Posts Tagged ‘David Pugliese Defence Watch’

CANADIAN TROOPS HEADING TO AFGHANISTAN GET SCREWED ON PAY; DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN DEFENCE REPORT

January 26, 2010

Foulup leaves troops out pay, benefits

‘Administrative error’ to blame: National Defence

By David Pugliese, The Ottawa Citizen

December 8, 2009

Troops now training at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa for a mission to Afghanistan next year are in the midst of a battle against the military bureaucracy over pay and health benefits.

It’s the second time in less than eight months that reserve soldiers assigned to the Afghan mission have run into pay problems. In February, soldiers contacted the Citizen after their pay was cut off while they fought in Afghanistan.

This time, soldiers say they have lost the extra pay they are entitled to because of a bureaucratic screw-up. According to the soldiers, the pay problems are due to a backlog in processing paperwork and an inadequate pay system at National Defence headquarters in Ottawa.

As well, there are problems with health coverage for families of the part-time soldiers.

“A caveat to the fact that they aren’t inputted into the regular force pay system is that their families (eligible dependents) at home are not eligible for medical coverage under the Public Service Health Care Plan (PSHCP),” one individual wrote to the Citizen, complaining about the problem.

“Soldiers who once had coverage under their previous civilian careers are left with the medical expenses for their children and spouses until their contracts are processed.” About 300 reservists training at CFB Petawawa will head to Afghanistan in the spring.

Army spokesman Lt.-Col. Jay Janzen confirmed there are problems with pay. “The army is aware of pay issues affecting some reservists conducting pre-deployment training at Petawawa and we’re working quickly to address them,” he said.

Janzen said the soldiers are receiving their basic pay, but the problem centres around incentive pay they would receive. That problem is “due to an administrative error.”

Janzen didn’t have specific numbers affected, but added it is believed to be fewer than 100 reservists. He said that once the problem is sorted out, the soldiers would receive the money owed. A military source said the health-care issue will also be taken care of once the paperwork goes through for the reservists and they are assigned to the full-time regular force.

It’s not the first time there have been pay problems for part-time soldiers. From December 2008 to February of this year, some reserve soldiers fighting in Afghanistan said they had their pay cut off because their contracts with the army expired while they were serving overseas.

The troops continued to serve, but some told the Citizen they were worried they would not be covered by health insurance and other benefits if they were injured in battle.

At the time, the army confirmed in an e-mail that there had been problems, but it claimed that “at no time were the members’ pay and benefits at risk.”

The e-mail also added that emergency financial assistance was offered to anyone who needed it while the error was being fixed.

In 2006, former Canadian Forces Ombudsman Yves Côté launched an investigation into what he warned was a lack of services and inconsistent care available to members of the reserves when they are injured on overseas missions or during training at home. The investigation, completed in April, revealed numerous problems for reservists injured in the course of duty to Canada and subsequently required health care.

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:

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

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EX-OFFICERS WANTED TO TRAIN AFGHAN NATIONAL ARMY; DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN DEFENCE REPORT

January 26, 2010

WANTED BY CANADA: A FEW GOOD EX-OFFICERS TO TRAIN THE AFGHAN NATIONAL ARMY

By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

Defence Watch

The Defence Department is on the look out for a few good men (and presumably women) security contractors to train the Afghan National Army in Kabul.

The contractors will be responsible for developing and teaching the Afghan National Army Junior Officer Staff Course or (JOSC) of the Afghan National Army Command and Staff College, Defence Watch has been told.

The Defence Department and the Canadian Forces committed last summer to sponsor the development and delivery of the JOSC. It is the first of four courses within the larger national CSC Afghan National Army training institution.

The idea behind the JOSC course is to prepare senior level ANA Captains and junior Majors to be assigned as primary staff officers in Kandak/Batallion/ Corps Headquarters.
The Canadian Forces wants to build up sufficient capacity for the ANA to administer and deliver the course on its own by July 2011.

The Defence Department intends to move quick on hiring a company to provide the contractors as the first course is to start in April 2009s and run until July, Defence Watch has been told.

A second course will run from September to December 2009. Then there will be four courses in 2010.

Each class will have between 25 and 40 ANA to teach.

Only companies who reside and carry on business in Canada will be allowed to bid on the upcoming competition.

But the actual instructors can come from a variety of countries as long as they meet certain criteria. Included among those are officers who have graduated from the Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College Army Operations Course or from U.S. Marines Expeditionary Warfare School Courses, and the U.S. Command and General Staff officer course, among a variety of U.S. courses. Others who have graduated from command and staff courses offered by Germany, France, Norway, Belgium, Australia or the United Kingdom would also be considered, sources have told 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:

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

CANADIAN ARMY RESERVES HIT BY BUDGET CUTS; DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN DEFENCE REPORT

January 26, 2010

ARMY RESERVE TRAINING TAKES BRUNT OF DND FISCAL “ADJUSTMENTS”

By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

Defence Watch

The Army, Navy and Air Force are all facing budget “adjustments” that have to be made by the end of March but the extent of the impact appears to be felt the hardest on the Army reserves.

“The main thing for the Reserves is that training has stopped,” said one Defence Watch reader in the reserves recently noted. “We can’t train any new recruits, drivers, signallers, junior NCOs, nothing.”

The navy will cut some training for its reserve forces in January and reduce infrastructure maintenance and repairs while the air force will scale back on non-operational training, cut some of its flying time as well as scale back non-essential repairs.

The army is cutting some training and reducing the number of reserve soldiers who are employed full-time as Class B reservists.

The air force is required to “adjust” $59 million of its budget while the navy has $52 million in adjustments to make, according to the Canadian Forces. The army’s portion of the adjustments is $80 million. The money is being redirected to priority areas, according to DND.

The air force’s adjustments represent seven percent of its annual budget; the navy’s is six per cent. The army’s share is five per cent of its budget.

“We’re moving around about $80 million to support higher CF priorities this fiscal year,” Army spokesman Lt.-Col. Jay Janzen told Defence Watch. “Of that about $2 million have been assigned to full-time reserve budgets.”

“But local commanders may decide to make further reductions in that area,” he added.

Officially, the unit budgets have only been cut by 10 per cent, some reservists told Defence Watch. There are still parade nights, and possibly a weekend exercise or two.  “But the meat and potatoes of our training cycle is gone and there is no information whatsoever,” said one reservist.

At 31 Canadian Brigade Group in Southwestern Ontario, the budget has been cut by about 16 per cent. That works out to about $2.5 million on its $18.2-million budget, according to news reports. The brigade also cut 25 full-time jobs.

Reservists report how the cuts have affected their units:

— Ongoing courses including the BMQ (recruit course) and PLQ (junior leadership course) were shut down at the last minute even though they were ongoing.

— Emails came in from Army in the morning to “cease training” immediately and reservists were phoned at home to inform them not to show up for pre-scheduled training that night.

–There is little information provided for units about the way ahead. More is expected in April when the government announces its budget.

-Until the BMQ courses are complete, other training (SQ, DP1, etc…) cannot be done so everything else gets backlogged.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay has remained silent on the cuts. However, Conservative Senator Marjory LeBreton, the government leader in the Senate, has said she read about the cuts in the newspaper and that every effort was being made to ensure that reservists are prepared for any operational activity.

The Harper government, she noted, is committed to treating the reservists reasonably so that they remain fully operational.

But when asked about the reserve cuts in December by Liberal Senator Romeo Dallaire, LeBreton originally denied that such a thing had happened.

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:

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

CANADIAN FORCES WANT MORE AUTOMATIC GRENADE LAUNCHERS; DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN DEFENCE NEWS

January 26, 2010

CLOSE AREA SUPPRESSION WEAPON FOR THE AIR FORCE AND REMOTE WEAPON STATIONS

By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

Defence Watch

Government officials have still yet to make an announcement on the winning company to be selected to provide the Close Area Suppression Weapon (CASW) but there could be future purchases of the weapons for vehicles as well as for the Air Force for airfield security in deployed locations, according to documents obtained by Defence Watch.

At this point the program is to acquire an automatic grenade launcher for infantry. But the CASW is a dismounted system that can be mounted onto any vehicle using a pintle mount or a remote weapon station (RWS). Army sources say they expect whichever weapon wins the CASW project will be eventually mounted on a RWS, with additional weapon purchases if necessary.

Those views are backed up by an Oct. 24, 2007 briefing note obtained by Defence Watch which points out that in the future new vehicles being acquired by the Army could be outfitted with CASW, although new funding would have to be found for those weapons.

“Should the new vehicle programmes require CASW, the projects will fund any new CASW in accordance with standard practice,” the briefing note points out. “CASW for..Deployed Airfield security requirement could be acquired using various options in the eventual CASW Contract….once CAS (Chief of the Air Staff) provides the funding.”

The possiblity of CASW going on to a RWS is a distinct possibility. It seems more unlikely the air force would free up funds for a CASW, particularly at a time when budgets are getting tighter. In addition, if the air force does operate at deployed airfields, it could ask the army to provide protection.

Canada had received two bids to provide the Canadian Forces with a new automatic grenade launcher. One was from Rheinmetall Canada, the other for Singapore Technologies each put in a bid.

Singapore Technologies, which has kept a low profile during the competition, has its own 40mm grenade launcher and ammunition.

Last year defence sources told Defence Watch they expected the evaluation of the bids to be completed sometime in January 2010.

Testing of both weapons was done last year at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, NB.

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.

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.

The Army examined the capabilities offered by mortars and automatic grenade launchers in urban fighting during a May 2003 study.

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.

An undated briefing note for the CLS, prepared by Geoff Hutton of DLR, pointed out that the planned retirement of the 60mm light mortar makes CASW “NP neutral” meaning that the savings from getting rid of the motars would offset the acquistion of the grenade launcher.

The government expects to Rheinmetall Canada has been successful in its bid to provide the Canadian Army with a

, sources at National Defence headquarters tell Defence Watch.

There is no word, however, on when there will be an official announcement. But the firm, based in St. Jean sur Richelieu, will provide the army the Heckler and Koch 40mm grenade launcher which is being used by 16 militaries, including many NATO nations.

The project had to be restarted in the spring 2009 after government bureaucrats ruled that a defence company’s paperwork was not filled out properly.

At that time, only one firm – Rheinmetall Canada – bid on the project and although the HK gun technically fit all the army’s requirements, the government disqualified the firm’s bid. Public Works informed Rheinmetall Canada that the financial forms attached to its proposal didn’t provide enough information.

Rheinmetall Canada argued that it submitted a fully compliant bid. However, the government did not accept that position and the procurement process was begun again in the summer of 2009.

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.

The Army examined the capabilities offered by mortars and automatic grenade launchers in urban fighting during a May 2003 study.

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 by Defence Watch, 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.

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.

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:

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

CANADA’S JTF2 SPECIAL FORCES REMOVE ‘JESUS’ GUNSIGHTS FROM WEAPONS: OTTAWA CITIZEN DAVID PUGLIESE

January 26, 2010

Gunsights with religious references to be yanked

Jan 22 2010

By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

Gunsights with biblical references inscribed on them are being used by Canadian special forces in Afghanistan, but the military plans to get rid of them as soon as possible.

Militaries around the world, including Canada’s, were caught off guard by the news that U.S. manufacturer Trijicon of Wixom, Mich., had put biblical citations on many gunsights in use by forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

One type of Trijicon gunsight has raised markings saying simply JN8:12. That is a reference to the Book of John, Chapter 8, verse 12.

In the King James Version of the Bible, that citation reads: “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’ ”

Another Trijicon sight has the inscription 2COR4:6, a reference to the passage from Corinthians Book 2, Chapter 4, verse 6: “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Until recently, military leaders were unaware of the significance of the abbreviations.

But since their meaning has become known, Trijicon has been facing a growing backlash from the countries it has supplied with the sights. Military leaders have raised concerns that the inscriptions could provide propaganda ammunition for Islamic insurgents.

Maj. Doug MacNair, a spokesman for the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, said the organization has a limited number of the sights with the references. CANSOFCOM includes the Ottawa-based Joint Task Force 2 special forces unit and the Canadian Special Operations Regiment from Petawawa. Both units are in Afghanistan.

For security reasons, Canada won’t release the number or type of Trijicon sights it has.

MacNair said: “Like our allies, we consider the biblical inscriptions to be inappropriate. We’ll move as quickly as possible to rectify the situation.”

CANSOFCOM technicians are looking at how to remove the inscriptions without damaging the sights. Those gunsights being used by special forces in the field would also be dealt with in some way, but CANSOFCOM has to ensure that, whatever solution is found, the soldiers continue to have access to the equipment.

“You do want to move as quickly as you can while not jeopardizing mission effectiveness,” MacNair said.

However, Trijicon announced Thursday it would provide modification kits at no cost to remove the Scripture citations from gunsights already in use. There are more than 300,000 Trijicon sights in use by U.S. forces.

One religious leader in the U.S. wrote President Barack Obama to complain that the sights violated a U.S. government rule against proselytizing.

“Images of American soldiers as Christian crusaders come to mind when they are carrying weaponry bearing such verses,” wrote Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance.

Other serving U.S. military members complained to the Military Religious Freedom Foundation about the gunsights.

“This is a serious concern to me and the other commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Gen. David Petraeus, the head of the U.S. Central Command, said Thursday in Washington.

On Thursday, New Zealand’s military announced it, too, would remove the markings. It has also ordered Trijicon to remove such inscriptions from future orders.

Australia is considering a similar request.

Trijicon has been putting the scripture citations on its sights for years and company officials said they had never received any complaints. However, Tom Munson, the firm’s sales director, has acknowledged the company did not publicize the practice.

Ottawa Citizen

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:

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

CANADA AND U.S. TIGHTEN MARITIME SECURITY: OTTAWA CITIZEN DAVID PUGLIESE

January 26, 2010

MARITIME SECURITY LEGISLATION FOR THE GREAT LAKES AND THE COASTS

By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

The Canadian government is moving ahead to make permanent the “Shiprider” program that deals with maritime security on the Great Lakes on the east and west coasts.

Previously, government officials had been talking about the initiative as part of a plan to improve capabilities against cross-border crime and terrorism. But the focus of the program, according to the Canadian government, will be more specifically aimed at limiting illegal smuggling of guns and drugs.

Terrorism is seen as a more distant threat and secondary role, although potential adversaries could also get caught by the Shiprider program, according to military officers.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson introduced on Friday in the House of Commons legislation to implement the “Shiprider” program. The proposed law is known officially as the Canada-U.S. Framework Agreement on Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations.

The legislation, according to the federal government, would permit specially designated Canadian and American law enforcement personnel to jointly work on marine law enforcement vessels in boundary waters, such as the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, and off both east and west coasts.  Working together, these officers will be authorized to enforce the law on both sides of the border to help ensure that criminal organizations no longer exploit shared waterways, government officials note.

Several years ago the Senate national security and defense committee labelled the Great Lakes as “Canada’s soft underbelly.” As part of a number of initiatives at the time, the U.S. and Canada launched a pilot Shiprider program.

Also established were marine security emergency response teams, tactical units with an enhanced ability to board ships in Canadian waters and a interim Marine Security Operations Center (MSOC) located at Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.

In 2008, Inspector Lori Seale-Irving, the RCMP officer in charge of the MSOC project, said the federal police force’s links with other agencies is key for the Great Lakes center to be successful. “We’re continuously working with provincial, municipal and federal partners,” she told me in an interview “As well we’ve had ongoing discussions with the United States Coast Guard in relation to the Great Lakes MSOC.”

That MSOC, along with the MSOCs operated by the Canadian Forces on the east and west coasts, feed information into the Canadian Forces Canada Command as well as to other government agencies.

Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan says the proposed law is needed to provide Canadian and U.S. law enforcement with the “tools” necessary to prevent organized crime moving back and forth across the border. The focus is on the illegal smuggling of guns and drugs between the two countries, according to Van Loan.

The Framework Agreement on integrated law enforcement operations in boundary waters with the U.S. was signed in May 2009, by Van Loan and Janet Napolitano, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security.

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:

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

CANADIAN NAVY STAYS CLEAR OF U.S. EQUIPMENT AND SENSORS BECAUSE OF EXPORT CONTROLS: OTTAWA CITIZEN DAVID PUGLIESE

January 26, 2010

Navy says no to buying American U.S. restrictions on technology can lead to delays

The Ottawa Citizen

Jan 25 2010

By David Pugliese

Faced with delays and restrictions about what it can and cannot do with U.S. technology, Canada’s navy has opted to modernize its frigates using as much non-American equipment as possible for key systems on the ships.

The Defence Department had stipulated that the command-and-control systems on the multibillion-dollar frigate upgrade be free of U.S. regulations, say officials with Lockheed Martin Canada in Ottawa, the company handling the contract.

In the past, the strict enforcement by the U.S. government of technology restrictions under International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) has delayed the delivery of military equipment to Canada. In addition, in 2006 U.S. government officials tried unsuccessfully to limit the type of Canadians who could work on Canadian defence programs, specifically requesting that those who were born in certain countries or who had dual citizenship with particular countries not be allowed access to American technology.

Such restrictions violate Canadian law.

As a result, key radars, sensors and software to be installed on the Halifax-class frigates are coming from Canada, Sweden, Israel, Germany and the Netherlands.

“It was a desire (by the customer),” Don McClure, Lockheed Martin Canada’s vice- president of business development, said of the decision to use technology that wasn’t controlled by ITAR. “The primary thing is during the life of a warship there is the need to modify certain tactics or add certain sensors and the navy didn’t want to be restricted to having to ask permission (from the U.S.) for that.”

McClure said the command-and-control system the firm is developing in conjunction with Saab Electronics Systems of Sweden will be free of any U.S. export controls.

That will also allow the Ottawa company to market the system to other navies without having to seek U.S. permission.

Some of the weapons on the Canadian frigates use U.S.-technology and there are other American-made components that aren’t covered by ITAR on the vessels.

McClure said the frigate modernization is on track, with the first ship expected to be worked on starting in the fall. The Defence Department is spending a total of $3.1 billion on the program, which not only includes the work being done by Lockheed Martin Canada and its partners, but mid-life improvements to mechanical systems on the vessels to be done by shipyards on the east and west coasts.

The modernization of all 12 frigates will be finished by 2017.

Defence Department spokeswoman Jocelyn Sweet sent an

e-mail noting that the department did not specify that the materials and work associated with the mid-life maintenance of the frigates be free from U.S. ITARS.

But she added, “DND did require that any proposals related to the integrated combat system address how the contractor would mitigate any risk to the delivery schedule if they included sourcing of material or services from the U.S. that would invoke ITAR restrictions.”

Ottawa-based Thales Canada Defence and Security, which is also working on the frigate modernization, has noticed a spike in the desire for ITAR-free equipment at the Defence Department and from military forces around the world, said company official Conrad Bellehumeur. “Telling them something is ITAR-free produces a great interest” at DND, he added.

McClure noted that European companies are starting to gain an advantage in some marketplaces because of the U.S. ITAR restrictions.

ITARs have been partly blamed for the delays in the delivery of the Canadian Forces new maritime helicopter, the Cyclone, which is years behind schedule.

The U.S. enforces the ITARs as a way to prevent sensitive technology from falling into the hands of countries such as China and Iran.

But privately, some Canadian defence industry officials complain that the U.S. selectively uses ITARs to give equipment being provided by American-based companies an advantage in export situations. They say there have been cases where the U.S. State Department has used ITARs to prevent Canadian products from being sold overseas because those items have some American-technology in them, while at the same time giving approval to U.S. firms to sell the same components in the same foreign market.

Lockheed Martin officials said the frigate contract will create about 60 new jobs in Ottawa, largely in program management and manufacturing. Bellehumeur said the contract would maintain about 15 jobs in Ottawa at Thales.

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:

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

CONSERVATIVE SENATOR SAYS CANADIAN FORCES DOES NOT FACE CUTS: OTTAWA CITIZEN DAVID PUGLIESE

January 26, 2010

DEFENCE DEPARTMENT BUDGET CUTS? WHAT CUTS ASKS TORY SENATOR

By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

Marjory LeBreton, government leader in the Senate, has assured that chamber that no cuts have been made at the Department of National Defence, even as militia units have their budgets reduced and the jobs of reservists are eliminated.

Speaking to Liberal Senator Romeo Dallaire, LeBreton said “there were no cuts” to DND and questioned Dallaire’s claims that there were.

Dallaire has raised concerns that ongoing reductions will hit the Defence Department’s budget. In a recent exchange in the Senate, Defence Watch sources said Dallaire warned LeBreton that the reductions will have an impact on operations and pointed out that militia units are already feeling the impact.

But LeBreton suggested that isn’t the case and instead she highlighted the money the Conservatives spent on Chinook and Griffon helicopters. She said that DND has been the biggest benefactor of the Harper government and noted that Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Walter Natyncyk recently told a Senate committee that he was happy with the level of funding.

LeBreton again told Dallaire that she had no idea what he was basing his claims on, and again praised the Harper government for its contributions to the military.

Conservative Senator David Tkachuk also praised the Harper government.

Said one source: “I don’t think those two have a clue the militia has been cut back.”

The Canadian Army is cutting 300 full-time reserve jobs from the force’s to save about $15 million, according to news reports. That money will be earmarked for other needs.

Reserve unit budgets are also being reduced. For instance, 31 Canadian Brigade Group in Southwestern Ontario had its budget cut by about 16 per cent, noted one media report. That reduction means that $2.5 million will be taken from its $18.2-million budget.

In total about $80 million in Army funding is being shifted to make up for shortfalls in other areas. More reductions may be on the way.

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:

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

CANADIAN FORCES YEARS AWAY FROM FIELDING A UAV: OTTAWA CITIZEN DAVID PUGLIESE

January 26, 2010

CANADA YEARS AWAY FROM FIELDING A UAV: OTHER OPERATORS STYMIED IN ATTEMPTS TO GET PERMISSION TO USE THEIR AIRCRAFT

By David Pugliese

Ottawa Citizen

Defence Watch

As U.S. government agencies continue to make use of unmanned aerial vehicles for domestic security, such operations in Canada remain blocked by bureaucratic inaction.

Just recently the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency branched out in its UAV operations by acquiring its first maritime variant of the Predator B unmanned aerial vehicle.

Nothing similar will be happening anytime soon in Canada, industry representatives tell Defence Watch.

The Defence Department’s JUSTAS (Joint Unmanned Surveillance Target Acquisition System) program is still years away from fielding UAVs for domestic patrols.

But private operators say they can augment the Canadian Forces and government’s maritime surveillance capabilities by operating small UAVs for domestic coastal patrols and to support Canadian military search and rescue missions. The government already uses private firms to conduct some of its secondary surveillance needs using fixed-wing aircraft.

But private UAV users who want to operate the aircraft have been stymied in their efforts. Current federal aviation regulations are designed for manned aircraft and do not take into account unmanned flight operations.

“The technology and customers are there now but it’s a matter of the regulator trying to figure out how to fit these aircraft into the civilian air regulations,” said Pip Rudkin, chairman of the industry group, Unmanned Systems Canada.

Canadian operators want to use the UAVs in domestic settings ranging from support to police tactical and explosive ordnance teams, security patrols over key infrastructure such as oil pipelines in remote areas, and maritime surveillance patrols. Other operators have suggested using UAVs, outfitted with infrared sensors, to support domestic Canadian Forces search-and-rescue missions.

So far the Ontario Provincial Police has been using UAVs on a limited basis. It must receive special permission from Transport Canada, which oversees the country’s aviation rules.

Transport Canada has had a UAV working group in place since 2007 in an effort to determine how best to proceed on the issue of unmanned aerial vehicles in civilian airspace. But little has happened, say UAV industry officials.

Transport Canada spokeswoman Mélanie Emma Quesnel stated in an email that the department is consulting with the UAV industry to develop a regulatory framework that would deal with public safety issues while allowing for the development of the unmanned aerial vehicle sector. “There is no set timeline for that process,” she added.

The department’s main concern centers on the potential for UAVs to collide with manned aircraft.

There are similar concerns in the U.S. but regulators are working out the issues.

The U.S. Customs department maritime UAV is expected to be ready for Operational Test and Evaluation in early 2010. After the UAV completes operational testing this spring, it will be deployed to the drug source and transit zones to support joint counter-narcotics operations.

The UAV, called the Guardian, has been modified from a standard Predator B with structural, avionics, and communications enhancements, as well as the addition of a Raytheon SeaVue Marine Search Radar and an Electro-optical/Infrared (EO/IR) Sensor that is optimized for maritime operations.

Canadian UAV specialists say it will take between five and 10 years at least before Transport Canada alters existing rules to take into account UAVs for domestic uses.

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:

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

CANADIAN ARMY MOVES AHEAD WITH PLAN TO ACQUIRE THERMAL WEAPON SIGHTS: DAVID PUGLIESE OTTAWA CITIZEN JOURNALIST

January 26, 2010

ARMY MOVES AHEAD WITH PLAN TO ACQUIRE THERMAL WEAPON SIGHTS

BY DAVID PUGLIESE

Ottawa Citizen

The Army is moving a step closer to acquiring thermal weapon sights for a variety of weapons.

Industry has been told that they are to have their proposals in to the government by Dec. 15.

Earlier this year, Army officers in the directorate of land requirements told an industry forum that the initial operating capability for the Thermal Weapon Sights (TWS) was to be by 2009, according to documents provided to Defence Watch.

But that isn’t going to happen and the IOC has slipped to next year, with full operational capability by 2012, sources have told Defence Watch.

The winning bidder must meet 326 listed requirements and have the lowest cost.

Some industry sources say that indicates that the program has a specific thermal weapon sight in mind, but others maintain that the requirements are flexible enough to promote competition and it is expected several firms will bid on the project.

DND has a requirement for a combined quantity of 826 Light, Medium and Heavy of TWS kits complete with accessories, spare parts and support equipment, and data, according to the details provided by the government on the MERX website. In-service support is also required for the repair and overhaul of the TWS Kits and for the provision of spare parts.

The requirement includes options to procure up to 1,128 additional TWS kits.

One request for proposal will cover two contracts to be awarded to the winning bidder. These two contracts are for the equipment acquisition, and in-service support. The proposed TWS kits must be “military-off-the-shelf.

Companies that do bid are required to have a minimum of 1,000 systems already sold or delivered to a NATO nation.

The delivery of the first Thermal Weapon Sight kits is required starting within three months of the contract award. Those would be for testing. The rest of the delivery would take place over a year-long period.

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:

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