News Highlights – 11 Aug 11

  • Canadian military helicopters, support staff headed to Jamaica to help out in case of hurricanes.  Dozens of Canadian troops are heading to the Caribbean this week to assist the Jamaican military with medevacs and search and rescue during the region’s annual hurricane season, Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced Wednesday in Trenton, Ont. As part of Operation Jaguar, which could last until the end of November, Canada will deploy three CH-146 Griffon helicopters as well as 65 Canadian Forces personnel from Canadian Forces bases in Goose Bay, N.L., Bagotville, Que., and Trenton ….” – more on OP Jaguar here (CF Info-Machine version), here, here, here, here and here.
  • Helping out Colombia.Prime Minister Stephen Harper today announced Canadian support for new and ongoing projects that will enhance peace, security and justice in Colombia and the region. Areas of focus include preventing conflict, combating transnational criminal activity, facilitating access to justice, responding to the global threat of terrorism, ensuring security at major events and land restitution. The announcement was made during an official visit with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos ….” – more in backgrounder here.
  • Boss of CFB Trenton on to other tasks“The current commanding officer here has always been proud to call the air base his home.  He helped heal it. He helped put it on the global map.  Taking the lead of the largest and busiest air force base in the country 18 months ago, outgoing commanding officer Col. Dave Cochrane helped launch Canada’s new emergency response mission Op Jaguar along with minister of National Defence Peter MacKay Wednesday morning – a day before relinquishing his command to Col. Sean Friday.  “Since taking command last February we have done continuous operations,” said Cochrane. “It is because of efforts like Op Hestia in Haiti, our support to the Vancouver Olympic Games, the ongoing support to Afghanistan, and most recently our response to the wild fires in Northern Ontario where thousand of residents were evacuated that our emergency response units and personnel here at 8 Wing that I am proud to call this wing home and being its commander.” …. “It’s been truly amazing,” said the commanding officer, who will proceed on the advanced training list to attend the Defence and Strategic Studies Course – a top level curriculum for senior military officers and government officials engaged in national security issues – at the Australian Defence College later this year ….”
  • Letter writer doesn’t seem to get it.  1)  Writer worried about brutality of Canada’s military police after the Provost Marshal’s annual report says there’s been more investigations of sexual assault, assault and death.  2)  CF Provost Marshal writes back saying:  “These are complaints investigated by or reported to Military Police; the way the letter is written would suggest that these complaints were against the Military Police. This is clearly wrong.”  3)  Original letter writer:  “I am still unclear though as to who committed more than 700 alleged crimes, in 2010, that Grubb stated in the press that he himself was concerned about.” >>insert banging head on wall smiley here<<
  • What’s Canada Buying?  Boots, first for “user acceptance trials”, then loads if OK – more here in part of bid document (PDF).
  • Editorial on need for more help for homeless vets“…. as important as it is to find and fund a solution, correctly identifying the problem is just as crucial.  For the most part, we don’t even know who these veterans are and how they ended up on our streets. Scant research has been done in this country. But a recent study by Susan Ray and Cheryl Forchuk, two nursing professors at the University of Western Ontario, challenges the assumption that these veterans are down and out because they suffer from addictions or mental health problems that can be traced back to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Few among the dozens of homeless vets they interviewed had ever been deployed overseas. Their average age was 52 and it often took a decade or more after their release from the Forces before they ended up on the street. Many said they learned to drink while in the military and that alcoholism helped drive them to ruin.  What this points to, according to the Western Ontario researchers, is that Veterans Affairs is having some success in identifying and assisting veterans with PTSD. Primarily, those falling through the cracks in Canada seem to be a different group who have trouble making the transition to civilian life — from a highly structured environment to one with much more freedom to make choices …. the phenomenon might be more complex than we imagine and that we need harder data if we are to respond effectively and proactively over the long term ….”
  • Libya Mission  Some of what HMCS Charlottetown was up to. “…. The ship’s superior combat co-ordination and communications systems led to its periodic assignment as Surface Action Group Commander, in which Charlottetown directed the tactical employment of allied warships and maritime patrol aircraft in the area while co-ordinating patrol areas and alert levels for shipborne helicopters. These same capabilities, summarized under the rubric “C4ISR” — standing for the command, control, communications, computing, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance systems — allowed the ship’s combat control centre to alert NATO to a major offensive on April 26 against Misrata by Gadhafi forces. Working with NATO air controllers, Charlottetown’s operations staff assisted with the co-ordination of air strikes that blunted the attack and eliminated several dozen assault vehicles, artillery pieces and a main battle tank. The ship had repeat performances on May 8 and 24. This Canadian frigate is responsible for saving Libyan lives and preventing Libyan military offensives against the residents of Misrata — big achievements for one ship of Canada’s navy.”
  • Afghanistan  Macleans before-and-after in Kandahar. “…. In the weeks and months of the transition from Canadian to American control, much has changed in Kandahar. The heavy hand of the American war machine has devastated the lives of many villagers. In the Arghandab valley, one elder tells Maclean’s that before the Americans came, there was peace. “Sure, the Taliban were in control,” says the 80-year-old Haji Abdul Jabar, “but they never bothered us. They treated us with respect. Now the Americans have come and they are destroying our gardens with their tanks. When they patrol the village they trample over our irrigation canals. And now war has come. Wherever the Americans go, war follows them.” ….”
  • PM’s got a new (acting) foreign & security advisor“Prime Minister Stephen Harper has brought in Christine Hogan as his acting foreign and defence policy adviser to replace Claude Carrière, who moved out of the position last month to become associate deputy minister at Agriculture Canada. Ms. Hogan, who is usually the assistant secretary to the Cabinet, foreign and defence policy, stepped into the key role temporarily after the departure of Mr. Carrière on July 11. A permanent replacement has yet to be named and the PCO has been tight-lipped on when that would happen, but former diplomats say that the next person to step into the role must be knowledgeable, well-connected, and experienced ….”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War  The good news:  American F-35’s back at work.  The bad news:  not flying yet, though.

WHAT’S CANADA BUYING? Some Recent Buys & Questions

Some intriguing tidbits about what Canada’s defence community is buying or looking for these days.

In an era of “whole of government” ops, how can we get people from different departments, ministries and agencies to trust each other and work together better?

…. The Organizational Behavior Group (OB Group) within the Collaborative Performance and Learning Section (CPL Section) of Defence Research and Development Canada – Toronto (DRDC Toronto) has received approval to conduct a three year Applied Research Project (ARP) to explore and identify the mechanisms of establishing and maintaining interagency trust. More specifically, the purpose of the Interagency Trust ARP is to understanding the psychological processes associated with trust in such environments in order to contribute to and enhance the development of this mission critical capability…. (PDF of Statement of Work here).

How do we work better in teams made up of people from different countries, organizations and cultures?

…. As part of a global community, Canadian Forces (CF) personnel must be able to work effectively as part of a team, either in the context of co-ordinated joint operations or in collaboration with various government and non-government agencies and organizations, international organizations, or multinational military forces, embedded in diverse social and cultural settings. Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) will conduct research that will facilitate the realization of the full synergistic potential of teams operating in Joint, Interagency, Multinational, and Public (JIMP) environments. The objectives of the Applied Research Project (ARP), entitled “JIMP Essentials in the Public Domain: Implications for the Tactical Commander,” include: 1) a conceptual clarification of the aspects of JIMP, with implications for the development of knowledge, education and training tools for the tactical commander; 2) identification of individual differences/aptitudes that facilitate effective collaboration in a JIMP environment, with implications for training, selection and teamwork; and 3) integration of historical and international perspectives on the Public aspects of JIMP. The challenge is to understand the critical human-centric, psychosocial and cognitive aspects of collaborative work and to develop methods and models to foster collaborative behaviour …. (PDF of Statement of Work here)

“Ballistic Blankets”, round 2 (supercedes this round)

…. The Department of National Defence requires the alteration of Government furnished Ballistic Blankets to provide additional occupant protection in light armoured vehicles. The alterations will consist of cutting, sewing and installing hardware.
Scope of Work:
This requirement consists of the following elements:
(a)    Quantity of twenty-five (25) kits of Ballistic Blankets within one (1) month of contract award;
(b)    Three (3) options of up to quantity seventy-nine (79) kits of Ballistic Blankets to be delivered within 1 month after each option is exercised ….

Tools to help build better reactive armour?

…. REQUIREMENT: Defence Research and Development Canada – Suffield has a requirement for which the objective is to generate a coherent high-speed reactive structural material jet and to experimentally study the reaction and interaction of this coherent jet with a nearby structure, and in particular, to determine the impulse applied to a structure. The second objective of this work is to develop metallurgy for desired shapes of a class of more advanced reactive structural materials with great mechanical strength and density and to characterize the critical shock initiation and energy release of the most promising materials ….

Goggles or systems to help armoured vehicle drivers drive at night better

…. This requirement is for the Department of National Defence (DND) to procure Driver’s Vision Enhancer (DVE) systems. This device provides a primary day/night driving aid to enhance mobility and survivability of the Armored Vehicules (sic) for the Canadian Forces (CF) by enabling the driver to better negotiate terrain and assist in crew surveillance tasks. The DVE System must aid the driver in negotiating obstacles such as ditches, craters, railways, water, etc. The DVE System must be capable of providing sufficient fidelity for the driver to manoeuvre tactically by assisting the driver in obstacle avoidance and route selection that provides the best cover and concealment when performing tasks during Canadian operations ….

Privatizing bulk fuel storage at CFB Goose Bay

….The Department of National Defence (DND) is the owner of the Tank Farm and Fuel Distribution System located on the Canadian Forces Base (5 Wing) and is adjacent to the 5 Wing Goose Bay military airport and in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland & Labrador. Work under his contract shall include:
a.     Development of a business / financial model to evaluate future operations and maintenance of the tank farm facility under a Terminal Model of operations.
b.     In general terms, a Terminal Model is a mode of operation wherein the prospective operator of the facility would provide fee-based fuel storage and related services to multiple public and private sector users of the facility. Fuel product owned by the various clients could be co-mingled within the fuel storage tanks.
c.     Potential clients would include public and private sector entities having requirement for bulk fuel storage….

50.5 kilometres (31.5 miles) o’ velcro

…. The Department of National Defence (DND) has a requirement for Fasteners, Tape, Hook and Pile …. A firm quantity of 33,000 meters to be delivered to Montreal, Quebec and 17,500 meters to be delivered to Edmonton, Alberta for a total quantity of 50,500 meters….