16 mars 2020 | Local, Aérospatial, Naval, Terrestre, C4ISR, Sécurité

Canadian military bans international travel in response to COVID-19

Canadian military bans international travel in response to COVID-19

Routine operations and patrols within Canada will continue

The Canadian military has banned all foreign travel and ordered non-essential personnel to stay home — part of its sweeping response to the global outbreak of COVID-19.

A formal order — known as a CANFORGEN — was issued Friday after a preliminary warning order was issued to units across the country the day before.

In an interview, the country's top military commander also said a handful of troops who recently returned from an overseas operation have voluntarily gone into self-isolation at the military airbase in Bagotville, Que., but they are not considered "presumptive cases."

Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance confirmed that only one member of the military — a naval reservist — is in hospital in Spain after being formally diagnosed with the illness.

'Miltary operations will continue'

He said those returning from deployment and leave outside of Canada will be ordered to self-isolate.

"We're trying, at this point in time, to pause all things, but necessary military operations will continue," Vance said.

The new travel ban will mean that the few thousand troops now serving on deployments, exercises and exchange positions will not be allowed to leave the countries where they are operating.

Reservists, who serve part-time, are being encouraged to abstain from personal travel outside of Canada. Bases will be closed to visitors, including foreign delegations.

Military training schools will restrict new entrants and those already on course will be confined to base.

"While at home, or on leave, in Canada, I'm asking members to adopt an approach that protects themselves and their family from the virus," Vance said. "I expect our command and control headquarters to continue operations, albeit at reduced levels, and some units will be able to stand down to essential administration and command functions only."

'Ships will still sail and planes will still fly'

Routine operations and patrols within Canada will continue, as normal.

"Ships will still sail and planes will still fly," said Lt.-Col. Dave Devenney, a spokesman for the defence chief. "Our job is to stay healthy, preserve the force and be prepared to fight."

Dave Perry, a defence analyst at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, said the orders are meant not only to halt the spread of the virus but to give the military flexibility to respond if the civilian health care system or vital infrastructure becomes overwhelmed.

"The military is pre-positioning if they are called out to help the government in any significant way," he said.

Troops could be deployed with transport and communications to help frontline health workers, such as the people doing virus screening.

"People at the frontline of the pandemic could require a host of supports," Perry said.

An order for federal government workers to stay home also could put a strain on some parts of the country's telecommunications grid.

"The military has independent communications that can work around that securely," Perry added.

The order follows on a series of measures the military has taken in response to the unfolding pandemic crisis. Travel to China was banned shortly after the novel coronavirus became a major issue in Asia.

A week ago, Vance said the military had started "pre-pandemic planning" by issuing orders that gave base commanders the authority to cancel large public gatherings, restrict all non-essential travel and enforce higher standards of personal hygiene.

At that time, Vance said federal officials, under a worst-case scenario, were prepared for an absentee rate among government workers of 25 per cent and that the military is looking at a similar number.

He added that the best defence is to not get sick at all.

The biggest issue the Department of National Defence has faced thus far has been the civilian travel restrictions, which have hampered the movement of personnel. It also has prevented the full resumption of the military training mission in Iraq, a senior commander told a parliamentary committee this week.

There is concern for the forces operating in war zones like Iraq, where the health care system lies in ruins. As of Thursday, Iraq reported 74 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and eight fatalities.

Approximately one-quarter of the country's cases are known to be in the northern Kurdistan region, where Canadian special forces troops have been conducting an advise-and-assist mission to help root out the remaining extremist holdouts after the fall of the Islamic State.

The country's second-largest city, Mosul, was largely destroyed by the fighting.

The Canadian measures differ from those being imposed by the Pentagon, which as of today is barring all troops, family members and defence civilian employees from traveling to afflicted countries, including Italy, South Korea, and China, for the next 60 days.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/military-travel-halted-covid-19-1.5496537

Sur le même sujet

  • Eye in the sky: Diamond Aircraft's DA62 MPP special mission platform - Skies Mag

    14 septembre 2022 | Local, Aérospatial

    Eye in the sky: Diamond Aircraft's DA62 MPP special mission platform - Skies Mag

    Diamond Aircraft’s special mission flagship, the DA62 MPP, is proving that a light fixed-wing aircraft is ideal for surveillance missions, thanks to the aircraft’s cost-effectiveness and increased capability.

  • Defence Procurement’s Effectiveness Dissected at Ottawa Conference

    25 novembre 2019 | Local, Autre défense

    Defence Procurement’s Effectiveness Dissected at Ottawa Conference

    By James Careless How well is Canada's defence procurement actually working, and are industry-boosters like ITBs paying off? These and other questions were tackled at the ‘Defence in the 43rd Parliament' one-day conference on November 20, 2019. It was staged by the Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI) at the Chateau Laurier hotel, before a full house in the Adam Room. During the opening session, ‘Canadian Defence Procurement – The State of the Union', DND Associate Deputy Minister Claude Rochette was cautiously upbeat about the state of Canadian defence procurements. In the last year, DND has signed about 12,000 contracts and spent about $6 billion on procurements, he said. Most of these contracts were on time and on budget. 2019's defence procurement spending is up from $4.9 billion spent by DND in 2016, Rochette noted. In addition, this year DND will “close out its budget” by spending its allocated funds, he said. Despite some criticisms that Canadian defence procurements are not moving fast enough, “we are doing pretty well,” said Claude Rochette. But the process isn't perfect, he admitted. “We have more work to do.” Rochette's positive assessment was echoed by PSPC Associate Deputy Minister Michael Vandergrift. 2019 “has been a very busy time” in Canadian defence procurement, he said, During the past year, the federal government issued an RfP for the Future Fighter Capability project; sole-sourced Light Armoured Vehicles from General Dynamics Land Systems-Canada; and selected Lockheed Martin to built 15 Canadian Surface Combatant ships. Asked which defence procurements are going well and which are posing challenges, Rochette replied that smaller projects that fall within DND's $5 million spending authority are easy to manage. Where issues crop up is in large multi-million dollar projects with long time lines: Trying to cost them accurately and manage them effectively is akin to asking, “I want to have a car and buy it next year, so tell me how much I'll pay for it (right now),” he said. In a later morning session entitled, ‘Offsets – Is the ITB Policy Delivering?', the panel considered the impact of procurement bidders ‘overcommitting' to ITBs (promising financial benefits worth more than the contracts they are bidding for) on the Canadian defence industry. Such ITB overcommittments, which can be worth 300% or more than the contract being sought, are “introducing unnecessary risk” in the Canadian defence industry, said Rich Foster, Vice President of L3 Harris Technologies - Canada. The result of overcommitting is that contractors are “now focussed more on quantity than quality” in making their procurement decisions, he said. The real victims of ITB overcommittments are SMEs, which lack the resources available to large companies to pay for these big ITBs. The choice facing these SMEs is to directly/indirectly seek such contracts – which can run 20-40 years – “or you go out of business,” said Brian Botting, Director of Strategic Offsets at General Dynamics Missions Systems. “It is a terrible dilemma for them to be in.” The CGAI procurement conference ended with the panel discussion, ‘Defence Procurement Canada'. This is the name of the integrated procurement agency the Liberals proposed during the October 2019 election, to replace the multiple ministries currently sharing this responsibility. The common sense reason for having a single defence procurement agency comes down to human nature: “If you ask two of your kids to take out the garbage, it won't get done,” quipped Alan Williams, President of The Williams Group. “If you ask one of your kids, maybe it will get taken out.” He explained that sharing procurement among ministries causes requires agreement between multiple ministers and deputy ministers – which wastes time -- and that Canada's military allies manage their procurements through single agencies. Creating a separate Defence Procurement Canada (DPC) agency would not be easy, said Jim Mitchell, Research Associate with the University of Ottawa's Graduate School of Public and International Affairs. Speaking from his own government experience, Mitchell observed that such changes are “disruptive, costly, difficult, hard on people, and hurt efficiency and effectiveness for a few years.” Mitchell added that creating DPC would not prevent Treasury Board and other ministries from having a role in defence procurement afterwards. CGAI Fellow Gavin Liddy was just as pessimistic about the value of creating DPC when so many defence procurements are underway. If the government wants “to do one single thing to delay the procurement agenda in the next five to seven years,” then they should instruct defence bureaucrats to create the DPC, Liddy concluded. “Nothing would divert their attention more than doing that.” http://www.canadiandefencereview.com/news?news/2765

  • Canada's new frigates could take part in ballistic missile defence — if Ottawa says yes

    26 décembre 2019 | Local, Naval

    Canada's new frigates could take part in ballistic missile defence — if Ottawa says yes

    Murray Brewster Canada's new frigates are being designed with ballistic missile defence in mind, even though successive federal governments have avoided taking part in the U.S. program. When they slip into the water sometime in the mid- to late-2020s, the new warships probably won't have the direct capability to shoot down incoming intercontinental rockets. But the decisions made in their design allow them to be converted to that role, should the federal government ever change course. The warships are based upon the British Type 26 layout and are about to hit the drawing board. Their radar has been chosen and selected missile launchers have been configured to make them easy and cost-effective to upgrade. Vice-Admiral Art McDonald said the Lockheed Martin-built AN/SPY-7 radar system to be installed on the new frigates is cutting-edge. It's also being used on land now by the U.S. and Japan for detecting ballistic missiles. "It's a great piece, and that is what we were looking for in terms of specification," McDonald told CBC News in a year-end interview. Selecting the radar system for the new frigates was seen as one of the more important decisions facing naval planners because it has to stay operational and relevant for decades to come — even as new military threats and technologies emerge. McDonald said positive feedback from elsewhere in the defence industry convinced federal officials that they had made the right choice. "Even from those that weren't producing an advanced kind of radar, they said this is the capability you need," he said. The whole concept of ballistic missile defence (BMD) remains a politically touchy topic. BMD — "Star Wars," to its critics — lies at the centre of a policy debate the Liberal government has tried to avoid at all costs. In 2017, Canada chose not to join the BMD program. That reluctance to embrace BMD dates back to the political bruising Paul Martin's Liberal government suffered in 2004-05, when the administration of then-U.S. president George W. Bush leaned heavily on Ottawa to join the program. In the years since, both the House of Commons and Senate defence committees have recommended the federal government relent and sign on to BMD — mostly because of the emerging missile threat posed by rogue nations such as North Korea. Liberals reluctant to talk BMD The question of whether to join BMD is expected to form part of the deliberations surrounding the renewal of NORAD — an undertaking the Liberal government has acknowledged but not costed out as part of its 2017 defence policy. Missile defence continues to be a highly fraught concept within the federal government. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan made a point of downplaying a CBC News story last summer that revealed how the Canadian and U.S. militaries had laid down markers for what the new NORAD could look like, pending sign-off by both Washington and Ottawa. Asked about Sajjan's response, a former senior official in the minister's office said it raised the spectre of "Star Wars" — not a topic the Liberal government was anxious to discuss ahead of last fall's election. The current government may not want to talk about it, but the Canadian navy and other NATO countries are grappling with the technology. Practice makes perfect Last spring, a Canadian patrol frigate, operating with 12 other alliance warships, tracked and shot down a supersonic target meant to simulate a ballistic missile. A French frigate also scored a separate hit. For the last two years, NATO warships have practiced linking up electronically in defensive exercises to shoot down both mock ballistic and cruise missiles. A Canadian frigate in the 2017 iteration of the exercise destroyed a simulated cruise missile. At the recent Halifax Security Forum, there was a lot of talk about the proliferation of missile technology. One defence expert told the forum Canadian military planners have been paying attention to the issue for a long time. The frigate design is an important example. "I think what they've tried to do is keep the door open by some of the decisions they've made, recognizing that missile proliferation is a significant concern," said Dave Perry, of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. "They haven't shut the door on doing that and I think that is smart." Opponents of BMD, meanwhile, have long argued the fixation by the U.S. and NATO on ballistic missile defence is fuelling instability and giving Russia and China reasons to co-operate in air and missile defence. Speaking before a Commons committee in 2017, Peggy Mason, president of the foreign and defence policy think-tank Rideau Institute, said the United States's adversaries have concluded that building more offensive systems is cheaper than investing in defensive ones. "The American BMD system also acts as a catalyst to nuclear weapons modernization, as Russia and China seek not only increased numbers of nuclear weapons but also increased manoeuvrability," said Mason, Canada's ambassador for disarmament from 1989 to 1994, testifying on Sept. 14, 2017. She also warned that "there would be significant financial costs to Canadian participation" in the U.S. BMD program "given American demands" — even prior to Donald Trump's presidency — "that allies pay their 'fair share' of the collective defence burden." https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/frigate-ballistic-missile-defence-canada-1.5407226

Toutes les nouvelles