News Highlights – 10 Jan 11

  • More on Canada’s troops chipping away at a problem area in Afghanistan. “It has long been Canada’s problem child in Kandahar. The Panjwaii district has vexed the military brain trust for years. It is the cradle of the Taliban movement, the insurgency’s spiritual heartland. Many Taliban fighters hail from the district’s dominant Noorzai tribe, so the sympathies of villagers do not always lie with foreign forces. It is one of the last three districts of Kandahar still under Canada’s watch. The other districts, Dand and Daman, are relatively stable by comparison — ‘relatively’ being the operative word. So with seven months left on Canada’s combat clock, time is running out to pacify the Panjwaii. Canadian troops are in the midst of a massive effort to do just that ….”
  • More, via the CF, on the latest road-building work by Canadian and Afghan engineers. “An important achievement of previous rotations was the construction of new roads across Kandahar Province. Today, we continue that initiative with the development of a land link between the eastern portion of Panjwa’i District and its western point, the Horn of Panjwa’i. Our mandate is to build a safe road that is feasible to use all year round ….”
  • Taliban Propaganda WatchTaliban claims to have destroyed Canadian “tank” in Spin Boldak area.
  • Lotsa work, money to get Canada’s military forces and facilities outta Dodge. “It will cost “lots of hundreds of millions of dollars” to move Canada’s nearly 3,000 soldiers, all their gear and equipment and nearly a decade’s worth of supportive infrastructure out of Kandahar province this year, says the man in charge of preparing for the mammoth undertaking.  “It’s like moving a very large village or small town, lock, stock and barrel,” said Lt.-Col. Steve Moritsugu, who is leader of the mission transition and liaison team for the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan.  “We have to clean, repair and pack everything up and move it halfway around the world,” he said.  A more precise price tag isn’t available at this stage. Canada hasn’t undertaken such a large-scale military pullout in nearly 60 years. The 1st battalion Royal 22e Regiment battle group has to be out of the fight by July, and most traces of Canada’s military presence in Kandahar must disappear by the end of the year ….”
  • 16 Dec 10,  Let’s try that again with the pre-qualification for the Close Combat Vehicle (CCV), shall we? 10 Jan 11, Ottawa Citizen: “The multi-billion dollar plan to buy new armoured vehicles for the Canadian Forces has run into yet more problems, with the government this time going back to industry to look for more companies interested in bidding ….”
  • The Halifax Regional Municipality is going to consider allowing the naming of a new road in honour of the fallen. “The Halifax region could one day have a municipal road named to honour Canada’s fallen military personnel, a city staff report says. In November, a petition was filed with regional council asking it “to name a new collector type road in (metro) Heroes Avenue (or) Street, or Highway of Heroes,” the report says. The report, attached to council’s agenda for their meeting Tuesday, says city hall staff are reviewing the request in accordance with municipal policy. “If the name request meets the criteria laid out in (policy), staff will recommend that . . . council approve Heroes Avenue as a commemorative name,” the report says. “Staff would then begin the process of finding an appropriate street to apply the name.” …. “ Here’s the city staff report (PDF)  mentioned above.

What’s Canada Buying?

  • Let’s try that again with the pre-qualification for the Close Combat Vehicle (CCV), shall we?: “…. Canada is concerned that respondent(s) of SOIQ W6508-10CC01/E may have been disadvantaged by SOIQ W6508-10CC01/D evaluation information, provided by Canada, in advance of the release of SOIQ W6508-10CC01/E. It is Canada’s intention to have a process offering maximum opportunity for suppliers to participate in this procurement in a fair environment. Therefore, another qualification process is being offered to potential suppliers for the Close Combat Vehicle Project. This process will not cancel or supersede SOIQ W6508-10CC01/E. The current CCV Pre-Qualified Bidders list posted on MERX since October 7, 2010 is still valid. These Pre-Qualified Bidders will not be required to resubmit response(s) for any vehicles that Canada has already qualified. ….” More on the CCV project here.
  • More calls for projects to beef up Canadian security thru technology. “…. Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) has announced a Call for Proposals under the federal government’s Public Security Technical Program (PSTP). The Centre for Security Science (CSS) coordinates public security investments in science and technology (S&T) on behalf of Public Safety Canada, Department of National Defence (DND), and over 20 other federal government departments that are party to the PSTP Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). PSTP’s mission is “to strengthen Canada’s ability to prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover from high-consequence public safety and security events by employing S&T as a strategic enabler and lead investment for the federal government’s public safety and security agenda”.  These investments encompass a broad range of subject matter and
    are currently organized into four domains:
    1. Defeat Chemical, Biological, Radiological/Nuclear, and
    Explosives (CBRNE) Threats;
    2. Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP);
    3. Surveillance, Intelligence and Interdiction (SII); and
    4. Emergency Management Systems and Interoperability (EMSI). ….”
  • Researching better ways to make better decisions in complex environments. “…. The System of Systems Section at DRDC Valcartier is interested in extending the current capability of military analysts, strategic advisors, and decision makers to understand complex situations and develop comprehensive strategies to effectively influence complex adaptive systems such as insurgencies. Complexity arises when a set of interacting systems (Systems of Systems) are intertwined into a web that exhibits circular causation – closed loops of cause and effect that transcend a linear chain of explanations (Dörner, 1996; Qudrat-Ullah, Spector, & Davidsen, 2008; Rousseau, 2003). According to Herbert Simon (1982), humans lack sufficient knowledge and are limited in their computational skills to fully comprehend highly complex problems. Understanding complexity is problematic and renders decision making sub-optimal. The limited capacity of perception due to its selective nature, distortions in memory and the inability to process information in a simultaneous manner all contribute to constraining the understanding of complexity (Hogart 1987). In order to support sensemaking and decision making in complex situations, ways to augment cognitive processing capabilities of CF through selection, training, technological support, and teaming are explored. In this context, a research program involving up to 6 experiments will aim to better characterize the various factors that make complex dynamic systems so difficult to understand and which limit a decision maker’s (or a team’s) ability to influence that system without provoking unintended side-effects. DRDC Valcartier has developed the complex decision making (CODEM) experimental platform for the purpose of this research program ….”
  • Sole source for Phalanx ship gun spare parts. “…. The Department of National Defence (DND) has a requirement for establishing a Supply Arrangement to procure spare parts, unique to supporting the Phalanx Close-In Weapon System (CIWS) Naval Gun System, used on the IROQUOIS, HALIFAX, and PROTECTEUR Class Ships. The awarding of contracts under the Supply Arrangement will be for a period of five years …. For technical reasons, the goods can only be supplied by the proposed supplier, Raytheon Canada Limited, and no alternative or substitute exists. Raytheon Canada Limited of Calgary, Alberta has agreements in place with Raytheon Missile Systems and General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products Inc., to provide the required technical data, materiel, and test capabilities to ensure Canada receives the proper support for the Phalanx systems ….”
  • Ceremonial odds and endsSwords for the sailors and accoutrements for those having to carry flags and unit colours.