The politics of promotion

Recent announcements about the two top positions in North American Aerospace & Defence Command underscore how U.S. promotions and senior command appointments are more politicized than they are in Canada, a situation enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. [node:read-more:link]

Ukrainian weapons upgrades delayed

Fighter jets and U.S. tanks promised to Ukraine won’t be ready for a spring counteroffensive against Russia, says General Mark Milley, Chair of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. While training on M1 Abrams tanks has just begun, training on allies’ F-16s is still being negotiated and Milley’s French counterpart says upgrading Ukraine’s capabilities is a mid-to-long-term goal [node:read-more:link]

Major Ukrainian assault stopped?

Russia said today that it had thwarted a “large scale” Ukrainian attack June 4 at five points in the eastern province of Donetsk, one of four regions Russia annexed last fall. Defence ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said 40 armured vehicles, including 16 tanks, were destroyed and 250 troops killed but there was no corroboration by Ukraine [node:read-more:link]

China fears “unbearable disaster”

China’s new defence minister, General Li Shangfu, warned June 4 that war with the U.S. would be an “unbearable disaster” for the world. During the Shangri-la Dialogue summit in Singapore, he accused the U.S. of having “a Cold War mentality” and “greatly increasing security risks” but said the two countries should seek common ground. [node:read-more:link]

Anand reasserts Indo-Pacific stance

Defence Minister Anita Anand, in Singapore June 3 for the Shangri-la Dialogue on intergovernmental security, announced June 3 that Canada is reinforcing its military presence in the Indo-Pacific region by deploying a second Royal Canadian Navy warship as well as increasing Canadian involvement in international exercises. The RCN currently has the frigate HMCS Montreal and the support ship Asterix deployed in the region. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian frigate annoys China

HMCS Montreal transited the of Taiwan Strait without incident June 3 in convoy with a U.S. destroyer but drew a sharp rebuke from China for “deliberately provoking risk” even though the passage was in international waters. U.S. warships transit the strait roughly once a month, not usually with allies’ ships. The RCN vessel departed from its Halifax homeport March 26 as part of Canada’s commitment to Indo-Pacific security. [node:read-more:link]

Bombardier challenges Boeing prospect

The RCAF has a clear preference for the Boeing P-8A Poseidon as a replacement for its legacy Lockheed Martin CP-140 Aurora surveillance fleet but Montreal-based Bombardier Aviation was a “fair competition” for the as yet-unfunded program. “They claim they have the best aircraft, so I’m sure they're not afraid to go into competition,” says Jean-Christophe Gallagher, Bombardier's executive VP for aircraft sales and defence. [node:read-more:link]

China wants Ukraine weapons aid ended

China’s envoy for Eurasian affairs, Li Hui, said today that Ukraine’s allies should stop weapons shipments and focus on negotiating peace with Russia. He acknowledged that there would be “many difficulties” in setting up talks but insisted that “the two sides have not fully shut the door.” [node:read-more:link]

U.S. hits back over START II

The U.S. State Department said June 1 that it will stop notifying Russia about missile and launch locations as required by their moribund 193 nuclear arms treaty and has revoked visas for Russian inspectors and aircrews. It said the decision is a “countermeasure” to Russian “violations” of the accord. [node:read-more:link]

NATO historically complacent?

British Defence Secretary, considered a potential successor to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, a Norwegian politician who has held the post since 2014, says members’ military budgets must grow if Russian expansionism is to be countered. “The world is getting more dangerous, more insecure and more anxious, and the next secretary general has to be able to deliver that,” he says. “Until Ukraine happened, there were too many people who didn’t want to see the threat from Putin, and look where we are now.” [node:read-more:link]

Zelenskyy pitches NATO and EU

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy took his quest for more arms as well as EU and NATO membership to a European Political Community summit today in Moldova. It was apparent, however, that the response from NATO leaders meeting in Norway was divided. [node:read-more:link]

Australian officer loses court case

Ben Roberts-Smith, a highly-decorated former member of Ausralia’s elite Special Air Services Regiment, lost a defamation suit today against newspapers which reported that he had killed unarmed civilians in Afghanistan. He claimed the reports undermined his reputation by portraying him as having “disgraced his country and the Australian army,” Dismissing the suit after more than 100 days of hearings, the ruling judge said “the respondents had established the substantial truth” of several allegations. [node:read-more:link]

Donated U.S. equipment ill-prepared

The U.S. Defense Department Inspector General says equipment drawn from U.S. Army stocks in Kuwait for Ukraine was not fit for combat even though Army policy is that pre-positioned vehicles, armaments and other equipment should be kept ready for immediate use. “We identified issues that resulted in unanticipated maintenance, repairs, and extended lead times to ensure the readiness of the military equipment,” the IG says [node:read-more:link]

Suspected Chinese spies in Alaska

U.S. officials are worried that Chinese nations posing as tourists have made several attempts in recent years to gain access to military facilities in Alaska. Many of the encounters have been chalked up to innocent mistakes but the attempts to enter military bases are a genuine concern. [node:read-more:link]

RCAF in Arctic exercise

Supported by 20 RCAF personnel, a Canadian CC-150 Polaris multi-role tanker, supported by 20 RCAF personnle, is one of 150 aircraft from 14 NATO and partner countries involved this week in Arctic Challenge 2023, an exercise in northern Finland two hours’ drive from the Russian border. Underscoring NATO’s commitment to defend its newest member, the exercise with 6,500 Finnish troops also involves nearly 1,000 Norwegian, British, Swedish and U.S. personnel. [node:read-more:link]


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