Friday, October 14, 2016

Canadian Defence Policy and Armed Intervention

By: Daniel Maillet, CAF Dispatch Author 

In a recent briefing paper presented to The Simons Foundation, peace advocate Ernie Regehr presented his outline for how the Government of Canada should assess any future Peacekeeping, Peace Support, or Military Operation.

His paper is a direct Canadian link to his published work, Disarming Conflict: Why Peace Cannot Be Won on the Battlefield (2015) where Regehr outlines that military victories are extremely rare in the post-World War Two era, and they are in decline since the end of the Cold War.

Regehr states that while a foe can be military degraded through armed intervention, that does not guarantee the region will be governable, secure, or safer in the future. Therefore, before Canada deploys to what many consider  extremely volatile regions as it returns to a Peacekeeping model for its armed forces, it needs to assess the overall political strategies of both the deployment and the UN's goals for the mission.

Regehr concludes, that while everyone admits peace support or peacekeeping operations offer no guarantee of success. But that does not mean they are useless, but it will take more than a pledge from Canada to re-engage in UN Peace Operations to correct any imbalance of Peace Operation trends.

You can  read Ernie Regehr's complete article:

Visiting French leader looking for peacekeeping update from PM Trudeau

Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Press

When France's leaders look at Canada, they see an oasis in a desert of angry populism that has darkened discussion on the merits of trade and immigration.

In their own country and across Europe, they see a backlash against the waves of immigrants flooding the continent from north Africa and the Middle East, and they hear loud rumblings against liberalized trade, including -- in some pockets, at least -- Canada's free trade deal with Europe.

They also see the ugliness of the U.S. presidential race, where both candidates have cast aspersions on trade, including the massive 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Not so in Canada.

That's why, when French Prime Minister Manuel Valls meets with counterpart Justin Trudeau this week, he will want to discuss why Canada seems immune to all that noise, say French officials, speaking on condition they not be named.

Over the course of meetings Wednesday and Thursday in Ottawa and Montreal, Valls wants to engage Trudeau on "the political atmosphere in the Western Hemisphere with the rising of populism, protectionism, and all these questions that we see rising in various countries," said one French diplomat.

"But less so in Canada, so that's why the prime minister is interested to hear about the Canadian situation and Canadian solutions."

While some might see it as philosophical navel-gazing, another French diplomat said that thread runs through the very real issues Valls and Trudeau are facing: the rise of Islamic extremism, especially in Africa, and getting the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement done once and for all.

Canada, France making progress on peacekeeping talks

On the former point, Valls is keen to get an update on Canada's plans for sending peacekeepers to West Africa to join the fight against Islamic militants.

The Trudeau government has said it will commit 600 peacekeepers to UN missions, and France has been pushing Canada hard to join the UN mission in West Africa.

France has 3,000 troops fighting a separate counter-insurgency mission in several countries that used to be its colonies, under the banner of Operation Barkhane.

"That is one very important subject," said one diplomat who wasn't authorized to discuss the matter publicly. The two countries are making progress on talks that have been taking place "for quite some time now," the diplomat added.

The two prime ministers won't be in a position to announce anything on this visit, but the two countries are getting closer.

"Frankly, it's really going in the right direction."

Canada has the expertise to play a leadership role in the UN mission, said another source, dismissing concerns that the Canadian Forces are out of peacekeeping practice after a long, deadly decade of war-fighting in Afghanistan.

Valls, who arrived Wednesday afternoon in Ottawa, was scheduled to sit down with Trudeau for a private dinner before Thursday's more formal proceedings. Both leaders travel to Montreal on Thursday for a luncheon hosted by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard.

Climate change and the Canada-U.S. free trade deal have been singled out by Trudeau's office as being among Canada's top priorities.

"The visit will also allow us to promote greater trade and innovation flows -- particularly though CETA -- to help grow the middle class and strengthen our economies," Trudeau said in a statement.

Majority supports peacekeeping missions in active fighting areas

Taline McPhedran,

Nearly 70 per cent of Canadians support deploying Canadian Forces on UN peacekeeping missions in active fighting areas, a poll conducted for CTV News has found.

The Nanos Research survey also found that nearly 80 per cent of Canadians either think that participating in UN peacekeeping missions is a very good (37 per cent) or good (37 per cent) use of Canadian Forces personnel and equipment. Only six per cent of Canadians think it’s a poor use of personnel and equipment, while four per cent think it’s a very poor use.

In August, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed to deploying 600 Canadian troops on UN peacekeeping missions, but wouldn’t say where they would be going. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan visited the United Nations on Thursday and met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, and possible Canadian peacekeeping missions were under discussion.

Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan speaks during the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial meeting at Lancaster House, in London on Sept. 8, 2016. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / AP-PA, Stefan Rousseau)

The survey found that seven in 10 Canadians support (30 per cent) and somewhat support (39 per cent) deploying Canadian Forces to active fighting areas. Alternatively, 14 per cent somewhat oppose while 13 per cent oppose the idea.

More than three in four Canadians support (48 per cent) or somewhat support (30 per cent) Canadian peacekeepers being allowed to shoot first when feeling threatened, with 11 per cent somewhat opposed and 6 per cent opposed.

More people in the Atlantic provinces supported the idea than in other parts of the country:
Atlantic: 85 per cent support/somewhat support
Quebec: 68 per cent support/somewhat support
Ontario: 80 per cent support/somewhat support
Prairies: 79 per cent support/somewhat support
British Columbia: 80 per cent support/somewhat support

One possible Canadian mission, supported by France, would be a deployment to Mali, where al-Qaeda-linked groups are becoming difficult to control. Another mission possibility would be to the Central African Republic, a politically unstable nation with multiple militia groups.

A majority of Canadians were also found to support (42 per cent) or somewhat support (37 per cent) making it a priority for Canada to have a seat on the UN Security Council. Eleven per cent somewhat oppose and six per cent oppose making it a priority.

Canadians are also overwhelmingly in favour (78 per cent) of having flexible end dates to peacekeeping missions, based on mission status, while 15 per cent think missions should have a firm end date.


The national dual-frame (land and cell) hybrid telephone and online survey of 1,000 people was conducted between Sept. 24 and 27th, 2016. The margin of error for a survey of 1,000 respondents is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Bids for New Canadian Warships Delayed

By: David Pugliese, Defence Watch 

The Liberal government’s plan to accept bids for the navy’s future warships has been delayed because of a battle over the amount of Canadian content needed in the vessels and the decision to allow a British design that only exists on paper into the competition.

Bids were to be requested from companies in August.

But a government spokesman now says the request is expected to go out to companies sometime “in the fall” although no specific date was given.

The bid package, called a request for proposals or RFP, has gone through various drafts, the latest handed to industry representatives on Sunday for comments.

The new ships called Canadian Surface Combatants are estimated to cost more than $26 billion and will be the backbone of the Royal Canadian Navy’s future fleet.

The project has seen repeated delays with the navy at one time expecting the ships by 2015. The vessels are now planned for sometime in the early 2020s.

Procurement minister Judy Foote has said only designs from ships already in service or mature existing designs will be accepted because it means there will be less risk and vessels could be built faster.

But industry sources say the RFP has been delayed because of questions raised about the amount of Canadian content and the Liberal government’s decision to consider a British warship that has yet to be built.

Nicolas Boucher, spokesman for Public Services and Procurement Canada, said companies will have until Friday to provide their comments on the final RFP. “Once the industry feedback has been assessed and any resulting revisions made, the formal RFP will be released to the pre-qualified firms in fall 2016,” he stated.

Industry sources say the government is facing a dilemma as it wants to have the maximum amount of Canadian content on the ships but at the same time a proven, existing design.

Such designs already have on board systems functioning and suppliers selected. It becomes a challenge to take out existing working systems and replace them with Canadian ones.

Other company officials have questioned attempts by some government officials to change the bid package to allow the Type 26 ship from the British firm BAE. Under the previous rules outlined in the draft RFP, the ship design was to have been completed and reviewed by the government purchasing the vessel, in this case the United Kingdom.

Type 26 GCS 01
An Artists rendering of a BAE Type-26 Global Combat Ship (GCS)
Industry sources say that hasn’t been done.

The United Kingdom has so far balked at signing a deal for the Type 26. British defence secretary Michael Fallon said last month he won’t sign a contract for the ship until he is persuaded it’s in the best interests of UK taxpayers and will provide value for money.

The move to rewrite portions of the Canadian bid package to allow for the Type 26 have sparked concern among some competitors about whether bureaucrats favour the vessel even though it exists only on paper.

Boucher stated in an email that BAE has been pre-qualified as a warship designer. Bids will evaluated by Irving Shipbuilding Inc. and the government of Canada, he added. “Evaluation of the bids will include financial and technical performance, maturity of the design along with the economic benefits criteria,” Boucher noted in the email.

BAE official Anne Healey said the company can’t comment on the criteria used to outline the maturity of a ship design. “We are confident that we will be able to compete for the Canadian Surface Combatant and we are looking forward to competing in a fair and open competition,” she added.

“The Type 26 Global Combat Ship is the world’s newest and most advanced surface combatant design,” she added. “ We are planning to cut steel in 2017, which is ideal timing for the CSC programme; being 3 years ahead of the Canadian program.”

Sean Lewis, spokesman for Irving Shipbuilding, said in an email that the request for proposals is expected shortly after feedback is received from industry.

Sajjan meets with United Nations officials in New York

Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan today completed a successful visit to United Nations headquarters in New York, NY, where he met with UN, US, and African officials, and reiterated Canada’s commitment to United Nations peace operations as part of Canada’s broader efforts to re-energize Canadian diplomacy and leadership on the world’s stage.

During his visit to the UN, Minister Sajjan met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN Secretary General designate Antonio Guterres, as well as other key UN officials, including Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Hervé Ladsous, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, and United States Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power. Topics of discussion included Canada’s recently-announced support to UN peace support operations, and the planning and objectives of the 2017 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial, which, as announced in September, will be hosted by Canada.

“I’m pleased to have had the opportunity to meet with partners at the UN and look forward to working together as we host the 2017 UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial in Canada,” said Minister Sajjan. “Our government is re-engaging with our allies and partners on global peace and security issues. We have committed to help lead peace support operations and will do our part, in collaboration with our allies and partners, to build a more secure and peaceful world.”

Minister Sajjan hosted a luncheon with African Ambassadors, including representatives from Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, and Sierra Leone. The Minister highlighted Canada’s efforts to re-engage with African countries and discussed global peace and security priorities, particularly in the context of the security challenges facing Africa.

In August 2016, the Government of Canada announced a commitment of up to 600 Canadian Armed Forces members for deployment on UN peace support operations.

The exact size and composition of any future CAF deployment to a UN mission will be based on discussions with the UN and Canada’s partner nations, as well as an assessment of where Canada can best make a meaningful impact.

On August 26, 2016, the Honourable Stéphane Dion, Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced the launch of Global Affairs Canada’s new Peace and Stabilization Operations Program (PSOPs). Canada is devoting $450 million to PSOPs. The new funding will help better protect civilians, including the most vulnerable groups, such as displaced persons, refugees, women and children.

In September 2016, the Government of Canada announced its intent to host the 2017 United Nations peacekeeping conference, which is expected to bring together representatives from more than 30 countries.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

HMCS Vancouver arrives in Singapore

By: David Pugliese, Defence Watch 

HMCS Vancouver arrived today in Singapore to conduct a goodwill visit as part of WESTPLOY 16.

WESTPLOY 16 is HMCS Vancouver’s deployment aimed at building strong ties between the Royal Canadian Navy and the navies of Asia-Pacific countries while also promoting peace and security in the region, according to RCN.

160808-N-IU636-166 PEARL HARBOR (Aug. 8, 2016) Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship Vancouver (FFH 331) departs Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam following the conclusion of Rim of the Pacific 2016. 

(U.S. Navy Photo By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Johans Chavarro/Released)
160808-N-IU636-166 PEARL HARBOR (8 août 2016) La frégate de classe Halifax Navire canadien de Sa Majesté Vancouver (FFH 331) de la Marine royale canadienne quitte la base interarmées Pearl Harbor-Hickam une fois l’exercice RIM OF THE PACIFIC 2016 terminé.

(Photo de la Marine américaine prise par le spécialiste des communications de masse de 2e classe Johans Chavarro/publiée)
HMCS Vancouver (FFH 331) departs Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam following the conclusion of Rim of the Pacific 2016. (U.S. Navy Photo By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Johans Chavarro/Released) - August 8, 2016
More from the RCN news release:

HMCS Vancouver is engaging in a variety of training opportunities with foreign navies as well as visiting several countries in the Asia-Pacific region. WESTPLOY 16 provides a unique opportunity that allows the RCN to foster and sustain cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.

This deployment allows HMCS Vancouver, along with an embarked CH-124 Sea King helicopter and air detachment, to test and evolve the warfighting capabilities of the Halifax-Class warships after upgrades to equipment that were made as part of the Halifax-Class Modernization/Frigate Life Extension project.

Since departing its home port of Esquimalt, British Columbia, in June, HMCS Vancouver has operated extensively throughout the Pacific region, including participation in RIMPAC and KAKADU.

KAKADU, held September 12-24, 2016, is a joint, biennial exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Navy and supported by the Royal Australian Air Force, with 20 nations participating: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Fiji, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Tonga, United States of America, and Vietnam.

CAF JAG asks for input on Court Martial System

DND Press Release

The Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) Judge Advocate General (JAG) is launching consultations with Canadians as part of the ongoing comprehensive review of the court martial system.

As directed by the JAG, Major-General Blaise Cathcart, Q.C., the purpose of the review is to conduct a legal and policy analysis of the CAF’s court martial system. In addition to consulting with Canadians, including soldiers, sailors, and aviators, the Review Team will engage with stakeholders such as victims’ rights advocates, academia, and international experts. This is in an effort to ensure the CAF’s court martial system is effective, efficient, and aligns with Canadian values and the rule of law, all the while serving the particular needs of the CAF.

From October 11 to November 7, 2016, all interested Canadians are invited to participate and share their views with the team conducting the Court Martial Comprehensive Review.

Canadians have three ways that they can join the discussions:
Fill out the Comment Form: Court Martial Comprehensive Review – Public Consultations
Send an email:
Mail comments: Office of the Judge Advocate General – Court Martial Comprehensive Review Team, 101 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON K1A 0K2

Colonel Rob Holman, Deputy Judge Advocate General for Military Justice and Director General of the Court Martial Comprehensive Review Team said: “The launch of these consultations with Canadians marks an important milestone for the Court Martial Comprehensive Review. By engaging with and listening to what Canadians have to say, we hope to make our world-class military justice system even better.”

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron Deploys to Iraq

DND Press Release

Today, 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron assumed command of the Operation IMPACT Tactical Aviation Detachment in Northern Iraq as the Canadian Armed Forces continues its commitment to the fight against Daesh.

430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron relieved 427 Special Operations Aviation Squadron, which had been providing tactical aviation support since May. The Tactical Aviation Detachment of Air Task Force-Iraq comprises approximately 60 personnel who fly and maintain three CH-146 Griffon helicopters. A fourth helicopter is expected to be in theatre in the coming weeks.

The CH-146 Griffon helicopters provide in-theatre tactical transport to Canadian troops and material near Erbil. The aircraft carry an array of self-defence systems and weapons as a matter of force protection.

"The Canadian Armed Forces continues to provide important contributions to the fight to dismantle Daesh. The Tactical Aviation Detachment will provide air mobility capability in northern Iraq as the Iraqi security forces, backed by the Coalition, reclaim their country from Daesh. Our personnel are our strength and they will continue to enhance our reputation for excellence in operations.” Brigadier-General Shane Brennan, Commander Joint Task Force-Iraq

“The men and women of 430 Tactical Helicopter Squadron will continue and build on the contributions their Special Operations Forces comrades have provided to the Iraqi security forces to date. I am confident that their skill, professionalism, and dedication will make a positive difference in the fight against Daesh." Colonel Jason Major, Commander Air Task Force-Iraq

“With the deployment of people and helicopters from 430 Squadron, the Royal Canadian Air Force continues to bring effective and reliable tactical aviation capability to support CAF operations. I am extremely proud of our deploying men and women, and I have no doubt that their work will further the Canadian Armed Forces’ reputation for excellence in operations.” Lieutenant-Colonel Carol Potvin, Commanding Officer 430 Squadron

430 Squadron based at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier, Quebec, is replacing three CH-146 Griffon helicopters and personnel previously deployed in May 2016 as part of the continued expansion of Op IMPACT. 

As part of Joint Task Force-Iraq, ATF-I contributes to coalition air operations against Daesh to improve security in Iraq and in the region. 

Canada remains a committed partner to the global Coalition against Daesh. Op IMPACT will total approximately 830 military personnel once all new capabilities are in place.

Canada in Iraq: More Canadian intelligence, less ball hockey

By: David Pugliese, National Post 

Canada’s much-vaunted surveillance planes operating over Iraq were so limited in the information they could collect and share with allies, Canadian military personnel planning CF-18 attacks had to rely on the U.S. for data, according to documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen.

The briefing, produced last year on lessons learned from operations in Iraq in 2014, also pointed out efforts to set up ball hockey facilities and a Tim Hortons for personnel at a base in Kuwait should take a back seat to getting key components of the mission in place.

Canada initially contributed special forces, Aurora surveillance aircraft, a refuelling plane and CF-18 fighter jets to the international coalition battling Islamic extremists.

The Liberal government withdrew the jets, but expanded the number of special forces and kept the refuelling planes and Auroras.

Canadian military officers have claimed from the beginning of the mission the upgraded CP-140 Auroras are among the most advanced surveillance aircraft in the world.

But the “lessons learned” document, obtained through the Access to Information law, tells a different story.

“The CP140 deployed without the organic capability to share their data with coalition partners,” it notes.

In addition, the software needed to process some CP-140 surveillance data was not available and the air crews needed “greater experience operating over land.”

The Aurora is primarily a maritime surveillance plane, but the upgrades allow it to collect data on ground targets.

The problems didn’t stop with the Auroras. There were concerns about the overall lack of ability to share information Canada collected from various sources with its allies. In addition, the Canadian Forces had problems accessing coalition intelligence data without having to go through a U.S. military intermediary.

Gathering information about targets the CF-18s were to attack proved difficult. Problems with the planes’ targeting pods “severely” limited some information gathering, although the details were censored.

“Poor information” was provided to those deciding on targets. There is a need to increase the capability to “contribute to target discovery,” other comments in the briefing point out.

Military staff asked about the lessons learned said while ball hockey and a Tim Hortons trailer were “a nice boost,” these “projects must wait well into the sustainment phase after the mission’s essential components are all in place.”

Other issues included:
Significant delays in delivering communications equipment and having enough trained personnel.
Military communications personnel sent back to Canada within seven days of arriving in Kuwait, and before the systems were up and running.
Some military personnel, who travelled overseas on civilian flights, had to use their own credit cards to pay up front, then had trouble getting reimbursed. In some cases, they had to spend up to $1,000 just for baggage.
Civilian contractors supporting the refuelling aircraft detachment were not properly prepared for work in Kuwait or the type of accommodation they were given.
There should be a 24/7 duty desk to deal with problems encountered by those on overseas missions. “A list of people who can actually help with problems would be nice,” said one person. “Help accounts suck. They are rarely monitored. Real people with real contact lists only.”

Commanders back in Canada weren’t spared criticism either. Some of those serving in Kuwait questioned the abilities of the Ottawa-based Canadian Joint Operations Command, which co-ordinates military missions at home and around the world.

“Despite the best of intentions and a desire to do so, CJOC is incapable of conducting true 24/7 operations, at least as it concerns targeting,” said one critic.

Canadian Forces spokesman Capt. Vincent Bouchard said in an email many of the challenges outlined in the document are common when setting up a multinational operation abroad.

“The capabilities the Block III CP140s brought to theatre were new, both to the RCAF and our allies,” he said. “As it was expected, it took time to learn how to make the most of these new capabilities in the context of a multinational operation.”

Bouchard said the points raised in the documents were dealt with and the Aurora detachment continues to provide valuable surveillance information for the coalition.

He repeated the Canadian military’s statement the Auroras are “world-class intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft.”