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Posts Tagged ‘Stephen Smith

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 15 Sept 11

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  • Libya Mission (1)  “CTV News has learned Canada will extend its military mission to Libya by up to three months to help the country get back on its feet. CTV’s Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife reported the development, which is expected to be formally announced next week when Prime Minister Stephen Harper meets with other NATO leaders in New York ….”
  • Afghanistan (1)  More (again) from the Minister’s spokesperson on how the years of the Afghan fight aren’t going to be carved onto the National Cenotaph just yet.  “…. “These men and women in uniform are in harm’s way and it is clearly inappropriate to commemorate a mission which has yet to be completed,” wrote Joshua Zanin, a spokesman for Defence Minister Peter MacKay said in an e-mail Wednesday. “When the last troops return home to their families at the conclusion of the mission, the full scope of Canada’s contributions in Afghanistan, including all the work of all those who have sacrificed and fallen in the service of their country, will be appropriately recognized and commemorated.” ….”  In case this looks familiar, here’s what the spokesperson told The Canadian Press earlier this week: “…. “These men and women in uniform are in harm’s way and it is clearly inappropriate to commemorate a mission which has yet to be completed,” said Joshua Zanin, a spokesman for Defence Minister Peter MacKay. “When the last troops return home to their families at the conclusion of the mission, the full scope of Canada’s contributions in Afghanistan, including all the work of all those who have sacrificed and fallen in the service of their country, will be appropriately recognized and commemorated.” ….”
  • Afghanistan (2)  On how long it’s taken to recognize previous wars“…. It took almost 20 years after the devastation of the Second World War for the federal government to design and erect the national war monument in Ottawa. The inclusion of that war as part of the monument didn’t take place until 37 years after it ended. The 26,971 Canadian soldiers who fought in the Korean War were ignored by both Canadian media and government until 1982 as well. “At the end of the war, Canadians returned to a peaceful nation that almost seemed to be unaware of the conflict across the ocean that had taken 516 Canadian and hundreds of thousands of others’ lives,” Senator Yonah Martin, who has championed the cause of recognizing Korean War veterans, said recently ….”
  • Afghanistan (3)  One columnist’s view on why more Afghan interpreters should be allowed into Canada“…. This is not just an issue of fairness and moral obligation, but of national security. The world is an increasingly dangerous place, and there is every reason to expect that the Canadian Forces will again soon find themselves deployed abroad in hostile lands. Co-operation from the locals during these future missions will be essential. Giving the people of the world’s trouble spots reason to avoid dealings with our soldiers will make the jobs of our military personnel not only harder, but more dangerous.”
  • Afghanistan (4)  Something to look for as part of coming changes to the Canadian International Development Agency: “…. as Canada winds down its military involvement in Afghanistan, the Canadian International Development Agency will be “normalizing” aid to a level comparable to its 19 other “countries of focus.” This confirms a poorly-kept secret: aid to Afghanistan was always more about Canadians, candy and Kandahar than about sustainable long-term development. With aid levels frozen, there will be fierce competition for the freed-up funds. We should probably expect new assistance to Libya, where Canadian companies are already jockeying for important reconstruction and oil contracts ….”
  • Afghanistan (5a)  More CF story recycling – 27 Aug 11:  Army News tells us about how CF engineers are converting sea containers into lodging for ANA troops.  14 Sept 11:  CEFCOM Info-Machine uses same article to remind us CF engineers are converting sea containers into lodging for ANA troops.
  • Afghanistan (5b)  How is the ANA going to get those converted sea containers?  CF logisticians, UP!
  • Ronald Kevin Megeney, 1982-2007, R.I.P.:  Second trial of Reservist charged in killing Megeney continues, with reporter noting the blisteringly obvious.  “A Canadian soldier who was in Afghanistan when a member of his section was fatally shot at Kandahar Airfield in 2007 says everyone in the group had been given extensive weapons safety training …. everyone in the section of 10 soldiers had been given extensive briefings on weapons handling and safety before leaving Canada and again on arrival in theatre in December 2006 ….”
  • Canada’s CDS is dropping by to visit his Russian equivalent.  “The Chief of the Defence Staff, General Walt Natynczyk, is conducting a three-day visit with his Russian counterpart, Army General Nikolay Yegorovich Makarov, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation / First Deputy Minister of Defence and General of the Army. The purpose of the visit is to gain the Russian perspective on a range of issues to improve and develop Canada’s bilateral military relationship with Russia. “During my first meeting with General Makarov last January in Brussels, I received his invitation to visit Moscow to expand on our initial discussions,” said General Natynczyk. “This visit is an important opportunity to strengthen Canadian-Russian military ties, and exchange views on some of our common defence interests. I hope that General Makarov will honour us with a visit to Canada so we can continue to build on our relationship.” This is the first time in almost a decade that a Canadian Chief of the Defence Staff has visited Russia to meet its top military leadership ….”
  • Defence Minister Peter MacKay highlights the highlights of his visit to Australia“…. While in Australia, Minister MacKay met his counterpart, Australian Minister for Defence, Mr. Stephen Smith, Minister for Defence Materiel, The Honourable Jason Clare, Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, The Honourable Warren Snowdon, and Foreign Affairs Minister Kevin Rudd. During the meetings, they discussed defence reform, procurement practices, general Asia-Pacific defence issues, and the transformation of the Australian Defence department …. Canada and Australia worked closely together in Afghanistan, and continue to build on their strong bilateral defence relations. Minister MacKay agreed to loan two Husky armoured vehicles and one Buffalo mine-protected vehicle to Australia until the end of 2012, which will allow their engineers in Oruzgan province to detect explosive hazards with low metal content, such as mines and improvised explosive devices.”
  • What’s Canada Buying:  Used Sub Edition (1)  Harsh, but with a kernel of truth. “When Britain held a scratch-and-dent sale in 1998 to get rid of some surplus submarines, Canada went shopping. Our 30-year-old fleet was long past its prime and Ottawa wasn’t ready to commit to the cost of new ones. That was 13 years ago. The deal seemed too good to turn down at the start: Just $750 million for an eight-year lease/purchase — about a quarter of the estimated replacement value — for four barely-used diesel-electric submarines that had been mothballed only because Britain had moved to an all-nuclear fleet …. As with a lot of cool stuff we bring home from yard sales, it didn’t take long for the deal to seem a little less of a bargain. Within a year, the National Post was reporting that hidden costs and a wish list for upgrades had pushed the real tab for the four used subs to somewhere in the neighbourhood of $2 billion ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying:  Used Sub Edition (2)  Where “independent research, advocacy and consulting group”, read “think tank that has yet to take a pro-CF position”“Canada’s naval submarine program is a bust and the time is perfect for the federal government to scrap the four-vessel fleet, says the president of the Rideau Institute, an independent research, advocacy and consulting group in Ottawa. I don’t think we’ll ever see all four submarines operating all together and at their full capacity,” Steven Staples said Tuesday. Two weeks ago, the HMCS Corner Brook was put dockside until at least 2016 as a result of damage caused by hitting the ocean floor back in June. As a result, none of Canada’s four Victoria-class submarines are in action …. “I think an argument could be made by the government that they are still committed to the navy by spending upward of $30 billion on a new surface fleet …. I think it is becoming painfully clear that the sub fleet is providing no benefits to Canada in terms of our defence and, in fact, is probably more of a hazard to submariners than any benefit to the navy.” ….”
  • Didn’t MP Bob Dechert get the memo that Communist governments have been known to use journalists as spies, or have their spies pretend they’re journalists?
  • Ooopsie….  As a spy, he was said to be sloppy. So sloppy that his masters would complain he “compromised” security and “jeopardized” their credibility – just by showing up for work. But Marc-André Bergeron, fired four years ago for alleged incompetence, has been vindicated by winning his claim of wrongful dismissal. In doing so, he has revealed a rather remarkable state of affairs at the Canadian Security Intelligence Service. CSIS, whose bosses lament that they are held to impossible legal standards in court cases involving terrorism, couldn’t muster sufficient proof to fire one of their own. “The employer failed to discharge its burden to present the necessary evidence,” a federal tribunal ruled in mid-August, ordering Mr. Bergeron’s reinstatement or an alternate “appropriate remedy.” ….”  Public Service Labour Relations Board decision here, decision summary here.

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 13 Sept 11

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  • Afghanistan (1)  Canadian General drops by northern training base in Afghanistan (courtesy of the NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan/Combined Transition Command – Afghanistan Info-Machine)  “Regional Support Command – North recently hosted a visit by Canadian Army Maj. Gen. Michael Day, the deputy commander for army operations under NATO Training Mission – Afghanistan/Combined Transition Command – Afghanistan. NTM-A/CSTC-A, in coordination with key stakeholders, generates and sustains the Afghan National Security Forces, develops leaders, and establishes enduring institutional capacity in order to enable accountable Afghan-led security. This is Day’s second visit to RSC-N, and during his stop he viewed newly delivered D-30 artillery cannons and the Regional Basic Warrior Training center at Camp Shaheen, near Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. He also received updates on proposed expansions to the Afghan National Army training facilities ….”
  • Afghanistan (2)  CBC.ca has an online survey asking, Should Afghan translators who worked with Canadian forces be granted refuge?
  • Afghanistan (3)  Congrats to all.  “Michael Hornburg watched television coverage of the Sept. 11 attacks in his Calgary home with his son Nathan, who had become a reservist only weeks before. The 18-year-old had joined the King’s Own Calgary Regiment while still in high school. That day, Hornburg felt a personal, horrible feeling as his son sat next to him. “I somehow had a premonition that day that 9/11 would touch our family on a personal level, that it might directly affect us,” he said on the 10th anniversary of the attacks. Cpl. Nathan Hornburg was killed in Afghanistan six years and two weeks after 9/11. Nathan had volunteered to go to war. He drove a tank equipped to rescue other vehicles, which he was doing when killed in a mortar attack. “My son’s vehicle had a crane on it, not a cannon,” Michael Hornburg said. “He was typical of a lot of the courage you see in all these military members.” On behalf of his son, Michael Hornburg received the Birchall Leadership Award on Sunday to recognize integrity and responsibility in the Canadian Forces. Usually given to one annual recipient, this year’s award was presented to seven individuals to represent Task Force Afghanistan. “This award is on behalf of all of those wounded or killed,” Hornburg said. “We take our losses as sources of pride. We use them to become better people, not bitter.” Other local recipients included Col. Omer Lavoie, commander of 1 Mechanized Brigade Group, and Warrant Officer David Schultz, a previous recipient of the Star of Military Valour for personal bravery ….”  More on the award here (from the Land ForcesWestern Area Info-Machine)
  • Afghanistan (3)  A new Canadian film, Afghan Luke, by the guy who brought you Trailer Park Boys.  “Trailer Park Boys” co-creator and director Mike Clattenburg isn’t offended by the suggestion that a nuanced satirical film on Canada’s role in the Afghan war is a bit of a surprise coming from him. “I guess people would expect me to do crazy, screwball stuff, but we did that for 10 years,” the Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia native tells me in a hotel room in downtown Toronto. “Guys in their underwear and housecoats, drunk trailer park supervisors . . . I’ve been doing that stuff for a while, that stoner comedy. “I was excited to do something I hadn’t done before.” Clattenburg was in Toronto Sunday for the premiere of his new movie “Afghan Luke” at the Toronto International Film Festival. “Afghan Luke” tells the story of ambitious journalist Luke Benning (Nick Stahl) who goes rogue in Afghanistan after his editor spikes a story on Canadian snipers who may be cutting off the fingers of their kills in the country. While that’s the synopsis, what follows is much more of satirical tale of loosely collected stories of a strange and distant land that cannot be understood, let alone tamed by Western military powers. As Clattenburg puts it, it’s “80 per cent drama, 20 per cent comedy.” ….”  Already some discussion of the film (mostly based on the trailer and advance media) at Army.ca here.
  • F-35 Tug o’ War (1)  More of what’s coming came out of Canada’s Defence Minister meeting with Australia’s “Australia and Canada share a common concern that the new Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will be delayed, possibly requiring acquisition of an expensive interim air combat capability.  To present a united front, Australia and Canada will now conduct top level talks on procurement and capability issues of mutual concern.  As well as JSF, that will also touch on submarines, with both Australia and Canada experiencing big problems on maintaining submarine capability.  Visiting Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Canada wasn’t backing away from plans to acquire 65 JSF aircraft but shared all of the same concerns as Australia.  He said the good news was that the conventional take-off and landing (CTOL) variant of JSF, to be acquired by both Canada and Australia, was progressing well, unlike the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) and carrier variants.  “We are purchasing them at a time when they will be in peak production around 2014-15. Our fleet of F-18 Hornets will have to be taken out of use in 2017,” he told reporters.  “So there is a degree of urgency for us when it comes to this procurement being on time and being on cost.”  …. Defence Minister Stephen Smith said he and Mr MacKay had agreed to conduct a regular strategic dialogue on shared procurement, acquisition, capability issues.  He said he was very concerned that delay in JSF meant it was rubbing up against the Australian schedule for retiring older F/A-18 Hornets around the end of the decade.  “I have always been of the view that this project will get up because the US is absolutely committed to the capability,” he said.  “But the risk for Australia and other partners like Canada is on the delivery side, on the schedule side and also on the cost side.” ….”  Nothing on the visit on Minister MacKay’s site yet – a nice picture, though.
  • F-35 Tug o’ War (2)  Good question from Mark Collins.
  • What’s Canada Buying?  Wanted:  folks who speak Spanish to act as bad guys, villagers for training in Wainwright, Alberta.
  • Border Security (1)  “It may seem heartless to put a price tag on the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 that took the lives of nearly 3,000 people and affected the lives of so many more. But economic implications of that event and of the ongoing battle against terrorism cannot be ignored. While the United States incurred the lion’s share of costs related to 9/11 and the security measures – including military interventions – that came after, Canada has also coped with economic consequences. For the most part, the harm to Canada is manifest in impediments to trade ….”
  • Border Security (2)  “Glass is half full” view of border security talks between Canada, U.S.: “…. The goals of the initiative are pragmatic, not theoretical and the results need to be tangible and mutually beneficial. Success is not preordained but Canada should never refrain from bilateral agreements carrying the greatest potential for reward. With clear and consistent political will from the top and healthy doses of imagination and determination from officials, innovative solutions can be agreed that will serve the interests of both parties.”
  • Border Security (3)  “Glass is half emtpy” view of border security talks between Canada, U.S.: “…. The protection of privacy is the subtly acknowledged elephant in the room in these discussions. In the past few years there have been two commissions of inquiry on cases in which the privacy rights of Canadians were violated by the sharing of information with the United States. The men affected became guests of nasty regimes with life-changing consequences for them. Both the Auditor General and the Privacy Commissioner have added their voices on the need for greater privacy protections. This government and previous ones have ignored recommendations for changes and have been reluctant to improve existing protections by updating the out-of-date Privacy Act of 1983. If Canadians are not vigilant they may soon discover that the Americans have more control over their privacy rights than we do at home.”
  • Royal Canadian Artillery:  Helping prevent avalanches for 50 years. (via Army.ca)  “Canada Command honoured the centennial of Parks Canada and the 125th anniversary of Glacier and Yoho National Parks with the presentation of three retired 105 mm Artillery Howitizers at the Rogers Pass Discovery centre at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10 in Revelstoke, B.C. The guns are on display at the Rogers Pass as monuments and memorials in recognition of a half-century of avalanche control operations to protect the Trans-Canada Highway and the railway through Glacier National Park ….”  More from The Canadian Press here (YouTube video).
  • While 9-11 highlighted the bonds between Canada and the United States, another major anniversary will mark just how the two countries decided to become friendly in the first place. The Conservative government is gearing up to announce its bicentennial plans for the War of 1812, a major undertaking that will have Canadians reaching into their high-school memory vaults and municipalities vying for cash to spruce up their historical landmarks. “It has led to 200 years of peace between Canada and the United States,” Heritage Minister James Moore said in an interview. “We’re two countries with two very different identities and we obviously disagree from time to time, but we have the longest border and the most successful neighbouring relationship of probably any two countries in the world … and all of that started with the end of the War of 1812 and it’s something to be recognized.” The conflict, which lasted until 1815, pitted the growing United States against British forces mostly in Upper and Lower Canada. The U.S. had grown weary of British naval blockades hampering their trade abroad, and of First Nations armed by the British Empire stunting their expansion into the northwest of the continent ….”

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 12 Sept 11

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  • 9/11 Plus Ten (1)  From the Prime Minister’s statement“…. While Canadians share in the grief of all those mourning loved ones lost, we also honour the incredible acts of courage, sacrifice and kindness by those who served in the rescue efforts. While we honour and remember those who fell, this day will serve as a constant reminder that we are not immune from terrorism. We will continue to stand firm with our allies to help ensure such a tragedy never happens again. Terrorism will not undermine our way of life. We will continue supporting the brave Canadian Armed Forces members and intelligence and police officers who put their lives on the line every day in the fight against the many faces of terrorism. We will steadfastly defend, protect and promote our democratic values and principles; the very foundation of our free and prosperous society ….”
  • 9/11 Plus Ten (2)  From the Minister of National Defence’s statement:  “…. as we remember those who lost their lives exactly ten years ago, we must also remember those who sacrificed in the years since. Canada’s soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen faced the threats that challenged the security of our nation, accepted the fears of their compatriots, marched to the front lines of one of the most dangerous places on earth and fought to defend the ideals and values that shaped Canada and made this country great. Through their efforts, our nation is more secure and our world is more stable. Canada owes our fighting forces, and all who support them, our gratitude. On behalf of all Canadians, I thank the members of the Canadian Forces for their service, sacrifice and selflessness. Working with our allies, Canada remains vigilant against the threat of terrorism and continues to take action to ensure the security of Canada and the safety of all Canadians.”
  • Afghanistan (1)  Two outta three terps applying to come to Canada didn’t make it through the sausage machine.  “…. The special-measures program was announced with much fanfare by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney in the fall of 2009 and brought Canada in line with other NATO countries which had already launched similar initiatives. It ends Monday. Applicants had to demonstrate they faced extraordinary risk as a result of their work with Canada. Few didn’t. Working as an interpreter for NATO forces in southern Afghanistan was akin to having a Taliban bull’s-eye on the back of a shalwar khameez. Stories of night letters, threatening phone calls, abductions and even hangings were part of the job. As interpreters also travelled with soldiers and diplomats, at least six were among those killed during the IED strikes that claimed 161 Canadian lives. The other major requirement for acceptance was a bit tougher: interpreters must have worked for Canada for 12 consecutive months between October 2007 and July 2011, when the mission in Kandahar came to an end. But Canadian troops began their work in Kandahar in 2006, as did the hundreds of interpreters who would go on to work for the Canadian government ….”
  • Afghanistan (2)  A “glass is half empty” assessment from a reporter who’s been to Afghanistan.  “…. Over five years of reporting, four trips to Kandahar and more than six weeks outside-the-wire, the war had become so complicated that I’d lost track of the many ways that nothing made sense. But that day in Zangabad the normal opacity lifted and here was something I saw: The soldiers were on a mission at which they could not succeed ….”
  • Commander of Canada’s Navy, Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison:  the subs can SO fire Mk 48 torpedoes (but they probably won’t until ~2013)  “…. our submarines are capable now of firing the Mk48 heavyweight torpedo. Victoria and Windsor will be certified next year, followed by Chicoutimi. From 2013 forward, Canada will have a submarine available on each coast, with a third deployed wherever required. Our submarines were purchased with 80 per cent of hull life remaining at one-quarter of the cost of a new build. They cost no more to run than other submarines of equivalent capability and will provide a solid return on investment well into the 2020s. It has taken us longer to bring the boats into service than we would have wished, but the submarine business is unforgiving. No shortcuts can be taken for the dangerous work our submariners do, and I am proud that they have brought us to this point – near the end of a long beginning.That bit in red look familiar?  This, from a Navy spokesperson speaking to the Globe & Mail:  “…. The plan is to have two subs fully operational next year and all four in 2013, according to navy spokeswoman Lieutenant Heather McDonald. “We’re near the end of a long beginning,” Lt. McDonald said ….”
  • What came out of Canada’s Defence Minister’s meeting with Australia’sAustralia and Canada will strengthen their defence relationship by holding annual top-level talks, after signing a deal for Australian troops in Afghanistan to borrow three armoured vehicles to clear roads of insurgent bombs. The vehicles are specially designed to detect and counter improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and feature radar to detect IEDs and a robotic arm to defuse concealed devices. Defence minister Stephen Smith, speaking at a joint media conference with visiting Canadian defence minister Peter MacKay in Canberra, said the vehicles would be available early next year and significantly boost the capability of Australian forces to counter the IED peril ….”  More here and in the Australian Minister’s post-meeting statement here.

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 18 Aug 11

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  • I know that you now know about the revived Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force by now.  Therefore, I’m done with multiple duplicate coverage – on to other news.
  • Libya Mission  Safe travels home!  “When HMCS Charlottetown first patrolled the waters off Misrata, Libya, in the spring, sailors could feel the blast waves coming from shells that pounded the city daily. Fires and black smoke above Libya’s third-largest city were constants. The warship helped clear a path for vessels carrying medical supplies, food and other humanitarian aid. But as the Charlottetown left its patrol area Tuesday, the start of the journey back to Halifax, the atmosphere was much different, said Cmdr. Craig Skjerpen. There could be days-long interruptions in the port shelling, and even then it was only sporadic, as the battlefield moved to the west. The shipments of food and medical supplies continued, but Skjerpen said building materials such as rebar and commercial goods had started to arrive ….”
  • Way Up North (1)  Members of the Canadian Forces say military capabilities are growing and becoming more complex in the North – a key component of reasserting claim to the region. Lt.-Gen. Walter Semianiw, who leads Operation NANOOK, will head to the Arctic next week with Prime Minister Stephen Harper for military exercises. Harper has made habit of visiting the North each summer to assert Canadian presence in the area. During August, navy, army and air force personnel will come together to complete annual military exercises including air, land and sea patrols, and the simulation of major air and maritime disasters. “The Canadian military is not looking at what the issues are today but what are the threats and hazards that Canadians could see, governments could see, not only today, but in the future, to see what capabilities we could need to address those threats and hazards,” Semianiw said ….”
  • Way Up North (2)  Interesting headline verb:  Minister of National Defence busy “overseeing” Operation Nanook
  • Way Up North (3)  Imagine you’re getting ready to dive into the Arctic Ocean and a piece of your equipment breaks. You can’t rush to a store, says Cpl. Larry Lyver, one of 23 divers involved in Operation Nanook’s Aug. 4 to 26 military exercises. Here, if you can’t buy it, you can’t have it, and you have to do without it, he says. That’s why he has a motto “one is none, two is one.” This explains why the diving team arrives with more than enough equipment to do any dives — during Op Nanook this includes navigating around icebergs and raising the sunken wing of a crashed aircraft to the surface ….”
  • Way Up North (4)  Meanwhile, south of the border ….  “The Navy has completed its latest assessment of the Arctic region, where melting ice is raising strategic questions as well as commercial opportunities. “In the past, the Arctic was largely inaccessible, but increased seasonal melting of the sea ice is opening the region and creating opportunities for oil and gas exploration, maritime shipping, commercial fishing and tourism,” Rear Adm. David Titley, director of the Navy’s task force for climate change, said in a statement Tuesday. “We are confronted by a new ocean for the first time in 500 years.” The assessment is part of a five-year plan, released in May 2009, to guide Navy policy, actions and investment regarding the Arctic ….”  A bit more in a U.S. Navy Info-Machine feature article (but no link to the environmental assessment yet) here.
  • Afghanistan (1)  A doc returns home.  “His nickname was Bob 42. To Maj. Sandeep Dhesi, though, the 10-year-old Afghan boy was so much more. “Not a day goes by when I don’t think about him,” says the native Calgarian, who just returned from a three-month tour of combat hospital duty in Afghanistan. “He never complained about the pain he was going through,” says Dhesi, the only oral and maxillofacial surgeon during his stint at Kandahar Airfield (KAF), of the innocent child whose face was severely injured by shrapnel from an improvised explosive device or IED. Only a day into his transition to life back in Calgary — which includes getting reacquainted with his lawyer wife Gurinder and their two young boys — the 34-year-old officer and I meet in a southwest coffee shop to talk about his profound experience of treating the critically wounded in Afghanistan, which included coalition and Afghan national army soldiers, civilians and even suspected Taliban insurgents ….”
  • Afghanistan (2)  How ammunition technicians are helping the pack-up-clean-up work at KAF (via the CF Info-Machine)  “While the rest of Supply Company of the Mission Transition Task Force (MTTF) works to ensure that continuing International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations receive all the assets they need, Ammunition Platoon is busy destroying unsafe ordnance, and preparing and packaging ammunition for return to Canada or transfer to Operation ATTENTION in Kabul. With hundreds of line items in stock, Ammo Platoon faces a major task. “One by one, we have to hand-inspect thousands of small arms rounds, and it’s a time consuming job,” explained Sergeant Dominic Boisvert. Members of the Ammo Platoon inspect each item for serviceability and safety, and on 3 August they left the base to conduct a large-scale disposal ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying? (1)  A new fact sheet on the Fixed Wing Search and Rescue (FWSAR) project is out.  Here’s the CF Info-Machine’s version of the history:  “…. The planning for this program has evolved. A Statement of Operational Requirements (SOR) was first developed in 2004 outlining the technical requirements for an aircraft to effectively carry out search and rescue missions in Canada’s harsh and vast environment. In fall 2009, industry feedback was solicited on the high level considerations for the Fixed Wing Search and Rescue SOR. This consultation demonstrated the commitment to an open dialogue with Canadian industry and helped assess its ability to support the procurement of a new fleet. Following the industry consultation, the National Research Council (NRC) was engaged to conduct an independent review of the SOR. In its review, NRC focused on the technical requirements as well as the assumptions and constraints underlying them. The Government received the NRC report in March 2010 and then proceeded to review the report’s findings and recommendations. Based on the NRC review, the SOR has been amended to allow for a wider range of Fixed Wing Search and Rescue solutions and to reflect a capability-based rationale.”
  • What’s Canada Buying? (2) Logistical support for up to a year (and up to $4.5 million) for Jamaican hurricane season chopper deployment and chemical and explosives detection kits.
  • F-35 Tug o’ War  Aussies getting cold feet?  “Australia will decide in 2012 whether to continue with a $16.8 billion purchase of 100 of Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighters or seek an alternative amid continuing delivery delays and cost overruns, the government said on Wednesday. Repeated delays and ballooning costs in the F-35 programme were bumping against delivery and cost limits set by the government and military planners, Australian Defence Minister Stephen Smith told parliament. “I will not allow and the government will not allow a gap in the capability of our air combat capability,” Smith said, pointing to 2013 as the last possible decision deadline given a looming air combat gap in the country’s military ….”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War  Not looking entirely great in U.S., either“…. Already facing the prospect of $350 billion in defense cuts over 10 years, the Pentagon could look to scale back some projects, such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the stealthy aircraft that has been plagued by cost overruns and delays ….”
  • Two alleged cases of sexual misconduct involving military members from CFB Esquimalt have prompted the commander of Canada’s Pacific fleet to warn personnel about their alcohol use. “There were two incidents in a relatively short period of time and (Commodore Peter Ellis) had a town hall meeting in which he reminded people of their responsibility with respect to drinking responsibly and looking out for your buddies, and basically the rules and regulations that surround this kind of incident,” said Lt.-Cmdr. Nathalie Garcia, public affairs officer for Maritime Forces Pacific ….”
  • Ali Dirie, the gunrunner of the so-called Toronto 18 terrorist cell, continues to pose “a high risk of violent reoffending,” the National Parole Board has concluded, ordering the 28-year-old to serve out his full sentence at the Special Handling Unit in Ste. Anne Des Plaines, north of Montreal. It is not clear, however, what will happen to the would-be jihadist when his sentence at the top-security prison is over in six weeks. A spokesperson for the National Parole Board said that once Dirie is released Oct. 1, he will be out of their hands. “The parole board has the mandate to impose special conditions, if they do provide parole, within the framework of protecting society within an acceptable level of risk to the public,” said Leyla Mavaddat, a regional communications officer for the NPB. “Once the sentence is completed, they will have no authority.” ….”
  • If you’re a veteran or a serving CF member, you can get into some Parks Canada facilities for free this weekend“…. As part of Parks Canada’s 100th anniversary, the Government of Canada is offering Canada’s military, Veterans and their families free admission to Parks Canada sites from August 19 to 21, 2011. Dubbed the “Fab Forts Weekend,” access includes national historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas administered by Parks Canada …. Earlier this month, Parks Canada announced that 38 of Canada’s historic fortifications will celebrate Parks Canada’s centennial with a “Fab Forts Weekend.” Special activities include concerts, picnics, archaeology-related activities, markets, tours and much more. The highlight of the weekend will be a 100-gun salute that will ripple across the country from coast to coast on Sunday afternoon.  A complete list of participating sites and events across the country is available at www.parkscanada.gc.ca/fabforts ….”  Here’s another link to the list of sites & events – no word on what I.D. veterans would have to present to get the freebie.

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 27 Jul 11

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