MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 15 Nov 11

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 13 Aug 11

  • Libya Mission (1)  There’s no way to tell right now whether NATO will have to extend its Libyan operation past the end of September, a top Canadian general told MPs on Friday. In June, the Commons overwhelmingly voted to extend Canadian participation in the operation to September 27. Maj.-Gen. Jonathan Vance, the director of the strategic joint staff, said, however, that a rushed withdrawal by NATO, without some kind of political settlement, would be disastrous. Vance, who once commanded Canadian troops in Afghanistan, told MPs on the Commons defence committee that diplomatic and political efforts are vital now to produce a solution. He says no one can predict how things will unfold over the next six weeks …. Newfoundland MP Jack Harris, the NDP defence critic, said he believes that NATO has done the job it set out to do, which was to protect Libyan civilians from Gadhafi. “The capability of Col. Gadhafi to mount this kind of activity has been degraded to the point where that’s no longer the issue,” he said. “The problem that we have is that we don’t want this to morph into some sort of prolonged mission.” It’s time to go, said the New Democrat ….”
  • Libya Mission (2)  “Top Canadian military and diplomatic authorities are saying little about whether they will be able to pull out of the UN-led military mission in Libya by the end of September as planned.  Maj.-Gen. John Vance could not give a direct answer when asked Friday morning by MPs if officials will stick to Canada’s mandated exit date of Sept. 27, 2011, based on how stable Libya is today.  “There are a lot of factors at play,” Vance told the informal parliamentary committee meeting. “The efforts of NATO today are essential.”  If the military withdrew today — without a negotiated settlement with dictator Moammar Gadhafi — Vance said it would be an “absolute calamity.”  The general, along with Sandra McCardell, Canada’s ambassador to Libya, and other officials were testifying at the defence committee meeting on Canada’s role in the Libyan mission to protect its citizens from Gadhafi’s military attacks …. Diplomats, meanwhile, are striving to hammer out a “verifiable” ceasefire, McCardell said. Gadhafi has announced a ceasefire in the past, but his forces kept shooting.  She said envoys are still looking for the right person within the regime to come to the negotiating table.  Vance said the military has no plans to “put boots on the ground” in Libya and become an occupying force …. Neither McCardell, Vance nor other witnesses could say for sure if the rebel group would be able to maintain security after NATO leaves, if Gadhafi would ever accept a ceasefire, or if the conflict is on its way to becoming a stalemate ….”
  • CFB Borden getting two new dining halls and kitchens, CF Info-Machine version – emphasis mine:  “The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, today announced plans to construct two new All Ranks Kitchen and Dining Facilities at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden. In total, these projects are valued at approximately $77 million and involve the construction of two new 6,133 m2 facilities that will replace four kitchen facilities …. The construction of the two new single-story kitchen and dining facilities will replace both existing Junior Ranks dining halls, the Officers’ Mess, and Senior NCO Mess currently being used at CFB Borden by 3,000 military personnel daily. This project is part of the CFB Borden Master Real Property Development Plan which aims to consolidate all training and quarters functions into two separate areas. Each facility will be able to serve approximately 1,500 persons per meal, and will be located on the north and south sides of the base. These new buildings will address existing deficiencies found at the current facilities, some of which are over 50 years old ….”  More in Backgrounder here.
  • CFB Borden getting two new dining halls and kitchens, media version:  “…. Critics called it a questionable expense, especially at a time when the government says it intends to cut expenditures. “We do have to question how they’re setting their priorities in terms of dealing with the deficit,” NDP defence critic Jack Harris told Postmedia News. “It seems — on the surface — an outrageous amount of money for dining facilities,” Harris said. The government recently announced the closure of two search-and-rescue co-ordinating centres in Quebec City and St. John’s to save “probably a couple of million dollars a year” and yet it can find the cash to replace existing buildings, he added. “Canadians are going to question the timing of this announcement,” said Gregory Thomas of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. While the armed forces should have up-to-date equipment and infrastructure, the country is running a $30-billion deficit and this type of spending will be difficult to justify to the public, Thomas said ….”
  • Way Up North (1)  The Kingston Whig-Standard appears to have a reporter with the CF in the north for Operation Nanook 2011. “The engines on the Twin Otter came up to full power and the aircraft started rolling along the gravel runway. In a remarkably short distance, the aircraft was airborne and on its way. The flight took the plane about 100 km from Resolute Bay, where it delivered three barrels of aviation fuel, part of a fuel cache being set up to support helicopters that are to fly out of the base in the coming weeks. Resolute Bay, at 74 degrees North latitude, is a five-hour flight from southern Ontario. It takes about as long to fly to Vancouver, and Resolute Bay is still almost 1,100 km south of Alert, Canada’s most northern point. Flying in Canada’s Arctic is largely ruled by the extremes of two factors: distance and weather. “The Arctic is difficult because there are so few communities up here. Especially with small aircraft, you have to plan better,” said Capt. Tom Turk, a pilot with the Canadian Forces’ 440 Squadron based in Yellowknife, N.W.T. ….” 
  • Way Up North (2)  CF research arm paper on proposed staging bases in Canada’s Arctic:  “Optimal RSOM-hub Locations for Northern Operations: A MAJAID Scenario Analysis” (PDF).  Part of the executive summary (abstract and executive summary is downloadable here (PDF) via Army.ca):  “…. The study indicated that the RSOM-hub concept could offer potential cost avoidance and response time reduction on deployment lift for MAJAID operations in the North and could be a potential strategy for improvement of the CF domestic support capability. For a single RSOM-hub solution, Yellowknife would be the time effective RSOM-hub location. From a cost avoidance perspective, Iqaluit would the optimal hub location. Both airfields have the required capability and resources (e.g., fuel, maintenance) for supporting strategic lift aircraft (CC-177) and tactical helicopter (CH-146) operations. For a multiple RSOM-hub solution, the analysis indicates that the optimal number of RSOM-hubs would be two, corresponding to Iqaluit and Yellowknife, when response time and cost avoidance are both considered ….”
  • CF troops headed south – 4 Aug 11:  Honduras’ government approves 150 Canadian troops to enter as part of Exercise PANAMAX II
  • CF troops headed south – 12 Aug 11 (1) (emphasis mine):  “…. Canadian troops have been cleared to train with the Honduran military. On Aug. 4, the National Congress of Honduras approved the entry of Canadian soldiers into the country to take part in a joint training exercise. The results of three votes on the matter were posted this past Monday on the National Congress’ website. Canada’s Department of National Defence has not announced any training exercises in Honduras. The Prime Minister’s Office said it was unaware of any joint training exercise taking place ….”
  • CF troops headed south – 12 Aug 11 (2):  “The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, is pleased to announce the participation of the Canadian Forces in Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships Athabaskan and Algonquin in Exercise PANAMAX, a multinational exercise that focuses on the defence of this important region and the Panama Canal …. Approximately 500 Canadian Forces members will participate in this exercise. HMCS Athabaskan and HMCS Algonquin, each carrying approximately 240 sailors, will work with seventeen countries, including the United States, as part of this multinational exercise aimed at defending the Panama Canal from threat of terrorist attack, natural disaster or pandemic outbreak in order to maintain free and open access to the Panama Canal. HMC Ships Athabaskan and Algonquin are Iroquois-class destroyers, based in Halifax and Esquimalt respectively. These ships are area air defence destroyers and command and control platforms. They are fitted with sophisticated anti-air weapons systems, advanced weapons and communications systems and are capable of leading national and international task groups such as those in Panama. In addition to the naval assets, a CP-140 Aurora aircraft will deploy to Panama airport to participate in the exercise ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying?   Wanted:  someone to carry out accreditation survey for Canadian Forces Medical Service, “Capabillity Survey of Naval Soft-Kill Systems” (more on that in bid documents – PDF – here) and someone to fly bad guy and target planes for training (more on that in bid document extract – PDF – here).
  • Afghanistan  She grew up and went to school in Winnipeg, now Alexandra “Ali” Lamont is trying to make it safe for kids in Afghanistan to go to school. “I’ll be assisting with the institutional development of Afghan police,” said Lamont, who leaves for Kabul next week. Making Afghanistan safe for people to get around is key to its future, said the 45-year-old with a law degree and masters in economics who works with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada. “It’s fulfilling over there, trying to make some kind of difference,” said Lamont, who spent five months in Kandahar last year. “You see flocks of kids going to school.” There’s so many kids enrolled, some schools run in three shifts. “Afghans are keen to move forward — girls and boys — to take advantage of this opportunity.” Her one-year term is in Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital. The diplomat and policy analyst will work with experts from a number of countries to establish a police force to serve and protect Afghans ….”
  • A reminder: The Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and Canada’s constitution, guarantees the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.  That said, what’s worse than someone faking s/he has served in the military?  Someone faking military service AND lying about an illness to rip people off.  A B.C. man wanted for allegedly posing as a member of the military and seeking donations to pay for his health costs has been charged with fraud. Douglas Archie Clark, 64, of Burnaby, was charged with 13 counts of fraud, police said in a news release Friday. Police allege Clark has defrauded 40 or more victims out of more than $1 million. Complaints dating back to the 1990s claim Clark portrayed himself as either an active or retired member of the Canadian military – and was even seen in a military-style uniform, police said. It’s alleged he asked for money to pay for cancer treatments that were not covered by his medical plan. After an investigation spanning three and a half years, police arrested and charged Clark in June. The court released him under the conditions he not contact any of the alleged victims or wear any military uniform. He was also ordered to stay in B.C. and return to court July 11. When he failed to appear at that court date, a warrant was issued for his arrest, and he was picked up again Thursday ….”

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 9 Feb 11

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.

CF IN HAITI: Current Priority Medical

Some of the latest:

  • CTV.ca reports that the crush of aid traffic at Haiti’s Port Au Prince airport is delaying the repatriation of two Canadian Mounties killed in last week’s earthquake.
  • More details are being revealed (via a briefing by Defence Minister Peter MacKay) regarding the medical deployment out of Canadian Forces Base Petawawa.  1 Field Hospital is sending “1 Operating room with two Surgical teams, 2 Resuscitation beds, 2 Critical Care beds,(and) 50 Intermediate and Minimal Care beds (and) more than 100 CF members.”
  • Following on that, according to CTV.ca, the head of Canada’s naval task force in the area, Captain Art McDonald, says the CF’s main focus right now is providing medical assistance.  In addition to the 1 Field Hospital team headed to Leogane, McDonald is quoted saying Canada’s DART staff “opened up the first hospital in (Jacmel), and now that hospital has been populated by NGOs (non-governmental organizations).”

For more news, check out these sites (newest additions in bold):

CF IN HAITI: First Sailors In, Docs Complain about Unloading Priorities

Some of the latest:

A bit of a map to help orient you is available here.

  1. “Water related materials” (you can live longer without food than you can without water, and bad water makes more people sick)
  2. “Logistics Enablers” (stuff that helps get blocked roads open and aid into areas once routes are opened)
  3. Food materials (and)
  4. Medical supplies

Something else to remember:  these priorities change as the operation goes on, according to the World Food Program.

For more news, check out these sites (newest additions in bold):

CF IN HAITI: Security a Growing Concern, Base of Operations Chosen?

Some of the latest:

  • CBC News (via Twitter here and here and CBC.ca here) reports Canadian Forces ships are near Haiti, preparing to start deploying sailors and other experts to “clear roads of debris so that aid convoys can get in, offer first aid if they can, and look for Canadians and the bodies of Canadians so they can be returned home.”  CBC also says the focus of the CF’s work may be the town of Jacmel, a port community of approximately 30,000 on Haiti’s southern coast reportedly “(very) hard hit but getting less help to this point” (weather information available here, and tide information here).  It’s also the hometown of Canada’s Governor General Michaëlle Jean.
  • The Canadian Press reports that security is increasingly a problem that will be dealt with by Canadian Forces in Haiti:  “…. Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon says security has been fingered as one of the key challenges facing relief and reconstruction efforts as aid slowly ramps up and the death toll continues to mount. “Although the concern over an increase in civilian violence is shared by several countries involved, it will be resolved by our capacity to deliver aid and our capacity to stabilize Haiti,” Cannon said Monday….”

For more news, check out these sites (newest additions in bold):

CF IN HAITI: More Headed South to Help?

Some of the latest:

  • The Canadian Press reports, “the army has put 800 troops on standby for possible peacekeeping deployment to Haiti. The Conservative government has yet to give the green light to the mission, but defence sources say the order to move could come as early as Saturday. The soldiers would be drawn from Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, Que. They would bring along engineering units, as well as headquarters and support elements – something that signals a sustained operation….”
  • The Toronto Star reports that because of a bottleneck at Port Au Prince Airport in Haiti, filled with planes filled with aid, Canadian military aircraft are having to wait their turn at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, with delayed flights, and changes in what the planes will be carrying.
  • Responding to reports of post-quake disorder in Haiti (more on that from the BBC and Voice of America), Commodore Art McDonald, commander of the Canada’s naval task force headed to Haiti, is quoted by CBC.ca saying, “I don’t want to deliver aid at the barrel of a gun, but we will bring aid in the most effective means possible.”

For more news, check out these sites (newest additions in bold):