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posted 04 May 2021 11:43     Profile for bossi   Author's Homepage   Email bossi     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Forces more combat-capable now than a decade ago, despite cuts: top general
Updated: Thu, May 03 07:24 PM EDT

OTTAWA (CP) - The Canadian Forces are more combat-capable today than a decade ago, despite years of budget cuts and downsizing, the country's top soldier said Thursday.
Gen. Maurice Baril, chief of the defence staff, faced skepticism from Opposition MPs when he told the Commons defence committee that the military is stronger now than in 1990. It was likely his final appearance before the committee; he is expected to retire in July.

The general used the Gulf War of 1990-91 as an example, saying Canada's contribution to that fight was modest - two old warships, a squadron of CF-18s capable only of dropping dumb bombs, a field hospital and a company of infantry to guard it.

"Our combat contribution was clearly limited by the lack of modern technology and systems required to support international operations with coalition forces," he said.

At the time, military manpower was about 90,000 and the budget about $12 billion.

A decade later, there are about 58,000 people in uniform and the budget is just over $11 billion after years of being below $10 billion.

However, Baril said, the Forces are better prepared to fight.

New equipment, such as the Coyote reconnaissance vehicle and the new LAV III armoured fighting vehicles give the army more clout.

The air force equipped its planes to used laser-guided bombs and other precision weapons. It's in the process of upgrading the planes further with new radar, computers, radios and better weapons.

The navy has 12 relatively new frigates and is acquiring four used subs from the Royal Navy.

"While the Canadian Forces had to reduce their personnel level, the senior leadership at the time made the right decision in preserving the combat forces by making the required reductions in other areas," Baril said.

He also said military leaders, from corporals to generals, have more field experience and know-how than their counterparts of 1990.

The Opposition wasn't buying.

"There's an awful lot of the key equipment that's getting really old," said Leon Benoit of the Canadian Alliance.

Peter Goldring, also of the Alliance, said he's skeptical about Baril's seemingly unbounded confidence.

"Really, everything is painted so rosy and so smoothly and it contradicts what we've been hearing from other areas," he said.

He said, for example, the replacement for the aging Sea King helicopter has been delayed time and again by politics, yet Baril seems unfazed, despite the impact on operational readiness.

"I'm concerned that it's not a concern," said Goldring.

The MPs aren't the only doubters. Appearing before the committee last week, retired general Charles Belzile, chairman of the Conference of Defence Associations, expressed concern about the combat capability of the Forces.

He noted that Defence Minister Art Eggleton and Baril, among others, insist the military can meet commitments better than they could 10 years ago.

"In our view, these statements are open to serious question," Belzile said.


Posts: 209 | From: Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged
Member # 256

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posted 04 May 2021 18:43     Profile for recceguy   Author's Homepage   Email recceguy     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Inexpensive and powerful hallucinegenics and the ability to take them on a regular basis must be one of the unstated perks of being the CDS. Seriously though, this is just more condesending pandering and claptrap from the top to keep the Liberal emperor happy. Baril is just posturing for a sweet civvie job on retirement, from his Shawinigan boss. We all know that is a bald face lie, but it makes it easy for the politicians, employees of the Puzzle Palace(NDHQ) and general population, who have no idea what our job entails, to sleep easy at night knowing(in their minds) we're there to protect them. There, I feel better now
Posts: 27 | From: SouthWestern Ontario | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged

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