- 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 ….”
MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 9 Feb 11
- Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai seems to want to eliminate the middleman and get rid of Provincial Reconstruction Teams, allowing aid, assistance and services to be delivered by the Afghan government. What’ll this mean for Canada? Apparently, the BIG TICKET work’ll still get done: “…. The eventual closure of the bases won’t affect legacy projects such as the refurbishment of the Dahla Dam, a Canadian official at Kandahar’s provincial reconstruction team (PRT) said Tuesday. “Canada’s signature projects are not linked to this issue, as they have a completion date of 2011, and President Karzai’s comments consistently refer to a transition date of 2014,” spokesman Adam Sweet said in an email …. “ Follow-up question: what happens to all the OTHER work Canada does through Kandahar’s PRT now?
- And Canada’s lead Minister on the possibility of PRTs being shut down? “Canada is defending its development and reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan amid calls from President Hamid Karzai for NATO partners to wind down their efforts. “Canada supports the Government of Afghanistan’s desire to have more international aid channelled through the Afghan Government,” Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon acknowledged in a statement Tuesday. “But this must be accompanied by meaningful public sector reform that addresses corruption and that is founded on the principles of good governance.” ….”
- “Veterans Affairs is failing former Canadian soldiers who’ve reached a mental health breaking point, Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent told a House of Commons committee Monday. “People at Veterans Affairs need to be trained to deal with people in crisis,” he said, noting the department is currently unable to help veterans who need quick access to care. “The complexity of the process doesn’t allow for a response to immediate needs.” The bureaucracy and red tape involved can also be harmful to people suffering mental illness, Parent told the all-party committee. “The more times people have to tell their stories, the harder it becomes for them.” ….”
- Taliban Propaganda Watch: Attacks alleged in Kandahar, Uruzgan.
- Hello, hello, hello, what have we here? “Customs agents in Cincinnati are trying to figure out why someone in Canada wanted 300 sets of military-grade night vision goggles that were seized here last month. Agents grabbed several boxes of the goggles as they passed through the DHL hub at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in January. Officials with Customs and Border Protection said the Russian company that was shipping the goggles to a customer in Canada did not have the necessary license from the U.S. State Department. “The big question is, who needs 300 night vision goggles?” said Brian Bell, a Customs and Border Protection spokesman. “That’s the question that really sparked a lot of concern.” He said investigators have tracked the shipment back to a Russian company and believe the goggles were headed to a business in Canada ….”
- More on the mystery goggles here: “U.S. Customs agents said they seized a sizable shipment of military-grade night vision goggles at the DHL facility at CVG last month. The agency said agents identified the parcels, conducted research and working with other resources determined that the 300 sets of night vision goggles were military grade. Further research indicated that the exporter did not have the correct licenses to export this type of equipment, the agency said. The goggles were bound for an address near Toronto, Canada, said Customs spokesperson Brian Bell ….”
- F-35 Tug of War (1): “Lockheed Martin will be cutting it close if it intends to deliver F-35 stealth fighters to Canada on schedule in 2017, according to a revised timetable released by the U.S. defence giant. An extended flight test and software programming plan was ordered by the Pentagon over a year ago and the changes mean the aircraft will not exit its full development phase until late 2016. The aircraft-maker, the world’s largest defence contractor, is scrambling to hire over 100 software engineers to complete the three-stage development of computer programs that will fly and control the advanced stealth fighter in combat. A senior company official said the version of the F-35 Lightning II that Canada wants to buy — the A model — should have its final set of software codes by early 2016 ….”
- F-35 Tug of War (2): “The Harper government has already spent almost $200,000 on the pan-Canadian promotion of its stealth jet purchase, records show. In a bid to counter opposition to the controversial decision to buy a fleet of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, federal officials have organized media events and a cross-country tour to justify the spending and explain why the government felt the need to make the acquisition without going to tenders. Federal documents show the department of National Defence spent $131,519 on travel and hospitality costs to organize one media announcement, a cross-country “outreach tour” and an industry visit to a Lockheed-Martin facility in Texas ….”
- WHAT’S CANADA BUYING? Training CF naval small arms trainers and who’s interested and qualified to refit the HMCS Athabaskan?
- “The 2011 Ottawa Conference on Defence and Security (hosted by the Canadian Defence Association) will be held at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel in Ottawa, Canada, on 24-25 February 2011.”
- You can tell it’s winter in the Rockies when the gunners come out to shoot down snow to prevent avalanches.
- Funny how universities are supposed to be bastions of free speech, expression and association – unless it’s speech, expression or association some don’t like. “University of Toronto students and allies braved the weather on Wednesday to protest a recruitment session for the Department of National Defence hosted by the University’s Career Centre. A petition in circulation since last Saturday has attracted over 300 signatures, among them dozens belonging to faculty members. Signatories included former Canadian Senator the Hon. Lois M. Wilson and renowned scholar, author, and peace advocate Ursula Franklin …. Organizers of Wednesday’s demonstration have called for the University of Toronto administration to declare the campus a military-free zone. They are encouraging the community at large to join them in opposing the planned talk by Brigadier-General Jonathan Vance that the University’s Munk Centre will host on February 15th. The University of Toronto Career Centre has agreed to develop a set of guidelines against which invitations to potential employers can be measured.”
- How Canada is helping out a bit in the Democratic Republic of Congo: “United Nations peacekeepers are making “important headway” on the difficult road towards bringing stability to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), but shortfalls in funds and military equipment are constraining their efforts, a top official said today …. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon”s Special Representative for the DRC, Roger Meece, told the Security Council …. There are …. still significant weaknesses in the military and civilian justice systems, and the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) ” the peacekeeping mission which Mr. Meece heads ” has worked to bolster military prosecution capabilities with support from Canada and the UN Peacebuilding Fund, “but much greater efforts are needed,” Mr. Meece stressed. The Fund, which was set up in 2006 and relies upon voluntary contributions, supports efforts to augment peace and stability in countries emerging from conflict ….”
Ceasefire.ca’s Hypocrisy on “Public Debate”
Ceasefire.ca, digital brain child of Steven Staples (of Polaris and Rideau Institute fame) is taking (another) cheap shot at the Conference of Defence Associations in general, and someone contributing to the Association’s latest issue of On Track in particular.
This is what Ceasefire.ca had to say about an article on how what the author of an article on disinformation in the electronic age:
…. The solution, according to Henry, is for government to “lead the way to wean Canadians away from utopian notions and puncture the bubble of unreality that surrounds them.”God willing, they will prevail, in peace and freedom from fear, and in true health–through the purity and essence of our natural fluids.
Why should people who aren’t crazy care about this kind of stuff?
The bit in red alludes to a crazed Air Force commander in the movie “Doctor Strangelove” who starts nuclear war all on his own.
Do I agree with everything in the article highlighted? No. Is this as “loony” as Ceasefire.ca makes it out to be, though?
In summary, the government must publicize its intentions to the public strongly and clearly throughout the new digital environment. That is, fight and defeat disinformation on its own ground. This is the new reality in politics and in the formulation and delivery of government policy.
I note the hypocrisy irony of a post complaining about the contents of a journal contributing to open, public debate where the post is both:
1) unsigned, and
2) closed to comments.
Keep digging into that “Harper’s Secret War Plans” thing, guys, and let us know how that works out for you.