Sweden takes decisive Action vs Huawei (and ZTE) on 5G–when will Canada?

Further to this post,

Germany Going Effectively to Put the Nails in Huawei’s 5G Coffin too? And a UK Update (Plus a Canadian one)

it is getting beyond ridiculous that PM Trudeau’s government still dithers, and dithers, and dithers and dithers on Huawei and 5G. It is becoming an international embarrassment if even much smaller Sweden is willing to stand up firmly, and with clear reasons, against the Dragon. From Reuters:

Sweden bans Huawei, ZTE from upcoming 5G networks

Sweden on Tuesday [Oct. 20] banned on security grounds the use of telecom equipment from China’s Huawei and ZTE in its 5G network ahead of a spectrum auction scheduled for next month, joining other European nations that have restricted the role of Chinese suppliers.

Telecoms regulator PTS said here the decision followed advice from the country’s armed forces and security service, which described China as “one of the biggest threats against Sweden” [emphasis added, imagine a Canadian federal agency saying anything so frank].

European governments have been tightening controls on Chinese companies building 5G networks, following diplomatic pressure from Washington, which alleges Huawei equipment could be used by Beijing for spying. Huawei has repeatedly denied being a national security risk.

The United Kingdom in July ordered Huawei equipment to be purged completely from Britain’s 5G network by 2027, becoming one of the first European countries to do so.

China said that no “concrete evidence” that equipment from its companies pose threats to national security in Sweden had been provided.

“We urge the Government of Sweden to comply with market principles of open development and fair competition, revisit its decisions,” the Chinese embassy in Sweden said in a statement on its website.

Huawei and ZTE did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“The ban leaves network operators with less options and risks slowing the rollout of 5G in markets where competition is reduced,” said Ben Wood, chief of research at CCS Insight.

In a potential sign it might retaliate, its telecoms regulator also issued a notice on Tuesday calling for stricter supervision of foreign telecoms companies in the country.

My message to Justin Trudeau: “C’mon man!”

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds

Theme song:

Astute Assessment, by a young British Lady, in June 1943 of how long Hitler could keep the Germans Fighting

Eileen Alexander (as she was before marrying Gershon Ellenbogen in 1944) was a very bright and well-connected Jewish woman who, after the war, amongst other things translated Georges Simenon.

Her letters during the war to her fiancé have recently been published–more at the post noted at the end of this one. From a letter of June 17 ( p. 396) to him in Cairo with the RAF, some three weeks before the Allied invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky):

…As you know, my darling, I always believed if we were going to win, it would be a long & slow & painful war. Now that it’s obvious that we are going to win I still think it will be slow process. In the last war, my darling, when the Germans started to collapse they collapsed quickly and on a grand scale–but then the Kaiser was nothing more than a political enemy & he knew that after the peace he would be treated as a political exile. Hitler and his crew are the moral enemies of Europe , my darling–even if we are disposed to allow them a Gentlemanly Eclipse [capitals in original] after the war, Russia will have no quarter, and the German leaders know it. They will flog the dead horse of resistance to the last drop of German blood. Ultimately, of course, darling, the German army will give in through sheer exhaustion but not soon—not soon. Remember, my love, that with 4 German divisions in the field [see below] it took us a year to drive the enemy out of Africa when the whole weight of our armour was thrown in against them. It is said that, at a conservative estimate, there are 40 German divisions in France alone [see below]. I believe Italy will snap like a dry twig in a high wind [indeed it surrendered in September 1943 right after the Allies invaded the mainland]–but not Germany.

[Four was the number of German divisions at the Alamein battle of late October/early November 1942 in western Egypt (alongside ten Italian ones), facing eleven British Commonwealth ones (just six British army)–the British forces in fact had almost twice the Axis’ personnel strength as well as superior armour, artillery and supplies. Following a slow but decisive victory in that battle the British irrevocably started driving the Axis’ forces west.

After Alamein, and the November 8 US and British invasion of French North Africa, more German divisions did start arriving in Tunisia to reinforce the North African theatre. The Germans and Italians were finally forced to surrender in Tunisia in May 1943. As for France, in September 1943 the Germans actually did have 40 divisions there but most were under strength.]

As one said, astute.

The other post based on Eileen Alexander’s letters:

Windy Winston–and all the People who Knew about Bletchley Park, if not SIGINT and Enigma, or…

And a post on Kaiser Wilhelm II:

Der Untergang der Vereinigten Staaten, or, Guess Who’s Donald Trump’s real Doppelgänger? A Jerk

Plus one on the German army:

World War II: The All-Too-Good Deutsche Wehrmacht

Jock Colville was a private secretary to both Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill during World War II; this is a post-war reflection in the second volume of his diaries…

Mark Collins

Twitter: @mark3ds

How to Pay for Defense Secretary Esper’s 500 Vessel US Navy Fleet? It’s (“Manhattan Project”) Interconnectivity?

Further to this post,

Defence Secretary Esper Looks to Really Shake Up US Navy to Face the PRC

besides the other questions, how long will Mr Esper be around what with the Donald and the election itself? First the size of the fleet, at Defense One:

Esper’s Fantasy Fleet

The SecDef’s 500-ship plan is an exercise in wishful thinking that avoids hard choices.

This past week, Defense Secretary Mark Esper began to share details of his new vision for the future of the Navy. His plan, with a name seemingly ripped from a videogame box – “Battle Force 2045” – calls for enlarging the fleet from 300 ships to roughly 500. For those of us who believe that sea power is important to national security, a robust call for a bigger Navy sounds great. As soon, however, as one begins to examine the details, it becomes clear that Esper’s plan is pure fantasy. 

The single biggest flaw in what Esper has shared to date is his utter failure to explain how the nation and its Navy will pay for all those new vessels. The Navy can barely meet its financial obligations today, with a budget of just over $200 billion and a fleet of just under 300 ships. Even if Esper could achieve significant economies of scale, a two-thirds jump in fleet size might boost costs 40 or 50 percent, requiring an increase in the Navy’s annual budget of $80 billion to $100 billion. Construction costs to create a fleet of 355 ships, for example, let alone 500, would add almost $30 billion to the Navy’s shipbuilding budget and $38 billion to annual maintenance costs, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Getting to 500, even if the ships are small and lightly crewed, would almost certainly add at least $20 billion, and probably much more. Today, no one on Capitol Hill, from either party, believes this kind of build-up is in the cards…

Esper’s reliance on uncrewed ships also ignores a basic fact: it will require the Navy to lead the world in networking and information technology, the precise areas in which the Navy is currently weak. Designing and building remote-controlled ships and subs is not a particularly big challenge, but designing robust, secure networks that can control hundreds of these vessels in combat without hacking or degradation is a technological task of the highest order, with no room for mistakes. The Navy, however, struggles to run a successful basic network, let alone the super-network of the future. The Navy currently operates the deeply flawed NMCI and over 140 out-of-date legacy networks that cannot talk to one another, a problem service leaders vowed to fix twenty years ago. This is not a very good foundation for a revolution in networked naval warfare. To achieve what Esper takes for granted will require a massive change in the composition and the education of the Navy force and a recognition that in the very near future, IT will be more important than fields like aviation. Esper’s plan is silent on this challenge and the massive cultural change it will entail. 

It is a little odd for the Trump administration to release a radical new vision for the Navy in October of its fourth year. It is an interesting conversation piece, giving the Navy’s strategists and think tank experts a vision to think about and discuss. Parts of it may ultimately inform a sober and responsible plan for the future.  But because Esper’s vision operates in budget and IT fantasy land, its value as a serious planning document, regardless of the outcome of the November presidential election, is nil.

Second, more on that networking at Defense News by David B. Larter (tweets here, if only Canada had one tenth of the Americans’ defence media but no market here):

The US Navy’s ‘Manhattan Project’ has its leader

Comparing it to the challenges faced with the Aegis Combat System and the creating of the nuclear-powered Navy, the US Navy’s top officer has tasked a former surface warfare officer turned engineering duty officer to create the powerful, all-connecting network it thinks it needs to fight and win against a high-end foe like China.

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday tasked Rear Adm. Douglas Small to lead an effort that will “develop networks, infrastructure, data architecture, tools, and analytics that support the operational and developmental environment that will enable our sustained maritime dominance.”

…“All other efforts are supporting you. Your goal is to enable a Navy that swarms the sea, delivering synchronized lethal and non-lethal effects from near-and-far, every axis, and every domain.”

In the past, Gilday has referred to the effort to field a powerful network as its “Manhattan Project,” harkening back to the rapid development of the atomic bomb in the 1940s. The urgency behind the effort to create this network highlights the growing sense of unease the Navy has around its position in the world as China builds towards its goal of achieving first-rate military power status by 2049.

“The Navy’s ability to establish and sustain sea control in the future is at risk,” Gilday said in his letter. “I am confident that closing this risk is dependent on enhancing Distributed Maritime Operations through a teamed manned/unmanned force that exploits artificial intelligence and machine learning. I am not confident we are building the Naval Operational Architecture connecting and enabling this future force as quickly as we must.”

The network is to connect with the Air Force’s Joint All-Domain Command and Control effort, which the services are all lining up behind.

Breaking Defense first reported the memo [the US media are a hell of a lot better at crediting other outlets than the Canadian are]

The Navy has been working toward a concept of operations that links its ships, aircraft and unmanned platforms by way of communications relay nodes — such as small drones — or whole ships — such as the future frigate or high-tech aircraft like the E-2D Hawkeye.

The idea is to spread the force out over a wide area, as opposed to clustered around a carrier, to put a maximum burden on Chinese intelligence and reconnaissance assets. This spread-out, networked force would connect the various shooters so that if any individual node in the network sees something to kill, any Navy or Air Force asset with weapons within range can kill it.

This has led to a push for ever-longer-range missiles. But to make it work, all the pieces must be linked on a reliable communications network. The current architecture, according to the Navy, is insufficient for the job, given Chinese and Russian investments in electronic warfare that can interfere with communications.

Sure sounds like formidable funding (esp. if Democrats control at least one house of Congress) and practical/technical er, challenges.

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds



Ukania and Brexit, or, There’ll always be an England Redux

Further to this post,

BoJo, Brexit, Convictionless Opportunism and…the End of the UK?

the notable Scots historian and journalist, Neal Ascherson, writes a valedictory despatch at the London Review of Books–excerpts:

Bye Bye Britain

…The Foreign Office, to start with, is well aware of how impatient other nations have grown with British pretensions about belonging to the ‘top table’. ‘Ever since 1945,’ a diplomat once told me, ‘we have managed to prevent Britain’s retreat from greatness from turning into a rout.’ In this view, foreigners would seize on Scottish independence as signifying a historic collapse in the UK’s international influence. Jealous rivals would combine to heave the country out of its permanent seat on the UN Security Council. The British nuclear deterrent, still based in Scotland, might become unsustainable. And then lonely, amputated Brexit Britain would become a helpless satellite of the United States. Oh, and what would become of the monarchy? The queen, it seems, isn’t attracted by invitations to replicate herself as ‘Queen of Scots’.

The union’s superstructure of Britishness also seems to maintain the myth. The elite, or upper crust, or ruling classes – whatever we call them – have a powerful interest in preserving this long-constructed British identity, using it to block the advance of political Englishness. They see English nationalism in class terms: as an angry and envious form of vulgar populism which potentially threatens the whole social order. For two centuries, the Ukanian middle class, in Tom Nairn’s coinage, in striking contrast to the role taken by bourgeois parties on the Continent, denied English popular nationalism a chance to mature into a radical, modernising force. Instead, it has been deliberately defined – by Farage-loathing Conservatives as much as anybody – as the politics of a xenophobic rabble which must at all costs be kept on the fringes.

Those​ are some of the motives for keeping unionism alive. All are negative. But who (leaving Scotland aside) will gain if the union breaks up? To begin with, English Tories – even if they don’t recognise it…

More interesting is the following wicked thought, never quite absent from the English Tory mind. Getting rid of Scotland, with its hostility to English Tory rule, could give the party eternal political dominance over the other nine-tenths of the UK. A giddying prospect! So why wait for the Scots to choose their independence? Why not boot them out right away? A brilliant example lies in recent history. Václav Klaus levered the Slovaks out of Czechoslovakia in 1993 in order to secure his own unchallenged command over the Czech Republic. Like the Scots, the Slovaks were pesky obstacles to his Thatcherite policies, clinging to a strong interventionist state and subsidies for their massive public sector. To dodge blame for ‘losing Slovakia’, Klaus cunningly provoked the Slovak negotiators into making impossible demands whose rejection made independence unavoidable…

Devolution…floodlit something that had seemed irrelevant: the fact that there was no English parliament. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland could now identify and tackle some of their own national needs – but was this at the expense of unrepresented English taxpayers? A malevolent sense of victimhood has entered English nationalism, a feeling that the nation that created the UK by force or statesmanship, and which contains the overwhelming mass of its population, wealth and infrastructure, has to stay gagged while freshly promoted provinces make impudent, ungrateful demands.

…Not all Britishness is a deceit – any Czech or Italian visitor to Manchester, Swansea, Glasgow, Derry or even Cork will be aware of a common linguistic culture with strong variants – but in politics the moth-eaten remnants of imperial Britishness form a blindfold against the 21st-century world. Britain is an imaginary realm, floating in a category above mere nation states; England is a European country like its neighbours. Britain is exceptional and must express itself in superlatives (‘world-beating’, ‘global leader’, ‘most efficient on the planet’); England is a medium-sized country with first-rate scientists and rotten management. Britain dreams of becoming a heavily armed, swaggering pirate power, defying international rules; England is a minor, sceptical nation with a taste for satire and democracy.

England must be liberated. But Brexit, and the cynical chauvinism of the Johnson government, and the xenophobia of the Faragists, can’t achieve that. It’s the union with Scotland that holds the decayed Ukanian fabric together. End it, and the unique intimacy between England and Scotland – Alex Salmond’s ‘social union’ – can flourish in a confederation of independent states. End the timed-out union, and allow England to encounter itself at last.

And a headline October 14:

Support for Scottish independence at highest ever level: Poll

And a post from 2016:

BREXIT, or, The English Didn’t Like the EU Golf Club

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3Ds

Theme song from, of course, Vera Lynn:

Dealing with the Chicoms’ Dragon Long-Term

From a post at Milnet.ca by Thucydides:

Perhaps luckily for us, China is a “Continental” power, so a great deal of its military force needs to secure the borders against bordering nations, and a lot of Chinese military and paramilitary power is devoted to internal security (i.e. deployed against its own population). Geographically, there are very few land routes the Chinese can use to deploy the PLA (crossing vast deserts, the Himalayan mountains or the frozen Siberian tundra would be a huge challenge for anyone), while free access to the Pacific and Indian oceans is constrained by the First and Second Island chains and the Straight of Malacca – China will have huge difficulties in force projection or being an “expeditionary force” against determined opposition.

The bigger threat to us is Chinese “Unrestricted Warfare” doctrine, using economics, cyber, propaganda campaigns, establishing nodes of influence in our Universities, business and among politicians, lawfare and other unconventional tools well below the threshold of military response to confuse and weaken us – death by a thousand paper cuts rather than an epic battle in the Western Pacific Ocean.

We have our own tools like tariffs and “decoupling”, and certainly need to step up our own diplomatic, information and economic game alongside ensuring our military forces are capable of meeting potential threats from the PLAN and PLAAF (and possibly actions by PLA SoF units) to really meet the threat. While not the same as the Soviet Union, I suspect the CCP and its organs and structures are also brittle and can be made to fail, much like the USSR collapsed. But it will be a long and sustained process, and I don’t think enough people are even aware of what is going on, even at the highest levels, to effectively marshal our resources in the West.

Makes a lot of sense to me. Some relevant recent posts:

Canadian Ambassador to PRC Dominic Barton, an Ace of Compradors, still Up-Sucking to the Dragon

How to Shield University Students (esp. those from Hong Kong and China) from the Dragon’s Surveillance Reach, Oxford Section–and Canada

Defence Secretary Esper Looks to Really Shake Up US Navy to Face the PRC

Those High Hopes for Engagement with the Dragon, or, did the Chicoms just Sucker the West and the Rest?

Fortunately, it does appear that PM Trudeau and his Liberal government are starting to wake up to the true nature of the PRC; whether they will really take their realizations to heart and start taking truly firm measures versus Beijing–especially with regard to its influence and interference activities in Canada–remains to be seen. But note what the Aussies are doing:

The Chicoms’ Influence/Interference Reach, or, some Aussie federal Liberals Going after one of their own

Now a headline Oct. 13 on our prime minister’s possible epiphany:

Trudeau vows to stand up to China’s ‘coercive diplomacy’

But our compradors naturally see things quite differently. And note the inexplicable presence in Beijing, while Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor remain hostages of the Chicoms, of international trade minister Mary Ng for this dinner “celebrating” fifty years of Canadian diplomatic relations with the PRC:

Businesses mark 50th anniversary with calls for Canada to end Meng Wanzhou case, broaden trade

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds

Windy Winston–and all the People who Knew about Bletchley Park, if not SIGINT and Enigma, or…

…one never knows where one may come across gems related to intelligence.

The excerpts below are from Love in the Blitz by Eileen Alexander, reviews here and here. The book contains her letters–in fact written throughout World War II–to her future husband, Gershon Ellenbogen, a Cambridge graduate (they married in 1944 but he was in Royal Air Force intelligence and they remained apart).

Miss Alexander herself was a 1939 graduate from Girton College, Cambridge; she was from a well-off British Jewish family that had lived in Egypt before moving to the UK. She almost took a job at Bletchley Park in 1940 (she does not seem to know what was done there other than it involved intelligence) but ended up doing various work at the Air Ministry.

First Winston. The entry is from a letter of February 4, 1942, pp. 232-3, capitals as in original:

…Churchill, even in his interlude of back-benching [his “wilderness years” of the 1930s], was renowned for his verbosity–but his rich flow of oratory was not always looked upon with the same adulation as is accorded to it now. It is said that one day he met a tubby and ungainly political opponent in the lobby of the House. They disliked one another cordially, and Churchill dug him playfully in the flabbiest part of his Massif Central and said: “Well, well, when can we expect the Happy Event–and what are you going to call it?” The other man looked at him Balefully , and then said coldly, “Well, it it’s a boy, I shall call it John and if it’s a girl, I shall call it Mary, but if, on the other hand it is, as I strongly expect, only wind–Then I shall call it Winston.”

Rimshot please. As for intelligence, from a letter of November 14, 1941, p. 222:

…He [her good friend from Cambridge Aubrey Eban–latter Abba as Israeli foreign minister, at the time he was in British Army intelligence] says Bernard Lewis is at Station X. How inevitable,darling–Everybody ends up there. I rather wish I’d taken the job that was offered to me there–then you could have Moved to Y Sigs. Oh! My dear love, what a Solace that would have been.

Bernard Lewis became a noted historian of Islam and the Arabs. He was then in his mid-twenties and worked at Bletchley Park in the early part of the war (scroll down here); “Station X” was a code-name for Bletchley and “Y Sigs” is a reference to British radio signal intercept stations, the Y Service.

Small world, what? And the Brits certainly did know how to curb those loose lips for the wider world. The Ultra Secret did not come out until 1974. Although Stalin and the Soviets had their man actually at Bletchley for part of the war, John Cairncross, the “Fifth Man” of the Cambridge (there it is again!) spy ring.

Plus an earlier post on another side of Winston:

Churchill on Killing Pathans

And a 2015 post on the mother of my friend Terry Glavin; she worked for the Y Service in the UK during the war:

Enigma SIGINT, or, “What Did You Do in the War, Mother?”

Mark Collins

Twitter: @mark3ds

Those High Hopes for Engagement with the Dragon, or, did the Chicoms just Sucker the West and the Rest?

Be you own judge and jury. Further to this post from April,

Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster on How to Appreciate, and Deal With, the Dragon

the lieutenant general, now retired as well as being an erstwhile national security adviser to President Trump, recalls some moments from their visit to Beijing in November 2017; that time now seems about a lifetime ago. From a major article by Ann Scott Tyson (tweets here) at the Christian Science Monitor:

Fueling US-China clash, years of disconnects

As General McMaster settled into a black swivel chair at a conference table in the great hall, he and his team had one simple goal: to wrap up the meeting quickly so the president could prepare for the evening’s lavish dinner. Premier Li Keqiang began speaking, reading from 5-by-8 cards – as Chinese officials often do to stay on message. The general girded himself for more empty diplomatic speak.

But what came next surprised General McMaster. Despite Mr. Li’s reputation for being friendly to the West and relatively pro-reform, he spoke bluntly, echoing Chairman Xi’s assertive 3 1/2 hour speech at the October party conclave. His brusque message: China no longer needs the U.S. China has come into its own. Beijing would, however, help Washington solve its trade problem by importing U.S. raw materials for China’s emerging high-end manufacturing economy. 

What struck General McMaster was how Mr. Li’s monologue suggested an almost neocolonial relationship between a superior China and a servile U.S. It was “remarkable for the aura of confidence, you could almost say arrogance, and the degree to which he dismissed U.S. concerns about the nature of not only the economic relationship but the geostrategic relationship,” he recalls.

Such encounters helped convince General McMaster that a dramatic shift in China strategy was critical. “It reinforced the work we were doing and highlighted the urgency of it,” he says.

Looking back, General McMaster, who has a Ph.D. in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, sees deception. “The party officials with whom we engaged for so many years, in so many different dialogues, were just great at stringing us along and holding the carrot in front of our donkey noses,” he says.

U.S. engagement “underestimated the will of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to constrain the scope of economic and political reform,” concludes a White House report on China strategy published in May…

If one thinks the PRC’s aggressiveness is essentially a product of Xi himself, consider what China’s then-ambassador to Canada said in 2012 almost immediately after Xi became Top Dragon. Clearly the will to intimidate lesser countries was already well ingrained:

Prove China spy allegations or ‘shut up,’ ambassador says

And a piece by Chris Patten, the last British governor of Hong Kong:

Xi’s dictatorship can’t be trusted

When I was governor of Hong Kong, one of my noisiest critics was Sir Percy Cradock, a former British ambassador to China. Cradock always argued that China would never break its solemn promises, memorialised in a treaty lodged at the UN, to guarantee Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and way of life for 50 years after the return of the city from British to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

Cradock once memorably said that although China’s leaders may be “thuggish dictators”, they were “men of their word” and could be “trusted to do what they promise”. Nowadays, we have overwhelming evidence of the truth of the first half of that observation…

Read on. Plus a post from May:

Disengage, Decouple Economically from the Chicoms or…?

Mark Collins

Twitter: @mark3ds

US Presidential Election Unrest (if not more)–What might Happen to Canada? PM Trudeau says Government Preparing

Further to this post,

Der Untergang der Vereinigten Staaten. For Real? [Downfall of the U.S., note links at end of the post]

PM Trudeau has just been a fair bit frank about the perils to Canada that may result from what happens down south; clearly some governmental thinking has been underway, thank goodness. By Tonda MacCharles (tweets here) at the Toronto Star:

Canada is preparing for possible ‘disruptions’ following U.S. election, Justin Trudeau says

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he hopes for “a smooth transition or a clear result” from the U.S. election but has instructed his government to be ready for possible “disruptions.”

His comments Thursday marked the first time the prime minister has acknowledged the political instability south of the border during an ongoing election campaign in which U.S. President Donald Trump has already challenged the credibility of the result.

Trudeau told reporters said he has instructed his government to prepare for all eventualities, but did not specify what preparations are underway.

“We are certainly all hoping for a smooth transition or a clear result from the election, like many people around the world,” Trudeau said.

“If it is less clear, there may be some disruptions,” he said. “We need to be ready for any outcomes.”

He said Canadians would expect that level of preparation from their government, “and we are certainly reflecting on that.”..

One certainly hopes (expects?) that our embassy and consulates general in the States are reporting fully and honestly to Ottawa: that our intelligence organizations and analysts are working hard on this, with full utilization of open source information (OSINT); and that our operational bodies such as the Canadian Border Services Agency, the RCMP, the Canadian Coast Guard (itself an unarmed civilian agency) and the Canadian Armed Forces (and each of the three services) are preparing, individually and in full cooperation with each other, a range of well-conceived contingency plans for an escalating range of contingencies.

Then there’s all the preparation needed for such things as disruptions of trade, supply chains and many other matters affecting many other parts of our government. And our provinces better be doing their planning too.

Just recall all those people, mainly transiting the US, who in 2017 suddenly started crossing the border in Quebec at Roxham Road to be able to claim refugee status away from the official border crossing. And still come, though in very small numbers, even in the time of COVID-19.

Time could well be of the essence and stuff–sh..–might start happening even before November 3.

And more just today (with video):

13 men charged in alleged plot to kidnap Michigan governor

PREDATE: A twitter thread with two Ottawa U. profs, note “low probability, high impact”:

UPDATE: Latest tweet on this theme from Thomas Juneau (tweets here), one of the profs noted just above:

And what about all those Canadians in the US who may just want, in some circumstances, to rush home? What about Canadian Armed Forces members serving in the US?

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds

Defence Secretary Esper Looks to Really Shake Up US Navy to Face the PRC

(Caption for photo at top of this post: “The Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group transits in formation with the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group while conducting dual carrier and airwing operations in the Philippine Sea on June 23, 2020. US Navy Photo”)

But how much longer will he be around (even should The Donald win the election)? What about Congress? How much cooperation from the USN itself, with all those aviatiors loving super-carriers? By  Paul McLeary (tweets here) at Breaking Defense:

Esper Outlines New Navy, But Big Questions Remain

Convincing Congress that cutting carriers, building hundreds of unmanned ships, and constructing new classes of small boats will take some work.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper offered details today [Oct. 6] of his eagerly anticipated plan to reshape the Navy, offering a vision that includes backing away from supercarriers, adding submarines, and calling for a massive shift to smaller, faster, and unmanned ships.

The secretary called for a fleet of more than 500 ships by 2045 — promising 355 of those by 2035 — a building boom that would require Congress to pump more money into the service’s shipbuilding account, while potentially scuttling current hulls to make way,

The broad outlines of his “Battle Force 2045” plan were delivered without a price tag, and will have to survive a presidential election, a potential power shift in the Senate, and the desires of Capitol HIll, which pays close attention to jobs at shipyards. The plan, which will be briefed in coming weeks by Navy officials, comes after eight months of study and wargaming at the highest levels of the Pentagon to rethink the fleet’s size and shape. 

The biggest suggested changes would occur within both the Navy’s most expensive, and potentially least expensive, programs. Esper said the service would likely float somewhere between 8 to 11 nuclear powered carriers, with up to six light carriers similar to the America-class amphibious ships, joining them [earlier post: “More US Navy “Jeep” Carriers (LHA) for Marine F-35Bs, what about the USN’s big Carriers?“].

The 11 carrier fleet is a matter of law, and would require an act of Congress to allow the Navy to downshift, a move likely to be opposed by the shipbuilding industry and some powerful members of Congress.

Conversely, Esper called for new classes of unmanned ships that could comprise almost half of the entire fleet, or somewhere between 140 and 240 yet to be designed ships [emphasis added]

The unmanned ships will have “the potential to perform a wide range of missions from resupply and surveillance, to minelaying and missile strikes,” Esper said. “They will add significant offensive and defensive capabilities typically at an affordable cost in terms of both sailors and dollars.”

A key recommendation is to build a larger and more deadly attack submarine fleet of as many as 80 SSNs [emphasis added]. “If we do nothing else, the Navy must begin building three Virginia-class submarines a year as soon as possible,” Esper said…

As Breaking D readers know, a recent report from the Hudson Institute, which Esper asked to provide an outside vision of what the future fleet should look like, previewed much of what Esper said today. The report advocated a 581-ship fleet — including 139 unmanned surface and subsurface vessels — by 2045. The team also advocates cutting the carrier fleet from 11 to nine, while adding 27 new Light Amphibious warships for the Marine Corps, and 80 small corvettes. 

That’s broadly in line with the 70 small surface combatants Esper called for today, which would include the new class of frigates, along with LCS. The Littoral Combat Ship will be replaced by the frigate, large unmanned ships, and potentially a corvette [emphasis added].

Esper also said he supports the Marine Corps vision to get smaller, and more tightly integrated with the fleet. Last month, Commandant Gen. David Berger said the shipbuilding plan includes ships the Corps has wanted to add to the fleet, including “new classes of ships that the Marine Corps must have, they’re in the plan. Same with logistic ships,” 

The new ships the Corps wants — which the Navy Department will have to pay for — include a Light Amphibious Warship and a Medium Logistics Ship that will transport and support small, dispersed groups of Marines working on ad hoc bases far afield from the fleet [earlier post: “Radically Re-Shaping US Marines to Take on China–e.g. no more Tanks“].

Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday is expected to offer more detail on the plan next week during a scheduled talk with Defense One, filling in some of the blanks left by Esper.

After Esper’s presentation, Naval War College professor Jonathan Caverley tweeted that the difference between eight and 11 carriers “represents a $30-35 billion budget swing…before you buy the air wing. An 8 CVN fleet would operate completely differently than one with 11. That number also determines the rest of the fleet makeup. No firm CVN number, no fleet architecture.”..

As one has been noting, there’s a lot of shaking up thinking going on in the US services (note this for the US Air Force: “US Air Force Trying to Shake, Rattle…(and note NORAD)“)–what about in the Canadian Armed Forces? In which the current government appears to have only the most minimal of interest in terms of serious defence matters. A relevant post from this June:

COVID-19 Facing the Canadian Government and Military with Major Decisions on Force Structures, Employment and Equipment–how Radical a Re-Shape?

Mark Collins

Twitter: @Mark3ds

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