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MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 10 Sept 11

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  • Libya Mission (1)  INTERPOL wants to have a chat with Mohamar, his son and the former head of military intelligence.
  • Libya Mission (2)  Happy 18th Birthday HMCS Vancouver (even if you’re downrange).  “No cake, no singing, no champagne. Grapefruit juice was the strongest available beverage. In an atmosphere more vigilant than festive, the ship’s company marked the 18th anniversary of HMCS Vancouver’s commissioning as the frigate headed out of Agusta Bay on the east coast of Sicily for her first patrol of Operation MOBILE. Her destination: Libyan territorial waters, off the port of Misrata ….”
  • Libya Mission (3)  Welcome back!  “Hugs and tears were shared on Friday at a Winnipeg air force base as 24 military men and women returned to their families from a summer assisting a NATO mission in Libya. Largely part of the Winnipeg-based 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron, the Canadian Forces contingent landed at the 17 Wing base on a Hercules CC-130 plane as their family members watched on the tarmac. Six-year-old Kayden Maher held a welcome sign for his father. Master Cpl. Ryan Maher, an air frame technician, told reporters they “have no idea” how much he had missed his children during the past four months. “It’s just so nice to see them again, and be part of their lives,” Maher said, also with two-year-old daughter MacKenzie and wife Shauna ….”
  • 9/11 Plus Ten (1)  7 Sept 11:  MILNEWS.ca tells you 9-11 is going to become a “National Day of Service.”  9 Sept 11:  PM says 9-11 is going to become a “National Day of Service”.  More on this here.
  • 9/11 Plus Ten (2)  The threat level for a terror attack in Canada has not increased following information of a possible plot of a car bombing in Washington or New York on the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 the RCMP says. “The RCMP has no information at this time that indicates that Canadians are more at risk than usual,” RCMP Sgt. Julie Gagnon told CBC News. Counterterrorism officials in the U.S. have been chasing a credible but unconfirmed tip that al-Qaeda has plans to set off a car bomb in New York City or Washington, with bridges or tunnels as potential targets. It was the first word of a possible “active plot” timed to coincide with commemoration of the group’s attacks in the United States a decade ago. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews backed the RCMP assessment. “In respect of Canada, I can’t point to any specific threat that might occur during this weekend but I think that all of our agencies are on full alert on a weekend like this,” Toews (said)….”
  • 9/11 Plus Ten (3)  “Soldiers paid price for war on terror in blood, Trauma: Each day in Afghanistan a roll of the dice”
  • 9/11 Plus Ten (4)  The CF Info-Machine’s “Domestic and Continental Defence and Security Accomplishments Post 9/11″
  • 9/11 Plus Ten (5)  U.S. President Barack Obama thanked Canadians on Friday for their hospitality and support in the wake of the 9-11 attacks, recalling the “comfort of friendship and extraordinary assistance” in a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. “It is often said that the United States and Canada are great neighbors, trading partners and the best of friends,” Obama wrote in a letter that was delivered to the prime minister on Friday. “In one of the darkest moments in our history, Canada stood by our side and showed itself to be a true friend.” ….”
  • 9/11 Plus Ten (6)  Even the Taliban has to make itself heard for the anniversary, suggesting we don’t REALLY know what happened during the 9/11 attacks – riiiiiiiiight…. (link to non-terrorist site)
  • Andrew (Boomer) Eykelenboom, 1982-2006, R.I.P.  “Just over five years ago, Cpl. Andrew (Boomer) Eykelenboom was killed by a suicide bomber while serving as a medic in Afghanistan. Today, more than 50 cyclists will take part in a 180-kilometre bike ride to raise money for the Boomer’s Legacy foundation. The Boomer’s Legacy Ride has been taking place annually on Vancouver Island for the last four years. Today will be the first Atlantic ride, which starts at CFB Greenwood and ends at CFB Halifax ….”
  • The Leslie Report/CF Reorg (1)  You can now download the report and read it yourself here (PDF at CF page) or here (PDF at alternate download site)
  • The Leslie Report/CF Reorg (2)  What the Minister of National Defence has to say about the report:  “…. our government will be taking a close look at spending right across government to identify the savings needed to eliminate the deficit: this includes the Department of National Defence …. This report will inform our approach to the Government’s Deficit Reduction Action Plan, the results of which will be presented in Budget 2012. At all times, support for our frontline troops will be our priority ….”  More on this here (Postmedia News) and here (QMI/Sun Media).
  • The Leslie Report/CF Reorg (3)  What the Chief of Defence Staff has to say about the report (via Army.ca – PDF downloadable here if link doesn’t work):  “…. The fiscal and operational environment in which the recommendations must be assessed and implemented has become even more complex. As well, while the report was being prepared, new budgetary reduction targets were announced as part of the government s deficit reduction action plan. Taken together, this creates a difficult backdrop for interpreting the potential advantages and drawbacks of recommendations made in the transformation report …. A concerted analysis has been underway since the transformation report was submitted, involving both CF and DND personnel. The goal of this effort has been to determine which elements of transformation are already being implemented through the Strategic Review, which options merit implementation in concert with the deficit reduction action plan, and which options have second and third-order consequences that require additional study. This level of analysis takes time, but only when it is complete will it be possible to decide and communicate which parts of the transformation report should be implemented right away, which must be phased in over the medium term, and which will be deferred ….” 
  • What’s Canada Buying? (1)  Could Mark Collins be a touch skeptical re:  the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Coast Guard getting new ships anytime soon?
  • What’s Canada Buying? (2)  Remember the new JPSU building for CFB Petawawa (bullet 9) (map and floorplan downloadable here via Army.ca) ?  Here’s the Ottawa Citizen’s update“A new building to house military staff who work in a unit that provides help for ill and injured military personnel and their families is to be built at CFB Petawawa. The building is to replace a trailer currently used for staff members of the regional element of the Joint Personnel Support Unit for Eastern Ontario, according to a military spokesman. It’s expected that six staff members will work in the new building, although there will be space for a few others. Defence Construction Canada, a Crown corporation responsible for Department of National Defence construction, has issued a $1.3-million tender for the one-storey building to be built. The start and end dates of the construction are unknown, but the contract is to be awarded within the next three months ….”
  • The Canadian Forces have confirmed a body was found on the grounds at Canadian Forces Base Borden, Thursday morning. The Canadian Forces National Investigation Service is investigating, but details regarding the cause of death, gender or identity have not been released. “They are investigating the discovery of a body on the grounds,” Canadian Forces Capt. Karina Holder said. “We never speculate on timing or when an investigation may or may not be completed.” “
  • The Canada Army Run is proving to be a big hit with runners. The Sept. 18 event in Ottawa has already attracted more than 16,000 participants and is sold out. The event is the fastest-growing run in Canada and the second-largest running event in Ottawa after Ottawa Race Weekend. It started four years ago with 7,000 participants. The Canada Army Run has five-kilometre and half-marathon events and raises money for Soldier On and the Military Families Fund ….”  More info on the run at the Army Run website here.
  • A bit of mechanical Canadian military history being honoured this weekend.  “During the final months of the Second World War, as Allied armies waged a brutal campaign to liberate Europe, a rough-hewn band of Canadian soldiers revolutionized ground warfare with an unusual new technology.  They were called the 1st Canadian Armoured Carrier Regiment, assembled to drive Kangaroos, tanks modified to carry troops. The unit laid the groundwork for the tactics of today’s light armoured vehicles, protecting soldiers from gunfire while they travelled to enemy lines, but was swiftly dissolved at war’s end and its history was largely forgotten …. In a ceremony this weekend, the regiment will get some overdue credit. After decades of obscurity, veterans alerted the Department of National Defence that they wanted formal recognition of the unit, and found a serving regiment to take up the Kangaroos’ battle honours, ensuring its story will be perpetuated …. At a ceremony in St. Thomas, Ont., on Saturday, the (31 Combat Engineer Regiment, also known as the) Elgins will accept a standard listing the Kangaroos’ honours to hang in their armoury. A Kangaroo bought by the Canadian War Museum – one of only a handful that still exist – will be paraded in the streets ….”

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 9 Sept 11

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MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 13 Aug 11

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  • Libya Mission (1)  There’s no way to tell right now whether NATO will have to extend its Libyan operation past the end of September, a top Canadian general told MPs on Friday. In June, the Commons overwhelmingly voted to extend Canadian participation in the operation to September 27. Maj.-Gen. Jonathan Vance, the director of the strategic joint staff, said, however, that a rushed withdrawal by NATO, without some kind of political settlement, would be disastrous. Vance, who once commanded Canadian troops in Afghanistan, told MPs on the Commons defence committee that diplomatic and political efforts are vital now to produce a solution. He says no one can predict how things will unfold over the next six weeks …. Newfoundland MP Jack Harris, the NDP defence critic, said he believes that NATO has done the job it set out to do, which was to protect Libyan civilians from Gadhafi. “The capability of Col. Gadhafi to mount this kind of activity has been degraded to the point where that’s no longer the issue,” he said. “The problem that we have is that we don’t want this to morph into some sort of prolonged mission.” It’s time to go, said the New Democrat ….”
  • Libya Mission (2)  “Top Canadian military and diplomatic authorities are saying little about whether they will be able to pull out of the UN-led military mission in Libya by the end of September as planned.  Maj.-Gen. John Vance could not give a direct answer when asked Friday morning by MPs if officials will stick to Canada’s mandated exit date of Sept. 27, 2011, based on how stable Libya is today.  “There are a lot of factors at play,” Vance told the informal parliamentary committee meeting. “The efforts of NATO today are essential.”  If the military withdrew today — without a negotiated settlement with dictator Moammar Gadhafi — Vance said it would be an “absolute calamity.”  The general, along with Sandra McCardell, Canada’s ambassador to Libya, and other officials were testifying at the defence committee meeting on Canada’s role in the Libyan mission to protect its citizens from Gadhafi’s military attacks …. Diplomats, meanwhile, are striving to hammer out a “verifiable” ceasefire, McCardell said. Gadhafi has announced a ceasefire in the past, but his forces kept shooting.  She said envoys are still looking for the right person within the regime to come to the negotiating table.  Vance said the military has no plans to “put boots on the ground” in Libya and become an occupying force …. Neither McCardell, Vance nor other witnesses could say for sure if the rebel group would be able to maintain security after NATO leaves, if Gadhafi would ever accept a ceasefire, or if the conflict is on its way to becoming a stalemate ….”
  • CFB Borden getting two new dining halls and kitchens, CF Info-Machine version – emphasis mine:  “The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, today announced plans to construct two new All Ranks Kitchen and Dining Facilities at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden. In total, these projects are valued at approximately $77 million and involve the construction of two new 6,133 m2 facilities that will replace four kitchen facilities …. The construction of the two new single-story kitchen and dining facilities will replace both existing Junior Ranks dining halls, the Officers’ Mess, and Senior NCO Mess currently being used at CFB Borden by 3,000 military personnel daily. This project is part of the CFB Borden Master Real Property Development Plan which aims to consolidate all training and quarters functions into two separate areas. Each facility will be able to serve approximately 1,500 persons per meal, and will be located on the north and south sides of the base. These new buildings will address existing deficiencies found at the current facilities, some of which are over 50 years old ….”  More in Backgrounder here.
  • CFB Borden getting two new dining halls and kitchens, media version:  “…. Critics called it a questionable expense, especially at a time when the government says it intends to cut expenditures. “We do have to question how they’re setting their priorities in terms of dealing with the deficit,” NDP defence critic Jack Harris told Postmedia News. “It seems — on the surface — an outrageous amount of money for dining facilities,” Harris said. The government recently announced the closure of two search-and-rescue co-ordinating centres in Quebec City and St. John’s to save “probably a couple of million dollars a year” and yet it can find the cash to replace existing buildings, he added. “Canadians are going to question the timing of this announcement,” said Gregory Thomas of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. While the armed forces should have up-to-date equipment and infrastructure, the country is running a $30-billion deficit and this type of spending will be difficult to justify to the public, Thomas said ….”
  • Way Up North (1)  The Kingston Whig-Standard appears to have a reporter with the CF in the north for Operation Nanook 2011. “The engines on the Twin Otter came up to full power and the aircraft started rolling along the gravel runway. In a remarkably short distance, the aircraft was airborne and on its way. The flight took the plane about 100 km from Resolute Bay, where it delivered three barrels of aviation fuel, part of a fuel cache being set up to support helicopters that are to fly out of the base in the coming weeks. Resolute Bay, at 74 degrees North latitude, is a five-hour flight from southern Ontario. It takes about as long to fly to Vancouver, and Resolute Bay is still almost 1,100 km south of Alert, Canada’s most northern point. Flying in Canada’s Arctic is largely ruled by the extremes of two factors: distance and weather. “The Arctic is difficult because there are so few communities up here. Especially with small aircraft, you have to plan better,” said Capt. Tom Turk, a pilot with the Canadian Forces’ 440 Squadron based in Yellowknife, N.W.T. ….” 
  • Way Up North (2)  CF research arm paper on proposed staging bases in Canada’s Arctic:  “Optimal RSOM-hub Locations for Northern Operations: A MAJAID Scenario Analysis” (PDF).  Part of the executive summary (abstract and executive summary is downloadable here (PDF) via Army.ca):  “…. The study indicated that the RSOM-hub concept could offer potential cost avoidance and response time reduction on deployment lift for MAJAID operations in the North and could be a potential strategy for improvement of the CF domestic support capability. For a single RSOM-hub solution, Yellowknife would be the time effective RSOM-hub location. From a cost avoidance perspective, Iqaluit would the optimal hub location. Both airfields have the required capability and resources (e.g., fuel, maintenance) for supporting strategic lift aircraft (CC-177) and tactical helicopter (CH-146) operations. For a multiple RSOM-hub solution, the analysis indicates that the optimal number of RSOM-hubs would be two, corresponding to Iqaluit and Yellowknife, when response time and cost avoidance are both considered ….”
  • CF troops headed south – 4 Aug 11:  Honduras’ government approves 150 Canadian troops to enter as part of Exercise PANAMAX II
  • CF troops headed south – 12 Aug 11 (1) (emphasis mine):  “…. Canadian troops have been cleared to train with the Honduran military. On Aug. 4, the National Congress of Honduras approved the entry of Canadian soldiers into the country to take part in a joint training exercise. The results of three votes on the matter were posted this past Monday on the National Congress’ website. Canada’s Department of National Defence has not announced any training exercises in Honduras. The Prime Minister’s Office said it was unaware of any joint training exercise taking place ….”
  • CF troops headed south – 12 Aug 11 (2):  “The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, is pleased to announce the participation of the Canadian Forces in Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships Athabaskan and Algonquin in Exercise PANAMAX, a multinational exercise that focuses on the defence of this important region and the Panama Canal …. Approximately 500 Canadian Forces members will participate in this exercise. HMCS Athabaskan and HMCS Algonquin, each carrying approximately 240 sailors, will work with seventeen countries, including the United States, as part of this multinational exercise aimed at defending the Panama Canal from threat of terrorist attack, natural disaster or pandemic outbreak in order to maintain free and open access to the Panama Canal. HMC Ships Athabaskan and Algonquin are Iroquois-class destroyers, based in Halifax and Esquimalt respectively. These ships are area air defence destroyers and command and control platforms. They are fitted with sophisticated anti-air weapons systems, advanced weapons and communications systems and are capable of leading national and international task groups such as those in Panama. In addition to the naval assets, a CP-140 Aurora aircraft will deploy to Panama airport to participate in the exercise ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying?   Wanted:  someone to carry out accreditation survey for Canadian Forces Medical Service, “Capabillity Survey of Naval Soft-Kill Systems” (more on that in bid documents – PDF – here) and someone to fly bad guy and target planes for training (more on that in bid document extract – PDF – here).
  • Afghanistan  She grew up and went to school in Winnipeg, now Alexandra “Ali” Lamont is trying to make it safe for kids in Afghanistan to go to school. “I’ll be assisting with the institutional development of Afghan police,” said Lamont, who leaves for Kabul next week. Making Afghanistan safe for people to get around is key to its future, said the 45-year-old with a law degree and masters in economics who works with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. “It’s fulfilling over there, trying to make some kind of difference,” said Lamont, who spent five months in Kandahar last year. “You see flocks of kids going to school.” There’s so many kids enrolled, some schools run in three shifts. “Afghans are keen to move forward — girls and boys — to take advantage of this opportunity.” Her one-year term is in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital. The diplomat and policy analyst will work with experts from a number of countries to establish a police force to serve and protect Afghans ….”
  • A reminder: The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and Canada’s constitution, guarantees the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.  That said, what’s worse than someone faking s/he has served in the military?  Someone faking military service AND lying about an illness to rip people off.  A B.C. man wanted for allegedly posing as a member of the military and seeking donations to pay for his health costs has been charged with fraud. Douglas Archie Clark, 64, of Burnaby, was charged with 13 counts of fraud, police said in a news release Friday. Police allege Clark has defrauded 40 or more victims out of more than $1 million. Complaints dating back to the 1990s claim Clark portrayed himself as either an active or retired member of the Canadian military – and was even seen in a military-style uniform, police said. It’s alleged he asked for money to pay for cancer treatments that were not covered by his medical plan. After an investigation spanning three and a half years, police arrested and charged Clark in June. The court released him under the conditions he not contact any of the alleged victims or wear any military uniform. He was also ordered to stay in B.C. and return to court July 11. When he failed to appear at that court date, a warrant was issued for his arrest, and he was picked up again Thursday ….”

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 4 Apr 11

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  • Libya Ops – The Canadian pilots steered their CF-18 Hornet fighter-bombers over the Libyan target with every intention of destroying it with their 225-kilogram smart bombs. But they saw something they didn’t like and hesitated:  Mission aborted. “We passed,” said the pilots’ commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Sylvain Ménard – call sign “Gogo” – referring to a mission flown shortly after the CF-18s from Bagotville, Que., arrived in Sicily on March. 19. “The target we were investigating was really close to some buildings. We didn’t know if they were military or civilian, so we did not drop on the target.” ….”
  • A bit of a reminder re:  the seriousness of war, from “George Jonas’ 10 commandments of war.” “…. 1.  Don’t go to war for any purpose but the defence of your country’s vital interests, and only if they cannot be secured any other way …. 8.  If hostilities become unavoidable, please let your soldiers fight ….”
  • Unfinished plates of lamb and rice are still being cleared away as the governor of Panjwaii, Haji Fazluddin Agha, receives a post-lunch briefing on security threats in his district.  An official with Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security stands on the shura room’s ornate red carpet to deliver his report, telling Agha his agency has identified a pair of insurgents who have been appointed to the new Taliban shadow government in Panjwaii.  The official says evidence was recently discovered proving both men are responsible for killing Canadian troops and laying “thousands” of roadside bombs. It also seems both men had been previously captured by coalition forces and then released, though the reasons for this are unclear. Agha takes in the information and a discussion ensues among the dozen or so Canadian and Afghan military commanders in the room. The idea is raised of re-arresting the men or killing them. But a consensus ultimately forms around another course of action, which is verbalized by Lt.-Col. Michel-Henri St-Louis, the commander of the Canadian battle group.  Instead of taking punitive measures, give the insurgents a chance to change their ways, St-Louis says.  “I think the district governor has a great opportunity to convince some of the fighters to live in peace, and maybe these two can be the start,” he tells Agha. “If these two individuals came here with their village elders, admitted to some of the choices they’ve made and vowed a future of peace, I think you could have the start of something very positive.” ….”
  • The Conservative government quietly went to Federal Court last week hoping to impose limits on what a military watchdog can say in its final report into torture allegations involving Afghan prisoners.  The Military Police Complaints Commission is currently reviewing evidence and writing its report after hearings into allegations that army cops turned a blind eye to suspected abuse in Afghan jails …. The Harper government …. (has) challenged the definition of what military cops could have known.  Justice Department lawyers also accused the commission of stepping “out of its narrow jurisdiction” and investigating Ottawa’s policy of handing over prisoners to Afghan authorities — something it was strictly forbidden from doing.  The government wants to exclude the testimony of diplomats and civilians who did not work for the Defence Department. Its lawyers also want any documents belonging to those officials, including reports that warned of torture or documented the abuse, excluded from the commissions findings ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying? (1)The (U.S.) Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress March 17 of a possible Foreign Military Sale to the Government of Canada of 36 MK-48 Mod 7 Advanced Technology (AT) Torpedo Conversion Kits and associated equipment, parts, training and logistical support for an estimated cost of $125 million. The Government of Canada has requested the sale of 36 MK-48 Mod 7 Advanced Technology (AT) Torpedo Conversion Kits, containers, spare and repair parts, weapon system support & integration, publications and technical documentation, personnel training and training equipment, U.S. Government and contractor engineering and technical, and logistics support services, and other related elements of logistical support These kits will upgrade their existing MK-48 torpedoes from Mod 4 to Mod 7 ….” (PDF)
  • What’s Canada Buying? (2) “…. The Department of National Defence intends to award a contract …. Aircraft Accident Investigator training …. to Cranfield University. The contract will be for the provision of a six-week Aircraft Accident Investigator course for one participant in 2011. The contract will also include one option period, for the provision of a six-week Aircraft Accident Investigator course for up to three participants in 2012, to be exercised at the discretion of the Crown. The contract, including the option period, has a total all-inclusive estimated value of £50,000 (~$77,700 Cdn) ….” More on where the training is expected to be conducted here.
  • Hope the air conditioning’s working. The nearly 500 Canadians currently in the Ivory Coast should stay indoors to keep away from the political violence engulfing the West African nation following a disputed election, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs. The statement followed a week of heightened fighting between supporters of president-elect Alassane Ouattara and those of Laurent Gbagbo — who has refused to step down since last November’s election — that’s brought the conflict’s death toll to at least 1,300, according to the Red Cross ….” More on what’s going on there here (from Canada’s Foreign Affairs department),  here (Google News) and here (EMM NewsBrief).
  • Oopsie…. “A military base commander who served with the UN has lost a bid to return to head CFB Borden after being stripped of his power for inappropriate behaviour. Capt. John Frederick Schmidt was removed from the top position in July 2008 following an incident in which he was drinking alcohol and inappropriately touched two junior female officers, according to court documents. Schmidt, a 30-year veteran, went to a federal court, seeking a review of his removal due to “procedural unfairness.” He wanted the decision set aside and for a new probe to be launched. Judge Robert Barnes recently tossed out the request, ruling that Schmidt admitted the incident to his commanding officer and did not answer questions about it when interviewed at another time ….” Full text of Federal Court of Canada decision here.

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 16 Dec 10

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  • On the one hand, Canada seems happy with the U.S. surge clearing the way for more development work in Afghanistan. “…. As its 2011 exit countdown in Kandahar approaches, Canada is piggybacking on American-led gains in clearing out militants in this former Taliban heartland to pour in resources, push development and convince those in former insurgent safe havens to switch sides ….”
  • On the other hand, Kandahar City’s mayor isn’t so happy about how Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. are spending money in the province. “…. In a letter to Canada’s ambassador earlier this month, Ghulam Hayder Hamidi complained that Ottawa’s contracting practices are contributing to the culture of malfeasance in Afghanistan. He also expressed similar concerns about the United States and Britain.  “Your prime minister, (U.S.) President (Barack) Obama and the prime minister of England are complaining that we didn’t clean the corruption in Afghanistan (and) they will stop helping,” Hamidi said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press.  “Who is doing the corruption? You are doing the corruption.”  The letter, delivered earlier this month to Canada’s civilian representative in Kandahar, suggests that the federal government is being taken to the cleaners by a handful of guileful Afghan companies. As an example, he cited a recent $1.9-million project to install solar lights that has been plagued by problems.  Hamidi also accused Canadian civilians of spending taxpayer dollars needlessly and ineffectively in some areas, and companies selected by federal officials of providing low quality merchandise, or services at inflated prices ….”
  • The newest under-boss of ISAF’s Regional Command South is a Canadian General. “A St. Albert resident has taken over as Canadian deputy commander of a busy region in war-torn southern Afghanistan.  Brig.-Gen. Andre Corbould is the new deputy commander of Regional Command South, an area that covers the provinces of Kandahar, Daikundi, Uruzgan and Zabul. The area was previously under British control but is now led by the American 10th Mountain Division.  Corbould says Gen. James L. Terry, commander of 10th Mountain, was looking for a Canadian to fill the deputy commander role and asked if he was interested in the position ….” According to General Corbould’s bio, he was already Deputy Commanding General of 10th Mountain as of this year.
  • A Canadian Senate committee is calling on Canada to keep protecting Afghan women’s rights, even as the combat task wraps up. “The Senate Committee on Human Rights today releases its 14-recommendation report on Canada’s commitment to support women’s rights in Afghanistan post-2011. “Canada should not barter women’s security in Afghanistan,” Senator Nancy Ruth, the committee’s chair said. “Women’s rights should not be traded away in the geopolitical game for Afghan peace and security.” Entitled, Training in Afghanistan: Include Women (PDF), the report delineates how Canada can empower Afghan women in their diversity. It targets five critical areas to support that goal: security, political reconciliation, justice, education, and local development. “It is not in Canada’s interests to hold Afghan women back from complete participation in capacity building, whether they live in cities or rural areas,” Senator Mobina S. B. Jaffer, the committee’s deputy chair said. “The change in the Canadian Forces mission gives Canada a tremendous opportunity to design gender-sensitive training practices that underpin women’s security.” With the end of Canada’s combat mission in sight, the report’s recommendations include gender-sensitive training for Afghan security and Canadian Forces personnel and the enlistment of more women in security forces ….”
  • Taliban Propaganda Watch: WTF?  Two MORE articles on Holbrooke’s death from the Taliban?
  • CF looking into suicides at CFB Borden. “…. Suicides are a rarity at Borden – the most recorded in any one year during the past decade is two. Suddenly, within two months, four soldiers from the same base were gone.  By March, the Canadian Military had reported a total of seven suicides had occurred in 2010 – three of them during the first eight days of the year.  The situation was enough of a concern for officials to look further.  Military documents and correspondence show then-commander of CFB Borden, Liet-Col. Peter Kouri, probed the circumstances of the four soldiers who died while on training at the Barrie, Ont.-area base.  In an e-mail dated Feb. 23, two days after Vanden-Heuvel’s death, Kouri told military brass about the “extraordinary” measures: “Following the fourth person taking their life while undergoing training at CFB Borden this year, an extraordinary Comd Advisory Team was convened.”  The primary aim was to address the issue of suicide prevention, the second was to ensure the chain of command had a shared understanding of the background ….”
  • An Ottawa-based firm has dropped out of a Defence Department armoured vehicle competition after determining its product didn’t fit the requirements. Thales Canada made the decision to withdraw from the program, freeing up its partner, DEW Engineering also of Ottawa, to seek out new alliances for the hotly contested defence program. The Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) program would replace the Canadian army’s existing fleet of RG-31 mine protected vehicles and the Coyote wheeled light armoured vehicles. Besides the initial procurement of 500 vehicles, there is an option for an additional 100. DND has not released specific details on the cost of the program, but it’s estimated that the TAPV will cost well over $1 billion ….”
  • Reading tea leaves on possibly changing the name of Canada’s Navy: the PM’s office reportedly told party faithful via e-mail that “the government was following the debate in the Senate with interest but had “no plans to rename Maritime Command at this time.” Remember the last time the PM said he noted something “with interest”?  A pretty big change of heart happened there.  Not saying it’s a guarantee, by any means, but just throwing it out there.
  • Note to CF’s Army News folks:  I’m looking forward to what appears to be expanded coverage of the troops downrange in Afghanistan – stay safe while doing your job of spreading the word.  That said, brace yourself for harsher criticism than the following if you keep calling yourselves “journalists” (PDF of story transcript here if link doesn’t work).  As much as I like your work, I doubt we’ll be seeing a lot of critics in your pieces talking about how the mission sucks, so it’s not really fair to consider yourselves “journalists” in the traditional sense.  When the story lead reads “Reporters gear up to live side-by-side with soldiers for duration of Afghanistan tour,” this suggests that the “reporters” are not “soldiers”, which is NOT the case here.
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