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Archive for the ‘Military Ethos’ Category

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – September 10, 2013

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Syria ….
…. and Elsewhere

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – August 15, 2013

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MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – August 12, 2013

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MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – July 24, 2013

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  • In celebration of the arrival of an Heir to the Throne born yesterday to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the 30th Field Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery from the Canadian Armed Forces fired a 21-Gun Royal Salute on Parliament Hill at noon (yesterday).  Royal or State Salutes, consisting of 21 rounds, honour the reigning sovereign, members of the Royal family, foreign sovereigns and members of their families, heads of state, and the Governor General of Canada ….”
  • Everything Old is New Again (Pips & Crowns)  Want to know a few more details?  Check out this message sent out by Army Central via Milnet.ca (DISCLOSURE:  I’m a moderator for Milnet.ca)  My fave talking point:  “‘Stars and Crowns’ is not British.  The officers of almost 100% of the armies on every continent of the world including China, Russia, Finland, Colombia, and including the Salvation Army and RCMP wear a system of two identifiers: (i) a star, and (ii) a national symbol…it is an international convention and customary practice so an officer from any country can negotiate on the battlefield or work in coalitions like the UN or NATO and with civilian agencies.  Canada’s Army used this international customary practice from 1885, officially recognized it in 1903, but lost it in 1968.”
  • What’s the Vets’ Ombudsman up to with a new Minister?  “…. I have already engaged with the new ministerial staff, and have had a fulsome discussion with Minister Fantino’s new Chief of Staff, Jacques Fauteux – a former member of the Canadian Armed Forces, who I had the pleasure of working with when I served as Canadian Forces Chief Warrant Officer. I have been informed that the Minister is eager to meet with me at the earliest opportunity and I look forward to briefing him on the key elements of my Office’s operational work, plans for the future and ongoing concerns.  I intend to maintain the collaborative approach of the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman. I am determined to continue to provide the Minister and Veterans with evidenced-based advice in consultation with the Veterans Community. The reports that my Office publishes will continue also to offer timely, factual and relevant information on both existing and emerging issues of concern.  My primary focus now is the New Veterans Charter and the upcoming review of the Enhanced New Veterans Charter Act. I am concentrating my efforts on the financial, vocational assistance and family support aspects of the Charter and I will continue to call for a broadened Charter review to address shortcomings in these areas ….”
  • Then-defence minister Peter MacKay was told in a secret briefing last year the Canadian military had no choice but to continue using thousands of live animals for testing chemical-weapon antidotes and medical training.  The briefing came after a study in the journal Military Medicine revealed Canada was one of only six NATO countries still using live mice, ferrets and pigs for military purposes. Defence officials said at that time that they were “actively” looking to end the practice.  But in a briefing note obtained by Postmedia News, officials cited Canadian laws forbidding the application of new drugs or medical techniques on humans without pre-clinical trials on “animal models” as among the reasons for the continued need for live animals.  It also said “limiting or abolishing the use of animals” at National Defence “would significantly impair training delivery, impact (the military’s) readiness and could threaten the health of its deployed members.”  National Defence uses an average of 2,900 live animals each year for research, the note adds.  It uses an undisclosed number of additional animals for training battlefield doctors on how to treat gunshot wounds, blast injuries and other trauma ….” - you can find the original journal article here (bullet #6)
  • Way Up North  Left-wing worries about militarization of the Arctic  “Canada recently took over the leadership of the Arctic Council and will be succeeded by the U.S. in 2015. With back-to-back chairmanships, it gives both countries an opportunity to increase cooperation on initiatives that could enhance the development of a shared North American vision for the Arctic. The U.S. has significant geopolitical and economic interests in the high north and have released a new national strategy which seeks to advance their Arctic ambitions. While the region has thus far been peaceful, stable and free of conflict, there is a danger of the militarization of the Arctic ….”
  • Members of Canada’s military have always recognized that there were some inequities between the members of the military community and the rest of the Canadian population. These were frequently met with the quip, “We are here to defend democracy, not practise it.”  While the right to vote is the most fundamental right under Canadian law, members of the Canadian Armed Forces were not always able to cast their ballots.  Voting in federal elections and byelections is an entrenched right and is accomplished using an absentee ballot. Military members assigned to a ship or deployed to a mission such as Afghanistan or humanitarian assistance or disaster relief in Haiti, retain their Nova Scotia addresses, so were qualified to vote in provincial and municipal elections.  But these families faced an entirely different set of circumstances if the posting was outside Canada for an extended period. When assigned to a Canadian embassy, NATO, or at one of the alliance’s facilities for three to four years, military members and their family members move from their Nova Scotia residences and store their furniture and effects until they return to Canada.  Without a Nova Scotia address, they were not eligible to vote in provincial and municipal elections even though they paid taxes to both the federal and provincial governments. This “taxation without representation” was what led the United States’ founding fathers to ultimately declare independence from Britain.  Last year, the Nova Scotia government changed the rules. In the next election, Canadian Armed Forces members and DND civilian employees serving outside Canada who meet the new residency requirements will be able vote ….”
  • Aaron Yoon, the 24-year-old Canadian who has been held in a Mauritanian prison since December 2011 on terror-related charges, has been released.  Yoon was sentenced to two years in prison last July after being convicted of having ties to an al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group that operates in the North African region and of posing a danger to Mauritanian national security.  A Mauritanian court decided earlier this month to release Yoon for time served, roughly 18 months, and rejected prosecutors’ requests to have his sentence extended to 10 years.  The Korean-Canadian was released at dawn Tuesday and turned over to Mauritanian intelligence officials for questioning, CBC’s Adrienne Arsenault reported. He is expected to be deported to Canada soon, travelling on a temporary passport he was given by authorities ….”
  • A Mississauga grandmother visiting family in India has been arrested and charged with arms smuggling after authorities in Mumbai say they found live ammunition in her luggageIrene Mathias, 59, would seem to be an unlikely arms smuggler. She works with the Canada Revenue Agency in an administrative position, volunteers with the Canadian Cancer Society and is a regular churchgoer, her son Trayson Mathias said.  “She’s a woman who loves her church, volunteering in her community and cooking for her family,” he told the Star in a phone interview from North Carolina. “She’s been in hell, sitting in a jail there.”  Mathias was preparing to return to Canada after a two-week visit when she was arrested July 16 at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. She was jailed for three days and had her passport seized.  Out on bail, she is now staying with family in the Mumbai area …. Police later told Irene Mathias’s husband that the ammunition found in his wife’s luggage was .22 long-range Dynamit Nobel, rounds that were made in Germany for a rifle ….”
  • A car bomb exploded in the Libyan capital of Tripoli near a building that houses the Canadian Embassy, but an official says the office was closed at the time and all staff are safe“We take the safety and security of our staff abroad very seriously,” Rick Roth, press secretary to Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, said on Twitter. “We are monitoring events closely and taking [appropriate] security measures.”  The explosion occurred in the car park of a residential compound next to Tripoli Towers, where both the British and Canadian embassies are located, according to a Reuters report citing an unnamed witness ….”
  • An iconic photo of a little boy dashing out toward his father as he marches off to war is going to be immortalized on the B.C. street corner where it was taken more than 70 years ago.  The image dubbed Wait For Me, Daddy became one of the most famous photographs in Canadian history.  The boy in the photograph was five-year-old Warren ‘Whitey’ Bernard, who still remembers the day in the fall of 1940 when the B.C. Regiment marched down 8th Street in New Westminster, B.C., as they headed off to war.  “I wanted to go with Dad. I wanted to be with Dad. I guess I had it in my mind that this was it,” Bernard told CBC News from his home in Tofino, B.C. ….”

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – July 23, 2013

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23 July 13 at 7:45

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – July 19, 2013

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  • The Department of National Defence has quietly decided to no longer post key technical documents on its website detailing the military’s requirements for crucial new planes, ships, and vehicles, instead opting for new slimmed-down versions.  The document, called a Statement of Operational Requirements, used to be drawn up when the military wanted to buy a new item. They would detail what the military wanted in a given piece of equipment. The documents have previously been released publicly so Canadians could examine what their armed forces needed before their tax dollars were spent.  Such documents, for example, have been posted on DND’s website to show the military’s requirements for a new strategic airlift capability, or what it required in terms of new resupply ships or new Arctic patrol ships, now part of the government’s $35-billion shipbuilding strategy. But such documents can no longer be found online.  “Since March of this year, current direction within the [Royal Canadian Air Force] is to hold onto Statements of Operational Requirements until the tendering process has been completed,” wrote RCAF spokesperson Maj. James Simiana in an email.  “The intent by doing so is to ensure that planning projections which may change do not influence the formal acquisition process.” ….”
  • Every time he picked up a pen to sign a letter of condolence to the family of a dead soldier, Lt.-Gen. Peter Devlin asked himself hard, painful questions about the institution to which he had devoted his life.  During Devlin’s three years as the country’s top soldier, there were an awful lot of those letters to sign. Stacks of his briefing notes are laced with censored references to the letters.  Whether it was in combat, by accident or by suicide, there was always a moment of reflection before pen went to paper, he said. But when the soldier’s death was self-inflicted, the questions seemed to loom larger.  “It hurts,” said Devlin, who retires Thursday as the commander of the Canadian Army. “I wonder about whether we, the army and the Canadian Forces did all that we could have, (and) should have.”  Just recently, the Canadian military quietly added two more soldiers to the list of those who killed themselves in 2011, according to internal National Defence records.  Twenty-two soldiers have now been declared as having died by suicide the same year the army ended its combat mission in Afghanistan, says the military’s latest report on suicide in its ranks.  The study, which looked back at data over a decade, concluded the war in Afghanistan — or any deployment, for that matter — isn’t a risk factor for suicide and that the overall rate of serving soldiers who kill themselves remains steady ….” - more here
  • Afghanistan  His Excellency Ambassador Glenn Davidson presented Canada’s Meritorious Service Medal to Afghan National Army Brigadier Generals Ahmad Habibi and Ahmad Shah July 1 at the Afghan Ministry of Defense headquarters compound in Kabul, Afghanistan …. The medal recognizes a military deed or activity performed in a highly professional manner that brings benefit or honor to the Canadian Forces. Afghan Army leaders and family members attended the pinning event. Both generals gave speeches of thanks and talked about the future of the Afghan National Security Forces ….”
  • More Canadian Army identity awesomeness!  “…. The new primary badge of the Canadian Army is based on a badge used prior to the unification of the Canadian Armed Forces in 1968, but encased in a more recent version of the badge frame. It features crossed swords, which symbolize the history of the Canadian Army as one team working together in the defence of Canada. The three maple leaves, conjoined on one stem, are taken from the Royal Arms of Canada, and represent service to Canada, service to our sovereign, and the heritage of the Canadian Army.  The visual identifier, derived from the primary badge, features a crown atop the maple leaves and swords, as well as the words “Canadian Army” in both official languages. The new tagline – Strong. Proud. Ready. – echoes organizational values and underscores the importance of readiness for full-spectrum operations ….” – pictures of the new graphics here
  • From the Pentagon Info-machine  “Death by PowerPoint. A phrase many soldiers don’t like to hear when it comes to training. At McGregor Range Complex in New Mexico, Exercise Guardian Justice is underway with more than 220 U.S. Army Reserve soldiers and members of the Canadian military.  The training exercise, which focuses on training military police units on detainee operations, kicked off July 16, 2013, with two days of classes filled with presentations covering everything from the history of detainee operations to the Geneva Convention, law of war, rules of engagement and much more.  The soldiers participating in the exercise go through 12 days of actual training with two days of classroom training, nine days of hands-on training and a recreation day to wrap it all up ….”
  • From the CF Info-machine (almost six weeks after the end of the exercise)  “From 6 May to 8 June, approximately 7,500 Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members from across the country participated in the fifth and final stage of JOINTEX 13, a multi-stage joint training exercise meant to change the way the CAF train and fight.  The first in a series of nation-wide joint training and readiness events, JOINTEX 13 was created to further the CAF’s ability to conduct complex full-spectrum operations within a multi-national, coalition environment.  The exercise was designed to develop joint capabilities between the Army, Navy, Air Force and Special Operations, as well as prepare the 1st Canadian Division HQ for its future role in leading a Canadian Combined Joint-Inter Agency Task Force (CJIATF) HQ.  “I think the impressive part is how we did it,” said Colonel Ken Chadder, the exercise director for JOINTEX. “What we were trying to do was exercise within a synthetic environment, in a way that we need to do in the future: distributed across the country, integrating live, virtual and constructive activities.” ….”
  • More on the Canadian soldier who isn’t getting time off for a fundraising walk, both pro-soldier (the blog post) and anti-soldier (comments)
  • In two weeks, Medric Cousineau will leave his house in Eastern Passage and walk to Ottawa.  Cousineau and his post-traumatic stress disorder service dog, Thai, will walk the equivalent of about a half-marathon each day as the duo tries to raise awareness for the benefits of such animalsA former tactical co-ordinator on a Sea King helicopter, Cousineau has struggled ever since performing a dramatic rescue off the coast of Newfoundland 26 years ago. His life changed for the better when he received his service dog almost two years ago; he’s lost weight, reduced his medication and deals better with stress and anger.  Now Cousineau is trying to give back by raising money in an effort to buy 50 service dogs for 50 veterans in need. His walk will take him from Nova Scotia into New Brunswick and Quebec and on to Ontario, culminating on Sept. 19 in Ottawa.  Cousineau said he needs to raise about $350,000. Even before the journey has started, he’s already helped match two veterans with dogs and has others on a waiting list ….” – more here and here
  • Lieutenant-General Marquis Hainse assumed command of the Canadian Army from Lieutenant-General Peter Devlin (yesterday) in an official ceremony on Parliament Hill. The ceremony was attended by the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence, and presided over by General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff ….” - more here, here and here.
  • Aussies host Air Cadets from around the world (including Canada) on international exchange
  • The Supreme Court of Canada will issue a ruling Friday morning that could redefine how immigration officials decide if someone was complicit in war crimesThe case stems from a decision by the federal government to deny refugee status to Rachidi Ekanza Ezokola. He worked for the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for eight years, four of them as a prominent diplomat at the United Nations.  Ezokola moved to Montreal in 2008 with his wife and eight children, alleging he had received death threats from Congolese intelligence agents. Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board denied Ezokola refugee status after finding him complicit by association in war crimes and crimes against humanity.  In the years Ezokola served the DRC government, it was responsible for a number of atrocities including the massacre of civilians and recruitment of child soldiers.  Ezokola appealed the ruling and won at Federal Court but then lost at the Federal Court of Appeal ….”

Written by milnewsca

19 July 13 at 7:45

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – July 15, 2013

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