News Highlights – 3 Sept 11

  • Libya Mission (1)  Welcome home, HMCS Charlottetown, from “Fighting The Gaddafi Regime” – good to see you and yours back safe and sound – more from the media here.
  • Libya Mission (2)  Canada must help Libya make sure its weapons of mass destruction don’t get into the wrong hands, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Friday …. “There’s significant stockpiles of mustard gas and other chemical weapons that have been secure for a number of years, but we want to make sure they don’t fall into the wrong hands,” Baird said. “So there’s another area where we can help demilitarize a country so hopefully it’ll have a peaceful future.” ….”
  • Libya Mission (3)  An editorial isn’t happy with the PM’s speech to the troops in Sicily this week.  “…. it’s well worth thinking about what kind of role we want our nation to have in the world, and how we want to be seen by other nations. With our presence in Afghanistan and Libya — despite whatever good those missions may have achieved — we have still clearly moved from a country best known for supplying troops for peacekeeping missions to a nation willing to ride with countries that see interventionist military missions as the way to go in international affairs. In his own way, Harper referenced that change in his speech as well: “They used to claim that in international affairs, and you’ve heard the quote many times: ‘Canada punched above its weight.’ Well, to punch above your weight, you first have to be able to punch. And that is what you have done here.” It is more than a little unsettling, and Canadians should rightfully question whether this is the direction we wish to head ….”  Note to writer: without being able to engage in full combat operations (translation: being able to shoot and maybe kill if needed), peacekeepers can’t do their job fully. It’s sorta like a cop without a gun – some work is doable, but the ultimate sanction to get all sides to play nice is not there.
  • 9/11 Plus Ten (1)  Let’s not forget the Canadians killed in the 9/11 attack ten years ago.
  • 9/11 Plus Ten (2)  On Sept. 11, 2001, Angus Watt walked into the Canadian NORAD regional headquarters at CFB Winnipeg at about 7:30 a.m., just back from a two-week leave. A career air force man, he was a brigadier general who, on that day, was the operations officer for the entire air force. Within an hour, one of his staff told him to turn on the news. A plane had struck the World Trade Centre in New York. “Of course, the first thought was ‘What a tragic accident. ‘There just didn’t seem to be any other explanation at the time.” “Then the second one hit.” Within 30 minutes, the operations centre, normally manned by a skeletal crew, was fully staffed. The secure room features display screens that monitor air traffic and connect NORAD and governments. But even with the most sophisticated tracking systems, the military officers were forced to make life-or-death decisions on incomplete information ….”
  • The Leslie Report/CF Reorg  CDS further refines his position on the report. “Canada’s top soldier says a report calling for personnel reductions needs further study to ensure the recommendations won’t hurt the military’s ability to carry out operations. According to media reports, Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie wrote a review calling for savings of $1 billion annually by reorganizing the Canadian Forces and chopping up to 11,000 personnel. Gen. Walt Natynczyk, the chief of defence staff, says while he believes it’s a strong report, he’ll need to consider the impact of reducing the number of full-time reservists or contractors hired to replace personnel sent to serve overseas. Natynczyk says he doesn’t want to implement cuts that will hurt the military’s ability to fulfil its commitments abroad. “I knew the ideas would be novel. I knew the ideas would be contentious and I accept the report,” he said. “From my point of view, it’s a very good report. It’s a question now of parsing through it. What can we do in the short-term? What needs more study? What I don’t want is to recommend a cut to the government that has a second-order effect that affects our operational capability.” ….”
  • Afghanistan (1)  A Canadian General appears to be one of several NATO types who tried to get Afghan military hospital corruption (patients having to bribe staff to food, meds) cleared up (PDF of article here if link doesn’t work).  “…. (Afghan army chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Sher Mohammed) Karimi was invited to attend an Afghan shura, a traditional meeting, at the hospital with Canadian Brigadier Gen. David Neasmith, the assistant commander for army development at the NTM-A. NATO officials pressed Gen. Karimi to address the problem of staff absenteeism and missing medicine, a U.S. mentor who was present says. But Afghan hospital and army officials who attended the meeting steered the conversation away from such issues and asked for raises and promotions, the mentor says. As weeks passed without progress, the mentors say they assembled more evidence of neglect, including detailed medical charts and photos showing emaciated patients and bedsores a foot long and so deep that bones protruded from them. In an Oct. 4 document emailed by the mentors to Gen. Neasmith, they complained about the hospital’s intensive-care unit, among other issues: “The most dynamic and ill affected is the ICU, whereby favoritism, ambivalence, incompetence coupled with understaffing lead to the untimely deaths of patients daily, occasionally several times per day.” …. By mid-December (2010), Gen. Yaftali, the Afghan army’s surgeon-general, was moved out of his job without explanation—after the coalition’s commander at the time, Gen. David Petraeus, personally raised the problems at the hospital during a meeting with President Karzai, people familiar with the matter said. The hospital has seen major improvements since then ….”
  • Afghanistan (2a)  Combat tour’s still over (via the CF Info-Machine).
  • Afghanistan (2b)  Combat tour’s still over (via the CF Info-Machine).
  • Afghanistan (3)  Packing Team boss has links to northwestern Ontario.
  • Big military cleanup projects coming to Newfoundland.  The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, along with the Honourable Peter Penashue, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, today announced three new projects valued at $62 million for environmental remediation work at 5 Wing Goose Bay …. Since the Second World War, 5 Wing Goose Bay has had a continuous international military presence, which has brought significant socio-economic benefits and stability for the local communities. The three new projects include the removal of fuel and contaminants from the ground at the Survival Tank Farm, the Former Hydrant Area, and the Dome Mountain sites. Together, these three projects represent $62 million in contracts at 5 Wing Goose Bay, and create 335 jobs in the Happy Valley-Goose Bay community, and throughout Labrador ….”  More details in the Backgrounder document here, and in media coverage here.
  • Way Up North  OP Nanook 2011 wraps up.
  • Defence Minister making an announcement in Halifax Tuesday.
  • Helping Kids of the Fallen  More on the Canada Company offering scholarships to children of CF members killed on duty here and here.

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….