The Vanguard Podcast

Welcome to the Vanguard Podcast, a weekly radio show discussing news, trends, and event coverage for the Canadian Defence Industry. Vanguard is Canada’s oldest trade journal of record that provides a forum for Canada’s security and defence community, discussing strategic perspectives and overviews of government and military policy and practice, through interviews with leading practitioners and contributions from renowned experts, including representatives from industry. Intersecting strategy, technology and policy, Vanguard explores emerging trends and best practices to help enhance Canada’s holistic approach to defence and security, both domestically and internationally.
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Dec 27, 2017

In this episode, Canada launches contest for 88 fighter jets, assembling the First Arctic patrol ship is on the way at the Halifax Shipyard and the steps needed to integrate the Australian F-18s into the current Royal Canadian Air Force’s fighter fleet. 

Show Notes:

The main structural components of the Royal Canadian Navy's first Arctic patrol ship have been assembled at the Halifax Shipyard. 

The ship is expected to be launched at the Halifax Shipyard next summer. 

"As the first ship of the class, having the future HMCS Harry DeWolf assembled at land level is a significant milestone," Kevin McCoy, president of Irving Shipbuilding, said in a statement. 

Canada launches contest for 88 fighter jets 

The Canadian government is launching a competition to buy a new fleet of 88 fighter jets and officials confirmed Tuesday they will also be buying an interim fleet of 18 jets from Australia rather than from Boeing. 

According to Global News, a clause in the announcement effectively suggests that if Boeing wants to bid on the competition itself, it better back down in its trade challenge of Bombardier. 

“When bids are assessed, any bidder that is responsible for harm to Canada’s economic interests will be at a distinct disadvantage,” the press release states. 

That aspect of the announcement seems specifically aimed at Boeing. 

Officials said the cost is being estimated at roughly half a billion dollars for the interim replacement, while roughly $15 billion to $19 billion will be set aside for the full competition. 

Australian F-18s 

With the announcement to purchase Australian F-18 aircraft, Canada has issued a list of steps needed to integrate the Australian F-18s with the current fleet of Canada’s CF-18s.   

  • Life extension and upgrade 
  • Acquiring spare parts 
  • Training and personnel 
  • Operations 
  • Infrastructure 
Dec 13, 2017

In this episode, pushing back on delivery date for new fighter jets, Canadian Rangers losing out on health benefits and Vanguard is gearing up to host the Shipbuilding Technology Forum 2018.


Show Notes:

The Royal Canadian Air Force may have to keep its aging CF-18s airborne even longer than already expected after industry sources warned that the Trudeau government is planning to push back the delivery date for its new fleet of fighters.

Word of the likely delay comes with the government moving ahead with the purchase of used fighter jets from Australia as a temporary stopgap alongside its existing CF-18s, rather than the original plan of buying brand new Super Hornets from U.S. aerospace giant Boeing.

Canadian Rangers losing out on health benefits

The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces are failing to ensure that Canadian Rangers, many of whom are Inuit, First Nations or Métis, receive health care benefits and entitlements available to other reservists, Canada’s military watchdog said in a report released recently.

Gary Walbourne, the National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces ombudsman, launched an investigation in 2016 aimed at figuring out why many Canadian Rangers don’t receive the health care benefits that they’re entitled to.

In his final report based on that investigation, Walbourne found many Rangers often don’t report injuries sustained while they’re on duty and don’t know about benefits they’re entitled to from Veterans Affairs Canada or how to apply for them.

“Respondents interviewed who self-identified as having sustained an injury while on duty were subsequently asked if they had considered submitting a claim to Veterans Affairs Canada—the vast majority responded that they did not,” Walbourne said in his 31-page report.

Shipbuilding event

Vanguard is gearing up to host the Shipbuilding Technology Forum 2018. This is an annual event that is produced by Vanguard Magazine to facilitate a discussion between government, military and industry.

Scheduled for March 1, 2018, the Shipbuilding Technology Forum will be held at the Shaw Centre in Ottawa. This one-day conference is intended to showcase emerging technologies, address a range of marine and shipbuilding issues as well as ship repair and the advantages they provide for growth and export. To learn more or register to attend, go here.

Dec 4, 2017

In this episode, we take a look at the RFPs that were submitted for the Canadian Surface Combatant (CSC) program and with the North Korea threat, Canada has set aside two bunkers at military bases. 


Show Notes: 

The Navantia Team 

The Navantia team has made an announcement of the submission of its proposal. 

The team, which is led by Navantia is comprised of Saab Australia which will deliver the Combat Systems Integrator (CSI) and CEA Technologies to provide other key elements of the proposed solution. 

The team’s solution is based on “the proven F-105 frigate design” for the Spanish Navy. This design coupled with capabilities of key Canadian companies will provide a ship that is ideally suited to Canada’s requirement, according to the press release. 

Navantia has a history of providing modifications of this design for many navies including the Norwegian Navy and, most recently, the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). 


Canada’s Combat Ship Team has announced the delivery of its proposal 

Comprising of BAE Systems, CAE, Lockheed Martin Canada, L3 Technologies, MDA and Ultra Electronics, Canada’s Combat Ship Team’s proposal is focused on the “Canadian doctrine” according to Rosemary Chapdelaine, Vice President and General Manager at Lockheed Martin Canada Rotary and Missions Systems (RMS). 

The team which is headed by Lockheed Martin Canada is offering “the most advanced and modern” warship design from BAE Systems – the Type 26 Global Combat Ship – along with innovations from other leading companies in Canada. Lockheed Martin Canada will provide its world-renowned Canadian-developed combat management system, the CMS 330 to integrate with the Type 26. 

Due to the North Korean threat Canada has open up two bunkers 

The Privy Council Office, drafted an agreement with National Defence a year ago to open up bunkers on two military bases should the National Capital Region become "unviable," according to documents obtained by CBC News under access to information legislation. 

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan was asked Wednesday what would happen should a missile land in Canada.  

"When it comes to any type of foreign threats, we take them extremely seriously," he said. "We've been looking at North Korea right from the beginning when I was given this portfolio. I am very mindful of the country's missile testing that they have been doing. We believe that the diplomatic solution is the way to go, because I think that there is hope for it." 

Nov 24, 2017

In this episode, Marcello Sukhdeo talks about how nearly half of illegal border-crossers into Canada are from Haiti, the president of Kosovo says that Russia’s interference in Kosovo has implications for Canada and why is Russia sending robotic submarines to the Arctic? 


Show Notes 


For the last nine months, over 14,000 refugee claims were made by people who crossed into Canada outside legal border points. Of this number, nearly half of them were from Haiti according to CBC. 


Data released by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) on recently shows that 6,304 citizens of Haiti claimed refugee status after crossing illegally into Canada between February and October. 


Haiti was the top country of origin for irregular border-crossers in the nine-month period, followed by Nigeria, from which 1,911 people crossed into Canada. 


Other countries of origin, and the number of people who crossed the border, were: 








Of the 14,000 referrals to the IRB, just over 1,500 cases have been finalized and 941 have been accepted.  


Many Haitians crossed into Canada from the United States this past summer, prompted by a decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to terminate temporary protected status that has allowed 60,000 Haitians to live and work in the U.S. 




The president Kosovo says Russia is trying to destabilize his country and its Balkan neighbours through fake news and other disruptions. 


The president made those remarks recently during his visit to Ottawa and said this makes Canada a target, too, because Russia is trying to undermine the values and institutions that Kosovo shares with its Western allies. 


In the interview as was reported in the Star, the president of Kosovo said Canada needs to be vigilant against potential threats from Russia. 


“We always have to be cautious and careful these days. If somebody thinks they will stop this, they’re wrong. They will continue attacking, fighting Western values.” 


Russia and the Arctic  


The Arctic Ocean is estimated to hold billions of barrels of oil, and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas – accounting for 16-26 per cent of the Earth’s undiscovered reserves. 


And there’s a country that is trying to beat everyone else to win the race to exploit this chilly region on Earth. That country is Russia. 


Decades after the Soviet Union fell, Russia embarked on a mission to drill deep into the Arctic seabed, sending a fleet of underwater robots and unmanned submarines into the Earth’s harshest waters. 


So, why is Russia sending submarines to the Arctic, because they want to be the first to win the race for the Arctic so that they can exploit all the nature resources in the region.

Nov 17, 2017

In this episode, hear about Canada and U.S latest border emergency exercise, CAF to deliver explosive threat training to Iraqi security forces, and Canada’s smart pledge approach to UN peace keeping operations.  


Show Notes 


As home of the longest international border in the world, Canada and the United States have been working to be prepared to coordinate effective emergency responses in the event of disasters or other threats to safety and security. 


In support of this, the Department of National Defence’s Centre for Security Science and the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate teamed up for the fifth time to conduct an experiment supporting emergency management officials and first responders. The Canada-U.S. Enhanced Resiliency Experiment series, known as CAUSE, took place on November 15th and 16th near the border between Lower Mainland, British Columbia, and Whatcom County, in the state of Washington.  


This exercise provides participants with the opportunity to use a range of tools in a simulated environment, and determine how the technology and applications perform in different scenarios.  


Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale said, “CAUSE is a valuable experiment that will help improve emergency responders’ safety and operational effectiveness on both sides of the border.” 




As part of Canada’s ongoing commitment to enable the lasting defeat of Daesh, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) engineers are delivering explosive threat training to Iraqi security forces (ISF). As well, to better meet the needs of the Global Coalition, the CAF is adjusting its aircraft contributions. 


Approximately 20 Canadian Army engineers have deployed to deliver explosive threat training to the ISF in Besmaya, Iraq. Responding to the Coalition’s needs and an evolving military campaign, the CAF has also deployed a second CC-130J Hercules aircraft to join Joint Task Force Iraq (JTF-I), while the CP-140 Aurora detachment will return to Canada in mid-December. 

International Peacekeeping Conference  

At the International Peacekeeping Conference held recently in Vancouver, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that he will not deploy 600 military or 150 Canadian police officers to any single United Nations peacekeeping operation. 


Instead, the Trudeau government will take a “smart pledge” approach that will offer training and air support to other nations, boost female troop deployments, and target the demobilization of child soldiers. 

Nov 13, 2017

New Peace Support Training Centre; a police website hacked in Saskatchewan; and Commanders’ Conference of American Armies

In this episode, the opening of the new Peace Support Training Centre at Canadian Forces Base in Kingston, a look at the recently concluded 32nd Commanders’ Conference of American Armies and a police website has been hacked in Saskatchewan by supporters of the Islamic State.

Show Notes: 

Last week, member of Parliament for Kingston and the Islands, Mark Gerretsen, took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to highlight the completion of the new Peace Support Training Centre at Canadian Forces Base in Kingston. 

The new facility is named after the late LCol Paul Augustus Mayer. LCol Mayer was a CAF infantry officer in the Second World War and Korean War. He greatly contributed to numerous peace support operations serving as Commander in South East Asia and Africa, and as an advisor to the UN Secretary General.

The new training centre was built by Bird Construction Ltd. of Mississauga, Ont., which was awarded the contract $14.5 million to perform the construction work, which was delivered on time and on budget. 


Commander of the Canadian Army, Lieutenant-General Paul Wynnyk recently attended the Commanders’ Conference of American Armies (CCAA) in Washington D.C, from November 6 to 9, 2017. The Commander’s Conference of American Armies is an opportunity for Army leaders from North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean to meet to discuss areas of mutual interest and share lessons learned. The conference contributes to the security and democratic development of member countries from a military perspective.

The Lieutenant-General said, “I commend the Conference of American Armies members for their achievements during the 32nd cycle and look forward to the productive discussions in the next cycle. This long-term and active multilateral dialogue allows member nations to better understand and identify the needs, challenges, and areas for potential collaboration. Canada is a committed partner in these efforts and will continue to work with member nations to address the complex security challenges of today and tomorrow in a manner that promotes partnerships and cooperation.”

Hacked by ISIS 

Police in Prince Albert, Sask., say their website has been hacked by apparent supporters of Islamic State militants.

In an article that appeared on CTV news, we learned that the police force’s website was completely altered to show a black screen with the message: "Hacked by Team System Dz. I Love Islamic state," with a non-English language audio track playing in the background.

In June, the group hacked government websites in Maryland, Ohio and New York.

Nov 6, 2017

In this show, Exercise IRON RAM to sharpen Canadian Army soldiers combat skills, Discovery Air Defence has been awarded the contract for the CATS program, and hear about Marcello Sukhdeo’s visit to the Air Mobility Training Centre in Trenton. 

Show Notes:

About 2,400 soldiers from the Canadian Army that are a part of the 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, are participating in Exercise IRON RAM over the next three weeks at Canadian Forces Base/Area Support Unit Wainwright.

Exercise IRON RAM which runs from October 23 until November 17 will achieve two major goals while ensuring the readiness of the Canadian Army. First, through the conduct of both dry- and live-fire ranges of increasing complexity, 1 CMBG will confirm individual and collective skills as they seek to maintain and improve their warfighting abilities for future deployments.

Discovery Air

The Canadian government has awarded a contract estimated at more than $1 billion to a Discovery Air Defence to provide fighter-jet training to the Canadian military, according to a piece in the National Post.

The project, known as the Contracted Airborne Training Services (CATS), will run over an initial 10-year period with the option to continue for another five years.

Discovery Air Defence did not release the value of the contract, but analysts have estimated it to be worth at least $1 billion and some say it could reach $1.5 billion if the five-year option is picked up. 

A visit to the Air Mobility Training Centre in Trenton 

I just got back from a media tour that CAE provided to journalists in Canada, US, UK and Australia at the Air Mobility Training Centre in Trenton. The purpose of the tour was to provide an overview and to see first-hand the Royal Canadian Air Force’s CC-130J aircrew and maintenance training system located at the Air Mobility Training Centre, at the Canadian Forces Base in Trenton.

Oct 30, 2017

In this show, Marcello Sukhdeo talks with Marc Bouvrette, president of Gap Wireless about Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Solutions (UAVs). Hear about UAV trends, solutions, applications, training, regulations, and what to expect beyond 2020.

Questions include:

  • What trends are you seeing in the marketplace for Enterprise-grade drones and other UAV solutions?
  • What differentiates drones suited for the enterprise versus consumer-level drones?
  • What types of enterprise applications are prevalent today?
  • How extensive is training for drone operators?
  • Are regulations for enterprise drone use more strict that for consumer?
  • With the increase in drone deployment overall, management of flight plans etc. must be taking up significant resources with regulators?
  • At Gap Wireless you are stocking and distributing UAV Solutions. How are you keeping pace with growing demand for the latest technology?
  • When you look to the year 2020 and beyond, what do you foresee for the UAV industry?
Oct 23, 2017

In this episode, Marcello Sukhdeo talks about the Canadian Armed Forces counter explosive threat exercise which is underway, Bombardier to sell control of its C Series airliner program to Airbus, and Canadians are fearful of a nuclear attack according to a recent survey.




The Canadian Armed Forces have begun a counter explosive threat exercise involving international military participants and Canadian law enforcement agencies. This exercise began on October 16th and will run to November 3rd.


This exercise which is named ARDENT DEFENDER 2017 provides an opportunity for explosive ordnance disposal and improvised explosive device teams to run through scenarios that enable them to practice neutralizing and safely disposing of explosive devices and countering the threat networks that employ them. The training will strengthen inter-operability between Allies, partner nations, Global Affairs Canada and Canadian law enforcement agencies.


Bombardier to sell control of its C Series airliner program


Bombardier Inc. has struck an agreement to sell control of its C Series airliner program to Airbus Group.


The C Series program, has been at the centre of major political and investor drama in Canada since its inception. The single-aisle airliner's development at a cost of $6-billion (U.S.) drove Bombardier to the brink of bankruptcy in 2015 before Quebec handed the company a lifeline by investing $1-billion in the plane.


Quebec supports the transaction with Airbus, calling it the best solution to protect and create jobs in a sector vital to the province's economy. Ottawa has also offered a preliminary endorsement of the transaction, saying it would require review under federal investment law.


Canadians are fearful of a nuclear attack


With North Korea issuing warnings that “war may break out at any moment,” it’s no surprise that a recent survey by the Angus Reid Forum found more Canadians are fearful of a nuclear attack.


A survey of over 1,500 Canadians conducted in September found 55 per cent believe the prospect of nuclear war is “very” or “fairly” serious. That’s a marked increase from the 36 per cent of Canadians who said the concerns were serious in November 2016 — a 19 percentage point increase in 10 months.


The survey also notes that that women were more likely than men (64 per cent vs. 45 per cent) to believe that nuclear war is a serious concern.


Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the tensions between North Korea and the U.S. “very scary for everyone.”

Oct 18, 2017

In this episode, the CAF bids farewell to the Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, also, some insights from John Mannarino, Vanguard’s latest Game Changer and changes to the civilian leadership of the Department of National Defence. 


Show Notes:  

General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, and the CAF community bid farewell to His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, during an official ceremony on Wednesday, September 27, 2017, at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.  

In appreciation of his outstanding support and dedicated service to the Canadian Armed Forces, the ceremony consisted of military honours including a CF-18 flypast; a 21-gun salute and a 100-person Guard of Honour.  

His Excellency served as the CAF Commander-in-Chief for seven years. During his appointment, the Governor General made it a priority to support military members and their families through various initiatives and activities. 



Last Friday, the Prime Minister announced upcoming changes to the civilian leadership of the Department of National Defence, an organization that is absolutely critical to the success of the Canadian Armed Forces. These changes include a new Deputy Minister, Senior Associate Deputy Minister, and Associate Deputy Minister. 

Jody Thomas – currently the Senior Associate Deputy Minister – will be promoted Deputy Minister of National Defence effective October 23rd. Jody’s background as Commissioner of the Coast Guard and as a member of the Reserve Force, coupled with her passionate approach to supporting those in uniform and her commitment to building a culture of respect and dignity within the Defence Team, ensure that we continue to have the right leadership within the Department of National Defence. 

Bill Matthews, currently Comptroller General of Canada, will step into the role of Senior Associate Deputy Minister. Bill’s financial expertise and breadth of experience will be invaluable as we implement the new defence policy. 

Gordon Venner, currently our Assistant Deputy Minister of Policy, will be promoted Associate Deputy Minister. I have long valued Gord’s commitment to the Department, his expertise and advice, and am confident he will serve well in his new role. 


Game Changer 

Meet John Mannarino, Vanguard’s latest Game Changer. John is the President of Mannarino Systems & Software Inc. About 18 years ago, he started out in the defence industry as a control system engineer at a gas turbine engine OEM in Montreal. 

His first seven years were spent on engineering which included design, analysis, modeling, testing, and certification. “I loved the nature of the products we worked on – high-tech and aerospace,” said Mannarino. “This was great technical training – I enjoyed the work quite a bit.” 

With this experience, John decided to try something different. He began consulting for a US-based company developing aerospace controls systems. “After a couple of years of proving myself, opportunities developed to handle larger projects and I took them on.” He eventually expanded the company to multiple customers and started branching out to include other engineering services. 

Sep 27, 2017

In this episode, Marcello Sukhdeo talks about Vanguard’s Game Changer series focusing on our latest Game Changer Jim Quick from AIAC and U.S. policy directs the American military not to defend Canada if it is targeted in a ballistic missile attack.

Sep 19, 2017

In this episode, the Russian President is opened to the idea of having UN peacekeepers in Ukraine, also the U.K. Prime Minister asked U.S. President Donald Trump to intervene in a court dispute between Boeing and Bombardier. And lastly, North Korea issued warnings of “forthcoming measures” against the United States after the latest round of sanctions was announced.


Show Notes


Russian President Vladimir Putin has signaled his willingness to look into the idea of deploying UN peacekeepers to eastern Ukraine and not only along the conflict line separating Ukrainian government forces and Russia-backed separatists, but also in other areas where monitors from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) work.


The Kremlin said Putin made the comments in a phone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on September 11.


In a statement, the German Chancellor said Putin "agreed to remove the previous limitation of deployment of the planned UN mission" after Ms. Merkel pointed out that "changes in the mandate were necessary."


On September 5, Putin called for the deployment of lightly armed peacekeepers to protect OSCE observers monitoring the conflict in eastern Ukraine. But he indicated that the peacekeepers would operate only along the front line separating Ukrainian government forces and separatists.


Boeing and Bombardier


U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May asked U.S. President Donald Trump to intervene in a court dispute between Boeing Co. and Canada’s Bombardier Inc.


Ms. May made the request during a call with President Trump on Sept. 5 and comes at a time when the UK government seeks to protect jobs at a Bombardier plant in Belfast.


It is expected that the UK Prime Minister will discuss this matter with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a visit to Ottawa on Sept. 18.


The U.K. Department for Business said in an emailed statement that their "priority is to encourage Boeing to drop its case and seek a negotiated settlement with Bombardier."


North Korea


In an attempt to punish North Korea for its latest nuclear test, the UN Security Council approved new sanctions, targeting the country’s textile industry and limiting its import of crude oil.


After this latest round of UN sanctions was announced, North Korea issued warnings of “forthcoming measures” against the United States.


North Korea said it successfully conducted its sixth nuclear test on Sept. 3. The latest test was said to have been a hydrogen bomb designed to be mounted on a newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile that has “great destructive power,” state media said following the announcement of the test.


North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations lashed out at the UN’s latest “illegal and unlawful” sanctions against his country, calling it a “grave challenge to international peace and justice.”


The North Korean ambassador went on to warn the U.S. that it will suffer consequences for the approved sanctions.


“The DPRK is ready to use any form of ultimate means,” he said. “The forthcoming measures by DPRK will make the U.S. suffer the greatest pain it’s ever experienced in its history.”

Sep 12, 2017

Another delay for CSC and aerospace companies call on PM to move on Super Hornets

In this episode of Vanguard Radio, Canada sends a CC130J to Texas to aid in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts, another delay for the Canadian Surface Combatant project, and Canadian-based aerospace companies are calling on the Prime Minister to stop blocking the purchase of the Super Hornet fighter jets.


Show Notes:


A Royal Canadian Air Force CC130J Hercules left Canada recently for the Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, carrying humanitarian supplies including baby formula, blankets, cribs, and similar items to aid in Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.


The Government of Canada offered to assist with relief efforts in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and the offer was accepted by the US.


Hurricane Harvey has caused a mandatory evacuation of approximately 750,000 people with an additional 1.1 million people who are under a voluntary evacuation order along the Gulf Coast.


Hurricane Harvey was the first major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since Wilma in 2005, ending a record 12-year drought in which no major hurricanes made landfall in the country. Harvey caused at least 71 confirmed deaths; 1 in Guyana, and 70 in the United States. Harvey is considered the worst disaster in Texas history, and the recovery will take many years. Economic losses are preliminarily estimated at between $70 to $200 billion, with a large portion of the losses sustained by uninsured homeowners.


CSC delays again


The Canadian Surface Combatant program is heading into another delay, the deadline for the RFP for this program is now expected to be in November, moving from August. That means the decision on which off-the-shelf design to go with for the CSC project is being delayed until next year late winter or early spring.


Lisa Campbell, assistant deputy minister of defence and marine procurement, said the delay will not affect the overall timeline for the program.


"It's not going to affect ship construction, which is still planned to start in the early 2020s," Campbell told CBC News in an interview.


According to reports, the procurement plan was more complex than initially advertised and needed to be rewritten. Some of the 12 prequalified bidders complained about tight timelines.


Super Hornet


Ten Canadian-based aerospace companies are calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to stop blocking the purchase of 18 Super Hornet fighter jets. These companies are arguing they stand to suffer from the government's unwavering support of Bombardier Inc. in a trade dispute with Boeing Co.


A letter sent recently by senior executives from firms such as L-3 MAS, CAE and GE Canada, reads, "Prime Minister, we ask for your co-operation as we work with Boeing to keep our collective growth and innovation story unfolding here in Canada. Our partnership is deep and enduring, but it needs your engagement."


The letter, which calls on the government to advance "aerospace for all of Canada," is the most recent development in an increasingly bitter dispute between the Canadian government and Boeing.

Sep 7, 2017

In this episode, a new directive on how CSE shares intelligence with Canada's closest allies, the new defence policy could end up costing Canada billions more and an interview with Jeffery Hutchinson, Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard. 

Show Notes 

According to a story from CBC News, the office of Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan is crafting a directive for how Canada's electronic spy agency, that is the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) shares its foreign signals intelligence with its closest allies, the Five Eyes partners. The Five Eyes alliance is made up of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

CSE's commissioner first advised the defence minister to issue such a directive in 2013.

Christopher Parsons, research associate at The Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, said the purpose would be to authorize and draw boundaries around what is permissible when gathering and sharing data.

While there have been concerns about how the U.S. executive has treated intelligence information over the last six to eight months, Parsons said the directive may have as much to do with the current government's review of national security issues.

"So there's bill C-59 tabled before the summer recesses. As part of that there is total reformation of the CSE Act. So that means the government is really looking at how things work in terms of the collection and dissemination of intelligence information at the moment," Parsons told CBC News.

The new defence policy

The new defence policy could end up costing billions more according to an article from the Canadian Press. Why? Because it doesn’t include one big-ticket item: modernizing North America’s early warning systems.

That sets up a potentially difficult decision: to spend even more on defence than already promised, or to cut back on some of the other promises made to the military.

The current network of long-range radars used by Canada and the U.S. to monitor airborne threats was built in the Arctic in the 1980s but is quickly nearing the end of its useful life.

National Defence’s top financial officer, Claude Rochette, says the department could not account for the cost because Canada and the U.S. have not decided what they actually need.

“It’s still a discussion that needs to be done before we get guidance (from government),” Rochette told The Canadian Press in an interview.

“When we have guidance, then we will start looking at the options ... then we will start looking at costing. But that is not covered in the funding.”

And for our last story, I would like to draw your attention to an Interview I did with Jeffery Hutchinson, Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard. This was published in the June/July Vanguard print edition. Now, we have the full interview on our website. Be sure to check it out.

In this interview I asked the Commissioner, his assessment of his new position, what is the focus and vision for the Canadian Coast Guard under his leadership, top challenges, fleet depletion and what is being done, his pressing needs in procurement. If you haven't looked at this yet, please head on over to and you will see the article on our home page or

Aug 25, 2017

In this episode of Vanguard Radio, Marcello Sukhdeo talks about the US to increase troops deployment to Afghanistan, the Prime Minister stance on asylum seekers crossing the border into Canada and the Oceans Protection Plan. 

Show Notes:

U.S. President, Donald Trump recently endorsed the option to increase troops to Afghanistan, but has not provided any specific numbers.

In referring to their presence in Afghanistan, the president said he won't be bound by deadlines and the eventual withdrawal will be determined by "conditions on the ground," which is something American military commanders have long supported.

This conflict, which started with President George W. Bush and continued during the Obama administration, has now been taken over by Donald Trump - spanning three US presidents.

Trump said he thought about pulling out of Afghanistan entirely, but decided against it.

Total withdrawal would be a signal of defeat in the face of Iran, Pakistan and Russia, all of which are vying for influence in the region, said a former commander of Canadian special operations troops.

Asylum seekers

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaking at a news conference earlier this week, addressed the issue of asylum seekers crossing the border into Canada.

He said, "If I could directly speak to people seeking asylum, I'd like to remind them there's no advantage. Our rules, our principles and our laws apply to everyone."

In the first two weeks of August, more than 3,800 people walked over the border into the province, compared to about 2,900 who crossed throughout all of July.

The Prime Minister stressed that anyone seeking refugee status will have to go through Canada's "rigorous" screening process.

Oceans Protection Plan

In November 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Oceans Protection Plan. With an investment of $1.5 billion dollars, the plan came about due to a collaboration between the federal government and Canadians to protect Canada's coasts and waterways.

Canada is known for the longest coastline in the world, and because of the size of territory to cover, this plan was developed to raise the bar on marine protection.

Through the Oceans Protection Plan, Canada’s new direction on marine safety now includes four priority areas:

1. Creating a world-leading marine safety system;

2. Protecting and restoring Canada’s marine ecosystems;

3. Strengthening partnerships with coastal and Indigenous communities;

4. Investing in science for decision-making

Over the next five years, more than 50 initiatives associated with these priority areas are being launched under the Plan. They will include faster response to oil spills, removing abandoned boats across the country, reducing vessel noise to protect whales, exploring new ways to work together with Indigenous communities, and researching how oil behaves when spilled in marine environments.

For more information on this, please check out this article that was submitted to Vanguard from Transport Canada -

Thanks for joining us on Vanguard Radio for today.

Aug 22, 2017

In this Vanguard Radio, CAF to deploy team for NATO Air Policing, Lockheed Martin completes its Industrial Regional Benefits commitments and Thales has been awarded the AJISS contact for up to 35 years.


Show Notes

Four CF-18 Hornets and over 130 Canadian Armed Forces personnel will participate in NATO Air Policing in Romania from September to December 2017.

NATO Air Policing is part of Operation REASSURANCE.

The CAF team is made up of members from the 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron of 4 Wing Cold Lake, 2 Air Expeditionary Wing and 17 Wing Winnipeg.

The new Air Task Force that is being to Romania will augment the Romanian Air Force’s capability to preserve the integrity of its airspace.

Lockheed Martin

Lockheed Martin announced recently, the completion of its Industrial Regional Benefits (IRB) commitments, valued at $1.4 billion for the Aircraft Capability Project – Tactical (ACP-T) program.

Lockheed Martin met its IRB requirements one year ahead of schedule, for SMEs, aerospace and defence, for specific regional projects in the Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario and Western regions,” according to a press release.

As part of its fulfillment, Lockheed Martin engaged many Canadian companies and universities by funding research and development for innovative technology products and services to “ignite a culture of innovation,” according to Charles Bouchard, chief executive of Lockheed Martin Canada.

Since 1960, the CC-130J Super Hercules have served the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) in many missions in the Arctic, search and rescue and humanitarian efforts. 


Thales has been awarded, potentially the largest In-Service Support (ISS) contract in Canadian history. This contact includes the refit, repair, maintenance and training of both the Arctic and Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS) and Joint Support Ships (JSS), commonly known as AJISS.

The contract covers an initial service period of eight years for up to $800 Million CAD, with options to extend services up to 35 years, for a total value of $5.2 Billion CAD.

To fulfill this contract, Thales will work closely with the RCN's support facilities and personnel.

This contract will generate economic benefit of more than $250 Million CAD in Research & Development for Canada over its 35-year duration. 

The company has also provided ISS to navies in Singapore, New Zealand, USA, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Papua and New Guinea, and Tonga.

Aug 15, 2017

In this episode, we cover the news about the return of two Halifax-class frigates from the Asia-Pacific region, National Peacekeepers Day and the 9th annual Military Police National Motorcycle Relay is on the way.

Show Notes:

Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships (HMCS) Winnipeg and Ottawa returned recently to Canada after a five-month deployment in the Asia-Pacific on POSEIDON CUTLASS 17.

POSEIDON CUTLASS 17 provided an opportunity for over 430 personnel from the Canadian Armed Forces to engage in numerous exercises with regional partner navies, like the Royal Australian Navy, the Chilean Navy, the French Navy, the Indian Navy, and the United States Navy, to name a few. These exercises were done at sea but the RCN also took part in key events and engagements in 14 different ports across 10 countries during its deployment.

This type of deployment helps in providing options for the Government of Canada, in the event a Canadian response is needed in the region; as was the case last year when the HMCS Vancouver provided relief after the earthquake in New Zealand.

Participation in exercises of this nature delivers valuable training and improved interoperability, while advancing the readiness of personnel. 

“Through their impressive and professional efforts, they have reinforced Canada’s commitment to our regional friends and partners as we strengthen our mutual understanding and interoperability to ensure our collective success in the future,” said Vice-Admiral Ron Lloyd, Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy.

The deployment showcases Canada’s commitment to the Asia-Pacific region as outlined in Canada’s new defence policy, Strong Secure Engaged.

National Peacekeepers' Day

Since its establishment in 2008, National Peacekeepers' Day has provided an opportunity for Canadians to express their gratitude and respect to those who serve in international peace and security operations.

For the past 60 years, more than 125,000 Canadian personnel of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, provincial and municipal police forces, as well as Canadian diplomats and civilians have served as peacekeepers around the world.

The greatest single loss of Canadian lives on a peacekeeping mission occurred on August 9, 1974. On that fatal day, all nine Canadian personnel on a United Nations-marked Canadian

transport aircraft were killed when their plane was shot down by Syrian missiles. In recognition of this loss, August 9 was designated as National Peacekeepers' Day.

Since 1948, 122 Canadian peacekeepers gave their lives in service of peace.

The Military Police National Motorcycle Relay

The 9th annual Military Police National Motorcycle Relay (MPNMR) began on July 30th in Victoria, British Columbia, where participants will ride across Canada to raise funds for visually impaired children.

This relay is the world’s longest annual motorcycle relay with a distance of more than 10, 000 kilometres from coast to coast. Stops will be made at Canadian Armed Forces establishments and points of interest along the way.

It is expected that a total of 300 riders will participate, each driving a leg of the relay (some for a day, some for a province and some from coast to coast) as the Relay makes its way across the country to arrive St. John’s, Newfoundland, on August 23.

With what started out initially years ago for Military Police motorcycle enthusiasts, the Relay is now open to anyone (military or civilian) who wishes to ride. Since its start in 2009, the Relay has raised more than $480 000 on behalf of the Military Police Fund for Blind Children and other charities. 

If you are interested in participating or even to take a look at the route, please go to

Aug 8, 2017

In this episode of Vanguard Radio, Marcello Sukhdeo talks about the news about Saudi Arabia using Canadian made military vehicles in clashes with militants, the former defence minister, Peter MacKay regrets not signing the U.S. ballistic missile defence program and the purchase of new machine guns for the Canadian Armed Forces.

Show Notes

Saudi Arabia

The Government of Canada is investigating reports that Saudi Arabia is using Canadian made military vehicles in clashes with militants.

The Foreign Affairs Minister, Chrystia Freeland is concerned and has asked officials to look into this matter.

The statement from Freeland’s department says, “If it is found that Canadian exports have been used to commit serious violations of human rights, the minister will take action.”

Last year there was an outcry when the Trudeau government proceeded with a $15 billion deal to sell light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia. This agreement was approved by the Harper government.

Many called on the Liberals to cancel the deal given Saudi Arabia’s widely criticized human rights record. But the former Foreign Affairs minister Stephane Dion said he couldn’t block exports unless the armoured vehicles were being used against innocent civilians, something he had no evidence of. In speaking to the House of Commons back then, he said that he would “reverse the decision” if such equipment was used to commit human-rights abuses.

Conservative foreign affairs critic Peter Kent has already called on the Liberals to terminate export permits if there is “hard evidence” that the Canadian weaponized armoured vehicles are being used against Saudi Arabia’s Shia minority.

Threat from North Korea

Former defence minister Peter MacKay says he regrets not signing on to the U.S. ballistic missile defence program when he had the chance. This policy was a matter that was debated by the former Conservative government, and the previous Liberal administration.

The former defence minister in speaking with CBC News said, "We share a great deal of intelligence with the United States and if they're alarmed, we should be alarmed." Not being involved in the program is "a huge problem.”

The threat from North Korea has grown significantly recently as they’ve demonstrated the capability for launching intercontinental ballistic missiles that could potentially reach North America.

The Harper government was in favour of joining the Bush Administration's missile defence shield but made no attempt to buy into the program. Even the Senate defence committee has twice recommended that Canada join this program but in June the Trudeau government opted not to lift the ban on involvement.

MacKay said he believes very few people in the general public "grasp the gravity" of the current situation and the technological advances that have been made by the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. 

New C6 Machine Guns

The Canadian government will purchase over 1,100 new C6A1 FLEX General Purpose Machine Guns from Colt Canada at just over $32.1 million, according to Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.

The current C6 machine guns were procured over 30 years ago. Some have been removed from service due to wear and tear and others are reaching the end of their service life, according to the Canadian military.

The new machine guns are designed to be carried by soldiers or attached to vehicles such as the new TAPV. It will feature a durable polymer butt stock instead of the current wooden style. Also, soldiers will be able to attach pointing devices and optical sighting systems to the new weapon to help increase their operational effectiveness. 

The contract includes related equipment such as a cleaning and repair kit, spare parts, and sling to carry the weapon.

The first deliveries of the new C6 is expected in September 2018 with final deliveries by June

Jul 13, 2017
In the show today, Marcello Sukhdeo talks about the Canadian Forces readiness to fight wildfires in British Columbia, the extension of Canada’s military mission in Iraq and the RCN deploys a team to SEA BREEZE 2017.
Wildfires in BC
For the first time since 2003, members of the Canadian Forces are in British Columbia getting ready to battle wildfires.
Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said on Sunday that Ottawa had received and approved a request for help battling the hundreds of wildfires that have prompted a state of emergency in the province.
He said that they will be on standby and ready to support provincial efforts, whatever that ask may be.
BC Chief fire information officer Kevin Skrepnek said that at this point they would first utilize their partner agencies from around Canada for trained wildfire staff before they would turn to support from the armed forces in terms of a front line fire suppression role.
Shifting weather patterns are raising concerns in the B.C. Interior where firefighters continue to battle hundreds of wildfires that have already forced over 14,000 people to flee their homes. Wind and lightning could make conditions much worse, sparking new fires and spreading them further.
Iraqi mission extended
The Liberal government has extended Canada’s military mission in Iraq until March 31, 2019. In a news release, the government says that Canada will providing over $371 million over the next two years to support the cost of this renewed contribution to the Global Coalition against ISIS.
This extension includes the authority to provide training for new potential partners within the Iraqi security forces and a CC-130J Hercules aircraft for tactical airlift.
Critics are saying that the Liberals extended the mission without Parliamentary debate and that this type of situation should prompt a full debate in Parliament.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan told journalists on Thursday that the original mission was already debated in the House of Commons.
A team of 14 divers, support staff and staff officers from Fleet Diving Unit Atlantic and Maritime Forces Atlantic has been deployed by the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) to SEA BREEZE 2017.
Being led by the United States and Ukraine Navies, SEA BREEZE 2017 (SB17) is a multinational training event that is taking place in Odessa, Ukraine from July 10 to 21. This event will focus on training and exercise in maritime operations support information sharing and awareness of the maritime domain, according to a release from National Defence.
SB17 provides an invaluable opportunity for the Canadian Armed Forces to build and strengthen interoperability skills between Canada’s international maritime allies. These skills when finely honed “are remarkably exportable to achieve higher levels of security in the international setting,” said Rear-Admiral John Newton.
Jun 29, 2017

Vanguard magazine takes you through a first-hand account of the 2017 Wounded Warriors Canada Battlefield Bike Ride with special guest Astrid Neuland.

For more information on Wounded Warriors, please visit:

Jun 19, 2017

For the show today, Marcello Sukhdeo talks about the announcement by the Defence Minister to increase capabilities for cybersecurity, also, NATO has made a request for Canada to send police trainers to Afghanistan and we will close with our latest Game Changers. 

This show is brought to you by Gap Wireless. Gap Wireless provides UAV Hardware and Software solutions for inspection, survey and mapping and public safety. Learn more at


Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said that the Canadian Armed Forces will be looking to increase training so as to deal with cyberattacks, also it plans to recruit more cyber specialists.

The minister said, "The use of cyber technology in a military context is growing steadily and as such Canada must leverage that technology to maintain a military advantage. Our forces need to be equipped with the ability to detect, organize and identify cyber threats and be prepared to take appropriate action."

The new defence policy which was announced on June 7, outlines the plan to be Strong, Secure, Engaged by increasing the size of the military, modernizing the submarine fleet, and replacing the CF-18 fleet along with other procurements.


NATO’s request


Canada is considering a NATO request to send police trainers to Afghanistan according to the Defence Minister. This comes three years after the military mission officially ended.

The request came from the U.S. through NATO, and could involve either civilian police trainers like the RCMP, or military trainers working with Afghan police, a defence official said according to CTV news.

The minister said that "We are actually still committed to Afghanistan. We've provided the funding, whether it's for development" or salaries for security forces in the country.

From 2014 to 2017, Canada committed $227 million in international development programs in Afghanistan, and $330 million from 2015 to 2018 in support for the Afghan National Security Forces, which include the Afghan National Army and the Afghan National Police.

Over the 12-year mission, 158 Canadian troops were killed, as well as a diplomat, a journalist and two civilian contractors, according to a tally by The Canadian Press.

Game Changers for June/July issue

We are in the process of finalizing the June/July issue of Vanguard which will feature an exclusive interview with the Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Jeffery Hutchinson. In this issue, you can read about his top challenges, his focus and vision for the Coast Guard and the most pressing needs with regards to procurement.

Also, we are excited to announce the Game Changers for this issue: Barney Bangs, President of Tulmar Safety Systems Inc.; Mohsen Mohammadi, Assistant Professor and Director for the new Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence at the University of New Brunswick; and Colin Stephenson, Executive Director, DEFSEC Atlantic.

Thanks for listening.

Jun 8, 2017

CSC cost, benefits to Canadians and another delay

In the show today, Marcello Sukhdeo talks about another delay in RFP submission for the CSC program, the cost versus benefits to Canadians for CSC and the possible extension of the Canadian Forces operation in the Middle East.

Show Notes:


The Government of Canada and Irving Shipbuilding Inc. are extending the submission deadline for the Canadian Surface Combatant Request for Proposals (RFP). 

The deadline for RFPs was previously scheduled for June 22, but now that has been extended to be no sooner than mid-August 2017.

Cost of CSC 

A recent report Value for Canada: The cost versus benefit to Canadians of the National Shipbuilding Strategy examines the benefits to Canada on an economic and fiscal level and its impact on the creation of jobs, the GDP and public finances.

The report also focuses on the cost of building these ships locally and overseas.

Both the Build in Canada and Build in Europe scenarios were measured by the Benefit-Cost-Ratio (BCR) which is a cost-benefit analysis that gives the best way to assess the value for money to Canada according to the report. The potential economic benefits of building the CSC fleet in Canada and the expected difference in cost to do so overseas were considered.

The report also provided details on the costs that were measured like production, ship design, integration and modification, and extra costs to build the lead ship. The report excluded costs of administering the NSS, initial on-board spares and full lifecycle costs.

Learn more about the report

Operation in the Middle East

The commander of the Canadian Forces mission in Iraq and Syria, Brig.-Gen. Dan MacIsaac says he expects the government to extend the operation past its scheduled expiry date at the end of the month.

He said he is looking forward to seeing a renewed commitment of more than 800 military personnel as part of the long-awaited defence policy review.

The government has not formally announced an extension of the mission, which is Canada’s contribution to the international coalition of more than 60 countries that is trying to degrade ISIS.

Sign up today for Basic Membership of Vanguard

Jun 2, 2017

In this show, you’ll hear from Lee Obst, President and Managing Director at Rockwell Collins Canada. Terri Pavelic, Editor-in-Chief of Vanguard spoke with Lee a few days ago during their open house event in Ottawa.

Rockwell Collins is multinational company headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa providing avionics and information technology systems and services to governmental agencies and aircraft manufacturers. Seen as a leader in aviation and high-integrity solutions for commercial and military customers around the world, Rockwell Collins provides flight deck avionics, cabin electronics, cabin interiors, information management, mission communications, and simulation and training products and services.

May 24, 2017

Tax exemption for those serving on overseas missions, the military exercise Maple Resolve and the announcement of defence deals with Saudi Arabia that has caused shares to jump for some defence giants. All on this episode of Vanguard Radio.

Show Notes:

Tax exemption

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said late last week that the salaries of Canadian soldiers and police officers serving on overseas missions will no longer be federally taxed.

This tax exemption is retroactive to Jan. 1 of this year and will cover 1,450 personnel who are currently serving on international operations.

Maple Resolve

Almost 5,000 military personnel are at CFB Wainwright in Alberta, taking part in the largest and most comprehensive military exercise of the year - Exercise Maple Resolve. Of this number, 4,000 are Canadians and the other 1,000 are soldiers from the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Britain, training together in a fully immersive force-on-force battle scenario. Among the troops are hundreds of actors there to add friction to the war games.

The aim of this exercise is to help the military practice their skills in an environment that is as realistic as possible for when they are deployed.

Training centre commander Col. Peter Scott said the online news was used to help sway the opinions of the local population and is something that “commanders have to take into account in all of their planning going into any operations. I think the only thing that is missing is that there are not real bullets flying. We’ve created an environment that is as close as possible to what they will face on any given deployment.”

When the exercise is over, the entire group will sit down and look at what went right and what went wrong so soldiers can learn from their successes and failures.

Shares in defence giants rose 

Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Boeing shares rose on Monday, after a weekend of deals between US companies and Saudi Arabia. This came after President Trump’s first visit to Saudi Arabia, where a $110bn arms package was announced. 

Lockheed Martin signed a $6bn deal to assemble 150 Blackhawk helicopters with the potential of future orders.

Raytheon also inked agreements for local defence contracts. Boeing has secured aircraft and helicopter contracts, announcing on Sunday that it has agreed to a potential sale of 16 wide-body commercial aircraft to a Saudi airline.

Thanks for listening.




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May 17, 2017

AI to model brains and Commissioner Hutchinson’s vision of the Coast Guard


In this episode of Vanguard Radio, Marcello Sukhdeo talks about the delay in Canada’s new defence policy, also he touches on a new military research program that aims to model artificially intelligent systems after the brains of living creatures and shares a snippet of an interview that he did with Commissioner Hutchinson of the Canadian Coast Guard.


Show Notes:


New defence policy


Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan announced that the new defence policy which was expected this week would be released on June 7.


This will be after the Prime Minister attends a meeting with other NATO leaders in Brussels on May 25.


This week the Defence Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister will hold scheduled talks in Washington with the Trump administration. This move has infuriated many from the opposition including Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose who said, “I know the chamber has not seen it, members of Parliament have not seen it, and the military has not seen it.”


“Why do Washington insiders get privileged access to Canadian defence policies before the Canadian public does and before the Canadian military does?” she said in question period.


Currently, Canada spends less than one per cent of GDP on defence, which is way below NATO’s target of two per cent. So, it will be interesting to see what the increase will be like when new defence policy is released on June 7th.


AI to model brains


A new military research program in the US aiming to model artificially intelligent systems after the brains of living creatures. The reason - biological systems don't completely freeze up when they encounter a new situation, but computers often do.


When an organism encounters a new environment or situation, it relies on past experience to help it make a decision. Artificial intelligence, on the other hand, relies on data, and if it hasn’t encountered a specific situation before or don’t have the date then it can’t select the next step.


The program named the Defense Advanced Research Projects Activity is searching for technology that constantly updates its decision-making framework to merge experience and new “lessons learned” to situations it encounters instead to what is being done today, that is to retrain the machine learning’s system with new relevant data sets relevant to manage the situation, by erasing the previous programming in favor of the new data. 



Interview with Commissioner Hutchinson


Snippet of an interview with the Commissioner of the Canadian Coast Guard, Jeffery Hutchinson on his focus and vision of the Canadian Coast Guard and as compared to that of his predecessor.


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