IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Jan 29, 2021

For the third time this year, USAF Boeing B-52H Stratofortresses, operating from Louisiana, have completed a “presence patrol mission” in the Middle East. There have been six such flights since November and the plan is to continue them through the spring “to deter any aggression in the region, promote regional security and assure our allies.”

Jan 29, 2021

Boeing confirmed Jan. 28 that it has been licensed by the U.S. to offer its F-15EX Strike Eagle to India as a replacement for its Soviet-era fighter fleet. It would compete with the Saab Gripen and the Dassault Rafale and the Lockheed Martin F-21.

Jan 29, 2021

A U.S. congressional inquiry has been warned that China may trigger a major military crisis this year as the Chinese Communist Party’s centenary looms and the U.S. continues to struggle with COVID-19. Peter Jennings, executive director of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said he believes the CCP will continue to test the boundaries of international patience and that U.S. failure to respond would challenge its credibility as a security partner.

Jan 29, 2021

Rheinmetall and MBDA Deutschland have been tasked with developing a high-energy laser weapon for the German Navy. The contract with their ARGE consortium is said to be in “the low double-digit million Euro range.” Trials scheduled for 2022.

Jan 29, 2021

Taiwan’s push towards independence has drawn a warning by China’s defence ministry that it “means war” if the island state, which China considers a breakaway province, succeeds. “Those who play with fire will burn themselves, and Taiwan independence means war,” a ministry official said Jan. 28. He also defended China’s recent military activities in the region as “necessary actions to address the current security situation in the Taiwan Strait and to safeguard national sovereignty and security.”

Jan 28, 2021

The new U.S. Secretary of Defense, retired Army Gen Lloyd Austin, says he’s prepared to discuss a proposed withdrawal of 12,000 troops from Germany with the host country. A Pentagon readout of his Jan. 28 call with Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer states that Austin “expressed his gratitude to Germany for continuing to serve as a great host for U.S. forces, and expressed his desire for a continued dialogue on U.S. force posture.”

Jan 28, 2021

A compact mechanical stabilizer designed to improve accuracy, especially when shooting from a standing position, is being examined by the U.S. Once part of a now defunct Special Ops Command project, it has been resurrected for the Next Generation Squad Weapons program. Mounted to a weapon’s Picatinny rail it is designed to compensate vertically and horizontally for even slight movements by shooters.

Jan 28, 2021

Canada's new Chief of the Defence Staff, Adm Art McDonald, had to settle for a virtual forum in his first meeting with his NATO counterparts due to the ongoing constraints posed by COVID-19. Offering no details about the Jan. 27 session, part of a regularly-scheduled series, he used social media to underscore that “mutual cooperation and understanding is at the heart of the Alliance.”

Jan 28, 2021

A bill setting out a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with the U.S. has been approved unanimously by Russia’s parliament. President Vladimir Putin, whose signature is needed to put the bill into effect, lauded it as “a step in the right direction" but warned of rising global rivalries and threats of new conflicts.

Jan 28, 2021

Kenya has ordered 118 mine-resistant, ambush-protected Hizir personnel carriers from Katmerciler, a Turkish manufacturer. The Kenyan military says it will use the 4x4s mainly for counterterrorism operations against al-Shabab insurgents.

Jan 28, 2021

Long the largest U.S. aerospace and defense company in financial terms, Boeing has had to yield to Lockheed Martin after a poor 2020, including ongoing problems with its KC-46 tanker program and the collapse of global commercial aviation. Total sales of $58.2 billion were reported for last year compared with LM’s $65.4 billion.

Jan 27, 2021

Even as a growing number of personnel have begun receiving COVID-10 vaccinations, the Canadian Armed Forces has confirmed that nearly 250 have tested positive since December. That compares with 676 in the first nine months of the pandemic.

Jan 27, 2021

The symbolic Doomsday Clock remains 100 seconds shy of midnight in what The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists Humanity said Jan. 27 is confirmation that the world is still is perilously close to apocalypse. They said that the threats presented by climate change nuclear weapons has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jan 27, 2021

Several foreign arms sales approved by the former U.S. administration have been put on hold, including the sale of Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters to the United Arab Emirates, signed off only hours before Joe Biden was sworn in as President. “We're also trying to make sure that we have a full understanding of any commitments that may have been made in securing those agreements,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Jan. 27. A spokesman for his department said the “routine” pause “demonstrates the administration's commitment to transparency and good governance, as well as ensuring U.S. arms sales meet our strategic objectives.”

Jan 27, 2021

The U.S. Department of Defense is incorporating climate analysis into its policy and strategic planning. “We will include the security implications of climate change in our risk analyses, strategy development, and planning guidance,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed.

Jan 27, 2021

Utilizing Trophy Active Protection Systems for protection of their ground combat vehicles since September 2019, the U.S. Army is now evaluating the next generation “Trophy VPS,” a smaller, lighter version to protect a broader range of ground combat vehicles.

Jan 27, 2021

The second edition of the CAE OneWorld virtual conference and tradeshow will start on 9 February 2021. The event is free to all attendees who register, and will remain online for one month.

Jan 27, 2021

Unnamed Gulf States are trying to persuade the U.S to protect their sensitive sites from more potential attacks by Houthi rebels, Iran's proxy in the region.

Jan 27, 2021

Commodore Dan Charlebois of the Royal Canadian Navy assumed command today of Combined Task Force 150, during a change of command ceremony held in Bahrain. 

Jan 27, 2021

A pair of Boeing CF-188 Hornets out of Canadian Forces Base Bagotville, Que., supported by an Airbus CC-150T Polaris tanker from Trenton, Ont., recently completed a High Arctic training mission out of Iqaluit. The mission involved air-to-air refueling over Baffin Bay and a patrol northeast of Baffin Island.

Jan 27, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canadians can be reassured that vaccine supplies will continue to arrive even as the European Union threatens restrict exports by its manufacturers, requiring them to seek EU permission. “Europe is determined to contribute to this global common good but it also means business,” says Ursula von der Leyen, German president of the European Commission.

Jan 27, 2021

Australian Defence Minister Linda Reynolds has announced funding for early development of a range of advanced guided weapons and new mine countermeasures/hydrographic ships for the Royal Australian Navy. She says the programs eventually “will enhance the protection of our maritime resources and also our nation’s border” while holding potential adversaries up to 1,500km offshore.

Jan 26, 2021

Faced with an array of new weapons in potential adversaries’ armouries, North American Aerospace Defence Command needs to upgrade its surveillance system to meet the more sophisticated threats. Canada has committed to NORAD renewal and while it was top-of-mind when Prime Minister Trudeau and President Joe Biden spoke last week, it evidently presents political and financial problems for Canada

Jan 26, 2021

Hundreds of the more than 5,000 Taliban prisoners released under last year’s U.S.-Taliban peace deal have been arrested after returning to the battlefield, according to Hamdullah Mohib, Afghanistan’s National Security Adviser. He says they were recaptured fighting alongside Taliban forces “even though they promised they would not fight again.”

Jan 26, 2021

An Israeli cabinet minister, Tzachi Hanegbim, says his country will attack Iran if the U.S. rejoins a multinational nuclear agreement, as President Joe Biden has indicated. Members of his governing Likud Party have said Biden must not “appease” Iran.

Jan 26, 2021

Rahim Noei-Aghdam, a General in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, says the force has the capability to destroy U.S. Navy ships that are close to its territory. “Thanks to our deterrent power and surface-to-surface, surface-to-air, surface-to-coast, coast-to-coast, coast-to-sea and sea-to-sea missiles, we have the ability,” he says.

Jan 26, 2021

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman says U.S. deployment of ships and aircraft “into the South China Sea to flex its muscles” is not good for peace. He was commenting on the deployment of a USN aircraft carrier group into waters between China and Taiwan in what the U.S. says is a promotion of “freedom of the seas.”

Jan 26, 2021

Boeing and the Sikorsky division of Lockheed Martin plan to offer an upgraded version of their SB1 coaxial rotor demonstrator for the U.S. Army’s proposed long-range assault helicopter. Its smaller similar-technology sibling is LM’s submission for the Army’s attack reconnaissance aircraft project.

Jan 26, 2021

The Greek government has contracted to pay €2.5 billion for 18 Dassault Aviation Rafale fighters. The procurement includes 12, including weapons, to be taken out of the French Air Force fleet; the others will be new aircraft.

Jan 26, 2021

Having already built and delivered four corvettes to its navy, Turkey has launched the first of four new domestic frigates. Part of a contract awarded in 2019 to a government-controlled company, the new vessels’ armaments will include locally-produced vertical launch missile systems.

Jan 26, 2021

The U.S. Senate is scheduled to begin an impeachment trial Feb. 8 of former President Donald Trump on a charge of “incitement of insurrection” arising from an inflammatory speech three weeks ago to supporters who then rioted on Capitol Hill. The charge was delivered to the Senate by House of Representatives Jan. 25.

Jan 26, 2021

A West Virginia woman who once served in the U.S.Air Force, working with the National Security Agency, has been sentenced to more than 11 years in prison Monday for planning to offer NSA information to Russia. She pleaded guilty last year as part of a plea agreement.

Jan 26, 2021

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland apparently is not fazed by President Joe Biden’s new “Buy American” initiative, says that Ottawa knows “how to deal with” protectionism. “This is not a new thing for any Canadian government,” says Freeland, who also is Finance Minister. “It is something we know how to deal with, we know how to push back on.”

Jan 26, 2021

Colombia’s defence minister, Carlos Holmes Trujillo, has died from COVID-19 complications. President Ivan Duque says Trujillo, 69, died early today. The former foreign minister, who ran against Duque for his party’s leadership in 2018, took on the defence portfolio in November 2019.

Jan 26, 2021

Spanish shipbuilder Navantia, which lost the Canadian Surface Combatant contract to the U.S.-British consortium of Lockheed Martin and BAE, is currently in federal court alleging the naval procurement was rigged. In a move usually reserved for terrorism cases, the federal government is using Section 38 of the Canada Evidence Act to prevent Navantia lawyers from examining documents on the controversial $70-billion project to build a new fleet of warships for the Royal Canada Navy.

Jan 26, 2021

With the contract to begin construction of the Canadian Surface Combatants yet to be signed, some in Canada's naval community are concerned over a pending report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer on the troubled $70 billion project to buy new warships. The PBO had earlier revealed the cost of the project has almost tripled and a further increase is expected to be outlined in its new report, expected next month.

Jan 26, 2021

Lockheed Martin and Boeing are in competition to supply new heavy-lift helicopters to the Israeli Air Force. The government acquisition committee has the data to make the selection, but the process has stalled due to the upcoming general elections in March.

Jan 25, 2021

The U.S. has struck a preliminary deal with Saudi Arabia which could facilitate operations in the event of war with Iran. While the U.S. has had assets and troops in neighbouring Gulf states, Iran’s improved ballistic missiles have rendered them more vulnerable.

Jan 25, 2021

The first foreign call by the new U.S. Secretary of Defense, retired Army Gen Lloyd Austin, was to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. It’s being taken as a push to repair a relationship that had deteriorated during the Trump administration. The Pentagon says “the two leaders discussed the importance of our shared values, the current security environment including maintaining a strong NATO deterrence and defense posture, and the ongoing missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.” Stoltenberg says the alliance must “stand together to address the security consequences of the rise of China, the threat of terrorism . . . and a more assertive Russia.”

Jan 25, 2021

In what the U.S. said Jan. 24 is a routing operation “to ensure freedom of the seas, build partnerships that foster maritime security”, an aircraft carrier group led by the USS Theodore Roosevelt is in the South China Sea. Its arrival coincided with what Taiwan said was a larger incursion by Chinese aircraft into the island state’s air defence identification zone.

Jan 25, 2021

The National People’s Congress Standing Committee, China’s top legislative body, has passed a law expressly permitting its coast guard to fire on foreign vessels in disputed waters. It remains unclear whether this would include regions where China has competing territorial claims, but the law authorizes “all necessary means”, including pre-emptive strikes, to deter threats in areas “under China’s jurisdiction.”

Jan 25, 2021

Unmanned aerial vehicles using artificial intelligence for aggressor training are among the options being considered by the U.S. Air Force as part of a major review of its tactical fleets. Also under consideration is a potential purchase of new Lockheed Martin F-16 fighters, originally were developed by General Dynamics.

Jan 25, 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is examining how to improve its vetting protocols as it considers potential successors to Governor General Julie Payette, who resigned last week amid allegations that she had created a “toxic” working environment in Government House. Issues at two former places of employment evidently had not figured in her appointment in 2017.

Jan 25, 2021

An agreement the former U.S. administration made with the Taliban in Afghanistan is being reviewed. President Joe Biden’s top security advisor confirmed the review, having spoken with Afghan officials, and the White House says it wants to ensure that the fundamentalist group was “living up to its commitments.”

Jan 25, 2021

Former president Donald Trump’s ban on transgender troops has been rescinded by President Joe Biden. The change, which had been expected, was confirmed as the President met at the White House with his Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Jan 25, 2021

Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau says the federal government will not rule out invoking the Emergencies Act, the 1988 replacement for the War Measures Act, to restrict travel to contain the spread of COVID-19. “We are looking at all potential actions,” he said Jan. 24, stressing that the sweeping legislation “is something you don't consider lightly.” Provincial governments were unanimously opposed to its use when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau consulted them last April.

Jan 22, 2021

Former US Army Gen Lloyd Austin, President Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, was confirmed by the Senate today. The 93-2 vote came a day after Congress voted to waive a legal impediment to his appointment.

Jan 22, 2021

In an executive order signed within hours of his inauguration, President Biden set out sweeping ethics rules for his administration, stating that they “are designed to ensure that executive branch employees act in the interest of the American people and not for personal gain.” It followed a last-minute decision by his predecessor to waive ethics limits on his administration’s officials, freeing them to become lobbyists without a waiting period.

Jan 22, 2021

Officials in the new U.S. administration say President Joe Biden wants a five-year extension of the latest nuclear arms treaty with Russia. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he did not want the imminent expiry of the treaty to “end up in a situation with no limitation on nuclear warheads.”

Jan 22, 2021

President Joe Biden has ordered the Department of Defense to stop diverting funds to built his predecessor’s wall along the border with Mexico, a project Donald Trump famously claimed would be paid for by Mexico. “I am also directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected to construct a southern border wall,” Biden said in an executive order.

Jan 22, 2021

Air and naval forces in China’s southernmost province on the edge of the South China Sea continue to expand with deployments of more early-warning and anti-submarine aircraft and construction of what appears to be a massive drydock.

Jan 22, 2021

Department of Defense analysis shows that a new Soldier Protection System for the U.S. Army falls well short of expectations. Initial tests showed that three of four armour plates failed to meet ballistic protection requirements.

Jan 22, 2021

MBDA, the European missile developer and manufacturer, reports that it has used a 1kg unmanned aerial vehicle to enable its latest anti-tank weapon to strike a target beyond line of sight. The test at the Canjuers testing ground in southern France used a French NX70 drone to relay video and target coordinates.

Jan 21, 2021

Governor General Julie Payette and her Secretary, Assunta Di Lorenzo, both resigned Jan. 21. The development was prompted by an external review into allegations of a “toxic” workplace at Rideau Hall. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Supreme Court of Canada Justice Richard Wagner would take over Payette’s duties until a successor is chosen.

Jan 21, 2021

Nineteen years ago in Afghanistan, four Canadian soldiers died and eight others were injured when a U.S. Air force fighter pilot, mistaking them for enemy forces at night, dropped a 250kg laser-guided bomb on their position. Close air support remains a challenge for the USAF, according to new analysis by the Government Accountability Office, which says actions are “needed to enhance friendly force tracking.”

Jan 21, 2021

Ellen Lord, outgoing U.S. Department of Defence’s undersecretary for acquisition and sustainment, said Jan. 20 that the F-35 joint strike fighter continues to fall short of the military’s preferred readiness rate. On her last day on the job, , she said that while “we are striving to be at 50 percent for the fleet” to be fully mission capable, it currently sits at 39 per cent.

Jan 21, 2021

In the weeks leading up to Joe Biden’s inauguration as President, staff in the Pentagon evidently loyal to Donald Trump frustrated the customary transition briefing process, preventing Biden’s team from gaining access to critical information about current operations. Sources on both sides say scheduled briefings were delayed or cancelled by Trump loyalists in what was described as a “horrible precedent.”

Jan 21, 2021

The United Arab Emirates signed off Jan. 20 on a politically-contentious purchase of up to 50 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters and 18 General Atomics MQ-9 Reapers from the U.S. It happened just an hour before Joe Biden was inaugurated as President.

Jan 21, 2021

A five-year $695 million contract to provide IT services to U.S. Army Europe has been awarded to General Dynamics Information Technology. Announced Jan. 19, it is for secure communications and mission command support services to USAREUR headquarters, NATO operations and other Department of Defense organizations.

Jan 20, 2021

Conservative MP Derek Sloan was kicked out of the Conservative caucus today, sending a strong message to right wing extremists that leader Erin O’Toole will not tolerate the types of "destructive behaviour" exhibited by the MP who, among other things, had accepted donations from an avowed white supremacist. This follows a decision last week to distance the party from Rebel News, a provocative far-right media group.

Jan 20, 2021

James Cross, the British diplomat whose kidnapping in 1970 by radical Quebec separatists triggered the October Crisis and caused the federal government to invoke the War Measures Act, has died at the age of 99. His son attributed his death to COVID-19.

Jan 20, 2021

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris were sworn in without incident Jan. 20 as President and Vice-President of the U.S. Their inauguration ceremony on was held under unprecedented levels of security around the Capitol precinct, including a massive National Guard deployment and barriers topped by razor wire, after the Jan. 6 riot and invasion of by supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump, who broke with tradition by not attending the inauguration.

Jan 20, 2021

Retired Army Gen Lloyd Austin, President Joe Biden’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, is pushing back at concerns about civilian oversight of the Department of Defense. He told the Armed Services Committee Jan. 19 that he would “empower experienced, capable civilians who will enable healthy civil-military relations, grounded in meaningful oversight” and that he would expect the DoD to “work hand-in-glove with the State Department.”

Jan 20, 2021

Conservative MPs will vote today on whether to expel eastern Ontario MP Derek Sloan from the party caucus in response to Sloan accepting a donation from a notorious white nationalist. “Racism […] has no place in our country. It has no place in the Conservative Party of Canada,” O’Toole said in the statement. Sloan has already been nominated to run again as the party’s candidate in the Ontario riding of Hastings-Lennox and Addington. Will the party embrace or distance itself from far-right extremism? 

Jan 20, 2021

The Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington-based think-tank, says U.S. industry could not manufacture equipment fast enough to sustain the military in a major war. “The situation is not getting better as industry consolidation has squeezed out excess capacity,” it says. “The Defense Department would be well advised to make some modest investments to hedge against a protracted great power conflict.”

Jan 20, 2021

In one of his last acts as U.S. President, Donald Trump has released current and former members of his administration from the terms of their ethics pledge, which included a five-year ban on lobbying their former agencies. His order was released by the White House early Jan. 20 despite having been signed the previous day.

Jan 20, 2021

Britain has donated 100 armoured Land Rovers to the Lebanese Armed Forces for use in securing its northern and eastern borders. Martin Longden, Britain’s special envoy to Syria, calls it “a great practical example of the U.K.’s genuine commitment to a strong and stable Lebanon.”

Jan 20, 2021

U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen James McConville wants to increase his Arctic presence with a “multi-domain task force” and “an Arctic-capable brigade.” He shared his vision in a Jan. 19 webinar hosted by the Association of the United States Army, saying that “optimizing the employment of our forces and being able to demonstrate our capabilities through combined exercises and power projection are critical.”

Jan 20, 2021

British and U.S. officials have approved the deployment of U.S. Marine Corps Lockheed Martin F-35B fighters and a U.S. Navy destroyer to accompany the Royal Navy newest aircraft carrier on its first operational voyage, to the Asia-Pacific region later this year.

Jan 19, 2021

When President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated Jan. 20, with many of his Department of Defense nominees requiring confirmation by the Senate, his transition team has designated a slate of interim officials to ensure continuity of governance. Some are holdovers from the outgoing administration but most are careerists.

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