IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Jan 27, 2020

A U.S. Air Force E-11A communications platform, a variant of the Bombardier BD-700 Global Express, crashed in eastern Afghanistan 27 January. The aircraft went down some 10km from a U.S. base in Ghazni province, a mountainous region which is largely Taliban-controlled.

Jan 27, 2020

Five Katyusha rockets were fired at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone 26 January but there were no reports of injury or serious damage. All were officially described as having impacted a riverbank but a source says one landed within the diplomatic compound. The source of the missiles was not known but Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi reiterated his country’s commitment to protecting “all diplomatic missions.”

Jan 27, 2020

Thirty-four U.S. military personnel now have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries after an Iranian missile attackon an base in Iraq 07 January. The Department of Defense initially had reported “zero injuries” before troops began experience a range of TBI symptoms which President Donald Trump described as “not very serious.” Some personnel were treated on site but others have been evacuated.

Jan 27, 2020

The U.K. Ministry of Defence has explained to Parliament why the costs of a drone program have ballooned by £325 million over the initial budget of £816 million. Among other things, the increased cost of 16 replacements for the Royal Air Force’s MQ-9 Reapers was partly due to the MoD’s decision to delay the program for two years. Of the total increase, £50.8 million was due to a decline in the Pound against the U.S. dollar.

Jan 27, 2020

Capella Space Corp. has released the design for a new satellite which would use synthetic aperture radar to provide imagery regardless of weather or cloud cover, unlike other platforms with optical sensors. The San Francisco-based startup’s technology is expected to provide valuable data not only to natural disaster and search and rescue responders but also the military and intelligence communities.

Jan 27, 2020

A new analysis of U.S. involvement in Middle East affairs states that more than 60 years after it declared that it was willing to use military force to defend its “national interests” in the region, Washington’s policies seem to have come full circle.

Jan 27, 2020

Ten days after an informal announcement on social media, former defence minister Peter MacKay officially launched his bid for the Conservative Party of Canada leadership. He made the announcement 25 January, warning the party must heal internal rifts.

Jan 24, 2020

A recent U.K. National Audit Office report on the management of Ministry of Defence infrastructure projects at nuclear-related sites underscores the need for the government to pay more attention, according to a commentary published by the Royal United Services Institute. Cost overruns of up to 148 per cent were uncovered by the NAO. 

Jan 24, 2020

The U.S. Army’s third try at replacing its 1980s M2 Bradley fighting vehicles evidently has failed because it could not bridge the gap between basic mobility and the challenge of effective armour. A General Dynamics Land Systems prototype, the remaining sole contender, was deemed too heavy for two to be deployed simultaneously on U.S. Air Force Boeing C-17 Globemaster III transports.

Jan 24, 2020

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak expects his country will finalize a $4 billion contract next week for 32 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fighters. He also told Polish radio 22 January that the first aircraft would be ready for delivery in 2024.

Jan 24, 2020

Some three years after the fact, details are available on a major “real world” test of cyber  cooperation between the U.S. and coalition partners in their Daesh campaign. Operation Glowing Symphony in November 2016 was the largest exercise of its kind operations and the details show that U.S. Cyber Command considered sharing information typically held closely. The details are in documents released as part of a Freedom of Information Act request by George Washington University archives.

Jan 24, 2020

A new 200-page handbook for general officers and judge advocates has been issued by the U.S. Army. The Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Land Warfare updates a 60-year-old guide and is being incorporated into the curriculum for officer basic courses and classes for incoming commanders.

Jan 24, 2020

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has indicated that the U.S. is considering repositioning its  global military resources to focus more on challenges from China and Russia. While avoiding specific timelines, he did say 23 January that he wants “to make sure we are in some type of better posture by the beginning of the next fiscal year,” next October.

Jan 23, 2020

The International Court of Justice in The Hague has ordered measures to prevent the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in predominantly Buddhist Muslim Myanmar despite its military’s insistence that it was combatting extremists. Thousands of Rohingya have died and more than 700,000 have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh during an army crackdown that began in 2017.

Jan 23, 2020

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ metaphoric Doomsday Clock has ticked 20 seconds closer to midnight, to 100 seconds, the closest it has ever been to the prospect of a global catastrophe. Created in 1947, when it was set at seven minutes to midnight, the iconic marker has shifted back and forth 23 times and had been at two minutes since 2018. The latest shift, announced 23 January, reflects growing concern about the “existential” threats of nuclear war and climate change, which the group says are exacerbated by cyber-enabled information warfare.

Jan 23, 2020

Patrik Mathews, a former Canadian Armed Forces Reserves combat engineer in Manitoba, remains in custody in the U.S. after a judge decided he might try to escape justice. Mathews is accused of having joined U.S. white supremacists in planning activities a U.S. government attorney describes as domestic terrorism.

Jan 22, 2020

A growing number of U.S. troops are being evacuated from Iraq for examination and potential treatment of brain trauma suffered in the Iranian missile attack on Al Assad airbase 03 January, but President Donald Trump has described their condition as “headaches” and “not serious.” A senior officer in Iraq puts the total number of evacuees “in the teens.”

Jan 22, 2020

Former Alberta MP Ron Ambrose has announced that she will not seek the Conservative Party of Canada leadership. She said on Facebook 22 January that she “struggled” with the decision. Ambrose, who held portfolios in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government, including the government's procurement arm, Public Works & Government Services, resigned from the House of Commons in 2017.

Jan 22, 2020

The South Korean navy has expanded its Middle East maritime protection to cover Korean-flagged commercial vessels transiting the Strait of Hormuz between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula. It has conducted anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden since 2009.

Jan 22, 2020

The U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen David Goldfein, has told Boeing that he is dissatisfied with the progress on the KC-46, a new tanker based on the commercial 767 platform which is not mission ready after nearly a decade in development. The USAF has taken delivery of 30 to date but uses them only for crew training.

Jan 22, 2020

Training of Saudi nationals in the various arms of the U.S. military is expected to resume once new security measures are in place. In giving conditional approval, the Department of Defense has proposed, among other things, a ban on foreign students or their families owning firearms and ammunition. Training was suspended in December after a Saudi trainee killed three U.S. Navy personnel in Florida. 

Jan 22, 2020

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance needs to beef up its training of Iraqis to ensure that its personnel are not drawn back into a combat role. The Canadian-led training program was suspended in early January due to security concerns but Stoltenberg says talks with leaders in the region suggest it could resume in the near future.

Jan 21, 2020

Former Quebec premier Jean Charest announced 21 January that he will not seek the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada. The former federal cabinet minister said, among other things, that the organization had changed significantly since he quit in 1998 to enter provincial politics.

Jan 21, 2020

A missile attack on a Yemeni military training camp has killed at least 111 personnel who had gathered at a mosque for evening prayers. The government blamed Houthi rebels.

Jan 21, 2020

A $3-million reward is being offered by an Iranian legislator, Ahmad Hamzeh, for the assassination of U.S. President Donald Trump. The offer, made in the Iranian parliament, is being dismissed as “ridiculous” by U.S. Disarmament Ambassador Robert Wood, who also said it proved the “terrorist underpinnings” of Iran’s establishment.

Jan 21, 2020

A U.S. Army veteran linked to a neo-Nazi group faces charges of harbouring an illegal alien and transporting weapons as part of a plot to get former Canadian Armed Forces reservist Patrik Mathews to a gun rights rally in Virginia. Mathews, a Winnipeg native who entered the U.S. illegally in August, was arrested in Delaware last week.

Jan 21, 2020

The Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 coaxial rotor helicopter topped 100 knots in a recent test flight as the U.S. Army Joint Multi-Role Technology Demonstrator continues to mature with weekly flights. The “Defiant” platform also completed turns at a 30-degree angle of bank.

Jan 21, 2020

Senior Australian naval officers have dismissed reports that they were urged to consider alternatives to buying 12 conventionally-powered submarines from France's Naval Group. They were responding to news media claims in the wake of auditor’s report which suggested that negotiations with Naval Group were going so poorly that the Naval Shipbuilding Advisory Board had earlier recommended drawing up contingency plans.

Jan 21, 2020

away from being able to put a nuclear payload on one of its ballistic missiles. They say that once Iran has developed a warhead, using any missiles with a diameter of just over 4 feet would be an option.

Jan 20, 2020

Some 300 Canadian Armed Forces personnel, supported by four aircraft and ground vehicles, are in eastern Newfoundland to help the region dig from out of last week’s record-breaking winter storm. Taking direction from the province and municipal administrations, CAF personnel, including local Reservists, are givigg priority to residents who cannot get out of their homes.

Jan 19, 2020

Newfoundland and Labrador will be getting Canadian Armed Forces support with digging out of a record-breaking winter storm. Premier Dwight Ball confirmed 18 January that he had formally requested military assistance.

Jan 18, 2020

President Donald Trump says Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei should be careful about what he says after Khamenei called him a “clown” while criticizing the U.S. in a sermon in Tehran 17 January. “The so-called 'Supreme Leader' of Iran, who has not been so Supreme lately, had some nasty things to say about the United States and Europe,” Trump said in a tweet. “Their economy is crashing, and their people are suffering. He should be very careful with his words!”

Jan 17, 2020

An RCAF pilot explains in a BBC video how he used a mouse to control one of NATO’s new Northrop Grumman RQ-4D Global Hawk intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance drones. The first of five was delivered in late November to their operational base Sigonella, Sicily,

Jan 17, 2020

A bipartisan group in Congress says a possible reduction of the U.S. military presence in Africa, as the Pentagon focuses more on Russian and Chinese aggression would be incompatible with the administration’s National Security Strategy. In a letter to Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, the group calls the idea “shortsighted.”

Jan 17, 2020

Unprecedented physical, social, economic and geopolitical shifts in the Arctic present a “considerable impact” on the region’s security, according to a researcher at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Ekaterina Klimenko writes that security issues too often are handled in isolation from each other. Her observations flow from a SIPRI workshop in London last year.

Jan 17, 2020

Eleven U.S. military personnel have been evacuated from al-Asad air base in Iraq for treatment of potentially severe injuries suffered in Iran’s 08 January missile attack. Senior officials had said immediately after the attack that there had been “no casualties” but it was confirmed 16 January that some had suffered severe concussion.

Jan 17, 2020

After confirming that a Dutch shipyard has been chosen to build at least four new frigates for the Germany Navy, officials are working on a procurement policy which would steer future contracts to domestic industry. The proposed policy shift could require an exemption from a European Union requirement that national programs should be competed among EU members.

Jan 17, 2020

Having received only one response, from General Dynamics, the U.S. Army is backtracking on its Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles replacement project. Army acquisition chief Bruce Jette said 16 January that feedback on the concept of an optionally-manned replacement, coupled with the lack of broad industry response, requires a re-think of this “critical capability.” A Raytheon-Rheinmetall team was disqualified from the competition for having missed a deadline.

Jan 17, 2020

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has used a mass prayer session in Tehran to defend the country’s Revolutionary Guard for having maintained Iran’s security by shooting down a Ukrainian airliner 08 January. Among other things, the cleric used his rare appearance to say that Iran’s “enemies” were “as happy about the plane crash as we were sad,” and called U.S. President Donald Trump a “clown.”

Jan 17, 2020

Patrik Mathews, who fled to the U.S. in August after being released from the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves due to the Winnipeg resident's alleged involvement in an extremist right-wing movement, was been arrested 16 in Delaware.

Jan 16, 2020

At least 18 civilians are reported to have died in air strikes that hit a market and an industrial zone in the Syrian rebel-held city of Idlib. An international monitoring group says Russian and Syrian aircraft carried out the attack despite a ceasefire brokered by Russia and Turkey.

Jan 16, 2020

A move by President Donald Trump to block military assistance to Ukraine is said by the U.S. Government Accountability Office to have been illegal. It says in a new report that the White House Office of Management and Budget withheld for “a policy reason” the nearly $400 million allocated by Congress. The GAO says that decision, directed by Trump, breached legislation designed specifically to block any such action.

Jan 16, 2020

Families of U.S. paratroopers deployed to Kuwait earlier this month have been advised to check their social media settings and report anything strange. A spokesman says families have reported unsolicited contact with “some menacing messaging.”

Jan 16, 2020

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has told Iran there would be a “decisive U.S. response” if the regime or its militias harm American troops or allies in the Middle East. “Attacks by them, or their proxies of any identity, that harm Americans, our allies, or our interests will be answered with a decisive U.S. response,” Pompeo says.

Jan 16, 2020

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says thousands of European military personnel in the Middle East could be at risk if their countries join the U.S. pressure campaign against his country.

Jan 16, 2020

French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly expects to visit Washington “in the coming days” to discuss support for her country’s military in the Sahel region of sub-Saharan Africa. The U.S. currently provides intelligence, logistical and drone support for the French but security has been deteriorating.

Jan 16, 2020

The U.S. Senate voted 89-10 on final congressional approval 16 January of a revised North American Free Trade Agreement, rebranded by President Donald Trump as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement. Trump is expected to sign the bill next week. 

Jan 15, 2020

U.S.-Iraq joint military operations resumed 15 January despite a vote for expulsion by the country’s parliament after the government accused the U.S. of violating Iraqi sovereignty with air strikes. U.S. officials say the military wants to resume operations against the Islamic State to blunt any gains the militants had made in the intervening two weeks.

Jan 15, 2020

When the six contenders to be the Democratic Party’s candidate in the U.S. presidential election in November met in Iowa, defence policy was a hot topic. There was evident consensus at the 14 January debate on the need for a reduced presence in the Middle East and former vice-president Joe Biden acknowledged that his support for the war in Iraq was a mistake.

Jan 15, 2020

Former Defence Minister Peter MacKay confirmed 15 January that he is in the race to succeed Andrew Scheer as leader of the Conservative Party leadership. “I’m in,” he said on social media. “Stay tuned.” A Member of Parliament from Nova Scotia from 1997 to 2015, he had held several cabinet portfolios, including Foreign Affairs as well as National Defence. 

Jan 15, 2020

Two memoranda so far this month show what U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has in mind for the Pentagon’s priorities. He said 02 January that “aggressive reforms” will enable the military to deal with budget constraints going forward and, four days later, highlighted how he wants to squeeze $5 billion from various agencies.

Jan 15, 2020

Despite the fact that it has been suspended from acquiring Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters, Turkey will keep making parts for other countries until at least the end of this year, according to Ellen Lord, Undersecretary for Acquisition and Sustainment in the U.S. Department of Defense. She says that while most of the work in Turkey will end by March, Lockheed Martin and its engine supplier, Pratt & Whitney, have longer-term contracts in place.

Jan 15, 2020

The U.S. military is accused in a lawsuit of failing to meet deadlines set by Congress for correcting veterans' requests to correct records which block their access to benefits. The National Veterans Legal Services Program says delays by the Boards for Correction of Military Records affect thousands of former Army Navy and Air Force personnel.

Jan 15, 2020

A federal appeals court has ruled that a legal challenge to the U.S. Air Force’s dismissal of two HIV-positive airmen can continue.  The tribunal which heard the case ruled unanimously that the USAF had failed to consider current treatments and risk factors in discharging the airmen in 2018. A circuit court judge had already ruled in favor of the plaitiffs.

Jan 15, 2020

Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev resigned 15 January shortly after President Vladimir Putin proposed constitutional changes which could keep in him power after his current term expires in 2024. Medvedev said there could be “significant changes” in the balance between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary.

Jan 15, 2020

The United States “is better at cyber than anyone else” or so says President Donald Trump. Asked during a televised interview about a possible cyberattack from Iran, he replied that if it did happen, “we’ll be able to hit very hard.” He characterized cyber as “a new form of war” which the U.S. has “very well under control.”

Jan 15, 2020

Newly-released security camera imagery shows that two missiles, fired 23 seconds apart by an Iran Revolutionary Guard ground battery, struck Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 out of Tehran 08 January, killing all 176 persons aboard, including 57 Canadian citizens.

Jan 15, 2020

The Royal Canadian Air Force plans to spend approximately $800 million on new weapons, sensors and defensive systems for its remaining Boeing CF-18 fighters, according to RCAF Commander LGen Al Meinzinger. This is atop $3 billion for other life expension work as well as the purchase of 18 Hornets from the Royal Australian Air Force.

Jan 14, 2020

A suggestion by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the 57 Canadian citizens killed in Iran’s missile shootdown of a Ukrainian jetliner last week were the victims of heightened tensions in the region has prompted California Republican Kevin McCarthy, minority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives, to place the blame squarely on Iran. The aircraft was downed shortly after Iran had fires missiles into Iraq in retaliation for the U.S. assassination in Baghdad of Iranian Gen Qassem Soleimani.

Jan 14, 2020

Ukraine is mounting a coordinated effort to facilitate its joining NATO and the European Union despite what its Dmygro Kuleba, Vice Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, sees as a “discouraging environment. He said during a visit to Washington last month that joining both alliances is vital as his country deals with Russia.

Jan 14, 2020

Having been suspended from the U.S.-led Joint Strike fighter program, Turkey is looking for partners to help develop its own next-generation fighter. It has invited Malaysia and is understood to be considering asking Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Kazakhstan to sign on either as project partners or prospective customers.

Jan 14, 2020

Seven companies are eagerly awaiting U.S. Air Force confirmation of the next phase of a $6.4 billion contract to provide “Red Air” aggressor training for the U.S. Air Force aggressor. A total of 22 USAF bases would participate in the program.

Jan 14, 2020

The U.S. navy plans to install a laser weapon on a Littoral Combat Ship as a way of enhancing LCS lethality and as a platform for development of a family of laser weapons. The trial installation is reported to be a 150-kilowatt high-energy laser developed by Lockheed Martin.

Jan 14, 2020

In a bid to increase its presence in the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Bothnia, Finland is planning to acquire four multirole icebreaking corvettes. Rauma Marine Construction and Saab, the latter as combat systems provider and integrator, are the primary contractors on the €1-billion project which will see construction begin in 2022 and the ships in service by 2028.

Jan 14, 2020

president Donald Trump plans to divert $7.2 billion from the Department of Defense budget to fund continued construction of his border wall with Mexico this year. That would be five times the amount authorized by Congress and would bring the total spent on the wall during his presidency to $18.4 billion

Jan 14, 2020

The assassination of Iranian Gen Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad 03 January was authorized by President Donald Trump seven months ago, say current and former U.S. administration officials. The order evidently was executable if Iranian aggression resulted in the death of an American but Trump and others in his cabinet have since said the killing was prompted by concerns about what they said were imminent attacks on U.S. embassies.

Jan 14, 2020

Britain, France and Germany say they do not accept Iran’s defence of its decision to remove all limits on its production of enriched uranium as provided for in a 2015 pact. The U.S. withdrew from the agreement last year and now the European partners, along with Russia and China, are trying to maintain the restrictions on a program Iran insists is for peaceful use.

Jan 14, 2020

U.S. Attorney General William Barr wants Apple to unlock two of its iPhones which were owned by a Saudi air force officer who was shot by police after he had killed three persons at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida last month. Insisting 13 January that it is “very important” to know about the shooter’s communications, Barr says Apple has not given investigators “substantive assistance”, a claim the company denies.

Jan 14, 2020

The leaders of several African countries have been told by French President Emmanuel Macron that they are not doing enough to assist French forces involved in major counterinsurgency operations in their countries.

Jan 14, 2020

An Iranian Judiciary official said 14 January that “extensive investigations” into last week’s missile shoot-down of a Ukrainian jetliner has resulted in an undisclosed number of arrests. All 176 persons aboard the Boeing 737-800, including 57 Canadian citizens, died in the crash minutes after Flight PS752 had taken off from Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport en route to Kiyv, Ukraine.

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