NEWS BRIEFS: INTERNATIONAL
10 October 2019 (Defense One)
Legislators on both sides of the U.S. Congress are alarmed by reports that the White House is considering withdrawal from the 2002 Open Skies Treaty. The pact enables the U.S., Russia and 32 other countries, including Canada, to conduct short-notice flights over each other’s territories to monitor military movements.
9 October 2019 (Global News)
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland used her Twitter account, @cafreeland, to “firmly” condemn Turkey’s military incursion into northern Syria. “This unilateral action risks undermining the stability of an already-fragile region, exacerbating the humanitarian situation and rolling back progress achieved by the Global Coalition Against Daesh,” she said. “We call for the protection of civilians and on all parties to respect their obligations under international law, including unhindered access for humanitarian aid.”
9 October 2019 (Navy Recognition)
The first of three new U.S. Navy guided missile “stealth” destroyers won’t be fully combat-ready until next year, close to six months behind schedule. It is the latest slip in a $23-billiion program already six years behind schedule. The previously undisclosed delay for the first, the USS Zumwalt, has been confirmed by the USN. Completion of the hull and mechanical and engineering installations at General Dynamics in Maine will be followed by testing on the east Coast and then combat systems activation in California by Raytheon and BAE Systems.
9 October 2019 (Associated Press News)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan used his Twitter account, @RTErdogan, at 0915EDT today to say his military was moving into Kurdish-held part of northeastern Syria with the cooperation of Syrian forces. The U.S. says that since Turkish airstrikes are not coordinated with American assets, they are a threat to coalition forces and civilians.
9 October 2019 (Breaking Defense)
There are three potential contenders for a U.S. Army contract to procure 651 infantry squad vehicles capable of being parachuted into theatres of operation. Oshkosh-Flyer, Polaris-SAIC and General Motors have until Nov. 13 to deliver two vehicles for testing.
9 October 2019 (Military Times)
The U.S. Air Force dropped 948 munitions in Afghanistan last month as peace talks with the Taliban began to collapse. It was the highest single-month tally in nearly a decade.
9 October 2019 (Defense News)
The Netherlands has confirmed a planned procurement of nine more Lockheed Martin F-35s, which would increase its fleet to 46. The €1-billion acquisition would be “the foundation” for a third squadron, which would require an additional six aircraft. That would facilitate the air force’s objective of having four available for NATO missions while providing domestic defence.
9 October 2019 (U.S. Naval Institute)
NATO works only when its members are committed to “die for your neighbour,” says Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu. Speaking at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank in Washington, he said it took Russia’s 2010 attack on Georgia and its annexation of Crimea in 2014 to prompt NATO to reassess security needs. Noting that his own country of 1.3 million spends more than two per cent of its GDP on security, he said NATO membership means “you have to deliver” on money and manpower.
9 October 2019 (Hybrid CoE)
The importance of civil nuclear power as a tool for geopolitical influence is highlighted in a new report released by the Helsinki-based European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats. Citing case studies of situations in Belarus, Hungary and Finland, the report concludes, among other things, that “nuclear energy employed as a tool for any hostile intent has a different logic compared to oil and gas, for example, which have more explicit physical and logistical dependencies.”
9 October 2019 (CNN News)
The U.S. administration is reported to be considering withdrawal from the 1992 Open Skies treaty which enabled 34 countries to conduct unarmed surveillance flights over each other’s territory. In effect since 2002, it was designed to assist with arms control verification. While Democrats in Congress are alarmed by the prospect, the State Department says only that the U.S. remains “fully compliant” with the terms of the accord.