IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Feb 14, 2020

U.S. Navy crew found Iranian-made weapons after boarding a small ship in the Arabian Sea 09 February. Among other things, the haul included anti-tank missiles, surface-to-air missiles, thermal scopes and parts for unmanned systems.

Feb 14, 2020

In the largest year-over-year increase in a decade, global defence spending rose by approximately four per cent last year from 2018. Among other things, the International Institute for Strategic Studies says in its latest Military Balance annual summary that European spending rose 4.2 per cent and that overall spending in Asia had jumped by 50 per cent in the last decade.

Feb 14, 2020

A recently-released Rand Corp. report has found that a combination of heavy ground forces, coupled with air defenses that aren’t necessarily front-line assets, are the best deterrent to conflict. Among other things, the think-tank notes that the U.S. Army has stationed more troops in Europe as a counter to Russia while the Marine Corps is relying more on mobile distributed units to counter China.

Feb 14, 2020

A U.S. Army corporal court-martialled in 2018 for, among other things, disrespecting a gunnery sergeant officer, evidently was justified in telling the non-commissioned officer commit a sexual act against himself. A Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals tribunal has set aside that element of the corporal’s sentence on grounds that the instructor had badgered him into using the expression.

Feb 14, 2020

Eight Republicans in the U.S. Senate joined ranks with the Democrat minority to pass a bill designed to constrain President Donald Trump's ability to wage war on Iran without congressional approval. The measure was approved by a vote of 55-45 only hours after Trump, who can be expected to veto it, warned that it would make the U.S. more vulnerable.

Feb 14, 2020

U.S. Cyber Command wants to spend $11.6 million to procure systems which would enable its personnel to deploy abroad on “hunt forward” missions to block malicious cyber activity. The proposed project is proposed for 2021 within the Air Force envelope.

Feb 14, 2020

The latest Middle East “peace plan” proposed by the U.S. has been rejected by the Arab League despite an initial welcome by some of its members when President Donald Trump unveiled the latest initiative in January.

Feb 13, 2020

Members of a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee were astonished and flummoxed to learn that membership in a white supremacist or neo-Nazi group doesn’t mean automatic removal from military service. They were reacting to testimony by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and its Army equivalent which seemed to draw a distinction between simple membership in an extremist organization and “active" participation.

Feb 12, 2020

The number of U.S. troops diagnosed with varying degrees of traumatic brain injury after an Iranian missile attack on a base in Iraq in January has risen to 109, up sharply from 64 as previously reported, but nearly 70 per cent have returned to duty.

Feb 12, 2020

The U.S. has been advised of the impending cancellation of a decades-old agreement permitting U.S. forces to train in the Philippines. Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin said a notice on behalf of President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been openly critical of the U.S., was delivered to the embassy in Manila. The embassy said the U.S. would “carefully consider how to best more forward to advance our shared interests.”

Feb 12, 2020

LCol Alexander Vindman, a White House expert on Ukraine, and Donald Sondland, Ambassador to the European Union, have been fired for their testimony during impeachment hearings about President Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Vindman has been returned to the U.S. Army, as has his brother, Yevgeny, a National Security Council lawyer.

Feb 12, 2020

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Canadian military personnel during a brief visit to Kuwait that they are a key factor in the “fight” against Islamic militants in Iraq and elsewhere. He also said Canada, as a country “so lucky in so many different ways and blessed with the lives we live”, needs to be involved in curbing terrorism worldwide.

Feb 12, 2020

More than 44,000 veterans are waiting to find out whether they qualify for disability benefits, the total being 10 per cent higher at the end of September than it was earlier last year. Veterans Affairs Canada says the latest tally includes completed applications as well as incomplete ones needing more information or further review by VAC staff.

Feb 11, 2020

The U.S. has identified four Chinese military officers it has charged with overseeing a massive 2017 cyberattack on Equifax which resulted in the theft of personal data on more than 147 Americans and some foreign nationals listed in the credit-rating agency’s files. The whereabouts of the four suspects is unknown and China denies the allegations.

Feb 11, 2020

U.S. President Donald Trump’s continual criticism of other NATO members’ financial support is seen by some analysts as possibly dividing the alliance. A review of a new Pew Research Centre survey of NATO members’ individual indicates that while most NATO members continue to view it positively, support has been eroded in France, Germany and Spain.

Feb 11, 2020

A civilian psychiatrist says that when Army veteran Lionel Desmond, who committed suicide after killing family members in January 2017, was suffering from a mental illness likely exacerbated by inadequate therapy. Dr. Ian Slayter testified 10 February at a Nova Scotia inquiry into the deaths that when he met Desmond in October 2016, there was no evidence that the former Afghanistan sniper had received follow-on therapy after in-patient treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Feb 11, 2020

The Royal Canadian Navy’s four submarines spent “zero days at sea” in 2019, either at dockside or drydocked for repairs and maintenance, the Department of National Defence has admitted. However, it says, in answer to a written question in Parliament, three are scheduled to be returned to service in 2020 as the government strives to keep them operational until at least the mid-2030s.

Feb 10, 2020

The Department of Defense is proposing to increase spending on developing and procuring new weapons with the funds coming from savings by retiring manned and unmanned aircraft and ships. The DoD budget proposal presented to Congress 10 February sets out a $705.4 billion agenda, down 1.1 per cent from 2019.

Feb 10, 2020

As of 10 February, more than 1,000 people in China have died from the new coronavirus compared with 774 who died worldwide in the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak which also originated in China. Meanwhile, researchers at the South China Agricultural University suggest that pangolins, an endangered species often used in traditional medicine, are the probable source of the coronavirus.

Feb 10, 2020

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile fitted with a re-entry vehicle has been tested successfully by USAF Global Strike Command. An official says the modernized weapon is a “visible indicator” of U.S. deterrence capabilities.

Feb 10, 2020

The U.S. Missile Defense Agency has asked industry to design and prototype a system for intercepting hypersonic weapons. A draft request for concept proposals includes a March 19 deadline.

Feb 10, 2020

U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie has fired Deputy Secretary James Byrne less than five months after Congress approved the former Marine’s appointment. No specific reason was given in a terse statement issued by Wilkie’s office.

Feb 10, 2020

The fact that there have been 10 shipboard fires or smoke incidents aboard Royal Canadian Navy frigates in the last two years but VAdm Art McDonald says that while fire is a dire threat at sea or while docked, the incidents were minor. Details have become public with the release of the government’s response to an Access to Information request.

Feb 10, 2020

Ambassador James Jeffrey, U.S. Special Representative for Syria Engagement and the special envoy to the international coalition against Daesh, is worried by what he sees as a limited but increasing incidence of Russian contractors violating deconfliction agreements with U.S. forces by moving into Syrian Democratic Force’s territory.

Feb 10, 2020

The Department of Defense is counting on agile software development to ensure that its Lockheed Martin F-035 fighters can evolve to meet looming threats. However, a key weapons tester says the program office is struggling to stay on schedule.

Feb 10, 2020

Decision-making in military operations, especially those conducted remotely, would be greatly enhanced if the Department of Defense introduced a fifth-generation network, according to the Congressional Research Service. The DoD is expected to experiment with the technology at four bases this year.

Feb 10, 2020

Eight years after it identified gaps in its Arctic programs, the U.S. Coast Guard is still working to overcome shortcomings in its communications, infrastructure, domain awareness and icebreaking capabilities. The Government Accountability Office says in a new report that the service is working to plug those gaps, including replacing its only heavy polar icebreaker.

Feb 10, 2020

Plans for a new Future Combat Air System involving France, Germany and Spain apparently are bogged down by delays in getting Spain fully onboard in a timely manner. Dassault and Airbus are the lead contractors for France and Germany while Indra Sistemas, designated by Spain as its national prime, has yet to agree to a work-sharing agreement with the other primes and their supply chains.

Feb 10, 2020

André Lanata, the French Air Force General who has been NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation since June 2018, says Russian and Chinese efforts to position satellites close to their Western counterparts pose a serious threat. He says that while space was once considered a “safe haven”, it no longer is the case as satellite technologies evolve.

Feb 10, 2020

A California hospital is slated to become the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ first 5G-enabled facility, a development which is expected to lead to more timely care as health professionals are able to share more detailed diagnostic images as well as patient files.

Feb 06, 2020

A U.S. soldier’s family who won a $134-million wrongful-death award in a Utah court against Omar Khadr, a Canadian imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay after being captured in Afghanistan, now want him to sign off on a statement of facts about the soldier’s death. Khadr has disavowed his confession, which he says was made under duress, but an Ontario Superior Court has ordered him to answer several questions from the family.

Feb 06, 2020

Dominic Barton, Canada’s ambassador to China, told a special parliamentary committee meeting in Ottawa 05 February that in the immediate aftermath of a senior Huawei executive being detained in Canada and China’s arrest of two Canadians, there was virtually no dialogue between the two countries. Rather, he said, the anger on both sides was such that the first conversation was probably one of his most unpleasant experiences as a diplomat.

Feb 06, 2020

The U.S. military-industrial base remains a global leader, but in rating its downward-trending health, the National Defense Industrial Association has given it only a “mediocre C grade.” The report card, part of a new initiative designed to rate the industry’s health annually, says flattening budgets and growing international competition present a challenge.

Feb 06, 2020

Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, says U.S. deployment of a new submarine-launched nuclear weapon is evidence of Washington’s belief that it could wage a limited nuclear conflict. He was reacting 05 February to a Pentagon official’s confirmation that an upgraded warhead had been fitted onto Trident II intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Feb 06, 2020

Confusion on Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II production line over the type of fasteners to be used evidently resulted in an unknown number of under-strength bolts being installed. Even so, the Department of Defense’s head of acquisition and sustainment says there is no “strucfural compromise” and that the F-35 is safe to fly.

Feb 06, 2020

ADS Group, the main British defence industry lobby, says the prospects of continued joint equipment development with the European Union, as well as market access and security cooperation, are up for discussion. Its chief executive officer says a key issue to be addressed in the aftermath of Brexit is whether British companies can have continued access to EU funding.

Feb 06, 2020

Republicans in the U.S. Senate used their majority 05 February to block President Donald Trump’s impeachment on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice.

Feb 04, 2020

Several weeks after activities were suspended in northern Iraq, Canadian Special Operations Forces Command troops have resumed training and assistance as part of a U.S.-led coalition against Daesh. CANSOFCOM commander MGen Peter Dawe acknowledged 03 February that the uncertain state of the Iraqi government, coupled with street protests, has created a “complex” operating environment.

Feb 03, 2020

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy says an Iranian pilot’s communications with Tehran International Airport traffic controls proves that Iran knew immediately that its forces had shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet 08 January despite denying it for days. A recording broadcast on Ukrainian TV 02 February has the pilot saying he saw “the light of a missile” just before Ukrainian International Airlines flight 752 crashed minutes after takeoff.

Feb 03, 2020

Six Turkish soldiers are reported dead and nine others wounded after Syria forces shelled a contested area in northwest Idlib province. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says at least 30 Syrian troops were “neutralized” by retaliatory fire and he also has warned Russia “not to stand in our way” in Ankara’s dealings with Damascus.

Feb 03, 2020

Canadian citizens evacuated from China due to the coronavirus outbreak will be quarantined at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ont., for two weeks. However, in announcing the decision 02 February, the government did not provide a timeline for their arrival because flight clearances are up to Chinese authorities.

Feb 03, 2020

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and his U.S. counterpart, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, played down their governments’ different approaches to a number of issues in their countries’ relationships with China, but are there deeper differences? Tom McTague, a London-based staff writer for The Atlantic, tries to come to grips with fundamental policy choices.

Jan 31, 2020

Raytheon Co. has won a $197-million U.S. Air Force contract to develop a new ground-based missile warning system which would enable operators to use data not just from the military’s own infrared satellites but also any sensor based in space, on land or at sea. The Future Operationally Resilient Ground Evolution Mission Data Processing Application Framework will use Raytheon’s open-source software-centric technology.

Jan 31, 2020

A $127.4-million contract to produce two C-37B business jets for the U.S. Air Force has been awarded to Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. Variants of the Gulfstream G550 long-range twinjet, they will be used for transportation of senior officials. Gulfstream also secured an $80.1-million modification to its contract to maintain C-20 (Gulfstream III/IV) and C-37 (Gulfstream V) platforms flown not only by the USAF but also the Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard.

Jan 31, 2020

The Italian defence company Leonardo has decided not to develop a new single-engine helicopter, opting to purchase Kopter Group, a Swiss firm that had already developed its all-composite SH09, which first flew in 2014. The purchase involves $185 million up front and future payments contingent on the program’s success.

Jan 31, 2020

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper says the U.S. will not step back from its total deployment of troops in Africa. Instead, he said 30 January, there would be a “rebalancing” of its presence with some deployments increasing, some decreasing and others not altered.

Jan 31, 2020

Subject to what the U.S. says is “strict due diligence . . . to avoid misuse,” Switzerland has launched a new payment mechanism which facilitates humanitarian aid for Iraq. While aid is exempt from U.S. sanctions, some foreign banks have declined to process humanitarian assistance for Iraq.

Jan 31, 2020

The U.S. has unveiled a Gator Landmine Replacement Program which relies on "smart" controllable wirelessly-networked munitions as an alternative to more conventional "dumb" anti-personnel models which were banned by 160 countries through a treaty signed in Ottawa in 1999. The U.S. is among a group of countries which never ratified that agreement.

Jan 30, 2020

The World Health Organization has designated the new coronavirus outbreak, which began in China in December and continues to spread, a global emergency. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the organization’s director general, said 30 January that the main reason for the declaration is how it has spread elsewhere. At least 213 persons have died in China but there have been 98 confirmed cases in 18 other countries, including three in Canada.

Jan 30, 2020

The latest report from the federal Commissioner of Firearms, for 2018, shows there was an increase of nearly 24 per cent in the number of restricted firearms registered in the first three years of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's administration. The total was 1.16 million compared with 978,347 in 2015 after tighter controls were signalled by the Liberals in that year’s election campaign. There also was a slight drop in the number of prohibited weapons registered nationally.

Jan 30, 2020

The Office of Management and Budget in the White House is soliciting corporate and public input on how the government can improve the cost and timelines of its $575-billion supply chain. OMB Deputy Director Margaret Weichert says the outreach, which has a 17 February deadline for responses, is designed to “catalyze new thinking.”

Jan 30, 2020

The U.S. Department of Defense evidently is a step closer to having swarming drones that it can launch and recover from larger aircraft. It has been confirmed that it completed a partly successful inaugural test deployment of a Dynetics X-61A Gremlin from a Lockheed Martin C-130A transport in November. Alabama-based Dynetics was awarded a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency contract in 2018.

Jan 30, 2020

The U.S. Air Force needs more advanced long-range drones and force multipliers such as its nascent battle management, command and control system for multi-domain operations against evolving Chinese and Russian threats. The priorities are set out in a study released by the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a Washington-based think-tank.

Jan 30, 2020

The world’s largest military contractor, Lockheed Martin Corp., has reported record sales of nearly $60 billion in 2019, up 11 per cent from the previous year, and its chair, Marillyn Hewson, expects further gains this year. All of divisions increased their sales, earnings and backlog, notably a 20 per cent jump in the missiles and fire control arm.

Jan 30, 2020

The National Nuclear Security Administration, which manages the U.S. weapons inventory, will get $20 billion in funding for 2021 after President Donald Trump overruled efforts by White House officials to approve only $17.5 billion. The NNSA’s 2020 budget is $16.7 billion

Jan 29, 2020

Some 160 Canadians trying to get out of China as a potentially deadly coronavirus continues to spread will be evacuated on an aircraft being arranged by the federal government. Confirmed by Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne, the plan requires the cooperation of authorities in China who have quarantined large parts of the country.

Jan 29, 2020

The number of U.S. military personnel injured in Iranian missile attacks on two coalition bases in Iraq has risen to 50. The Pentagon says diagnoses of traumatic brain injury can expected to increase as more symptoms manifest themselves.

Jan 29, 2020

Chinese state media reports that two military aircraft “expelled” a U.S. warship from the vicinity of a disputed island in the South China Sea. The littoral combat vessel Montgomery was involved in a “freedom of navigation operation” but Beijing’s 25 January response was a reminder of China’s aggressive expansionism in the Western Pacific Basin.

Jan 29, 2020

When an airfield used by the U.S. in Kenya was attacked by al-Shabaab militant earlier this month, resulting in the deaths of three U.S. personnel, it apparently was largely undefended. This assessment by officials comes at a time when Washington is reviewing its counterterrorism role in the region, an effort that currently involves 6,000 troops and civilian contractors.

Jan 29, 2020

The number of Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters being supplied by the U.S. to the Afghanistan military has been reduced to 53 from a planned 159 and the number of Alliant Techsystems AC-208 Combat Caravan attack and reconnaissance aircraft is cut to 10 from 32. The Department of Defense attributes the cutbacks to a review of “future operational requirements.”

Jan 29, 2020

The German government has abandoned plans to spend $2.5 billion on Northrop Grumman MQ4C Triton surveillance drones, preferring Bombardier Global 6000 aircraft. The decision is due to concerns not only about rising costs but also the Global Hawk derivative’s ability to navigate Europe’s crowded airspace.

Jan 29, 2020

A scientific panel’s conclusion that more illnesses among veterans are attributable to the Vietnam War-era defoliant Agent Orange is being disputed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. VA Secretary Robert Wilkie says in a note to Congress that there were “significant concerns and limitations” about the scientists’ recommendations, which could boost the department’s costs by at least $11.2 billion.

Jan 29, 2020

A Visiting Forces Agreement which provides for the deployment of U.S. troops in the Philippines apparently is being threatened by the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte. A frequent and outspoken critic of the U.S. role, he has threatened to terminate the arrangement if the U.S. did not “correct” its revocation of a close ally’s visa.

Jan 29, 2020

The remains of the two crew members and the flight data recorder on a U.S. Air Force communications platform which crashed this week in Afghanistan have been recovered. The cause of the E-11A crash is still being investigated but there evidently are no signs it was shot down by the Taliban.

Jan 29, 2020

In what it says is the “first ever partnership” with Airbus Helicopters, the National Aeronautics & Space Administration is acquiring three multi-role H135s. To be used at the Kennedy Space Center, two will be delivered this year and the third in 2021.

Jan 28, 2020

An 80-page plan for Israeli-Palestinian place was unveiled in Washington 28 January by U.S. President Donald Trump during a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Among other things, it would recognize most Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land and would offer some sort of Palestinian statehood without an army and with overarching Israeli security control in some areas. Palestinian leaders had already rejected the proposal which Netanyahu lauded as “a great plan.

Jan 28, 2020

Cameron Ortis, the former director general of the RCMP’s national intelligence centre, faces three more charges under the Security of Information Act. Relating to unauthorized communication of special operational information, they are in addition to the original charge in September that he was preparing to share sensitive information with a foreign entity or terrorist organization.

Jan 28, 2020

Nova Scotia’s chief medical examiner says that a Canadian Armed Forces veteran in Nova Scotia who committed suicide after killing several family members in 2017, was a victim of “systemic failures” which included barriers to mental health care. Dr. Matthew Bowes was the first witness at the 27 January opening of an inquiry into the deaths of 33-year-old Lionel Desmond and his wife, daughter and mother.

Jan 27, 2020

Ontario MP Erin O'Toole, a former Royal Canadian Air Force officer, confirmed 27 January that he would seek the Conservative Party of Canada leadership, to be decided at a June convention in Toronto. First elected in a 2012 byelection, he was Minister of Veterans Affairs for 10 months in 2015, and placed third in the 2017 leadership ballot won by Andrew Scheer.

Jan 27, 2020

Six MD-530F Cayuse Warrior light attack helicopters have been delivered by the U.S. to the Kenyan military after an insurgents’ attack 05 January on a base resulted in the death of three Americans. U.S. African Command said 25 January that six more will be delivered later, the other half of a procurement of aircraft, weapons and ammunition approved by the State Department in 2017.

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