Archive for November, 2009

DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN DEFENCE WATCH: NAVY’S ARCTIC PORT WON’T BE READY UNTIL 2014

November 27, 2009

 

BY DAVID PUGLIESE

Ottawa Citizen

 

A design contract for the Nanisivik Naval Facility in Nunavut has been awarded to a civilian firm from British Columbia but the date when construction work on the facility is to begin could fall behind schedule, Defence Watch has been told.

 

On Thursday the Defence Department announced that the initial design phase contract has now been awarded to a British Columbia firm. Construction work at the naval facility could “possibly begin in 2011” and is forecasted to be operational by 2014, according to the department.

 

Sources tell Defence Watch that it is fully expected that the program could slip slightly behind schedule, mainly because construction and environmental issues expected with building projects in the North.

 

The sources noted that construction at the Nanisivik site was originally expected to commence in the summer of 2010. It is estimated the project will cost around $100 million.

 

In May, Defence Department officials told a Senate committee that the facility was going to be operational as early as 2012.

“The Nanisivik berthing and refuelling facility has had initial site studies done,” explained William Pentney, Associate Deputy Minister of National Defence. “Construction work will begin in 2011.  We expect it to be operational initially in 2012 and fully operational by 2015, appreciating that Arctic seasons are short and there is a fair bit of work to be done to ensure we are meeting the environmental and planning standards as well as developing something that will be effective.”

 

Pentney noted that the U.S. could also use the facility. “Canada cooperates with the United States to a great degree in search and rescue and Coast Guard activities in the North and I am sure we would be happy to welcome the American military, and perhaps other militaries, to our base in our internal waters to refuel and undertake training,” he added.

 

Located more than 1,000 nautical miles by sea north of Iqaluit, the facility will serve as a staging area for naval vessels on station in the high Arctic, enabling them to re-supply, refuel, embark equipment and supplies, and transfer personnel. This will extend the range of Canadian ships in the Arctic during the navigable season (approximately June to October), according to the Canadian government.

 

Military and government officials have noted that the site is strategically located inside the eastern entrance to the North West Passage, at Nanisivik in Nunavut. As a deep-water berthing facility already exists at this site, start-up costs will be significantly reduced. With its sheltered harbour, nearby jet-capable airstrip, and proximity to the North West Passage, Nanisivik offers an ideal location for the docking and refuelling facility, according to background information provided by the Defence Department.

 

The initial design contact announced Thursday was awarded to WorleyParsons Westmar Ltd., from North Vancouver, B.C.

 

In a statement Thursday, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said the contract award “demonstrates” the Conservative government’s commitment to ensuring Canada’s security and exercising sovereignty in the North.

 

This contract, worth just under $900,000, is for the first of four design phases of the project, according to Defence Department officials.

 

This initial design phase will establish the various requirements for construction, as well as preliminary design work that will lay the foundation for the remaining design phases. The other three design phases will involve conceiving detailed plans and designs, developing drawings, and preparing construction estimates for the facility.

 

The NNF will function as a logistics hub to support the Canadian Navy, and other Canadian government vessels in the Arctic during the navigable season.

 

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

 

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

 

U.S. TO WITHHOLD JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER CODES FROM CANADA AND ALLIES BY DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN

November 26, 2009

 

U.S. denies Canada info needed to maintain jets

 

 

By David Pugliese

 

The Ottawa Citizen

 

November 25, 2009

 

 

 

Although Canada is spending more than $500 million on the development of an American-built stealth fighter aircraft and is considering earmarking billions of dollars more to purchase the planes, the U.S. won’t be sharing key software needed to maintain the jets.

 

The Canadian military is currently looking at whether to buy the Joint Strike Fighter, a deal that could cost between $3.8 billion and $10 billion, depending on which estimate the Defence Department uses.

 

But Pentagon officials say no country involved in the development of the jets will have access to the software codes that are key to the high-tech plane’s electronic systems. Without that information, Canada won’t able to maintain or upgrade the aircraft in the future without U.S. help.

 

The codes control most systems on the plane, ranging from weapons to radar and flight performance.

 

A fight over the availability of the information has been brewing between the U.S. and Britain, which has threatened to cancel its order for 138 of the planes unless it can maintain and upgrade the aircraft on its own.

 

However, Canada’s Defence Department says it is not concerned. Defence spokeswoman Lianne LeBel said Tuesday that Canada knew it would not be provided with the codes for the aircraft, also known as the JSF, and that did not have any impact on its involvement in the fighter program.

 

“Should DND proceed with the JSF program, DND would be provided with all the information necessary to operate and sustain the aircraft over the life of the program,” she said.

 

Jon Schreiber, who heads the Joint Strike Fighter program’s international affairs office in Washington, said no U.S. partner would be provided with the codes. “That includes everybody,” he told Reuters news agency, referring to the countries who have invested in the plane.

 

He acknowledged that the partner nations involved in developing the aircraft, Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Norway, were not happy with the decision.

 

Instead, the Pentagon will establish a facility in the U.S. that will develop software upgrades and handle integrating those for the countries which purchase the JSF.

 

“What has happened is really quite unusual because we’re talking about some of America’s very close allies,” said Allen Sens, a defence analyst at the University of British Columbia. “You would have thought they could build in some maintenance codes that could be accessible to their allies.”

 

He said the decision could be linked both to concerns from the Pentagon about sharing sensitive information as well as pressure from Congress to protect U.S. aerospace jobs.

 

Canada’s current fleet of CF-18 fighter aircraft are maintained in Canada and were recently upgraded in a program worth $1.8 billion. It isn’t unusual in defence contracts for various organizations to share key information and transfer technology as long as proper security procedures are put in place.

 

The British government has been pushing for access to the codes for years. It warned the U.S. in 2006 that it might leave the JSF program if the software codes were withheld. At the time, then prime minister Tony Blair said his country wanted the ability to upgrade and maintain the JSF to retain its “operational sovereignty” over the planes.

 

Canada has already invested $150 million U.S. in the JSF program. The government has also decided to take part in the next phase of the aircraft’s development, agreeing to invest around $500 million U.S. over the next 45 years. According to government officials, though, that investment does not automatically mean Canada will buy the plane.

 

The Canadian Forces has established a project office to look at what it is calling its next generation fighter, a plane that would replace the CF-18s starting around 2017.

 

The cost of replacing the CF-18s is not clear at this point. The Defence Department estimated the full cost of replacing that fleet would be around $10 billion, but that was based on the purchase of 80 planes as well as long-term support for those jets. Another estimate produced by DND noted that the department was looking at spending $3.8 billion on a Joint Strike Fighter purchase, but that was just for the aircraft alone.

 

Some inside the Defence Department have advocated purchasing the Joint Strike Fighter outright without any competition. That has set off lobbying by other aerospace firms, which say that a competition would be best for taxpayers.

 

Officials with Lockheed Martin, the U.S. firm building the JSF, said they expect Canada to make its decision in regard to the aircraft by next summer.

 

Lockheed Martin vice president Tom Burbage has said the program has strong industrial benefits for Canadian firms. Defence Department officials have pointed out that Canadian companies have received around 150 Joint Strike Fighter contracts so far. Government officials have noted that Canadian industrial opportunities are expected to total more than $5 billion U.S. over the life of the program, but others have suggested that work will only come to domestic firms if Canada buys the JSF.

 

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

 

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

 

 

DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN JOURNALIST: TRACKING THE CREW OF HMCS CHICOUTIMI

November 24, 2009

BY DAVID PUGLIESE

OTTAWA CITIZEN

 

The Defence Department is now conducting a long-term study on the health of those submariners who survived the 2004 fire aboard HMCS Chicoutimi.

 

But according to details provided to Defence Watch, of the 56 surviving crew who manned HMCS Chicoutimi during the fire, only 11 are still assigned to submarines or to the Fifth Maritime Operations Group.

 

Eighteen of the crew have left the Canadian Forces for a variety of reasons, according to an accounting of where the crew members are.

 

Twenty crew members are currently employed in other capacities, including teaching submarine-related or occupation specific courses at naval schools, working on navy bases, or working on the Maritime Staff in Ottawa.

 

The remaining seven of the 56-member crew are employed outside the navy at the following locations: Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, the Joint Personnel Support Unit, 5th Service Battalion and other units.

 

“No compensation or severance package specifically or solely designed for the survivors of the Chicoutimi incident has been offered or paid to the crew members,”, according to a Defence Department response to a Parliamentary question by NDP Veterans critic Peter Stoffer.

 

Under the first of its kind study, the result of an agreement between the navy and the Canadian Forces medical branch, the health of the crew, including those now out of the military, will be tracked until 2014. At that point it will be determined whether to continue monitoring their health.

 

In a 2008 article Canadian Press journalist Murray Brewster reported that sailors were falling ill with debilitating medical conditions. In Brewster’s interviews with sailors, the submariners detailed how they suffered from unexplained fainting spells, short-term memory loss and chronic conditions, such as asthma. There were also reports of neurological disorders.

 

Military records indicate that over half the Chicoutimi crew suffered from post- traumatic stress following the fire. In addition, since the fire, over 20 sailors complained of breathing trouble.

 

The health of the submariners will be compared to a control group of submariners, who were not involved in the incident.

 

For More Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

 

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN: NO DIFFERENCE IN CAPABILITIES OFFERED BY MORTARS AND AUTOMATIC GRENADE LAUNCHERS SAYS CANADIAN ARMY REPORT

November 23, 2009

There is no difference in the capabilities offered by mortars and automatic grenade launchers in urban fighting, according to a newly released Canadian Army report.

 

The May 2003 study, obtained by Defence Watch, examined the use of a Company Area Suppression Weapon in urban operations. The study, called Iron Bombard, looked at the ability of several weapon systems to provide the Light Armoured Vehicle-3 Rifle Company with an internal suppression/neutralizing capability in an urban environment.

 

The report, obtained under the Access to Information law, was withheld for two years and only released after the Army was able to move ahead with its plans to purchase an automatic grenade launcher. Army officers have said that the grenade launcher will provide more and accurate firepower than the 60mm mortar, which will taken out of service since it is too old and considered unsupportable.

 

Bids from two companies are now in for the Army’s Close Area Suppression Weapon (CASW) project. There is no indication when the winning bid will be selected but defence sources expect that to be completed by January or February 2010.

 

The weapon systems tested in Iron Bombard were used in the offence and defence during a series of house to house clearing scenarios, according to the report. The infantry section was also equipped with machine guns and rifles.

 

“The study concluded that no differences between the capabilities of the Advance Grenade Launcher and the mortars were observed, however the Advanced Grenade Launcher could make a contribution to the effectiveness of the Rifle Company and the 60mm and 81mm light mortars provided value because of their ability to provide smoke screens,” the report concluded. “The study recommends that the Advanced Grenade Launcher be considered as a possible support weapon for the LAV 111 Rifle Company and that there may be a requirement to retain mortars in the support mix.”

 

Iron Bombard was done because the present weapon system available is the 60mm M19 Mortar, generally considered by the Canadian Army to lack the range, lethality and accuracy to be effective. In order to alleviate that deficiency an 81mm light mortar and a 40 mm advanced grenade launcher were evaluated using the close action environment urban combat war game.

 

Meanwhile, the evaluation of the bids on CASW continues at Public Works. Rheinmetall Canada and Singapore Technologies each put in a bid, Defense Watch has learned.

 

Rheinmetall had offered the army the Heckler and Koch 40mm grenade launcher which is being used by 16 militaries, including many NATO nations. Singapore Technologies, which has kept a low profile during the competition, has its own 40mm grenade launcher and ammunition. If the Singapore Technologies gun is selected, then Canada would join the small number of nations which use the weapon.

 

The winner will be selected on the basis of the lowest cost meeting the requirements outlined by the Army.

 

Testing of both weapons was done several weeks ago at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, NB, according to sources.

 

The $100 million CASW project has been repeatedly delayed, with some industry officials pointing to it as an example of the major problems plague the Defence Department’s procurement system.

 

In 2004, Canadian Army officers said the weapons would be delivered in August 2006 for eventual use in Afghanistan. Then the delivery date was later set as the summer of 2008.

 

Later the delivery of the guns was revised to occur in late 2009.

 

The new date for delivery is now 2012.

 

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

 

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

 

OIL SUPPLIES DWINDLING BY DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN

November 22, 2009

By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

A new report on the market for defence-related fuels and power sources says that providing militaries around the world with various energy solutions is a growing and potentially lucrative market for industry.

 

The report, produced by the defence research outlet Vision Gain in the U.S., noted that worldwide spending on military energy needs in 2008 totaled $34 billion U.S. It’s study outlines how companies can take advantage of that market which is expected to grow in the future.

An example of that growth is the Canadian Air Force’s fuel situation. In 2008, the aviation petroleum, oils and lubricants budget of the Canadian Air Force was slightly more than the service’s entire budget. In 2009 it is expected to reach 24 per cent. By 2019 that percentage could rise to 40 or even 50 per cent as fuel prices continue to rise, according to the Air Force.

Not everyone, however, sees opportunity for companies like the Vision Gain report does.

In stark contrast, the National Farmers Union in Canada is now calling for an examination of Canada’s energy policy amid growing concern that dwindling oil supplies could cause security problems and instability in the  future.

 

The union has been monitoring the state of Canada’s energy infrastructure, oil and natural gas supplies and overall state of the world’s petroleum reserves.

“Clearly, our reliance on petroleum is suddenly emerging as an urgent issue,” says NFU energy security analyst Rick Munroe.

“Energy, food, climate, water, and our economy are interlinked, so miscalculations regarding energy supplies and prices will have dramatic effects on every aspect of Canadian society,” he added.

 

The NFU has written to the government of Canada, including its lead energy department, Natural Resources Canada, calling for a formal examination of energy security concerns. Natural Resources, however, has responded that Canada’s oil supply is secure.

 

Munroe, however, said Canadians depend on secure supplies of affordable energy to import and export food as well as process, package and refrigerate it and any shortage or volatility on global energy markets “will rapidly turn into shortage and instability in food markets.”

In evaluating future scenarios regarding energy supplies, the NFU has identified several worrisome trends, according to Munroe.

Among those are:

 

1. Oil-field discovery rates—volumes of new oil being found—have peaked and been declining for decades. The world is using oil much faster than it is discovering it.

 

2. Global oil consumption (apart from temporary recessionary dips) continues to increase, with present consumption at about one thousand barrels a second.  Ninety percent of cumulative global consumption has occurred during the past half-century.

 

3. Net energy (Energy Returned on Energy Invested/EROEI) rates for new oil discoveries are similarly declining.  Many of the oil sources being brought into production now— tar sands, deep-sea oil, etc.—require higher levels of energy inputs per unit of energy output than did oil sources of past decades.

 

4. Oilfield depletion rates continue to accelerate.  New fields are “playing out” faster and faster, compared to fields brought into production decades ago.

 

5. There is growing consensus that the “easy oil” is nearly gone.  Even the IEA admits this.  New oil will require significantly more energy and money to bring to market.  This means that oil prices must necessarily rise.

 

6. Global production of conventional oil appears to have already reached a plateau. Conventional production has stalled at around 74 million barrels per day since 2004 (this despite the incentive of high oil prices).

 

7. The number of countries with exportable surpluses of oil continues to decline, resulting in the growing number of net importers.  As global export capacity diminishes, so will security of supply.  We cannot all be importers.

 

8.  Industry veterans are retiring just as the oil and gas industry must contend with new challenges.  This “grey factor” may increase the difficulty of bringing new supplies on-stream.

 

9. Similarly, there is the “rust factor”: much of the existing oil & gas infrastructure is old and must be replaced.

 

10. There are still no viable alternatives to replace petroleum (especially when one considers energy density, the net energy of oil compared to proposed replacements, flow rates, infrastructure requirements, the convenience and flexibility of liquid fuels, etc).

 

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

 

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

 

 

U.S. NOT WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS OF AFGHANS BY DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN JOURNALIST

November 20, 2009

 

U.S. lacks human touch: NATO adviser

 

Mission at risk because army can’t connect with people, military told

 

By David Pugliese

 

The Ottawa Citizen

 

September 11, 2009

 

The U.S. could be stuck fighting in Afghanistan for a long time because its army doesn’t have the training to connect with the population or understand that country’s complicated culture, a senior NATO adviser warns.

 

Stephen Henthorne says the U.S. army puts too much emphasis on combat while paying lip service to working with civilian agencies and Afghans, and figuring out a plan to establish stability in Afghanistan.

 

In a letter to President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Henthorne notes that army commanders are well trained in kinetic operations, a term used to describe combat, but don’t understand how to successfully use their resources to provide for civilian-military co-operation.

 

“The real problem is that almost all of these U.S. Army Generals are ‘War Fighters,’ ” writes Henthorne, an American and the senior adviser to NATO’s Civil-Military Co-operation Centre of Excellence in the Netherlands.

 

The Citizen has obtained a copy of the letter he sent to retired Gen. James Jones.

 

Henthorne, who stressed his comments didn’t reflect the views of his employer or NATO’s member states, said other countries have had more success in making inroads with the Afghan population.

 

“The Canadians, the British and the Dutch do better at this because they do listen and they understand the culture,” Henthorne said in an interview. “We claim we have tons of culture classes for our soldiers and even for our civilians, but we really don’t have a clue. We think one Muslim is just like any other Muslim.”

 

He noted the U.S. “hearts and minds” campaign in Afghanistan is designed only for the short term. True civil-military co-operation is working with civilians in disputed areas, Henthorne added.

 

The U.S. army provides most of the troops in Afghanistan.

 

For Americans, Henthorne said, an overemphasis on combat means “we’ll be spending a lot of time, money and resources going back constantly redoing things or we’ll be stuck where we don’t want to be stuck for long periods of time.”

 

Henthorne said U.S. operations, such as eradicating the opium trade, do not take into account the long-term effects on the Afghan population who rely on that harvest for their livelihood.

 

“We’re not just dealing with Taliban. We’re dealing with people who need to grow the crops, we’re dealing with people who sell them the seed, we’re dealing with drug lords who we originally paid to create stability in 2001 and 2002, and we can’t wean these people off of this stuff. It is a form of currency ingrained in their everyday life. We’re not doing anything realistic about that at all.”

 

The Pentagon is working on designing a civil-military campaign plan for Afghanistan over the next 16 months, but he pointed out that the team consists of one senior public servant and an officer, with little staff or budget. “I really believe that it’s doomed to fail and its failure is intentional,” he added.

 

Col. Daniel Roper, director of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Centre, said he hadn’t seen Henthorne’s letter so he could not comment.

 

But Roper noted the U.S. military is continually improving its training based on lessons learned from places such as Iraq and Afghanistan. The military uses sociologists and cultural anthropologists to help it understand local cultures, he added.

 

Roper noted that since 2001, U.S. military doctrine has changed. There is emphasis on what is called “clear, hold and build,” meaning that insurgents are killed off or forced to retreat from a region. After that, U.S. units control the particular area and provide support to local communities.

 

“The holding and building is where you win,” Roper said. “It’s no longer offensive and defensive. It’s offensive, defensive and stability.”

 

Roper said a counter-insurgency campaign is a long-term undertaking, and that while combat gets noticed, it is much more difficult to perceive subtle changes in attitudes of the local populations since those take place over a lengthier period.

 

“It requires time to adjust and learn,” Roper said.

 

Henthorne said aid for Afghanistan should be appropriate, and not about quantity or pre-existing agendas.

 

“From the American perspective, we build you a school whether you want one or not,” he said. “You may need something else, but we don’t care.”

 

Read Stephen Henthorne’s letter to Gen. James Jones at Defence Watch,

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

 

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

 

CANADIAN FORCES REJECT ARMED UAVS FOR AFGHANISTAN BY DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN REPORTER

November 20, 2009

 

Canada won’t arm Afghan drones

 

 

By David Pugliese

 

The Ottawa Citizen

 

November 20, 2009

 

 

 

The Canadian military has decided against putting missiles on the unmanned aerial vehicles it now operates in Afghanistan.

 

Defence Minister Peter MacKay was briefed in March by air force officials on the various options for arming the drones, according to documents obtained by the Citizen.

 

Such aircraft, also known as UAVs, are used by various militaries in Afghanistan to conduct surveillance on insurgent activities. In addition, the U.S. uses armed UAVs to conduct attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan on insurgent leaders.

 

The Canadian Forces is currently leasing Israeli-built Heron UAVs from MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates of Richmond, B.C. That deal, worth $95 million, has a number of Herons operating out of Kandahar airfield. The UAVs are flown by Canadian Forces personnel, but maintained by civilian contractors.

 

Canadian air force spokesman Maj. Jim Hutcheson said a number of factors were considered before the idea of arming the UAVs was dropped. “After due consideration of all relevant factors, including costs, capabilities and timelines, it was decided that no project would be initiated to arm the Heron UAVs,” he noted.

 

The lease on the Herons runs until January 2011. There are also options in the contract to extend that.

 

Stephen Priestley, a researcher for the Canadian-American Strategic Review, noted that there are no technical hurdles to arming the Herons. But there would have been additional costs, requiring the existing contract to be amended, he added.

 

The Canadian military has plans to eventually purchase long-endurance UAVs over the next several years. Dubbed the Joint Unmanned Surveillance and Target Acquisition System (JUSTAS) program, it is not expected that those aircraft would be flying until after 2012.

 

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

 

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

 

CANADIAN FORCES FACE BUDGET CUTS SAYS SENATOR BY DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN REPORTER

November 20, 2009

BY DAVID PUGLIESE

OTTAWA CITIZEN

Liberal Senator Romeo Dallaire is warning that impending cuts to the defence budget from an ongoing Strategic Review could see military spending in some areas  scaled back.

 

Defence Department officials confirm that the department is now undergoing a Strategic Review to try to find savings. Dallaire says the review is focused on the department’s operations and maintenance budget.

 

Last year, the Strategic Review process saw 14 federal organizations examine their spending. Savings of $586 million were determined and redirected to fund new initiatives as part of the Economic Action Plan announced in the 2009 budget, according to Treasury Board.

 

Dallaire says he is worried that any budget cuts imposed by such a review would eventually impact other programs as well and hurt, in particular, quality of life programs for Canadian Forces personnel. He brought up the concerns about the Strategic Review during question period in the Senate.

 

But Senator Marjory LeBreton, the government leader in the Senate dismissed Dallaire’s concerns, noting that the Harper government has “massively increased” the budget of the Department of National Defence.”

 

I am not talking about the Capital Acquisition Support Program; I am not even debating the personnel envelope,” Dallaire responded. “I am speaking of the operations and maintenance envelope, and it is going through a strategic review, like every other department, and rumours are it is being cut to the 2006 level.”

 

He asked LeBreton to review the situation and update the Senate about the extent of the budget cuts that could happen at National Defence as part of the Strategic Review.


LeBreton, however, declined. “I am quite certain that, as we go through the whole strategic review process, rumours will run rampant,” she said. “We have known that for years, but I cannot and will not respond or answer a serious question based on a rumour.”

 

As part of the Strategic Review process, organizations examine their direct program spending and the operating costs of their major statutory programs to assess how and whether these programs: are effective and efficient; meet the priorities of Canadians; and are aligned with core federal responsibilities.

 

Defence Department officials privately say they expect some impact from the Strategic Review but at this stage it’s too early to tell what that might be. They note that defence and the Canadian Forces has been a priority for the Harper government. “We’re confident the savings can be absorbed,” said one official.

 

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

 

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

 

NEW UNIFORM FOR CANADIAN FORCES OPERATIONS IN CANADIAN CITIES?: DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN

November 19, 2009

By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

 

OTTAWA — Future Canadian soldiers could be wearing new uniforms designed to provide camouflage on the streets of our largest cities.

The Defence Department will know by March what designs might work for what is being called a Canadian Urban Environment Pattern.

Those designs are to be based on the “unique requirements” of the urban settings of Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto, according to an outline of the project being co-ordinated by scientists at Defence Research and Development Canada in Suffield, Alta.

Ottawa, the nerve centre of government and the military, was left off the list because it doesn’t rate as a major metropolitan centre.

“We’re not trying to slight any city in the country,” explained Scott Duncan, head of the soldier and systems protection group at DRDC Suffield. “We chose the three largest urban centres to have baseline data in this early development project.”

He said information gathered on what patterns might work best in those three cities could also have applications for other urban centres.

Duncan said the $25,000 study to come up with camouflage patterns did not necessarily mean a new uniform would be produced for the Canadian Forces anytime soon. Once the patterns are determined, the results will be presented to the Canadian military and it will be up to the leadership on how to proceed, he added.

“If you were to refer back to the Canada First Defence Strategy, one of the principal mandates that has been given to our military is that they must provide protection to the citizens of Canada and help exercise Canadian sovereignty,” Duncan said.

“Given our large urban population, should any operations be required, there’s a good probability that some of them will be taking place in urban environments.”

However, Eric Graves, the editor of Soldier Systems Daily, a U.S. website that reports on the uniform and equipment industry, questioned whether it made sense to have camouflage based on the landscape of Canadian cities. Various studies indicate the world’s population in developing nations is becoming more focused in urban areas and military officers often talk about future warfare being in those areas.

“It makes zero sense for the Canadian military to produce an urban pattern based on their own cities unless they plan on fighting there,” Graves noted.

“If that’s the case, then it is the perfect choice.”

Still, Graves said, if the Canadian military strategy is to continue supporting the United Nations and NATO on its operations, “the answer is that they have to take a broader look, and develop a pattern more suited to use in ungoverned or under-governed areas that are rapidly urbanizing.”

The contract for the Canadian camouflage pattern was awarded to HyperStealth Biotechnology Corp. in Maple Ridge, B.C.

The original contract requirement from DRDC Suffield noted that the current military uniform to protect against chemical, biological and radiological substances was available in only the desert and temperate woodland patterns.

Clement Laforce, deputy director general for DRDC Suffield, said the patterns that would be produced are not just for chemical or biological protective suits, but also for general use for the Canadian Forces.

An urban camouflage uniform was designed in the U.S. in the 1990s based on slate grey patterns. It is used by some U.S. police tactical teams, U.S. special forces on urban missions and a number of foreign special forces and law enforcement units.

However, Duncan said uniforms designed for a U.S. urban environment might not work in a Canadian setting. “There’s factors such as light, the amount and types of vegetation and weather patterns,” he said. “These are all parameters you take into consideration when you develop these patterns.”

 

Get the latest military and counter-terrorism news on David Pugliese’s Defence Watch.

 

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

 

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

 

 

CONTINUOUS 30-MINUTE CANADIAN FORCES SEARCH AND RESCUE POSTURE NOT ON: DAVID PUGLIESE DEFENCE WATCH

November 19, 2009

30-MINUTE ROUND THE CLOCK SEARCH AND RESCUE RESPONSE POSTURE NOT PRACTICAL SAYS THE CANADIAN AIR FORCE BY

 

BY DAVID PUGLIESE

Ottawa Citizen

 

The positioning of Canadian Forces search and rescue aircraft as well as the speed in which SAR crews respond continues to be an ongoing issue for some of those who make their living at sea or in the remote areas of the country.

 

Laurie Sullivan, the owner of a Newfoundland-based fishing vessel which sank in September, has criticized the fact that a SAR helicopter was not based in St. John’s to assist in responding to emergencies in the North Atlantic. Two crew members died in that sinking.

 

The recent rescue of an Inuit teenager on an ice floe in the North has also raised questions about whether more SAR assets should be based in the Arctic while other have suggested that the Air Force should increase its SAR posture to a 30-minute continuous readiness posture.

 

Defence Watch has obtained a report on that issue, with the Air Force firmly coming out against a 24/7 30-minute readiness.

 

The current position is that when tasked, an aircraft must be airborne within 30 minutes during normal working hours and within two hours during all remaining quiet hours, according to the Air Force.

 

Unlike the two-hour SAR posture where crews and technicians hold a recall standby away from the squadron, a 30-minute SAR posture requires aircrews remain poised to launch from the flight line.

 

A 30-minute SAR posture is too expensive and would provide little benefit, according to The Canadian Forces Search and Rescue 30-minute Continuous Readiness Posture Force Generation Analysis obtained by Defence Watch.

 

An analysis of incidents between the years 2000-2004 determined that had a 30-minute posture been in effect on a 24/7 basis, “only a small increase in the probability of victim survival would have been gained by adopting a 30-minute posture.”

 

To reach the increased level of readiness would add more maintenance, require more aircraft and infrastructure upgrades, the report noted. According to the Air Force it would cost $387 million in extra capital costs and $540 million in overall annual recurring costs.

 

The Air Force also concluded that the timeline to achieve the enhanced posture would likely require six to eight years.

 

The end result is that the status quo will be maintained well into the future.

 

In January 2008, DND’s Chief of Review Services examined SAR and concluded the Canadian Forces “component of SAR operations functions quite well and remains highly relevant.”

 

That conclusion, however, will likely not be accepted by some of those who have called for improvements.

 

 

 

For more Canadian Forces and Defence Department news or articles by David Pugliese of the Ottawa Citizen go to David Pugliese’s Defence Watch at:

 

http://communities.canada.com/ottawacitizen/blogs/defencewatch/

 

 

 


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