- Libya Mission CDS says CF’s good to go (but not with boots on the ground under the current UN mandate) if the mission is extended. “If Prime Minister Stephen Harper asks the Canadian military to extend its air force and naval mission in Libya beyond the end of September, the military’s top general says the Canadian Forces will be ready. “The Canadian Forces air, land, and sea have tremendous capability and depth,” said Gen. Walter Natynczyk, chief of defence staff, outside the House of Commons on Thursday. “It depends on what the international community wants, but the Canadian government has all kinds of options.” Would those options include ground troops to help secure Libya? “The mandates that we have are very clear that boots on the ground is not appropriate right from the UN Security Council resolution, so we’re fulfilling that,” said Natynczyk. Harper has also ruled out Canadian ground troops in Libya ….”
- 9/11 Plus Ten (1a) Remember, you read it here first: “The federal government will announce Friday that Sept. 11 will become a “national day of service” to inspire Canadians to show the kind of compassion and generosity that were in abundance following the attacks of 10 years ago. “It is important to recall the incredible acts of courage, sacrifice and kindness by Canadians on and following that infamous day,” a senior official in the Prime Minister’s Office said. As an example, the official’s remarks cited the efforts of the people of Gander, N.L., who hosted thousands of foreign airline passengers who had been re-routed to Canadian soil following the grounding of passenger flights in the days following Sept. 11, 2001. The day of service is also meant to honour the “selfless service of civilian and military volunteers who continue to stand up in the face of terrorism; and the outpouring of Canadian support in the aftermath of the attacks.” The national day of service will be marked every Sept. 11 ….”
- 9/11 Plus Ten (1b) “The war on terror is “an ongoing reality” but Canada is a safer and more confident country than it was a decade ago, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says in an exclusive interview with CBC News …. Harper reflects on how Canada has changed since the Sept.11, 2001, terror attacks on the United States. He says that prior to 9/11 most people weren’t aware of terrorism threats facing the country and even though they existed and had been carried out — the 1985 Air India bombing was an example — they weren’t a source of general concern. “Today we are much more focused on it. We are much more concerned about it. We’re much more able to detect and thwart terrorism than before,” said Harper ….”
- 9/11 Plus Ten (2) “Mishelle Brown stood at the edge of the crater that was once the Twin Towers. Being at Ground Zero, she said, was an attempt at closure. “I needed to see the hole. I needed to see the reason Dennis died.” Her husband, Warrant Officer Dennis Brown of St. Catharines, volunteered to go to Afghanistan. He died March 3, 2009, with two other Canadian soldiers when their armoured vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb northwest of Kandahar. He was 38 ….”
- 9/11 Plus Ten (3) “Radicals, climate change, WMD remain top national security threats: Experts – Canada spent billions and went to unprecedented lengths to beef up security in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States, but while there hasn’t been an incident on Canadian soil in that time, experts remain divided over some of the measures taken. A decade after four hijacked passenger jets flew into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field killing nearly 3,000 people, including 26 Canadians, there’s also some division as to what constitutes the biggest threats going forward and how Canada is or isn’t addressing them ….”
- 9/11 Plus Ten (4) RCAF officer Colonel Philip Garbutt shares his memories from 9/11 (YouTube video via NTM-A Info-Machine)
- 9/11 Plus Ten (5) “A man who would later command Canadian troops during the war in Afghanistan was deep in the back woods of New Brunswick the day al-Qaida struck with fury in New York and Washington. Jonathan Vance, who commanded both Canadian and American troops for almost 15 months in the killing fields of Kandahar, was on an exercise near Petersville, N.B., outside of the army’s training base at Gagetown. An intelligence officer passed a note to one of Vance’s staff. The major read the scrap of paper with silent disbelief before announcing the news that not only changed his life, but the lives of all of the men around him ….”
- 9/11 Plus Ten (6) Good question. “Uncertainty, it seems, is the only sure thing in the future for the Canadian Forces. It has been a decade since the Sept. 11 terror attacks touched off global events that led Canadian troops into war in Afghanistan. The combat mission has been Canada’s costliest since the Korean War, with 157 soldiers and four civilians, including two aid workers, a diplomat and a journalist, killed since 2002. Now, as the Kandahar combat operation winds down and transitions to a scaled-back training role in Kabul, questions abound about what comes next for Canadian troops. Retired Col. Alain-Michel Pellerin, executive director of the Conference of Defence Assocations Institute, expects the short-term focus will be on packing, cleaning and repairing equipment in theatre. Army troops will need a rest period after a decade-long deployment that took a heavy toll on hardware and human resources ….”
- 9/11 Plus Ten (7) From Wired.com’s Danger Room blog: “10 Jobs That Barely Existed on 9/10/01, From Robot Squadmate to Warplane Whisperer”
- Afghanistan (1) Congrats to three soldiers awarded the Star of Courage for helping people out of a crashed civilian helicopter in Kandahar in 2009.
- Afghanistan (2) Packing up as another chance to win hearts and minds (via CF Info-Machine).
- The Leslie Report/CF Reorg What does retired General Rick Hillier, who helped set up at least some of the system currently in place in the CF, have to say? “…. Gen. Rick Hillier says the transformation report, written by Lt-Gen. Andrew Leslie in the months before his retirement last week, will compromise military effectiveness if put in place. “You try to implement that report as it is and you destroy the Canadian military,” Hillier told CTV’s Power Play on Tuesday. “You simply can’t take that many people out of command and control functions.” The Leslie report suggests up to 11,000 military and civilian jobs could be affected by the cost-cutting drive, many of these at National Defence headquarters where the bureaucracy has bloated in tandem with the Afghanistan mission. Leslie says cutting management ranks will shield the front lines from the planned five or 10 per cent cut in spending to be imposed on every department in the name of deficit reduction. “There are some areas where you can do some cuts and the Canadian Forces will have to pay a price, but to implement that report would not be wise,” Hillier said in the interview. “If you take a billion dollars out, you will lessen military operational capability.” ….”
- RCN equipment worries? “The Royal Canadian Navy is struggling to keep its largest warships in operational condition, in particular its aging destroyers and supply vessels, says the commander of the Navy’s East Coast maintenance yard. The coast guard, meanwhile, will be forced to nearly double over the next five years the amount of time it spends repairing and maintaining its own aging fleet. Such deficiencies reveal how critical it is, say senior navy and coast guard officials, that Canada not repeat the mistakes of the past after a massive new federal shipbuilding program gets underway in the coming weeks. “We are chomping at the bit to see what the NSPS (National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy) is going to bring,” Capt. Richard Gravel, the Navy’s East Coast fleet maintenance manager, told a defence industry conference in Halifax on Thursday ….”
- Way Up North It appears this blogger thinks a private sector company buying blimps to move big, heavy stuff to mines is the same as the military buying snowmobiles for patrolling in the Arctic. “Was Canada mocked one too many times at the last UN meeting/G20 powwow? Because they seem to be satisfying a serious manpower inferiority complex with plenty of…blimppower. The floating objects are NOT blimps, says Hybrid Air Vehicles, the company that makes them and is selling 45 to Canadian flight company Discovery Air—they’re lighter-than-air vessels. But they look pretty blimpy to us. And combined with the Canadian military’s recent purchase of a prototype stealth (wait for it) snowmobile, we see the seeds for an epic motion-picture event: the Great Canadian Wars of 2012. Waterworld at -12 degrees! …. military snowmobiles? Who knows. Even if Canada is prepping for the resource-rush that will likely ensue as the Arctic melts, they’d be better off investing in ships. Or, maybe, more blimps.”
- What’s Canada Buying (1) Wanted: someone to design, build ammo transit facility at CFB Borden – “estimated construction cost is in the order of magnitude of $12,500,000.”
- What’s Canada Buying? (2) Some discussion of getting new pistols at Army.ca here.
- What’s Canada Buying? (3) “The Department of National Defence (DND) has a requirement for Ferrous Ordnance Locators (FerOL) with data logging and analysis/evaluation software to detect and mark deeply buried unexploded Ordnance (UXO) ….”
- What’s Canada Buying? (4) “The Networked Sensors and Sensor Fusion Group (NSSF) of the Defence R&D Canada Ottawa (DRDC Ottawa) undertakes many research studies and projects in the field of Command, Control, Communication, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C4ISR). To aid in completing these projects, NSSF requires resources experienced in the fields of C4ISR architecture, moving target exploitation tools, data fusion, sensor integration, system and network management, scientific evaluation and analysis, and scientific software development ….”
….into one system for military commanders to use for managing any such incidents – that’s what the Canadian Forces is seeking, and they’re asking industry if there’s anything out there already that can do the job, via MERX:
“This Request for Information (RFI) is issued to determine the extent to which there exists or is in-development an integrated CBRN <Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear> planning, hazard prediction, warning and reporting, decision support, and CBRN incident management capability that meets the requirements ….”
This, from the RFI Requirements highlights what’s there now, and what more is needed (plain text translation follows):
“The existing system utilizes stand-alone computer systems that require manual input of sensor data and output information in Message Text Format (MTF), which require CBRN specialists to interpret and explain the data. Domestic and expeditionary C4ISR <Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance> systems either lack a CBRN Information Management (IM) component or have developed their own independent systems in the absence of a National standard. There remains the problem of passing unclassified CBRN sensor data from the unsecure environment to the C4ISR backbone. Lack of a standardized CBRN IM system across all users serving the entire theatre of operations increases the complexity of W&R <warning and reporting> activities. Hazard prediction does not have the required accuracy to free forces not effectively threatened by the hazard, thereby unnecessarily restricting freedom of action leading to loss of initiative.”
Plain text translation:
Right now, experts on the scene can pass messages on to commanders with explanations about what the information means. While a few systems bringing together this and other information are in place, there’s no national system to do this, making it more complicated to make decisions and respond. There’s also the question of how to bring in publicly-available information (like, say, weather reports) directly into the system for the commander to consider. Bringing together more information could make predicting what happens next easier and more accurate, making it easier for commanders to decide if they can spare forces for other work.
Once the military has an idea of what systems are out there that could possibly do the job (current deadline for businesses to submit information is 6 Nov 09), it will figure out next steps about how to buy and/or develop such a system.
If you want to read more of the bid package, the best bits are available here.