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Report of the SC on National Defence: "Canada and the Defence of North America"

MarkOttawa

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Prof. Andrea Charron of U. of Manitoba featured in this piece at “HIgh North News” from Norway–note US Army and NORAD exercise:

NORAD, NORTHCOM Strategy Highlights Changing Strategic Environment in the Arctic

“In today’s changing geopolitical environment not to mention environmentally changing world, Canada and the US need to rethink continental defence,” Dr. Andrea Charron, Director of the Centre for Defence and Security Studies says…

Dr. Andrea Charron, Associate Professor and Director of the Centre for Defence and Security Studies (CDSS) at the University of Manitoba in Canada, explains that the strategy builds on the thinking of successive NORAD and USNORTHCOM commanders who recognized that continental defence is often overlooked in favour of deployments away.

“In today’s changing geopolitical environment not to mention environmentally changing world, Canada and the US need to rethink continental defence,” Charron writes in an e-mail to High North News…

The launch of the strategy comes just a few days early of the new US Army Arctic strategy, which lays out how the Army can better position itself to operate in the region.

The strategy emphasizes developing and strengthening Arctic partnerships, stating that “we will defend the United States and Canada in and through the Arctic, with allies and partners, including Indigenous peoples and governments, by building Arctic awareness, enhancing Arctic operations, capabilities, infrastructure, and ensuring a credible defense presence. Improving our DA, polar communications capability, and ability to conduct sustained multi-domain operations are priorities.”

“It is encouraging to see that the strategy thinks about the necessary and important partnerships with indigengous peoples in the Arctic. Canada has been ahead of the US in this respect,” Charron adds.
Arctic Air Defence Exercise

On Wednesday, NORAD announced it will be conducting the Arctic air defence exercise, AMALGAM DART From March 20 to 26, 2021. The exercise which will include a variety of military aircraft from the Royal Canadian Air Force and United States Air Force.

The aircrafts will be operating out of northern locations including Whitehorse, Y.T., Yellowknife, N.W.T, Edmonton, Alta., Goose Bay, N.L, Iqaluit, Nun, and Thule, Greenland [emphasis added],” the NORAD press statement says.

According to the statement, the exercise will provide the opportunity to improve skills as Canadian and U.S. forces operate together with allies and partners in the Arctic.

NORAD routinely conducts exercises using a variety of scenarios including airspace restriction violations, hijackings, and responses to unknown aircraft.’
https://www.highnorthnews.com/en/no...hlights-changing-strategic-environment-arctic

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MarkOttawa

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RCAF/USAF turning Thule into fighter base for NORAD Ex AMALGAMDART--with portable arresting gear--at the invaluable "War Zone" (Canadian media beaten yet again what CAF are doing)--with video:

NORAD Fighters Are Using Arresting Gear For Year-Round Ops At Greenland’s Thule Air Base​

The Arctic airbase hasn’t had a permanent fighter presence since the 1950s but is once again ready to accommodate fighters all year round.​


Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 Hornet fighter jets have been operating in Arctic winter conditions at Thule, in Greenland, home of the northernmost U.S. airbase, an immensely strategic facility just 947 miles from the North Pole. The jets are helping prove the concept of year-round operations at the base in the High North, using the Mobile Aircraft Arresting System, which adds an important additional margin of safety for landing planes.

The U.S.-Canadian North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) announced recently that the U.S. Air Force’s 823rd RED HORSE Squadron — the acronym standing for Rapid Engineer Deployable Heavy Operational Repair Squadron Engineers — had installed the Mobile Aircraft Arresting System (MAAS) at Thule Air Base for use during the Amalgam Dart 21-2 air defense exercise. The U.S. Department of Defense confirmed that the MAAS was certified on March 21 via high-speed taxiing involving a Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) CF-18.

“The system slowed a CF-18 from 128 knots to a full stop in 1,000 feet,” NORAD added. “The MAAS ensures we can support fighter aircraft ops in high Arctic environments.”

The MAAS is intended to be installed anywhere in the world where fighter operations may be required from short or icy runways or even those that have been damaged by enemy airstrikes. Similar equipment is also used to bring a fighter to a halt in an emergency situation. In the High Arctic environment, the MAAS gear reduces flight safety risks when recovering on runways that may be subject to snow, wind, and ice. At Thule, for example, winter temperatures can plummet to -47 degrees Fahrenheit, while winds reach as high as 100 knots...

Amalgam Dart 21-2, which is running from March 20 to 26, is a wider Arctic air defense exercise involving the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and USAF at various northern locations, including Whitehorse in Yukon, Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories, Edmonton in Alberta, Goose Bay in Newfoundland and Labrador, plus Iqaluit, Nun, and Thule in Greenland.


Small investments deliver big capabilities for #NORAD ops. Concrete pads installed at Thule AB enable the rapid deployment of Mobile Aircraft Arresting System (MAAS), which reduces flight safety risks during #Arctic winter conditions and enables year-round fighter aircraft ops pic.twitter.com/P7LMnzdGNH
— North American Aerospace Defense Command (@NORADCommand) September 21, 2020


Aside from the CF-18s from 3 Wing Bagotville, types taking part in the maneuvers include NATO E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS), RCAF CP-140 long-range patrol aircraft, CC-130 search and rescue and tactical airlift aircraft, CC-150T tankers, and CH-149 Cormorant search and rescue helicopters; plus USAF F-16 fighter jets, KC-10 Extender, KC-46 Pegasus and KC-135 Stratotanker tankers, and C-130 and C-17 transport aircraft.

The area of the exercise extends from the Beaufort Sea off the north of Alaska, to Greenland and then south down the Eastern Atlantic to the coast of Maine.

The availability of the MAAS to provide year-round operations at Thule is significant. As we have discussed in the past, this airbase already serves as a vital outpost for early warning of a potential nuclear as well as providing a major logistical hub in a remote but strategically important region. MAAS-enabled fighter operations from Thule, within the context of Amalgam Dart, provides an additional operational node that helps expand the defensive bubble around the United States and Canada from aerial threats, even in the winter.

NORAD officials have spoken of wanting greater situational awareness against various potential threats, including cruise missiles, and extending defensive coverage further out into the Arctic supports that aim. “We don’t want to be in a situation … where end game defeat is our only option,” Air Force General Glen D. VanHerck, commander of NORAD and U.S. Northern Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee earlier this month, referring to the growing cruise missile threat from Russia...
thule.png

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RCAF/USAF turning Thule into fighter base for NORAD Ex AMALGAMDART--with portable arresting gear--at the invaluable "War Zone" (Canadian media beaten yet again what CAF are doing)--with video:


View attachment 64784

Mark
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Does the arresting hook retract mechanically on our aircraft. I ask because the last time I worked on an aircraft with an arresting hook (Voodoo) we had to reload it manually with a lever, which was a bit of a pain as well as taking time to do.
 

MarkOttawa

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2) But US commander of NORTHCOM and NORAD looks to much more active, indeed pre-emptive, role for NORTHCOM--would seem to leave NORAD as rather an afterthought if cruise missiles are launched, US clearly thinks simply improving radars of North Warning System nowhere near enough for improving over-all defence:

Hmm–JADC2 so one COCOM or another, can act in some form or another (not necessarily kinetically, maybe NORTHCOM itself), vs Russkies “left of launch” against North America? Some coded language here it seems to me:

COCOMs Want JADC2 Now, Not Later, VanHerck Says

A successful wargame last week left the 11 combatant commanders wondering why the network and artificial intelligence technology it featured can’t be put to work right away, said U.S. Northern Command and NORAD commander Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck.

“All 11 commands endorsed every capability that we looked at, and many asked, ‘Why are we waiting? Why don’t we field these right now?’” Herck reported in a March 31 outbrief to reporters forllowing the March 22-23 “Global Information Dominance 2” wargame.

VanHerck has no acquisition authority in his role, but said he wanted to “bring all the Combatant Commanders together to place a demand signal on the Department, to move quicker down the path of domain awareness, information dominance, and decision superiority.”

The exercise showed off the capabilities of software, sensors, and artificial intelligence.

“All … my objectives were achieved,” he said. His goal was to “show the incredible value of information … and how it can be used today.” The exercise demonstrated real-time value of data from the tactical to strategic levels, he said.

“If you put a bow around this, [it] would be referred to as Joint All-Domain Command and Control,” he said. The problem is that “legacy [acquisition] processes take years” while “these capabilities exist today.”

VanHerck used the exercise to demonstrate his four-pronged vision for STRATCOM: “domain awareness, information dominance … decision superiority … and global integration.” To be effective, all combatant commands must be able to cooperate in near-real time, he said.

I need … capabilities that can help me with anything from small [unmanned aerial systems] to ballistic missiles and everything in between, from bombers to cruise missiles [emphasis added--left of launch?].”

Combatant commanders don’t want to wait for JADC2, they want to “build … and use” new JADC2 systems and make them available to allies and partners now.

Ironically, the media session was delayed by 14 minutes because the audio wasn’t working on the video conferencing system.

The experiment also sought to better connect the combatant commands with each other, especially where their areas of responsibility come together. Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Air Force Gen. John Hyten has called fixing this a top priority.

Today, COCOMs overcome these gaps by means of their relationships with fellow COCOMs or among themselves, and the “operations and intel folks that work for us,” VanHerck said.

Recent exercises “exposed the absolute requirement” to overcome this problem. The U.S. command authority needs “options to respond in competition,” and not necessarily in the same domain where a competitor may have already taken action. That means a rival’s move on land could be met with a response “in sea, or space,” VanHerck said, or even in a different AOR [emphasis added].

VanHerck acknowledged a strong uptick in Russian military activity, requiring NORAD to fly intercept missions in the air, at sea, and undersea. The episodes are “strategic messaging,” he said, asserting that Russia wants to be seen as a player in the Arctic region, where some 25 percent of its gross domestic product is earned.

F-22s fly many of those intercept missions, but VanHerck said that’s not his call. “I can see other alternatives to an F-22 that could absolutely accomplish our mission,” he said. He needs an aircraft “able to share information, with a highly capable radar to detect low radar cross section kinds of platforms, such as cruise missiles, and with long-endurance capabilities. You can let your imagination run wild; that does not have to be an F-22.”

NORTHCOM trains with other interceptors, he said, because F-22s aren’t always available. They will “be in high demand in a crisis or conflict,” VanHerck said. They “would likely forward-deploy from the Alaska AOR.”’
COCOMs Want JADC2 Now, Not Later, VanHerck Says - Air Force Magazine

And last year from CDA Institute:

NORAD Modernization: Report Three: JADC2/JADO​


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MarkOttawa

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What does Canadian government think of the US move towards "left of launch" for defence of North American?
From a piece by Prof. Nancy Steeples at RMC:

The Impact of the Post-Arms Control Context and Great Power Competition in the Arctic

What is the impact of new missile technology and the post-strategic arms control context in the Arctic?

…USNORTHCOM and NORAD have released a new strategic guidance for developing all domain awareness capability and information dominance, under a deterrence by denial doctrine that shifts responses to Russian and Chinese aggression to the left (i.e., early, or prior-to the launch phase) to prevent or disarm threats before they are deployed… [see “NORAD and USNORTHCOM Strategy“]
The Impact of the Post-Arms Control Context and Great Power Competition in the Arctic | The Arctic Institute
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What does Canadian government think of the US move towards "left of launch" for defence of North American?
From a piece by Prof. Nancy Steeples at RMC:



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Is Russia only posturing in the Arctic? Or are they anticipating a Russian "Northwest Passage" that they can exploit for economic gain? There is some credible science that suggests that Russia will either have, or be able to create, a sea lane soon that would be economically viable for a significant part of the world's shipping.
 

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Is Russia only posturing in the Arctic? Or are they anticipating a Russian "Northwest Passage" that they can exploit for economic gain? There is some credible science that suggests that Russia will either have, or be able to create, a sea lane soon that would be economically viable for a significant part of the world's shipping.
Northern Sea Route is already a thing, is less obstructed than the NW Passage, and has several coastal replenishment points along the route.
 

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Northern Sea Route is already a thing, is less obstructed than the NW Passage, and has several coastal replenishment points along the route.
Agreed. Personally I think the NWP will never be a real thing. By the time it properly opens up the NSR may be ice-free most of the year-round.
 

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By the time it properly opens up the NSR may be ice-free most of the year-round.
And it seems the Chinese are helping the Russians by burning coal like all get out. 😉
 

MarkOttawa

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What does Canadian government think of the US move towards "left of launch" for defence of North American?
From a piece by Prof. Nancy Steeples at RMC:
Very interesting podcast below, well worth the listen, by CGAI with USAF BGEN at NORAD and USAF official on US thinking about future defence of North America ("the speed of relevance").

US thinking is all aimed “left of launch”, deterring or preventing (how?) Russian attacks, kinetic or otherwise, before they start, using combined actions by various US COCOMS (and NORAD) to achieve those goals, with all-domain info/data awareness/coordination/integration to achieve that “Global Information Dominance” (note this post: NORAD (and NORTHCOM) Thinking Offense of some sort vs Russian Threats–what does Canadian Government Think?).

To my mind that potentially gets NORAD and Canada involved in all sorts of things to which our government has not given formal, open consideration, much less any official agreement. Events seem to be racing way ahead of our thinking/commitments–we’re not in the North Warning System anymore, Toto.

They’re talking about a fundamentally different defence “environment” than almost anyone considers publicly in this country:


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No mention of NORAD or NATO in this story on USAF's developing its Arctic strategy--Norway noted, not Canada:

Air Force Plans Wargames, Tech Experiments To Flesh Out Arctic Strategy


The Air Force is wargaming with allies on how to counter Russia and China in the Arctic, looking to "understand the nature of the competition, as well as the range of capabilities that each of us bring to the problem," said Lt. Gen. Clinton Hinote, the service's lead strategist.​


Wargames have become one of the Air Force’s key tools for implementing its year-old Arctic Strategy, with four separate series — each “with a different flavor” — being used to test new concepts and technology, says Lt. Gen. Clinton Hinote, deputy chief of staff for strategy, integration and requirements.

“We had been spending a lot of wargaming bandwidth on countering Great Powers, specifically in Europe and in the Asia Pacific. And one of the things that we felt like we did not understand as well [was] how that competition would spill over into the Arctic; how our competitors could use the Arctic in a way of doing something strategically bad for the United States and for our allies and partners,” Hinote explained during a panel sponsored by the Wilson Center’s Polar Institute.

“I believe that wargaming is one of the great focusing events that we can bring to the craft of strategy and concept development,” he added. “It really focuses everybody’s attention … because everybody wants to win.”

The Air Force — like the Navy — has been doubling down on DoD concerns that the warming environment is upping the ante in competition for Arctic resources, including oil. Congress, too, has raised red flags about increased Russian military activity in the Arctic region, as well as China’s attempts to position itself as an Arctic nation despite the facts of geography.

The service thus has been mulling its future needs in the region, eyeing new equipment buys such as more ski-equipped C-130s; prototyping new capabilities such as using commercial broadband communications satellites orbiting the poles; planning to improve bases in region; and expanding cooperation with regional allies and partners such as Norway [emphasis added].

Hinote said the Air Force currently is in the midst of two of the Arctic-related game series, “Arctic Engagement” and “Plan Blue,” that involve allies and partners.

“What we’re trying to do is understand the nature of the competition, as well as the range of capabilities that each of us bring to the problem,” he said. “And if the first problem is understanding what is going on in the Arctic and what others are doing, then shared awareness becomes something that is a very interesting, both objective and technological, challenge for us.”

Next up, he said is the annual “Global Engagement” game and the “Futures Game.” Both, although to a greater extent the Futures Game, are normally used by the service to “try different technologies and concepts,” he added.

“What we are trying to do with this series of four games is understand what … the dynamics are in the Arctic region, and also bring an innovative approach to what it looks like to have awareness and defense in the Arctic,” Hinote explained.

Being able to improve awareness and deterrence in the region “will probably involve a significant amount of data analytics of new technologies that allow for shared awareness and common command and control — sometimes we call that Joint All Domain Command and Control, or JADC2,” he elaborated. “And then, of course, the air and space capabilities that you need to be able to defend. So all of those are going to come into play [emphasis added].”

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Hmm--Joint Statement released just before fall of Kabul and call of Canadian election--no real specifics or firm commitments:

Canada, U.S. vow stronger protection against ‘greater and more complex’ missile threat​

The Canadian and U.S. governments say they intend to proceed with “co-ordinated investments” that bolster their ability to protect North America from “a greater and more complex conventional missile threat” including gear that watches for incoming threats from “the sea floor to outer space.”

The joint announcement [text here: Joint Statement on Norad Modernization - Canada.ca] from Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and his American counterpart U.S. Secretary of Defence Lloyd Austin was published Saturday night, on the eve of Sunday’s federal election call in Canada. There were no spending commitments.

The risk that Canada and the U.S. have in mind is missile technology advancements in Russia and China that can send non-nuclear warheads far greater distances with far more accuracy, said Dave Perry, vice-president of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute. These include hypersonic missiles, which travel extremely fast and can dodge and weave during flight to avoid interception, as well as next-generation cruise missiles. This evolution in conventional missiles’ power have made them an increasingly important tool to deter threats or project power without resorting to nuclear weapons.

“It’s the Chinese and Russians that are building really cutting-edge new stuff with three characteristics: very accurate, long range and maneuverable,” Mr. Perry said.

The Sajjan-Lloyd statement would appear to represent a deepening of Canada-U.S. collaboration in protecting North America from missile threats. Titled “Joint Statement on NORAD modernization,” it sets out priorities for the future of North American Aerospace Defense Command, the heart of the Canada-U.S. continental defence pact, saying the two countries must be able to “detect, identify [airborne] threats earlier and respond to them faster and more decisively.”

However the Liberal government insisted Sunday this does not represent a deviation from its policy to avoid participation in U.S. ballistic missile defence, announced in 2005. “[The] joint statement does not reflect any change in the Government of Canada’s position,” Daniel Minden, press secretary for Mr. Sajjan, said. “The statement will help guide our collaborative approach to security and NORAD renewal with our closest neighbour in the coming years.”

One of the most imminent spending decisions for Canada is rebuilding the soon-to-be obsolete North Warning System, a joint United States and Canadian radar system that includes dozens of radar sites from Yukon to Labrador. Its job is to detect airborne threats. The price tag has been estimated at more than $11-billion.

The statement said the North Warning System will be replaced with technology including “next-generation over-the-horizon radar systems,” which have the ability to detect targets at very long ranges. It’s technology that is being developed by Canada’s Department of National Defence. It also talks of building a network of American and Canadian sensors installed everywhere from the seabed to satellites in space.

Andrea Charron, director of the Centre for Defence and Security Studies at the University of Manitoba, said modernization of NORAD will comprise far more than North Warning System renewal and the statement helps prioritize where Canada can focus its efforts while the United States engages in a “wider rethink of homeland defence [emphasis added, e.g. 'left of launch' action of some sort].”

“Certainly what you can read into this is the United States needs Canada to make certain commitments – and sooner than later – and so ‘Here we are prioritizing them for you’,” she said.

Prof. Charron said in her opinion the statement also underlines the need for Canada to proceed with buying new fighter jets. In 2010 Canada announced its intent to buy Lockheed Martin F-35s in 2010 but backed off amid controversy over the lack of a competitive bidding process. The government is now expected to announce later this year which fighter jet will replace Canada’s aging CF-18 aircraft.

She speculated one reason for the timing of this joint NORAD announcement with the United States, hours before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau triggered a federal election campaign, could have been political. “I am guessing but the Liberals are always accused, especially by the Conservatives, as being soft on defence, so here is something that they can point to and say ‘Look at what we are doing with the U.S. Here are the priorities,’” Prof. Charron said.

She also said the United States has been very eager to move forward on NORAD modernization.

Mr. Perry said that it’s considered likely now that if Russia were to launch conventional-warhead missiles at North America they would come straight over the North Pole through the Canadian Arctic or from the North Atlantic. Thirty years ago, the range of conventional missiles was so much shorter that the Russians would have had to fly relatively close to the U.S. mainland to strike a target there. “So there’s more pressure from the United States for us to make a big contribution here, as well a much more direct Canadian defence concern, given the geography is ours.”

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Well, this is comforting. We've got people up there who can spot a tiny little boat and call the cops!

Canada disputes Chinese news report that famous sailor was turned back from Northwest Passage​


Zhai would be the second sailor to attempt to circumvent Canada's interim order. In the summer of 2020, a sailor from New Zealand named Peter Smith tried to cross the Northwest Passage on a solo journey in a custom yacht, but was spotted by Nunavut land guardians and reported to Canadian authorities.

Transport Canada told CBC News it fined Smith for violating the ban, though it did not specify the amount.

 
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