Friday, February 6, 2015

Canada, Ukraine,and Russia; Georgia as part of NATO?

Following the NATO Summit yesterday, Defence Minister Rob Nicholson again told Russia to back off in Ukraine.

NATO announced that it will establish six regional command posts (in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, and Bulgaria) and expand the current Rapid Response Unit from 13,000 troops to 30,000 troops.

When asked if he thought the Rapid Response Unit would provoke Russia, and cause a larger conflict instead of ending the current situation in the Ukraine, Nicholson shrugged off the question. "Take a look at the way NATO is runs and has always run." Nicholson did stand firm on Canada not arming the Ukrainian Forces, but mentioned that the U.S. is still considering it.

It is true NATO has always encroached onto Russia territory, and pushed to have its defensive forces as close to Russia as possible. Now Georgia (which went to war in 2008 against Russia) is pushing for membership to NATO, and Canada fully supports the inclusion of the former Soviet state.

Russia on the other hand, has not yet backed down to any NATO placement in Europe, and believes the Rapid Response Unit will only cause further conflict.

To read the original Ottawa Citizen article:
Defence Minister Nicholson not worried about Russia

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Canada in Iraq - CF-18's Bomb Two ISIS Strategic Facilities

February 5th 2015,

It was revealed today by Defence Minister Rob Nicholson following the NATO meeting, that Canadian CF-18 Hornets had bombed two strategic ISIS facilities in the past few days.

The first strike took place on February 3, 2015 CF-18s in support of Iraqi ground troops bombed an ISIS IED factory and a munitions storage facility.

The second strike took place in the early hours of February 5, 2015 while participating in a Coalition effort to support Iraqi forces on the ground Northwest of Baghdad, CF-18's successfully stuck an ISIS compound that has been used as a staging area for strategic munitions.

Both these strikes took out strategic ISIS capabilities. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

New Franco-Canadian Defence Cooperation Council

Defence Minister Nicholson and Minister of Defence Le Drian of France announced on Wednesday that Canada and France signed a technical arrangement establishing a Franco-Canadian Defence Cooperation Council.

This agreement will ensure a continued growth in high-level military and security dialogue between Canadian and French.  Strategic and operational dialogue between all levels of both armed forces will increase. Further cooperation and capability development, in order to enhance interoperability between Canada and France. It will also help further develop defence material, research and provide leverage to governmental operations.  

To read the original DND Press release: 
Franco-Canadian Defence Cooperation Council Signed

CAF Participation in CUTLASS EXPRESS 2015

The Department of National Defence revealed today that Twenty-Six (26) members of the CAF who are deployed on Operation ARTEMIS took part in the US led security exercise CUTLASS EXPRESS 2015, which took place off the African East Coast and in the Indian Ocean.

The exercise was sponsored by the United States African Command and ran from January 28 to February 4 2015. The exercise was designed to increase the capabilities of Eastern African and Indian Ocean nations to counter sea based illicit activities.

To see the Official DND press release, see here:

Canada in Iraq - Is the Coalition Beginning to Break?

When the campaign against ISIS began back in September 2014, the West kept saying that success would only happen if countries in the Middle East where part of the Coalition, and played leading rolls. That way it wouldn't be seen as just another Western intrusion into the Middle East. Well it was revealed by the New York Times that the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ended its participation in the air war in December 2014.

The UAE is a key US and Canadian ally in the Coalition air campaign against ISIS, and they ended their bombing of ISIS targets in December over fears for their pilots safety following the capture of the Jordanian pilot that was killed this weak by ISIS.

The UAE says they will not rejoin the air war unless the United States increases its Search and Rescue capabilities in Northern Iraq. The UAE has even specifically asked that the US ensure that its V-22 Osprey be available to Northern Iraq. If this is the case, it could need a closer base of operations than its current location in Kuwait.

Another issue for the UAE is the growing role Iraq is being allowed to play in the fight against ISIS. The UAE is uncomfortable with Iraq's increased role. How can it not increase? The fighting is going on in Iraq! This is not like the fighting is taking place in the UAE and the Iraqi military is in the UAE.

This divide is significant because the UAE has been the US's biggest Arab ally in the fight against ISIS, and if the divide grows any more it could cause more problems for the Coalition against ISIS. That could mean Canada might be asked for more of a commitment.

To read the original article from the New York Times,  see the link.

 UAE Disengaged ISIS in December

Monday, February 2, 2015

Canadian Surface Combatant Ships Final Cost Unknown

The Canadian Navy estimated in 2007 that a new fleet of Surface Combatant Ships would cost around $15 Billion for Sixteen (16) or maybe even Seventeen (17) ships. Today in 2015 however, the talk is about building Fifteen (15) or fewer ships with a price tag around the $26 Billion.

How has the price nearly doubled in 8 years without a single ship being designed, built or tested?

The problem is too that the cost of $26 Billion might not even be the final cost.

Keven McCoy, the President of Irving Shipbuilding has informed the public that the final cost is still unknown because the discussions with the Royal Canadian Navy about the design, selection of technology, selection of weapons systems and overall types of ships the Navy is predicting it will need by the 2030s. Once the selection process is done, the final costs can finally be set.

If the price tag continues to rise, will future governments scale back the project even further? Less ships or less capabilities?

How is it that we set a price without a design process yet? That is like agreeing to buying a luxury car, without seeing it or any information about its specifications and performance capabilities. If you agree to this type of purchase, don't be surprised if all you receive is an early 1990s Geo when it arrives.

To see the original article:
Cost of Canadian Surface Combatant Ships a Moving Target

Canada in Iraq - CF-18s Bomb Multiple ISIS Targets

During a mid-morning short update, DND updated Canadians on the status of its mission against ISIS in Iraq.

On January 29, 2015 Canadian CF-18's bombed two ISIS fighting positions, as well as bombing two ISIS vehicles. 

On January 30, 2015 Canadian CF-18's bombed an ISIS mortar position Northwest of Baghdad.

To read the original article posted by The Ottawa Citizen, please see the link below. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Canada Supplies Ghana's Military

It was released late Friday by Ghana's government that the Canadian government has presented two (2) Speed Boats, Oxygen Cylinders and Scuba gear to Ghana's Navy to help enhance its patrols of Ghana's water ways.

Canada is spending close to $1 million to help support the Ghana Armed Forces, all working towards improving international security and help prevent human smuggling and drug trafficking out the region.

To read the entire article see the link below

Canada Supplies Ghana's Military

Devil's Brigade to Receive Congressional Gold Medal

This week in the U.S Capital as things continue to heat up with the Republican controlled Congress, members of Canada's first Special Forces Unit will be present and honoured. 

Members from the Joint U.S.-Canadian Devil's Brigade from World War Two are set to receive the Congressional Gold Medal. Around 40 or more surviving members will receive the medal on February 3, 2015. 

According to the Vancouver Province the Devil's accounted for 12,000 German casualties and captured more than 7,000 prisoners - while mainly operating in Italy and Souther France. 

In 2013, Canada Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM) said this about the Devil's Brigade: 

“Upon arrival in the Mediterranean Theatre, the FSSF was given the extremely difficult mission of taking the German-held, 963-metre mountain protecting the approaches to Rome, Italy.
Monte La Difensa, officially known as Hill 960, was the first major battle for the FSSF. The Forcemen, as members of the FSSF were known, battled rain, fog and snow during the night of December 2-3, 1943 to scale the treacherous northern side of the mountain as part of their surprise attack against the German positions. After an intense battle, despite sustaining severe casualties on the mountain, the members of the force were successful in taking their objectives.”
To read the full article please see the link Below:
Devil's Brigade to Receive Congressional Gold Medal

To read more about the Devil's Brigade see the Canada at War link

Canada in Iraq - Are CSF Receiving Risk Allowance?

With all the debate of whether or not Canada's Special Forces (CSF) are in Combat in Northern Iraq, David Pugliese, of the Ottawa Citizen asks the Question: Are CSF receiving Risk Allowance pay that is usually attributed to being deployed to Combat zones.

The answer he receives from DND is what you would expect it to be - a non-answer answer that defined what risk allowance pay is and how it is divided in several different categories, but does not actually say where on the scale of $170 - $1017/month in hardship pay they are receiving or whether or not they are receiving the $678/month for "High Risk Zones"

To read the entire article please see the link below. David Pugliese says that if he receives an actual answer he will let his readers know.

Are CSF Receiving Risk Allowance?