Mark Collins – What Stinking RCAF Fighter “Capability Gap” for NORAD and NATO?

It looks like the Liberal Government cooked up a new operational requirement for RCAF fighters without bothering to consult the Air Force itself. GOOD FLIPPING GRIEF. Did the government even speak with NATO? Further to this post and “Comments”,

Now Likely? Canada to Sole-Source Some Super Hornets for RCAF After All?

and this article,

Liberal policy forcing need for new jets: RCAF head

Canada needs an interim fleet of fighter jets only because the Liberal government created a policy that increased the number of aircraft that must be available for NORAD and NATO missions at the same time, the head of the Royal Canadian Air Force says.

The Liberals invoked a long-standing “capability gap” last week to justify the sole-source purchase of 18 Boeing Super Hornets, but Lieutenant-General Michael Hood on Monday [Nov. 28] said the need for new jets was caused by the recent policy change.

“Previously … we were comfortable as an armed forces in meeting those [NORAD and NATO commitments] with our extant fleet,” Lt.-Gen. Hood told reporters after appearing at a Senate committee.

“That policy has changed with a requirement to be able to meet both of those concurrently, as opposed to managing them together, thus the requirement to increase the number of fighters available,” he said…

Lt.-Gen. Hood said the previous Conservative government’s plan to buy 65 F-35s would not meet Canada’s new policy in terms of international commitments [but that’s not what the then Chief of the Air Staff said in 2011, see below]…

The general refused for “security reasons” (scroll down here) to put numbers to those commitments. But the numbers, certainly for NORAD, have long been public and the commitments were in place before the Conservatives took office from the Liberals in 2006. A post of mine at Milnet.ca (lots of interesting reaction at the thread):

Serving (!) Air Force major in 2006, pp. 3-4 (just after Conservatives took office, clearly previous Liberal policy):

Quote

…In NORAD, the Canadian Forces are committed to provide 36 fighters for air sovereignty and homeland security. In addition to this Canada is committed to provide six or more fighters to the United Nations and/or NATO at any given time, should the need arise…
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:AE9UsPxVGYUJ:www.journal.forces.gc.ca/vo7/no2/doc/roberds-eng.pdf+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=ca

And in 2011:

Quote

The ability to defend the skies and operate overseas at the same time would be in peril if the Harper government buys fewer stealth fighters than planned, the head of the Royal Canadian Air Force said Monday [Dec. 12].

Lt.-Gen. Andre Deschamps said the air force would have to review how much “concurrent activity” it could handle if the number of radar-evading F-35s drop below the 65 aircraft the government has promised…

“In the end, it’s all about managing risk in delivering the defence mission. The number 65 gives us the capacity to cover all our missions with confidence.”..

It is the smallest fleet the air force is able to live with given its current commitments to North American air defence, which requires at least 36 fighters to be set aside for NORAD missions [not clear if the general himself gave that number].

The initial joint-strike fighter proposal said Canada was prepared to buy 80 aircraft, replacing the current fleet of CF-18s almost one-for-one.

Deschamps said the decision to move to 65 jets was based on a mixture of “affordability” and what numbers the air force believes “it needs to deliver on our numerous defence missions.”..
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/f-35-jet-purchase-will-be-up-in-the-air-until-2013-1.1093739

Plus 2014 (story Aug. 2016):

Quote

No fighter jet requirement for NATO: report

Canada is not required to provide a certain number of fighter jets to NATO, says a Defence Department report that’s raising fresh questions about the Liberal government’s rush to buy a new warplane.

The report, published in June 2014 by the research arm of National Defence, says that while Canada supports NATO and contributes aircraft and other military assets when possible, “there is no hard minimum requirement for the NATO commitment.”

That means the only actual requirement Canada must meet in terms of providing fighter jets is its obligation to defend North America along with the U.S.

The government has repeatedly stated in recent months that the military does not have enough CF-18s to both defend North America and fulfil its obligations to NATO. It says that is why a new plane is needed sooner rather than later.

But neither the government nor the Defence Department have said how many jets Canada actually needs, saying that to reveal the numbers would jeopardize national security…

The Defence Research and Development Canada report suggests that a maximum of 36 aircraft are required to be operational at any time to help defend North America, and that “anything beyond this number is in excess of the current requirement.”

Those planes don’t all have to be on high alert waiting for an attack, the report says. Some can be involved in training or NATO operations, and would be called back if required.

Canada currently has 77 CF-18s, but Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has said only about half of them are operational at any given time. The report confirms those numbers, but also says the military can make do with 65 [surprise!] fighter jets…
http://www.therecord.com/news-story/6795095-no-fighter-jet-requirement-for-nato-report/

The jiggery-pokery of the government is a wonder to behold. And this major defence policy change was made without even waiting for the results of its much ballyhooed defence review being in. Open and transparent my tushie. And the Conservatives were just as bad. Help.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins- Canadian Government Averting Oil Pipeline Heartbreak? Two “Yes”, One “No”

Further to this post,

British Columbia/Alberta Hydrocarbon Heartbreak Update: Good News, Bad News

the Liberals are walking a fine environment/economy tightrope and it remains to see when (if?) something actually gets built–an opinion piece at the Globe and Mail’s business section:

Canadians about to see yet again that approvals don’t end pipeline battles

If there’s one thing that’s become clear over the past decade of pipeline battles, it’s that approval doesn’t beget acceptance. Canadians are about to get more proof.

For those executives and politicians with big dreams of sending batches upon batches of heavy Canadian crude oil to the Pacific and onward to Asian markets, that’s good reason to keep any victory dances to a minimum. These fights are far from over.

Yes, with new federal approvals in hand, Kinder Morgan Canada and Enbridge Inc. can get on with the business of working through the lists of conditions they must meet before trenching rights of way to points south and west from Alberta.

Read more: Ottawa approves Trans Mountain pipeline, Line 3

Read more: Trans Mountain pipeline expansion key to expanding crude market

But the project that is now officially dead – Northern Gateway – is the most instructive as backers, opponents and governments huddle to hammer out strategies for their next moves, all while claiming the environmental and economic high ground. It was three years ago that Northern Gateway, the $7.9-billion pipeline proposed by Enbridge to ship oil sands-derived crude to Kitimat, B.C., from Alberta, won National Energy Board approval.

After a decade of planning, discussion and hearings, that proved to be not the beginning of the project’s road to construction, but the beginning of the end…

Tuesday’s [Nov. 29] approvals don’t signal clear sailing either. Battles are about to intensify for Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement and Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion. The curve ball in the equation is the increasingly likely resurrection of Keystone XL under the administration of president-elect Donald Trump after years as a protest point.

The Trans Mountain expansion is seen as the oil patch’s best hope to get its crude to the Shangri-La known as tidewater. Today, backers say increasing pipeline capacity to the United States is all fine and good, but that long-relied-upon customer is turning into a fierce competitor as its own exports increase.

Kinder Morgan wants to use its existing right-of-way to triple the capacity to nearly 900,000 barrels a day, which would land in Burnaby, B.C., for shipment to Asia-Pacific markets. The Alberta government has been front and centre pushing for such market access, hoping for it to help jump-start its stalled economy while holding out the promise of tougher carbon restrictions.

Despite that, the wall of opposition to the expansion has been growing to include the mayors of both Burnaby and Vancouver, as well as First Nations such as the Tsleil-Waututh. Its leaders met with Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr this week to press their case that Trans Mountain should not proceed under any circumstances due to oil-spill risks that could have long-lasting impact on the coastal community. Count on busy courts. One would think Line 3 would be a breeze, given that Enbridge touted the $7.5-billion project as a safety measure – fitting out an existing route to the U.S. Midwest with all new equipment. It won NEB approval last spring, but is still hung up in the United States, where it faces opposition by environmental groups in Minnesota, including 350.org, one of the leaders of the battle against Keystone XL [website here].

Indeed, the protests and blockade of the Dakota Access pipeline have shown opposition to projects is pancontinental in scope [more here].

Government approval isn’t the end of the fight. Not even close…

Whilst at the main news section:

Ottawa’s pipeline approvals give Alberta boost, but rile critics 

Trudeau didn’t just approve Trans Mountain, he put his weight behind it

[Premier] Christy Clark says Ottawa close to meeting B.C. pipeline conditions

Then there’s still this sticky challenge:

Still room for Energy East after latest pipeline approvals: Natural Resources Minister

Earlier:

Canadian Hydrocarbon Heartbreak: Energy East Pipeline vs Quebec First Nations and Others

On verra.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – New RCAF Fixed-Wing SAR Plane Choice Real Soon?

Further to these January and February posts respectively,

RCAF Fixed-Wing SAR Bids In: No LockMart But Embraer
[links to the contending aircraft at the post]

New RCAF Fixed-Wing SAR: Evaluation of Bids Starts

it looks like we’ll have a winner (this now twelve-year old acquisition process–a “major priority” in 2004!–having been rather lost in the new fighter hoo-hah, more on that here):

Canada to take December decision on SAR aircraft -sources

Canada’s federal government is expected to take a decision in early December on new fixed-wing search-and-rescue aircraft, with Airbus Group SE’s C-295 and Leonardo Aircraft’s C-27J Spartan emerging as front-runners [as in forever], two aerospace industry sources familiar with the matter said.

The federal Treasury Board is expected on Dec. 8 to authorize the government to enter into a contract with the winning bidder for the purchase and in-service support of aircraft, a third industry source said on Thursday [Nov. 24].

All three sources spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal is not public and the timing of the Treasury Board decision could be changed.

The value and number of aircraft in the procurement have not yet been made public, a spokesman for Canada’s National Defence Department said. The value of the deal, including the acquisition and in-service support, has been estimated in media reports at about C$3 billion ($2.22 billion).

Embraer’s KC-390 is also part of the competition, but the aircraft is not expected to win because the program is still in development and Canada’s government wants an aircraft that is already certified, two of the sources said.

The Canadian government has said the SAR aircraft procurement will allow the Royal Canadian Air Force to replace its current fixed-wing fleet of six CC-115 Buffalo aircraft and 13 CC-130H Hercules aircraft that are being used in Canada for search-and-rescue missions…

Note from the end of the first link at the top of this post:

Something else to keep in mind–the RCAF’s 32 older-model Hercules are being followed-on by just 17 new C-130Js, so the RCAF has always wanted the new SAR aircraft to be able to double when necessary as a tactical transport in order to keep that capability up (see e.g. 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron):

“…
Air force Col. Dave Burt, director of aerospace requirements, said at the time [2004] that search and rescue was the priority, adding that the service wanted “something that is smaller and (more) cost efficient than a Hercules but still has some of the transport-type qualities that a Hercules has.”

Although the aircraft would be used for search and rescue, there may be room to have them perform a secondary role of airlift if that is deemed feasible, Burt added…”

Something that has not been mentioned for years for no good reason that I can understand…

And I’ll bet you dollars to Timbits–air-droppable to those in needImage result for timbits
Image result for timbits
–that the tactical transport role won’t be mentioned now.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Now Likely? Canada to Sole-Source Some Super Hornets for RCAF After All?

Further to this post, keep your eyes open during my blogging break for a week beginning tomorrow, November 22–whole lot of anonymice being sources:

Cabinet could decide fighter jet plan as early as Tuesday [Nov. 22], industry sources say

Industry sources expect the Liberal government to decide as early as Tuesday whether to purchase a new fighter jet without a competition.

Federal cabinet ministers are reportedly considering three options for replacing Canada’s CF-18s, one of which they are expected to pick during their weekly closed-door meeting on Parliament Hill.

The options include holding a competition, buying a new warplane without a competition, or purchasing an “interim” aircraft as a stop-gap measure until a future competition.

The government was eyeing the third option in the spring, with the intention of buying Boeing Super Hornets, until an outcry from industry and the opposition forced them back to the drawing board.

But while Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan held consultations with different industry players in the summer, industry sources say the interim option is back as the preferred choice [i.e. a limited number of Super Hornets–perhaps some of the Growler persuasion (good expeditionarily)?].

Sajjan’s office refused to comment on Monday, with a spokeswoman saying only that a decision still has not been made…

Sajjan would only say that the government had done “a considerable amount of work” on the file.

“We will make a decision on replacing the fighters and will pick a process that will meet the needs of Canada.”..

Perish the thought that the Liberal Party’s political needs might be another consideration.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – US Navy’s Seawolf Nuclear Attack Subs (SSN) and the Arctic

One wonders how much our government knows of these activities–note link at end of the post:

An American Submarine Just Slipped Under the Arctic Ice
USS ‘Seawolf’’s missions and technology are secret

Sometime apparently in August 2013, the U.S. Navy’s nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Seawolf eased out of the port of Bremerton, in Washington State, on what was probably her fifth or sixth deployment since commissioning in 1997.

A month later the U.S. Sixth Fleet, in charge of ships in European waters, posted a series of photos to the Website Flickr depicting the U.S. ambassador to Norway, Barry White, touring the 350-foot-long Seawolf pierside at Haakonsvern naval base … in southern Norway. Thousands of miles from Washington State.

How Seawolf got to Norway—and what she might have done en route—offer a rare and tantalizing glimpse into some of the most secretive quarters of the most poorly understood aspects of American naval power.

For it seems Seawolf traveled to Norway along a path rarely taken by any vessel — underneath the Arctic ice…

Google the names of any of the Navy’s Los Angeles-class submarines, the most numerous in the fleet, and you’ll get hits: Navy statements and photo releases, the occasional news article. But try to look up Seawolf-class vessels and you’ll get next to nothing [but see here and Google here].

Her official Website is blocked. The last time Seawolf’s exterior appeared in a Navy photo was 2009.

That’s because Seawolf and her sisters are special. Newer, bigger, faster and more heavily armed than standard attack submarines, the nearly $3-billion-per-copy Seawolfs have been fitted with hundreds of millions of dollars in unique equipment and are assigned to their own special squadron in Washington State.

They deploy for months at a time often without any public notice. The wife of a Seawolf sailor described the boat as “unpredictable.”..

Puzzle Pieces:

Here’s what we do know. In March 2011 Seawolf’s sister ship Connecticut was tapped for the rare honor of operating under the Arctic ice for tests.

Connecticut and the brand-new Virginia-class sub New Hampshire sailed north of Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, for one of the Navy’s infrequent “ICEX” exercises [see end of post], begun after the submarine USS Nautilus, in 1958, became the first undersea boat to reach the North Pole.

Connecticut “worked with the U.S. Navy Arctic Submarine Laboratory and the University of Washington Applied Physics Laboratory to test new equipment and train for under-ice operations in an arctic environment,” the Navy announced.

The new equipment included “high-frequency sonar for safe Arctic operations and the Raytheon Deep Siren acoustic communications system,” the sailing branch added.

We know that Seawolf spent almost three years in drydock starting in September 2009. Contractors did $280 million in work. And when Seawolf returned to the cold Pacific waters in April 2012, she was “even more capable and effective than at any time in her 15 years of service,” according to Cdr. Dan Packer, her skipper at the time.

It’s possible Seawolf received the same under-ice gear Connecticut tested in 2011. The Arctic is, after all, a new area of concern for the Navy. With the ice receding, new shipping lanes are opening up and foreign navies are getting more active…

In any event, it’s apparent that Seawolf has crossed over the top of the world for her current deployment. Practically speaking, there’s no other way the vessel could have arrived in Norway mere weeks after departing her homeport in Washington State…

But see this post about ICEX 2014 and USN submarines:

Major US Arctic Exercise, RCN Takes Part: Who Knew?

So some USN glasnost, eh? And in fact the RCN did go public a few days after the Americans did.

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – A Great Book From a Romanian Jew, Mihail Sebastian: “Journal 1935–1944: The Fascist Years”

Further to this post,

What’s an Intellectual Romanian Jew to do Before WW II?

I am finishing his journal:

It is an accumulation of events, thoughts and emotions that is one of the most powerful books I have read. I would add that his amateur appreciation of military developments is quite acute (it would appear that Romanians had access to quite a variety of information from non-Axis sources).

More here on Mihail Sebastian from a Romanian. He survived the war and then “Mihail Sebastian was killed by a truck as he crossed a busy Bucharest street in May 1945…”

The fate of Jews in Romania during the war depended critically on where they lived; many of those in the old Regat survived but still were subject to harsh persecution:


Romania, as Germany’s ally, joined the war against the Soviet Union. The country’s declared reason for doing so was to recover the territories of Bucovina and Bessarabia. Individual Jews’ fates in Romania critically depended on the region in which they lived at the beginning of the war. In Antonescu’s plan for “cleaning up the land,” the Jewish population of Bessarabia and Bucovina was considered hostile and was destined for “elimination.” Intense antisemitic propaganda was spread especially within the army, but also at all levels of the state hierarchy. This particular population, and by extension all Jews, was depicted as the embodiment of the “Bolshevik threat.”

Under Antonescu’s rule, Jews were subjected to discriminatory regulations, but there were quite a few fluctuations in their status, depending on the war front situation and on the political interests of the regime. Jewish real estate was nationalized on 28 March 1941, except for a few categories (exemptions included decorated Jewish war veterans; war orphans who had been baptized as Christians 20 years earlier; Jews married to Romanian nationals; Jews baptized as Christians at least 30 years before). Jewish men aged 18 to 50 had to perform forced labor.

One week after the beginning of the war, on 29–30 June 1941, the Jewish community of Iaşi was the victim of a pogrom in which more than 14,000 Jews were killed in massacres supervised by the army and the local police, with the support of Nazi troops. With the German–Romanian invasion, on Antonescu’s order 45,000–60,000 Jews in Bessarabia and Bucovina were massacred. The remaining 157,079 Jews were deported to Transnistria: 91,845 from Bucovina, 55,867 from Bessarabia, and 9,367 from Dorohoi. Between 105,000 and 120,000 of the deported Romanian Jews died. More than 21,000 Jews from southern Bucovina (the counties of Dorohoi, Câmpulung Moldovenesc, Suceava, and Rădăuți), which was still a part of the Old Kingdom, were also deported before 1942.

From the very beginning of the war, in Bucharest, community leaders (namely Filderman, leader of the Federal Union of Jewish Communities [FUCE]; with the assistance of Alexandru Şafran, the chief rabbi), succeeded in organizing an institutional network to provide religious services, education, and social support. In December 1941, FUCE was dissolved and replaced by the Jewish Central, following the model of the Judenrat. Remaining the true leader of the community, Filderman led the fight against resuming deportations and other anti-Jewish measures. In some communities, permission was granted to set up schools for Jewish children who had been excluded from the Romanian education system. Ways were found to send aid, financed substantially by international Jewish organizations, to Jews who had been deported to Transnistria.

In the summer of 1942, Jews in the Old Kingdom [the Regat] confronted the most critical times, as Romania accepted the Nazi plan to deport all Jews living in Romania to the Bełżec extermination camp. However, by November 1942 it became clear that the Romanian authorities were deferring the enforcement of this action and eventually gave it up completely [emphasis added]. They did so as a result of pressure from the Allied forces, but also because of internal opposition mobilized especially by Filderman. Policies concerning Jews began to change in October 1942, and the deportations finally ended in March–April 1943. Approximately 340,000 Romanian Jews survived. Partial repatriation began in the second half of December 1943. On 20 December, the 6,053 inhabitants of Dorohoi who had survived deportation were sent back to their hometown. On 6 March 1944, a total of 1,846 of the more than 5,000 orphans were repatriated.

Approximately 135,000 Jews living under Hungarian rule in northern Transylvania were murdered after deportation to Auschwitz, beginning in the spring of 1944. The territory of Romania, thanks to the change in attitude of authorities toward Jews, became a refuge for those who succeeded in crossing the border from Hungary…

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – Trump vs Trade: CPP Instead of TPP?

That’s the China-Pacific Partnership–a NY Times story on important talks with little public profile:

China’s Influence Grows in Ashes of Trans-Pacific Trade Pact

A toxic political war over money, jobs and globalization killed the vast and complex trade deal that was supposed to be a signature legacy of President Obama. But the deal, between the United States and 11 Asian and Pacific nations, was never just about trade.

The agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, was conceived as a vital move in the increasingly tense chess match between China and the United States for economic and military influence in the fastest-growing and most strategically uncertain part of the world. The deal, which excluded China, was intended to give those 11 nations more leverage in that strained match by providing them with a viable economic alternative. And its defeat is an unalloyed triumph for China, the country that President-elect Donald J. Trump castigated repeatedly over trade

Much of Asia has for decades quietly accepted American security guarantees while also running large trade surpluses with the United States, turning them into prosperous manufacturing powerhouses. But China is now the largest trading partner for most of the region, while at the same time making territorial claims against many of its neighbors [see e.g. the South China Sea].

The neighbors fear they could soon face a stark choice among money, pride and place: Accede to China’s security demands, or lose access to China’s vast market…

Just three days before Mr. Obama’s arrival here, Peru’s foreign minister, Eduardo Ferreyros, said the country still hoped the Pacific pact would someday become a reality. But given the changing dynamics, his government also opened talks this autumn with Beijing to join the rival, Chinese-led trade pact, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

“Since Mr. Trump is not so interested in requiring economic integration and trade liberalization, why not have other countries follow this free-trade proposal?” asked Song Guoyou, a longtime trade specialist who is the deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai.

Since the election, Australia’s government has also called for rapid progress in concluding that rival trade pact. Even Japan, despite facing territorial demands from China and close, but peaceful, confrontations between the two countries’ military jets and coast guard vessels, is paying more attention to China’s vision for global trade [note also Japan’s military build-up].

Australia and Japan have been bargaining for years with China on the deal. But they wanted it as a complement to the Trans-Pacific Partnership, to balance their economic relationship with the United States instead of replacing it with ties to China.

“If T.P.P. doesn’t move forward, there’s no doubt that the focus will shift” to the China-led deal, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan told his country’s Parliament on Tuesday [Nov. 15, emphasis added] . Mr. Abe met with Mr. Trump on Thursday.

Since 2011, trade negotiators from China, Japan, Australia, India and 12 other Asian nations have been meeting several times a year to stitch together the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership [more here]. And with Mr. Trump’s victory, those efforts are almost certain to accelerate. The next round of talks is to be held in Indonesia early next month [emphasis added].

Trade officials across Asia met to negotiate details in Cebu, the Philippines, the week before Mr. Trump won the election. Almost no one noticed outside of Cebu. The next meeting, scheduled for early December, could attract far more attention, including some at this weekend’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting in Lima…

Will Canada try to get involved or just negotiate bilaterally with the Dragon?

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Oh, that cuddly panda. But consider:

The Dragon and the Beaver: Ottawa in Cloud Cuckoo Land

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds

Mark Collins – “The Cyber Challenge: Final Summary Highlights from the CASIS 2016 Annual Symposium” Sept. 26

Further to this post, the document is here, “Table of Contents” at p. 5 PDF. The symposium is noted by the Globe and Mail at the latter half of this post:

Can Canada Reach a Real Cyber Deal With China?

Mark Collins, a prolific Ottawa blogger, is a Fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute; he tweets @Mark3Ds