Friday, January 30, 2015

HMCS Chicoutimi returned to Navy

January 30, 2015

It was announced Friday afternoon that Babcock Canada Inc. delivered HMCS Chicoutimi back to the Royal Canadian Navy. The official turnover actually took place back on December 3, 2014. This marks the successful completion of the submarines Extended Docking Work Period (EDWP) and the first of Canada's Victoria-Class submarines to undergo deep maintenance managed by Babcock.

Babcock Canada Inc. was awarded the $1.5 Billion contract in 2008, and it is intended to run for a period of 15 years. Babcock recently began an Extended Limited Maintenance period (ELMP) on HMCS Corner Brook. The Corner Brook will undergo its EDWP once the ELMP is complete.
In this 2006 file photo, HMCS Chicoutimi rests on the syncrolift after being removed from the harbour in Halifax, N.S.
A 2006 File Photo from the Ottawa Citizen - HMCS Chicoutimi sits a lift after being removed from Halifax harbour. 

Operation CARIBBE 2015

January 30, 2015

It has been announced that HMCS Winnipeg is patrolling the Eastern Pacific as part of Operation CARIBBE 2015. For now HMCS Winnipeg is Canada's contribution to the multinational campaign against international criminal organizations located in the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean.

The deployment of the HMCS Winnipeg is just the beginning of Canada's planned deployments under CARIBBE that are scheduled for the 2015 calendar year. This year marks the 9th year Canada has contributed to CARIBBE,  the first deployment beginning in November 2006. This year the CAF will deploy Royal Canadian Navy vessels from both the East and West coasts to the campaign, while the RCAF will provide CP-140 Aurora aircraft from various squadrons.

During the 2014 Operation CARIBBE, Canada contribution was, four CP-140 Aurora aircraft; seven Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels (HMCS's Nanaimo, Whitehorse, Kingston, Glace Bay, Summerside, Brandon, and Yellowknife); one Halifax-class Frigate (HMCS Calgary); one Iroquiois-class destroyer (HMCS Athabaskan, with two CH-124 Sea King helicopters). The CAF directly contributed the seizure of more than 4 metric tons of cocaine and 500 kilograms of marijuana.

Operation CARIBBE 2015

IS2009-6638 28 April 2009 Indian Ocean  Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Winnipeg (forefront), Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) and Pakistani Navy maneuver for a photo opportunity together in the Indian Ocean at the conclusion of a two-day joint naval exercise.   HMCS Winnipeg is operating in the Gulf of Aden under Standing NATO Maritime Group 1 (SNMG1) to counter acts of piracy and provide security for transiting merchant vessels. Commanded by Commander Craig Baines, the Halifax-class patrol frigate has a crew of approximately 240, including a CH-124 Sea King helicopter detachment.  Canada's participation in SNMG1, conducted under Operation SEXTANT, represents a continuing commitment to international peace and security. HMCS Winnipeg is the 5th Canadian Ship to deploy since 2006 to join SNMG1, which represents a multi-national maritime force capable of conducting missions across a broad spectrum of operations anywhere around the world.  Photo: Warrant Officer Carole Morissette, Canadian Forces Combat Camera
HMCS Winnipeg (Forefront) in the Indian Ocean in 2009 as part of the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1. Image: DND WO. Carole Morissette CF Combat Camera 

Canadian Army participates in Exercise WARFIGHTER

January 30, 2015, 

It was revealed yesterday in Ottawa that approximately 300 Canadian Army members have been participating in Exercise WARFIGHTER, an American led military exercise at Camp Atterbury, Indiana. The Exercise began on January 26 and runs through February 13 2015. The main goal of the exercise is to enhance their command and control techniques and increase the interoperability of all our Allies. WARFIGHTER will test troops readiness, responsiveness and skills in a variety of full scale military operations. 

The 300 Canadian Army members will be working next to some 3,000 US forces from the Army Regular and Reserve Force as well as the Army and Air National Guard. 

The Canadian Army participants are from
  • 4th Canadian Division Support Base Petawawa 
  • Canadian Forces Base Kingston 
  • 5th Canadian Division Support Base Gagetown 

New Arms Race? Pentagon Urges NATO to Focus on Innovative Weapons

The Pentagon has urged NATO to begin to focus on and move towards the development of  "Innovative Weapons" says U.S. Deputy Defence Secretary Robert Work told NATO Allies at a meeting on Wednesday. The U.S. is concerned that if NATO does not begin to focus now on innovative weapons development now, we will fall behind the rapid weapon development of China, Russia, and states (Cough... does he mean North Korea?). The U.S. has developed its "Defence Innovation Initiative" to ensure that the U.S. continues to have a competitive advantage against future foes.

So we end the first Arms Race (for Dreadnoughts in World War One) and Cold War with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and with it the symbolic end of the Nuclear Arms Race only to being one for "Innovative Weapons" - is anyone else worried? 
Read the full article from the Atlantic Council here: 

Canada in Sierra Leone - No Plans to Scale Back Mission

CAF Medical personnel take part in a briefing from their British counterparts before deploying to Sierra
Leone to fight Ebola. Photo: OP SIRONA, Sgt Y. Bedard CF Combat Camera.
As Canadians at home focus on the debate in Parliament over the definition of "Combat" and what technically "Advise and Assist" means, lets not forget that our men and women in Uniform are fighting something just as scary as ISIS on a molecular level - Ebola. Yet many Canadians seem to have forgotten Operation SIRONA, and Canada's contribution to contain and battle Ebola in Sierra Leone. 
The Globe and Mail reported Thursday that Canada has no plans to scale back our mission despite a decline in patients in the Canadians medical facility. Lt. Col Gary O'Neil, the Task Force Commander for Canada's deployment to the Ebola Zone says their mission will remain strong until June 2015 as originally planned. However, should the British Military, who run a medical facility near the Canadians choose to withdraw sooner, the Canadians would have to re-evaluate their mission timeline, O'Neil admitted. Despite the decline in patients, the outbreak of Ebola will not be considered over until no new cases have appeared for 42 consecutive days. 
To read the Full Article, please see The Globe and Mail link below. 
Canada has no plans to Scale back Ebola Mission

Canada in Iraq - Troops Within Non-Combat Mandate: Gen. Lawson

CDS Gen. Tom Lawson during a briefing on OP IMPACT.
Photo: Ottawa Citizen, Labelled for Reuse. 
During a Parliamentary Committee hearing on Foreign Policy on Thursday January 29th 2015, Chief of Defence Staff, General Tom Lawson again reiterated that Canadian Special Forces operating in Iraq are well within the Non-Combat mandate of "Advise and Assist" that Parliament granted during the fall of 2014. Lawson continued to state that our role has evolved since first being deployed. He also regrets his comment to Parliament in October where he said Canadian Special Forces would not be guiding coalition air-strikes. Canadians learned in early January that Special Forces are in fact using lasers to help target and guide coalition strikes against ISIS. This was a role that Lawson says the military did not foresee, and are working on training the Iraqi forces to be able to conduct these tasks. 

To read the full article from The Star please see the link below.

Top General Says Canadian Soldiers Still Within Non-Combat Mandate 

Canada in Iraq: Time to end Canada's childish military debate

Members of the CAD reinforce the perimeter
around the Canadian camp during
 OP IMPACT in Kuwait. Photo: OP IMPACT, DND.

As it was reported in several news papers earlier this week, and we have been able to watch the spectacle in Parliament, Matthew Fisher, rights that it is time to end the Childish debate - and be thankful that we are getting updates at all. He talks about how the US Special Forces and British SAS are not providing public updates to their governments, and while those updates may be taking place behind closed doors, we should be thankful that we are getting updates at all.

The vast majority of Canadians support our participation against ISIS, lets just get on with it, and Support our Troops.

To read the entire article, please see the link to the Toronto Star below.

Time to end Canada's childish military debate

UPDATE: Canada's Openness to the Mission Bites the Harper Government by Matthew Fisher, published by the National Post