IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Dec 05, 2019

Effective implementation of arms and dual-use export controls is a challenge for many countries and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute suggests that meeting that challenge is an increasingly complex task. In a report funded by the U.S. State Department, the institute says this is due to the expansion of brokering activities, and the increased volume and importance of intangible technology transfers.

Dec 05, 2019

With Canada and several other NATO members still struggling to reach the alliance’s stated goal of two per cent of national GDP on defence, a former senior U.S. diplomat responsible for NATO policy says three per cent would be a more useful goal. Daniel S. Hamilton, now the Austrian Marshall Plan Foundation Professor at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies, says the alliance “must be prepared to confront a wider variety of challenges."

Dec 04, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump, described as furious at a perceived slight by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, cut short his participation in the NATO leaders summit Dec. 4. Canceling a scheduled news conference, he criticized Trudeau whom he suggested had led laughter at his expense during cocktails with several other leaders. Trump said was probably annoyed at Trump’s continued pressure on defence spending.

Dec 04, 2019

A Canberra-based think-tank, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, says 43 Chinese universities should be considered “very high” or “high” risk to deal with because of their work on defence projects. The assessment by the ASPI, which is partly funded by the U.S. State Department, comes just weeks after the Australian government published guidelines for universities on how to reduce the threat of foreign entities leveraging academic research. The institute also launched a database that classifies risk posed by research partnerships with some 160 Chinese universities, security institutions and defence industry groups.

Dec 04, 2019

All operators of the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter are expected be able nest year to use simulatorto practise large-scale internationally-coordinated tactics, according to Chauncey McIntosh, the company’s vice president for F-35 training. Testing is gvoing “very well” at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada and “essentially we’re waiting just to get the accreditation from the government.”

Dec 04, 2019

The U.S. Air Force sees systems integration as the key to military effectiveness but it says a budget hike is needed to turn its vision into reality. A key element of preparedness would be an ability to link so that combat could be replicated can replicate combat on a massive scale. “Individual weapon system simulators can help our men and women become proficient tacticians, but it’s their ability to integrate and connect that will differentiate us against a peer threat,” says Gen. Stephen Wilson, Vice Chief of Staff, adding that the USAF plans to spend “a lot of money” on multidomain command and control in its next five-year plan.

Dec 04, 2019

A virtual training simulator designed to immerse full platoons of soldiers at a time into realistic battlefield settings has been unveiled by The Raytheon Company. Among other things, users can shoot at enemy targets and even call in close-air support. The prototype Synthetic Training Environment Soldier Virtual Trainer was shown off at the Interservice/ Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference in Orlando, Fla.

Dec 04, 2019

Looking ahead to the 2020 presidential election, the U.S. Marine Corps has issued a directive on what’s off-limits to personnel in terms of their political activity. Troops on active duty and civilian personnel can use social media but must clarify that their views are individual and not those of the USMC or the Department of Defense. It also states, among other things, that sharing or linking to a political page would be akin to distributing material on behalf of the source.

Dec 04, 2019

Maritime claims in the South China Sea are a top priority in the Malaysian governments first defence white paper even as moves to modernize its military are bogged down financially. Describing the paper as a platform for discussion of his country’s strategic outlook, Defence Minister Mohamad Sabu highlighted China-U.S. tensions which he said are likely to intensify.

Dec 04, 2019

A spokesman for the Kremlin says reports that NATO plans to increase defence spending is proof that Moscow is right to be concerned about what it sees is the alliance’s eastward expansion. “We see that NATO carries out actions aimed at containment and expansion with regards our country,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters in a confrence call, adding that his country would not engage in a costly arms race.

Dec 04, 2019

Mike Griffin. U.S. Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering is worried about the future of the Space Development Agency, which he says is critical to delivering persistent, global capabilities in an affordable and timely manner. "When the things we think we need to do are delayed or prevented by budget battles in Congress and continuing resolutions, it slows us down and in some cases prevents us from doing things that we earnestly believe we need to do."

Dec 04, 2019

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says Turkey has walked back its refusal to support the alliance’s defence plan for the Baltics and Poland until other NATO members supported Turkey’s fight with the Syrian Kurdish militia it calls a terrorist organization. He also told reporters Dec. 4 that NATO wants a better relationship with Russia and that he feels China must be involved in arms limitations or reductions talks.

Dec 04, 2019

Finalizing a Request for Prototype Proposals for testing military uses of 5G at two select U.S bases, the Department of Defense is soliciting input from industry. The notice follows a November announcement that testing at four bases could begin next year. Feedback could guide DoD decision on what level of testing and trials the government would permit.

Dec 04, 2019

A day after China banned U.S. military ships and aircraft from visiting Hong Kong, Gen. Mark Milley, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff , spoke by telephone Dec. 3 with Gen. Li Zuocheng, head of the Joint Staff Department in China’s Central Military Commission. The U.S. says they “agreed on the value of a productive dialogue, effectively managing differences, and cooperation on areas of common ground.”

Dec 04, 2019

A report by NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence highlights the security risks of importing Huawei 5G telecom systems but acknowledges that national governments are unlikely to issue the “blanket bans” sought by the U.S. The report says an appropriate response is for more government supervision of what companies such as Huawei are offering.

Dec 04, 2019

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not mention President Donald Trump by name during a Dec. 3 cocktail gathering in Buckingham Palace, Trudeau is being called “two-faced” by the U.S. President over some overhead comments. During a chat with his British and Dutch counteparts, French President Emmanuel Macron and Princess Anne, Trudeau had said Trump was late due to his lengthy press conferences. Asked the following morning to comment, Trump said, “well, he’s two-faced” and suggested the PM was reacting to U.S. pressure to spend more on defence. “I can imagine he’s not that happy, but that’s the way it is.”

Dec 03, 2019

U.S. Navy carrier-based aircraft crews will use a small island the Japanese government has purchased from its corporate owner for ¥16 billion ($193 million). Instead of using a contentious site on Iwojima island south of Tokyo, Field Carrier Landing Practice now will use Mageshima Island in the East China Sea.

Dec 03, 2019

Colorado weapons manufacturer Capco LLC, without admitting liability, has agreed to a $1 million settlement for allegedly shipping ineffective M320 grenade launchers to the U.S. Army. The Justice Department of Justice says company officials knew the barrels did not meet specifications and that two shipments included launchers with firing pins made of the wrong steel.

Dec 03, 2019

The presidents of France and the U.S. squared off on the sidelines of the NATO leaders’ summit Dec. 3. Emmanuel Macron retorted “let’s be serious” when Donald Trump asked whether he would take back “some nice ISIS fighters” captured in Syria by U.S. forces. When Macron criticized Turkey’s offensive against Syrian Kurds and its acquisition of a Russian missile defence technology, Trump defended Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Dec 03, 2019

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is facing renewed pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump about Canada’s financial commitment to NATO. During a Dec. 3 meeting at the alliance leaders' meeting in London, Trump said Canada is “just slightly delinquent” in that it is not spending two per cent of its GDP on defence. NATO has said Canada is on the way to 1.31 but Trudeau, highlighting other Canadian commitments, initially put it at 1.35 per cent before rounding it up to an aspirational 1.4.

Dec 03, 2019

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recently said that China is a growing concern for the alliance because of growing presence in Europe. Barry Pavel, a former U.S. National Security Council staffer and now director of the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security at the Atlantic Council in Washington, says a “NATO-China Council” could be a vehicle for dialogue that could increase transparency and mutual understanding, address concerns, avoid miscalculations and, where possible, foster cooperation.

Dec 03, 2019

A junior non-commissioner officer in Canadian Special Operations Forces Command was able to steal more than $23,000 worth of equipment over a 15-month period even though CANSOFCOM says all its tracking protocols were in place. Cpl. Pedro Collier, charged in October 2018 with five Criminal Code offences, received a suspended sentence and was placed on probation for 12 months after pleading guilty, but the Department of National Defence now is reviewing its options for administrative action. 

Dec 03, 2019

A sole-source $732-million contract to provide ground sustainment for the U.S.Navy’s narrowband satellite communications system over the next decade has been awarded to General Dynamics. The Mobile User Objective System on which Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor, is designed to provide secure voice, video and data communications to usersworldwide. It was built to replace an ultra-high-frequency costellation, which also will be supported during the transition.

Training aircraft front-and-centre in Dubai
Dec 03, 2019

Aircraft manufacturers from around the world made training platforms a focus of their presence at the latest Dubai Air Show. One of the few major military contracts formally signed was for a United Arab Emirates procurement of 24 Calidus B-250 turboprop trainers developed by Abu Dhabi-based Calidus in collaboration with Rockwell Collins, Pratt & Whitney Canada and Novaer.

Dec 03, 2019

Congressional approval of legislation which supports anti-government protests in Hong Kong has resulted in China’s suspension of U.S. military ship and aircraft visits to the semi-autonomous territory. Hong Kong has been living with almost nonstop protests for six months and a recent election saw pro-democracy candidates take all but one seat on its government council. “China urges the United States to . . . stop any words and deeds that interfere in Hong Kong and China’s internal affairs,” a foreign ministry spokesperson says, hinting at “further necessary actions” as the situation evolves.

Dec 03, 2019

The U.S. Navy has awarded its largest-ever shipbuilding contract, worth some $22.2 billion, to General Dynamics Electric Boat for construction of nine new attack submarines. An option for an additional boat, one short of what the USN proposed in its budget plan, would increase the contract value by $2 billion.

Dec 03, 2019

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky apparently distrusts most other foreign leaders, particularly U.S. President Donald Trump for his waning support for Ukraine. “If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us,” he says in a widely-published interview. “I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo.”

Dec 03, 2019

As the U.S. Air Force looks increasingly to virtual reality for accelerating pilot training while also cutting costs, CAE Inc. is debuting its answer at a major conference and trade show this week in Orlando, Fla. The CAE TRAX Academy curriculum and Sprint Virtual Reality trainer evidently inspired by the USAF Pilot Training Next program.

Dec 03, 2019
Cybernetic organisms, that is. The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command says enhancements to soldiers’ ears, eyes, brains and musculature are “technically feasible” by mid-century of even earlier. Ear, eye, brain and muscular enhancement is “technically feasible by 2050 or earlier.” It acknowledges, after a year-long study, that the concept is fraught with ethical, legal and social challenges.
Dec 02, 2019

Mineral-rich Greenland has replaced terrorism and cybercrime at the top of the Danish Defence Intelligence Service’s national security agenda. The service’s head, Lars Findsen, a lawyer and former Secretary of State at Denmark’s Ministry of Defence, says the shift is due to the way a “power game is unfolding” between the U.S. and other Arctic powers.

Dec 02, 2019

As NATO celebrates is 70thanniversary this week, the alliance’s Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, says that while it’s an opportunity to reflect on its achievements, it’s also vital that its political leaders look to the future as they face the greatest security threats in a generation. These included a more “assertive” Russia, instability across the Middle East and North Africa, terrorism and cyber and hybrid attacks.

Dec 02, 2019

Daniel R. DePetris, a fellow at Defense Priorities, a U.S. foreign policy organization focused on “a realistic grand strategy”, says NATO will be guilty of “a grave error in judgment” if it opts for a business-as-usual stance at this week’s summit in London. He says the alliance is suffering from a crisis of confidence and needs to reassess itself, especially those members who continue to spend “a paltry amount” on defence.

Dec 02, 2019

Alessadro Profumo, chief executive officer of the Italian conglomerate Leonardo S.p.A., says government involvement is crucial to development of long-term investment strategy and identification of technologies necessary to maintain a technological edge in symmetric and asymmetric conflicts. He also says national defence industries, as a strategic asset of their respective countries, must be able not only to capture innovation but also manage the dynamics between long development and production cycles.

Dec 02, 2019

Dirk Hoke, chief executive officer at Airbus Defence and Space, says 2020 will be critical for Europe’s defence suppliers, especially in aviation, given the current focus on a new fighter platform and unmanned aerial system. He says next year will show how seriously companies take the projects because major contractual and financing milestones will have to be achieved as NATO’s European members try to achieve a defence spending target of two per cent of their national GDP. 

Dec 02, 2019

Israeli defense suppliers are expanding their footprint in Europe through a wide array of technologies. The three largest had combined sales in 2018 equivalent to more than $2.5 billion as they focused on such technologies as land digitization, avionics upgrades, electronic warfare, and command-and-control systems.

Dec 02, 2019

Dutch Chief of Defence Adm. Rob Bauer says it would be “stupid” for the U.K. not to remain closely involved in European Union defence projects even if it withdraws from the EU. Bauer points out that even if the U.K. does drop out, it will remain part not only of Europe but also of NATO. “If the focus in Europe is on security then the UK should be part of that. To do otherwise would be stupid.”

Dec 02, 2019

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agencyhas issued a draft operational directive that would require all civilian agencies to receive and resolve vulnerabilities identified by public security researchers who often find themselves in a legal grey area when reporting cyber vulnerabilities to government. The concept essentially is a penalty-free “if you see something, say something” approach.

Dec 02, 2019

The Royal Navy and Royal Marines face seemingly divergent trends as they contemplate littoral operations in which seizing and holding areas for short periods are critical to post-conflict negotiations. According to the Royal United Services Institute, precision-strike capabilities, ISR systems and other technologies will make traditional amphibious assaults and ship-to-objective manoeuvres increasingly difficult.

Dec 02, 2019

A U.S. Army decision to sole-source future procurements of medium tactical vehicles with Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Defense, the original supplier, is being contested in court by Illinois-based Navistar. However, a decision by the Court of Federal Claims that had been expected by Nov. 26 did not materialize. Navistar sued when the Army failed to produce documents explaining the pro-Oshkosh decision without competition.

Dec 02, 2019

A preliminary report on the mid-October crash of an RCAF Snowbird preparing for the Atlanta Air Show indicates that an engine issue led to the ejection of Capt. Kevin Domon-Grenier. He had just performed a routine check with the CT-114 Tutor jet inverted but when he rolled upright at low altitude and selected full power, the engine did not respond normally. Domon-Grenier was taken to hospital but released that evening. The Snowbird fleet, 431 Air Demonstration Squadron, was immediately grounded but has since returned to their Saskatchewan base.

Dec 01, 2019

The fundamental principal of trust on which NATO was built 70 years ago, the notion that an attack of one member would be considered an attack on all 29, is expected to be front and centre at this week’s NATO leaders’ summit in London. The main hurdle to be overcome is U.S. President Donald Trump’s repeated criticism of the alliance and the fact that he initially refused to reaffirm the mutual defence element of the NATO charter.

Dec 01, 2019

A $900 million class action lawsuit on behalf of Canadian Armed Forces personnel who were victims of sexual assault and misconduct has been signed off by Federal Court Justice Simon Fothergill, some four months after the settlement was announced by the government, which did not admit any liability. The case was initiated by seven veterans on behalf of other veterans as well as current CAF members. The settlement provides for compensation ranging from $5,000 to $55,000.

Dec 01, 2019

One Canadian Armed Forces veteran eligible for compensation under a $900-million settlement over sexual assault and misconduct says the government is failing to address what is perceived as an ongoing cultural problem in the military. Dale Shewchuck, who retired on medical grounds in 2014 due to PTSD, says that while he is proud to have served his country, it has turned its back on him.

Nov 30, 2019

Veterans Affairs Canada evidently has shied away from the proposed use of social media “influencers” to get its message out to former Canadian Armed Forces personnel. STIFF Sentences Inc., hired by the government in 2018, had pitched a list 15 prospects the company felt could help the department to spruce up its image and promote its policies.

Nov 30, 2019

If conventional deterrence is to remain a key component of the U.K 2015 National Security Strategy, modernized artillery must be a top priority according to a paper published by the Royal United Services Institute. Among other things, it recommends increased range, seeker ammunition, fused sensor data to coordinate firing and enhanced defensive measures.

Nov 29, 2019

A revised funding formula which reduces U.S. contributions to NATO’s common fund has been announced just days before President Donald Trump arrives in London for a meeting of the alliance’s political leaders. The U.S. will see its share reduced to 16 per cent from 20 per cent, the same amount due from Germany, with the other allies accounting for the balance.

Nov 29, 2019

Contract talks between the U.S. Army and its base employees in German have broken down, raising the spectre of a strike. A senior USA official has acknowledged the workers have a legitimate right to do so.

Nov 29, 2019

Former CSIS Director Richard Fadden says recent Conservative and Liberal governments have “failed abominably” on some foreign policy issues, notably China. He told an Ottawa panel Nov. 27 that having sat in on cabinet meetings for years, he concluded that while the governments of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Conservative predecessor, Stephen Harper, tried hard to articulate policy, “they both failed abominably because there was no consensus.”

Nov 29, 2019

A group of nerve agents known as Novichoks, developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, are to be added to the Chemical Weapons Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction. Its signatories agreed unanimously to the initiative Nov. 27. Initially proposed by Canada, the U.S. and the Netherlands, it is one of the first major changes to the 1997 treaty and is scheduled to take effect in May 2020.

Nov 29, 2019

Mercenaries with links to the Kremlin are understood to have sustained casualties in their fight with Islamist militants in Mozambique. Citing multiple sources, CNN says dozens of private military contractors aiding the Mozambique army appear to be associated with Yevgeny Prigozhin, an oligarch with close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Nov 29, 2019

The European Space Agency is going ahead with a satellite constellation which will monitor global carbon dioxide emissions. European ministers who oversee national science budgets have approved €14.4-billion over the next five years for the project, which the ESA says also will pave the way for more Moon and Mars missions.

Nov 29, 2019

Houthi medical cases to be flown out of the country’s rebel-held capital, the International Committee of the Red Cross says it has helped to repatriate 128 prisoners. At least 7,000 people have reported killed in the civil war since 2015 but international monitors say the death toll has been much higher.

Nov 29, 2019

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says the number of settings where conflict-driven, protracted emergencies and deep-rooted development challenges coexist has dramatically increased in the past decade. Conflicts are also lasting longer and the fact that a third of peace agreements fail within five years heightens the prospect of a return to conflict.

Nov 28, 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump flew to Afghanistan Nov. 28 for an unannounced visit to U.S. troops and told reporters after a meeting with Afghan president Ashraf Ghani that the U.S. had resumed peace talks with the Taliban. The U.S. broke off the talks  in September but Trump now says “we’re going to stay until such time as we have a deal or we have total victory — and they want to make a deal very badly.”

Nov 28, 2019

While it agrees that increased computerization of weapon systems offers many advantages, the U.S. Air Force says it also can make systems more vulnerable to cyberattacks. As a result, it is developing a new training curriculum designed to prepare specific personnel on how to recognize and respond to attacks.

Nov 28, 2019

A U.S. Statement department official says a Russian military buildup in Libya is “destabilizing” the country. David Schenker, Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, says “Russian regulars are being deployed in significant numbers” and that their presence “the specter of large-scale casualties among the civilian population.”

Nov 28, 2019

Norway has declared that its Lockheed Martin F-35A fighters have achieved “initial operating capability” at Rygge Air Station in the country’s west-central region. With 15 in service out of 52 on order, Norway plans by next year to deploy its F-35As to Iceland and conduct NATO air-policing operations.By 2022, they will take over the quick reaction mission out of Evenes, north of the Arctic Circle.

Nov 28, 2019

A survey by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute indicates that 76 per cent of Americans agree the U.S. should intervene militarily when freedom is at risk or human rights abuses are evident, regardless of whether there is a direct threat to the U.S. More than 1,000 adults responded to the second RRPFI annual national defence survey.

Nov 27, 2019

U.S. inspectors have been shown a Russian hypersonic weapon in keeping with the terms of the two countries’ New Start nuclear arms reduction treaty. The Defense Ministry says the Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle, which President Vladimir Putin has said will render missile defence systems useless, will be added to Russia’s arsenal in December.

Nov 27, 2019

The Spanish military-electronics firm Indra says it has taken the lead in a program to equip future European military aircraft with electronic warfare capabilities. France and Sweden also are participating and Germany and Italy also are expected join the Airborne Electronic Attack program with initial contracts expected in the first quarter of 2020.

Nov 27, 2019

The Aerospace Industries Association of Canada and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers want the federal government to implement a national aerospace strategy to make the sector more globally competitive and to combat a looming skills shortage facing the industry. “We feel like we’re falling behind globally,” says AIAC President Jim Quick while the IAMAW warns that a third of the industry’s labour force will retire by 2025. 

Nov 27, 2019

A British military think-tank, the Royal United Services Institute, says UK ground forces would be “comprehensively outgunned and outranged” in any conflict with Russia in Eastern Europe. Noting that its researchers found that NATO allies also had a “critical shortage” of artillery and ammunition, the Institute says “rejuvenation and modernization of British artillery is an “urgent and critical priority.” 

Nov 27, 2019

The U.S. is prepared to legally designate Mexican drug cartels as terrorists, a proposal President Donald Trump says would enable the U.S. to “go in and clear out” the cartels. Mexico’s Secretary of Foreign Relations, Marcelo Ebrard, says his country would not permit any “violation of national sovereignty” but Trump says his administration is “well into” the designation process.

Nov 27, 2019

The Chinese telecom giant Huawei has begun libel against against a researcher at the Foundation for Strategic Research in France. It says the lawsuit stems from the researcher’s televised comments that Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei is a former member of the People’s Liberation Army and that his company is essentially an arm of the Chinese government.The suit comes as Canada and several other countries try to address concerns that Huawei technology could be used for intelligence gathering.

Nov 27, 2019

Turkey is reported by senior NATO sources to be refusing to back a defence plan for the Baltic states and Poland unless the alliance offers more political support for Turkey’s fight with Kurdish militia in northern Syria. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government is said to have told its NATO ambassador not to sign off on the plan for now.

Nov 27, 2019

The head of North American Aerospace Defense Command, U.S. Air Force Gen. Terrence John O’Shaughnessy, says the U.S. needs to invest in an Arctic early warning system similar to the Distance Early Warning Line radar network built in the late 1950s. “We have to be aware of what is happening in that environment,” says O’Shaughnessy, who also commands U.S. NORTHCOM.

Nov 26, 2019

The Russian military is soliciting proposals on the use of robotics in urban and coastal combat for review by its Combined Arms Academy, which prepares commissioned officers. The RiaNovosti state news agency says the initiative is designed to address “the virtual absence of a unified concept for the use of military robotics,” likely reflecting President Vladimir Putin’s push for more effective unmanned systems.

Nov 26, 2019

Alexander Mikheev, head of Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state arms exporter, hopes to supply Turkey with more S-400 missile systems in the first half of 2020, a move which could further undermine U.S.-Turkey relations. The U.S. has suspended Turkey’s involvement in the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, pointing out that the S-400s are incompatible with NATO defences.

Nov 26, 2019

A $97.3 million contract modification for production and support of U.S. Air and Missile Defense Radar systems has been awarded to Raytheon. Designed and deployed since the end of the Cold War, the systems have been regularly updated and augmented.

Nov 26, 2019

As the incumbent Conservative Party in the U.K. prepares for next month’s general election, its newly-release campaign platform throws little new light on plans for the British military and defence industries. However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace dismiss suggestions that the Army and Royal Air Force could be reduced in size and that plans for two new aircraft carriers could be reconsidered.

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