Defence Today

Militarization, not commercialization, is the problem in space
Defence Today, Front Lines

Militarization, not commercialization, is the problem in space

Recent jaunts into near space by entrepreneurs, actor William Shatner and the ultra-wealthy have inspired waves of criticism among those who claim their fortunes could be better spent on Earth. How, they say, can Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk spend billions on next-generation space technology when so many in the world are starving? How can the privileged few blow US$250,000 a head for 10 minutes outside Earth’s atmosphere—barely long enough to say they’ve been there—when others are in need? Even Prince William spoke out against space tourism and, apparently, exploration. “We need some of the world's greatest brains and minds fixed on trying to repair this planet, not trying to find the next place to go and live,” he told BBC. “[It] really is quite crucial to be focusing on this [planet...
Russia, China flex muscles after Taliban takeover
Defence Today, Front Lines

Russia, China flex muscles after Taliban takeover

American troops had barely begun their withdrawal from Afghanistan in August when Russia’s military began flexing its muscles near the country’s border, ostensibly in attempts to discourage the spread of terrorism. Moscow seemed to send mixed messages, with its Kabul-ensconced diplomats describing the purportedly new Taliban as “normal guys” and declaring the Afghan capital a safe place, even as Russian President Vladimir Putin grudgingly called the takeover a reality they had to work with—all while orchestrating joint military exercises with China and other border nations. The first of several exercises, said China’s official Xinhua News Agency, aimed to “deepen the joint anti-terrorism operations between the Chinese and Russian militaries and demonstrate the firm determination and ...
UN fact-finders chronicle war crimes, crimes against humanity in Libya
Defence Today, Front Lines

UN fact-finders chronicle war crimes, crimes against humanity in Libya

A United Nations fact-finding team has gathered evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Libya, where militias, mercenaries and security forces have been fighting since former leader Moammar Gadhafi was ousted a decade ago. In what amounts to an interim report to the UN Human Rights Council, the three-member team cites testimony and other evidence of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, rape, and arbitrary arrest and detention throughout Libya—some committed by the former UN-sanctioned government based in Tripoli. “Since the fall of the [Gadhafi] regime in 2011, the fragmentation of the State and the proliferation of weapons and of militias vying for control of territory and resources has severely undermined the rule of law in Libya,” said the docume...
Canada bids farewell to its first female general
Defence Today, Front Lines

Canada bids farewell to its first female general

Family, friends, commanders and colleagues gathered in Ottawa this week to bid a final farewell to Sheila Anne Hellstrom, a Royal Canadian Air Force veteran and the first woman to reach the rank of brigadier-general in the Canadian Armed Forces. Hellstrom was known for her confidence, compassion and fortitude in a male-dominated profession where women had long been relegated to secondary roles. She mentored women, opened doors for them, and oversaw sweeping changes in the roles they would assume both inside and outside the military ranks. A native of Lunenburg, N.S., she died last Dec. 7. She was 85.   Judy Harper, now a retired navy captain, first met Hellstrom in 1980, when Harper was a newly minted major under the combined services of the day and Hellstrom—a lieutena...
Early days: Canadian troops in Afghanistan 2002-2004
Defence Today, Front Lines

Early days: Canadian troops in Afghanistan 2002-2004

March 13, 2002 The 3PPCLI Battle Group launches Canada’s first combat assault since the Korean War on a mountain called the Whale’s Back, overlooking a valley near the Pakistan border. The soldier in the foreground is a Canadian sniper in specially designed British combat fatigues. Taliban and al-Qaida fighters attempting to escape into the mountains to the east came under heavy bombardment from American B-52s and F-16s. Scaling elevations up to 2,650 metres, 500 Canadians, along with U.S. Navy Seals and infantry from the U.S. 10th Mountain Division, spent five days clearing caves and gathering intelligence among the rocks and crevices.   March 16, 2002 Canadian snipers set two distance records while on operations with American forces in March 2002. Here, a sniper team loo...
Weak point
Defence Today, Eye On Defence

Weak point

Norad needs stronger cyber defences This year marks the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 11, 2001. The day will no doubt be marked by sombre reflection on what happened and grief for the victims.  But will anyone think of that day as marking the greatest failure of the North American Aerospace Defence Command?  Norad is responsible for protecting North American airspace against attack, but it responded only after the fact by closing U.S. airspace and ordering all operating aircraft to land at the nearest airport. Even today, Norad has no recourse against another 9/11-type attack except to shoot down a hijacked airliner. There is a lot of discussion in the United States and Canada these days ...

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