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  • Here are just some of the ways Canadian technology keeps Americans safe

    June 11, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    Here are just some of the ways Canadian technology keeps Americans safe

    It's been a week since the Trump White House slapped Canada with steel and aluminum tariffs on the ground that reliance on our imports was threatening the “national security” of the United States. If Canadians are particularly galled at this, it might be because no foreign country in modern times has done more to arm and equip the United States than Canada. “I would not be surprised if every single major aircraft or warship in U.S. military service today has Canadian components in it,” said Richard Shimooka, a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute. Below, a cursory summary of some of the Canadian stuff used by history's most powerful military. Landing gear We'll start with an entry that directly concerns steel and aluminum. Quebec-based Héroux-Devtek is the world's third largest aircraft landing gear company, and some of that is thanks to a longstanding relationship with the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy. Specifically, Héroux-Devtek is in charge of landing gear repair and overhaul for several large U.S. aircraft, including the heavy-lift C-130 Hercules. Of course, landing gear is made almost entirely of steel or aluminum. So, thanks to these new tariffs, American military procurers are either going to start getting hosed on their Héroux-Devtek contracts — or they're going to have start getting their landing gear overhauls from a U.S. company that isn't their first choice. Armoured personnel carriers “Canada and the US have been building military equipment for each other since the summer of 1940,” David Bercuson, a military historian at the University of Calgary, told the National Post. “Literally billions of dollars of such equipment has passed the border since then.” The most obvious example is the Stryker. There are nearly 5,000 Stryker armoured personnel carriers in the U.S. military, and all of them were built in London, Ontario. Not only that, but the Stryker is even based on a Canadian design, the LAV III. Coming in at a rock bottom $4 million apiece, the Americans use Strykers for everything: Ambulances, firefighting, missile platforms, chemical weapons defence and mine detection. They even started rigging them up with giant lasers to shoot down enemy drones. Armoured vehicles happen to be a Canadian specialty. While the United States was busy throwing money at big ticket items such as tanks and attack helicopters, the shoestring Canadians have gotten very good at the much cheaper task of simply strapping guns and armour to oversized trucks. And if a U.S. diplomat found themselves touring Iraq in an armoured Toyota Land Cruiser, chances are good they were shielded from bullets and IEDs by Canadian workmanship. Specialized aircraft Here again, the United States has it covered when it comes to big ticket aircraft such as fighters or bombers. But the U.S. military will occasionally call up Canadian plane-makers when it needs something quirky. Bombardier has retooled some of its airliners and business jets to act as airborne radar platforms. When the United States Army Parachute Team appears at air shows, they're jumping out of a Canadian-made de Havilland Twin Otter. De Havilland has also hooked up the Americans with some of its famously rugged prop planes for use in electronic warfare, remote cargo drops or simply moving National Guard troops around Alaska. All told, the U.S. military is flying more planes built in Canada than in any other foreign country. The U.S. military's only cargo drone (and it has the most Canadian name imaginable) A U.S. special forces unit is pinned down on a remote Central Asian mountaintop. Surrounded by militants on all sides, it needs an emergency airlift of water and ammunition to even see daybreak. Enter the SnowGoose, an unmanned autogyro specializing in precision deliveries to special forces. The SnowGoose is the U.S. military's only cargo drone, and it's an all-Canadian creation. An emerging theme on this list is that Canada is great at building niche military hardware for cheap, and the SnowGoose is no exception. As the drone's Stittsville, Ont. builders note, it can move cargo across a battlefield at a fraction of the price of other drones. Nuclear fuel Uranium is a big part of the modern U.S. military. It has more than 100 nuclear-powered vessels in the navy, and there's also those 7,000 atomic weapons it still has lying around. Canada has sold a whole lot of uranium to the U.S. military, going all the way back to the initial atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. However, the taps were somewhat shut off in the 1960s, when Canada started limiting uranium exports to “peaceful” purposes. Still, with Canada ranking as the United States' top uranium dealer, we help keep their uranium topped up enough to have plenty left over for the military. Speaking of nuclear weapons, it might behoove the White House to remember that if a Russian or North Korean missile should happen to be fired in their direction, a Canada-based NORAD station will likely be among the first to let them know. Making fighter jets last forever This entry should fill thrifty Canadians with particular pride: We've gotten so good at squeezing every penny out of our CF-18s that we're now globally renowned experts at fighter jet life extension. Among other things, Canada invented “robotic shot-peening,” a method of using robots to restore aging aircraft with a precision never before known. The technology has been exported to Europe, Australia and, in 2013, the U.S. Navy brought in the Quebec aerospace company L-3 MAS to give its jets a makeover. Battlefield communications Tactical radios are another niche technology in which Canadian companies have a built a slow but steady reputation with the Americans. In a 2017 reporton Canada/U.S. military industrial cooperation, the Center for Strategic and International Studies noted that the U.S. military has been using Canadian radios since the 1960s. Ultra TCS, headquartered in Montreal, remains a supplier of tactical radios to both the U.S. Army and Marine Corps. And these aren't just walkie-talkies; they're hyper-advanced networks that can provide email, voice and even video hook-ups to American troops in battle. Jeeps That's right. The Second World War-era Willys Jeep — one of the most American vehicles in history — was manufactured in part by Canada. Ford Motor Company of Canada churned out thousands of Jeeps after the Second World War. In 1952 alone, Canadian factories were making an average of seven of them per day. According to Ford Canada's website, “these postwar Canadian-made Jeep were shipped to the United States, for the American military forces.” Space robots DARPA is the U.S. agency tasked with pursuing military so cutting edge that they occasionally veer into outright science fiction. Last year, DARPA signed a deal with Canada's MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates to design robots that could be dispatched into space in order to repair U.S. military satellites. And like most times Canada is brought in for U.S. military stuff, the robot space mechanic program is indeed intended as a cost saving measure. Canada has been a leader in space defence for some time. Our beloved Canadarm, in fact, technically qualifies as an early military space robot. Over the course of the space shuttle program 11 missions were sent up to perform classified work for the Pentagon. We still don't know the specifics of what the Canadarm did for Uncle Sam on those missions, but the arm is a certifiable Cold Warrior. http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/security-threat-our-butt-here-are-just-some-of-the-ways-canadian-technology-keeps-americans-safe

  • THALES LAUNCHES FIRST DEFENCE CLOUD OFFERING FOR ARMED FORCES

    June 11, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    THALES LAUNCHES FIRST DEFENCE CLOUD OFFERING FOR ARMED FORCES

    At Eurosatory 2018, Thales is launching the first comprehensive private cloud infrastructure solution to improve the operational efficiency of the armed forces. With Nexium Defence Cloud, Thales is at the heart of the digital transformation of its customers and adapting to the specific needs of armed forces operating in constrained environments with stringent security requirements. Key Points Thales is launching a complete, resilient solution that will enable armed forces to stay connected with any device at any time and operate with complete autonomy in the field. Thales offers users private access to data in the constrained environment of military infrastructure networks, from central command to forces deployed in theatres of operation. This new solution benefits from Thales's cybersecurity expertise​ In recent years, cloud services have changed the day-to-day lives of businesses and individuals, driving the development of a whole range of applications to address new use cases. Organisations with a real need to share content can now remain connected at all times from any type of terminal or device. The armed forces share the same requirements. The cloud solutions in use today for civil applications are not appropriate for deployed forces. They require unlimited bandwidth that armed forces do not have in the field. The Thales Defence Cloud is a sovereign solution designed for constrained environments, enabling deployed forces to conduct their missions in total autonomy in the theatre of operations. Hyperconnectivity on the battlefield promises to drive a technological revolution for armed forces and engender a growth in demand for new capabilities to gather, share and process large volumes of data in real time. As threat environments evolve, armed forces units will be able to respond immediately, and sometimes simultaneously, to any situation that may arise in future conflicts. With its Defence Cloud offering and related connectivity solutions, Thales proposes a complete solution including secure, end-to-end hosting of data and applications. Users ranging from commanders in the home country to units deployed in theatres of operation can access data in complete privacy in a dedicated environment that takes full benefit of Thales's cybersecurity expertise. The Nexium Defence Cloud solution is both comprehensive and modular. An extensive range of configurations is possible to accommodate the requirements of very high-capacity, readily expandable infrastructure networks for HQ all the way down to an all-in-one box that transforms a Forward Operating Bases into new cloud nodes in a matter of hours. This ability to interconnect systems and devices quickly and easily within ad-hoc command structures and organisations boosts mission effectiveness with no trade-off in security. Equipment and applications can be deployed, configured and updated remotely so that the armed forces can focus on their core missions. https://www.thalesgroup.com/en/worldwide/defence/press-release/thales-launches-first-defence-cloud-offering-armed-forces

  • Création d'un conseil conjoint de Défense Canada-France

    June 11, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    Création d'un conseil conjoint de Défense Canada-France

    La France et le Canada ont décidé de rapprocher leurs armées en créant un conseil conjoint de Défense d'ici la fin de l'année, a annoncé mercredi à l'AFP une source gouvernementale canadienne. Ce «Conseil de défense conjoint ministériel sera convoqué d'ici la fin de l'année 2018» et permettra de mieux coordonner les actions des armées canadiennes et françaises, a déclaré à l'AFP ce haut responsable canadien. Cette annonce intervient à l'occasion de la visite à Ottawa du président français Emmanuel Macron, venu se coordonner avec le premier ministre Justin Trudeau en amont du sommet du G7 qui se tient vendredi et samedi au Québec. Intitulée officiellement «Conseil franco-canadien de coopération en matière de défense», cette structure doit permettre aux armées des deux pays de conduire davantage d'opérations conjointes, a précisé cette source. Il est notamment «envisagé» de mener à terme des opérations de maintien de la paix franco-canadiennes sous les auspices des Nations-Unies, a-t-on précisé. En outre, Paris et Ottawa «s'engagent à mettre en place un Conseil des ministres franco-canadien, autour du président de la République française et du premier ministre du Canada», selon une déclaration transmise à l'AFP. Ce Conseil des ministres se réunira «au minimum» tous les deux ans «pour faire un bilan de cette coopération renforcée et développer des actions conjointes», a ajouté le haut responsable canadien. La France mène déjà de tels Conseils des ministres binationaux avec l'Allemagne et le Québec. http://www.tvanouvelles.ca/2018/06/06/creation-dun-conseil-conjoint-de-defense-canada-france

  • House panel unveils $674.6B Pentagon spending bill

    June 11, 2018 | International, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    House panel unveils $674.6B Pentagon spending bill

    BY REBECCA KHEEL - 06/06/18 12:39 PM EDT The House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday unveiled its $674.6 billion Pentagon spending bill for fiscal 2019. The bill would provide $606.5 billion in base discretionary funding, which is about $900 million less than the Trump administration requested but $17.1 billion more than this year's spending level. The bill would also provide $68.1 billion for a war fund known as the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) account. “With the changing global dynamics and ever-growing threats to our security, it is absolutely imperative that our military is properly trained, equipped and fully supported in order to do their jobs,” Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) said in a statement. “This legislation does all of this by including robust funding for our troops, the defense programs and activities necessary to accomplish our national goals and ideals, and to continue to rebuild our military.” The money would pay for a boost of 15,600 troops across the military and a 2.6 percent pay raise for service members, both matching what was requested by the administration. The bill would also provide $145.7 billion for equipment purchases and upgrades. That's split $133 billion for base requirements — or $2.5 billion more than requested — and $12.7 billion in OCO. The procurement money includes $22.7 billion for 12 new Navy ships, two more ships than the administration requested. The two extra ships are littoral combat ships, which Congress continues to support buying — despite the Navy's plan to transition away from the ship — so that shipyards keep working and will be able to keep pace on future orders. The bill would also fund a slew of aircraft, including $9.4 billion for 93 F-35 fighter jets and $1.9 billion for 24 F/A-18E/F Super Hornet aircraft. The bill includes funding for the procurement of 16 more F-35s than requested. The plane is built by Lockheed Martin in defense appropriations subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger's (R-Texas) district. Granger said the bill is an extension of last year's efforts to address readiness shortfalls. “It is a product of countless meetings and briefings with our military leaders and demonstrates our commitment to ensuring the U.S. military is the strongest, most capable military in the world,” she said in a statement. “Our military must have the resources it needs to respond to and deter threats from countries like Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, and also counter violent extremists throughout the world.” http://thehill.com/policy/defense/391001-house-panel-unveils-6746b-pentagon-spending-bill

  • Pentagon’s Second Multibillion Cloud Contract to Be Bid in Coming Months

    June 11, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Pentagon’s Second Multibillion Cloud Contract to Be Bid in Coming Months

    Officials say the Defense Department's multibillion Defense Enterprise Office Solutions contract is expected to be bid out in the fourth quarter of this fiscal year. Much of the oxygen in the federal contracting community has gone to the Pentagon's Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract in recent months, but the Pentagon is very close to bidding out a second major cloud contract that may rival it in size. Defense officials said last month that the Defense Enterprise Office Solution acquisition, valued at approximately $8 billion, could be bid out later this month, with an expected award issued by the second quarter of 2019. The contract will have a five-year base period with five one-year options. DEOS is the Pentagon's attempt to “unify and modernize” some of its legacy systems, including enterprise email, collaboration services, voice and video services, messaging, content management and other productivity capabilities for more than 3.5 million users. Brian Herman, the Defense Information Systems Agency's unified capabilities portfolio manager, said the Pentagon isn't interested in developing new capabilities but rather wants to take advantage of existing commercial capabilities in use across industry today. “Our goal is to take the capabilities that are available now, change the way we work to take advantage of these commercial services, and receive all of the upgrades and improvements that industry brings to their commercial customers,” said Herman, speaking at the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association's Defensive Cyber Operations Symposium in Baltimore May 16. In the commercial world, many companies have opted for cloud-based delivery of collaborative and email services. Delivered at scale across the Defense Department's massive enterprise, Herman said the approach could significantly reduce costs and improve security and efficiency. DEOS could eventually replace the Defense Enterprise Email, Defense Collaboration Services, and Defense Enterprise Portal Service, and potentially other legacy systems currently maintained by the Pentagon's IT wing. “We've had feedback from the DOD management, financial, and technical leaders. They've looked at the services used by [DOD agencies] and said, ‘You need to change the way you use these services. It's no longer necessary for every application to be on your desktop. Perhaps you can have web-based access to some of these capabilities and both improve the security and reduce the cost of these capabilities,” Herman said. DEOS will offer services through the Pentagon's unclassified and classified networks, meaning potential bidders must have provisional authorization to operate at Impact Level 5 to bid on it. Currently, only a few cloud service providers, including Microsoft, IBM, Amazon Web Services and General Dynamics, have achieved this status. Meanwhile, the Pentagon has not yet released a final solicitation for JEDI, which some industry estimates have pegged at $10 billion. The contract has drawn scrutiny from industry and Congress because of the Defense Department's decision to award it to a single cloud service provider. Initially expected to be released in mid-May for industry consideration, it has been delayed indefinitely. https://www.nextgov.com/it-modernization/2018/06/pentagons-second-multibillion-cloud-contract-be-bid-coming-months/148733/

  • DND unable to spend billions in equipment funds, pushing projects beyond next election

    June 11, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR

    DND unable to spend billions in equipment funds, pushing projects beyond next election

    Murray Brewster National Defence fell $2.3 billion short in its plan to re-equip the military in the past year — a failing that one defence analyst says guarantees many important decisions on warplanes, ships and vehicles will be pushed beyond next year's election. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan revealed the figure Wednesday as he launched the department's long-anticipated investment plan at a major defence industry trade show in Ottawa. The plan is the Liberal government's spending roadmap for its defence policy, released a year ago, which pledged $6.2 billion in new capital spending in the first year. New figures show $3.9 billion was spent. Later in the day, the chair of the Liberal government's council of economic advisers underscored the importance of investment in the defence sector and how it will drive innovation in other sectors. "If we want to grow — and we can in Canada, and we want to grow more significantly — the defence sector is going to play an essential part in doing that," Dominic Barton said. Leading-edge military technology and the possibilities for its commercialization can transform the broader economy, he added. However, the investment plan presented by the Liberals on Wednesday leans heavily on refurbishing existing technology and equipment — mostly aircraft — in the coming decade. The Defence Capabilities Blue Print will see the air force's CF-18 fighter jets, C-140 Aurora surveillance planes, C-144 Challenger executive jets, C-150 Polaris refuellers and transports, CT-114 Tutor trainers and demonstration jets, C-149 search and rescue helicopters and CH-146 Griffons all given life extensions and upgrades. New aircraft, including drones, won't be introduced until the mid-2020s — or later. A defence analyst said that's no surprise since many major decisions will be pushed past the 2019 election. That means it will be up to the next government to make the tough decisions on how much to buy and how much to spend. "Unless we see an extremely busy June with a lot of announcements on milestone projects, a lot of the work is going to be left until later," said Dave Perry, an expert in procurement at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. "They're not moving ahead as quickly as they suggested in the defence policy." The government could leave even more money on the table this year. Figures compiled by Perry, using the federal government's own budget documents and records, suggest as much as $3 billion could go unspent on military equipment in the current fiscal period. The former Conservative government was repeatedly criticized for promising the military big things in terms of equipment, but rarely delivering and allowing allocated funds to lapse. That cash was eventually kicked back to the federal treasury and used for deficit reduction. DND gets to keep money, spend it later Sajjan said defence spending is now guaranteed in the fiscal framework, the government's long-term financial plan. That means National Defence gets to keep the money and spend it later. "We always know we might not need the extra funds, but they have to be there just in case," Sajjan said. "Rest assured, the unspent $2.3 billion dollars is protected. Those funds remain available when we need them." He defended the spending "delta," saying that 30 per cent of it comes because projects came in under budget. Another 42 per cent was because of delays by defence contractors. Approximately one-third, though, relates to the department's inability to make a decision — or develop specifications on time. Sajjan took a shot at the government of former prime minister Stephen Harper, which used to regularly publish its defence spending plans, but never had specific funding attached to individual projects. Conservative defence critic James Bezan said there is a disconnect between the government's defence policy and its spending plans as outlined in federal budget documents. "Nothing seems to match," said Bezan, who treats the federal budget as the last word in spending. There was no mention of National Defence in Finance Minister Bill Morneau's latest fiscal, presented in February. Defence officials insist that is because the department's spending is already accounted for in the fiscal framework. The federal Treasury Board, however, must approve funding on a project-by-project basis — and Bezan said that hasn't been done. "There's no money to do the things Sajjan is out there talking about," he said. "We are still dealing with the problems of getting procurement done in a timely manner and getting it done on budget." The head of a defence industry group — Sajjan's audience as he made the announcement — said the government does deserve credit for consulting more about projects ahead of time, but there are obvious shortcomings. "Any time funding moves to the right, it is a predictability problem for us. We want as as predictable and as stable funding as we can get," said Christyn Cianfarani, the president and CEO of the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries. "I still think, systemically, there is a problem and if we don't turn it upside down and shake it — the whole procurement system — and do things differently ... many, many things differently, we'll still see sluggishness in the procurement system." He said the Liberal investment plan is not "aspirational" and states clearly where the cash is coming from. The Conservative guidebook in the end "did not deliver for the men and women in uniform," Sajjan told the audience of defence contractors. http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/sajjan-dnd-equipment-funds-1.4683606

  • Reports: Google won’t renew Pentagon contract to use AI

    June 11, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Reports: Google won’t renew Pentagon contract to use AI

    By: The Associated Press SAN FRANCISCO — Google won't renew a contract with the Pentagon that provides the company's artificially intelligent algorithms to interpret video images and improve the targeting of drone strikes. That's according to reports in Gizmodo, Buzzfeed, and The New York Times Friday. The reports said Google Cloud business head Diane Greene told employees of the decision not to renew the 18-month deal past the end of 2019, when the current contract ends. Google representatives did not respond to a request for comment. The so-called Project Maven had riled Google employees, including several who quit and thousands of others who signed a petition asking CEO Sundar Pichai to cancel the project and enact a policy renouncing the use of Google technology in warfare. https://www.c4isrnet.com/news/pentagon-congress/2018/06/03/reports-google-wont-renew-pentagon-contract-to-use-ai/

  • Cyberwarriors need a training platform, and fast

    June 11, 2018 | International, C4ISR

    Cyberwarriors need a training platform, and fast

    By: Mark Pomerleau U.S. Cyber Command's cyber teams are now built and transitioning to readiness, and now the force needs a dedicated platform to conduct training. Given the importance of properly preparing cyberwarriors, the Army (acting as Cyber Command's executive agent for all the service's cyber teams) has been using a rapid acquisition approach called other transaction authorities to field a training platform. The Persistent Cyber Training Environment, or PCTE, is not a single entity, but rather a complex system of systems that will require many moving parts for individual and collective training, as well as mission rehearsal. According to Jim Keffer, director of cyber at Lockheed Martin, it will be more than just a cyber range. It'll require event management; scheduling for training exercises; scenario design features; control of the exercises; assessments; red forces; library of capabilities that can be linked to designing adversary network mock-ups (which will require good intelligence); and classrooms to put all this together. The reason such a high-end training environment is being fast-tracked is because cyberwarriors don't currently have anything akin to what traditional war fighters use to prepare for combat. Capstone cyber exercises that only occur once or twice a year are not enough for the force, and in many cases the first-time cyberwarriors will engage with an adversary in the real world and not in simulations. “It's like a fighter pilot going up and the first time he's flown actual combat is against a real adversary,” Keffer told Fifth Domain. “That's not a good way to fight wars. That's not a good way to train your troops. That's not a good way to decrease the risk to your forces.” Incremental approach The overall PCTE is made up of a number of cyber investment challenges, or CICs, that the Army is releasing incrementally and will eventually string together. This will “bring together some of the best technology that's out there” to address immediate needs in various categories as the longer-term vision of what PCTE might look like coalesces, Deon Viergutz, vice president of Cyber Solutions at Lockheed Martin, told Fifth Domain in an interview. The Army will release five CIC's to get multiple industry approaches as it heads up the full PCTE indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract, Viergutz said, adding, “I believe that is still under work, the long term for PCTE and the acquisition.” While CIC one has been awarded, CIC two should be awarded in the next few weeks. According to contracting documents, CIC two is focused on enabling user access to the PCTE and training aids through a portal. CIC three, which is forthcoming in mid- to late-June, is focused on red team planning, as well as master exercise control. CIC four, estimated for release in July, will focus on training assessment. There is no information released yet regarding CIC five. One important question remains unclear, however: In the end, who will be the integrator of systems — the government or a contractor? “The seams between all these capabilities tend to be the weak points. Having an integrator to kind of tie all that together — the ranges and all these different capabilities — would be important to make sure that the cyberwarriors get the best capability that they deserve ... as quickly as possible,” Keffer said. “If the government wants to be the integrator, we'll do all we can to help them out. If they want industry to be the integrator, industry has a lot of experience doing that, especially Lockheed Martin; we're big in the training business.” https://www.fifthdomain.com/dod/2018/06/04/cyberwarriors-need-a-training-platform-and-fast/

  • State of Canada's Defence Industry 2018

    May 25, 2018 | Local, Aerospace, Naval, Land, C4ISR, Security

    State of Canada's Defence Industry 2018

    Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) joined forces with the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) to publicly release a new report on Canada's defence industry for decision makers. Features of the report include building analytic capacity through collaborative research, economic impact, innovation, exports, and supply chains analysis. https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/ad-ad.nsf/eng/h_ad03978.html

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