh region. Part of Azerbaijan, it has been controlled by ethnic Armenians since a war in the 1990s and there is concern that the latest conflict could draw in neighbouring powers, including Turkey, Russia and Iran.

Sep 29, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has weighed in on complaints that RCMP policy requiring front-line officers to wear tight-fitting medical grade face masks discriminates against personnel who don’t shave their beards for cultural reasons. “The presence of diverse Canadians in our police force and all our systems of authority is something extremely important for all Canadians and it is something that I certainly hope the RCMP rectifies quickly,” he said.

Sep 29, 2020

An already shaky global order will deteriorate further if leaders fail to come together on human rights, climate change and other challenges, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has warned. “The world is in crisis, and not just because of the last few months,” he said in a recorded message to the UN General Assembly. “Not just because of COVID-19, but because of the last few decades -- and because of us.”

Sep 28, 2020

The director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Christopher Wray, has told a Senate committee that his plan to “impose risks and consequences on cyber adversaries” will involve closer cooperation with the broader intelligence community. He also cited a recent escalation of indictments against alleged cyber criminals, including some linked to the Chinese, Iranian and Russian governments.

Sep 28, 2020

A paper-thin majority of Swiss voters have approved their country’s plan to replace its fleet of legacy Boeing F/A-18 Hornet fighters. Critics of the proposal had said the procurement was unnecessary, given that Switzerland is surrounded by friendly countries, but it received 50.1 per cent support, a margin of some 9,000 votes, in a national referendum.

Sep 25, 2020

The RCAF marked the arrival of the first aircraft of its future fixed-wing search and rescue fleet. The new fleet will be called Kingfisher. The CC-295 Kingfisher fleet will be based at four locations across Canada, in Comox, Trenton, Greenwood, and Winnipeg. The aircraft will arrive in phases as crews are trained in turn at each location.

Sep 25, 2020

Two Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CF-18 Hornet fighter jets from Operation Reassurance’s Air Task Force Romania intercepted a Russian SU-27 Flanker operating near Romanian airspace over the Black Sea today.

Sep 25, 2020

Two RCAF Boeing CF-188 Hornets from 443 Tactical Sqdn in Bagotville, Que., deployed to Operation REASSURANCE’s Air Task Force Romania, intercepted a Russian SU-27 Flanker over the Black Sea 23 September. It was the first such intercept since the ATF began its mission three weeks earlier.

Sep 25, 2020

Canadian Army personnel who see or become aware of racism or other hateful conduct in the ranks are being urged to speak out by their commander. “All levels will be expected to intervene and report incidents,” LGen Wayne Eyre has ordered. “Failure to act is considered complicity.”

Sep 25, 2020

An initial order of 9,000 new pistols for the Canadian Armed Forces could lead to an overall procurement of 15,000-20,000 replacement for the widely-used but decades-old Brownings. “The precise number has not yet been confirmed as it will depend on requirements,” a DND spokesperson says.

Sep 25, 2020

Practising for a potential counteroffensive in central Europe, NATO bombers, fighters and missile defenses have wound up a week-long U.S.-led Astral Knight 20 exercise in Poland 25. “It's about putting the right force . . . in the right place at the right time,” says MGen Derek France, Director of Operations, Strategic Deterrence and Nuclear Integration at USAF headquarters in Europe. “If we do that, our operators will hit home runs all day long.”

Sep 25, 2020

Ten U.S. Marine Corps F-35B fighters are aboard the Royal Navy carrier Queen Elizabeth on what’s reported to be an unprecedented deployment as part of a lengthy training exercise. It’s also part of the RN’S preparations for delivery of its own carrier-based variant of the Lockheed Martin aircraft.

Sep 23, 2020

Nine years after Canada pulled its last troops from Afghanistan, continued violence continues to stymie peace talks between the Afghan government, the Taliban and the U.S. “By any measure, current levels of violence are too high,” U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad told a House of Representatives hearing 22 September, adding that even though “reductions are possible,” further setbacks are likely. 

Sep 23, 2020

Britain has provided evidence which expected to clear the way for trial of two British expatriates held by the U.S. in Iraq. Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, who have denied the charges, are accused of belonging to an IS cell dubbed “The Beatles” who were involved in Islamic State executions of Western hostages. The evidence was handed over after Britain's High Court rejected a request by the mother of one of the suspects to block the transfer. The U.S. cleared the way for cooperation by stating that the pair would not be executed if found guilty.

Sep 23, 2020

A trio of U.S. Marine Corps generals has warned that the Corps’ ability to address evolving Chinese capabilities by the end of this decade will require not only new hardware but also a new approach to logistics and mobility. USMC Commandant Gen David Berger’s priority for his five-year tenure is to refocus from countering Middle East extremists to peer-level competition, especially the Indo-Pacific region.

Sep 23, 2020

The U.S. Marine Corps has begun started fielding a new modular service pistol. The M18 is a compact version of the hammerless striker-fired M17 based on the Sig Sauer P320 and is part of a program to replace four pistols used by the USMC.

Sep 23, 2020

Britain’s Ministry of Defence is said to be considering cutting back on its order of five Boeing E-7 Wedgetail surveillance aircraft, a variant of the 737 Next Generation twin-engine platform. Budget-driven negotiations on reducing the order to three aircraft reportedly have been underway since mid-summer.

Sep 22, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump,  whose own handling of COVID-19 is under scrutiny as his country’s deaths from the pandemic pass the 200,000 mark, used his speech to a mainly virtual UN General Assembly today to demand that China be held “accountable” for having “released this plague on to the world.” China has dismissed Trump’s accusations as a distraction and Chinese President Xi Jinping shifted the exchange to the rising military tensions between the countries by insisted that China has “no intention to enter a Cold War.”

Sep 22, 2020

The U.S. Air Force flew all three types of bombers in its fleet over Eastern Europe and the western Pacific in a major task force mission 21 September. They were accompanied by British and Norwegian aircraft but FrontLine has learned that plans to have Canadian CF-188 Hornets from 433 Tactical Fighter Squadron in Bagotville, Que, join the escort were cancelled due to Air Task Force-Romania operations.

Sep 22, 2020

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance must embrace non-European countries to expand its influence in light of China's growing military power. “The rise of China is fundamentally shifting the global balance of power,” he told a virtual conference. “Using NATO more politically is valuable to send a clear and unified political message, because together NATO allies represent half the world's economic and military might.”

Sep 22, 2020

Germany evidently is trying to find a way to let non-European countries participate in the emerging defence cooperation plan. “It is an important issue to solve, particularly for close NATO partners,” Karl-Heinz Kamp, a Ministry of Defence special envoy, said during a recent virtual conference.

Sep 22, 2020

Japan's defense budget for the upcoming fiscal year is ¥5.4 trillion (approximately C$65.6 billion). A 1.63 per cent rise from 2020, it will be the 10th consecutive increase.

Sep 22, 2020

U.S. Army Futures Command has given the green light to development of electrically-powered tactical and combat vehicles. “The requirement also aims to increase operational reach across all maneuver formations through electric propulsion, which offers a variety of operational and tactical benefits,” it says. “These include the potential to double operational duration, implement silent mobility . . . and potentially reduce the Army’s logistical burden by nearly half when fully implemented.”

Sep 22, 2020

Airbus Defence and Space has been selected by the European Space Agency to coordinate development and construction of two radar satellites for monitoring polar ice and snow topography. The €300-million venture to improve understanding of climate change and maritime operations involves suppliers in 19 countries.

Sep 22, 2020

A former U.S. Coast Guard commandant, Adm Paul Zukunft, says efforts by the U.S. and its allies to counter growing Chinese and Russian presences in the High Arctic are hampered inadequate intelligence. “We have significant domain awareness challenges, and that really begins in the high latitudes,” he told a recent virtual conference. “Things start to get pretty dark once you get up higher than 72 degrees north.”

Sep 22, 2020

The commanding officer of the Northfolk Naval Shipyard in Virginia has been dismissed as the U.S. Navy struggles with returning ships to service. A USN spokesman said Capt Kai Torkelson’s dismissal was “tied to issues related to a loss of confidence in leadership to correct underlying performance issues.” A recent Government Accountability Office audit highlighted “persistent and substantial maintenance delays that hinder the readiness of aircraft carriers and submarines.”

Sep 22, 2020

The recently-retired Chief Learning Officer of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps, John R. Kroger, says he was “deeply impressed” by the professionalism of the personnel with whom he served, but fears that the USN has “drifted badly off course” under the Trump administration. The USMC veteran and now president of a global non-profit organization says short-term civilian leaders’ failures have damaged the USN’s effectiveness, undermined morale, and jeopardized national security.

Sep 22, 2020

An Army reservist who also is a New York City police officer has been charged with being an “intelligence asset” for China, monitoring the Tibetan independence movement in the U.S. Court files state that Tibetan expatriate Baimadajie Angwang worked for handlers at the Chinese consulate in New York.

Sep 21, 2020

The U.S. has imposed new sanctions on 27 individuals in Iran’s defense ministry and elsewhere in its nuclear program, a move rejected by key European allies as well as Russia and China. It also imposed new sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, accusing him of having conspired with Iran “to flout the UN arms embargo.”

Sep 21, 2020

The U.S. Government Accountability Office says the Veterans Benefits Administration could do a better job of handling the cases of some 18,000 former military service personnel now living abroad. While it says claims processing has been accelerated in recent years, it has made five suggestions for further improvements.

Sep 21, 2020

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has given all federal departments and agencies until the end of today to deal with a vulnerability in Microsoft Windows which was disclosed more than a month ago. The agency warns that failure to apply an update released by Microsoft could have dire consequences.

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