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Another Recce Guy
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Icon 12 posted 30 May 2021 09:57
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Military in 'relentless decline'
Defence Department will soon be unable to meet commitments, internal report says

Michael Friscolanti
National Post
Canada's military is so underfunded it will be plunged into a "relentless decline" unless defence officials immediately alter the way resources are divided, says a secret government report written six weeks after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The sustainability review, dated Nov. 2, 2001, says that to ensure the military remains effective, the Department of National Defence must consider a wide array of "major trade-offs," such as whether elements of the navy should be chopped in order to boost aspects of the army.

If the status quo prevails, the draft report warns, a military that is already stretched to the limit will become increasingly incapable of maintaining its mandate outlined in the 1994 Defence White Paper -- a mandate many observers already consider obsolete.

"The current situation cannot endure," reads the review, obtained by the National Post under the Access to Information Act. "Either corrective action is taken now, or Defence will gradually become unable to meet its White Paper commitments and respond to emerging challenges. Defence is at the crossroads."

The revelation of the strongly worded review comes as John McCallum, the newly appointed Minister of Defence, is getting acquainted with a department already plagued by low morale, unreliable equipment and what many consider to be an outdated vision.

That vision has been repeatedly criticized in recent months by numerous military analysts, a Senate committee and the Auditor-General, all of whom say the Canadian Forces are far too under-resourced to meet today's military challenges.

The Chrétien government continues to maintain that its defence policy "remains basically sound," but Art Eggleton, who was fired from Cabinet this week for granting a $36,000 contract to his former girlfriend, announced a complete re-examination of that policy in February.

The official update will not be completed until at least the fall, but the newly revealed sustainability report, which was written three months before Mr. Eggleton's announcement, paints a dire picture of the state of Canada's military.

"Shortfalls exist in all major areas of the Defence Services Program (DSP), including operations, maintenance, human resources and capital investment," reads the review.

Specific examples of the funding shortfalls are censored, making it impossible to determine whether the Defence Department felt it deserved more than the $1.2-billion over five years that it was awarded during the last federal budget.

What is clear, however, is the authors of the report feel the solution to the military's problems is not necessarily more money. Instead, the review recommends officials address the budget problems by creating a manageable balance between the number of troops and the types of equipment they use. In other words, they must decide what is crucial and what is potentially dispensable.

Some of the possible trade-offs the report says must be considered include:

- The number of personnel versus investment in high technology.

- Flexible multi-purpose forces versus single-purpose niche forces.

- Investment in regular forces versus investment in reserve forces.

- The equal capabilities of the army, navy and air force versus putting more resources into one at the expense of the others.

- Preparation for domestic issues versus international operations.

"If Defence is to maintain an active role in the world and have the ability to protect Canadians at home," the review reads, "these challenges must be addressed in a way that makes the overall program both affordable and sustainable in the long term."

The secret draft review, titled Defence Policy Update -- Sustainability, was commissioned to determine how well the Canadian Forces is meeting its White Paper mandate, which is to defend Canada and North America and contribute to United Nations operations abroad.

While the review does say that it is possible for the military to maintain its directive in light of recent challenges, it also points out many of the White Paper's glaring redundancies -- redundancies commonly cited by military experts who argue for the creation of a new defence blueprint.

The current White Paper, which commits the Canadian Forces to be "able to fight alongside the best, against the best," focuses primarily on traditional defence capabilities, such as performing peacekeeping tasks and fighting in conventional wars.

However, the paper "did not fully anticipate the magnitude of the changing world order," this latest review says, nor did it anticipate the extent to which the country would come to depend on the military for domestic disaster relief and homeland security.

The White Paper also did not foresee the negative effects that Canada's booming economy would have on recruitment during the 1990s.

Instead of diverting money toward core operations, resources had to be deflected toward reversing "the exodus of people in mission-critical occupations."

Even now, the military is struggling to maintain 60,000 personnel, which was also mandated in the White Paper.

The end result of all these unforeseen factors, coupled with dwindling funds, is an over-committed and under-equipped military full of soldiers who are "burning out" and equipment that is "rusting out."

"The ability to sustain forces in the field is becoming more difficult, as trained personnel in key occupations continue to be in short supply and spare parts inventories have been reduced to critical levels," reads the review, which took numerous months to complete.

Fewer resources have been allotted to training, the document continues, while more and more money has been routed toward maintaining overused equipment at an "acceptable standard."

Advances in technology are also outpacing the rate at which equipment is upgraded or replaced, resulting in large amounts of obsolete machinery.

(During Operation Echo in Kosovo, for example, two CF-18s were used strictly for robbing spare parts needed to keep the other planes in the air).

The document also points to Canada's inability to transport large amounts of troops in a short period of time, a concern that was highlighted when American planes had to carry our soldiers into Afghanistan.

The situation has also worsened considerably since the last sustainability review was conducted in 1999.

A number of operating budget pressures was "considerably under-estimated," the review reads, including increased health-delivery costs and the problems caused by recruiting shortfalls.

But while the current dilemmas surrounding the military are clearly burdensome, the review warns that the worst could be yet to come.

"The longer term impact is even more significant," it reads.

"The ability of Defence to transform itself to meet the realities of tomorrow will continue to be challenged by the need to devote the vast majority of resources to sustaining our current commitments."


A.R.G.
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rceme_rat
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Icon 1 posted 30 May 2021 10:28
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You beat me to it. I just saw the article and thought that it was the biggest non-story I've seen this year. While the report may have been a secret, it doesn't carry many real surprises, does it?

But contrast it to the editorial (sorry, I forget which paper) which suggests that Eggleton was dumped precisely to get someone inexperienced in place, all because of the on-going squabble over the helicopter contracts. The PM doesn't want to admit he made a mistake or lied to the public ...

If true, don't expect any changes in the military, despite what is obvious to even the lowest-ranking civvy on the street.
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McG
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Icon 1 posted 31 May 2021 01:17
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Same thing, different perspective . . .

Military budget must increase immediately: report
By DARREN YOURK
Globe and Mail Update
Thursday, May 30

Immediately increasing funds and personnel numbers for an ailing Canadian Forces must be of paramount importance to the federal government, a new report says.

The Liberal-dominated Commons defence committee made public its report on the readiness of Canadian Forces on Thursday, recommending an immediate increase to the Department of National Defence's baseline budget of $4-billion to prevent a collapse.

The committee is calling for a 50-per-cent increase in the next three years, leading ultimately to a military budget of 1.5 per cent of the country's GDP, about $18-billion.

"We believe that the overstrech faced by the Forces is so significant that it cannot await the results of a foreign and defence policy review," committee chairman David Pratt said. "... Our foreign policy has been writing cheques that our defence policy can't cash."

The report says the Canadian Forces budget was reduced by approximately 30 per cent from 1988 to 2000. Canada currently ranks second from the bottom in NATO — just ahead of Luxembourg — on military spending in terms of GDP.

Auditor-General Sheila Fraser, the Conference of Defence Associations, the Council for Canadian Security in the 21st Century and the Federation of Military and United Services Institutes of Canada have all voiced the need for additional military funds in recent reports.

"We're hoping at this point, and I think hope reigns eternal on this committee, that the next budget is going to be the budget that makes the difference as far as defence is concerned," Mr. Pratt said. "If it doesn't I think we'll continue to have some very serious problems."

Four of the five political parties, from the NDP to the Canadian Alliance, supported the 25 recommendations in the report. The Bloc Québécois issued a dissenting view, calling for wide public debate and a full review of defence and foreign policy before spending goes up.

"After a year of hearing testimony from expert witnesses as to the state of the Canadian Forces, I am pleased to say that the final 25 recommendations of the committee bring together much of what the Alliance has been saying for years," committee vice-chairman and Alliance MP Leon Benoit said. "We are pleased to give it our support. We look forward to the government's response."

The committee's report also says the Canadian Forces need at least 75,000 trained effective personnel to sustain the level of tasking required of them over the past eight years.

New Defence Minister John McCallum told reporters outside Thursday's Liberal caucus meeting that he looked forward to reading the committees work and was not ready to comment on the report yet.

The report also says it is important to ensure that Canadians do not get "tunnel vision" on the Sept 11. threat.

"There is too much instability on other fronts," the report says. "We must ensure that the Canadian Forces are capable of meeting our defence commitments under Canada's 'collective security' policy."

"... It is important that the Canadian military maintains combat capable forces ready to join coalitions and make a meaningful contribution."

Last week, former defence minister Art Eggleton complained that the military was overstretched as he announced that the Canadian Forces could not sustain a second six-month rotation of 800 troops into Afghanistan this summer.

The government is also struggling to replace its Sea King helicopters. Ottawa has allocated $3-billion to replace the maritime helicopters, but it is running late in its plan to select a replacement aircraft by the end of the year.


Chimo!
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rceme_rat
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Icon 1 posted 31 May 2021 23:35
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I forget which paper I saw it in (walking through a mall today), but the essence of the article was that while the all-party defence committee basically agreed with these reports, and said the CF needed this short-term $18 Billion dollar infusion, the PM more or less said "we don't have any money, so don't expect any changes".

[ 31 May 2002, 23:37: Message edited by: rceme_rat ]
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Harry
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In essence he compared the wish list of the P D Com to the wishes of the Softwood Industry and Farmers in SK. He really doesn't get it does he? The CF is a legislated extension of Governor in Council, not an industry. Tell me, what am I missing here???
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rceme_rat
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If only he would come out and state his basis for his conclusions. It might be something like --

Canada doesn't really need its armed forces. The U.S. will never let anybody invade us, and we couldn't stop the U.S. if they wanted to invade us. We get tonnes of mileage out of our PK duties with our meagre force now, so why pay more?

In short, he's happy for us to be free-riders on U.S. military policy.

I'm not saying I agree with this. It seems like a surefire way to lose the sovereignty battle (which is about image even more than fighting ability). I'm just saying that I wish the federal Liberals, and the PM in particular, could be a little more honest about how they carry on business.

For example -- note Sen. LeBreton's comments about the difference between treatment of ethics under Mulroney and under Chretien. Mulroney had a public ethics policy; Chretien does not. Mulroney took action when the ethics Code was violated; Chretien uses the ethics situation to hone his Cabinet to his own liking. Mulroney brought in a public code because he knew there could be (and sometimes were) problems; Chretien says "if no one goes to jail, there can't be problems."

Sorry for the biased political rant. I'm just sick that the PM can carry on with all of Mulroney's policies, those same policies he fought so hard against, and then try to take credit for them. It bothers me immensely that he shows absolutley no leadership. Even in an area he professes to be very concerned about, one where he would like to make his legacy (something he has no claim to as PM, despite his repetitive terms), he has failed to spur any real action -- I'm thinking of Aborignal rights. If he really wanted to do something, particularly as a "small l" liberal, this would be the area.

Another article I read recently noted that in many democracies, it is possible, acceptable, even expected, that the backbenchers turf their leader in certain circumstances. I wish they would do it here!
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Harry
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Judging by Martins comments this evening and the jab Cretien took at Rock in Toronto, I think things will get real interesting, real quick.

Her has told everyone to stop their unofficial campaigning, I understand that his staffs quest to raise 1.5 million, continues, as evidenced by the $400 per person meal last night.

The outbursts in th past 48 hrs do not paint a good picture of the PM, in fact, IMHO, it shows a man who has stopped looking without for enemies and is focusing on the perceived enemy within.

How many empires have been ruined by such actions of the emperor. It will take a lot to hold this one together, if Martin jumps, I bet the back benches revolt and the Grit dynasty will be sharing the pines with the Tories come next election. [Cool]
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Spanky
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Icon 12 posted 01 June 2021 07:35
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I agree that the Liberals are rotting from the inside. The entire country sees it. Will that change anything? I doubt it. Whether it's Martin, Copps, or whomever, another Liberal will take over. The public will see this and think that the problem has gone away and put the Liberals back in, resulting in little or no change. Besides which, none of the other parties have their act together enough to replace them.
Justmy humble opinion. [Big Grin]
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rceme_rat
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And the most qualified guy to replace Martin as Finance Minister is:

... the newly appointed Minster of National Defence.

Think Chretien would move him after having the portfolio for a week? Or does he want to put a lame duck into the Finance portfolio as well, so that he can control everything?
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