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Cost of 'Canada 150' commemorations comes out of military operations budget

OTTAWA - The cost of six years of military commemorations surrounding Canada's 150th birthday is to come out of existing Canadian Forces operational budgets. Almost 300 pages of documents obtained by the Liberal party under the Access to Information Act detail something called "Operation Distinction" — a campaign mandated by Prime Minister Stephen Harper that will include dozens of events through to the year 2020.

Budget slashing at DND brings military back to 2007 spending levels: analyst

OTTAWA - Years of budget-cutting at National Defence has removed as much as $30 billion from the Harper government's original defence strategy, smudging much of the spit and polish on its claims of investing in the military, a defence economist says. The cumulative impact of the government's strategic review, deficit reduction plan and postponement of capital purchases means the department is actually going backwards in terms of spending, said Dave Perry, a senior analyst at the Conference of Defence Associations Institute.

Sharing among allies new normal in age of austerity, says Brit defence chief

OTTAWA - Britain's top military commander says leaner defence budgets are here to stay and allied nations will likely find themselves sharing resources in ways they may not have done in the past. Much like his Canadian counterpart, Gen. Sir Nick Houghton has been grappling with drastic budget cuts that will see the size of the British regular force reduced by 20,000 members over the next six years. Most of the cuts will affect the army, but the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force will also feel the pain. At the same time, Britain will increase the size of its reserves.

Sharing among allies new normal in age of austerity, says Brit defence chief

OTTAWA - Britain's top military commander says leaner defence budgets are here to stay and allied nations will likely find themselves sharing resources in ways they may not have done in the past. Much like his Canadian counterpart, Gen. Sir Nick Houghton has been grappling with drastic budget cuts that will see the size of the British regular force reduced by 20,000 members over the next six years. Most of the cuts will affect the army, but the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force will also feel the pain. At the same time, Britain will increase the size of its reserves.

DND budget turf war stymied hiring of psychiatrists, social workers: sources

OTTAWA - A bureaucratic, budgetary turf war that has stymied the hiring of psychiatrists and other mental health professionals at National Defence may be finally coming to an end in the wake of a suicide crisis that's gripped the military. Eighteen months after the Harper government put up $11.4 million toward a chronic staff shortage, the department says it's just now in process of hiring up to 54 individuals to fill a need first identified a decade ago when the country's war in Afghanistan began to heat up.

India's 'handgun for women' sparks fury

A Indian handgun designed for women and named after the victim of a fatal gang-rape in Delhi was condemned by rights activists on Sunday as a disgrace to her memory. The lightweight .32 calibre revolver was developed by the state-run Indian Ordnance Factory (IOF) and can fit inside a small purse or handbag, according to a newspaper report. The factory in the northern city of Kanpur has received 20 orders since the titanium-alloy, six-shot gun -- costing 122,360 rupees ($1,976) -- was launched earlier this month, the Times of India said on Friday.

Aborted defence deal underlines India's procurement problem

India's decision to cancel a $740-million helicopter contract with Italian-owned AgustaWestLand last week added to an already long list of failed defence deals which have left the military short of crucial equipment. The deal to supply 12 transport helicopters, which were to ferry India's top-most leaders, was signed in February 2010, but was terminated last week after an investigation in Italy in 2013 brought to light alleged bribery.

Aborted defence deal underlines India's procurement problem

India's decision to cancel a $740-million helicopter contract with Italian-owned AgustaWestland last week added to an already long list of failed defence deals which have left the military short of crucial equipment. The deal to supply 12 transport helicopters, which were to ferry India's top-most leaders, was signed in February 2010, but was terminated last week after an investigation in Italy in 2013 brought to light alleged bribery.

China refutes report it will centralize military command

BEIJING (Reuters) - China denied on Tuesday a state media report that said its military will establish a joint operational command structure for its forces to improve coordination between different parts of the defense system. The English-language China Daily newspaper reported last week that the government would implement a joint command system "in due course" and it had already launched pilot programs to that effect.

Britain's top general despairs at lack of troops

Britain's military is at risk of becoming a "hollow force" with first-rate equipment but not enough troops to use it, the head of the armed forces has warned. General Nicholas Houghton, the chief of the defence staff, made the unusually outspoken criticism as Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday snubbed the idea that the European Union should have its own armed forces. Houghton said the military had "exquisite" equipment but, as steep defence cuts take their toll, manpower is increasingly being seen as "an overhead", with inadequate investment in training.
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