Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight News Highlights – December 18, 2012

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  • F-35 Tug o’ War  Where’d the costing Fact Sheet go, and a former bureaucrat blames other bureaucrats (and politicians) for the problems – more on “What’s Canada Buying?” later today
  • So, whazzup for a tighter-purse-stringed CF post-Afghanistan?  Canada’s long-standing military contribution to Afghanistan enters its last full year in 2013, giving way to a serious bout of soul-searching in a restless, battle-hardened military that’s been thrust into an era of fiscal austerity.  Senior commanders appearing before parliamentary committees have often faced the same question from MPs and senators: How do you keep troops engaged and interested after a five-year guerilla war in Kandahar?  It is, in some respects, an age-old question for post-war nations, but it’s one Canada hasn’t confronted since the Korean War thundered to an inconclusive end nearly 60 years ago.  Canada’s training mission in Kabul is scheduled to wrap up in March 2014.  There is no shortage of turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, but leaks regarding modest roles on the sidelines of Syria’s civil war suggest the Harper government has learned Afghanistan’s hard political lesson: boots on the ground are an extreme last resort.  The establishment of a quasi-al-Qaida state in northern Mali, the west African country where Canadian interests run deep, is actively debated, at least in academic circles, as the next Afghanistan.  Yet, those discussions are tempered with a healthy dose of fiscal reality ….”   
  • Canadians join Americans, other allies to discuss what the hell you do about bad-guy unmanned aerial vehicles over the battlefield  “U.S. ground forces detect an enemy unmanned aircraft performing reconnaissance over their forward operating base. Now the Soldiers must determine how to neutralize the Unmanned Aerial System threat: whether to jam the electronic signal from its ground controller, kill the ground controller or shoot down the Unmanned Aerial System, or UAS.  This is a possible scenario in today’s battlefield, and as more countries obtain UAS capabilities including armed drones, it can bring a greater threat to U.S. forces.  To address this threat, the Fires Center of Excellence hosted the first Counter Unmanned Aerial System coordination meeting Dec. 5-6, at the Fort Sill Conference Center …. Army aviation, intelligence, and science and technology communities were present. The Netherlands, France, Canada, South Korea and Germany were represented by their Fort Sill liaison officers. Founteen defense companies were also on hand. Other DOD commands and individuals participated through Defense Connect Online ….” 
  • Way Up North  The latest on Canada’s Northern Warning System, via the DND Info-machine  “The North Warning System (NWS) in Canada is a chain of unmanned radar sites that provides aerospace surveillance, established to detect and allow for an early response to potential threats entering North American air space. It is part of Canada’s North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) agreement with the United States (US), and an essential capability in our efforts to maintain Canada’s sovereignty …. The initial contract for the operations and maintenance of the North Warning System was awarded to the joint industry venture team of ATCO Frontec Corporation and Pan Arctic Inuit Logistics Corporation, which incorporated the subsidiary Nasittuq Corporation to act as their agent in the execution and performance of the contract. This contract expired in September 2011, but was extended to allow the Government of Canada to pursue a competitive procurement process for the next contract. The next contract is expected to be awarded in March of 2014.”    
  • Think tank on how Canada should stay connected (somehow) with Iran  “…. The Iranians would be wise to accept a modest level of reciprocal discourse with us. Having an embassy in Tehran in times of tension and danger is useful. But assuming that this had become impossible, the default position is to keep channels of communication open, somewhere and somehow. This is a no-cost, no-risk benefit to all parties, especially as the Government of Iran moves onto increasingly dangerous ground that may eventually warrant a concerted international response.”   
  • Remember this Supreme Court decision last week on Canada’s terrorism law?  Well, here’s what ELSE the ruling means  “The Supreme Court of Canada upheld an extradition order for the Sri Lankan born tiger terrorist Suresh Sriskandarajah.  He was arrested in 2006 following a joint FBI-Royal Canadian Military Police investigation into the Tamil Tigers terrorist group.  A former University of Waterloo graduate student Suresh Sri Skandarajah’s bid to remain in Canada has been turned down by the Supreme Court of Canada.  Sriskandarajah, who was living in the Waterloo area at the time of his arrest, is one of two Canadians to be extradited to face charges in the United States. The Canadian Supreme Court has upheld a decision that Sriskandarajah be extradited to the United Starts to face terrorism-related charges.  He has conspired with others to provide support to the Tamil Tigers.  After being arrested, Sriskandarajah was released on 500,000 US dollar bail, completed a Masters degree in business, and recently moved to Ottawa for reading Law.  Sriskandarajah’s lawyer has said that his client had been back in custody since before the decision was rendered. Sriskandarajah’s trial is expected to take place in New York. If convicted, he could face up to 25 years in prison.”
  • It’s taken a Canadian to decode a WW2 message found still strapped to the bone of a pigeon’s leg in a chimney in the U.K.

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18 December 12 at 7:45

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