MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – August 21, 2012
- Next CDS: Whoozit gonna be? Good point…. “Regardless of who is appointed the next chief of the defence staff, this officer may come to regret his or her nomination. After several years of defence budget increases and strong support from politicians and the public alike, the Canadian Forces are facing a period of fiscal retrenchment and growing skepticism about their role in recent defence procurement problems. The next CDS will spend a good deal of time trying to manage these challenges. It may prove to be a thankless task ….”
- Way Up North (1) “Each of the last six summers, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has journeyed to the North, sprinkling throughout its remote communities promises of federal funding and development. This year will be no different: Harper leaves today for a five-day trip that begins with a rally near Whitehorse and ends Friday in Churchill, Man. Harper appears to have the Midas touch about him on these annual visits. The projects and people he encounters, albeit rarely beyond the bounds of a carefully-choreographed photo-op, get money and encouragement. In return, his government gets to bask in days of positive news coverage, backed by some of the most beautiful images of the country. But it seems that what Harper tries to turn to gold in his visits up North doesn’t always stay that way. Many projects he has announced for the region in recent years are behind schedule and some places he stops later find themselves falling on hard times ….” – more on the PM’s Arctic Road Trip here and here.
- Way Up North (2) The political game Canada’s going to be playing in the Arctic “…. Canada is set to assume the helm of the eight-member Arctic Council. China wants to become a permanent observer member. Sweden, the current chair, hasn’t addressed China’s request. Canada will probably need to, as well as guard against any attempt to undermine our historical claims to sovereignty in the Arctic. The best way to do that is from a position of strength. The Conservative government might hope international law and diplomacy will support Canada’s Arctic claims, but it cannot forsake warships, icebreakers, aircraft and military bases. Geopolitical reality tends to demonstrate that a show of hardware helps diplomacy work and the makes the law enforceable.”
- Way Up North (3) “Had the First Air flight 6560 not crashed in Resolute, Nunavut, one year ago, there was a risk that it could have collided mid-air with another incoming plane, according to the Transportation Safety Board of Canada. The TSB’s final report on the tragic crash which claimed 12 lives is still pending. However, CBC News has learned the board released two air safety warnings since its interim report on the crash. The advisories are not necessarily linked to the cause of the crash, but they identify issues found in the course of the investigation ….” - more on the crash investigation here.
- Army Guys, Flying (Little) Planes (Without Pilots) from a Navy Ship “In late August, HMCS Charlottetown wraps up a seven-month deployment and bids farewell to the ScanEagle unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) detachment that shared the flight deck with Osprey, the Halifax-class frigate’s CH-124 Sea King helicopter. Charlottetown is the first Canadian warship to carry a UAV detachment throughout an expeditionary deployment. UAVs are new to the Canadian Forces — the first was the CU-161 Sperwer, which entered service in Afghanistan in February 2006 — so the skills required to launch, fly, recover and maintain them are still sourced from a variety of military occupations in the Canadian Army, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Royal Canadian Air Force. Because the ScanEagle is still under trial, the Charlottetown UAV detachment included civilian technicians as well as soldiers, sailors and airmen ….”
- “Unexploded bombs — potentially thousands of them — are believed to be lying undisturbed on former Canadian military training grounds, in nearby waters and elsewhere across the country, a potential hazard that has not only prompted federal efforts to dispose of the decades-old explosives but also inspired a new History Television series chronicling the mission: Bomb Hunters. Scheduled to debut next week, the program follows two crews of bomb-disposal experts — including one from the Quebec-based company Mine/EOD, headed by former Canadian Forces combat engineer Ray Tremblay — as they try to locate and blow up long-latent UXOs, or “unexploded explosive ordnance.” ….”
- Canadian heads to Dagestan to fight for the jihad, ends up dead “In the video he shot inside his hut in the mountains of Dagestan last winter, William Plotnikov narrated as he panned from the black flag of jihad to three bearded rebels and their assault rifles. Then he turned the camera on himself. “I ask Allah that the next season he’ll give us the opportunity to kill as many kafirs [non-believers] as we can, just to shred them to pieces,” William said. “Allah is almighty.” Watching the clip on the computer in his apartment north of Toronto last week, Vitaly Plotnikov looked both heartbroken and perplexed. It was hard for him to accept that this was his son. “It’s just like a different person to me,” he said. Russian security forces announced last month that they had killed William, a 23-year-old Canadian, during a gun battle in Dagestan. Since then, the Canadian government has been trying to verify the Russians’ account. But in an interview with the National Post, Mr. Plotnikov confirmed William’s death and spoke for the first time about his son’s rapid transformation from Toronto teenager and champion boxer to Muslim convert and jihadist fighter ….” - more here, here and here.