IN THE NEWS

IN THE NEWS

Jun 04, 2021

Learjet, a Kansas-based subsidiary of Bombardier Aerospace since 1990, has received a U.S. Air Force contract for Bombardier Global 6000 business jets for conversion to E-11A communications platforms with Northrop Grumman technology. The contract is valued at up to $465 million.

Jun 04, 2021

A coup in Mali last week has prompted France to suspend joint operations with the country’s military. The French government says its decision will stand until a return to civilian governance is guaranteed.

Jun 04, 2021

At a June 3 meeting in France, the commanders of the British, French and U.S. navies affirmed their commitment to deeper collaboration and interoperability between their fleets. “We strive to combat the challenges posed by an increasingly uncertain world,” they said in a statement. “We will continue to strengthen our enduring partnership to ensure we prevail across the continuum of day-to-day competition, crisis, and conflict to keep the world’s oceans open.”

Jun 04, 2021

The U.S. State Department has approved the proposed $3.5-billion sale to Australia of 29 AH-64E Apache helicopters and associated equipment as replacement for its Airbus Tiger attack helicopters. The prime contractors are Boeing and Lockheed Martin.

Jun 04, 2021

Effective today, the European Union is preventing Belarus airlines and other carriers with code-sharing agreements. The move is the latest in a series of punitive measures against Belarus in response to its scrambling a fighter May 23 to force a Ryanair flight to land in Minsk so that authorities could arrest a political critic.

Jun 03, 2021

Veterans Ombudsman Nishika Jardine says ictims of sexual trauma in the military are compelled to seek help elsewhere than Veterans Affairs Canada. “This is a systemic issue that affects many veterans and definitely needs our attention,” the retired Colonel says.

Jun 03, 2021

In notes to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, military service leaders are expressing reservations about removing sexual assault cases from the chain of command in the U.S., where there is a push to shift prosecution to independent judge advocates. Among other things, they worry about the possibility for unintended harm to unit leadership or readiness.

Jun 03, 2021

An arms embargo of 108 weapons, systems and platforms has been announced by India’s defence department as a “Second Positive Indigenisation List” as the country moves to expand domestic production. “The second list lays special focus on weapons/systems which are currently under development/trials and are likely to translate into firm orders in the future,” the ministry explained this week.

Jun 03, 2021

The upper house of Russia’s parliament voted June 2 to withdraw from the Open Skies treaty which facilitated reciprocal military reconnaissance overflights with other signatories. The U.S. had already decided not to rejoint the agreement. The Duma’s decision now requires only President Vladimir Putin’s signature to become law.

Jun 03, 2021

Chinese President Xi Jinping has told the Communist Party leadership that he wants to increase his country’s “circle of friends” and to present an image of a “credible, loveable and respectable” international partner.

Jun 03, 2021

The largest vessel in the Iranian navy, a 207-metre supply ship, has sunk in the Gulf of Oman after a fire June 2. State media report that 400 crewmembers and cadets escaped with relatively few injuries.

Jun 03, 2021

Having depleted much of its stockpiles in its latest response to Hamas rocket strikes, Israel has asked the U.S. for an emergency $1 billion grant to replenish its Iron Dome interceptor network and to acquire “special air launched weapon systems.” The issue is on the agenda for a June 4 trip to Washington by Defence Minister Benny Gantz.

Jun 03, 2021

Reports that Danish intelligence helped the U.S. to spy on European leaders several years ago are neither being denied nor commented on directly, but Prime Minister Mette Freederiksen said June 2 that her country has solid relations with its allies. “I do not think it is correctly presented that there is a need to restore relations with either France or Germany,” she said. “We have an ongoing dialogue.”

Jun 02, 2021

As coalition troops continue to withdraw from Afghanistan after 20 years, there are lingering questions about some special forces operations. A former Australian operator suing news media for defamatory allegations about war crimes, an accusation he denies, has said that his British and U.S. counterparts were “far, far worse” during some deployments.

Jun 02, 2021

Eight years after it was alleged that the U.S. had spied on some of its allies, European leaders are once again demanding explanations after new claims. The original claim focused on Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel but the latest focuses on a report that Danish intelligence had worked with the U.S. After talks with Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron said any he expects “completely open” clarification.

Jun 02, 2021

The Canadarm2 on the International Space Station suffered “limited” damage from debris last month. However, the Canadian Space Agency says “results of the ongoing analysis indicate that the arm's performance remains

Jun 02, 2021

Former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Morris Fish says the military should continue to have jurisdiction in misconduct cases but only if the Canadian Arms Forces embraces reforms. He said in his June 1 review of the issue that until then, the civil justice system should be permitted to take action. “Sexual misconduct . . . remains persistent, preoccupying and widespread – despite the CAF's repeated attempts to address the problem,” he said.

Jun 01, 2021

The third independent review of the National Defence Act (the others were in 2003 and 2011) indicates that problems with misconduct within the Canadian Armed Forces remain pernicious. In his report, commissioned by the government last November, retired Supreme Court Justice Morris Fish made 107 recommendations in calling on the military to accelerate overdue reforms to how complaints are handled by a system which has tended to remain stubbornly command-centric.

Jun 01, 2021

Today, Defence Minister Sajjan tabled in Parliament the report on the Third Independent Review of specified provisions of the National Defence Act (NDA) and their operation. Initiated in November 2020, this review provides recommendations on one of the largest overhauls of the NDA and Canadian military justice system.

Jun 01, 2021

NATO forces have ended the initial phase of Steadfast Defender 2021, the first exercise of its kind in nearly four decades to test the alliance’s ability to transport troops and equipment to reinforce Europe. Conducted mostly off Portugal, it was led by the newly-reformed U.S. 2nd Fleet but the maritime component was overseen by Royal Canadian Navy RAdm Steve Waddell as fleet vice commander. “Since the end of the Cold War, it has been fairly benign in terms of free flow of goods, trade and information,” he said adding that the environment might not be so benign in the future.

Jun 01, 2021

NATO foreign and defence ministers began meeting today to prepare for the alliance’s first meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden, set for June 14, after four fractious years with his predecessor. “This is a pivotal moment for our alliance, and our collective security,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said May 31. “In a more competitive and unpredictable world, we need transatlantic unity.”

Jun 01, 2021

The International Atomic Energy Agency said May 31 that Iran has failed to explain traces of uranium found at several undeclared sites. The UN agency’s report potentially sets up for a new diplomatic clash which could derail negotiations to get an international accord back on track.

Jun 01, 2021

The espionage trial of a former Polish intelligence agent and a former Huawei employee began today in Warsaw as some European countries consider whether to block the Chinese company’s involvement in upgrading their telecommunications networks. The two accused were arrested in January 2019.

May 31, 2021

In the run-up to a June 16 meeting of the Russian and U.S. presidents, Moscow plans to beef up its military presence along its western borders. “The Americans must assume that a number of signals from Moscow . . . will be uncomfortable for them, including in the coming days,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov is quoted as saying today.

May 28, 2021

Moose Jaw, SK – The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) air demonstration teams officially began their 2021 season following an acceptance show at 15 Wing Moose Jaw in Saskatchewan today.

May 28, 2021

U.S. President Joe Biden’s inaugural budget includes a proposed $715 billion for the Department of Defense in the 2022 fiscal year, an $11-billion hike from 2021. While it includes a drop of nearly six per cent to $133.6 billion for procurement, it also proposes a five per cent increase to $112 billion for what Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said May 28 would be the “largest ever” request for research, development and testing of new technologies. The plan also proposes retirement of several legacy combat aircraft and six naval vessels.

May 28, 2021

Navistar Defense is paying the U.S. government $50 million to settle a complaint by a former employee that it inflated prices for thousands of vehicles supplied to the U.S. Marine Corps from 2007 to 2012. The complaint was filed in 2013 but sealed until the complaint was investigated.

May 28, 2021

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has won a fourth term in an election observers say was marred by fraud. His government says the May 26 vote, with a reported turnout of 78 per cent, shows the country is functioning normally despite a decade-long conflict which has killed hundreds of thousands and driven about half the population from their homes.

May 28, 2021

Dozens of besieged Afghan outposts or bases, and four district centers, have surrendered to the Taliban in recent weeks as western forces continue their withdrawal. The militants essentially forced the transition by threatening to kill Afghan soldiers and police.

May 28, 2021

The French technology companies, Thales and Atos, have announced a joint venture in a bid to become the country’s artificial intelligence and megadata powerhouse for public and private sector clients. “With the exponential rise in the number of sources of information, and increased pressure to respond more quickly to potential issues, state agencies need to manage ever-greater volumes of heterogeneous data and accelerate the development of new AI applications where security and sovereignty are key,” they said May 27.

U.S. remains closed to Open Skies
May 28, 2021

President Joe Biden’s administration told Russia May 27 that the U.S. will not rejoin the Open Skies Treaty which permitted reciprocal military overflights. Biden’s predecessor withdrew from it last year and the Russian parliament’s lower house recently voted to follow suit.

May 27, 2021

A battle over the independence of judges who oversee courts martial is apparently escalating around questions about the autonomy of a judge hearing the case. A Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada hearing revolves around Gen Jonathan Vance's decision two years ago, when he was Chief of the Defence Staff, to task an officer under his direct command with disciplining the military judges. Three of those four judges stayed several cases, saying Vance’s order impinged on their independence, and that prompted further hearings, the independence of which is being questioned by lawyers for the accused in seven cases.

May 27, 2021

Gen Mark Milley, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said May 26 that his department is developing plans to evacuate Afghans whose work with the U.S. leave them at risk of Taliban reprisals after coalition forces complete their withdrawal. “We recognize that a very important task is to ensure that we remain faithful to them, and that we do what’s necessary to ensure their protection, and if necessary, get them out of the country, if that’s what they want.”

May 27, 2021

Veterans Affairs is soliciting on-line feedback by June 9 on five proposed designs for a national monument to commemorate Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan. The designs were chosen by a jury after nearly two years of work by teams of artists, architects and urban designers. The government also consulted veterans and other stakeholders on elements of the monument to be sited near the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.

May 27, 2021

Nearly 700 current and former U.S. military installations potentially contaminated with carcinogenic chemicals will take years to assess and decades to clean up, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense told a congressional committee May 26. “The rate of progress is defined primarily by the rules that govern our physical world,” Richard Kidd said. “Based on what we know today . . . it will be years before we fully define the scope of the problem and . . . probably decades before cleanup is complete.”

May 27, 2021

The U.S. Air Force research laboratory says that six GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs established their own network after being dropped from a pair of F-16 fighters, enabling them to change targets in flight for a synchronized strike. It was the latest demonstration of Golden Horde collaborative weapon technology, seen as key to developing networked weaponry.

May 26, 2021

Britain has set up a new four-battalion ranger regiment which will provide long-term special operations with partner countries and is expected to focus mainly on African deployments. Gen Mark Carleton-Smith, the Army’s chief of the general staff, says the unit is warranted by the fact that “the future is growing unpredictability” and with “uncertainty and volatility.” Its initial four-year budget is projected at £120 million.

May 26, 2021

The Russian foreign ministry says there are 1,456 nuclear warheads in its deployed missiles compared with 1,357 on U.S. platforms as reflected in notifications in accordance with their bilateral strategic arms control treaty.

May 26, 2021

Development of a British-led “sixth-generation” international fighter evidently is progressing as the government and industry are about to sign off on the concept and assessment phases. A spokesman for BAE Systems wouldn’t be specific about the time frame but Parliament is due to recess in July.

May 26, 2021

U.S. Army Gen Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says the relative peace his country has had with Russia and China is “fraying at the edge.” Accordingly, he counselled the latest USAF Academy graduates “to keep your guard up against the enduring nature of evolving security challenges.”

May 26, 2021

Even as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was saying May 25 that his government is considering further sanctions against Belarus over its military diversion of an international airline flight to arrest a passenger who has criticized the autocratic regime, Minsk announced that it is closing its embassy in Ottawa in a couple of months. Meanwhile, Transport Canada has advised all airlines to avoid Belarussian airspace.

May 26, 2021

Deputy Defence Minister Jody Thomas says the push to end sexual misconduct in the military “lost its way” when the government failed to properly implement recommendations from a 2015 report by former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Marie Deschamps. She says she thought that “as little was done as possible to make it look like the report had been responded to.”

May 25, 2021

Alberta has ordered four universities to stop seeking research projects linked to the Chinese government. “I am deeply concerned about the potential theft of Canadian intellectual property and further concerned that research partnerships . . . may be used by Chinese military and intelligence agencies,” Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides says. “More needs to be done to curb foreign state infiltration into our research and innovation centres.”

May 25, 2021

A military reservist has been charged after he allegedly asked soldiers to disobey what he called “unlawful” orders to distribute the “killer [COVID] vaccine” during a speech at rally in Toronto. Shortly after the December rally, Canadian Forces officials retrieved Kenderesi’s uniform and military issued equipment.

May 25, 2021

When China began shelling Taiwan-controlled islands in 1958, the U.S. drew up plans which included possible nuclear strikes on the Chinese mainland and a risk of Soviet retaliation on behalf of Beijing. Dozens of pages from a 1966 study of the situation have been disclosed by Daniel Ellsberg, who was jailed for leaking the so-called Pentagon Papers 50 years ago. He copied the China-Taiwan documents at the time but opted not to disclose them until the latest tensions developed.

May 25, 2021

European leaders have agreed unanimously to toughen sanctions on Belarus and to bar European Union airlines from flying over the country’s airspace after Belarusian authorities used a Mig-29 fighter jet to force a Ryanair flight to land in Belarus so that a dissident journalist could be arrested. The May 23 flight to Vilnius from Athens was diverted to Minsk on the orders of President Alexander Lukashenko.

May 25, 2021

Democrats in the U.S. Senate are divided over the scope of reforms to how the military handles certain crimes, including sexual assault. The split became public May 24 when New York Senator Kirsten sought a vote on a bipartisan bill only to encounter resistance from the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who wants the measure incorporated into an annual defence policy package.

May 25, 2021

The U.S. and South Korea have confirmed that they are scrapping an agreement that limited the latter’s range of ballistic missiles to 800 kilometres. The two governments also have reiterated their commitment operational cooperation.

May 25, 2021

Satellite imagery shows construction of a 1.85-kilometer runway and three hangars under construction on a volcanic island off Yemen. Near one of the world’s crucial maritime chokepoints, where the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden, the area is being developed as an airbase for the United Arab Emirates.

May 25, 2021

The U.S. territory of Guam in the Western Pacific has been cleared by the Supreme Court to pursue a $160-million lawsuit against Washington over the cost of cleaning up a landfill dating to the 1940s. The court was unanimous in its May 24 ruling, which overturned a lower court’s decision that Guam had waited too long to pursue the claim.

May 25, 2021

The U.S. Air Force’s fighter fleets, led by the Lockheed Martin F-35A, had an improved mission-capable rate last year despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The F-35A’s rate was 76.07 per cent compared with 61.6 per cent in 2019 thanks to more spares funding and more of the fleet being later generation and less problem-prone.

May 25, 2021

A report released May 24 by the Pentagon warns that the Russian military is more technologically advanced than the U.S. realized and is quickly developing artificial intelligence capabilities to gain battlefield advantage. However, the federally-funded Center for Naval Analyses, which supports the Navy and Marine Corps, also notes that Moscow’s capabilities are constrained because its AI efforts are primarily government funded.

May 25, 2021

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak says his country will buy 24 Turkish drones equipped with anti-tank missiles. Meanwhile, a former Polish military commander says there also is a need for long-range platforms capable of striking outside Poland’s borders.

May 25, 2021

A £1.6 billion competition to build three Royal Navy logistics vessels has been resurrected by the Ministry of Defence. The focus of a dispute between the government and labour unions about outsourcing, the project was shelved in late 2019 when it failed to produce a politically-acceptable bid.

May 25, 2021

A Canadian Armed Forces member faces 18 charges for allegedly serving marijuana-laced cupcakes to her unit in 2018 ahead of live-fire artillery training in New Brunswick. Cpl Chelsea Cogswell is reported to have been working in the canteen at the time.

May 25, 2021

U.S. strategy in the Arctic is being challenged by the vice-chair of the Armed Services Committee in the House of Representatives. Virginia Democrat Elaine Luria, a retired naval commander, suggested during hearings that having three commands tasked with defending the region is ineffective.

May 25, 2021

Two Canadian researchers warn that new constellations of thousands of small communications satellites pose a growing hazard in low earth orbit, threatening other satellites, astronauts and possibly even the planet’s climate.

May 25, 2021

The estimated cost of replacing U.S. nuclear weapons and their various delivery platform continues to soar, according to a May 24 report from the Congressional Budget Office. Its latest estimate of $634 billion needed by 2030 is nearly double what it was in 2015.

May 21, 2021

Senior U.S. diplomatic and military officials disagree with concerns that the withdrawal of coalition forces from Afghanistan could pave the way for renewed terrorist attacks in the West. They voiced their optimism during separate appearances before congressional committees May 20.

May 21, 2021

A ceasefire agreement between Israel and the Hamas militant group went into effect early today after 11 days of intense cross-border attacks which left more than 250 dead, mostly Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Both sides have claimed victory.

May 20, 2021

Dassault Rafale fighters and Lockheed Martin F-35s are flying joint exercises in France designed to enhance interoperability between different fighter generations. Exercise Atlantic Trident 21 began May 17 and is scheduled to continue to May 28.

May 20, 2021

The lower house of the Russian parliament voted May 19 to pull out of the 2002 Open Skies treaty which permitted reciprocal surveillance of its signatories’ military facilities. The former U.S. administration withdrew last year and while the Russian proposal requires endorsement by the upper house and President Vladimir Putin, Moscow has indicated a willingness to reverse direction if the U.S. returns to the accord.

May 20, 2021

A one-day summit of NATO military leaders earlier this week essentially confirmed that adaptability, readiness and the investment needed to remain relevant should remain the alliance’s priorities. NATO Military Committee chief Sir Stuart Peach cited Russia as the main threat in the Euro-Atlantic region, he also noted that China is a potential danger.

May 20, 2021

It has been disclosed that 37 companies in the U.S. defence industrial base were affected by the Solarwinds cyberattack last year. RAdm William Chase III, deputy principal cyber adviser to the Secretary of Defense, set out the details May 18 during an appearance before a congressional subcommittee.

May 20, 2021

An initial military inquiry into alleged sexual misconduct by MGen Gen. Dany Fortin at Royal Military College in St-Jean more than three decades ago has resulted in the matter being referred to Quebec’s prosecution service. It now is up to that agency to determine whether and how proceed with a criminal case.

May 19, 2021

A “soft recoil” 155mm howitzer system is being tested by the U.S. Army for use on relatively light and more manoeuverable vehicles. Developed by Illinois-based Mandus Group and integrated on vehicles by Humvee manufacturer AM General, the system apparently can reduce recoil by up to 60 per cent, depending on elevation and range.

May 19, 2021

The Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, a policy think-tank based in Arlington, Va., said in a May 18 study that the U.S. aerospace industrial base cannot meet emerging military’s needs for rapid innovation to stay ahead of competitors. “To field advanced capabilities at the speed that our warfighters need, the defense industry needs to expand and business models must shift away from sustaining the past toward developing the future,” said the organization’s dean, former USAF BGen Dave Deptula.

May 19, 2021

A day after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warned the West against making territorial claims in the Arctic, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said May 18 that the global community should avoid militarizing the region. “We've seen Russia advance unlawful maritime claims . . . which are inconsistent with international law,” Blinken said ahead of an Arctic Council ministerial meeting. Lavrov had said “it has been absolutely clear for everyone for a long time that this is our territory, this is our land” and “we are responsible for ensuring our Arctic coast is safe.”

May 19, 2021

The B.C. government has been asked by the province’s Royal Canadian Legion to be included in the province’s pandemic support program after the latest lockdown has undercut the organization’s ability to generate income. Premier John Horgan has asked residents to “see what they can do” to help the Legion because the latest lockdown “was designed for ‘for-profit’ businesses.”

May 19, 2021

Recent hasty reassignments in Canadian Armed Forces’ senior ranks evidently are affecting how society perceives the military’s culture and its ability to address misconduct. New polling data from the Angus Reid Institute indicate, among other things, that 74 per cent of Canadians feel there is a culture of disrespect toward women in the CAF and 78 per cent see systemic problems with how sexual misconduct complaints are handled.

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