Your Navy Today is intended to enhance understanding & awareness across the RCN and among our Friends of the Navy. It does not constitute policy, orders or direction. This bi-weekly summary of events in the RCN and elsewhere is a personal assessment, and any errors in interpretation are solely mine.
— RAdm Mark Norman, Deputy Commander, Royal Canadian Navy
European Union (EU) foreign ministers voted this week to enact an embargo against Iranian oil imports. This is a major development in expanding the sanctions regime aimed at Iran's uranium enrichment programme, as the EU accounts for nearly 20 percent of Iranian oil exports. Iranian authorities shrugged off the announcement, stating that Asian markets would more than compensate for a loss in European orders.
The USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) sailed through the Strait of Hormuz and into the Gulf without incident on Sunday, a day after Iran backed away from an earlier threat to take action if an American carrier returned to the strategic waterway.
Speaking to the Permanent Joint Board of Defence (PJBD), Defence Minister Peter Mackay confirmed this week that Canada and the United States were renewing the Civil Assistance Plan and the Combined Defence Plan. The civil assistance agreement will permit military personnel and equipment from two partner nations to deploy rapidly to the other nation to support humanitarian operations and disaster response. The defence agreement sets out the authority and means for the two countries to approve homeland military operations, as well as for the sharing of information.
International. As Egyptians returned to Tahrir Square to mark the first anniversary of the civilian revolt that eventually toppled the 30-year rule of Hosni Mubarak, international mainstream media and the policy community reflected on the tumultuous events of the past year and speculated on the region's future prospects, as events in Syria and elsewhere continued to simmer ominously.
National. National media was drawn to the sensational news of the arrest of a Canadian intelligence officer, SLt Delisle, on suspicions of espionage. Numerous articles followed, drawing upon external experts to explain how such activities are detected, contained and isolated, as well as the steps that were taken by the CF / DND to assess the potential damage and to restore the assured integrity of its intelligence apparatus.
The Canadian Coast Guard this week celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding. We share in the pride of our sister sea service, with whom we have worked so closely over the decades both ashore and at sea to protect the lives of Canadians and defend Canadian sovereignty. We are proud of our partnership with the men and women of the Canadian Coast Guard, whose skills as mariners we respect so highly, and we look forward to continued success in the decades to come in Canada's three oceans!
Strategic Planning MeetingSenior Navy leaders, supported by representatives from across the entire Defence team, met last week in Halifax for the third annual Strategic Planning Meeting (SPM3). Like its two predecessors, SPM3 was devoted to a detailed review of key institutional issues that required analysis from a number of perspectives, the results of which will inform implementation planning related to Navy transformation.
I would commend to the readership the Comd RCN's "quicklook" summary of SPM3, attached separately, and more specifically of his assessment of the three principal outcomes to emerge from our week of deliberations.
Earlier today, a special meeting of the Naval Strategic Management Board (NSMB) was held to review SPM3 recommendations in more detail, as well as to develop a common understanding of the tasks that will be necessary to implement SPM3 recommendations in the coming weeks and months.
The Governor General this week presented awards for military valour and meritorious service Crosses to 39 members of the CF at Rideau Hall. Among those recognized by His Excellency our Commander-in-Chief were:
Lieutenant-Commander Louis Christian Haché, M.S.M., C.D., for his efforts as deputy commander of Task Force Port-au-Prince, and chief of Plans and Strategic Measures within the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, where his "leadership contributed significantly to the United Nations' efforts in Haiti and brought great credit to the Canadian Forces and to Canada."
Captain(N) (Ret'd) Richard Philip Harrison, O.M.M., M.S.M., C.D., for his leadership and success in "planning and executing a series of very high-profile and successful events in support of the Canadian Naval Centennial … including the exercising of the freedom of the city of Victoria and an international fleet review" which "received national and international recognition [and] enhanced the standing of the Canadian Forces both at home and abroad." The citation also noted his "groundbreaking work on the charter of the Western Pacific Naval Symposium, which elevated Canada's influence in the region and among the 24 participating nations."
Commodore John Frederick Newton, O.M.M., M.S.M., C.D., who as Comd CFB Halifax "displayed exceptional leadership in guiding the planning and execution of two extremely high-profile ceremonial events: the consecration and presentation of a new Queen's Colour to Maritime Command in 2009, and the international fleet review by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 2010."
Captain(N) (Ret'd) Kenneth John Pickford, M.S.M., C.D., for his leadership and vision in the planning and execution of the Canadian Naval Centennial celebrations. "With him at the helm, the centennial team drove a comprehensive program from coast to coast, with a mandate to bring the Navy to Canadians. In all respects, the celebrations were an unparalleled success and well-received by both national and international audiences, bringing considerable credit to the Navy and to the Canadian Forces."
At an event that exemplifies much of what the Strategic Planning Meeting was about, Comd RCN VAdm Paul Maddison presented to Able Seaman Holly Pothier three medals. The first was Operational Service Medal – Humanitas, which she earned as an Ordinary Seaman as part of HMCS Athabaskan's ship's company during Canada's 2010 disaster relief mission in Haiti. Later that year, she was posted to 1 SVC BN in Edmonton and subsequently deployed to Kandahar in 2011, where she earned her General Campaign Star and the Sacrifice Medal for injuries she sustained in July 2011 as a result of hostile action. New Navy, new fleet, new sailor! BRAVO ZULU, AB Pothier!
COMD NAVRES, Cmdre D. Craig, presented commendations for their contribution to operation LUSTRE to three HMCS Chippawa members. LCdr D.W. Smith received the Canada Command Commendation, and LCdr W.P. Stiff and MS K.J. Swanson the Royal Canadian Navy Commendation.
Newly appointed HCapt(N) Fred George was welcomed formally into the RCN family last week at a luncheon hosted on behalf of Comd RCN by Comd MARLANT, RAdm Gardam. HCapt(N) George reciprocated later that week, hosting a reception to which he invited senior RCN and community leaders. HCapt(N) George is to VAdm Maddison's right in the picture below, holding a naval centennial sword as they cut a cake made for the occasion by New York City's Cake Boss.
At its 15 December 2011 sitting, Treasury Board approved the Heavyweight Torpedo Upgrade (HWTU) project. The HWTU project, valued at $194M (exclusive of HST), will upgrade a portion of Canada's MK 48 Mod 4M heavyweight torpedo inventory to the MK 48 Mod 7AT variant. In addition to upgrades to the weapons themselves, Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors will update the Victoria class Submarine Fire Control System to allow the full exploitation of the upgraded torpedoes' capabilities.
These upgrades will provide Canada's Victoria class submarines with modernized torpedoes having increased performance in both shallow and Arctic waters. The first exercise firings of MK 48 Mod 7AT torpedoes from a Canadian submarine are planned for HMCS Corner Brook in 2016, upon completion of her extended Docking Work Period (EDWP).
As part of the Natural Resources Canada's (NRCan) Arctic Expedition 2011, Project CORNERSTONE collected valuable sonar data in support of a submission to be made in relation to Canada's Arctic claims under article 76 of the United Nations Law of the Sea.
This scientific data is required to define the outer limits of Canada's extended continental shelf in the high Arctic. This expedition covered a vast area extending from the Southern Canada Basin (along the Canadian-Alaskan margin), north to the Lomonosov Ridge (approximately 100 nm from the North Pole) and to the seaward end of the Canadian Archipelago.
For the last three years DRDC Atlantic has supported NRCan and Fisheries and Oceans Canada in providing high-resolution sonar data of the Arctic sea floor using autonomous underwater vehicles (UAVs) (pictured below) and a suite of DRDC-developed long range under-ice tracking, communication and homing systems. The 8 ton vehicles are believed to have set records for continuous under ice operations; advancing the RCN's potential capabilities for under ice operations. The AUVs will now become available for RCN operations.
The RCN this week has 254 personnel deployed on named international operations, and a further 608 at sea for force generation and defence diplomacy activities, for a total of 862 personnel deployed or 11.9% of its trained effective strength.
HMCS Charlottetown transited from Halifax to the Mediterranean Sea for a six- month deployment as part of Operation METRIC, Canada's commitment to maintaining a forward-deployed Canadian Forces presence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region in 2012. While deployed, Charlottetown will contribute to Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR (OAE), the NATO led counter-terrorism mission. During her transit to theatre, Charlottetown conducted mission workups and embarked Commander CEFCOM for a brief visit. The ship is now conducting operations with the Standing NATO Maritime Group.
HMCS Moncton and HMCS Summerside conducted directed workups and made a stop in Little Creek, Virginia in preparation for their participation in Exercise BOLD ALLIGATOR 2012. The two Kingston-class ships and a dive team from Fleet Diving Unit (Atlantic) are providing Mine Counter-Measures support to the largest US amphibious exercise in the past decade. The two-week exercise will include an amphibious task force, a brigade-sized landing force, a carrier strike group, mine counter-measures forces and support from other commands. Canada, Great Britain, France and the Netherlands are among the ten allied nations taking part in BOLD ALLIGATOR.
HMC ships Ville de Quebec and Kingston were at sea conducting trials.
HMCS Vancouver is on her way home from a seven-month deployment which included five months of operations in the Mediterranean Sea. The deployment initially included the ship's participation in Operation MOBILE, the Canadian contribution to the NATO-led Operation UNIFIED PROTECTOR. Following the liberation of Libya, Vancouver's mission shifted to Operations SIRIUS and METRIC, where the ship joined the Standing NATO Maritime Group as part of Operation ACTIVE ENDEAVOUR. Upon completion of a port visit and change of command (witnessed by Her Excellency Heidi Kutz, Canada's Ambassador to Portugal) in Madeira, Portugal, Vancouver commenced her westbound return transit home. Following a port visit in Trinidad and Tobago, Vancouver will transit the Panama Canal and complete her homeward voyage, arriving in Esquimalt mid-February.
HMCS Victoria sailed for trials and workups with HMCS Algonquin as consort ship.
HCMS Regina was at sea conducting trials and preparations for workups.
PCTs Cougar and Moose sailed in support of MARS III Port Dauphine Division training.
PCTs Orca and Wolf were at sea in support of the Fleet Navigating Officer Course and the Submarine Navigation Course respectively.
"I want to write to express my appreciation for last Friday's Change of Command ceremony about the HMCS Vancouver…I do hope the team departs this particular tour with an appreciation of the importance of their contribution." —Ambassador Heidi Kutz, writing to Cmdre Peter Ellis and Cdrs Peats and Mazur subsequent to Vancouver's change of command.