Friday, September 2, 2016

CAF to Train Jordanian Forces to Fight ISIL

In a brief statement released by the Department of National Defence, Canadians learned that the Canadian Armed Forces had deployed personnel to Jordan late last month as part of a “training assessment team” to research how Canada might train the Jordanian Armed Forces for the fight against ISIL.

Capt. Vincent Bouchard, a spokesman for Canadian Joint Operations Command Headquarters, confirmed that a “small group” of Canadian soldiers has arrived in Jordan with the goal of establishing periodic training programs, but said their identity and exact numbers cannot be disclosed for reasons of operational security.

“In support of the Government of Canada’s comprehensive strategy and commitment to international peace and stability, Op IMPACT’s refocused mission is intended to help set the conditions for the long-term success of regional partners, including through contributions to Building Partner Capacity in Jordan and Lebanon,” Bouchard said in an email, referring to Canada’s contribution to an international effort to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Bouchard did not say whether a similar group of Canadian Armed Forces members is currently operating in Lebanon.

“Building Partner Capacity in these two countries will promote increased security, contributing to regional security and stability,” Bouchard added.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau campaigned last year on a pledge to end Canada’s combat mission against ISIL. The government ended Canada’s airstrikes against the group in February, but Canadian planes are still conducting reconnaissance and refueling flights. And Canada’s revised mission against ISIL, also announced in February, involves the deployment of increased numbers of Canadian special operations trainers in northern Iraq, and the promise of intensified engagement with allies in the region such as Jordan and Lebanon.

Submarine-Proliferation and Canada's Need for Nuclear Powered Submarines

© 2016 FrontLine Defence (Vol 13, No 4)

For those who thought Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) was dead, its time to wake up to the fact that submarine numbers worldwide have increased by some 100 boats over the past decade, and continues to steadily climb. Meanwhile, new construction and surplus transfers are expected to add an additional 45-55 submarines in the next 5 years – and that’s without counting China or Russia. The fact that six other nations, with France; the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States exclusive nuclear-powered submarine operators, have the ability to send over 150 nuclear-powered submarines (see Table #1) under Canada’s ice-covered Arctic waters, if they so desire, has significant implications for sovereignty concerns. Russia in particular has been engaged in repeated undeclared hostilities (from the 2007 cyber attack on Estonia through to the Ukraine conflict and annexation of Crimea), and China is increasingly assertive in its territorial/resource claims. Moreover, the Indo-Pacific region is in the middle of a major naval arms race, with significant numbers of warships having been added to the fleets of many nations.

Submarine hull classifications
SS means Ship Submersible. Adding the following letters, or combinations of letters, describes the individual capabilities of that class of submarine. If the classification does not include an ‘N’ it is not nuclear-powered. For example, SSBN is a nuclear-powered, ballistic missile-capable submarine.

N: Nuclear powered (fast attack)
A: Auxiliary vessel (supporting or research role)
B: Ballistic missile capable
C: Coastal submarine (small and manœuverable, with shallow draft)
G: Guided missile capable (Cruise Missile capacity)
K: Hunter-Killer (specialized for anti-submarine duties)
R: Rescue (mostly Russian)
P: Air-Independent Propulsion

CM: Cruise Missile
NATO: North Atlantic Treaty Alliance
FPDA: Five Power Defence Alliance
DSRV: Deep Sea Rescue Vehicle
ASR: Auxiliary Submarine Rescue vessel
NSRS: NATO Sub Rescue System

Conventional: diesel-electric powered
Nuclear (N): nuclear-reactor powered
AIP (P): Air Independent Propulsion
(can extend a diesel-electric’s time
submerged without having to snort).

Implications of Resurgent Great Power Competition
Revanchist Russia

Over the past decade, the west has seen a vast increase in both airspace-probing military overflights (including North America, Europe and Japan). There has also been a huge increase in ship and submarine patrols in both the Pacific and Atlantic (including off both the Canadian and U.S. coastlines). As a case in point, last fall saw an aggressive ‘surge’ of five Russian submarines into the Atlantic, perhaps a precursor to renewed Okean worldwide Soviet fleet surges that involved hundreds of vessels during the Cold War.

In April 2016, the commander of U.S. naval forces in Europe acknowledged that Russia is deploying its submarines in numbers not seen in decades. “The submarines that we're seeing are much more stealthy,” Admiral Mark Ferguson told CNN.

“No longer is the maritime space uncontested,” noted U.S. Navy Vice Admiral James Foggo III in June. “For the first time in almost 30 years, Russia is a significant and aggressive maritime power” with technologically advanced submarines, the current 6th Fleet Commander continued, saying that Russian submarine patrols have increased by 50% since 2013.

In May, USN Captain Ollie Lewis, who took command of Submarine Squadron 12 in January 2016, confirmed: “We’re at the point now where we have to consider that there’s an adversary there ready to challenge us in the undersea domain, and that undersea superiority is not guaranteed.

In fact, recent Russian naval developments have so alarmed Norway that in May this year, state secretary Øystein Bø noted in Washington that “the maritime domain, in our opinion, needs particular attention [...] NATO and its allies need to invest in high-end maritime capabilities.” Thus reinforcing a call for advanced nuclear-powered submarines to counter the renewed Russian threat. The nuclear-powered cruise missile submarine (SSGN) USS Missouri’s Commanding officer, Cmdr Fraser Hudson, asserted “the best way right now to find another submarine is with a submarine.

In the 2015 ‘Maritime Doctrine of the Russian Federation’, Russia asserts that NATO’s actions (moving infrastructure and holding troop exercises near Russia’s eastern borders) are “unacceptable” expansionism and affirms that, to counter this, the Russian navy will expand its forces in both the Atlantic and the Arctic.

This naturally follows on from Putin’s 2003 assertion that “if we want Russia to flourish and be [a] powerful, self-sufficient and influential country in the world we must play proper attention to the Navy.” It has already started to see fruition as, over the last decade, the downsizing has stopped and many warships and submarines have been or are being modernized, and many new submarines are entering service. Construction is well underway on new classes of nuclear-powered submarines and Air Independent Propulsion (AIP)-equipped Lada-class patrol submarines (SSKs that also feature Optronic Periscopes – see Table #2 – and possibly also a PumpJet Propulsor, as already trialed on the Kilo-class submarine Alrosa), as well as new classes of both large nuclear-powered and military icebreakers (further to my previous article in FrontLine) in regards to Arctic aspirations. Thus, in conjunction with reopening Cold War bases and constructing new Arctic naval facilities, a prominent part of Russia’s security policy for the foreseeable future is militarization of the Arctic.

Today, six countries deploy some form of nuclear-powered strategic submarines: China, France, India, Russia, the UK, and the United States. Several other countries, including Argentina and Brazil, have ongoing projects in different phases to build nuclear-powered submarines. Above: Commissioned in 2013, K-560 Severodvinsk is the Russian Navy’s newest Yasen-class nuclear attack submarine.

This focus on revamping its naval forces, in particular the submarine fleet (such as upgraded Oscar II-class ‘carrier killers’), plus renewed operations in the Norwegian Sea from Murmansk-based forces, poses a renewed potential to block North American reinforcement access to Europe – especially as the U.S. completed by 2010 the redeployment of 60% of its submarines to the Pacific as part of an Indo-Pacific refocus. A February 2016 UK MoD Military assessment (‘Is it time for the West to wake up and smell the vodka?’ pg 11) clearly agrees that recent Russian action constitutes a significant strategic threat. “We have lost our intellectual ‘critical mass’ to understand deterrence, as well as too much of our military conventional deterrence capacity, the conventional ‘deterrent ramp’ we had during the Cold War, and much of the conventional forces that used to support the nuclear submarines. During the Cold War we understood that we were in strategic competition. Putin’s actions make it clear that we are, once again, in a deadly serious strategic competition, even if the global environment and weapons employed are in many cases different. But neither our populations nor, it seems, our politicians, understand this.”

Most Russian SSAN are reportedly equipped with pincers/cutters and are suspected of being able to interfere/tamper with undersea cables and NATO undersea hydrophones that are used to detect submarine and ship movements.

China / Indo Pacific
While less rhetorical and bellicose than Russia, subtle policy shifts and actions by China slowly reveal it too is unhappy with the existing international order, and seemingly won’t hesitate to ignore legal trivialities if they get in the way of its aspirations – such as declaring the vast South China Sea to be a ‘core national interest’. China’s Military Strategy 2015 moves beyond “offshore waters defence” and adds “open seas protection” which reiterates its claim to most of the South China Sea (which was proven unfounded by the recent International Tribunal ruling). Despite denials to the contrary, China’s actions fall outside international norms – such as the building of artificial islands and the internationally unrecognized subsequent usage of their existence as the basis for overlapping territorial claims, and their subsequent militarization (through building runways and port facilities and deployment of military assets) – to secure offshore resources. That, along with maritime coercion of smaller nations, have so alarmed most other Indo-Pacific nations and hence precipitated a regional arms race.

As with Russia, China is also placing a high priority on upgrading and expanding its submarine fleet, which could rise to between 85 and 100 submarines by 2030. It is successfully introducing new classes of nuclear-powered submarines – seven new ones over the past decade, and two more by 2017 – and hopes to introduce the Type 095 with cruise missile capabilities by the early-2020s, plus will reportedly begin regular Pacific patrols with ballistic missile-capable submarines. The Chinese navy (PLAN) has moved away from noisy, low-tech attack capability, and is now fielding designs that incorporate the latest technology, at approximately two or three per year, such as advanced Russian Kilo and indigenous Type 039G Song-class, plus the AIP-equipped Type 041 Yuan-class that is replacing ageing Ming-class boats.

By perfecting its ballistic and cruise missiles, buying and designing new submarines, ships, and aircraft, cracking down on ­corruption, and improving internal organization and logistics, the PLAN is undergoing a transformation that will have ramifications for years to come. (Photo:

Concurrent with the precipitated regional arms race, and a severely deteriorated South China Sea situation of late, the Indo-Pacific region has seen submarine fleets increasing or being established by many nations, mostly driven by PLAN’s submarine expansion.

Since 2000, Singapore has added five ex-Swedish boats, including two fitted with AIP before delivery. Malaysia has added two Scorpene-class SSK to its fleet. Due to past maritime incidents, Vietnam is almost finished acquiring six advanced Kilo-class. Bangladesh is acquiring two of China’s Ming-class. In a new trend for China, Thailand will be receiving three export variants (slightly downgraded technologies) of the Yuan-class over the next 10 years. Possibly due to longstanding differences with India, Pakistan is acquiring eight of the AIP-equipped export variant Yuan-class to add to its two AIP-equipped Agosta-class SSKs.

Of the prior submarine operators, Indonesia is replacing and expanding its fleet to three Type 209 SSKs by 2020. Iran is acquiring up to 10 coastal submarines, and disturbingly, North Korea has been actively working to develop an active ballistic missile submarine (SSB) capability through repeated test launches. Japan will end up with 22 SSKs, an increase from its prior self-limit of 16, including 11 AIP-equipped Souryu-class. South Korea is close behind and will soon have 18 SSKs, half of them AIP-equipped Type 214s.

Recognizing the impact of submarine proliferation (which Canada should also heed), Australia is acquiring 12 conventional variants of France’s Barracuda-class SSNs to replace its six troubled Collins-class and meet the growing threat to its north and west.

As Commander Michael Craven, a Canadian submariner since 1985, asserted in the Canadian Military Journal (vol 7, no 4), that each nation “understands that possession of a submarine capability confers an influence out of proportion to initial investment and ‘year-over-year’ operating and maintenance expenses.”

Since the threat of submarines can deter the presence of other naval vessels, irregardless whether they are actually present, Indo-Pacific regional leaders are preparing for the South and East China Seas to become increasingly unstable.

Meanwhile, India is acquiring six Scorpene-class (with nine additional options) for an eventual fleet size of 15 SSKs, and plans to expand its indigenous nuclear-powered submarine fleet by an additional four SSBN boats to meet a perceived threat from both Pakistan and the PLAN. It was recently confirmed that India plans to lease a second Akula I-class SSN from Russia.

Through a long-term leasing agreement, the Indian Navy was able to commission the INS Chakra, a Russian Akula II class nuclear submarine, into its submarine fleet.

In the widely submarine-populated environs of South America, in addition to its nuclear-powered aspirations, Brazil is also expanding its SSK fleet with the acquisition of four Scorpene-class boats in the potential presage of another regional submarine race.

Interestingly, in the new-build global submarine export market, Germany is still in the lead with 83 Type 209-212-214 submarines in service or being acquired; followed by France with 26 Scorpene- and Barracuda-classes, plus some 13 varied Agosta-class SSKs; Russia has 35 Kilo-class; and newcomer China is last with 11 Yuan-class SSKs. Thus confirming that ASW has returned as a critical tasking for Western navies vs the myth it was shrinking. Indeed, more maritime air assets, and especially more submarines (both SSNs and SSKs) are needed to counter the threat.

Arctic Aspirations
Despite the Arctic Ocean lying over 2,000 miles from its nearest port (Shanghai), China tends to refer to itself as both an ‘Arctic stakeholder’ and a ‘near-Arctic state’. Chinese Rear Adm Yin Zhuo said in 2010 that “the Arctic belongs to all the people around the world, as no nation has sovereignty over it ... China must plan an indispensable role in Arctic exploration as we have one-fifth of the world’s population.” All the while fully cognizant of the vast unexplored petroleum (estimated by the U.S. Geological Survey at 25% of the globe’s undiscovered hydrocarbon resources), mineral and seafood riches that the increasingly accessible Arctic Ocean holds.

The shallower Northern Sea Route remains Russia’s most secure trading route to Europe, with a similar portent for our deeper Northwest Passage, due to continual thinning of the Polar Ice Pack.

In 2010, as part of the wary China-Russia dynamic, a Russian Admiral was quoted as affirming that “Russia will increase naval patrols in the Arctic Ocean to defend its interests against nations such asChina seeking a share of the area’s mineral wealth.” Meanwhile, Canada remains wary that non-Arctic members in NATO, as well as China, will receive an unfair voice in the region at the expense of Arctic council founding members.

More subtle in undisclosed policy – as China does not refer to the Arctic in either its 2013 Defence White Paper or its 2015 Military Strategy, and has not released an official Arctic policy – is China’s growing interest in the Arctic.

In an attempt to increase its ‘status and influence’ in this area, China’s ambiguous and discreet semi-official Polar policy is aimed at protecting its ‘polar rights’ while helping gain official observer membership on the Arctic Council in 2013 (alongside India, Japan, South Korea, and Singapore) so as to be involved in Arctic developments.

JS Hakuryu, Soryu-class SSK (S 503), a diesel-electric AIP attack submarine.
China’s actions also betray its Arctic interests as it continues to negotiate extensive commercial relations with Arctic nations in return for Chinese investment and technology, as part of a cautious long-term strategy to vest its Arctic access. Since the mid-90s, China has owned the world’s largest icebreaker, the 21,000 ton Xue Long (Snow Dragon) – a B1-class Ukrainian-built former Polar ice-breaking cargo and supply ship – and has utilized it for repeated Arctic voyages, including an un-tracked 1999 visit to Tuktoyaktak in northern Canada. The lack of fallout from this may have prompted former commander of Canadian Forces Northern Area, Colonel Pierre Leblanc, to assert (nine years later): “Are we doing enough to protect the Arctic? In my opinion we are not.”

In January 2016, the nearly 5,000-ton medium military icebreaker Haibing, first of a new Type-272-class, was commissioned into the PLAN, ostensibly for ice research and search and rescue in the Bo Hai Sea. Additionally, with the 2015 presence of a flotilla of five PLAN warships in the Bering Strait, an increasing PLAN presence in the Arctic can no longer be discounted.

Foreign incursions through the Canadian Arctic
As widely reported by Bob Weber of the Canadian Press in 2011, sections of Cold War-era nautical charts may offer the first documented proof of the widely held belief that Soviet nuclear-powered submarines routinely navigated or patrolled through Canadian Arctic waters.

Aaron Lawton, who operates a tourism company, chartering Academik Ioffe (a Russian-owned ship) for Arctic cruises, was quoted confirming: “In some cases the Russian charts are more detailed than the Canadian ones.” In some places, notes Weber, the Russian charts are “preferred to current Canadian charts.”

The charts seen by the Canadian Press were clearly marked with Soviet insignia, including the hammer and sickle and red star. “Both sections are of highly strategic Arctic waterways. One map is a section of the North-West Passage in Barrow Strait, southwest of Resolute [a choke-point for deep-water vessels ...]. The other section details a choke point on the Nares Strait [...] between Ellesmere Island and Greenland. Both sections of the charts contained many more depth soundings than corresponding modern Canadian charts,” noted the article.

Alex MacIntyre, a highly experienced Canadian ice pilot who was interviewed by Weber, saw the charts on the Ioffe’s bridge, and wondered how the Soviets got all those soundings. Also on that voyage was a Canadian academic, Michael Byers, who had been solicited as a guest lecturer for the trip, was also “struck by” the detail of the Soviet charts. “The density of soundings on the Soviet chart was much greater than on the Canadian one.” According to the article, both Byers and MacIntyre believe “the only way the Soviet government could have acquired data for the charts is from nuclear submarines secretly patrolling the Arctic.” Byers said seeing the charts “confirms what many of us assumed.”
June 2015 – USS Maine (SSBN 741) sails back to its home port of Naval Base Kitsap – Bangor. Maine is one of eight ballistic ­missile submarines stationed at the base. (U.S. Navy photo: MCS 1st Class Kenneth G. Takada)
Incursions in Canadian waters have not been limited to war time, to one country, to adversaries, nor to the past. In fact, U.S. Navy historical data clearly shows American nuclear-powered subs (SSNs) have routinely operated in the Arctic since 1957 – and transited repeatedly through Canadian Arctic waters since 1960, while Russian submarines have operated in the Arctic since 1960. Chinese and French nuclear-powered operations in Canadian Arctic waters are unknown.

UK Royal Navy SSNs have operated in the Arctic since 1975. These include known transits of Canada’s Northwest Passage since 1988-2008 and again in 2015 to reach the joint Ice Exercise (ICEX) test area on floating ice sheets off the north coast of Alaska (jointly run, with Canadian and UK participation, by the U.S. Navy Arctic Submarine Laboratory).

Canada’s Northern Strategy, published in 2009, does not address our under-ice surveillance deficit – which can only safely and effectively be resolved by nuclear-powered submarines. And since both Russia and the U.S. are our closest Arctic neighbours (an indisputable fact of geography), we cannot let ourselves fall into a delusional Arctic complacency, as neither will guarantee the sovereignty of our Arctic waters. In fact, before looking at Canadian submarine requirements, we must be mindful of the following precis:
Once a crisis erupts, the idealistic notions of peacekeeping and aid provision go out the window as they require the cooperation of all conflict participants;
As a G7 economic world leader with an obligation to help maintain world order, Canada must be prepared to use force when and wherever necessary;
The global uncertainty that is prevalent for the foreseeable future requires that Canada maintain combat-capable, versatile, and rapidly deployable forces;
As they are inherently flexible, mobile, and don’t require land bases, naval forces are nearly always the first responders to a global crisis;
The fastest and most unobtrusive naval asset that can respond world-wide – including in areas where a hostile air environment demands heavy air defence, or where a single surface asset could inflame maritime tension – is a nuclear-powered submarine, as they are almost undetectable until so desired;
The hundreds of western submarine nuclear reactors, used/in-use since the 1950s, have a 100% safety record due to stringent naval standards;
1980s Canadian Navy studies (with allied consultation) determined that economies of scale, with regards to submarine fleet size, started with a submarine force of at least six submarines at the same base (Halifax) – thus, a force of eight allows two to be detached to Esquimalt on the West Coast, or vice versa;
As for recruiting issues, future Canadian submariners will demand modern habitability and safety standards (eliminate hot-bunking, make off-duty exercise spaces available, for example), and these can only be incorporated into the larger SSN designs.

Canadian Arctic under-ice submarine requirements
Keeping in mind the above-noted precis and various submarine arms races / proliferation for the foreseeable future, Canadian submarines will need to be able to operate for prolonged periods – at great distances, and with unlimited endurance – in some of the most unforgiving waters on the planet.
Sailors and members of the Applied Physics Laboratory Ice Station clear ice from the hatch of the Seawolf-class submarine USSConnecticut (SSN 22) as it surfaces above the ice in the Arctic Ocean during ICEX 2011.
The Arctic’s under-ice environment has limited opportunities for conventional diesel/AIP-powered submarines, which lack endurance, speed and versatility, the ability to safely surface in extreme conditions (only SSNs have the power for repeated surfacing attempts through ice of any significant thickness, even several feet), and requires constant heat generation to prevent freezing. Conventional submarines are thus restricted to near ice-edge operations.

As Cdr Michael Craven describes them, conventional submarines are “generally characterized as‘vehicles of position’ (as opposed to nuclear submarines, which are ‘vehicles of manœuvre’).

To fully understand why SSNs are the only choice for year-round under-ice operations – as compared to Canada’s current ‘ice-edge limited’ capability – requires only a brief examination of the non-nuclear power limitations.

Both the submarine and the submariners require air to operate/survive and to recharge batteries. To replenish air, SSKs must surface, or almost surface, to raise its snorkel or ‘snort’ mast at regular intervals – which is impossible for SSKs under all but the thinnest layers of ice. Surfacing is a dangerous undertaking when seas are rough, as submariners can fully attest to. Snorting is also inherently dangerous in rough seas as water washing over the top of a snort mast will cause the valve head to constantly shut. A shut valve creates a vacuum in the boat, that if maintained for too long causes dangerously low levels of oxygen – and long exposure to reduced oxygen causes a potentially fatal cycle of dangerously impaired actions.

There are three means of keeping enough oxygen in a submarine: Electrolysis; Carbon dioxide scrubbers; and, as a last resort, a limited supply of oxygen generating candles. Electrolysis requires the constant power generation that only a nuclear-powered reactor can provide, while the other two are never as safe or effective as having all three available. Additionally, heat generation requires extensive power usage, the more heat generated, the faster the batteries drain, thus yet another under-ice requirement that drains the limited batteries on an SSK. In fact, batteries can be their own hazard; if contaminated with seawater they usually give off a deadly chlorine gas, which requires immediate surfacing to clear the air.

A look at the four non-nuclear Air Independent Propulsion systems currently in service or development shows clear limitations. First of all, the current AIP record for a slow submerged transit is a mere 18 days (without snorting). It is important to remember that none of the conventional-power options allow for prolonged under-ice operations.

June 2001 – Los Angeles-class fast attack ­submarine USS Scranton (SSN 756) breaks through almost four feet of Arctic ice. One of two U.S. submarines to surface at the North Pole, Scranton was participating in Atlantic Submarine Ice Exercise (LANTSUBICEX) 1-01, a three-ship exercise that demonstrated the U.S. Navy’s commitment to assure access to all international waters. (U.S. Navy photo)
The Closed Cycle Diesel Engine, usually using a LOX oxidant, is the cheapest and noisiest (high detection risk); and often the only option for poor nations.

The French Module d’Energie Sous-Marin Autonome (MESMA) or Closed Cycle Steam Turbine system, available on export SSKs, is basically a conventional version of a nuclear-reactor, but mixing ethanol and oxygen generates the heat to provide power and has the highest level of oxygen consumption.

The Ballard Fuel Cell method used in German submarines requires highly-flammable hydrogen – a significant fire risk in an environment where surfacing quickly is usually not an option.

Lastly, the Stirling Cycle Engines – as used on Swedish and Japanese submarines – is quieter and more reliable than conventional diesels, but best used at a constant lower speed with a lower power output (a major limitation in Arctic waters) as it’s not as responsive as internal combustion engines.

With the exception of the last, all are hybrid systems, with the diesel engine as the primary power source, and utilizing the smaller AIP for limited stealth operations.

Thus, existing AIP technology does not meet Canadian geographical demands for extended safe under-ice operations.
March 2009 – USS Annapolis (SSN 760), an “improved” Los Angeles-class submarine rests in the Arctic Ocean after surfacing through three feet of ice during Ice Exercise 2009, a two-week training exercise about 200 miles from the north coast of Alaska, near Prudhoe Bay. (U.S. Navy photo)
Water Space Management (WSM) Explained
The most important part of understanding the necessity for SSNs is to understand submarine movements as regulated under the overarching concept of the NATO WSM system. For this, I draw on condensed excerpts from Canadian submariner, Navy Captain Phil Webster’s article: ‘Arctic Sovereignty, Submarine Operations and Water Space Management’, in the Canadian Naval Review, to explain this concept succinctly:

WSM de-conflicts the movements of submarines throughout the world. NATO and regional submarine operating authorities (SUBOPAUTHs) ensure the safety of submarine operations in the world’s oceans. Submarines are routed to their operating areas using a SUBNOTE, and provide a ‘moving haven’ of defined dimensions (including depth) in which the submarine must remain. This allows submarines to be routed in closer proximity to each other without danger of mutual interference. The actual patrol or operating area is defined by a Notice of Intention (NOI), or a Submarine Patrol Area (SPA), providing the geographic coordinates, depth and time period in which the submarine will be operating. Information on submarines operating in their own territorial waters is not shared with other states. Operating a dived submarine in another state’s territorial seas is considered a serious act of provocation (assuming you have a submarine that can detect it).

In peacetime, the safety of submarine movement is paramount – an underwater collision will be catastrophic. Consequently, all submarine movement (including covert operations) is de-conflicted using the NATO and/or regional SUBOPAUTHS and the WSM system to ensure no other submarines are operating or transiting in the same ‘moving haven’ or MH.

Deployment areas for U.S., Royal, and French Navy SSBNs are closely held by their national authorities, but even these operations are de-conflicted among themselves at a high level.

One aspect of the (WSM) system not well understood is the ability for a submarine-operating state to temporarily declare a NOI for submarine operations on the high seas, thus de facto controlling that area. For example, Canada established a submarine NOI off the Grand Banks during the so-called Turbot War with Spain in 1995 using WSM protocols (as one tool used by) the Canadian government to resolve this unfortunate incident.
HMAS Dechaineux leads HMAS Waller and HMAS Sheean in formation. (Photo: CPOIS David Connolly)
Declaring the operation of a nuclear-powered submarine in Canadian Arctic waters and Northwest Passage choke points, indicates to other states that Canada has the capability to control the water column in ocean areas claimed by Canada. Although the WSM is not meant to prevent other states’ submarines from operating in the Canadian Arctic under the control of Canada (with the exception of internal waters and territorial seas), it will ensure that when a Canadian SSN NOI is established, other allied states that intend to take their submarines through the NOI need to de-conflict their movement with the Canadian SUBOPAUTH to ensure the safety of both states’ submarines. Demonstrating to Canadians and non-Canadians alike that Canada has the will and the capability to assert sovereignty in the seas of the Arctic will become more important as global warming allows increased exploration of the Arctic seabed, and its rich resources. The WSM system is an important tool in this endeavour, but only if Canada maintains a viable and capable submarine force which, by necessity, demands the timely replacement of the ‘ice-edge limited’ Victoria-class SSKs by a capable fleet of eight under-ice capable SSNs, to allow for a seamless transition period.

Lessons Learned
The need for SSNs demands a look back at the 1987 White Paper and its ‘Crown Jewel’ plans for 10-12 SSNs, plus the uninformed, media-whipped hysteria against the acquisition. I was unfortunate enough to witness first hand, at a local Department of National Defence forum, bogus arguments against ‘nuclear-armed’ submarines or that sinking a Soviet submarine in our sovereign waters would start nuclear Armageddon.

As senior research fellow with Dalhousie University’s Centre for Foreign Policy Studies, Peter Haydon, notes: “That these issues became publicly volatile can be attributed in part to poor DND Public Relations policy on the submarine acquisition program. Simply, the concept of operations and the acquisition process were not adequately transparent.” A common PR failing has been the lack of emphasis on nuclear-powered vice nuclear-armed.

As it was then, and stands even more so today – the SSN is the only tool / platform capable of extending the RCN's reach below our ice-covered Arctic waters by demonstrating a measure of actual control, providing the RCN with a respectable presence in both the Atlantic and Pacific, and a true force-multiplier able to meet all Canadian maritime sovereignty and defence requirements.
2014 – HMCS Victoria (SSK 876) departs Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam for the at-sea phase of the biennial Rim of the Pacific Exercise (the world’s largest international maritime exercise). Participating in the Hawaiian Islands exercise were 22 nations, 49 ships and submarines, more than 200 aircraft, and 25,000 personnel. (Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Photo: PO1 Makoto Maeda)
An SSN can travel the Northwest Passage, under the icecap, from Atlantic to Pacific, in just 14 days vice a month via the Panama Canal, or two months going around South America. Soviet submarines are again able to ‘surge’ into the Atlantic; and travel under the Arctic icecap (would) enable them to avoid the monitored Greenland, Iceland, UK (GIUK) gap in the Atlantic. Let us not forget that Russian and American nuclear-powered submarine travel in our Arctic waters has indeed been confirmed.

As in 1987, Canadian sovereignty over our increasingly accessible Arctic waters rests upon little more than uninformed proclamations made by politicians in Ottawa. Without the capabilities of SSNs to operate under the Arctic icecap, Ottawa cannot claim to control our Arctic waters and their increasingly accessible rich resources. Perrin Beatty fully realized this when he asserted in Summer 1987 that: “the new thrust of exploration of the seabed, and competition for resources that may be found in the Arctic, could lead to disputes about sovereignty over maritime supremacy and rights of passage. Canada would be in a much stronger position to press her claims if she possessed adequate capabilities to establish surveillance and presence in the contested waters.”

Without SSNs Canada cannot exercise authority in the Arctic waters within the confines of it’s sovereign territory. This is a central requirement to any definition of sovereignty. As noted in theDefence Update 1988-89: “to be a truly independent nation we must shoulder the responsibilities that come with independence [such as the ability to assert control over our own ice-covered Arctic waterways] by contributing more fully to our own defence. If we are to be truly sovereign, we cannot ‘contract out’ the defence of Canada.”

As the International Court of Justice ruled in 1931, it is the exercise of authority that is the ‘principal’ consideration when dealing with matters of sovereignty, as this control even supersedes prior claims.

France’s ambassador to Canada from 1989-91, Bujon de l’Estang, asserted in 2007 to Keith Spicer that the ‘Crown Jewel’ SSN acquisition was cancelled in 1991 due to U.S. Navy opposition and not ‘budgetary reasons’. “I was always convinced that Washington’s pressures weighed heavily in this, and were likely decisive. The truth is, the U.S. didn’t [and still doesn’t] want Canada to be able to protect its own territory, especially in the Arctic.”

Delegating the defence of our Arctic waters to U.S. Navy SSNs, as is presently the case, leaves Canada in a shameful position of utter dependence – a position unbefitting a sovereign Canada. An increase of just 1/20 of our defence budget, some C$1 Billion a year over 12 years, or approximately .01% of our annual GDP (easily affordable for a G7 nation), would allow Canada to fund the SSN acquisition and allow us to finally contribute our ‘fair share’ within the NATO alliance. Otherwise, we may as well just tuck our heads in the sand like an Ostrich, ignore reality, and continue to profess hot-air sovereignty over our Arctic seas while somebody else stamps their national flag on our behind and usurps our Arctic maritime resources.

Mark Romanow is an Independent Defence Analyst/Writer that has been repeatedly published in Canadian and International Defence Magazines, as well as in on-line articles. He can be reached in Edmonton

RCN Needs a Hospital Ship - STAT

© 2016 FrontLine Defence (Vol 13, No 4)

As the new Liberal Government seeks to redefine Canada’s role in world affairs, perhaps it is time to look at new alternatives to the way Canada has traditionally responded to international crises, particularly in the humanitarian role.

Acquiring a Canadian Government Hospital Ship capability would offer new options for Canadian response such as: enhancing Canadian soft power; improving Canada’s ability to respond to a natural disaster; providing increased health care services to Canadians located in remote Northern and coastal communities; and also in stimulating the economy.

Hospital ships are internationally protected in accordance with Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions of 1949. They are lit and marked to indicate their purpose as a hospital ship. They must not be used for military purposes and must be unarmed (beyond small arms required for security). They are subject to search by belligerents in a conflict and must not interfere with any combatant vessels.
USNS Mercy (1986) and Comfort (1987), the two U.S. Hospital Ships, were converted from San Clemente-class supertankers. Shown below, Mercy’s last mission was in 2013, when she arrived in the Phillippines area to ­provide aid in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.
Hospital Ships are different from Casualty Receiving and Transport Ships (CRTS), which are typically warships with a secondary role of providing limited medical support to one side in a conflict. Examples of a CRTS would include vessels such as U.S. Navy amphibious ships, the French Mistral-class ships, and the proposed multi-role logistics support ship for Canada. Unlike hospital ships, these vessels are classified as combatant vessels. They are not internationally protected, are not marked as a hospital ship, are usually armed, and typically do not permit belligerents to board and inspect the vessel.

Modern hospital ships have all the services of a major hospital – everything from multiple operating rooms to Intensive care units, advanced diagnostic imaging, laboratory services, a blood bank, pharmacy, ophthalmology, physiotherapy, dental clinic, a medical warehouse, medical equipment repair services, and mortuary services. These ships vary in size from half a dozen to 1000 beds (the size of some of the largest hospitals in Canada). Several countries, including Brazil, China, Indonesia, Russia, Spain, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam, all operate vessels dedicated to providing medical aid and assistance. Some other countries operate military vessels that can accommodate and treat patients. Hospital ships are also operated by private charities, as in the case of the Motor Vessel (M/V) Mercy Africa. Canada had minimal maritime capacity for treating patients other than its own crew and now, with the paying off of HMCS Protecteur and Preserver, further eroding what limited capacity we had. Currently, capability in the Navy is limited to a single Physician’s Assistant on each of its Frigates.

Value and Flexibility
Perhaps the greatest single benefit of a hospital ship is its mobility. It is capable of deploying around the world, and is self-sufficient when it reaches its destination. Hospital ships have all the features of a modern hospital – and bring with them the service and resources necessary to support the medical staff assigned to that hospital ship (such as accommodation, food services, potable water, laundry facilities, medical warehousing, medical oxygen generation, and a clean working environment for medical equipment, staff and patients). Further, hospital ships enjoy a level of security and safety that many land-based field hospitals and treatment facilities do not. Access to the hospital ship is easier to manage, and control. Unlike a field hospital, a hospital ship (and embarked patients and staff) can easily be moved out of harm’s way in the face of a natural or manmade threat without interrupting the delivery of care and medical services.
During Harmonious Mission 2015, China’s Hospital Ship Peace Ark visited seven countries and regions around the Pacific Ocean (Australia, French Polynesia, the United States, Mexico, Barbados, Grenada, and Peru) for military diplomacy, medical exchange and cultural communication. (USN PHOTO: MC1 Carlos Gomez)
Logistically, a hospital ship is easier to support than land-based field hospitals, in part because it typically carries all the supplies and spare parts it needs to sustain operations. A hospital ship has the option of moving to a safe, secure, and supportable location for resupply if necessary. Additionally, it can be pre-positioned (without an embarked medical staff) to areas such as the Caribbean during hurricane season, or conflict zones such as Syria and Libya (in the same way that the Canadian Government currently deploys warships).

Soft Power
A hospital ship is a potent instrument of international policy, diplomacy, humanitarianism, and soft power. It can provide disaster relief assistance during a natural disaster, humanitarian assistance and advanced medical care and treatment in developing countries, and can serve as a floating classroom and medical training facility both at home and abroad. Because it is internationally protected, a hospital ship can deploy to areas where the Canadian military might otherwise be viewed as a combatant.

Soft power has been defined as “getting others to want what you want through the use of culture, values and institutions rather than by the use of force”. The use of soft power to achieve desired political outcomes in international security and stability, social development, and public health can increase Canadian influence and stature on the international stage, and is a viable alternative to the use of military force. Providing good will, humanitarian assistance and international development is at the core of Canadian values and how we wish the rest of the world to view Canada.

The U.S. government sponsored a public opinion survey that was conducted in the wake of the US Naval Ship (USNS) Mercy mission to Bangladesh and Indonesia after the 2004 Tsunami. The results demonstrated very significant changes in local opinion of the United States. Clearly, the Mercy mission was very effective in changing anti-Western sentiments. In fact, USN humanitarian assistance deployments of USNS Mercy and her sister ship Comfort have enjoyed almost universal positive public opinion ratings with Americans versus a very polarized public opinion response to the use of U.S. military combat forces (Webb and Richter, 2010, p.165).

Domestic Operations
In addition to its versatility in conducting international disaster relief and humanitarian assistance roles, a hospital ship has the ability to supplement or replace existing Canadian medical infrastructure after a natural disaster. USNS Comfort deployed to New York City in the days following 9/11 to augment New York City medical facilities, treating 541 relief workers who had been injured during the recovery efforts. In 2005, USNS Comfort deployed to Pascagoula, Mississippi, and New Orleans, Louisiana, after Hurricane Katrina to provide trauma services, treating nearly 2000 patients in seven weeks.

In the event of a major natural or man-made disaster along any of Canada’s three coasts or in the Great Lakes, a Canadian hospital ship could augment existing medical facilities or act as a temporary replacement for damaged or destroyed health infrastructure.

Hospital ships can deliver medical services to remote areas that are under-served by traditional medical facilities. The Brazilian Navy operates three hospital ships along the Amazon River to deliver medical care to remote villages. A Canadian hospital ship capable of operating in Arctic waters could provide advanced medical treatment and facilities to many Northern communities and would provide an effective alternative to medical evacuation to southern Canadian cities.

The Russian Navy has three Ob’-class ships: Irtysh, Svir, and Yenisey (built between 1981 and 1990). Each has 7 operating rooms, 100 hospital beds and a helipad. They are operated by civilian crews and staffed by naval medical personnel. Class leader Ob, built in 1980, was sold to China in 2007.
The isolation component of any vessel means a Hospital ship can act as an alternative medical facility for treatment of highly contagious pathogens. The UK deployed the RFA Argus to Sierra Leone in 2015 to provide support to international medical teams ashore and to act as a medical treatment facility for international medical staff. A Canadian hospital ship could provide alternate medical facilities for outbreaks such as SARS, helping to check the spread of such highly infectious diseases.

Construction and Operation
Many hospital ships began their lives in other roles. USN Ships Comfort and Mercy were originally built as US Navy oil tankers before undergoing conversion. While a new-build Canadian hospital ship is certainly within the capabilities of the Canadian shipbuilding industry, conversion of an existing commercial ship design might prove to be the most economical alternative. As the cruise ship industry has grown over the years, the drive for larger and larger cruise ships has led to the early obsolescence and replacement of a number of vessels that would make ideal hospital ships. Many of these vessels remain available for sale or lease.

Cruise ships have many design features that make them desirable vessels for conversion to a hospital ship. To begin with, they are designed to carry large numbers of people – a significant portion of the hull space set aside for passenger cabins and the service staff required to cater to them. Ship services such as fresh water making, heating, ventilation and air conditioning, electrical generation, black and grey water collection and treatment, laundry facilities, food services and cargo capacity are already capable of supporting medical treatment services. Further, many cruise ships are designed to travel into restricted harbours and waterways and therefore already have advanced navigation and propulsion systems allowing them to manœuvre in tight waters without the aid of a tug.

Canada’s National Shipbuilding Strategy had winners and losers for the shipbuilding industry. Some yards such as Port Weller and Chantier-Davie lost out on the opportunity to participate in construction of the next generation of Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and Canadian Coast Guard ships. However, Chantier Davie created Project Resolve to address the gap between the retirement of Canada’s replenishment ships (HMC Ships Protecteur and Preserver) and their replacement by the Joint Support Ships HMC Ships Queenstown and Chateauguay (to be built by Vancouver-based Seaspan). Project Resolve will provide an interim resupply capability for the RCN by converting a commercial ship to act as an oiler and replenishment ship. This converted ship will be operated and maintained by Chantier-Davie and leased to the Navy.

A similar such conversion, operation, maintenance and leasing arrangement for a hospital ship would both reduce much of the upfront costs of acquiring a hospital ship and make the capital costs more palatable. Further, privatizing operation and maintenance of a hospital ship would minimize demands placed upon existing government repair facilities such as the Navy’s Fleet Maintenance Facilities. A contracted hospital ship capability need not involve the Navy at all. Such a ship could be funded by other federal government departments such as Global Affairs Canada.
Launched in 1929 as passenger liner Hikawa Maru, this 11.6-ton ship’s routes typically included Hong Kong, Shanghai, Hawaii, Victoria, Vancouver and Seattle. It was requisitioned by the Japanese Navy in November 1941, and conversion to a hospital ship began on December 1st at the Mitsubishi Zosen shipyard. Three weeks later, on 23 December 1941, she departs on her first hospital round-trip voyage under the command of naval surgeon Captain Kanai Izumi. In 1960, she was taken out of service and became a floating youth hostel, museum and restaurant at Yokohama, Japan. (art by Ueda Kihachiro)
Several Canadian shipyards have the capacity to convert a cruise ship into a hospital ship, and a hospital ship project would create regional benefits for shipyards that did not receive any of the NSPS projects. Further, funding a hospital ship through Global Affairs Canada/International Development, and choosing a shipyard not involved in the NSS contracts would reduce or eliminate any potential impact on the construction of Canadian Coast Guard and RCN projects.

As Chantier-Davie demonstrated with the rapid ramp up of Project Resolve, a hospital ship project could be shovel-ready within a very short period of time, thus tying into the federal government’s intent to spend on infrastructure projects.

Crewing a Hospital Ship
As previously noted, crewing a hospital ship can be done on a contract basis such as the arrangement with Federal Fleet Services for the crew of the Project Resolve replenishment ship. The U.S. Navy keeps each of their hospital ships on a standby basis with a small crew of maintainers and technicians, and augments the rest of the crew and medical staff when the ships are activated. There are several options for medically staffing a Canadian hospital ship. Cooperative arrangements with other like-minded countries, coalitions of the willing, or international organizations such as Médecins Sans Frontières, the Red Cross, the UN High Commission for Refugees, international charities, Canadian provinces and health authorities, as well as CAF medical personnel are all viable options. Medical staff composition could be tailored for the mission as the situation dictates. A Canadian hospital ship could also fulfil the role as a floating classroom for Canadian and international medical students, giving many the opportunity to learn and work in a modern hospital environment.

The Humanitarian Gap
Given the inherent value of such a national asset – its capacity to project soft power, its ability to contribute to Canadian international development and humanitarian response, its utility in responding to disasters here in Canada and abroad, its affordability and potential for contributing to employment and prosperity – why doesn’t Canada have a hospital ship?

LCdr Tim McDermott is a recently retired Royal Canadian Navy Officer of 37 years. He is currently completing a Graduate Degree in Disaster and Emergency Management at Royal Roads University.

Reconnaissance mission sent to study peacekeeping operations in Mali

By:Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — The federal government is sending a "reconnaissance mission" to take a closer look at the United Nations peacekeeping operations in Mali.

Officials insist the fact-finding mission, a small group of diplomats, military personnel and RCMP officers, does not mean the government has decided to send Canadian peacekeepers to the west African country.

But one expert says it does suggest that, despite its dangers, Mali is at the top of the list of peacekeeping missions that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could announce as early as mid-September.

The Liberal government said last week that it will make up to 600 troops available for UN peacekeeping operations, including specialized units and equipment such as engineers, medical personnel and military aircraft.

Yet noticeably absent was any indication of which countries or UN missions the government was considering. Trudeau said the government would discuss the matter with the UN and other nations and decide based on where Canada could best contribute.

Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier would not provide specific details about the reconnaissance mission to Mali, citing security concerns.

But he said the delegation will meet counterparts from the Malian government as well as commanders of the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, or MINUSMA, as it is known.

"The purpose of this reconnaissance mission is to develop our knowledge and understanding of MINUSMA in order to provide advice to the government," Le Bouthillier said in an email. "The overriding objective is to provide appropriate guidance and advice to the government."

Le Bouthillier said federal departments are working with the UN "to best assess where we can contribute military assets."

Aside from Mali, the government is also believed to be looking at missions in the Central African Republic, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan visited at the beginning of August.

But Walter Dorn, an expert on peacekeeping at the Royal Military College of Canada, said Sajjan's visit to the DRC was different because it was political.

"This is more operational and planning," he said. "Sending a recon mission to Mali is a strong indication that Canada is putting it high on a list of possible deployments."

The government has not said when a decision will be made. However, Dorn is among those who feel the most likely scenario would be when the UN General Assembly opens in New York in mid-September.

Mali has long been seen as among the top candidates for a Canadian mission in Africa. MINUSMA was established in April 2013 after French and African Union forces pushed back rebel and Islamic militant forces that had taken control in the north of the country.

The current peacekeeping force numbers about 13,000 troops and 2,000 police and while it includes contributions from Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden, most of the contingents are from countries in Africa and South Asia. The mission is extremely complex and includes everything from training local forces to protecting civilians, to counter-insurgency operations.

It is has also become the most dangerous UN peacekeeping mission in the world, with 105 peacekeepers killed over the last four years, including 31 this year alone. One peacekeeper from Chad was killed and four others were wounded when their vehicle hit a mine in northern Mali on Aug. 7.

Those dangers may cause some Canadians to shy away from Mali.

But a UN official in New York pointed out that Canada's recent experience in complex theatres of operation such as Afghanistan, combined with the Canadian military's advanced technical and operational capabilities, would prepare their units for deployments into challenging missions such as MINUSMA.

The Canadian military's francophone skills would also be important in a country such as Mali, the official said.

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Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Thursday, September 1, 2016

CAF Reconnaissance Team in Latvia

According to the Canadian Forces, a reconnaissance team is currently in Latvia to conduct initial assessments of the requirements necessary to establish and sustain a multinational NATO battle group there, according to Canadian military. The visit includes a series of briefings and activities with Latvian and other Allied officials.

The Canadian military is preparing to deploy troops and equipment to Latvia in 2017 “in order to lead a robust multinational NATO battlegroup,” the military stated.

The reconnaissance team, led by Commodore Brian Santarpia, is composed of members of the “Defence Team” specializing in the fields of operational planning, policy, military training, logistics, medical, signals and communications, transport, and finance, the Canadian Forces noted.

There is a Role for the RCAF in UN Operations

By: David Pugliese, Defence Watch

Last week, the Liberal government announced it would free up 600 Canadian military personnel for possible deployment on United Nations peace support operations. It did not provide details on what UN missions those military personnel would take part in.

But the focus of many analysts has largely been on the Canadian Army and the assumption it will have a key role in such missions. In mid-July, Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jon Vance said the army would be soon heading to a mission in Africa but he didn’t provide details.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan wrapped up a fact-finding mission to Africa in mid-August, having visited the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

The Canadian government has been considering participating in the UN operation in Mali. That mission currently involves around 10,000 military personnel taking part in an effort to stabilize Mali. Various armed groups, including Islamic insurgents, have been conducting sporadic attacks in that country. The UN plans to boost the mission by around 2,500 personnel.

Some defence analysts such as Martin Shadwick have suggested the RCAF could become a player in any future Mali mission.

In mid-July the UN confirmed the Dutch were withdrawing their four Apache attack helicopters and three Chinooks from the UN mission in Mali.

The RCAF doesn’t operate Apaches but it has Chinooks and those are the type of aircraft needed to transport UN troops around Mali. There are also Griffon gunships available from the RCAF to accompany the Chinooks on operations.

The UN has been consulting countries on how to replace the Dutch air assets. Whether Canada comes forward with such aircraft remains to be seen.

But the RCAF has been involved before in Mali. In 2013 the Royal Canadian Air Force provided transport support to a French military operation in Mali aimed at dealing with insurgents who threatened to overrun the African nation.

Mali had been considered stable until early 2012 when tribesmen seeking an independent country combined forces with Islamic militants to take control of the northern half of the country.

The insurgents received a boost when NATO forces, including those from Canada, helped overthrow Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi in 2011. The insurgents outfitted themselves with weapons stolen from the Libyan government’s military bases.

During the 2013 operation, Canadian C-17 aircraft transported French armoured vehicles, trucks, troops and supplies into Mali in support of the French military.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

HMCS Chicoutimi Expected to Return to Sea by Year-End

By: David Pugliese, Defence Watch

The Victoria-class submarine HMCS Windsor, as outlined in a previous Defence Watch post, will be taking part in Exercise Cutlass Fury, expected in mid-September.

Another sub, HMCS Corner Brook, is in deep maintenance.

The Royal Canadian Navy is continuing to deal with problems with welds on the remaining subs, HMCS Victoria and HMCS Chicoutimi, Vice Admiral Ron Lloyd, head of the RCN, told Defence Watch.

A February inspection of 344 welds on HMCS Chicoutimi showed 30 needed immediate repair, according to the Times Colonist newspaper. The work is being done under warranty by Babcock Canada. Also to be inspected are 325 welds on HMCS Victoria.

“The contractor has taken on and has dealt with this head on, and he’s going to include it as warranty work,” Lloyd told Defence Watch. “And they’re working full out in terms of rectifying this shortcoming.”

“Our goal is to have Chicoutimi at sea by the end of the year, looking to employ her more fulsomely in 2017,” Lloyd explained. “And then once we’ve got Chicoutimi back to sea, we’ll start focusing our attention on HMCS Victoria.”

Peacekeeping expected to cost less than non-UN missions

By: Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — One side benefit of Canada's return to peacekeeping is that it could end up costing a lot less than leading a NATO force in Latvia or the war in Iraq.

The Liberal government announced last week that it will make up to 600 troops available for future United Nations peacekeeping operations, though it stopped short of saying where they could end up. Specialized units and equipment, such as military aircraft and medical personnel, are also on the table.

The commitment is in addition to the approximately 800 personnel participating in the U.S.-led fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and Canada's promise in July to send up about 450 soldiers to lead a NATO force in Latvia starting next year.

Yet unlike those two missions, in which Canada is required to foot the entire bill, the UN reimburses countries that provide soldiers to peacekeeping missions, to the tune of more than $1,300 a month for each soldier. It will also often reimburse countries for the deployment of high-tech equipment.

Such reimbursements money wouldn't entirely offset the costs of a Canadian peacekeeping mission, said Walter Dorn, an expert on peacekeeping at the Royal Military College of Canada, "but it can be a lot of money that the UN pays out."

That would certainly ease the pressure on the military, which has been contending with tight budgets for years. Defence spending hit record lows last year, falling to less than 0.98 per cent of gross domestic product even as the number of Canadian military operations abroad has ratcheted up.

While Dorn said he doesn't believe the reimbursements were a major factor in the Liberal government's decision to re-engage with peacekeeping, "it's a bonus."

But retired major-general Lewis MacKenzie, who led a UN force in Sarajevo in 1992, says his fear is the government could end up using peacekeeping to justify spending less and less on the military.

"You could stand there on your political platform and explain why you're giving the military less money because we're going to make sure they're committed to UN operations where they won't need the full suite of military equipment," he said. "A blue beret and a pistol, to exaggerate."

MacKenzie's concerns are rooted in memories of the 1990s, when the Chretien government deployed thousands of Canadian soldiers on UN missions around the world even as it made deep cuts to defence. Former defence chief Rick Hillier would later describe the period as a "decade of darkness" for the military.

Dorn acknowledged the concerns, saying that at the time "a lot of the soldiers complained that peacekeeping was a way for the government to spend less on defence. They weren't getting the kind of equipment they wanted. More warfighting, heavier equipment."

But Dorn said in his research, he has seen no evidence of what he called the "myth" of peacekeeping being used to justify spending less on the military.

The Trudeau government is currently conducting a defence policy review to determine the future missions and needs of the military. That includes what equipment the Canadian Armed Forces require.

The new policy is expected to be unveiled early next year, in time for the federal budget. While the government has said it will maintain operational funding levels for the military, it has not said whether it will make more money available for new equipment.

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Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Canada helping Belize with defence policy amid tensions with Guatemala

By: David Pugliese, The Ottawa Citizen 

Canada is helping Belize to determine its defence policy even as tensions between the central American nation and neighbouring Guatemala continue to simmer over the killing of a 13-year boy by Belize soldiers.

Top military officers from Belize came to Ottawa in February for meetings and to receive advice from the Department of National Defence and Canadian Forces on their country’s future defence strategy.

Belize is embroiled a border dispute with Guatemala, which deployed 3,000 troops in April to a disputed area between the two countries.

Luis Soto / Associated PressTwo men stand on a portion of a bridge damaged in Melchor de Mencos, Guatemala, on the Peten border with Belize, Thursday, Aug. 4, 201

Brig.-Gen. David Jones, commander of the Belize Defence Force (BDF), says the strategic defence review will outline the way ahead for the nation’s military for at least the next five years.

“It’s going to look at the tasks the government wants the BDF to achieve, how they are going to achieve it, and then to put together those resources that they need to achieve it,” he said this year. “So with the help of the Canadian government we are finalizing that document.”

Feliz Enrique of the Belize defence ministry said this week the U.S. and Britain are also being consulted.

Canadian officials have been helping Belize with its strategic review for several years.

The February trip allowed officials from Belize to seek “additional expertise in areas such as capability based planning, investment planning, accrual accounting, budgeting, and full life-cycle costing for equipment acquisitions,” said Ashley Lemire, a spokeswoman for the Department of National Defence.

“Moving forward, Canada and Belize have agreed to continue cooperation on defence planning, recognizing that Canada is currently undertaking its own review.”

The Guatemala troop deployments occurred after the 13-year-old was shot dead.

Guatemalan officials claimed the youth and his family were attacked as they planted crops near the border.

But Belize’s government said security forces investigating illegal land clearing in a national park had detained a Guatemalan man.

Later that night, the Belizean patrol was attacked and returned fire in self defence. The boy’s body was found the next morning.

Belize is of growing importance to the Canadian government due to the increasingly precarious security situation in Central America

On May 19, Belize accused Guatemalan troops of kidnapping a Belizean farmer. It has asked the Organization of American States to investigate that and other live fire incidents on the border.

The shootings are the latest incidents in a dispute between the two countries over Guatemala’s claims to territory governed by Belize.

Canada’s role in Belize’s security has increased over the years because of concerns Mexican drug cartels were making inroads in the country.

The Canadian Forces has delivered non-lethal aid – binoculars, military clothing, helmets and boots – to Belize security forces. Canadian special forces teams have also helped train the BDF.

“Belize is of growing importance to the Canadian government due to the increasingly precarious security situation in Central America, particularly along the Belize-Mexico border,” the department said a March 2012 briefing note prepared for then-defence minister Peter MacKay.

Ottawa Citizen

All signs point to UN mission in Africa

By: Matthew Fisher, The Ottawa Citizen 

Getting logistics right will be priority No. 1

CHAD HIPOLITO / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILESThe Quebec-based Royal 22nd Regiment, the Vandoos, some of whom returned weeks ago from Europe, may be the first force to be deployed to Africa, writes Matthew Fisher.
Colombia and South Sudan are the longshot options for Canada’s first major UN military operation since Jean Chrétien sent troops to East Timor 16 years ago.

A reasonable case can be made for Colombia, where the government and rebels have just signed a peace accord that may end a war that has gone on for years. But Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan have made it clear the government has its heart set on a mission in French West Africa to further Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ambition to gain a seat on the UN Security Council.

Only time will tell whether it was worthwhile in Canadian blood and treasure to deploy on an open-ended mission to Mali, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo or other options equally fraught with danger, such as Niger or Burundi. Factored into the equation when that reckoning comes will be the true value to Canada of the UN appointment when, like the other 10 non-permanent members, it would only be admitted to the inner sanctum for two years and would be powerless to do anything there in the face of the veto powers of the five permanent members.

As it is almost certain Canada will become involved in French West Africa, Ottawa has been keen to begin that mission with French-speaking troops. This makes sense, but could seriously complicate the training and readiness regimes of the country’s three combat brigades.

Since early August, the Canadian Army’s high-readiness brigade has been built around the Edmonton-based Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. But the first force to be deployed to Africa may have to be drawn from the Quebec-based Royal 22nd Regiment, the Vandoos, some of whom returned only weeks ago from a deployment to eastern Europe.

Not much has been heard from Gen. Jonathan Vance, chief of the defence staff of the Canadian Armed Forces, about the potential perils of a mission in a region where Canadian deployments to Rwanda and Somalia have had difficulties and where the UN’s current peacemaking operations have been so rife with allegations of grave sexual misconduct, incompetence and cowardice, they can only be described as a total disaster.

Once the Canadians’ destination is revealed in September, Vance, who is a famously straight shooter, is likely to begin making it clear to the troops and the public what lies ahead.

Among the unspoken military concerns is that this is an open-ended mission and little or no help can be expected from the Americans. That may sound great to some Canadians. But if things go south, as they might, nobody except perhaps the French, who are already badly stretched by combat operations in Africa and the Middle East and in dealing with the terrorist threat at home, may have our backs.

One of the reasons Canadian forces would prefer to go to Mali may be because that is where the French have the most troops and the most robust military capability. It is also where Germany and the Netherlands have quietly sent about 1,000 troops over the past year, although those countries do not see their contributions as part of a bid for a Security Council seat.

Like the French, the Canadian military needs to be careful about becoming overstretched. As African operations involving about 600 ramp up, it must also sustain about 800 troops in Kuwait and the Kurdish part of Iraq. It will soon send about 450 combat troops on a new NATO mission to Latvia to to try to contain Russia’s irredentist impulses on its western borders.

With only five C-17 heavylift aircraft and oceans between these disparate missions and Canada, getting the logistics right will be job No. 1. Much of the planning will fall to Maj.-Gen. Chuck Lamarre.

The logistician responsible for the massive undertaking of bringing all Canada’s equipment back from Kandahar, he is now Vance’s director of staff and his right arm on operations.

Given that the Trudeau government intends to keep Canadian Forces in Africa for many years and that those troops will require scores of heavy armoured personnel carriers, weapons, a field hospital and helicopters, something to look for soon may be an announcement Canada intends to establish a regional logistics hub, most likely in the Senegalese port of Dakar. It would be something akin to the ones that already exist in Kuwait and Cologne.

Identifying personnel and assembling the tens of thousands of nuts and bolts required to deploy to a part of the world where infrastructure is almost totally lacking will take time and patience. That will give Canadians the opportunity to ponder whether the African mission is an altruistic endeavour to do good in a deeply troubled part of the world or a grand bid to enhance Canada’s chances of winning the Security Council seat.

Vance: CAF Sexual misconduct an ongoing problem

By: David Pugliese, The Ottawa Citizen 

Canada’s top soldier says sexual misconduct is still a problem in the military, with six people convicted of such offences in the last eight months and another 24 subjected to severe administrative action. 
FRED CHARTRAND / THE CANADIAN PRESSChief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance said the military is still tallying how many leaders have been released from the Canadian Forces because of sexual misconduct, saying it is still a problem in the military. Six people have been convicted of such offences in the last eight months.
“Incidents of harmful sexual behaviour are still occurring,” Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance said Tuesday.

“We’ve removed people from command positions. We’ve dismissed people from the Canadian Armed Forces.”

Vance said the military is still tallying how many leaders have been released from the Canadian Forces because of sexual misconduct.

“We do know that leaders have been removed,” he said. “They are in the media right now. I don’t want to speak about them because they are before the courts.”

Vance said he expects more bad news when details of a survey of military staff come in. “I expect results to be sobering when we get results in the fall,” he said. “Quick fixes will not work.” Vance launched Operation Honour, or Op Honour, last year to deal with sexual misconduct in the ranks after a scathing report by former Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps who found sexual harassment and misconduct, including assaults, appeared to be widespread in the Canadian Forces.

Her April 2015 report raised warnings about a “sexualized culture” that subjected women in uniform to abuse ranging from sexual jokes and harassment to rape. She also found sexual misconduct “endemic” in the Canadian Forces, but condoned by the military leadership.

During her year-long investigation, Deschamps interviewed hundreds of full- and part-time military personnel, as well as commanding officers, military police, chaplains, nurses and social workers.

The interviews pointed to what she described as a “hostile sexualized environment” in the military, particularly among recruits and the junior ranks.

“At the most extreme, these reports of sexual violence highlighted the use of sex to enforce power relationships,” noted Deschamps’ report, “and to punish and ostracize a member of a unit.”

The military’s leadership came under particularly harsh criticism. Deschamps found military personnel “became inured to this sexualized culture as they move up the ranks,” with officers turning a blind eye to inappropriate conduct and senior non-commissioned officers “imposing a culture where no one speaks up.”

“Underlying all these concerns is a deep mistrust that the chain of command will take such complaints seriously,” her report noted.

There have been concerns about how seriously some in the military take the issue of sexual abuse.

Then-chief of the defence staff Tom Lawson, who has since retired, came under fire last year for his claim that sexual harassment was still an issue in the Canadian Forces because people were “biologically wired in a certain way.” His comment sparked widespread outrage and Lawson apologized.

The Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont., was also in the headlines after it emerged that a guest speaker on sexual misconduct was belittled and harassed as she tried to conduct a seminar. The general in charge of the college eventually apologized for what was acknowledged as “unprofessional behaviour.”

Some recruits at the Royal Military College, as well as other Canadian Forces personnel, including individuals at the National Defence headquarters in Ottawa, have dubbed Vance’s initiative Op Honour as “Hop On Her” — a play on words suggesting sexual aggression.

Vance said Tuesday he understands that there are those who are skeptical of ongoing efforts to stop sexual misconduct but the situation is improving.

“We’ve made a good start.”

Nation Star-struck by Blue Helmets

By: Michael Den Tandt, National Post 

There is a planet, considerably closer than Proxima Centauri B, where the spirit of redshirted, Stephen-Harperhating partisania lives on, undimmed by last year’s change of power. It is a land that time forgot, mystical and unsullied. It is a land of … oh heck, it’s at One Yonge Street, the editorial boardroom of the Toronto Star.

In this ineffable high country of the mind, the Canada of 30, 40 and 50 years ago lives on, as though locked in amber. Lester B. Pearson, jovial and stolid, bestrides a convention stage next to the electric young patrician, Pierre Elliott Trudeau. Bad guys and bank robbers wear natty suits and hats. And peacekeeping, Canada’s singular contribution to planetary justice, bestrides the world like a colossus.

Why, we had 3,300 soldiers in Cyprus, the Golan Heights, Cambodia and the former Yugoslavia “in 1993 alone,” the Star’s editorial enthused Sunday, as it celebrated Canada’s imminent return to its blue-helmeted United Nations-supporting past, with 600 soldiers bound for peacekeeping duty in various parts of Africa. Canada is back, indeed. It is way, way back.

But, could trouble be afoot? “Peacekeeping is more complicated now,” the editorial continues, with a worldweary droop to its rhetorical shoulders, “requiring a combination of military, political, humanitarian and development skills. Forces in conflict are rarely composed of well-disciplined armies; instead peacekeepers often find themselves dealing with a chaotic mix of tribal militias, terrorist groups, broken states and unprincipled governments.”

Having unburdened herself or himself of this revelatory gem, the Star’s editorial writer gets bullet-chewing tough — on the former federal government, the one not currently sending any Canadian soldiers anywhere.

“It’s wise to re-engage carefully, especially given Canada’s record of relative inaction in peace operations under former prime minister Stephen Harper. Favouring isolation over UN activism, he allowed a celebrated tradition of Canadian peacekeeping to wither.” Terrible!

However, the Star’s writer concludes with evident joy, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have set the stars back on their proper course. “The Liberal government is going a considerable way in correcting Harper’s neglect. With millions of innocent civilians at imminent risk of brutalization and death in war zones around the world, Canada has a humanitarian duty to take meaningful action in easing the threat.”

To call the foregoing nonsense understates it some. That The Star saw fit to print this is amazing, even in a time when newspaper editorial writers are called upon to dash off their offerings in minutes, like performance art.

Where to begin? A briefing book provided to Foreign Affairs minister Stéphane Dion following his appointment to cabinet, obtained by Postmedia’s David Akin via access to information, outlined the status quo ante — peacekeeping at the close of the Harper era.

There were five small Canadian “peace-support” missions underway, under UN auspices, in October 2015 — in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, Haiti, Cyprus and Israel/ Lebanon. Canada ranked 68th among 124 countries in troop contributions to UN operations — and was the ninth-largest contributor, worldwide, to the UN’s annual peacekeeping budget, with an annual outlay just shy of US$240 million.

Additionally, the document shows, Canadian soldiers were contributing in small numbers to the Multinational Force and Observers mission in the Sinai, the Office of the U.S. Security Coordinator for Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the NATO Kosovo Force, as well as European Union support operations in the West Bank and Ukraine. Hardly a portrait of neglect.

More importantly, this portrayal of Canadian military history — which I have heard repeated in various iterations by Grit partisans for years, running into decades — contains bomb-cratersized holes. Most egregiously, it airbrushes the laudable peace-building aspects of the Afghan mission from 2002 to 2014, as well as the failures of peacekeeping in Somalia and Rwanda in the mid-1990s, from the frame.

It was a Liberal government, that of Jean Chrétien, that exacerbated the Somalia debacle with its shoddy handling of the aftermath, and its wrong-headed disbanding of the Airborne Regiment. The same government presided over the catastrophic failures of the Rwanda mission. It was also a Liberal government that launched the Afghan mission, both in its post-9/11 initial phase in 2002 and its more robust humanitarian and combat phase beginning in late 2005. Liberals enthusiastically backed the Afghan mission — until the day Harper took power in 2006, after which they began enthusiastically bashing it. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan knows this history well, having served with distinction in Afghanistan.

The prime minister, his defence and foreign ministers are not to blame for a bad editorial, granted. But they do share responsibility for perpetuating a transparently false construct of a glorious peacekeeping past that hasn’t corresponded to Canadian soldiers’ reality for at least the past 25 years.

Should the coming deployments be ramshackle, the rules of engagement prohibitive, the demands impossible, these ministers will take the blame. And they will deserve it, having had ample occasion to learn from their predecessors’ mistakes — or talk to a few veteran sergeants, perish the thought, and hear them tell the reality of peacekeeping, versus the otherworldly myth.

Dallaire: Put the Focus on Child Soldiers

This could be our new peacekeeping project, writes Roméo Dallaire.

The strategic and deliberate use of child soldiers continues to sustain conflict and sets countries on a course for years of violence, human rights abuses and ongoing threats of mass atrocity.
— Roméo Dallaire

Twenty-two years ago, I was the force commander of the UNAMIR peacekeeping mission before, during and after the Rwandan genocide. I witnessed first-hand, in one of humanity’s darkest hours, the horrific impacts of conflict and genocide. This experience has produced an unrelenting drive in me as a humanitarian to both prevent conflict and protect peace.
JUSTIN LYNCH/THE ASSOCIATED PRESS South Sudan’s government has recruited child soldiers for a renewed conflict, according to a United Nations document.
With this experience as a backdrop, it was with immense pleasure that I recently returned from a five-country fact-finding mission to Africa with Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and esteemed colleagues Justice Louise Arbour and Ambassador to the United Nations Marc-André Blanchard. Over a week, we reached out to the highest authorities in Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to understand how Canada can re-engage in peace support operations in the region.

We undertook this trip, in the words of Minister Sajjan, to discover the ground truth about conflict. It is only through an intimate understanding of how and why conflict persists that we will be in a position to effectively contribute to its prevention.

The most obvious observation, without a doubt, was the brutal fact that war has radically changed. Therefore, our tactics and approach must change also.

Today, children are both the primary drivers and victims of conflicts around the globe and particularly in Africa. From Mali to the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia, children continue to swell the ranks of both state and non-state armies. It is in this complex and ambiguous conflict environment that Canada will eventually re-engage in peace support operations.

The strategic and deliberate use of child soldiers continues to sustain conflict and sets countries on a course for years of violence, human rights abuses and ongoing threats of mass atrocity.

At the height of the Rwandan genocide, when I first faced the use of child soldiers, I had neither the knowledge nor tactics required to confront this threat adequately and preventively. Today, troop-contributing countries deployed in peace support operations remain undertrained to counter the most prevalent threat in most conflicts today: the extensive recruitment and use of child soldiers.

At every turn of our trip, Minister Sajjan deliberately sought out specific gaps that Canada could fill by collaborating with nations in building local capacity with the aim of contributing to conflict-prevention and peace-support operations.

As a nation, Canada is well-positioned to engage in the realities that face peace support operations — particularly in meeting the need for capacity-building with regard to children used as weapons of war. Canada, through the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, is already engaged in countries such as Uganda by building a capacity to counteract the recruitment and use of child soldiers in peace-support operations throughout the region.

This focus on the recruitment and use of child soldiers should be underpinned by an upfront children’s-rights approach in peace-support operations. When children and their rights are elevated as part of a larger strategy and methodology to peace-support operations, points of collaboration can be found and efforts amplified. It is not only through children that many conflicts are now unfortunately fought, but it is where the promise of lasting peace resides.

Canada’s return to the field, praised and impatiently awaited by all countries we visited, is caveated with a clear request to bring innovative thinking, tools and longterm commitments to instilling new skills and knowledge that will support the efforts of all toward peace and preventing conflict.

Over the coming months and years, under the direction of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Canada will continue to re-engage with the United Nations and the African Union on their respective peace support operations. Collaborative and concerted efforts — specifically protecting children through enhancing the role of military, peacekeepers and police to prevent the recruitment and use of child soldiers — should be a priority in the prevention of conflict.

Canada is indeed wellpositioned to engage in the realities that face peace support operations, particularly in meeting the need for capacity-building with regard to children used as weapons of war.