By Luiza Ch. Savage - Wednesday, December 26, 2012 - 0 Comments
As the U.S. attempts to bolster its cybersecurity legislation, will Canada be called on to take part?
The revelation that Iranian nuclear centrifuges were sabotaged by the computer worm Stuxnet—reportedly a covert U.S.-Israeli intelligence operation—is unnerving Western security policy-makers who say it is only a matter of time before cyberwar is turned against North America. Will hackers shut down the electrical grid, sending millions into darkness? Could a foreign agent remotely sabotage a pipeline carrying natural gas or crude oil, causing an environmental disaster?
American lawmakers want to encourage U.S. government agencies to share intelligence about potential threats with private sector companies (who own and operate most of America’s critical infrastructure), and to compel these firms to be more forthcoming about their own vulnerabilities. The issues are complicated: government regulations could prove onerous and costly, and could become quickly obsolete. Companies worry that identifying vulnerabilities could lead to legal liability and higher insurance costs. Civil libertarians also worry that allowing government greater leeway to monitor Internet traffic in search of malicious software could lead to privacy violations. Earlier this year Republicans blocked proposed legislation in the Senate that would have created merely voluntary standards (House Republicans are now talking about drafting their own bill next year, but plans remain vague). Meanwhile, there is speculation that President Barack Obama will weigh in with an executive order this month, in an attempt to fill the void left by congressional paralysis.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, August 28, 2012 at 1:09 PM - 0 Comments
As John Geddes notes, Lt.-Gen. Tom Lawson is an avowed fan of the F-35.
He was, for instance, asked about the plane by Conservative MP Ray Boughen during a March 2011 committee hearing.
Everything that the air force has done by way of analysis of all those aircraft available to Canada suggests that there is no comparison.
A month earlier, he’d been in Mississauga to talk up the purchase.
We’re not only defending Canada,” said Major-General Tom Lawson, assistant chief of Canada’s air staff, “we’re also doing that with a partner to the south who expects us to meet our NORAD obligations.” … Buying the fighters will give Canada the best and most inexpensive method of fulfilling its obligations to its military partners, including the United States, said Lawson, a former Commandant at the Royal Military College in Kingston.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, May 4, 2012 at 8:30 AM - 0 Comments
Peter MacKay, January 27, 2011. “We need this aircraft,” MacKay said at a joint press conference with U.S. Defence Secretary Robert Gates in Ottawa. “It is the only fifth-generation aircraft that has the capability and the on-board equipment and the stealth capacity and the weapons radar system that is interoperable with our colleagues and our allies in the United States through NORAD.”
Peter MacKay, October 24, 2011. With respect to the F-35, as was just stated, this is a state-of-the-art fifth generation aircraft that will provide us sovereignty in our north and the ability to be interoperable with our important partners, the United States of America and other partners within this program. The F-35 is the best plane for the best pilots in the Canadian air force.
Peter MacKay, October 25, 2011. The member would know, with a little bit of time and effort and a little research, that the F-35 is the only fifth-generation aircraft available to Canadians. This aircraft will provide sovereignty and security over our Arctic and over our massive coastlines. It is interoperable with our NATO allies.
Peter MacKay, November 18, 2011. I’m talking about subject matters such as the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program and our mutual interest in the procurement of this 21st-century aircraft to protect North America, to continue to be interoperable and to work together in international missions, as we’ve seen most recently in the mission Unified Protector in Libya.
Stephane Abrial, yesterday. “We do not advocate a single type of aircraft, single type of ships, single type of rifles,” Abrial said. “We never wanted to make sure everyone has the same equipment: that’s not our goal.” Abrial said interoperability has to do primarily with training and ensuring all NATO forces have sufficient skills to function as one on the battlefield. “Interoperability means you are different but you work together,” he said. “We look at the fact that when two units, two soldiers fighting side by side, can work together, exchange information and talk to each other.”
By Paul Wells - Friday, November 5, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
WELLS on security and our national insecurities
So much in modern life is a combination of problems that have already been solved and problems that can’t be solved at all. Take Emirates Airlines Flight 201, which was escorted by Canadian fighter jets through Canadian airspace on Oct. 29 as it flew from Dubai to New York City. The airplane was carrying cargo from Yemen. This was a day when other airplanes were found to be carrying cargo from Yemen of the potentially explosive variety. So Flight 201 found itself sprouting fighter escorts. Out of an “abundance of caution,” NORAD said later.
Dimitri Soudas, who speaks for the Prime Minister, could hardly contain his glee. Here was a chance to show that the Harper government is spending wisely when it allocates $16 billion to buy 65 F-35 fighter planes. Soudas put out a news release: “Michael Ignatieff’s Liberals and their coalition partners would cancel the deal to buy the F-35s. They would rather use kites to defend Canada than fighter jets. Canada’s air force needs the right equipment to protect Canadian airspace.”
In examining whether F-35s would have constituted “the right equipment” on Oct. 29, it may be handy to recall precisely what NORAD was worried about. Cargo on other planes had been found to contain explosive devices. So “the right equipment” would need to sort through the cargo compartments of this plane, at a distance, while airborne, to detect, isolate and remove the explosive.
By Aaron Wherry - Friday, October 15, 2010 at 4:05 PM - 0 Comments
Paul Mitchell, a defence studies professor at Canadian Forces College, says now might be the time for turboprops.
Still, there are real concerns about the F-35 program, despite the benefits outlined above. Just 65 airframes will be purchased: we are not getting a lot of capability for the money we will spend and that will be all the offensive air capability we will get for the next 30 to 40 years. Our 79 CF-18s already have difficulty meeting our Norad commitments as well as having sufficient numbers for international operations. Further, there will be no room for losses — a sobering thought considering we have lost 17 CF-18s since 1982 in just peacetime operations…
The most likely avenue of attack from the air on Canada today is not from a lumbering Bear bomber, but rather a small privately owned commercial aircraft. The American Norad commander, Admiral James Winnefeld, recently called for aircraft that can fly “low and slow” in order to counter this threat; “F-16s don’t fly slow very well,” he said. The same could be said of the F-35. A turboprop aircraft like Embraer’s “Super Tucano” or Beechcraft’s AT-6B (whose engines are manufactured by Pratt & Whitney Canada in Nova Scotia) would easily fit this bill. At roughly $6-million per copy, we could outfit the air force with 10 times the number of airframes.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, September 4, 2010 at 1:02 PM - 0 Comments
David Pugliese gets the numbers on Russia’s near-invasion.
After the Canadian government raised concerns about the Aug. 24 patrol, NORAD issued a statement noting there wasn’t anything unusual about the flight.
“At no time did the Russian military aircraft enter Canadian or United States sovereign airspace,” stated NORAD spokesman Canadian Navy Lt. Desmond James. “Both Russia and NORAD routinely exercise their capability to operate in the North. These exercises are important to both NORAD and Russia and are not cause for alarm.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, March 2, 2009 at 1:38 AM - 2 Comments
Suffice it to say, Dan Gardner is unimpressed.
I’m not excusing the many abuses of the Putin regime. But yesterday, the censored and harried Russian media got the story right while the free Canadian media acted like the compliant propaganda arm of a manipulative, chauvinistic government.
By Aaron Wherry - Saturday, February 28, 2009 at 3:01 PM - 9 Comments
David Pugliese counters yesterday’s “news.”
The Russians have been doing such sorties for the last year and a half. In August 2007 Russian President Putin announced to the world that such sorties would begin again. “Starting in 1992, the Russian Federation unilaterally suspended strategic aviation flights to remote areas,” Putin said at the time. “Regrettably, other nations haven’t followed our example. That has created certain problems for Russia’s security.”
Yesterday’s incident prompted some amusement at NDHQ about how gullible some in the news media can be and how easily some journalists swallowed the government’s bait hook, line and sinker.
However, that laughter was somewhat tempered by mid-afternoon when TV newscasts started linking the Arctic sovereignty issue and the Russian sortie. NDHQ types started getting worried that journalists would later start asking about what was happening with the Arctic training base, the Arctic patrol ships and the new icebreaker that were promised by the Harper government. The answer to what’s happening with those projects is “very little,” said one DND insider.