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24 Apr 20. Canadian Government Issues Final Report on Its Review of Export Permits to Saudi Arabia. The Canadian Government has issued a Final Report on its review of export permits to Saudi Arabia. In November 2018, the Minister of Foreign Affairs publicly announced that, following the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Canada was conducting a review of all export permits to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The Minister further announced that, pending the completion of this review, no new permits would be issued for exports to KSA. Accordingly, from November 2018 to December 2019, the Department conducted a review of all existing export permits for goods and technology controlled under the Export and Import Permits Act (EIPA) destined to KSA. In parallel, the Department has continued to assess each new individual export permit application received since November 2018 for such goods and technology on a case-by-case basis. The present report outlines the Department’s final findings regarding whether there is a “substantial risk” that Canadian exports of military goods and technology to KSA would result in any of the six negative consequences referred to in subsection 7.3(1) of the EIPA. The Department has concluded that, based on current conditions in KSA and KSA’s actions in the conflict in Yemen as assessed in the context of this review, there is a substantial risk that Canadian exports of certain types of military goods and technology (eg. air-to-surface missiles, bomber aircraft) for use in the conflict in Yemen would be used to commit or facilitate violations of IHL. This conclusion takes into account the Minister’s obligation to consider whether any available mitigation measures could reduce the risk below the substantial risk threshold. As Canada cannot enforce its export controls legislation extraterritorially, many of the mitigation measures listed in paragraph 17 may require consent or cooperation from the government of KSA, and therefore may not be feasible in the current context of the bilateral relationship. Should risk mitigation options become more readily available, this could impact the Department’s assessment of substantial risk related to these types of goods and technologies. Of note, there are currently no export permits or permit applications ready for issuance that would fall into this category. As regards other military items – including LAVs – the Department concludes that there is no substantial risk that these items would be used for any of the negative consequences specified in subsection 7.3(1) of the EIPA. (Source: glstrade.com)
24 Apr 20. Canadian Government Notice to Exporters Respecting Export of Items Listed on the Export Control List to Turkey.
On October 11, 2019, in response to Turkey’s military incursion into Syria, Canada temporarily suspended the issuance of all new permits for the export of controlled goods and technology to Turkey. As of April’s 16, 2020, and until further notice:
- Permit applications for all groups on the Export Control List will continue to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis under Canada’s risk assessment framework, including against the Arms Trade Treaty criteria.
- However, applications to export Group 2 items (i.e., military items) will be presumptively denied. These applications will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine whether exceptional circumstances exist to justify issuing the permit, including in relation to NATO cooperation programs.
- Exporters who were issued permits for the export of items to Turkey prior to October 11, 2019, may continue to export against those permits during their period of validity.
For further information, please contact the Export Controls Division at Global Affairs Canada by phone or email: 613-996-2387 / . (Source: glstrade.com)
23 Apr 20. Israel Seeks Early Release Of US Defense Funding. Israel’s Ministry of Defense and high command have hammered out an emergency plan for an appeal to Washington to make changes in the Foreign Military Funds (FMF) agreement between the U.S and Israel.
The situation created by the pandemic is having a huge effect on the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) new multi-year plan to spend between four and 10bn shekels in additional funds each year to make the army, air force and navy more capable. That effect comes on top of the political chaos that left Israel with no acting government for more than a year, almost freezing implementation of the new plan. Big parts of the plan’s acquisition programs will have to be delayed, if not cancelled.
Sources here say the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing Israel to ask Washington to change major changes to the agreement, including a request to receive the annual allocation $3.8bn earlier than planned.
“The declining portion of U.S money that can be converted into Israeli Shekels was bad news for the Israeli defense industry when the agreement was signed in 2018. Now, it looks like a disaster,” a senior source said.
On the other hand, “If the Americans will agree to give us, for example, the $3.8 planned for 2024 in this year or next year, this will allow Israel to perform some urgently needed procurement programs, and that will help the U.S industry to keep production lines open in this problematic times that are affecting also the U.S.,” a Ministry of Defense source told BD. The source added that if Washington agrees to such an unprecedented request, Israel will be able to make faster decisions on urgently needed procurement plans involving American weapons.
“In an election year in the U.S more contracts to the American industry is good for the White House” the source said, especially as the US economy faces recovery from the pandemic. While the source was reluctant to identify the programs, there are three main programs requiring immediate decisions.
After a long internal debate, Israeli Defense Forces general staff decided Feb. 18 to purchase another Lockheed Martin F-35 squadron and another Boeing F-15 squadron, in a deal estimated at $4bn. The other programs involved are replacements for CH-53’s and 707 aerial refueling aircraft.
“The idea of asking for earlier annual allocations that are part of the FMF structure , is a wild one but makes sense in the special conditions created by the pandemic,” Joseph Weiss, former president of Israel Aerospace Industries, told me.
Over the last decade, FMF aid to Israel totaled $31 bn. Israel was allowed to exchange 26.3 percent to local Israeli currency, allowing the Defense Ministry to buy defense systems from the Israeli companies.
The total value of the new MOU, which covers fiscal 2019- 2028, is $38bn ($3.8bn per year). It includes $33bn in FMF funds and an unprecedented $5bn for missile defense assistance.
American aid has been an important element in Israel’s military power over the last 45 years (primarily since the Yom Kippur War). It funds some of Israel’s most advanced weapons and currently constitutes almost one fifth of Israel’s gross defense budget.
Two researchers from the Institute for National Security Studies, Shmuel Even and Sasson Hadad, analyzed the new FMF agreement immediately after it was signed in 2018 and found a significant rise in the cost of procurement, because IDF purchases from local industries are cheaper than those from the United States for the same type of products. But Even told BD on April 19 that, in spite of the new situation created by the pandemic, “any such request (for change to the FMF agreement) may be met with an unfriendly reaction.” Israeli companies with active U.S subsidiaries such as Elbit systems will be less affected than strictly Israeli-based firms, Even said.
Israeli officials say the expedited funds will speed Israeli decisions on the replacements for its old CH-53’s, 707 aerial refueling aircraft and the purchase of additional F-15 and F-35s. (Source: Breaking Defense.com)
24 Apr 20. North Atlantic Council Statement on Afghanistan.
- The prospect of the start of negotiations to reach a comprehensive peace agreement in Afghanistan represents an historic opportunity to end the decades long conflict. All sides should act to urgently fulfill the commitments they have made to lower violence and work toward peace.
- We call urgently upon Afghanistan’s political leaders and their supporters to come together to resolve their differences and form an inclusive government. Afghanistan’s political actors must seize this opportunity for peace.
- The current level of violence caused by the Taliban is not acceptable. We call urgently on the Taliban to reduce violence and create the conditions conducive to commence negotiations. NATO further calls on the Taliban to fulfil its commitments to ensure that terrorists never again find safe haven on Afghan soil.
- We welcome the establishment of an inclusive negotiating team to represent the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. We call on the Taliban to enter negotiations with this team without further delay, which is considered a key element of the U.S.-Taliban agreement. We expect these negotiations to lead to an enduring and comprehensive peace agreement that puts an end to violence, safeguards the human rights of all Afghans, including women and children, upholds the rule of law, and ensures that Afghanistan never again serves as a safe haven for terrorists.
- NATO encourages both sides to demonstrate good will by accelerating the release of prisoners, as a confidence building measure and to embrace the international community’s call for an immediate humanitarian cease-fire. The continued spread of the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the urgency of such measures. We call on the Taliban to do their part to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among the Afghan people.
- NATO reaffirms its longstanding commitment to Afghanistan and the Afghan security forces, with whom NATO and its partners have fought shoulder-to-shoulder in pursuit of security and stability.
- Now is the time to act in support of sustainable peace.
22 Apr 20. Trump tells navy to shoot Iranian boats that harass US ships. President’s directive comes as Gulf tensions rise in wake of historic collapse in oil prices. President Donald Trump has ordered the American military to shoot and destroy any Iranian vessels that harass US navy ships, as tensions rise in the Gulf in the wake of the record collapse in crude oil prices. “I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea,” Mr Trump tweeted on Wednesday morning, without providing any more detail about the order. The Pentagon last week said 11 Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy boats had come very close to US navy and coast guard ships in the Gulf, in manoeuvres that the US military described as “dangerous”. While the Trump administration had expressed concern about the incident, the order comes as the White House struggles to deal with the collapse in crude oil prices as economies contract following shutdowns designed to curb the spread of the pandemic. Mr Trump on Saturday said he did not see evidence of countries around the world — including Iran, Russia, China and North Korea — taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis to provoke the US military.
Recommended ExplainerOil & Gas industry How Donald Trump could help the US oil sector back on its feet “I don’t see it. No, I don’t see it,” Mr Trump responded to a question at a White House press conference. “Iran was a terror when I came into office. Right now, they don’t want to mess around with us.” John Bolton, the president’s former national security adviser and advocate of regime change in Iran, last week responded to the Iranian actions by calling on Mr Trump to make a stronger response to the Iranian moves. “The repeated dangerous & provocative behaviour by Iran’s navy against US ships on the Gulf is unacceptable,” Mr Bolton tweeted. “We have been too lenient in responding to these incidents — that must change. US must not be passive, but act to re-establish deterrence.” (Source: FT.com)
21 Apr 20. Joint Press Statement for the 17th Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue (KIDD). The Republic of Korea (ROK) Ministry of National Defense (MND) and the United States (U.S.) Department of Defense (DoD) held the 17th Korea-U.S. Integrated Defense Dialogue (KIDD) on April 21, 2020. Due to travel restrictions as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the KIDD was held remotely via secure video teleconferencing. ROK Deputy Minister for National Defense Policy Chung Sukhwan and U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for East Asia Heino Klinck led their respective delegations composed of key ROK and U.S. defense officials.
DASD Klinck applauded the Republic of Korea (ROK)’s proactive leadership in combating COVID-19 as a model of transparency, flexibility, and rapid response for the world. He also expressed gratitude for the ROK’s efforts in support of U.S. forces and their families in the ROK. The two sides also acknowledged effective coordination to contain COVID-19.
Both sides assessed the ongoing joint work to conclude the 11th Special Measures Agreement (SMA), emphasizing the importance of concluding the SMA at a fair and mutually agreeable level that strengthens the ROK-U.S. Alliance and its combined defense posture.
Both delegations reviewed the Conditions-Based Operational Control (OPCON) Transition Plan and concurred on the importance of completing and assessing the strategic documents. They also discussed impacts and the way ahead on the certification assessment for the full operational capability (FOC) schedule in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and other factors.
Both sides discussed ways to strengthen the Alliance’s military readiness and combined defense posture to address the dynamic security changes on the Korean Peninsula and to deepen U.S.-ROK cooperation long into the future.
The two sides also shared assessments on the recent missile launches by North Korea and reaffirmed the importance of continuing close coordination to remain vigilant in the face of North Korean actions. Furthermore, the two sides committed to cooperate closely on achieving the complete denuclearization of North Korea. Both sides pledged to work jointly in 2020 to devise measures to strengthen the deterrence posture of the ROK-U.S. Alliance through the Deterrence Strategy Committee (DSC).
The two sides reaffirmed that the KIDD continues to play a critical role in coordinating defense policies between the ROK and the United States. They also pledged to continue close communication and cooperation to maintain and strengthen the combined readiness posture of the ROK-U.S. Alliance, which serves as the linchpin of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and the Northeast Asian region. (Source: US DoD)
20 Apr 20. China Steps Up Patrols in Disputed Sea; Here’s What Malaysia and Vietnam Will Do. Malaysia and Vietnam, militarily weaker than China, are expected to protest through diplomatic channels over a Chinese survey ship fleet that entered disputed waters this month, inviting a long but nonviolent standoff.
Both Southeast Asian countries are monitoring movement of the Chinese Haiyang Dizhi 8 fleet, which multiple news reports say passed through disputed tracts of the South China Sea last week. The same vessel spent four months in 2019 in an oil-rich tract of the sea claimed by Vietnam and blocked Vietnamese crews from exploring for oil underwater.
This time both states will probably protest diplomatically to China but do little more, analysts believe. They lack China’s overall military might. Malaysia’s prime minister, in office for less than two months, also has little foreign policy experience.
Against that muted response, China could keep its survey fleet in disputed waters and stymie the energy drilling efforts of Malaysia and Vietnam, experts believe.
“It’s just the status quo,” said Carl Thayer, emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia.
“China is doing its survey work and Malaysia’s searching for oil, and occasionally they have harassment and close calls — diplomatic pressure behind the scenes – and then at some point weather changes or what not and China, if Malaysia doesn’t cave in, takes the vessel and brings it back,” Thayer said.
This sort of friction surfaces regularly in the broader South China Sea dispute.
China, Malaysia, Vietnam and three other governments claim all or part of the 3.5 million-square-kilometer waterway. They prize it for fisheries, shipping lanes, oil and natural gas. China has grown more powerful than the other claimants over the past 10 years by landfilling tiny islets for military installations.
Claimant states have made little headway diplomatically in settling disputes. The U.S. Navy periodically passes ships through the South China Sea as a warning to Beijing.
New PM in Malaysia
Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, a former interior minister appointed in March, will probably take a low-key approach to Chinese presence in the sea, analysts say. His predecessor Mahathir Mohamad had publicly questioned the basis for China’s claims and warned against use of any warships.
“This new prime minister is no Mahathir,” said Oh Ei Sun, senior fellow with the Singapore Institute of International Affairs. “He is not well known for taking a harsh diplomatic or political stand.”
Expect instead low-key negotiations between Malaysia and China, which in turn will move its vessels “peacefully but deliberately” in the disputed waters, Oh said.
China resents Malaysia for filing documentation in December to the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf about plans to extend its rights in the South China Sea beyond 370 kilometers from its baselines, Thayer said. China claims about 90% of the sea and cites historical usage records as support.
Malaysia began in October looking for oil and gas just outside those 370 kilometers. A British company-managed contract drillship West Capella became the “heart of the standoff” that has also attracted Chinese coast guard vessels, the U.S. think tank-operated Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative says on its website.
The survey ship came last week with about 10 escort boats and might return with 20 or 30 –an unprecedented show of force by China toward Malaysia – said a scholar doing research for the Malaysian government.
The vessel was sailing near China’s mainland east of Hong Kong as of late Sunday, according to ship tracking website Marine Traffic.
Vietnam learned from 2019
In July last year, the same Chinese energy survey ship began patrolling near Vanguard Bank 352 kilometers off the coast of southeastern Vietnam. Vietnam operates an undersea energy exploration platform near Vanguard Bank. The vessel left in October.
Vietnamese and Chinese boats rammed one another in 2014 when China allowed an oil rig into disputed waters. But when the survey vessel showed last year, China just kept Vietnam away from its oil drilling site and the standoff came down to “who blinks first”, Thayer said.
Vietnam will probably protest again this time and avoid use of force, scholars say.
In that case, Haiyang Dizhi 8’s fleet could spend two to three months in disputed waters this year by using landfilled islands for resupply, said Nguyen Thanh Trung, Center for International Studies director at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Ho Chi Minh City.
Vietnam hopes eventually for backup from other Southeast Asian states, he said.
“This is like the annual,” Nguyen said. “It seems to me this is the second time the survey ship is back to the South China Sea. If the Southeast Asian countries do not collaborate right now, maybe next year the survey ship will be back again and maybe they will choose another area of the South China Sea for the survey.” (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Voice of America News)
18 Apr 20. Iranian army acquires combat capable drones with 930-mile range – Defence minister. The Iranian armed forces have acquired three bomb-carrying drones with a range of 1,500 kilometres (932 miles), Defence Minister Amir Hatami said on state television on Saturday.
The drones could monitor “enemy movements from a considerable distance” and were capable of combat missions, he said at the delivery ceremony in Tehran broadcast on TV.
The aircraft were equipped with bombs and missiles, and they can fly at an altitude of up to 45,000 feet (13,716 metres), he said, without indicating the name of the new drones.
The drones were manufactured by Iran’s military industry with the participation of local universities, he said.
Drones are a key element in Iran’s border surveillance, especially the Gulf waters around the Strait of Hormuz, through which one-fifth of the world’s oil supply flows.
Tensions between Iran and the United States have reached the highest levels in decades since the United States killed top Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike in Baghdad on Jan. 3, prompting Iran to fire missiles days later at bases in Iraq where U.S. troops are stationed. (Source: Reuters)
20 Apr 20. ASPI joins growing choir for post-COVID nation-building strategy. ASPI executive director Peter Jennings has issued a challenge for Australia’s policymakers in the aftermath of the COVID pandemic, calling on them to ensure that the nation is prepared for the “crisis after the crisis” as the nation navigates an era of increased competition.
As the Australian public settles into the ‘new normal’, many Australian public policy thinkers and journalists have picked up on the growing groundswell of support within the community to chart a path towards establishing and maintaining true economic and strategic sovereignty in the era of disruption.
With each passing day the impact of the coronavirus upon global supply chains is becoming painfully apparent, with Australia’s economy teetering on the edge of disaster – however, viewing the impact of the pandemic in isolation to Australia’s broader national security and national resilience further exposes the nation at a point in time when such distinctions are increasingly blurred.
Unlike many of its contemporary and comparable international neighbours, Australia has enjoyed a record near three decades of economic prosperity and stability, buoyed by the immense mineral and resource wealth of the landmass and the benevolence of the post-Second World War political, economic and strategic order.
As a result, both the public and government are relatively unaccustomed to the economic, political and strategic realities of mass social isolation, a comparatively mild form of rationing and what seems to be a relatively low, albeit tragic body count, however, it isn’t all doom and gloom as the COVID-19 predicament seems to have shaken the Australian public’s confidence in the public policy status quo.
Across the Indo-Pacific, competing economic, political and strategic interests, designs and ambitions are beginning to clash, flying in contrast to the projections of many historians at the end of the Cold War – further compounding these issues is the continued instability caused by the coronavirus and concerns about ecological collapse.
This has prompted an increasing number of strategic policy experts, journalists and politicians to vocalise the growing demands from the Australian public to do more to ensure Australia’s economic, political and strategic integrity.
Defence Connect has sought to play a central role in supporting the furtherance of the public debate regarding the public debate about developing and ensuring true Australian national resilience in the era of global disruption.
Adding further weight to the continuing debate, ASPI executive director, Peter Jennings has joined the debate with a piece titled ‘Preparing for the crisis after the crisis’, in which he builds on the growing public and political groundswell.
Jennings sets the scene, stating, “The global economy may be in hibernation, but geopolitics is thriving and sprinting towards a potential crisis at the end of this year or early in 2021. The immediate and understandable focus is on fighting the virus, but our government needs to be thinking about defence and national security risks as well.
“The core of the security problem is the Chinese Communist Party’s drive to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic strategically stronger in the Asia-Pacific than the US and its allies. This is not just about diplomacy.
“The Chinese military is aggressively positioning around Taiwan, using ships and combat aircraft to push into Japanese and South Korean territory and doing high-end combat training in the South China Sea.”
While the cat is away, the mice will play – Ramping up preparedness
Jennings notes the rising Chinese assertiveness amid the declining US and broader allied presence to push the boundaries in the Indo-Pacific. This has ranged from high-intensity combat training operations in the western Pacific involving the joint forces of the Chinese Navy, Air Force and parts of the Marine units through to more direct confrontations with Vietnamese and Filipino fishermen in the South China Sea.
This has also seen Chinese fishing boats come into direct confrontation with Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force in the East China Sea and incidents involving the Chinese Air Force and the South Korean Air Force at a time when the rest of the world struggles to combat the COVID-19 crisis.
“The CCP’s strategy during the crisis has been to extract maximum advantage for itself at the expense of every other country. The Global Times reported that PLA combat aircraft for the first time conducted night-time combat drills southwest of Taiwan on 16 March. The paper said, ‘Similar drills are expected to become more frequent in order to let Taiwan secessionists get a clear idea of the power gap between the mainland and the island’.
“On 20 March, a Chinese fishing boat collided with the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer Shimakaze in the East China Sea. Japan claimed the incident occurred in international waters, while Beijing said it was in Chinese coastal waters.
“On 26 March, South Korean jets were scrambled to intercept Chinese surveillance aircraft that flew into Korean-claimed airspace. In the South China Sea in the middle of last month, the PLA Navy’s first aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, conducted flight training. The PLA Daily said, ‘Training for war preparedness will not be stopped even in the middle of the COVID-19 epidemic, and the training of carrier-based fighter pilots must continue,'” Jennings states.
Jennings paints further relevance given Chinese rhetoric regarding the absence of US tactical and strategic force multipliers, namely Pacific-based aircraft carriers and supporting strike group formations to effectively monitor and serve as forward-deployed deterrence structures.
“Beijing’s increased military activities are meant to be seen as a show of strength and to contrast with the challenges the US Navy is facing with maintaining a viable presence in the western Pacific. The aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt has been tied up in Guam since COVID-19 infected many of its crew. China claims that three other American aircraft carriers have COVID-19 outbreaks and that there’s currently no viable US carrier presence in the Pacific.”
This paints a concerning image for Australia, as the nation has long depended on the US to provide it with the strategic umbrella enabling tactical freedom and manoeuvrability in contested operating environments.
Jennings adds, “Beijing is clearly showing it can operate forces around the so-called first island chain that includes Japan, Taiwan and maritime south-east Asia. How might this play out across the rest of this year and into next year? I anticipate a dangerous situation arising over Taiwan as President Xi Jinping seeks to seize a strategic advantage while the US remains dangerously incapacitated.”
These manoeuvres all have a startling impact on Australia, it’s national interests, security, resilience and position within the contested Indo-Pacific, something Jennings believes should be the focus for Australian policy makers, post-COVID-19.
What should Australia do?
It is becoming abundantly clear to the Australian public that the nation is struggling to respond to the myriad economic, political, strategic, environmental and infrastructure challenges that are arrayed against it and, accordingly, the public discourse and Australia’s leaders need to take a direct role in designing, implementing and communicating a coherent national response.
Jennings believes Australia should take an active role in uniting regional and global partners in the aftermath of the crisis, stating: “What should Australia do? First, Prime Minister Scott Morrison needs to talk with Trump, his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, a recovered UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and any other national leader who is willing to join a coordinated push-back against Chinese military opportunism.
“This is a tough call. Canberra’s deepest instinct is to say nothing and hope all will return to justin-time normality. That won’t happen. COVID-19 exposes the real nature of the CCP, which cannot be accommodated by an Australia that needs to build up practical sovereign capabilities to ensure national security.
“Second, far from thinking that this is a time to cut defence spending, the government needs to double down on strengthening the Australian Defence Force, including by urgently building up ammunition and fuel stocks to have the force as operationally ready as it can be.
“Australia is going to be deeply in debt, but we don’t have to be in debt and insecure. Now is the time to invest in nation-building, sovereignty-enhancing defence capabilities. A defence budget closer to the US’s 3.2 per cent of GDP rather than just under 2 per cent would be a more realistic base from which to deal with the strategic risks we face.”
However, these are just components of the nation’s response, albeit critical ones for serious consideration. Building on this, Jennings articulates a number of additional supporting responses, stating, “Third, it’s time for new thinking about our national security challenges. For unworthy bureaucratic reasons, we did away with a national security adviser years ago and haven’t seen a national security strategy since 2013, when Prime Minister Julia Gillard produced a flabbergasting document that said Australia faced a ‘positive’ and ‘benign’ security outlook.”
This echoes calls made by a range of commentators, ranging from NSW senator and former Major General, Jim Molan; Air Vice-Marshal (Ret’d) John Blackburn, AO, chair of the Institute for Integrated Economic Research – Australia; and Griffith University Professor, Peter Layton, each of whom have echoed such a sentiment when speaking to Defence Connect.
Jennings adds, “Fourth, a new defence white paper must be commissioned soon. At Minister Linda Reynolds’ direction, the Defence Department has been working on a strategic update and review of procurement plans. But that was before COVID-19. We’ll need something that’s dramatically bigger and produced much faster than the 2016 white paper, which took two years to develop — the time it took China to build three air bases in the South China Sea.
“Finally, Morrison has wisely realised that COVID-19 will force Australia to redesign its approach to supply chain security. A stronger national security perspective must be brought to how we manage the supply of fuel, food, medical equipment, information technology and critical infrastructure. This will unseat many comfortable Canberra assumptions, but there is no return to the pre-COVID-19 world.”
Equally important factors that traditionally fall under the national security category but would be equally at home in the resilience category are factors like energy, water and resource security, infrastructure and industry development, diversity and economic diversity, competitiveness and traditional hard power concepts like defence and intelligence, which all serve as essential components for a nation’s resilience.
Australia has recently undergone a period of modernisation and expansion within its national security apparatus, from new white papers in Defence and Foreign Affairs through to well-articulated and resourced defence industrial capability plans, export strategies and the like in an attempt to position Australia well within the rapidly evolving geostrategic and political order of the Indo-Pacific.
Each of the strategies in and of themselves serve critical and essential roles within the broader national security and national resilience debate. (Source: Defence Connect)
20 Apr 20. Covid-19: US – Russia postpones START onsite inspections. Russia and the United States have suspended onsite inspections mandated under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told TASS about the suspension on 29 March 2020, but the US has yet to formally acknowledge its part in the decision. As of this writing, the US State Department and Office of the Legal Advisor had not responded to Jane’s questions.
According to Ryabkov, the inspections “will resume after the coronavirus situation normalises. The decision on suspending inspections under the New START as well as the decision on postponing the meeting of the Bilateral Consultative Commission, scheduled for the second half of March, was made on both sides’ agreement. The session of the Bilateral Consultative Commission has been postponed until Autumn.” (Source: Jane’s)
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