Front Lines

Military leaders dominate Trump’s cabinet
Front Lines

Military leaders dominate Trump’s cabinet

Never in American history has a cabinet-elect been so stacked with ex-warriors as Donald Trump’s, and some question the wisdom of relying so much on the military perspective in a country that so values civilian control over its political institutions. Three top posts in Trump’s cabinet have gone to former military brass: Defense to retired marine general James Mattis, Homeland Security to retired marine general John Kelly, and national security to retired army lieutenant general Michael Flynn.     Trump has also nominated Montana lawmaker and former navy SEAL Ryan Zinke for interior secretary, responsible for natural resources and national parks. His energy chief, Rick Perry, is an air force veteran. Retired army general David Petraeus and former admiral Ja...
Trump tweets may help Canada’s bottom line
Front Lines

Trump tweets may help Canada’s bottom line

American defence and aviation giants are among the latest targets of Donald Trump’s relentless Twitter condemnations, and that could be good news for Canada. Boeing and Lockheed Martin have come under fire from the president-elect over airplane costs. And, while his criticism of Boeing’s non-existent Air Force One contract was shot down in flames, it’s hard to find fault with Trump’s take on cost overruns associated with development and production of the F-35 stealth fighter. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/808301935728230404 Lockheed Martin stock took an immediate hit, just as Boeing’s did after Trump tweeted that a $4-billion contract for an Air Force One replacement should be scrapped. Trouble is, there is no contract for such a plane and, once that was clarified, Bo...
Incoming U.S. defence chief’s surprising views
Front Lines

Incoming U.S. defence chief’s surprising views

Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Defense is an outspoken former Marine Corps general known as “Mad Dog,” but don’t let the name fool you. James Nicholas Mattis is an insightful, charismatic leader whose motivational abilities and battlefield successes came with nuanced understanding of history, humanity and his enemy. Also called “the Warrior Monk,” the well-read native of Pullman, Wash., joined the Marines at 19 and retired three years ago after heading Central Command, where he oversaw wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and conflicts in Syria and Yemen. There were signs even before early December’s announcement that the 66-year-old, who’s never owned a television, never been married and has no children, was influencing the president-elect on key policy issues. Trump told The New York ...
Auditor General looks at CAF recruitment troubles
Front Lines

Auditor General looks at CAF recruitment troubles

The Canadian Armed Forces is understaffed, the problem is getting worse and it’s unlikely that the regular force can reach its target levels by 2018–19 as planned, Auditor General Michael Ferguson said in a report released Nov. 29. Ferguson suggested the military set noble goals to boost overall recruitment and increase the proportion of women in its ranks, but didn’t follow through with the planning and organization needed to make either happen. “We found that although the regular force had mechanisms in place to define its recruiting needs, those needs were not reflected in recruitment plans and targets,” said the report. “Instead, recruitment targets were based on National Defence’s capacity to process applications and enroll and train new members. “Furthermore, we found that t...
Super Hornets fill a temporary gap
Front Lines

Super Hornets fill a temporary gap

A decision to purchase 18 Super Hornet fighter jets as an interim measure until a permanent option is found could cost Canadian taxpayers more than $1.2 billion, according to the government’s own estimates. Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan announced Nov. 22 that Ottawa will enter talks with Boeing and the U.S. government over the use of the next-generation FA-18 jets for an “interim period,” depending on cost, capability and economic value. “Having to manage our commitments to Norad, NATO and our ability to respond to unforeseen events is not a risk this government is willing to accept,” said Sajjan. “The interim fleet provides the most effective way forward to help ensure Canada remains a credible and dependable ally.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during the 2015 election...
Canada’s role in Iraq growing
Front Lines

Canada’s role in Iraq growing

It’s looking more and more like Canada has exchanged its role in the air war in Iraq for a growing part in the ground war. CBC confirmed this week what many had already surmised–Canadian troops tasked to advise Peshmerga fighters have taken preventative action against the enemy in Iraq. While the government in Ottawa has insisted Canadian special forces only fire when fired upon, it seems their rules of engagement allow otherwise. Canadians have therefore shot at Islamic State extremists when they appear to pose an imminent threat to civilians and Kurdish allies. Fulfilling an election promise, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau withdrew Canadian fighter aircraft from the bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria earlier this year, boosting the Forces’ logistical support, advisory and trainin...
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