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The Parade Square => The Canadian Military => Topic started by: E.R. Campbell on October 25, 2005, 10:51:40

Title: The Defence Budget [superthread]
Post by: E.R. Campbell on October 25, 2005, 10:51:40
Our friends at the Polaris Institute made a presentation to the Commons Standing Committee on Finance during its ongoing Pre-budget Consultations - http://www.parl.gc.ca/committee/CommitteePublication.aspx?SourceId=125567

This - http://www.polarisinstitute.org/pubs/neverenough.pdf - I believe is their submission.

It is well prepared, factual and incredibly biased against Gen. Hillier's plans.

The Polaris Institute has, carefully and, I fear, accurately, targeted several key Liberal sub-cultures including the unreconstructed anti-capitalist Trudeauites from the '70s, the Carolyn Parrish wing of knee-jerk anti-Americans, the UN über alles Chrétienistas, and the Health care über alles Martinis (the late Paul Martin Sr was, actually, the architect of the modern Canadian nanny state and PM PM is not keen on tampering with his father's legacy).

The argument begins with a firm recommendation:

Quote
The Government of Canada should conduct a full, public review of Canadian defence policy and freeze further spending increases pending the outcome of that review.

It ends with an assertion that:

Quote
If ... Canada's views of the best means-military and non-military-to deal with the problem of terrorism and to create a more secure world differ from those of that [George W. Bush] administration, then it is essential that Canada seek a role for its armed forces that goes beyond simply acting as a useful cog in its ally's military machine. And there is no reason to believe that such a role necessarily requires the kind of spending increases that the government currently plans.

We can, must, expect more of this - equally well prepared, factual and highly biased attacks on any and all increases in defence spending.  It is the counter-offensive.  It will be long because it is well supported be people who are true believers in their various, only looselyallied  causes, all of which will suffer if money is redirected to DND from any other programmes.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: 2 Cdo on October 25, 2005, 12:50:52
Ed, while they do portray their assessment in a nice, neat, logical ::) way, they have always failed in the big picture. I don't say we should blindly follow the US everywhere but to refer to anything done without the almighty UN's okay as bordering on criminal or illegal is typical of the unhealthy devotion that the average Canadian holds towards the UN.
I can honestly see some broken promises on the horizon from the feds in reference to this article as they try to cling to power through whatever means.  :threat:
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Brad Sallows on October 25, 2005, 15:56:34
If we aren't going to pay to do defence properly, I'd rather not pay to do anything at all.  I pay taxes for combat-capable forces, not to perpetuate the corrupt privileges and posturing of the UN.  I'll see their "freeze on spending" and raise them one: do away with all of it and put the money back in my pocket.  There's no reason to assume the money should be diverted anywhere else if not to defence.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Baloo on October 25, 2005, 17:15:11
Their own argument of Canada "spending the 7th most" in all of NATO is torpedoed, at least in my opinion, with providing the fact that we are spending 24th on percentage of GDP.

Its a ridiculous argument.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Jed on October 25, 2005, 18:35:07
It is truly amasing how everyone forgets to consider the Present Value of the dollar. 10 million in 1982 buys a whole lot more than 10 million in 2005.

If we aren't going to pay to do defence properly, I'd rather not pay to do anything at all.   I pay taxes for combat-capable forces, not to perpetuate the corrupt privileges and posturing of the UN.

As Brad Sallows states, either we pay for a capability with taxes or we don't. I really don't want to waste more tax dollars in the corrupt UN  hallowed halls of wisdom.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: HDE on October 25, 2005, 20:40:23
As far as I can see most serious analysis, unlike this Polaris bit, uses GDP to compare spending on defence, between nations and over time.  In thoses terms their report seems to suggest that Canada could/should spend more on the military without getting out of line with most of our NATO allies.  All in all not a very inspiring effort at serious research
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Brad Sallows on October 25, 2005, 21:32:58
The dollar figures are all adjusted to be compared fairly, IIRC.  However, I'd soil myself with embarrassment if I had produced that chart because it thoroughly undermines the suggestion that Canada spends too much, provided one is armed with just a couple of simple extra facts.  Defence spending as a % of GDP in 1980 was 1.9, rose to just above 2.0 or so in the '80s, and rapidly diminished under 1.5 in the mid-'90s and later.  Project that 1.9% forward each year from the "low" total expenditure for '80-'81 and see what that yields over the intervening 25 years between then and now.  There wouldn't be so much pressing need for capital expenditures now if we'd exercised a little constancy in spending as a fraction of our wealth.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Cloud Cover on October 25, 2005, 21:37:15
These jokers don't fool anybody. It isn't defence spending they have a problem with, it's actually the fact that defence activities don't match their little girl attitude towards the world.   
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: daniel h. on October 25, 2005, 21:55:38
It is truly amasing how everyone forgets to consider the Present Value of the dollar. 10 million in 1982 buys a whole lot more than 10 million in 2005.

As Brad Sallows states, either we pay for a capability with taxes or we don't. I really don't want to waste more tax dollars in the corrupt UN   hallowed halls of wisdom.


It's starting to look like the UN is hopeless, so don't worry....
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Britney Spears on October 25, 2005, 22:24:16
I don't understand why this defence spending/GDP ratio comparison  has any meaning at all. Defence spending isn't a welfare program, it is a response to perceived threats from foreign enemies. We buy weapons and train troops to kill our enemies. Instead, Canadians are apparently very concerned about how much money and how many pieces of Leopard track they will each recieve if the army were to be liquidated tomorow.

Countries don't spend more on their armies because there is some kind of magical optimum Defence/GDP ratio that will make everything right in the world, they do it because otherwise they are conqured and subjugated by countries who do.  Do you think the Israelis are much concerned about how much of their GDP goes into defence?  I bet Canada is the only country in the world that gives more than 2 seconds of thought to this nonsense.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: ArmyVern on October 25, 2005, 22:49:05
Last sentence - first paragraph:

"Recently announced spending increases are intended to enhance the capability of the Canadian Forces to be "interoperable" with the military of the United States, not be more effective as a UN peacekeeping force."

Well that's it, that's as far as I read. Is this a factual and accurate article? No. It actually puts it's fictional, in-accurate bias right out there on the table at this point in time within the very first paragraph. We are increasing spending in order to better align ourselves with NATO, not simply the United States. Although their use of "United States" in this instance will certainly gain them the sympathy votes from those who do not agree with the US position on Iraq. Fact of the matter is, Canada is a NATO country, and must do what it can to keep themselves somewhat worthy of being a 'player' within that organization, which has been lacking for quite some time now. Gen Hillier is attempting to rectify that situation. We are officially a part of NATO, we have yet to be officially declared a "UN Peecekeeping Force" as our primary mandate. I don't see it happening anytime soon despite what this bleeding heart institute (read: lobby group for flower children and more monies for their various 'causes') likes to think our primary role is. I'll read their articles once they are accurate and factual. I'm quite sure that General Hillier will be able to rip this apart soundly, as it so richly deserves.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Brad Sallows on October 26, 2005, 00:07:42
I take it you don't approve of our forces becoming more interoperable with the UN brothel-keeping and pandering nations of the world?
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Baloo on October 26, 2005, 00:28:10
UN Ops have turned into giant "jug-****s" as far as I can ascertain. Granted, I haven't had my feet on the ground, but that is the appearance of things.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: 48Highlander on October 26, 2005, 00:38:08
As armyvern pointed out, part of the suggested increase would go to increase interoperability with NATO forces.  Now, who does the majority of the heavy lifting on UN ops?  Starts with an N, ends with an O, and has an "at" in the middle.  The two go hand in hand - if we can work with NATO, we can work with the UN.  Who do we need to be able to operate with other than NATO members?  Uganda?  Bosnia?  Hell, just give us some rusty old rifles and no ROE's.  We'll interoperate with those fellas just fine.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Britney Spears on October 26, 2005, 00:47:36
Quote
"Recently announced spending increases are intended to enhance the capability of the Canadian Forces to be "interoperable" with the military of the United States, not be more effective as a UN peacekeeping force."


I'm not entirely sure he knows what that (UN peacekeeping force) is. (http://www.penny-arcade.com/view.php?date=2005-10-17)

 :)
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Cdn Blackshirt on October 26, 2005, 12:48:50
Has anyone done any digging to find out who funds them?

Based on some of the things I've read it looks as though some of the funding is actually coming from Government Departments with competing interests....



Matthew.   :o
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Lancaster on October 27, 2005, 13:09:11
When comparing defense spending to other countries , since Canada  is a mid size  country Canada's GDP should be compared to other hundreds in the world (see www.nationmaster.com) not only to NATO nations. If other countries are spending more on defense that should be a concern to Canadians. Please see me blog site http://www.canadianmilitary.blog.ca/main/ . Recently I sent  this  blog letter to the minister of defense. The cost  of selected equipment would be approximately $100 per person over 10 years
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Pieman on October 27, 2005, 13:39:57
Quote
Has anyone done any digging to find out who funds them?

That's what I was thinking when I was reading this. They probably get funding from a variety of sources, but ultimately whoever funded this specific research paper is of interest.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: pbi on October 27, 2005, 13:51:41
As usual, anti-Americanism is never very far below the skin with these folks, as well-intentioned as they may be.  While I certainly do not advocate mindless hero-worship of the US (or the UK, or France, or Burkina-Faso, even...) it would seem to me that unless we want to pursue the hideouly costly route of true (i.e. "armed") neutrality, we need to coordinate our defence activities and plans with our allies and major economic/security partners. Is the US the biggest and most important of those? Hmmmm....just a sec...let me look in the "Foreign Policy for Dummies"....oh, yeah---they are. Funny that.

While we must be careful to always retain national veto (like we did under the Empire) , the rest of this submission needs to be submitted to the shredder, or shared amongst other like-minded Wilsonites in the various coffee houses, PoliSci lecture halls and other dens of these types.

Cheers.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Lancaster on October 27, 2005, 21:01:46
The Polaris Institute is "twisting the numbers" on their assessment on Canada's 7th largest spending in NATO. Polaris Institute should be using worldwide military expenditure based on GDP, using only NATO is not sufficient since there are 164 other countries who spend on military. According to website,,http://www.nationmaster.com/graph-T/mil_exp_per_of_GDP  ,Canada is ranked 133 in the world for lowest military expenditure based on GDP , if we do the Polaris" twist" then Canada is 32nd "worst" country in the world for military spending. Polaris would be more credible if compared other mid sizes countries like Spain. Also in the report, where is there mention that the prime minister says  we are in "war of terror " which costs billions for national security and new equipment and troop costs for Afghanistan.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: stevenstaples on October 27, 2005, 23:53:31
I'm surprised no one has taken up our criticism of useless spending programs taking up valuable resources. Ever wonder why all the defence experts we always see on the news go silent when something goes wrong with the subs?  How many other uses could $150 million U.S. go to instead of the F-35 (isn't this another corporate subsidy consuming limited defence dollars)? Seems to me we could have replaced those Hercs a long time ago if they had been made a priority by the leadership on Colonel By.

 - Steve
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Slim on October 27, 2005, 23:55:09
Welocome to the forum Mr Staples.

It will be interesting having you here.

Cheers

Slim
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Infanteer on October 28, 2005, 00:02:23
Welcome to Army.ca Mr. Staples.   We're happy to see you've joined up and offered your thoughts.

Believe me, many of us here tend to be critical of many programs that we perceive to be useless, both inside and outside of Defence.   Considering that the F-35 is an investment for an airpower frame that has a variety of uses, I don't think it could be classified as a "useless" program.

You mention criticism here to specific programs; much of the disagreement here tends to be aimed towards the Polaris Institute's entire outlook on defence, which seems to want to "throw the baby out with the bath water".

Cheers,
Infanteer
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Slim on October 28, 2005, 00:35:50
Ever wonder why all the defence experts we always see on the news go silent when something goes wrong with the subs?

They know, as do you and I, that buying submarines that have been sitting for an extended period of time, is going to be costly and rather wasteful. It has also turned out to be rather dangerous, as seen by the fire aboard Chicoutami while on her way back from England. That 'lesson' unfortunately cost us a very talented young officer and almost cost us several more serving members as well.

What Canada should have done was to buy ( ot build) a number of new submarines in order to meet the sub-surface requirement for our navy. It would have been cheaper in the long run and a whole lot less dangerous to the crews who man them.

Unfortunately the navy had to move within the fiscal sphere that they were given, and so coud not go the route that they should have been able to in the first place.

Perhaps in future this argument will be rethought out and a more realistic conclusion come to in terms of serious large item procurment.

  
Quote
How many other uses could $150 million U.S. go to instead of the F-35 (isn't this another corporate subsidy consuming limited defence dollars)? Seems to me we could have replaced those Hercs a long time ago if they had been made a priority by the leadership on Colonel By.

 - Steve

Steve

Sadly a national defense is a requirement of the modern independent nation-state. An old saying goes somethig like "Your country will always have a standing army, yours or someone elses." Even though non of us ever hope to fight a war we should always be prepared to defend ourself and, to a certain degree, be able to project our nation's power to other countries that require our assistance in terms of defense or, in the case of A'stan, to remove a sick and despotic regime.

I awaite your comments on my thoughts Sir.

Cheers

Slim
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Brad Sallows on October 28, 2005, 01:03:19
>I'm surprised no one has taken up our criticism of useless spending programs taking up valuable resources.

Define "useless".   $100 million for a couple of new passenger jets?   Millions of dollars in operational expenditures for domestic operations which should (in theory) be repaid by the requesting agencies (ie. provincial governments) back to the federal government?   Hundreds of milllions of dollars lining the pockets of corrupt and incompetent native leaders practicing the politics of cronyism and nepotism with federal monies?   You want to sweat over corporate subsidies - how much have Bombardier and the various factions of the auto manufacturing industry in Canada collected in the past few decades?   How much more have we spent on defence acquisitions to place a "Made In Canada" sticker over the "Engineered in Europe/USA" one?

Anyone serious about tackling waste in government spending would go after all government spending, particularly since defence is - relatively speaking - small potatoes.   A fixation on defence spending tends to be dismissable, rightly, as mere ideological posturing.   If you're serious about coming up with 0.7% of GDP - 0.35% for aid, and 0.35% in graft to get the aid past the thugs who make the aid necessary and ensure the situation continues so that noble members of NGOs can ride white Toyota pickups to the rescue and preen indefinitely - then go after the big money in federal spending.

As for the issue of what our armed forces should be doing, I don't need to prop up my self-worth by leeching and trading on the sacrifices and risks taken by our service people, past or present.   I don't need to be able to puff up my chest and say to any foreigner who crosses my path, "I'm Canadian.   Did you know our soldiers are peacekeepers?"   I don't need to vicariously claim our soldiers' achievements as my own.   But more importantly, I realize that while the Greeks and Turks and the Israelis and their neighbours can be mostly trusted not to shoot at people wearing blue baseball caps and not much more armour than a cotton shirt, the thirteen-year old with an AK-47 in Central Africa and the Balkan thugs nursing grudges predating Vlad's tiff with the Turks, can not.   We have to be able to deliver our soldiers and the equipment they need to be more than hostages-in-waiting; we must be able to sustain them without necessarily having the goodwill of someone who owns a nearby port and airfield, and we need to be able to extract them when the locals tire of the interference in their timeless domestic disputes.   That means airlift, sealift, and the requisite air and sea power to face down rogue air defences, fighters, ships, and submarines - because a C-130 full of body bags is a hell of a price to pay for the self-anointed post-modern intellectual elites of Canada to assuage their guilt for being born here and to feel good about themselves.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Brad Sallows on October 28, 2005, 01:06:04
>What Canada should have done was to buy ( ot build) a number of new submarines

Maybe we should have bought the Upholders before they went into long-term storage.  It's not like we don't know how old a particular class or fleet of equipment is, or when it would be prudent to replace it.  The scandal isn't what we spend, it's the amount of time it takes us to figure out exactly what to buy.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Britney Spears on October 28, 2005, 01:12:30
Quote
I'm surprised no one has taken up our criticism of useless spending programs taking up valuable resources.

Do a search. Try the keywords "KevinB", "C7A2", and "ill-conceived waste of time and money" for starters.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: mjohnston39 on October 28, 2005, 04:50:32
Some rambling thoughts.

All Western countries have decreased their UN peacekeeping contributions   http://www.un.org/Depts/dpko/dpko/contributors/

All Western countries are increasing their defense spending, and Canada's will be on par with countries with similar populations economies (Spain, Australia...)

All Western countries are modernizing their militaries to be interoperable with the US, they are the most advanced and powerful and get to set the bar. Everyone else is stepping up, we need to or we'll get left behind not only our only neighbour and our closest alley but everyone else.

Government spending in general has increased over the last budget cycles, why should defense be any different

Directly comparing military spending in absolute terms is somewhat misleading. Dollars in Canada don't go as far, do think a service man in say Turkey makes as much as one in Canada? Same goes for equipment, buying and building in Canada is expensive due to mandated industrial/regional benefits, high wages etc.

150M for the F35, well can Canadian companies have received over 1.5B$ in contracts, seems like a prudent investment to me... http://www.cbc.ca/story/canada/national/2004/10/12/Pratt_Whitney041012.html

Large capital expenditures are need because most of the equipment the CF is old and wearing out. Even if Canada was to totally dedicate itself to UN peacekeeping missions it would still need new trucks, airlift, helicopters, sea-lift, just about everything laid out in the recent defense review. The need would even be more acute as most of our allies who posses these assets, which we thumb a ride with, are no longer involving themselves in UN peacekeeping missions. If Canada was to truly dedicate solely to UN peacekeeping missions it would truly be going it alone and need a much larger military defense budget than it has now...

Tradational peakeeping worked, for the most part, because it was always backed up with a credable use of force either from the peacekeeping country or their allies. If Canada goes alone, even for UN peacekeeping, it better be prepared to carry an even larger stick...

There have been many discussions here about waste and spending more efficiently...

Mike
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: mjohnston39 on October 28, 2005, 05:16:22
Also the article is somewhat misleading as it fails to mention that, IIRC, the NATO mission in the former Yugoslavia were deployed under the authority of the UN security council and I believe this is the case for Afghanistan as well...http://www.nato.int/issues/afghanistan/evolution.htm

Quote
It is these operations that are now responsible for the continuing high operational tempo of the Canadian Forces. "With a few exceptions," the Defence Policy Statement notes, "most of the Canadian Forces' major operations [of recent years] have borne no resemblance to the traditional peacekeeping model of lightly armed observers supervising a negotiated ceasefire."

The world has changed, like it or not and there are no longer defined groups to negotiate a ceasefire with in the first place....
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Cdn Blackshirt on October 28, 2005, 12:36:21
I'm surprised no one has taken up our criticism of useless spending programs taking up valuable resources. Ever wonder why all the defence experts we always see on the news go silent when something goes wrong with the subs?   How many other uses could $150 million U.S. go to instead of the F-35 (isn't this another corporate subsidy consuming limited defence dollars)? Seems to me we could have replaced those Hercs a long time ago if they had been made a priority by the leadership on Colonel By.

 - Steve

Before we proceed to much further Mr Staples, I have both watched and read your criticism for a couple of years now, but have never heard your opinion as to how you believe a military should be used? 

Specifically, do you believe in active intervention in places like Rwanda and Darfur or not?

Thank you for your time and consideration.



Matthew   :salute:
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: stevenstaples on October 29, 2005, 14:20:53
The recommendation from our report this week called for the creation of a new Defence White Paper through public participation (and I don't mean expert hearings in Ottawa), and until that time a freeze on defence spending. Get the policy right first, then set the budget.

When asked, we suggest the CF focus on two objectives: (1) defence of Canadian territory to ensure sovereignty (e.g. improved capability in the North, use of new technology such as High-Frequency Surface Wave Radar), and (2) participation in UN-led peacekeeping missions (i.e. "Blue Helmets"). We expand on this a bit in Breaking Rank, the 2002 report that is also available on our web site at www.polarisinstitute.org.

 - Steve

Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Infanteer on October 29, 2005, 14:31:40
(2) participation in UN-led peacekeeping missions (i.e. "Blue Helmets").

Are you sure this is a prudent proposal?  Most soldiers I've spoke to who've put on a blue hat say they wouldn't do it again - maybe in the '80s it was a nice thing, but experience since then has taught us otherwise.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: 48Highlander on October 29, 2005, 14:45:10
The recommendation from our report this week called for the creation of a new Defence White Paper through public participation (and I don't mean expert hearings in Ottawa), and until that time a freeze on defence spending.

 ;D

In other words, death by committee for the CF.  That sentence reminds me of the scene in Robo Cop 2, when they gather a civilian pannel to decide what changes to make to his programming.

"He's too mean, why can't he be nicer to people?"
"That gun of his is way too big.  It's to scary."
"It'd be nice if he'd stop and talk things out once in a while."

Following which, he ends up trying to lecture a mob of kids robbing a store, and then shoots a guy for smoking.

Face it, 99% of civs don't know squat about the military, government spending, or foreign policy.  That's why we have politicians, soldiers, intelligence agencies, and "experts".  You cannot make policy by popular opinion; it would be a particularily idiotic form of national suicide.  Whatever decisions your "public participation" might come up with - while well intentioned and seemingly logical under a cursory examination - would spell disaster for the military.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: GO!!! on October 29, 2005, 17:17:49
The problem Mr. Staples, is that the Polaris Institute is a most apt demonstration of an "opposition" movement, guaranteeing its income by making wild and press worthy accusations and suggestions, in order to secure further funding and attention, then fading into obscurity for a period of time, until its masters feel the need for more attention and funding.

In regards to your uses for the DND.

1) "The defence of Canadian territory" Bad news, radar only tells you the bad guys are coming. Since you oppose the F35 project, and the CF 18s are obsolete, just how do you intend to protect our sovereignty. Which weapon system usable north of 60 have you supported the acquisition of?

2) "Participation in UN - led peacekeeping missions" More bad news, there has never, in history, by the UN's own definition, been a successful peacekeeping mission, with the exception of the Suez crisis. Why do we want to participate in this culture of abject failure? Why should we sacrifice any more men?

Finally, given the schizophrenic and time consuming character of any type of Federal Policy Review (remember Trudeau's Foreign Policy review?) would we not be better served by a multi - task capable military, able to perform any mission anyhwere in the meantime, than a freeze on spending to push us even further back in terms of capabilities?
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: mjohnston39 on October 29, 2005, 18:15:56
Quote
participation in UN-led peacekeeping missions (i.e. "Blue Helmets").


With whom do you suggest we work with on these blue-helmet missions as most of our western allies have abandoned these traditional UN mssions???

Mike
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: paracowboy on October 29, 2005, 19:25:38
With whom do you suggest we work with on these blue-helmet missions as most of our western allies have abandoned these traditional UN mssions?
nobody, 'cause they don't work!
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: SeaKingTacco on October 29, 2005, 19:32:49
Mr Staples,

We (the Canadian Forces) have already endured a "funding freeze" that has lasted since 1993.  By advocating a funding freeze, again, while we endure a long, painful, ill-intentioned, uninformed, national policy consultation process on defence, you are basically guaranteeing the final nail in coffin of the Canadian Forces.  Nothing on our current equipment order book (that I can think of) would be inconsistent with almost any task we would be assigned anyway after a defence policy review.  Believe it or not, the CF is in a VERY fragile state right now.

Why is it, Mr Staples, that your organization has such a difficult time accepting the professional opinion of serving soldiers, sailors and airmen, who actually have operational experience in many of the world's less desireable places that what we need right now is a more, not less, aggressive and well armed military?  We are not uneducated and thoughtless people, you know. We are not just making this stuff up because we like "cool toys".  Most of us have done the government's bidding in lots of uncomfortable parts of the world, trying to implement our nation's foreign policy and generally keep any number of factions in Africa, Asia and Europe from kicking the crap out of each other, and us in the process.

Mr Staples, I highly advise you, if you have not done so yet, approach DND about getting yourself to Kandahar so that you can spend a week or so with the guys on patrol.  Or out at sea on frigate.  Or better yet, join your nearest reserve unit and find out first-hand what it is like to carry the can for Canada, on a continual, chronic, underfunded basis.

Mr Staples, I respect that you are doing what you are doing in good faith.  Please understand, however, that most soldiers, sailors and airmen are by necessity pragmatists and will accept any new funding that comes our way right now, so that we can get on with our job of protecting Canada and carrying out our foreign policy.  I, for one, remain to be convinced that you accurately understand the true situation with respect to defence in this country.

Good night.

Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Chris Pook on October 29, 2005, 20:14:41
Mr. Staples,

In the interest of full disclosure:

Who do you represent?
Who supplies your funding?
Who sits on your board of directors?
Where does your board meet?
How often do they meet?
To whom are you responsible?
Where is your Institute registered?
What are your personal qualifications to comment on these matters?
What experience do you have?
With whom do you consult when you derive your position papers?

Your site seems to be silent on those matters.   I find links to many labour and "direct action" groups.   You have an "about us" page that does the mission thing very nicely but I am unable to find the answers to my questions there.   Is there a link you can direct me to that will supply those answers?

Christopher Pook
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Brad Sallows on October 30, 2005, 16:42:15
A properly done review, as opposed to a stalling and posturing exercise, should only take a few months.  There's no need to freeze anything.

Limiting our spheres of activity to UN operations basically ensures that any region that doesn't pass muster with the veto members of the UNSC is SOL.  Welding our foreign policy to the UN is shorthand for welding it to the subset of overlapping (ie. mutually agreeable) foreign policy objectives at the UN of the US, UK, Russia, PRC, and France.  That is a small set.  I'm not sure being the willing lapdog of the aforementioned nations is much of a demonstration of sovereignty.  Of course, if we want to rule out intervening in situations such as those presented in Rwanda and Darfur, it makes sense to tether ourselves to the UN.  Perhaps I misunderstand what the real objective is.  To look as if we're doing something, without really doing anything useful or costly...hmmm...sounds attractive.

Certainly we should be able to exercise our sovereignty, and protect our naval forces and shipping abroad.  If we really wanted that, we'd get on with replacing the diesel boats with nuclear-powered ones.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: GO!!! on October 30, 2005, 20:56:07
A point I missed in my earlier post as well.

Given that the UN is comprised of despotic dictatorships, human rights abusers etc, all of whom have the same voting weight as a law abiding, well intentioned, democratic nation, why is the collective of despots assumed to be correct in the application of force, while the singular despot is a creature to be reviled?

Furthermore, why should we risk so much blood and treasure in carrying out the agenda of a mob of despots and dictators?

Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: KevinB on October 31, 2005, 00:26:39
UN  ::)  - some of their programs are commendable -- others are indictable.
 Militarily it is a fiasco -- too many tinpot dictators with votes -- and a Security Council that is rife with division.
Franco-German sticky fingers in Iraq a prime example.

 The military needs money - big time, it is not the time to freeze spending.
NONE of the current acquisitions that the critics on both sides are currently harping on are boondoggles, but items which the CF has identified as immediate requirements to fulfill our role in government policy.

I amongst others could define areas where the military needs more money right now to rectify current deficiencies.  Near and dear to my heart are small arms - where the LCMM has about 1/50th of the money he requires to upgrade our small arms and provide soldier the required capabilities at the basic level.  Add in money for small arms ammunition, low light equipment and money to train with them in a live fire environment etc.  I could easily justify a $5b increase myself.

 It is true that some items (the G Wagon for instance) were knee jerk reactions - but that happens with a rustout Army that when certain capabilities fail.  If anything the Gwagon shows us WHY we need to identify issues before we enter an active theatre, and buy items based upon our needs - rather than buy an illsuited platform (Gwagon is a good platform for somethings, however the variant we bought =sucks)

Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: RangerRay on October 31, 2005, 02:33:45
Some random thoughts:

I find it very ironic that those who say we shouldn't let the Americans determine our foreign policy are the same ones who say we have to do whatever the UN says.  The whole reason why we didn't go into Iraq was because France (and some shadowy Canadians, including a former PM) had oil interests with Saddam Hussein's regime.

As much as I would like to see more openness and public consultation in government in general, defence policy and foreign policy is not one of them.   Most people are very ignorant in these areas and have no clue about defence and diplomatic issues.   When dealing with national interests, that should be left to politicians, diplomats, generals and "experts".

Australia, a country much like Canada in many ways, with a smaller population, appears to have far greater military capability as us.   They have sea lift, strategic air capability (F-111 bombers), tactical attack helicopters, and even aircraft carriers, IIRC...   I heard they are even aquiring M1 main battle tanks.   As well, the past few years, they have been taking a very strong stand on the international scene.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: stevenstaples on October 31, 2005, 12:03:58
Folks -

Thanks for all of the comments. Very interesting and useful.

I sense that a lot of people on this forum consider themselves independent thinkers - and I see evidence of this spirit all the time in the CF at large.

For example, have you seen the Corporals' Report by Corporal W.C. Gomm and Corporal R.K. Moran that came out in 2002? Here is the link (go to page 70): http://armyapp.dnd.ca/ael/adtb/vol_5/ADTB_vol5no3_e.pdf (http://armyapp.dnd.ca/ael/adtb/vol_5/ADTB_vol5no3_e.pdf) (page 70).

Also, have you read Col David King's article "We need a Romanow Commission for Defence and Foreign Policy":
http://www.irpp.org/po/archive/apr02/king.pdf (http://www.irpp.org/po/archive/apr02/king.pdf)

In the media there is a tremendous amount of "group think" from the defence experts - who basically parrot the Generals' line and clam up whenever there is trouble (e.g. who is speaking our for the safety of submariners? Blaming Chretien won't make the subs any safer).

We need to ensure there is a vigourous debate from inside and outside the Forces. It is not uncommon for me to hear from many CF members when we publish our reports - everything from "you're way off" to "you're right, and you don't know the half of it...".

Would you agree the public needs to hear from CF members who are willing to take an independent position from the brass (otherwise public only ever hears the carefull crafted, savvy, media spun story from the brass, and not the real story)? How can this be done?

 - Steve



Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: paracowboy on October 31, 2005, 12:27:55
before anyone answers your questions, don't you think it only fair to answer theirs? After all, they asked first.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Cloud Cover on October 31, 2005, 12:55:53


Would you agree the public needs to hear from CF members who are willing to take an independent position from the brass (otherwise public only ever hears the carefull crafted, savvy, media spun story from the brass, and not the real story)? How can this be done?

 - Steve


It's being done on this site. Probably 80% of the content of this site challenges the assumptions of the puzzle palace, along with the less than stellar and somewhat biased performance from the media. In fact, with relatively few exceptions, we are an anathema to the media, politicians and others because we can [and have] successfully challenged their articles, assumptions, public statements and plans.     The first article you have mentioned has been discussed on this site- someone will likely provide you with links shortly.

Quick question: why do you have a silhouette of what appears to be a Russian or Chinese destroyer on the front cover of your latest report?   Freudian slip?

Cheers.


Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: HDE on November 02, 2005, 00:41:04
I'm intrigued at the idea of "public participation" in determining the role, and reasonable funding, of the Canadian military.  How do we actually determine who "the public" are?  Is there a requirement that "the public" have any expertise whatsoever on military affairs, equipment requirements, etc?  Does the opinion of members of "the public" carry the same weight as the informed opinion of folks actually in the business?  During the last election campaign the Liberals put forth the claim that we can have either a military or health care and very few members of the media, much less the public, bothered pointing out the dodgy logic being used.  The same can be said of any area of government spending.  Why single out military spending?  This is the sort of "it sounds impressive, but doesn't mean anything"  assertion that formed so much of the work in the Polaris Institute report we're discussing.
The obvious point is that the Polaris Institute doesn't much like the military and then proceeds to put forth all sorts of dubious claims in order to make their point. 
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: GO!!! on November 02, 2005, 00:49:56
 Mr. Staples,

Seeing as no - one else here has mentioned it, we, as serving soldiers are not permitted to challenge the "party line" pushed by the DND.

It is actually a crime, and troops have been charged and sentenced for it before.

You are permitted to speak about your role and responsibilities as an individual. Other than that, it must be forwarded to a Public affairs officer for processing.

So the idea of having the Corporal debating with the General is a moot point. The General would probably jail the Corporal, strategic or not, for pointing out the flaws or inaccuracies in his plan, and he would be permitted to do so.

Can you answer my questions now?
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Brad Sallows on November 02, 2005, 20:32:06
The problem with public consultation is that a surprisingly large segment of the eligible voting population is unlikely to concede that security is the precursor for any other social institutions one wishes to construct, and to draw the appropriate conclusion that security should be first in line for whatever resources are available.  By happy coincidences and circumstances and accidents of history, Canada is in a situation in which it is somewhat possible to marginalize security without really bearing the consequences of such imprudence.

For example, I doubt anyone has attempted to estimate within an order of magnitude the value of ocean-borne trade which is secured (eg. not lost to piracy) by the presence of the world's major blue-water navies.  If we had that number, we could at least make a guess whether Canada is bearing its share or freeloading in the security of the oceans.

Likewise, one could measure Canada's contribution to maintaining a secure trading environment in Europe west of the Iron Curtain prior to the latter's fall and determine whether we spent the Cold War riding on the backs of others - trading with Europe incommensurately with our contributions to its security.

It's easy to point to our geographical location and claim that it should take very little to secure our borders. but an honest appraisal can't ignore the presence of the US and the importance to the US of relatively free-market access to Canada.  Are we freeloading in the security of the Americas?

One of the popular current debates in Canada is whether and how to expand trade with nations other than the US.  I will hazard a very rough guess and proposal: if the US is an overwhelming influence on the security of ocean-borne trade, Canada - as a nation aspiring to trade across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans - should as a rule of thumb contribute a naval presence on a per capita basis equivalent to the US and operate closely - dare I say, interoperate - with the US.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Simian Turner on November 02, 2005, 21:51:32
Mr. Staples

If you look at the page prior to the Corporal's Report, you will see that these gentlemen had their opinions blessed for publication by the Commander prior to their (one-time only) publication - hardly "free speech" at its finest.

Retired Col David King's article is not presented as the opinion of a serving CF officer but rather as a US National Defense University faculty member. It also comes with a disclaimer as not representative of Cdn or US authorities.

QR&O 4.27 sums it up pretty good:

4.27 PROVISION OF INFORMATION PROGRAMS AND PROMOTION OF COMMUNITY RELATIONS

(1) A commanding officer of a base, unit or element shall ensure that, in accordance with orders issued by the Chief of the Defence Staff, members of the base, unit or element are provided with information on the plans, policies, programs and activities of the Canadian Forces and that requests for information on Canadian Forces activities from either the news media or the general public are dealt with expeditiously.

(2) A commanding officer of a base, unit or element shall take all practicable steps to stimulate and sustain a harmonious relationship between the base, unit or element and the civilian community.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: pbi on November 02, 2005, 22:25:08
GO: well posted. Having served on a few missions, I can only share in your distaste for the UN's military prowess. Even that inept organization has learned to contract its business out to regional organizations or standing alliances to get the real work done. The "traditional" UN construct of the light, largely incapable (and often inept...) UN force with no credibility, no straegic, operational or tactical intelligence system or meaningful command and control capabilities has finally been revealed as largely ineffective. That type of force never really resolved any situation, and was actually incapable of "keeping the peace" once one party or the other (or both) felt they wanted to get ugly. A police force that worked on similar principles would be judged useless. Yugoslavia, Somalia (UN) and Rwanda were the last coffin nails on the "traditional blue hat mission": even the UN itself admitted as much in the Brahini Report. If we want to make a difference in nasty places,, against nasty people, and if we want the military portion of  the "3DT" (US= DIME) construct to be capable of doing its part, we need the things the CDS is leading us towards. For the first time I can recall in 31 years of service, we have a PM, MND and CDS who can work together from a common sheet of music. That is refreshing and immensely heartening.

It is the democratic right of all Canadians, regardless of their political orientation, to express their voice on issues including defence. Indeed, on these very pages we have oftren bemoaned the ignorance, apathy and general indifference of many Canadians on the subject of our military capability. In fact, there has been no shortage of venues for that expression over the last few years, from the Minister's Monitoring Commitee travelling sessions to SCONDVA hearings across Canada to the Reserve Roles Missions and Tasks  town halls  that were held all over the country a few years ago.  At some point we have to make decisions, as professionals, advise our government of our needs and recommendations, and get on with it. That is what we are doing, and I believe that we have the support of a majority of Canadians.

Cheers.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: 3rd Horseman on November 02, 2005, 23:19:18
I agree with you in principle less the UN issue on Yugo, I thought that the Yugo mission ended with success although was very weak at points The reality is that the war ended in fall 95 under blue mission status. IFOR, SFOR only showed up after it was over winter 96. The war fighting of the blue helmets in summer 95 was the true nature of what a blue mission should and could be. Albeit the many 3rd world units did not contribute to the win and do lend credibility to your including Yugo on your list of failed or typical weak blue helmet missions, in the end it was a win, Lester B would have been proud of what the blue helmet had become by that point in history. As for including Somalia I was not there cant comment.
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: Gunner on November 02, 2005, 23:28:05
I agree with you in principle less the UN issue on Yugo, I thought that the Yugo mission ended with success although was very weak at points The reality is that the war ended in fall 95 under blue mission status. IFOR, SFOR only showed up after it was over winter 96. The war fighting of the blue helmets in summer 95 was the true nature of what a blue mission should and could be. Albeit the many 3rd world units did not contribute to the win and do lend credibility to your including Yugo on your list of failed or typical weak blue helmet missions, in the end it was a win, Lester B would have been proud of what the blue helmet had become by that point in history. As for including Somalia I was not there cant comment.

So your definition of UN success in 1995:

UNPROFOR 1 (Croatia) - Croatian Op STORM sweeping through UN "Protected Area's" in the Krajina Region, ethnically cleansing/murdering Serbs along the way? 

UNPROFOR 2 (Bosnia) - Ended with "success" based on US involvement through NATO after letting the Europeans try to maintain order (they failed) in their backyard and imposing the seriously flawed Dayton Accord forcing everyone back to the "start state" in 1992 and telling them to "Get along".

I don't agree with you my gunner friend....
Title: Re: Defence spending: the counter-offensive opens in earnest
Post by: 3rd Horseman on November 02, 2005, 23:46:34
I will need a little time to formulate a response for UNCRO mission due to its very complicated nature and how it played into the overall mission in Yugo.

As for UNPROFOR (Bosnia) the proof is in the result the war ended under blue mission, I did not see any NATO forces other than special Ops on the ground but I did see UN forces conduct Cbt team attacks, Coy assaults, Artillery duals, Platoon attacks, all which stopped Serb, BIH and Croat army's in there tracks at different times. Obviously the NATO air cover provided by the multi national air forces (all of which were supporting there own battalions on the ground wearing UN blue less the US airforce).

   Now had I had the chance to be king for a day I would have sent SFOR in in 92 followed by IFOR in winter 96 and then UNPROFOR from 97 on. Non the less  the little force that couldn't did in the end mind you it was done by a small group of forces not making up the whole UN family in theatre.

I'm still thinking about UNCRO.......... :-\
Title: The Defence Budget [superthread]
Post by: The Ruxted Group on January 12, 2009, 00:06:36
Link to original article on  ruxted.ca (http://ruxted.ca/index.php?/archives/112-The-Defence-Budget.html)


The Defence Budget

It is no secret that Canada is in the throes of a financial crisis.

Governments’ normal reaction is times of crisis is to cut, or at least contain, defence spending to free up money for other more popular projects and programmes.

2009 is not a normal year; The Lady’s Not for Burning (http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&id=MimwXn5EKQAC&dq=the+lady's+not+for+burning&printsec=frontcover&source=web&ots=Ez1WqGG1l1&sig=_fpSy-bNu0odJTnmSui4XQJ4BCc&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=2&ct=result#PPP1,M1) or turning (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQ-M0KEFm9I) and Canadians need to apply the same resolve to their national defence: despite the sorry state of our economy we must not turn back the clock to the 1990s - the defence budget is not for cutting.

2009 is not a normal year because we have Canadian Forces members – our friends and family, the neighbours’ boys, our colleagues’ daughters – at war; they are not just in a combat zone, they are in close contact with the enemy in Afghanistan. We are paying a price – in lives and in shattered minds and bodies – to give effect to the Canadian promoted doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect.” Less important than the lost lives and broken bodies, but costly all the same, is the price of fuel and ammunition and the equipment which are being consumed in combat. After several “decades of darkness” 2009 is not a year to falter. Canadians finally appeared ready, in 2007/2008, to begin the long, painful and expensive process of rebuilding our military muscle so that Canada could, after a 40 year hiatus, ”make a real difference in halting and preventing conflict and improving human welfare around the world,” (http://www.international.gc.ca/cip-pic/documents/IPS-EPI/foreword-avant_propos.aspx?lang=eng) because, as former Prime Minister Martin said (same source), Canada must practice the kind of “activism that over decades has forged our nation’s international character—and will serve us even better in today’s changing world. The people of our country have long understood that, as a proud citizen of the world, Canada has global responsibilities. We can’t solve every problem, but we will do what we can to protect others, to raise them up, to make them safe.”

2009 is not the year to abandon our global responsibilities. Grave as our economic problems may be they pale in comparison to the economic, military, social and medical problems that bedevil the ”Bottom Billion.” (http://www.oup.com/us/catalog/general/subject/Economics/Developmental/?view=usa&ci=9780195311457) Canadians hope that we can help the “Bottom Billion” without entering another shooting war but events in those countries, which are in a geo-political arc stretching from Afghanistan through to Zimbabwe, suggest that we, Canadians and other rich, sophisticated, militarily capable and mostly Western nations will have to use force to bring help and hope to the poorest of the poor and weakest of the weak.

2009 is a year in which Canada’s defence budget needs to grow, in real terms, even as the nation’s top bank economists are advising Finance Minister Flaherty to, later rather than right now, reign in government programme spending (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,80277.msg797420.html#msg797420).

DND can and will look for ways to stretch every dollar it has – if DND has learned nothing else since the 1960s, it has learned how to pinch pennies; in fact, it has often been accused of being penny-wise and pound-foolish. Some defence spending – on DND’s badly neglected infrastructure on bases and stations in Canada or on replacing Canadian made equipment that has been worn out or damaged in combat – can be used to stimulate the economy in 2009. Mindless cuts to defence spending will not help Canadians in 2009 or beyond, only contributing more to our financial woes.

Finance Minister Flaherty will bring down a budget later in this month. The Ruxted Group urges him to increase defence spending, in real terms. A larger defence budget is good policy and it can be made into good politics as well.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: IN ARDUA NITOR on January 17, 2009, 21:07:31
What better infrastructure programme than approving the AOPV and building it in Canada? Perhaps some $$$ for new SAR aircraft to a Canadian company (Victoria?!?!) and some bucks towards KINGSTON class mid life refit? There are myriad CF projects in the country that we could use this opportunity to invest in. I can only hope the driven masses in NDHQ are trumpeting the CF's priorities for long term building projects - nothing speaks to politicians like Shipbuilding or aircraft contracts. Even firms in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec could benefit from multi-billion dollar investment in CF capital projects.

The early to mid eighties saw some large Federal expenditures - not exactly economic boom times....

Just a thought/hope.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: aesop081 on January 17, 2009, 21:31:15
You don't like that idea Aviator?

No. I'm a much bigger fan of buying an aircraft that meets the requirements of the job it will be doing. "But the aircraft was built in Canada" doesnt make for a good soundbite when people are dead because the aircraft sent to rescue them wasnt up to the job.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: IN ARDUA NITOR on January 17, 2009, 21:32:16
Fair enough - to be fair I dont know enough about the details of the bid by the local company in Pat Bay
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: NFLD Sapper on January 17, 2009, 21:47:12
Perhaps some $$$ for new SAR aircraft to a Canadian company (Victoria?!?!)


 ::)

You don't like that idea Aviator?

No. I'm a much bigger fan of buying an aircraft that meets the requirements of the job it will be doing. "But the aircraft was built in Canada" doesnt make for a good soundbite when people are dead because the aircraft sent to rescue them wasnt up to the job.

Yeah remember the LSVW Project  ;D
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on January 17, 2009, 23:31:00
Fair enough - to be fair I dont know enough about the details of the bid by the local company in Pat Bay
If you want to know, then have a look through these 46 pages: http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,23889.0.html
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Ex-Dragoon on January 18, 2009, 17:45:37
Quote
What better infrastructure programme than approving the AOPV and building it in Canada?

For Fleet requirements AORs are needed more and urgently.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MarkOttawa on January 23, 2009, 16:55:42
A post at The Torch:

"Waiting for Defence Budget 2009: First of the Canada First Defence Strategy Budgets?"
http://toyoufromfailinghands.blogspot.com/2009/01/waiting-for-defence-budget-2009-first.html

Quote
Excerpts from a "Commentary" by Brian MacDonald, Senior Defence Analyst, Conference of Defence Associations...

Full text here:
http://www.cda-cdai.ca/CDA_Commentary/waiting_for_budget2009.pdf

Mark
Ottawa
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MarkOttawa on January 27, 2009, 20:31:40
As far as I can see the words "defence" and "Canadian Forces" do not appear in the budget:
http://www.budget.gc.ca/2009/plan/topics-sujets-eng.html
 
Some conservatives.  There is this about the Canadian Coast Guard:
http://www.budget.gc.ca/2009/plan/bpc3e-eng.html

Quote
Budget 2009 provides a catalyst to increase activity in the sector by allocating funds to speed-up needed procurement. The Canadian Coast Guard requires investments in vessels to carry out its responsibility to ensure safe and accessible waterways for Canadians. The Government is investing $175 million on a cash basis for the procurement of new Coast Guard vessels and to undertake vessel life extensions and refits for aging vessels. While contracts have not yet been awarded, work will be conducted in Canada, and where possible, by shipyards located within the regions of the vessels' home-ports. New vessel procurements planned are:

        * 60 new small craft and 30 new environmental response barges that will support Canadian Coast Guard operational requirements across the country.
        * 5 new lifeboats home-ported in Prince Rupert (British Columbia), Campbell River (British Columbia), Dartmouth (Nova Scotia), Québec City (Quebec), and Burlington (Ontario).
        * 2 new inshore science vessels home-ported in Mont-Joli (Quebec) and Shippagan (New Brunswick), and one inshore fisheries vessel home-ported in St. Andrews (New Brunswick).

Vessel life extensions involve major repairs such as replacement of hulls, outdated equipment, propulsion systems and generators. The five vessels that will undergo vessel life extensions are the CCGS Bartlett and the CCGS Tanu both home-ported in Victoria (B.C.), the CCGS Tracy home-ported in Québec City (Quebec), the CCGS Limnos home-ported in Burlington (Ontario), and the CCGS Cape Roger home-ported in St. John's (Newfoundland and Labrador).

Vessel refits are smaller repairs, aimed primarily at updating obsolete operational systems to improve the availability and reliability for delivery of all Coast Guard programs. Of the 35 vessels scheduled for refit, seven are stationed in the Pacific region, five in the Central and Arctic region, seven in the Quebec region, seven in the Maritimes region, and nine in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Refits and lifeboats!  No mention of mid-shore patrol vessels or new icebreakers.
http://toyoufromfailinghands.blogspot.com/2008/09/fewer-less-capable-more-delivery.html
http://toyoufromfailinghands.blogspot.com/2008/08/diefenbreaker-in-2017.html

Dismal.

Mark
Ottawa
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: FSTO on January 27, 2009, 20:46:35
Maybe they are thinking of making a separate announcement regarding defence procurement?

Or maybe I have been in the paint locker too long.  :skull:
Title: Budget 2010 and its Impact on DND and the CF
Post by: E.R. Campbell on January 26, 2010, 09:37:36
Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from today’s Globe and Mail is a potentially disturbing report on the forthcoming (March 2010) budget on the CF:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/budget-questions-loom-for-canadian-soldiers/article1443706/
Quote
Budget questions loom for Canadian soldiers
Revitalized by Afghanistan, Canada's military has been 'firing on all cylinders.' But given the large federal deficit, analysts question how long Ottawa can keep it up

Campbell Clark

Ottawa
Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2010

It is the most active Canadian military in a generation – a multi-tasking force fighting in Afghanistan, aiding relief efforts in Haiti, and preparing to send thousands of troops to patrol the Vancouver-Whistler Olympics.
Soon, however, the country's armed forces will have to grapple with a different sort of foe: a punishing federal deficit.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay said in Halifax Monday that there is no doubt the military is currently “firing on all cylinders” and operating at a “very high tempo.”

But the question, he said, is “for how long?”

The complexities of the Afghan mission have helped revitalize the military, making it better-drilled and more flexible and responsive for other deployments, such as Haiti. Yet the military has also benefited from a big boost in spending, which could be hard to sustain as Ottawa attempts to haul the country out of deficit.

Canada has 3,000 troops in Afghanistan, about 2,000 in or on their way Haiti, and 4,500 headed to Vancouver in February. It is the busiest time since the Suez crisis of the 1950s, when the forces were almost twice as big.

“It's certainly the most I have ever seen in my 30 years of service,” Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie, who heads the army as Chief of the Land Staff, said in a recent interview. “We are probably, right this week, the busiest I have seen us, ever. … We could not have done this with the same rapidity and the same competency five years ago. That is categoric.”

More money, for things such as the huge C-17 strategic heavy-lift aircraft that flew equipment to Haiti, made a big difference. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservatives made a political promise to provide the funds, but the fact that the forces had a mission in Afghanistan made the spending a political imperative.

The costs of fighting in Afghanistan, the cost of relief for Haiti, burn holes in the military budget, but also provide a justification for spending.

With the military preparing to leave Afghanistan next year, Canada will face different choices. The Conservatives plan to dig out of deficit by restraining discretionary spending, but one fifth of this sum is the $19.2-billion defence budget – and Mr. Harper has promised that will grow by 2 per cent each year.

Many analysts believe the Conservatives, under financial pressure, will have to scrap the expensive promise to expand the forces to 70,000 from 65,000. Planning may again revolve around the phrase coined by Joel Sokolsky, principal of the Royal Military College: “How much is just enough?”

Canada has had more impressive military capacity, and a more limited one. Queen's University military expert Doug Bland sees two episodes 40 years apart as bookend illustrations.

In 1956, Canada's 120,000-strong armed forces were recovering from Korea, heavily committed with troops and planes in Europe, but had no trouble dispatching a battalion during to the Suez.

In 1996, Canada's stretched forces rushed a mission to Zaire, the so-called “bungle in the jungle.” The forces had sketchy equipment, and couldn't get there before the reason for the mission vanished.

Spending increases since 2004 turned the trend, but now the question is what is needed for the future.

Mr. Bland said Canada should focus on the Western Hemisphere, combatting drug-runners in Latin America and the Caribbean, and providing regional security and relief.

That would make Canada a partner the United States needs, Mr. Bland said. The military can't influence Europeans, but can help relations with Washington, at least on decisions that affect Canada.

“Perhaps when we go to the table and want to talk to the Americans about Arctic sovereignty and so on, they'll be more willing to listen.”

But University of Ottawa professor Philippe Lagassé says Canada cannot expect to use its military to gain foreign-policy influence. A bigger role in foreign missions wins plaudits, but doesn't sway nations to do something they would rather not.

“You may get respect,” he said. “But actual influence is another thing altogether.”

So, he said, Canada's military should focus on goals that are important to Canada: protection at home, as in the Olympics, responding to a crisis, like an ice storm here or an earthquake in Haiti, and an expeditionary force to serve as an ally in international-security efforts, like Afghanistan. In effect, what it is doing now.

It might make sense to focus on the Western Hemisphere, Mr. Lagassé said, but Canadians will not want their government to reject calls from old NATO allies, or appeals for relief in a far-off disaster. “Are we going to say we don't do tsunamis in Asia?”

To maintain the forces at the current capacity, the military will need both the breather it will get from leaving Afghanistan and the projected 2-per-cent annual increases, he said.

The military would do more missions if it had more money, but doing much more is not likely to increase influence much, and Canadians won't accept the cost in lean years, Mr. Lagassé said. “In the end, Canadian defence policy ends up being the art of the possible.”


It has been Canadian tradition, for almost as long as I have been alive – and even longer, to cut defence spending whenever there is a financial crisis. Sometimes the results have been deadly.

With a possible respect to Prof. (and retired lieutenant colonel (VIIICH)) Doug Bland (Queen’s University), recasting foreign policy in (regionally) specific terms does not help the budgeting exercise. One must decide, as Prof. Joel Sokolsky (RMC) suggests on what is, broadly, needed and how much of that is “just enough.”

The answer to “just enough” is a smallish (but ‘complete’ – which means it’s going to have a poor tooth to tail ratio) and flexible (again, more tail than tooth) permanent force (to resurrect and old term) base that can be augmented, reasonably quickly, by people (and things) from a large, well equipped, well trained reserve – part(s) of which might be on full time or near full time service.

Title: Re: Budget 2010 and its Impact on DND and the CF
Post by: E.R. Campbell on January 26, 2010, 09:51:11
But cuts to defence spending are not the only or best answer according to this column by Terrance Corcoran, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from todays’ National Post:

http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2010/01/25/terence-corcoran-lots-of-options-for-spending-cuts.aspx
Quote
Terence Corcoran:
Lots of options for spending cuts

The battle must be waged anew to drive the Legendary Immovable Spending Blob out of Ottawa

By Terence Corcoran

The Legendary Immovable Spending Blob appears to be descending over Ottawa’s pre-budget consulations. Forecasters now predict the federal government is heading for years of deficits unless something is done. By 2013-14, Ottawa could still be racking up annual deficits of $19-billion, according to the Parliamentary Budget Office. So what, exactly, is that something that must bedone? Enter the ISB, ritually dragged onto the scene by a little army of volunteers who will tell you that, no matter what the state of the economy, the one thing that can’t be done is spending cuts. Just impossible. Beyond the realm of possibility. Don’t even waste time thinking about it.

 
The Rev. Jeffrey Simpson did his bit last week to prop up the idea that Ottawa’s spending is more or less immovable, a great fixed thing that can never be reduced in size. It can grow, but never be cut. As a result, when Ottawa moves into deficit territory, there is only one alternative.” The economists all believe,” said Rev. Simpson in one of his regular sermons, his iPod on direct download from the higher powers in Ottawa, “the federal government should raise taxes to eliminate the defict with certainty, pay down debt to prepare for aging, and give Canada a buffer against future shocks.” The preferred option: raise the GST.


Spending, apparently, cannot be cut. Back in 2001, when Paul Martin was still finance minister and federal spending was a mere $130-billion a year, the idea of spending reduction was seen as just not feasible. There is nowhere to cut, no fat to trim, and no program that can be scaled back. In the wake of his own 2001 budget, Mr. Martin said: “People always come back and say, ‘You can’t find the money to do that within $130.5-billion?And the answer is no.’”


This year federal spending is expected to top $270-billion on its way to $300-billion by 2015, an increase of 160%. So we have gone in a little more than a decade from a place where Paul Martin could find nothing to cut from $130-billion to a place where nothing can be cut from $300-billion.


This is ancient history now, but back in 2001, just to get the ball rolling, I recommended some possible reductions in Ottawa’s annual expenses, a suggestion-list of cuts. The Western and Atlantic business subsidy agencies ($500-million), the Technology Partnerships Program ($200-million), the Sustainable Development Foundation ($100-million), the Prime Minister’s Africa Fund ($500-million), the anti-tobacco marketing campaign ($200-million), the green municipal funds ($250-million), new cultural programs ($500-million).Needless to say, these ideas were ignored and I imagine most of these spending categories have since been renamed and expanded.


So the battle must be waged anew to drive the Immovable Spending Blob out of Ottawa. Spending can and must be cut. Fortunately we have two rough blueprints at hand to get us all started. Over at Maclean’s magazine, Andrew Coyne has crafted a handy plan (http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/01/25/how-to-cut-20-billion-from-spending-without-really-trying/#more-103712)  to trim federal spending over the next few years. In “How to cut $20-billion from spending without really trying,” Mr. Coyne proposes cuts that would bring the budget deficit to zero over 5 years. A useful but tougher companion document is the Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s pre-budget call (http://www.taxpayer.com/federal/canada’s-deficit-action-plan-zero-three-ctf-releases-detailed-plan-and-timeline-balanced-bud) for about $20-billion in cuts over three years.

In brief, the Coyne cuts would include $6-billion in reduced transfers to the provinces between now and 2014. Via Rail and AECL should be put on full cost recovery to save $500-million. Half the CBC allocation should be raised by the CBC via direct cable fee, saving $500-million. Assorted regional development agencies would be shut down ($700-million). Handouts to private industries could be trimmed by $1-billion. Tax breaks for Labour Sponsored Venture Capital Funds, farmers, fishers, resource industries would save another $2-billion.


The taxpayers federation has similar ideas in mind, including cuts in equalization ($4.3-billion), a 5% reduction in departmental spending ($8.5-billion), and $2.5-billion saved by reducing regional development spending and crown corporation outlays. A public sector wage freeze and a freeze in public sector hiring, along with reductions in spending on consultants and advertizing could also be used to bring the deficit under control.


Spending can’t be cut? Not true. There are lots of options. And now’s the time for Ottawa to start making a list.

There are many areas that can and should be cut, before the defence budget is even considered, as Corcoran and (in the embedded links) Coyne and the CTF point out. One can quibble about the details – three years to a balanced budget or four or five; cut all stimulus or maintain some for (necessary) infrastructure maintenance; decrease transfers or cap transfers; etc – but there is no doubt that much of the Government of Canada’s spending is unproductive and, often, counter-productive. But every programme has champions and a constituency, a constituency  that benefits and maybe even votes.
Title: Re: Budget 2010 and its Impact on DND and the CF
Post by: E.R. Campbell on January 26, 2010, 10:02:01
And here (http://www.taxpayer.com/sites/default/files/Federal_PreBudget_2010.pdf) is the Canadian Taxpayers' Federation's plan. It is worth a read.

Here is a key line from the report (page 22):

"Canada’s debt has gone through four major periods of explosive, sustained growth: World War One, World War Two, the prime‐ministerships of Pierre Trudeau and Brian Mulroney, and currently. The pace of the debt burden’s growth today is paralleled only by this country’s darkest hours of war and its darkest hours of fiscal recklessness."

"Fiscal recklessness" is a good term to describe most government spending since around 1968. Good government, more productive (effective) government and 'cheaper' government is possible; we've done it before. The 'culture of entitlement' (thank you Pierre Trudeau) has to change, that's all.


Caveat lector: I am a member of the CTF and I make occasional donations to support its work.
Title: Re: Budget 2010 and its Impact on DND and the CF
Post by: E.R. Campbell on January 26, 2010, 11:51:39
Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from today’s Financial Post is another useful contribution to the 2010 budget debate – it’s only me, talking to myself, so far, here on Army.ca:

http://www.financialpost.com/news-sectors/economy/story.html?id=2484209
Quote
Cut taxes to lift productivity, Ottawa urged
Conference Board

Paul Vieira, Financial Post

Published: Tuesday, January 26, 2010
 

In a report, issued today, the board said policymakers should keep tax reform as a top issue in an effort to reverse a 20-year slump in productivity.

OTTAWA -- Even though they face deteriorating fiscal conditions, Canadian governments should continue to keep corporate income taxes low -- better yet, reduce them further -- to boost moribund productivity levels, the Conference Board of Canada recommends.

In a report, issued today, the board said policymakers should keep tax reform as a top issue in an effort to reverse a 20-year slump in productivity. Tax reform is crucial in sparking a revival in business investment in machinery and equipment investment, which has slowed considerably since the early 1980s and might help explain Canada's awful productivity record.

"We have overinvested in people relative to the plant," said Glen Hodgson, vice-president and chief economist at the Ottawa-based think-tank.

A stronger Canadian dollar versus its U.S. peer will make it easier for businesses to invest in the necessary technology, because the equipment has never been so cheap. The high-flying loonie might have boosted business investment in machinery and equipment in the third quarter of 2009, which jumped more than 25% annualized, recent data indicate.

But lower corporate income taxes, including the abolition of capital taxes, would help accelerate the process.

If necessary, governments that find themselves too strapped for financing could opt to increase consumption taxes, or introduce a new so-called green tax, to offset the shortfall created by lower corporate tax receipts.

"It is a rebalancing of the tax system," Mr. Hodgson said. "Put less weight on investment and income and capital, and more weight on consumption taxes. Tax the things we value the least more, and try to lighten taxes on things we really do value."

Tax reform is one of the elements the federal and provincial governments must tackle as part of productivity puzzle. Late last week, Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney warned the country faced years of sputtering economic growth -- no greater than 2% a year -- unless productivity levels improve.

Productivity growth is widely considered the best way to increase a society's standard of living, as income gains are produced with less effort. For Canada, improving current moribund levels will be more crucial in an era of slowing growth in the labour force, as Baby Boomers retire.

The Conference Board study indicated the real problem for Canada is the lack of investment in equipment. The quality of labour has climbed steadily since 1961, whereas the amount of capital -- or machinery and equipment -- deployed has been stagnant as of the 1980s.

"Sluggish growth in the capital stock has been a bigger impediment to Canada's productivity performance than has the labour force," the report said.

Besides tax reform and the stronger dollar, the report said governments should tackle the following to boost productivity: measures to improve the country's venture-capital market; continued investments in infrastructure, such as public transport, roads and railways; and removing "burdensome" government regulation that removes the incentive to invest in technology.

pvieira@nationalpost.com

Two points, and I know I’m repeating myself:

1.   There is only one taxpayer – you and me. Corporations can and do pay taxes but they do so only with the money they get (earn) from you and me. Corporate taxes are, indirectly, paid by us. It is the indirect nature of corporate taxes that makes them inefficient – more expensive to collect. ‘We,’ consumers mostly, would pay less, overall, if there were NO corporate taxes at all and other taxes were increased to provide the ‘lost’ revenue; and

2.   Productivity does mean making workers do more for less. Workers are only a minor part of the productivity equation. What needs to happen is to allow each worker to do more in the same time – maybe for a higher wage – by giving him or her better tools, including better management practices, better training and  better technology.

 My, personal, preference, would be:

•   No further changes to the GST/HST except to harmonize across the country;

•   Steady decreases in the income tax which is, essentially, a tax on savings and, therefore, a tax on investment and, consequentially, a tax on jobs because jobs are created by investment;

•   A total, 100%, reduction in corporate taxes;

•   A new carbon tax – a pure consumption tax, paid by each of us whenever we fill up our tanks, turn up our thermostats, take a hot shower, watch our large screen TV or buy groceries.  This would be sufficient to offset ‘losses’ from the corporate taxes and pay for the steady decreases in the income tax; and

•   Serious spending cuts, as discussed above.

That would allow us to afford all the essentials, including a strong military, and have a more productive economy with more and better paid jobs for Canadians.
Title: Re: Budget 2010 and its Impact on DND and the CF
Post by: Northalbertan on January 26, 2010, 13:53:54
Carbon tax is a dirty word out here in the west.  I don't think that idea will ever fly out here.
Title: Re: Budget 2010 and its Impact on DND and the CF
Post by: E.R. Campbell on January 26, 2010, 13:58:30
Carbon tax is a dirty word out here in the west.  I don't think that idea will ever fly out here.


I understand that; that doesn't make it a bad idea.

A new consumption tax, all dressed up in bright green, that might, actually, reduce pollution (because it will not do anything about climate change), remains a good idea to offset the costs of a balanced budget after about $15 Billion per year have been cut from existing spending - without touching defence or transfers to provinces.
Title: Re: Budget 2010 and its Impact on DND and the CF
Post by: Jed on January 26, 2010, 18:12:32
Mr. Campbell I agree on about 99 44/100 % of your opinions and insight but I disagree with a Carbon Tax. Yes it is a consumptive Tax and it will be theoretically distributed against the wealthy people first, but it would not be distributed 'regionally' very effectively. Folks living in rural and isolated areas away from the main centres or living in more northern climates, would be most likely taxed to the breaking point. Such a departure from the Status quo would mean having to reshift taxation on a macro basis. Please excuse my layman terminology and probably my spelling and grammar.

In my point of view it is all about production. I can not see how the completely redundant bureaucracy in Ottawa, or Toronto or any of the provincial capitals adds to efficiency.

Canada used to be relatively efficient at making things happen without killing entire forests to supply paper for legions of clerks to ensure new and improved forms are filled out correctly. What ever happened to guys like CD Howe who would go through an in basket piled 2 feet deep in one day making decisions and folks actually getting on with their work?

Before we had computers, when typewriters were the main writing tool and numbers were added primitively, major work occurred. Why do the bosses at the top of the pyramid need to have every last detail immediately? Whatever happened to appropriate delegation of tasks and matching authority and responsibilty correctly?

As long as we have micromanagement at the highest levels of our governmental organizations and the resulting lack of trust from employees down the line, productivity will never improve.
Title: Re: Budget 2010 and its Impact on DND and the CF
Post by: Thucydides on January 26, 2010, 18:28:46
I don't think people are not listening to you Edward, after all, similar ideas are on display in the Making Canada Relevant Again economic superthread (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php?topic=20359.0).

Tag teaming will work even better if parliamentarians, the media and every influential individual and decision maker is offered the arguments given and links to these URL's (and others) with a very polite but insistent message to read them (or your political party/newspaper/business will no longer receive my patronage). As an Aikido practitioner, I would also suggest placing the links on every left wing site imaginable in order to generate controversy and discussion in the spirit that free publicity is better than none.

Army.ca is supposed to have almost 10% of the entire CF as members, so there is a critical mass to cover the nation if everyone gets aboard the project...
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on February 12, 2010, 11:28:44
I hate to keep saying “I told you so,” but this, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from today’s Globe and Mail web site illustrates that Canadians so-called affection for the CF may be a mile wide but it is, at best, only an inch deep and it does not extend to building and maintaining the military capability that one of the world’s richest and most important nations needs. Defence, according to EKOS Research boss Frank Graves is where Canadians want Ottawa to cut:

My emphasis added
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/blogs/bureau-blog/budget-should-target-fat-cat-ottawa-poll-suggests/article1465710/
Quote
Budget should target 'fat-cat Ottawa,' poll suggests

Jane Taber

Friday, February 12, 2010

1. Economic advice. Canadians want the government to cut services and spending to reduce the deficit, according to a new poll. Are you listening Jim Flaherty?

The Finance Minister and Prime Minister Stephen Harper vow they can wrestle down the $56-billion deficit without having to raise taxes or to cut spending. Many economic experts believe this to be impossible.
EKOS Research asked Canadians to tell them how they would do it. What is their preferred approach to deficit reduction? Forty-six per cent of respondents said they would cut services and spending.

And 56 per cent of those who identified themselves as Conservatives supported cuts, compared to 38 per cent who say they are Liberals, 36 per cent NDP, 42 per cent Green and a huge 56 per cent of the Bloc Quebecois.

Only 14 per cent said they would raise taxes; 10 per cent of respondents said continue to run deficits and 30 per cent said they didn’t know.

The poll of 3,006 Canadians was conducted between Feb. 3 and 9.

Mr. Flaherty is to deliver his budget on March 4, which many observers are hoping will lay out the roadmap to deficit reduction.

EKOS pollster Frank Graves believes the Conservatives will “accent the need for severe cuts to the ‘bloated bureaucracy’.” In other words go after so-called “fat-cat Ottawa.”

“This will be effective in the short term,” he says. He also says his research team has done a lot of “hard testing” on where to cut - and it’s the Defence Department.

“My guess is that the major resources being devoted to Defence will be eyed by many Canadians as a possible target given he Afghan exit plan,” he says. “This will clash somewhat with the rising affection for the ‘troops’.”


Mr. Graves says that he has also done polling which has shown “receptivity to re-introducing some of the cut GST and dedicating it to the deficit.” That would be a tax hike.
Meanwhile, Canadians are feeling pretty good about themselves.

Dimitri Pantaxopoulos, of Praxicus, a national polling firm that has done research for the Conservatives, recently looked at Canadians’perceptions of their wealth.

He found that 75 per cent of Canadians felt they were the same or better off than they were at the same time last year. Last year, in the midst of the recession, only 46 per cent of Canadians felt that way.

The poll of 1,000 Canadians was conducted between Jan. 18 and 22.

However, he also found that although 72 per cent of respondents believe they are at least as well off as their parents at the same stage in life, only 46 per cent of the respondents said “they expect the next generation will be at least as well off as they are.”


It is encouraging that most Canadians disagree with Red Ed Clark, CEO of TD Canada Trust and his economist and big business colleagues that more taxes are the answer. Some taxes are necessary, even ‘good’ but deep and wide cuts to wasteful spending must come first – must, but, most likely will not. My guess is that there will be cuts to necessary, even productive spending but the waste will stay and will, eventually, be augmented with more waste funded by new taxes.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Colin P on February 12, 2010, 15:00:00
The Bartlett is undergoing a major refit at Allied shipyard right now. We got new 47' cutters a few years back to replace the 44's. The 41' cutters likely are due for new engines and electronics. the Hulls are in good shape. The 70' Point class are getting long in the tooth, the 47's are to small for Prince Rupert, likely another Europeon design to replace them. To bad they "sold" *cough* gave away *cough*  the John Jacobson. I suspect they could use her right now. Considering the interest in the Arctic, they could build a new 1100 class icebreaker for the West Coast and send her North in the summer, we used to have 2 x1100 on this coast. (Martha Black and George Pearkes)

They could increase SAR response in Comox by making the Crashboats a 24/7 operation with a SAR sector.

As for Canadians understanding the need to fund the military, they need to educated in terms they can understand. Few people understand that for each soldier/sailor/airman deployed overseas, they need another 4 to keep a body there. Also war costs should come from general revenue.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on February 18, 2010, 12:47:22
Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from today’s Globe and Mail are two articles that are, simultaneously, complementary and competing one with the other:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/budget-must-tackle-rising-costs-of-greying-population-watchdog-warns/article1471991/
Quote
Budget must tackle rising costs of greying population, watchdog warns
Slaying deficit isn't enough to counter looming squeeze on Canada's coffers, budget officer says

Steven Chase

Ottawa

Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010

Ottawa's battling to rein in record deficits, but there's a bigger problem at play that will make life even more miserable for politicians and taxpayers: Canada's aging population.

Parliamentary budget watchdog Kevin Page is releasing a report Thursday that warns it's not good enough for Ottawa to simply balance the books – because of the increasing squeeze Canada's greying ranks will place on coffers.

He predicts that even if Ottawa slays the deficit, it will still have to confront an expanding “fiscal gap” in revenue over the next decade of $20-billion to $40-billion annually.

This will arise as Canada's work force shrinks in proportion to its growing pool of retirees, a trend that should both slow the growth of government tax revenue and increase demands for health-care spending and old-age benefits.

Mr. Page's new report effectively pours cold water on the idea Canada can “grow” its way out of trouble – as the economy expands and generates more tax revenue – or make do with a moderate restraint program.

The budget watchdog says the federal government must prepare to eliminate this revenue gap – through tax hikes or spending cuts – in order to keep its debt levels stable relative to the size of Canada's economy.

Ottawa will be forced to take actions equal to between 1 per cent and 2 per cent of Canada's estimated annual economic output merely to stabilize its debt burden, the Parliamentary Budget Officer calculates. (Mr. Page is using economic output forecasts for 2013-14 to derive the $20-billion to $40-billion prediction.)

His report also says that Ottawa would need to act on an even grander scale if it wanted to go further and shrink the size of its debt relative to economic output.

Failing to at least stabilize the problem will lead to growing deficits and “severe debt problems” over the next couple of decades, Mr. Page warns.

The year 2011 is the beginning of what has been called a “demographic time bomb” for Canada: an explosion of the 65-plus population over two decades coupled with a sharply declining proportion of Canadians in the work force as boomers retire.

“Right now we have a mindset that if we got back to balance, everything would be fine. That's a very short-term perspective,” Mr. Page says.

The watchdog takes care to avoid criticizing politicians for past fiscal decisions, but his analysis clearly suggests the combined efforts of the Harper government and former Liberal governments resulted in tax cuts that were deeper than can be sustained. Since 2006, the Tories have reduced taxes on individuals, families and businesses by an estimated $220-billion over 2008-09 and five subsequent years. That works out to roughly $36-billion a year in lost tax revenue.

Canada's demographic troubles are a slow-growing menace to this country.

The number of workers supporting each elderly Canadian is expected to dwindle to 2.5 to one in 2030 from five to one today because of this country's low birth rate, rising life expectancy and aging boomers.

This carries a fiscal cost. As the federal Finance Department warned in the 2005 budget, this looming demographic shift could sap economic growth each year over the 2010-30 period by half a percentage point.

Until the recession hit and blew Ottawa off course, this issue was a central preoccupation for the Finance Department, which warned repeatedly that it was the reason why Ottawa had to keep driving down the national debt until it was only 25 per cent of the economy. Less debt means more room to borrow when the spending pressures of an aging population begin to climb.

The number of Canadians aged 65 and over has been growing at about 2.5 per cent annually. But this rate will climb to between 3 per cent and 4 per cent starting in 2011, when the first in the massive baby boom generation celebrate their 65th birthdays.

Separately yesterday Stockwell Day, the federal cabinet minister tapped to lead the charge on restraining spending, said that he believes Canadians expect “considerable sacrifices” from Ottawa as it slays the deficit.

The Treasury Board president said the March 4 budget will identify some areas where Ottawa expects to ratchet back spending plans to help balance the federal books. “You will see some of the specifics; other areas will be more general where we will want ongoing input from Canadians.”

And

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/ottawa-should-just-show-spending-restraint/article1471713/
Quote
Ottawa should just show spending restraint
The emotional GST battle obscures the fact that the government doesn't have to raise taxes

William Robson

Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010

Anxiety over projections of red ink in the federal budget through 2015 and beyond sparked a flare-up over the goods and services tax recently. Suggestions by business leaders, and a prominent banker in particular, that Ottawa should reinstate the 7-per-cent GST to get back to a surplus drew a rebuke in a Conservative Party e-mail. An alternative path – spending restraint – could help move us past this dichotomy, and the government should take the lead with a tough and convincing budget on March 4.

Certainly the anxiety over the federal deficit is well-founded. Business leaders, policy-makers and most adult Canadians recall the frustrations of trying to rein in government over-borrowing in the 1980s and early 1990s. To get stuck on the same treadmill of interest payments mounting beyond the capacity to pay in the coming decade would be doubly foolish.

Unlike last time, when the movement of the baby boomers into their highest-earning (and highest-taxpaying) years gave a fiscal boost, the boomers are now beginning to leave the work force. Equally serious, governments around the world are in deep fiscal trouble: Fears of inflation and even default in some cases could drive borrowing costs much higher, pushing interest payments, taxes and borrowing up together.

As for the debate over the GST, feelings are high because even before the financial crisis and slump made it look fiscally imprudent, the cut to 5 per cent pitted business people and economists against political tacticians.

Most of the former see the GST as a “good” tax – much less economically damaging than alternatives such as taxes on personal incomes and business profits. For them, the cut was a missed opportunity for implementing growth-friendly tax relief instead.

Politically, however, cutting the visible and unpopular tax looked smart. The 5-per-cent GST was one of five key planks in the Conservatives' first winning election platform, one they felt obliged to enact early in their mandate. Reversing the cut would be intensely embarrassing, and advice to do so is correspondingly irritating.

We should consider what outcome promises the best fiscal future for Canada.

If, as most business people and economists would prefer, consumption taxes such as the GST should provide a larger share of government revenues over time, the provinces need them far more than Ottawa. The provinces face the relentless pressure of health-care spending as the boomers age, and the GST-like taxes that Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick already have, and Ontario and British Columbia soon will, are the most robust sources to fund it.

Ottawa's fiscal situation has deteriorated so sharply partly because both the previous Liberal and the current Conservative governments committed to increase transfers to the provinces faster than the economy and the federal tax base can grow. This situation is not just fiscally unsustainable, it also undermines accountability: Governments serve citizens better when the legislature that provides the programs levies the taxes.

Those transfer commitments expire before 2015, and by then Canada will be better off if Ottawa is raising and transferring less money, and the provinces are posing honest questions to their voters about how to fund their health-care promises.

The battle also risks obscuring the key fact that Ottawa does not need to raise taxes to balance the budget. The scary projections start from a stimulus-bloated baseline. As many commentators have pointed out, and as the C.D. Howe Institute's upcoming “shadow budget” documents, simply returning real per-person spending to its 2008 level can end deficits before 2015.

The spending cuts overseen by prime minister Jean Chrétien and finance minister Paul Martin in the late 1990s not only yielded big surpluses, but also were accompanied by robust economic growth. Similar moves today are both desirable and practical.

The main obstacle to balancing the budget through restraint is opposition inside the government and among those who benefit from its spending. Talk of tax hikes will strengthen that opposition and make a necessary job harder.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty can and should lay out a credible path for spending that restores budget balance before five years have passed. If they do not, people will infer that the government lacks the conviction or will to proceed. In that case, the pressure for tax hikes will grow – and if the government responds to that pressure, it will be more damaging personal and business taxes, not the GST, that go up.

If the March 4 budget does lay out a clear and compelling program of spending restraint, the task of restoring fiscal balance will be far easier to accomplish.

William Robson is president and CEO of the C.D. Howe Institute.

First: two cherrs to Kevin Page for bringing some long term thinking to this process.

Second: to more cheers to William Robson for highlighting the single most important element of budgeting – restraint.

At the risk of repeating myself, we need:

1.   Massive cuts to expenditures, excluding cuts to –

     a.   Health and social transfers to the provinces,
     b.   National defence/security;
     c.   Post-secondary education; and
     d.   R&D – with emphasis on the R.

2.   Restraint in transfers to provinces – holding increases to the rate of inflation;

3.   Restrain in defence spending – holding increases to the rate of inflation for military hardware (which is much, much higher than the general rate of inflation) and funding unforecasted operations from general revenue;

4.   Cuts to taxes and fees, specifically –

     a.   Cuts to the income tax aimed at taking hundreds of thousands of the lowest income (from employment) Canadians off the tax rolls entirely
     b.   The complete elimination of corporate taxes, which are, essentially, just consumption taxes (like the GST/HST) but with an expensive, convoluted collection system,
     c.    Reductions to the employers’ share of EI and the CPP,

5.   Then, if necessary, two new taxes –

     a.   A surtax on income from employment over some defined amount, say, just for argument) income from employment (salary and bonuses) exceeding $2.5 Million, after deductions, and
     b.   A new carbon tax, a green tax that would be collected à la the GST/HST on a flow through basis so that the ‘burden’ ends up, visibly, with the end user consumer, from Victoria, to Yellowknife and on to St. John’s, every time (s)he heats the family home or business, fills up the gas tank, turns on the big screen TV or buys groceries.

You can bet that defence spending (which accounts for about 7.5% of federal spending or about ⅓ of the deficit) will be on many, many, many ‘cut’ lists – starting with the political left but including people in Finance and the Treasury Board.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on February 19, 2010, 07:51:35
Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail and National Post, respectively, are two more articles on possible cuts to defence spending:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/afghan-pullout-sets-budget-quandary-for-harper/article1473645/
Quote
Afghan pullout sets budget quandary for Harper
Should expected savings of up to $1.5-billion after troop repatriation be used trim the deficit or to keep priming the military?

Campbell Clark

Ottawa
Friday, Feb. 19, 2010

The Harper government will save up to $1.5-billion a year after the Canadian troops are repatriated from Afghanistan in July of next year but the move will leave the Prime Minister with a tough budget choice: Use the money to pay down the deficit or roll it back into the military.

Signs of what decision Stephen Harper will make could come as early as March 4, when the federal budget is delivered and his government maps out plans for a return to balanced books.

This spring, the government will update its defence spending projections for the next three years.

Two new think-tank papers put the estimate of savings when troops return at $1-billion to $1.5-billion.

“It may be that during this year's budget speech, which will concentrate on the way in which the government plans to deal with the massive budget deficit, the government may mention that the planned withdrawal from Afghanistan will result in savings of approximately $1-billion annually,” wrote retired colonel Brian MacDonald in a paper released Thursday by the Conference of Defence Associations.

Mr. MacDonald notes that the government has already signalled it expects to lop $765-million in 2011-12 from the $943-million in special funds allocated this year to the military for the Afghan mission.

But he argues the government has yet to really clarify the plans for the military's base budget.

The current public projections for 2011-12 show the main budget declining slightly and don't even include the 2.7-per-cent annual increase that the Harper government promised in its 2008 defence strategy. An update to that figure this spring, and new spending projections for the following year, will indicate whether the military's multiyear spending plans will include big-ticket items, or restraint.

Mr. MacDonald argues that, unless some of the Afghanistan spending is pumped back into the military, the Canadian Forces will not be able to replace desperately needed equipment like the navy's ships and destroyers and the air force's fighter jets.

Suggestions that Canada forego the spending for five years to fight the deficit will mean foregoing a fully functioning navy or air force, he says: “We don't have the luxury.”

The Conference Board of Canada argues that the withdrawal from Afghanistan provides an opportunity to slow increases in military spending that have averaged 8 per cent per year since 2000.

Conference Board economist Alexandre Laurin said not all of the $1.5-billion in annual operating costs for Afghanistan estimated by Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page can really be banked when the troops withdraw, since some of it is, for example, the cost of equipment that would go to waste if not used elsewhere.

But it will still make it easier for the government to slow the rate of increases in military spending to 3 per cent per year – which the Conference Board estimates would save $1-billion in 2011-12 and $1.5-billion by 2013-14.

“What's the alternative? To keep it growing at such a high rate,” Mr. Laurin said.

Recent increases have allowed the military to rebuild its capacity, but that growth cannot be maintained when cost cuts are needed to combat the deficit, he said.

“We've done most of the catch-up. … Yes, we should be able to at least maintain our [defence] capacity, but we don't need to increase it further.”

“We need to find some areas for spending reductions, and that would be one of them.”

And

http://network.nationalpost.com/NP/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2010/02/18/don-martin-forces-prepare-for-funding-cuts.aspx
Quote
Don Martin: Forces prepare for funding cuts
Posted: February 18, 2010

Don Martin, Canadian politics

Thousands of Canadian soldiers now simulating Kandahar combat in the California desert have had their fresh meals reduced to twice daily while bottled water is replaced by tanker truck fillups.

This is not to experience civilian life in poverty-stricken Afghanistan. It is, at least partially, military conditioning for an oncoming budget squeeze.

Now, before images jump to mind of malnourished soldiers weakly staggering around the airfield pleading for boxed rations, they still have access to plenty of snack food. And phasing out bottled water has as much to do with environmental considerations - plastic bottles, very bad - as it does cost savings.   

But a military which enjoyed a 57% surge in funding over five years is suddenly preparing to fight against restraint as the government's $56-billion deficit elimination project moves onto the Conservative agenda.

Internal documents show the forces are banking on a $2 billion increase in next month's budget to bring national defence spending to $21.1 billion.  But the good times stop rolling after this year and military planners are already scrambling for ammunition to take a shot at new funding ideas.   

Their timing is lousy. The forces will be shifting from full tilt to full stop on the battlefield at the precise moment when the Conservative government takes aim at easy cost-cutting targets.

While budget cuts this year are not expected, military brass will still ding land, air and naval forces 5% of their total spending to create a slush fund to cover unforeseen deployments.

The big fear is that a decade of twilight will arrive in 2011 as a military confined to Canadian bases using battle-battered equipment waits for another call to action.

Let's face a squeamish reality here. The supreme sacrifice of 140 soldiers, with hundreds more maimed or mentally scarred, has rendered military budgets almost bulletproof from ministerial reduction.

Nothing boosted recruitment faster or opened government wallets wider than posting a full battle-ready deployment to the wilds of southern Afghanistan. Add in soldiers rushing to disaster relief or keeping the Winter Olympics secure, and filling military coffers has been the sexiest investment on the books.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper nailed that point home during his Haiti tour this week when he saluted Canada's heavy lift Globemaster fleet as a uniquely Conservative contribution to elevating Canada into a ‘hard power' on military matters.

Of course, he neglected to mention that most of the money to buy all this equipment was courtesy of Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin's five-year, $13-billion budget boost from 2005, a pot of gold which dries up this year.

But the perfect storm for the troops is ending. Many soldiers are poised to come home from Haiti next month, the 3,000-plus on Winter Olympic security detail starts leaving in two weeks, the California training will end soon and the withdrawal of all soldiers and hardware from Afghanistan begins in 16 months.

The question looms large: What next?

It takes a very shiny object to catch a finance minister's favorable eye, particularly when he's been ordered into the era of spending cuts,  and running, flying or sailing troops around domestic bases is not exactly an attention-grabber.   

This means the must-seize military moment has arrived for Canadian Forces to create a blueprint for continued funding with causes that have mass voter appeal. 

Be it stamping out Somalian pirating, fortifying our Arctic boundary, bolstering our search and rescue capabilities or some fresh brainstorm developing inside DND headquarters, the forces need a post-Afghanistan reason-to-exist recalibration.   

When deadly force gives way to peacekeeping with brass waiting around for new equipment to arrive years late and over budget, soldiers could again disappear from the government's priority radar.   

Then, sadly, Canada's armed forces are vulnerable to an attack which hurts them the most -- a direct hit on their bottom line.
 

National Post
dmartin@nationalpost.com


I suspect that M. Laurin of The Conference Board of Canada (http://www.conferenceboard.ca/) represents most of the advice being offered to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty; Brian MacDonald’s voice will be, largely, unheard or, at least, unheeded in the finance ministry boardrooms where budget plans are crafted.

Will events, or Prime Minister Harper, provide a nice new, shiny object - in the form of a tough, dangerous mission - to rescue the defence budget from the death of a thousand cuts à la the ‘70s (and repeated in the '80s and ‘90s)?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MarkOttawa on February 21, 2010, 15:22:26
More at The Torch:

The CF's budget--and missions--after Afstan
http://toyoufromfailinghands.blogspot.com/2010/02/cfs-budget-and-missions-after-afstan.html

Quote
...
Note what Mr Martin writes:

"...the must-seize military moment has arrived for Canadian Forces to create a blueprint for continued funding with causes that have mass voter appeal..."

Good flippin' grief. It is not for the military to identify specific missions that may require funding. It the function of the civilian government, from time-to-time, to call on the CF to carry out specific missions that the government decides are in the national interest (the military clearly should be allowed to give their best professional advice in advance, especially when there are competing possibilities). That is the essence of civilian control of the military. Mr Martin would be loud amongst those screaming bloody murder were the CF to be perceived as challenging that control by telling the government what the CF should be doing. What a hypocrite despite the "sadly" thrown into his last sentence above.

More broadly, it is the function of the government to identify for the military the general types of missions that they may be required to perform. It is then up to the military to tell the government what numbers and types of forces and equipments are required and roughly what they may cost. The government finally should make the decision about what capabilities it is ultimately willing to pay for.

But our recent governments, Liberal and Conservative, have been both unwilling and (more important) incapable to engage in the sort of serious, and politically fraught (some traditional missions may have to be ditched and there may be job losses somewhere), analytic thinking that is required for such an exercise. Sadly, the CF themselves have done little or nothing to encourage such thinking, each service being afraid that it may be gored in the process. For more along these lines see the end of this post...

British defence budget woes--a lesson for Canada too?
http://toyoufromfailinghands.blogspot.com/2010/01/british-defence-budget-woes-lesson-for.html

The key thing to watch for future budgets is the 2.7% promised ongoing annual increase--and even that is hardly what it seems...

Mark
Ottawa
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on February 24, 2010, 08:46:16
Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from today’s Globe and Mail, is more speculation on the fate of defence spending when Finance Minister Jim Flaherty brings down his national budget in a few weeks:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/budget/defence-priorities-subject-to-tough-budget-decisions/article1479089/
Quote
Defence priorities subject to tough budget decisions
As next week's cost-conscious federal budget draws closer, the Department of National Defence may be in for a rude awakening after years of steady and strong Tory funding

Bill Curry and Daniel Leblanc

Ottawa — Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2010

Icebreakers, fighter jets, helicopters and armoured vehicles: no other department spends quite like the Department of National Defence.

Tory times have been good times for Canada's defence budget. When the Conservatives won power in January, 2006, Canada's total defence spending stood at $14.7-billion a year. It's now more than $21-billion, a 44 per cent increase. The Afghan mission is partly behind the higher costs, but the government has also made long-term commitments to upgrade the equipment of the Canadian Forces.

But with the Afghan mission winding down and the government's focus shifting to balancing the books over the medium term, these big hikes in defence spending are coming to an end.

In a briefing this week, a senior government official told journalists that starting in 2011, the government will look for savings by scaling back the rate of growth in program spending. The official indicated that whilehealth care  and education transfers to the provinces will be exempt, defence spending will not.

No one expects defence items will be cut in next week's budget, but observers do predict that some of the more expensive purchases the government had planned for the coming years could be delayed. The Defence Department has an annual budget of $2.3-billion for capital expenditures and $2.4-billion for maintenance and upgrades.

This is a sample of some of the high-profile projects the government is working on for the coming years, highlighting a number of tough decisions that will need to be made.

Next-generation fighter planes: As part of a project worth more than $4-billion, Canada's fleet of CF-18s will need to be replaced within the next decade, and the government is being asked to choose a replacement aircraft in the near future. The government is participating with the United States in a program overseen by Lockheed Martin to design a new strike fighter, but proponents of the Eurofighter Typhoon and the Boeing Super Hornet are trying to entice Ottawa to go for their planes.

Search-and-rescue planes: Ottawa has been talking for years about spending $3-billion for new planes to conduct search-and-rescue operations all over the country. The job is currently handled by aging Buffaloes and large Hercules, and the government will face domestic pressure over concerns that the current fleet won't be up to the job.

Land-combat vehicles: DND is working on a $5-billion plan to upgrade its light armoured vehicles (LAV IIIs) and select a new generation of close combat vehicles (CCVs). The project has been on again/off again, with the government having to decide whether to pay for the development costs of a new fleet of CCVs for future ground military operations.

Supply ships: A $3-billion project to buy three new vessels to bring supplies, including fuel, to naval task forces was announced in 2006, and has yet to get launched. Odds are the government can buy only two ships if it wants to stay within budget, and it might have to ditch its plan for fully equipped, multitasking vessels. Still, the project benefits from the fact that the ships could be built in Canada, and thus contribute to the country's economic recovery.

Arctic offshore patrol ships: The government has promised to buy six to eight vessels, at a cost of $3.1-billion, to navigate year-round in the North's icy waters. The plan is a key element of Prime Minister StephenHarper's  campaign in support of Canada's sovereignty over the Arctic, which makes it hard to axe, but the ships are expensive, with an estimated cost of $4.3-billion to operate over 25 years.

Operation and maintenance: In addition to buying new gear, the Canadian Forces spend a lot of money every year upgrading, maintaining and operating their equipment. The decades-old Sea King helicopters are high-maintenance aircraft, for example, and the government could cut back on the use of its equipment in times of fiscal restraint.

O&M, the last item on the list, is always an easy target, even inside DND where people – including admirals and generals – ought to know better; cutting O&M always comes back to bite us in the bum.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 04, 2010, 10:30:50
Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from a recent edition of the National Post, is a plea to “keep the military off the budgetary chopping block.” We will know is just a few hours if the government is so inclined:

http://www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/story.html?id=2629573
Quote
Keep the military off the budgetary chopping block

Matt Gurney, National Post

Published: Tuesday, March 02, 2010

On Thursday, the government will bring down a new budget. It is widely rumoured to be a stay-the-course affair that recognizes the need for tough fiscal choices. But tough choices must still be correct ones, and sometimes that means knowing where not to cut.

A recent C.D. Howe Institute report, approvingly cited by Terence Corcoran in his Financial Post series on proposed deficit-reduction measures, called for a freeze in military spending at current levels, adjusted for population growth and inflation, noting that the end of the Afghanistan campaign would provide Ottawa an opportunity to "limit the expansion of spending on National Defence without lowering our military capacity." While I share the Institute's concern over the deficit, its scholars are mistaken in two key ways: Current spending would not be enough to sustain our current capabilities, nor are those current capabilities sufficient.

As the report notes, military spending in Canada has climbed at an annual rate of 8% since 2000, far outpacing the growth in the overall economy. Beginning under Paul Martin and continuing during the Conservatives' leadership, chronically undermanned units began to return to something close to full strength. Rusted out equipment was replaced. When specific problems with Canadian gear were discovered -- for example, when the infamous unarmoured Iltis patrol jeeps fared poorly in an IED-strewn Afghan desert -- new equipment was ordered and rushed to the troops.

It can't be denied that the Harper government has delivered what the troops needed. German-made tanks, American transport helicopters and British artillery cannons have made our troops more effective and harder to kill. But it has also revealed an enduring flaw in Canadian military procurement policy: In peacetime, we convince ourselves we'll never need a military, and in wartime, we pay through the nose to buy one off the shelf. From building virtually a whole new navy and air force to battle the Nazis, to the recent race to get drones and helicopters into Kandahar in time to make a difference, it's how we've always done it. This must change.

Neglecting our Forces in peacetime and then racing to properly equip them once they're already committed to battle not only puts our men and women in danger, it's fiscally inefficient. It would be better, both for our military and our treasury, to commit ourselves to maintaining a large, robust military in peacetime that is capable of going to war on short notice, with all it needs already on hand. That means maintaining a high tempo of training, recruiting enough manpower to fill the ranks, and replacing obsolete or worn out equipment promptly.

Our navy desperately needs new supply ships and fleet-support vessels. The Forces should abandon the bizarre plan to build two bloated all-purpose ships and instead immediately design and order smaller, specialized ships which can carry out those tasks independently (and which can be built in Canadian shipyards), starting immediately. Our three 40-year old destroyers should be retired and replaced with modern, perhaps foreign-built vessels, preferably in greater numbers. The air force will soon need to replace the increasingly elderly CF-18 fighters, an enormous expense for which we should budget now. The army's fleet of armoured vehicles, battered by eight years of war, needs upgrading and retrofitting.

The steps above are what's necessary to simply maintain our current capabilities. But arguably, each branch of the Canadian Forces, most particularly the army but certainly the navy as well, ought to be considerably larger than it is. Even if Canadians are willing to settle for the status quo -- a small military that uses technology and guts to punch above its weight -- we're going to need to spend to keep us there.

Many will no doubt argue that Canada doesn't need a powerful military. But to their credit, the Conservatives, who've spent the last several years positioning themselves as the party that gave the military its pride back, aren't taking that line. Thursday's budget -- and those that follow it -- must put the money where their mouths have been.

mgurney@nationalpost.com


There is, of course, a counter argument that says that military spending is wasteful and we should, always, do just barely enough to prevent the Americans from offering unwanted help. The government’s commendably hasty response to the Haitian earthquake, made possible only by increased defence spending does not ‘earn’ the government any points in the polls: Why, therefore, spend more if there is no political return?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on March 04, 2010, 12:04:08
Figures lie, and liars figure.

What is the Defence budget?  A seemingly simple question, until you examine how the government operates.

Is the Defence Budget the Parliamentary appropriations in the Main Estimates only?  Do we include the Supps as well?

The Government could increase the funding to DND in the mains, but cut off the supps - that would be an "increase" that would result in less money.

There are many games that can be played in Ottawa...


(An example of the games: the announcement that PO&M budgets will be frozen for departments.  Since current collective agreements call for a 1.5% pay increase, the only way to manage that will be to attrit personnel by 1.5% per year.  Over three years, that's a 5% reduction to the size fo the public service - a desired outcome, but not cast as such)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 04, 2010, 16:23:40
I don’t know how the number in this story, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from the Ottawa Citizen, align with the government’s numbers from its own polls, but if they agree that about half of Canadians want the defence budget cut then we are in for some lean years:

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/Most+Canadians+aren+worried+federal+deficit+Poll/2638129/story.html
(my emphasis added)
Quote
Most Canadians aren't worried by federal deficit: Poll

BY ANDREW MAYEDA, CANWEST NEWS SERVICE

MARCH 3, 2010

OTTAWA — Most Canadians aren't bothered right now by the red ink flowing out of Ottawa, but they wish the government weren't killing the home-renovation tax credit, according to the findings of a new poll.

The survey shows an overwhelming majority of Canadians are in favour of the government cutting spending to eliminate the deficit, projected to hit $56 billion this year. However, most Canadians also support the idea of running a deficit until revenues rise with the economic recovery, according to the poll, commissioned by Canwest News Service and Global National.

The results suggest public opinion is roughly in line with the deficit-reduction plan put forward by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. Flaherty, who will introduce the budget Thursday, has vowed not to hike taxes or reduce overall spending to balance the budget. Instead, the government has said it will restrain spending growth, while hoping that tax revenues will recover sufficiently from faster economic growth to eventually eliminate the deficit.

Recently, a number of economists, former public servants and business leaders expressed concern that deficits could become entrenched unless the government takes bolder steps to get its finances in order.

However, 54 per cent of poll respondents said a federal deficit doesn't bother them "at this stage."

Ipsos Reid pollster Darrell Bricker said the results suggest that most Canadians understand the need to rack up deficits to stimulate the economy through the injection of public funds.

"When you talked about the deficit previously, it really was a representation of government waste and inefficiency," said Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Reid Public Affairs. "Now when people talk about the deficit, it's about an investment in trying to turn the economy around."

Seventy-five per cent of Canadians support cutting spending, while only 28 per cent back a tax hike, the poll found. By contrast, 59 per cent support the idea of running a shortfall "until revenues rise to help reduce the deficit."

The survey helps to explain not only why the government isn't taking any radical fiscal steps, but also why the Opposition Liberals haven't been more critical of the deficit. Recently, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has focused on urging the government to create jobs, and he has been vague about the Liberals' own deficit-fighting plan.

"To come out and radically attack the deficit, at a time when people probably still think the economy is fragile, is probably not good political positioning," said Bricker.

A senior government official revealed last week that the home-renovation tax credit will not be renewed. The credit, which allowed individuals to claim expenses on home renovations, covered work done before Feb. 1.

However, 76 per cent of poll respondents believe the credit should have been extended for another year.

"It's a missed opportunity," said Bricker. "It's obviously a program that's popular with Canadians."

Respondents were also asked to express their support for cutting government spending in different areas. Canadians expressed the most support — at 63 per cent and 60 per cent — for cutting subsidies for arts and sports organizations, respectively. It should be noted, however, that support for cutting arts funding was only 58 per cent in Quebec, where a proposal by the Conservatives to do just that provoked a backlash in the last election.

Fifty-nine per cent of respondents were in favour of cutting foreign aid; 48 per cent, subsidies for industry and agriculture; 47 per cent [of respondents were in favour of cutting] the armed forces and defence; 29 per cent, the environment; 29 per cent, justice and crime prevention; 25 per cent, social services; and 16 per cent, health care.

To complete the poll, Ipsos interviewed 1,000 randomly selected adults by phone from Feb. 18 to 22. A poll of that size has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Regional error margins tend to be significantly larger.

© Copyright (c) Canwest News Service


I will repeat what I have said over and over again: despite all the red T-shirts and yellow ribbons, Canadians’ support for the military may be a mile wide but it is only an inch deep. That is based, largely, on the fact that the overwhelming majority of Canadians – military supporters and opponents alike - haven’t the foggiest bloody idea of why we have armed forces and what those forces do. In fact I would guess, based on some very, very old data, that the opponents of national defence and defence spending – the Stephen Staples, Maude Barlows and so ons and so forths – are better informed about what the CF is and does than are the ‘supporters’ most of whom appear to be uncritical, uninformed ‘cheerleaders.’


Edit: typo
Title: This from Budget 2010
Post by: milnews.ca on March 04, 2010, 17:41:56
Here's the budget page (http://www.budget.gc.ca/2010/home-accueil-eng.html), and I've attached the defence budget info (extracted from the 400+ page major document (http://www.budget.gc.ca/2010/pdf/budget-planbudgetaire-eng.pdf)) - defence section:
Quote
.....Restraining Growth in National Defence Spending
In recent years, the Government has made major, necessary investments in
the country’s military capabilities in support of the Canada First Defence
Strategy, the Government’s long-term vision for the Canadian Forces. The
Canada First Defence Strategy is a long-term commitment to modernize
the Canadian Forces. The strategy sets out key objectives of growing the
Forces, recapitalizing air, land and naval fleets, and other major equipment,
restoring infrastructure, and ensuring the Canadian Forces are ready to
deploy in the defence of Canada and Canada’s interests both at home and
abroad. The Canada First Defence Strategy continues to point the way
forward for Canada’s military.

In addition to incremental funding received for deployed operations,
National Defence’s annual expenses have increased from $15 billion in
2005–06 to $18 billion in 2008–09. In 2008–09, National Defence
spending represented approximately one-fifth of total government direct
program spending on an annual basis. These investments have strengthened
the Canadian Forces and produced tangible results, as most recently
demonstrated by the Afghanistan mission, support for relief efforts in Haiti,
and the provision of security at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

The Government remains committed to continuing to build the Canadian
Forces into a first-class, modern military. However, as part of measures
to restrain the growth in overall government spending and return to
budget balance in the medium term, the Government will slow the rate of
previously planned growth in the National Defence budget. Budget 2010
reduces growth in National Defence’s budget by $525 million in 2012–13
and $1 billion annually beginning in 2013–14. Defence spending will
continue to grow but more slowly than previously planned (Chart 4.1.2).

By implementing this measure beginning in 2012–13, the Government
will ensure that it does not adversely affect military operations during the
current Afghanistan mission, and that National Defence has sufficient time
to adjust its long-term expenditure plans. The Government is confident
that the long-term objectives of the Canada First Defence Strategy can be
achieved and that the Canadian Forces will continue to fully meet its three
key roles: defending Canada, defending North America and contributing to
international peace and security.

National Defence has already begun work on a comprehensive strategic
review to ensure its resources are fully aligned with the priorities set out
in the Canada First Defence Strategy. This review will identify measures
necessary to implement the Budget 2010 decision ....
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MarkOttawa on March 04, 2010, 20:14:14
On CBC's "Power and Politics", 1706, minister Flaherty said the CF "will have to delay some of their acquisitions".  Which?  I'd think:

CCVs
A/OPs
And certainly no new fighter selection this year.

Mark
Ottawa
Title: Canadian Press's Take on Budget 2010
Post by: milnews.ca on March 05, 2010, 08:33:07
Military escapes federal budget axe for now, but cuts loom in 2012-13
Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press, 4 Mar 10
Article link (http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/100304/national/fedbudget_military?printer=1)

The Canadian military dodged a bullet in Thursday's federal budget, but will still see a total of $2.5 billion carved out of future defence spending after troops withdraw from Afghanistan next year.

Funding will remain largely stable in the current year, but the Conservative government plans to take away $525 million in planned increases in 2012-13, $1 billion in 2013-14 and another $1 billion the following year.

With Ottawa facing an estimated $53-billion deficit this year and $49 billion next year, there have been calls by social welfare groups for cuts to defence spending.

The military's budget has increased by $3 billion annually since the Tories came to power four years ago. It is expected to crest above $20 billion this year.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said restraining defence spending is one pillar in his government's strategy to cut $17.6 billion from the federal budget over the next few years.

Thursday's budget raises questions about whether the Harper government will be able to deliver planned big-ticket purchases, including new naval supply ships, search-and-rescue planes, and armoured vehicles to replace those worn out by the Afghan war.

"We do not know right now if there will be an impact on those major capital projects," said Vice-Admiral Denis Rouleau, second-in-command for the military.

"We're certainly hoping to be able to move forward." ....

More on link
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 05, 2010, 10:35:01
Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from the Ottawa Citizen is a pretty fair assessment of the budget, with a useful list of highlights:

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/sports/faces+year+wage+freeze/2642974/story.html
Quote
PS faces 2-year wage freeze

BY KATHRYN MAY AND ANDREW MAYEDA

MARCH 5, 2010
 
 
(https://Army.ca/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ottawacitizen.com%2Fsports%2F2642975.bin%3Fsize%3D620x400&hash=836839800a6476a69b8776c731ac8e15)
Budgets
Photograph by: Dennis Leung, The Ottawa Citizen

The Harper government targeted Canada’s 419,000 public servants Thursday with an unprecedented three-year freeze on department operations that will eat into their salaries, jobs and the programs and services they provide to Canadians.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s budget is poised to take the biggest bite out of the public service — most of which is outside of Ottawa — and its day-to-day operations since the Liberals’ massive downsizing of the mid-1990s.

The freeze, which will affect salaries, administration and overhead, is expected to save $6.8 billion over the next five years, which accounts for the biggest slice of the $17.6 billion in savings squeezed from departments to reduce the $53.8-billion deficit.

The wages of public servants will be allowed to increase this year by 1.5 per cent, as mandated under collective agreements. But departments must fund the increase, which amounts to roughly $300 million, from their operating budgets. After this year, salaries and operating budgets will be frozen for two years.

The freeze will extend to the military, RCMP, Crown corporations and agencies that receive federal funding. Those that don’t, such as Export Development Corporation and Business Development Bank, are expected to follow suit.

“We will take action to ensure the government lives within its means,” said Flaherty. “Canadian families and businesses have accepted the need for restraint. Fairness requires the government, too, should have to keep costs under control.”

But the budget also set the stage for further reductions, including a slew of reviews, the results of which will be fed into the preparation of the 2011 budget.

In his speech to the Commons, Flaherty said: “Our government is focused on jobs and growth, for one simple reason. Canadians are focused on jobs and growth.”

As expected, the budget follows through on the second year of the government’s stimulus plan, a move that will inject $19 billion into the economy.

Beyond the stimulus plan, the budget contains a smattering of new initiatives, such as $60 million to help youth deal with the tough job market, $62 million for elite and amateur athletes, and $8 million to create a new oversight body for the RCMP.

But the biggest revelation is the government’s restraint plan, which pledges to all but balance the budget by 2015, when the deficit is expected to fall to $1.8 billion.

The government plans to save $4.5 billion over five years by capping foreign aid at this year’s level, in the process breaking a promise to increase aid by eight per cent per year. Foreign aid will rise by $364 million to $5 billion.

The Conservatives will also slow the rate of previously planned growth in the national defence budget — a move that will save a further $2.5 billion.

All told, the restraint measures will limit the growth of direct program spending to 1.3 per cent once the stimulus plan expires. Previously, the Conservatives had predicted such expenditures would grow at more than twice that clip.

At a news conference, Flaherty said it was a “tough budget” — one that offers probably the smallest hike in new spending in a decade.

“We have to make some tough decisions,” he said. “The economic recovery is fragile … We needed to make the decisions now so that we would have a credible plan we would follow now.”

Treasury Board President Stockwell Day will lead the “aggressive” departmental spending review, where all programs and services could be on the table. The government is also launching an administrative review to streamline internal operations of departments, from human resources to informatics, and to end duplication.

It will also hold consultations with the 18 federal unions to come up with a “reasonable” compensation regime and find ways to organize work and use technology to improve the productivity of workers. The government will also be looking for ways to “better manage” compensation, including pensions and benefits.

Budget documents say these measures will “over time” reduce the size of the public service, which has mushroomed to support the government’s spending spree of recent years.

The freeze will spark a showdown with its unions, which have already had to swallow four years of wage controls and a suspension of collective bargaining.

Unions and Treasury Board are supposed to be back to the bargaining table in 2011, but will face the pressure of the operating freeze because departments will have to absorb any raises.

“It doesn’t look good,” said John Gordon, president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada. “With the freeze, they aren’t giving departments money to pay for their employees so, when we go back to the table, does that mean we start negotiating at zero? That is not negotiating.”

Gary Corbett, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service, said he was heartened that the government promised to consult with unions before the next phase of reductions. He said unions have ideas on how to save money that should be considered before the government starts cutting critical programs and services.

“What we’re talking about is a change in the public service now and forever because if we lose talent now we will never get it back,” he said.

None of the opposition parties said they would support the Conservative budget, but Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff said enough of his party’s MPs would abstain or be absent from the budget vote to allow it to pass, thus avoiding an election.

“Canadians don’t want an election,” Ignatieff told reporters. “What they want from me is an alternative, an alternative to cuts, freezes and gimmicks. And we’ve been working hard on that alternative.”

NDP leader Jack Layton also said his party did not support the budget, but would wait to decide how his MPs would vote, in the hopes of negotiating changes with the Conservatives. Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe said his party would outright oppose the budget.

Kathryn May writes for The Citizen. Andrew Mayeda writes for Canwest News Service.

Budget highlights

•   $19 billion in stimulus measures
•   Planned spending to be cut by $17.6 billion over five years
•   $53.8-billion deficit cut in half in two years
•   Freezing the salaries of the PM, MPs and senators
•   Planned spending for military is cut by $2.5 billion over three years
•   A national securities regulator within three years
•   New bank notes and coins
•   $62 million for elite athletes and amateur sports
•   A new civilian complaints commission for the RCMP
•   $3.2 billion in personal income tax relief
•   $1 billion for training programs for workers
•   $4.1 billion for social housing
•   $1 billion over five years for Clean Energy Fund
•   $300 million for Atomic Energy of Canada and the Chalk River Laboratories

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen


I think that the freeze on government departments actually translates into finite reductions in staff, propjets or, more likely, both – including in DND. It is a signal for deputy ministers to weed out the wasteful, useless projects and people – and there are plenty of both – again, including in DND and the CF.

It has been pointed out to me, elsewhere, that DND cannot, properly (efficiently and effectively) spend what it has now so some restraint may just serve to match up available (less) money with the capability to spend it well.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: GAP on March 08, 2010, 10:50:54
 National Post editorial board: The future of the Canadian Armed Forces
Posted: March 08, 2010, 8:00 AM by NP Editor
Article Link (http://network.nationalpost.com/NP/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2010/03/08/national-post-editorial-board-the-future-of-the-canadian-armed-forces.aspx)

Last Thursday’s budget should silence the doubters: Canada’s mission in Afghanistan will end in 2011.

While some had suspected that Stephen Harper’s government might find a way to maintain a troop presence there, either by deploying a smaller contingent of troops on a rebranded mission or by appearing to be talked into it by Barack Obama, the budget makes clear that drawing down the war in Afghanistan and slowing the rate of military expenditures, will form a key part of the Conservative government’s plans to slay the deficit.

The Canadian military must now learn to make do with a budget that, while continuing to grow, will leave it with less fiscal room to plan and undertake missions than it originally had expected. One possible source of inspiration is a report released last week by the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, titled Whatever Happened to Peacekeeping: The Future of a Tradition.

The report lays out the history of peacekeeping and does not gloss over some of its more notable failures, including the catastrophic Rwandan Genocide in 1994. It does find, however, that the United Nations has learned from its mistakes: More recent UN missions, conducted by heavily armed troops operating under robust mandates, have proven successful at restoring or imposing peace. The current UN mission in south Lebanon, where a large, primarily European force is maintaining a buffer between Israel and Hezbollah, is cited as an example of the UN’s new kind of “peace operation” mission — large, powerful and with the necessary political support to intervene decisively.

Nevertheless, the report takes on the near-mythical status that peacekeeping has acquired in the Canadian collective psyche. After all, it was a Canadian, then-foreign minister Lester B. Pearson, who proposed in 1956 that a UN force separate hostile Israeli and Egyptian forces, ending the Suez Crisis. And Canadians, from individual observers to entire battlegroups, have served in almost every peacekeeping mission since. The concept of the Canadian soldier as a neutral observer, unaligned with any faction in global affairs and only there to help, was always a fiction for a country inextricably bound to the Western bloc, but it was a popular one with many Canadians, particularly those disinclined to favour large military expenditures and the always messy business of geopolitical brinksmanship.

Ironically, just as the notion of the Canadian as a peacekeeper was becoming a part of our national identity, the very nature of peacekeeping was changing. Two generations ago, peacekeepers were lightly armed observers, whose very vulnerability lent them the necessary moral authority to effectively adjudicate between two once-warring states. The combatants were sovereign nations that genuinely wanted a cessation of hostilities. Both sides generally took it upon themselves to ensure the safety of the peacekeepers as an integral part of showing their goodwill and support of the peace process.
More on link
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Journeyman on March 08, 2010, 11:39:38
One possible source of inspiration is a report released last week by the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, titled Whatever Happened to Peacekeeping: The Future of a Tradition.
The CDFAI report is available here (http://www.cdfai.org/PDF/Whatever%20Happened%20to%20Peacekeeping%20The%20Future%20of%20a%20Tradition%20-%20English.pdf)

The CDFAI website says, "this ground-breaking report urges Canada to reconsider and rejoin UN peace operations." I don't know the Belgian co-author, but the Canadian is Jocelyn Coulon -- Director of the Francophone Peace Operations Research Network at the Université de Montréal.

Far from "ground-breaking," this report is little more than a re-hash of his 1998 book,  Soldiers of Diplomacy: The United Nations, Peacekeeping, and The New World Order.

Sometimes it's hard to ween academics off the UN breast. Although they note that there have been some failures, they don't acknowledge that there's been a lengthy and on-going track-record of such failures. The DPKO is little more than a cash cow.

I have a suggestion for the UN too, but it involves bulldozers.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 08, 2010, 12:03:27
Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail and expressed in Olympic terms, is a useful article on public spending efficiency:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/input-output-we-need-a-public-sector-olympics/article1491751/
Quote
Input, output: We need a public-sector Olympics
O Canada: Slower, lower, feebler

Neil Reynolds

Monday, Mar. 08, 2010

Why can't we desire excellence in government spending as passionately as we desire excellence in athletic performance? Why can't we embrace international competitions to determine who provides the world's best public services? Why can't we award gold medals to countries that, dollar for dollar, produce the healthiest, people, the best educated people, the most prosperous people?

Aren't the techniques for judging public-sector performance much the same as for Olympic performance? You calculate input (funding); you measure output (the fastest trains, the highest literacy, the strongest families). How would Canada fare?

In Olympic competition, output is easy to calculate. Count the medals. With 26 Olympic medals, Canada took 10 per cent of the 258 medals awarded, an astonishing performance compared with past Winter Games – and producing one medal for every 1.3 million Canadians. With 23 medals, Norway produced one for every 210,000 Norwegians, a six-fold superiority. For Canada to have matched that performance it would have needed to win 160 medals. With 37 medals, the United States produced one for every 8.3 million population and felt good. With 15, Russia produced one for every 9.5 million population and felt badly – although, in relative terms, it did almost as well as the U.S.

Whether processed as government subsidies, corporate sponsorships or neighbourhood bake sales, certain resources – inputs – are an essential factor for most medal winners. (You can't quantify the self-sacrifice.) People used to think that more state funding for more athletes would produce more medals. They were wrong. Now they think that more state funding for fewer athletes will produce more medals. And they're probably right. Though distinctly Darwinian, this results-driven strategy hurts no one, cuts down on waste and appears to improve performance.

When it comes to Olympic funding, the Canadian public appears to want efficient use of the government's modest inputs – and a certain medal count to justify them. When it comes to stimulus spending (to cite one example of everyday government inputs), Canadians appear indifferent to efficiency and only marginally concerned with performance. Since the inputs provided for the Olympics are insignificant in comparison with the inputs provided for all other public-sector spending, this represents a curious double standard. People know, of course, that governments are notoriously inefficient – although they don't appear to want to know exactly how inefficient. This is a dangerous ignorance.

Perhaps we need a public-sector Olympics. Here's a prototype. In an international comparison of 23 countries, published a few years back by the European Central Bank, three European economists (Antonio Afonso, Ludger Schuknecht and Vito Tanzi) endeavoured to measure the efficiency of public-sector spending. They analyzed inputs (administration, government transfers, core program spending – all the costs of the modern welfare state). Using scores of indicators, they analyzed output (educational achievement, high-school enrolment, infant mortality, life expectancy, average unemployment rates, long-term prosperity). They calculated which countries gained the most output from the least input.

In this analysis of public-sector performance in affluent, democratic countries, across a 10-year period, Canada finished 12th in input efficiency and 13th in output performance.

Expressing a gold-medal performance in public-sector efficiency by the number 1, the economists scored all other competitor countries as percentages of the first-place finish. With an input rating of 0.75, Canada's 12th-place finish meant it spent 25 per cent more money than it needed to spend – that it could have attained the same results by spending only 75 per cent of the money it spent. You could put it another way. The Canadian government wasted one dollar for every four dollars it spent.

In a three-way tie, the United States, Japan and Luxembourg took gold in this input-efficiency competition. Other top-ranked countries included Australia (0.99 for fourth place) and Switzerland (0.95 for fifth). (Its reputation for fiscal discipline notwithstanding, Norway finished behind Canada, (0.73 for 13th place.)

In the competition for public-sector performance, Canada finished with a rating of 0.84, a better score in absolute terms but a worse ranking (13th place). This score implied that Canada could have increased its public-sector performance by 16 per cent without spending another dime. (Norway distanced itself from Canada in this round, scoring 0.93 and finishing fifth.)

Without an aggressive stinginess to limit its spending, the federal government will continue relentlessly to subsidize everyone with borrowed funds. O Canada: Slower, lower, feebler.

I suspect, hell’s bells, I’m damned certain that DND can spend less and do more if management (including top level military management) and budgeting was made much, much more efficient and effective. This would require increased bureaucratic productivity in the Privy Council Office, Treasury Board Secretariat and, above all, in Public Works and Government Services Canada – AKA the Department of Public Blunders and Wonders – too.

My sense is that DND, including the CF, has too much management that accomplishes too little and, in the process of underachieving, spends too much money on itself and its processes.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: TimBit on March 08, 2010, 12:08:06
The CDFAI website says, "this ground-breaking report urges Canada to reconsider and rejoin UN peace operations." I don't know the Belgian co-author, but the Canadian is Jocelyn Coulon -- Director of the Francophone Peace Operations Research Network at the Université de Montréal.

Sometimes it's hard to ween academics off the UN breast. Although they note that there have been some failures, they don't acknowledge that there's been a lengthy and on-going track-record of such failures. The DPKO is little more than a cash cow.

I have a suggestion for the UN too, but it involves bulldozers.

I happen to know Jocelyn as I studied under him at U of M. He strikes me not so much as dependant on the UN "boobie" as viscerally opposed to organized violence, which this brand of academic will obviously use as the sole definition of military activity. He struck me as a true "peacenik" with an establishment twist, i.e. war is bad peace is good but how can we use those nice institutions to turn our swords into...well blunter swords I guess. I amusingly recall tense debates between him and the more realist of the departments who thought that a couple of Tridents could still keep peace better than the UN.

Might need to buy a few tonka trucks to soothe this kind of academics if the bulldozer thing ever materializes...  :crybaby:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 09, 2010, 09:56:58
And since we’ve uttered the dreaded p word (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,54277.msg872541.html#msg872541), here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from the National Post, is an editorial on the future of our national defence:

http://www.nationalpost.com/opinion/story.html?id=2652853
Quote
The future of the Canadian Armed Forces

National Post Published: Monday, March 08, 2010

Last Thursday's budget should silence the doubters: Canada's mission in Afghanistan will end in 2011.

While some had suspected that Stephen Harper's government might find a way to maintain a troop presence there, either by deploying a smaller contingent of troops on a re-branded mission or by appearing to be talked into it by Barack Obama, the budget makes clear that drawing down the war in Afghanistan and slowing the rate of military expenditures, will form a key part of the Conservative government's plans to slay the deficit.

The Canadian military must now learn to make do with a budget that, while continuing to grow, will leave it with less fiscal room to plan and undertake missions than it originally had expected. One possible source of inspiration is a report released last week by the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, titled Whatever Happened to Peacekeeping: The Future of a Tradition.

The report lays out the history of peacekeeping and does not gloss over some of its more notable failures, including the catastrophic Rwandan Genocide in 1994. It does find, however, that the United Nations has learned from its mistakes: More recent UN missions, conducted by heavily armed troops operating under robust mandates, have proven successful at restoring or imposing peace. The current UN mission in south Lebanon, where a large, primarily European force is maintaining a buffer between Israel and Hezbollah, is cited as an example of the UN's new kind of "peace operation" mission -- large, powerful and with the necessary political support to intervene decisively.

Nevertheless, the report takes on the near-mythical status that peacekeeping has acquired in the Canadian collective psyche. After all, it was a Canadian, then-foreign minister Lester B. Pearson, who proposed in 1956 that a UN force separate hostile Israeli and Egyptian forces, ending the Suez Crisis. And Canadians, from individual observers to entire battlegroups, have served in almost every peacekeeping mission since. The concept of the Canadian soldier as a neutral observer, unaligned with any faction in global affairs and only there to help, was always a fiction for a country inextricably bound to the Western bloc, but it was a popular one with many Canadians, particularly those disinclined to favour large military expenditures and the always messy business of geopolitical brinksmanship.

Ironically, just as the notion of the Canadian as a peacekeeper was becoming a part of our national identity, the very nature of peacekeeping was changing. Two generations ago, peacekeepers were lightly armed observers, whose very vulnerability lent them the necessary moral authority to effectively adjudicate between two once-warring states. The combatants were sovereign nations that genuinely wanted a cessation of hostilities. Both sides generally took it upon themselves to ensure the safety of the peacekeepers as an integral part of showing their goodwill and support of the peace process.

In more recent times, however, in the era of failed states and rogue terrorist organizations, peacekeeping has become virtually indistinguishable from warfare, with the attendant rise in military casualties and collateral damage to civilians. Our government and military leaders, too fearful of a public backlash to effectively communicate the new reality of peacekeeping--or peacemaking -- to the masses, has instead created confusion, as Canadians taught to believe that our troops are impartial observers ride into pitched battles in tanks, backed by artillery and air power. Putting off these weighty discussions any further is unacceptable.

Despite the recently announced slow-down in military expenditures, the Canadian Forces are still one of the world's elite forces, capable of independently projecting power across great distances and maintaining it there as long as the political will remains. And so our allies, the United States in particular, likely will want us on board as partners in any future Afghanistan-like war (of which we doubt there will be any shortage in coming decades). The recent relief mission in Haiti, which saw thousands of Canadian soldiers rapidly deploy aboard warships and sophisticated C-17 aircraft to provide humanitarian aid and security, is another example of the sort of mission for which Canadians will be needed.

We need to make choices now about what sort of force we want to be able to project after our withdrawal from Kandahar. With military priorities in flux and budget uncertainty returning to the forefront of the military's mind, decisions made in the short term will have major implications. It is now all but certain that the replacement of some of the military's existing hardware will be postponed or cancelled outright, so decisions made now for reasons of fiscal necessity will have profound implications as to what role Canada is capable of taking on internationally for decades.

Traditional peacekeeping, whether under a United Nations, NATO or regional mandate, is a laudable mission and something that our Forces can excel in. If that is to be our military's future, then the government owes it to all Canadians, civilians and military alike, to begin making the necessary choices now to ensure that we are the very best peacekeepers that can be. If, however, as we feel is more likely and proper, the Conservative government prefers to balance our military's future duties between international aid missions and the advancement of Canada's legitimate national interests, it would be well advised to consider carefully how best to go about tightening the budgetary reins while still leaving the Canadian Forces as a potent, flexible instrument of national policy and humanitarian relief.

The UN peacekeeping option would send us off on a succession of fool’s errands in support of ill conceived objectives, many of which will be contrary to our global interests.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 09, 2010, 13:03:36
From Jane’s, more proof, if any more was necessary, that cuts to long term projects that are aimed at plugging short term budget gaps can backfire and bite one on the bum:

------------------------------------------------
UK report slams MoD procurement
 
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been heavily criticised for wasting hundreds of millions of pounds on an unaffordable equipment programme, in a parliamentary report officially published on 4 March. The MoD made "ill-judged" cuts to crucial research spending in a short term bid to plug a GBP6 billion (USD9.06 billion) funding gap, but has seemingly made "no attempt" to calculate the real costs of repeated delays to equipment programmes, according to a defence equipment assessment published by the House of Commons defence committee

First posted to http://jdin.janes.com - 04 March 2010
------------------------------------------------


This is a lesson that, it appears, almost every Western nation must relearn every few years.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on March 09, 2010, 13:31:35
This is a lesson that, it appears, almost every Western nation must relearn every few weeks.

Fixed the typo for you...
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 09, 2010, 13:48:56
I fear that dapaterson's joke is closer to the mark than my serious comment.

I guess it says something about:

     + political direction and support;

     + professional competence; and

     + backbone, or lack of same.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 10, 2010, 07:31:22
Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail are Eugene Lang’s* thoughts on the inevitability of defence restraint in current times:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/if-ottawa-fights-a-deficit-the-military-has-no-allies/article1495359/
Quote
If Ottawa fights a deficit, the military has no allies
Budget arithmetic and Canadian politics mean there's no way for the military to be exempt from a major program spending cut

Eugene Lang

Wednesday, Mar. 10, 2010

Stephen Harper is the most pro-military prime minister since the Second World War. His government has pumped more money into the Canadian Forces than any of its predecessors. That's the conventional wisdom.

Consequently, many people were a little puzzled at last week's budget, when Mr. Harper's rock-ribbed administration announced a $2.5-billion cut to defence funding increases the Conservatives had committed to four years ago. This money, considered essential by the Department of National Defence, had been effectively banked to rectify acute equipment rust problems, especially in the navy. Some senior defence officials had even started referring to the funding commitments as a “contract” with the military.

So why did the government turn on its ally? The answer is straightforward, and is based on both arithmetic and politics.

First, let's dispense with some well-worn mythology. Mr. Harper's government never was the largest financial supporter of the military, not by a long shot. That distinction goes to the short-lived government of Paul Martin – the same Paul Martin who slashed and burned the defence budget as finance minister in the mid-1990s. Yet as prime minister, Mr. Martin increased defence funding by $13-billion over five years, the largest financial boost to the military in a generation. This is in contrast to the increase of $5-billion over five years that Mr. Harper's government promised in the 2006 budget.

Now for the arithmetic. The government is running a $50-billion deficit that it wants to eliminate in about five years. A good chunk of that will be accomplished when stimulus spending ends next year. But a fair bit of the red ink – what economists call the “structural deficit” – will remain. The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimates the structural deficit at about $20-billion.

This is the part that is hard to get rid of. The task is made even harder because the government has ruled out cutting transfers to provinces, reducing benefits to citizens or raising taxes. Eliminating the deficit is to be achieved through departmental program spending cuts alone. The $20-billion has to come from a pot of about $80-billion in total departmental program spending.

This is where DND comes to the fore as a matter of pure arithmetic. It is by far the largest and most costly department in the federal government, with a budget that accounts for about one-quarter of that $80-billion in departmental program spending. So regardless of how wedded any government is to the military, there is no conceivable way the Canadian Forces can be exempt from a major cut in a deficit elimination struggle focused entirely on departmental program spending.

Now, for the politics. Governments have paid steep political prices over the years for increasing taxes, cutting benefits and reducing transfers to provinces. Yet no government, Conservative or Liberal, has ever paid a discernible political price for slashing defence spending. It is simply not a priority for most Canadians.

Brian Mulroney's government cut the defence budget by nearly $3-billion in its ill-fated war on the deficit, and paid no political price whatsoever. Jean Chrétien's government virtually emasculated the DND budget, reducing it by one-third during its own deficit crusade, and got off politically scot-free.

While Canadians might be stronger supporters of the military now because of the sacrifices the men and women of the Canadian Forces have made in Afghanistan, it is unlikely that a big cut to a DND budget that approaches $20-billion a year will make any impression on the Canadian public.

In a hierarchy of public interests that includes low taxes, balanced budgets and retention of entitlements, most Canadians place military spending at the very bottom. In fact, there likely hasn't been a public-opinion survey in the history of this country that shows defence cracking into Canadians' top five priorities.

The basic lesson from all this is simple: No government, Conservative or Liberal, is pro-military when it is in a deficit fight. Arithmetic prevents this and politics permits it. That's the way it has been for decades, and that's the way it always will be.

Eugene Lang is co-author of The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar. He was a senior economist at Finance Canada and chief of staff to two Liberal defence ministers.

I think Lang is, largely right: arithmetic prevents exempting defence from cuts and politics permits defence to be cut so long as the prevailing political wisdom is that every department, agency and programme is worthwhile. But, the latter, highlighted, statement is, demonstrably, untrue – a few departments, several agencies and many programmes are, as TB Bank’s Chief Economist Don Drummond described them, “crappy,” and they can and should be cut and that would alter both the politics and the arithmetic for the better. 


----------
* Co-author, with Janice Gross Stein, of The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar, a book that tried to explain away political responsibility for sending the CF to Kandahar.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: GAP on March 11, 2010, 11:35:49
 Government missing mark in plan to cut back military spending
 
Poll shows Canadians like idea of strong, well-equipped armed forces
 
By Elinor Sloan, FreelanceMarch 11, 2010
 Article Link (http://www.edmontonjournal.com/business/Government+missing+mark+plan+back+military+spending/2669576/story.html)
 
t is clear that Canadians want their country to play a strong military role in the world. A recent Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute survey conducted by Innovative Research Group has found that well over a majority of those polled want the Canadian Forces to be able to contribute to humanitarian and war-fighting missions in the future.

And they are willing to put their money where their mouth is. Some 58 per cent think we should spend what the military needs to sustain the Canadian Forces' ability to fight terrorism in places like Afghanistan, support humanitarian missions, such as what we saw in Haiti, and defend Canada's homeland, for example in the North. Over a third of Canadians think we are not spending enough on the military, while less than one in five thinks we are spending too much.

Most remarkably, almost half the people polled thought that military spending should not be cut back to reduce the deficit once our country's military contribution to the mission in Afghanistan comes to an end next year, even if that means cutting other services to reduce the federal deficit.

Such views are testament to the visibility the mission in Afghanistan has brought to the armed forces, and the professional and expert ability with which its members have carried it out. More than ever, the military is part of the average Canadian's interest and thoughts.

There appears to be a renewed desire for Canada to play a leadership role in the world -- one that goes well beyond the soft-power words of yesterday, to concrete action that truly makes a difference.

The government missed this prevailing sentiment in last week's speech from the throne and federal budget. The speech mentioned only that the government has supported the Canadian Forces in words and investment, and that it would continue to "stand up" for our military since its members "stand up for the values and principles Canadians hold dear." The federal budget argues the government has made "major, necessary investments" in military capabilities in support of the June 2008 Canada First Defence Strategy and then announces $2.5 billion in future cuts to previously planned military spending starting in 2011-12.

But has the government really made the major, necessary investments? On one level, of course, it has.

The defence budget is significantly higher today (about $20 billion) than it was when the Harper government came into power (about $15 billion).

Canada's military is also larger, currently standing at about 66,000 active members as compared to around 52,000 when the Martin government was in power. Canada has a significant new military capability, strategic airlift, and is one of only a handful of countries in the world with this asset.

The government has also bought a fair bit of equipment for the army to meet the immediate demands of the Afghan mission, such as tactical unmanned aerial vehicles, tanks, armoured patrol vehicles and a handful of Chinook helicopters from the United States, pending the arrival of our own fleet.

Later this year, new Hercules transport aircraft and Cyclone maritime helicopters will start to arrive, replacing aircraft that were built almost half a century ago, and the navy's frigates will begin a modernization process.

But the hard decisions have been left to the future. Plans for Arctic Offshore Patrol Vessels, necessary for Canada to exercise control over its eastern, western and rapidly melting northern maritime regions have been put on ice.

In less than five years, the navy's destroyers that are at the centre of Canada's independent naval task group capability, critical for things like interdicting terrorists on the high seas, must be dry-docked due to their age. Yet plans for a replacement are on hold.
More on link
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: GAP on March 16, 2010, 11:05:53
Diplomats want to have same deal as military
 
Foreign service officers face same risks: union
 
By Kathryn May, The Ottawa CitizenMarch 16, 2010
 Article Link (http://www.ottawacitizen.com/life/Diplomats+want+have+same+deal+military/2687159/story.html)
 

Canada's diplomats are appealing to the Harper government for the same employment insurance benefits it gave military families sent to Afghanistan and other overseas postings in the March 4 federal budget.

The union representing Canada's foreign service officers is asking Treasury Board President Stockwell Day to extend the EI parental leave and sick leave benefits to foreign service officers who face many of the same risks as military personnel, especially when posted in war zones such as Afghanistan.

Ron Cochrane, executive director of the Professional Association of Foreign Service Officers, said he's baffled as to why diplomats and other bureaucrats posted abroad for Canada are excluded.

The union represents 1,400 foreign service officers and more than 50 are in Afghanistan.

There are also bureaucrats posted from other departments, such as the Defence Department, Canadian International Development Agency and Canadian Security Intelligence Service. At last count, more than 40 civilian employees who work for the Defence Department were in Kandahar, said John MacLennan, president of Union of Defence Employees.

"It's all focused on National Defence," said Cochrane.

"Has DFAIT (Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade) done something? ... They are totally ignoring the rest of the public service when it comes to these changes. I don't get it. Is it deliberate? An oversight or a cost issue?"

In the budget, the government announced military personnel who adopt or have a baby will receive the EI parental leave benefits that they couldn't collect while posted overseas. This means the government will give those whose parental leave was interrupted or deferred because of a military posting an extra year of eligibility.

The government also announced that EI sick benefits will be extended to help military families coping with someone killed in action. Eligible workers who lose a family member can qualify for EI's sickness benefits.

"Canadian soldiers put their lives on the line for our country and our Conservative government is proud to stand behind them and support them," said Ryan Sparrow, director of communications for Human Resources and Social Development Minister Diane Finley in an e-mail.

In a letter to Day, PAFSO noted that diplomat Glyn Berry was killed by a roadside bomb in 2006 while on duty in Afghanistan. In December, 25-year-old foreign service officer Bushra Amjad Saeed was severely wounded in a roadside blast in Afghanistan -- the same explosion that killed four Canadian soldiers and Calgary Herald journalist Michelle Lang.

"Without diminishing the role the military has played in these theatres, employees in the rotational foreign service assigned to areas of conflict who work with military personnel are exposed to similar risks," said the letter.

This isn't the first time, PAFSO has pressed for equal treatment between the military and public servants when facing the same risks.

In 2007, it lobbied for similar tax breaks the government gives soldiers and contractors working for the military.

"No amount of money in the world will compensate someone in the military risking their life in Afghanistan ... but there are other public servants working alongside them who are also putting their lives at risk, so I don't understand the differential. If there are tax incentives for military and contractors, why not for public servants?"

The issue has also resurrected a longstanding complaint among military and diplomatic personnel that their spouses, who can't find work during postings, can't collect EI when they return to Canada. In its letter to Day, PAFSO pressed to have this changed.

The foreign service has lobbied for years for spouses of those on postings to get access to EI. It was a recommendation of the McDougall Commission, whose report on conditions in the foreign service was tabled in 1981, and has been recommended by similar reports ever since.

Cochrane argues it's difficult enough to relocate two-career families and this is another disincentive. He said it is almost impossible for professional spouses to find jobs in their chosen careers and, in some postings, they can't find jobs at all because of language, culture or other host country restrictions.

The government has a policy that anyone who is relocated abroad should not benefit nor be disadvantaged by their postings. PAFSO has long argued the government treats its members unfairly when compared to those who move with their spouses to jobs within Canada.

Under the act, they lose their entitlements to EI when abroad because they aren't available for work in Canada. This means they have to re-qualify when they return to Canada so they can't collect EI while looking for work even though they typically qualified before leaving for the posting.

The letter to Day argues this is particularly unfair because the EI act does extend the qualifying period for others, such as those incarcerated in Canadian prisons, who can collect EI when released. In light of this, the letter argues the diplomats' requests for similar treatment to the military is "a very reasonable proposal."
End of Article
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Monsoon on March 16, 2010, 12:23:43
If they can fund it out of their allotted personnel budget, then they should fill their boots. But why bother to do that when you can use precious personnel resources to lobby the Treasury Board?

Let the special pleading begin.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 29, 2010, 09:44:27
Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from the National Post, is a useful bit of analysis from Conservative Senator Hugh Segal:

http://network.nationalpost.com/NP/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2010/03/29/hugh-segal-we-need-guns-and-butter-too.aspx
Quote
Hugh Segal: We need guns — and butter too

March 29, 2010

Hugh Segal, Canadian politics

Challenges faced by G-8 finance ministers a year and a half after the collapse of the Lehman Brothers Bank are not getting easier. Populist feeling is running against Wall Street and its analogous financial centres around the world.  Rational analysis underscores the dangers to credit and investment-based economies of any dereliction of duty to both financial stability and reasonable liquidity for the economy as a whole. This quickly becomes about balance in the way restraint spending, stimulus and tax policy are managed.

Add to this the conundrum of governments that supported financial institutions either by direct infusions of cash (as in Europe or the United States) or the purchase of multi-billion dollar mortgage portfolios (Canada) in the hopes that money would be loaned out to small businesses and consumers, only to be frustrated by financial regulators who took the more “prudential” approach of discouraging lending leverage by imposing higher capital requirements on financial institutions, and one can easily understand President Obama’s banging on the podium about insufficient lending to average Americans. Where leaders should be knocking politely (as opposed to banging) is on the door of their central financial regulators.

The liquidity challenge, which remains key to any successful budget implementation, must also confront the classic dilemma faced by finance ministers in the democracies around the old trade-off between “guns and butter.” This is often characterized as the choice between defence and security spending versus social and stimulative spending. While this may have been the most obvious of public spending dilemmas in the past, one can certainly argue today that the competition between the two is largely illusory in the geopolitical context all developed nations share.

If one takes a broad view of security and defence spending, both domestically and internationally, they clearly relate to that essential core freedom if economic opportunity is to be real — namely “freedom from fear.” If streets are not safe, if businesses are attacked by thugs and organized crime, if investors are kidnapped, if jobs are offered only when corrupt officials are paid off, fear will destroy economic development and opportunity every time. Which is why countries have laws, why anti-corruption codes matter and why international organizations (such as NATO or, on occasion, the UN) exist to protect the world from Iraqi invasions of Kuwait or Taliban-harboured al-Qaida attacks on civilians in Madrid, New York, London, Paris, Kabul, Moscow, Toronto or elsewhere. Economic development and the jobs, opportunity and security that follow are critical to the second vital freedom — “freedom from want,” which is seminal if societies are to be peaceful and productive. A world where millions are poor and only a few are wealthy or have any meaningful economic opportunity is unlikely to be a stable place — as is apparent in any city where the gaps between rich and poor are broad or getting worse. These two freedoms connect in a very precise way. Without “freedom from fear,” which requires spending on security, defence, intelligence and deployable military or police capacity, there is insufficient time to make real progress on enhancing “freedom from want” before violence or strife reduces everyone’s freedom of action. This is as true in the Middle East as it is in the drug wars of our own hemisphere. As true in Africa as it is in our First Nations communities. Without “freedom from want,” the attractiveness of crime, violence and terrorism for those with nothing to lose remains real.

In my opinion, the challenge for governments “in restraint” is devising a balanced mix of targeting “freedom from fear” and “freedom from want” so as to move toward positive trends on both accounts, if we are to make any economic and security progress in this generation. This is a larger question than the mid-term elections in the U.S., the coming U.K. election or the inevitable soon-to-be-election in Canada. And to some extent, political parties in all places that aspire to electoral progress or re-election would be well advised to approach this particular challenge in something other than a narrow partisan way.

After several years of unprecedented investment and modernization, the 2010 budget admittedly slows National Defence spending increases. This should not be surprising.  But in the time given us and in the period leading up to the winding down of combat activity in Afghanistan, we should be investing in future naval, air and reserve force capacity.  Letting the denizens of the federal civil service, Finance Department and Treasury Board weaken Canada’s defenses and our ability to engage on the “freedom from fear” challenge will be seen as a serious disavowal of prior assurances and Canada’s commitment to fight both fears simultaneously.  Similarly, with a view to the announced imposition of restraints system-wide and the current and historic duplication of Canada’s social programs, which have not reduced our poverty levels in more than two decades, this would also be the time to seriously examine a more inclusive, less micro-managed approach to its redesign and modernization. Genuine national security involves two freedoms and measurable progress on both fronts. And a post-recession modest recovery is precisely the right time to embrace these over-arching priorities.

There is no dichotomy between “guns and butter” and no dichotomy between restraint and innovation. Building real recovery and strengthening Canada at home and abroad depends upon our ability to embrace both “freedom from fear” and “freedom from want” at the same time and urging other allies and partners to do the same.

National Post

Senator Hugh Segal (Conservative, Ontario) is a member of the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Committee of the Senate.


One can only hope that Sen. Segal has some friends in the PMO and that they read this.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: GAP on May 03, 2010, 17:58:06
 Defence spending review won’t hurt troops on ground, Day says
Andrew Mayeda, Canwest News Service  Published: Monday, May 03, 2010
Article Link (http://www.nationalpost.com/news/story.html?id=2980780)

Treasury Board President Stockwell Day says a spending review ordered at the Department of National Defence shouldn't affect the military's ability to equip soldiers on the ground.

Mr. Day announced Monday that 13 departments and agencies, including the Defence Department, have been asked to comb through the combined $35-billion they spend annually and come up with $1.7-billion in savings, equivalent to roughly five percent.

For the Defence Department and the Canadian Forces, which are still fighting a war in Afghanistan, that will be a daunting task, but Mr. Day insisted the review won't affect any plans to procure military equipment.

"We're still going to have our troops and our soldiers and our overall operation seeing an increase, but we're asking for five percent savings within that increase," he told reporters.

Mr. Day noted the defence budget is still expected to increase over the next few years, even though the Conservatives trimmed the rate of spending growth in the March 4 budget. Defence spending spiked 22% last year to $19.2-billion.

Also among the list of departments under review is the Privy Council Office, the bureaucratic wing of the Prime Minister's Office. Last year, that office's budget grew 8.5% to $149-million. Under the highly centralized government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Privy Council Office's role in co-ordinating the public service has taken on greater importance.

"Now, we do emphasize that we are not reducing programs to people as in EI and seniors programs and others but no department, no agency will be spared this exercise," Mr. Day said.

Monday's announcement is the latest of the so-called "strategic reviews" launched by the Harper government in 2007. Fifty federal organizations have already undergone the process, which requires departments to identify five% of their budgets to reallocate from low-priority or low-performing programs.

In the past, much of the resulting savings were reinvested in the same department. This time, the money will flow into the government's general revenues, where it could be used to help eliminate the deficit, said Mr. Day.
More on link
 
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MarkOttawa on May 19, 2010, 20:46:01
A post at The Torch:

"Defence Budget 2010/11"/Fun with figures Update (latter, largely major equipment plans, based on "Report on Plans and Priorities")
http://toyoufromfailinghands.blogspot.com/2010/05/defence-budget-201011.html

Mark
Ottawa
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MarkOttawa on June 15, 2010, 21:02:05
The new Liberal defence budget plans, from a paper released with Mr Ignatieff's speech today.

Story on speech:

Ignatieff unveils new Liberal foreign policy
Liberals would keep troops in post-combat Afghan training role; review military “to buy” list; boost China, India ties
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/823722

Now parse the paper:

Canada in the world
A global networks strategy (p. 22)
http://can150.ca/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/canada_world_jun2010.pdf

Quote
...Since 2005-06, as a result of both Liberal and Conservative budget decisions, Canada`s defence spending has risen nearly 50 percent and is set to continue growing even after the combat mission in Afghanistan has concluded. The Liberal Party, supports the recent investments in the Canadian Forces, but the trajectory for future years must be re-evaluated. A properly-resourced military is essential to our sovereignty and our constructive role in the world, but is not sufficient on its own. It’s a matter of balance.

The government estimates that the annual incremental cost of the combat mission in Afghanistan is nearly $1.7 billion. The Parliamentary Budget Officer has reported that the incremental costs of the mission are even higher than what has been disclosed. After the combat mission ends by December 2011, a Liberal government will re-allocate that incremental spending in a balanced manner across the full spectrum of defence, development and diplomacy. A Liberal government will also re-evaluate all major procurement programs in a post-Afghanistan combat era. A well-resourced military will remain essential, but as one element of a broader concept of what Canada does in the world, compared to the narrow view of the current government.

This change will free up resources to reinvigorate other international capacities across the federal system, better reflecting the full range of integrated functions and forward-looking engagement that will drive the Global Networks Strategy...

Emphases in original.

Mark
Ottawa
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Jed on June 16, 2010, 01:19:38
Well, based on the latest liberal policy release, in my opinion, we can definitely count on another decade of darkness if the Liberals are able to grab the reins again. "Reevalute the major equipment purchases" is just veiled speech for hack and slash.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MarkOttawa on June 16, 2010, 07:18:56
The new major purchases/expenditures without contracts planned for the near future--whatever that is--are ("Phase D" at link):
http://www.vcds.forces.gc.ca/sites/page-eng.asp?page=8667

Navy:

JSS: $131M (?!?)
A/OPS: $2.6B

Army:

CCV $1.8B
TAPV $1.0B
MSVS $1.1B (part of the overall Medium Support Vehicle System actually does have a contract
http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/pri/2/pro-pro/msvs-ssvm-eng.asp )
LAV III Upgrade $1.2B

Then there's the new fighter (read F-35) that's not on the list but seems rather imminent:
http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,39415.165.html

And then there's the interminably elusive new fixed-wing SAR aircraft, not even listed:
http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,23889.855.html

Mark
Ottawa
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MarkOttawa on June 17, 2010, 16:21:47
This article seems on the, er, money to me (usual copyright disclaimer):
http://www.embassymag.ca/page/view/dnd-06-09-2010

Quote
Despite government promises to continue increasing the Defence department’s budget post-Afghan mission and keep the military a high priority, nervousness and quiet doubts are proliferating among arms lobbyists, manufacturers and, apparently, top Canadian commanders as well…

Departmental budget cuts are being sought across most of the public service after the federal government’s two-year stimulus plan sunk billions into infrastructure and growth projects.

The Defence department and Canadian military accounted for roughly $21 billion out of the $259 billion the federal government spent last year. That amount is set to increase each year, but when it unveiled this year’s budget, the government cut the rate of increase significantly. Whether even that rate will be sustained is a matter of speculation.

Even more worrying for stakeholders is that the government announced in the spring that it is conducting a strategic review of the Defence department. Staff are being asked to find areas where it can cut five per cent of its budget.

The fear is that as the government continues to look for savings, procurement projects will be put on hold. Last week, the government announced its shipbuilding procurement strategy, although it did not contain dollar figures, and delayed the implementation for two years, ostensibly in order to conduct the process fairly…

Two weeks ago, the government released supplementary estimates that contained $412 million more in defence spending. This partly had to do with funding for security at the 2010 G8 and G20 summits, but also included funding for aircraft and heavy-lift helicopter projects. It also launched some infrastructure projects from several years ago.

The Canada First Defence Strategy, the government’s multi-decade, multi-billion-dollar defence checklist, is therefore left intact, but spread out over a year longer, says retired colonel Brian MacDonald, now a senior defence analyst with the Conference of Defence Associations. However, he was worried that the capital project spending was in supplementary estimates instead of the main estimates.

“I guess here the question is, really on the equipment side, when we are going to see some greater clarity on the strategic capital investment plan, particularly the big number items such as the fighters and the naval shipbuilding program,” said Mr. MacDonald…

Mike Greenley, vice-president of General Dynamics Canada, which produces the Canadian Army's LAV-III armoured personnel carrier, said it doesn't appear a major platform procurement will be in the cards this year [emphasis added, meaning that the company will have to take another look at its own programming.

"Even in 2011, if you look at the currently published schedule of programs, even if you get going on ships, even if we start talking about selling these fighting vehicles and aircraft, the actual contract signings of these things probably wont happen either," he said.

Mr. Greenley warned that an indefinite stalling of procurement will have an impact on manufacturers—and their ability to meet new requirements quickly whenever they come up.

"That's what makes you nervous, because you have got to keep pace with some of these programs," said Mr. Greenley. "I would offer on behalf of the entire industrial base that that's the thing that would keep us nervous, because unless we're moving on procurements, then those new startups of programs aren't there to keep the defence economic base engaged."..

Mark
Ottawa
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: TCBF on July 25, 2010, 15:39:04
- Cut five per-cent of the budget? Easy: stop buying office furniture. 
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Cloud Cover on July 25, 2010, 17:18:33
- Cut five per-cent of the budget? Easy: stop buying office furniture.

Isn't your office a tank?  8)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: TCBF on July 26, 2010, 01:25:31
Isn't your office a tank?  8)

" Those - were - the - days my friend we thought they'd never end we'd sing and dance forever and a day... " - Boris Fomin/Konstantin Podrevskii/Gene Raskin.  Recorded by Mary Hopkins in 1968 (I loved it when it played on the radio back then).
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Chilme on October 07, 2010, 22:51:42
I find it very interesting the Canada's defence budget is ranked somewhere between 10th and 15th in the world (depending on source), yet are ranked around 60th in the world for the number of personnel.

How do we have such a large budget, yet such a small arsenal and relatively small number of soldiers?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on October 07, 2010, 22:52:58
I find it very interesting the Canada's defence budget is ranked somewhere between 10th and 15th in the world (depending on source), yet are ranked around 60th in the world for the number of personnel.

How do we have such a large budget, yet such a small arsenal and relatively small number of soldiers?

Take a look at how many major HQs are around.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: aesop081 on October 07, 2010, 22:55:50


How do we have such a large budget, yet such a small arsenal and relatively small number of soldiers?

Our soldiers are paid and compensated rather well, to start.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Chilme on October 07, 2010, 22:56:31
So you're suggesting if we close down a few HQ's then more troops could be hired and a more weapons purchased?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: aesop081 on October 07, 2010, 22:59:28
.....
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Chilme on October 07, 2010, 23:01:42
Our soldiers are paid and compensated rather well, to start.

That is true.  I can't imagine this will change any time soon.  I would say their pay is well earned for most
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: 1984 on October 07, 2010, 23:07:23
I think CDN Aviator is referring to the fact that we get paid in currency rather than cabbage.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Chilme on October 19, 2010, 20:43:12
Has anyone seen the latest precedent set for Defence Budgets?  The British government is planning MASSIVE cuts to their military (see link below).  Apparently it is there answer to a large national debt.  I hope Canada doesn't follow the footsteps of our friends across the pond.  I did, however, find it interesting that they intend to transfer more funding to their special forces.  To me this is the way of the future, as it seems that many modern battlefields operate unconventionally.

http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/10/18/britain-budget-cuts.html
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: aesop081 on October 19, 2010, 21:23:34
as it seems that many modern battlefields operate unconventionally.

While it may be true now.....what about 2 years from now ? How about 5 years ? 10 years ?

The trouble with making huge capability cuts based on whats going on now is that later on, when things have changed, you "got nuthin' ".
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on October 20, 2010, 11:24:07
While it may be true now.....what about 2 years from now ? How about 5 years ? 10 years ?

The trouble with making huge capability cuts based on whats going on now is that later on, when things have changed, you "got nuthin' ".

How true!!
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on October 20, 2010, 11:59:37
There is, often, a point (Britain figures they're at it in 2010-2015, Canada figured that back circa 1995-2000) when countries must try to balance the books. It would be nice to think that governments think strategically but, alas, it is not possible. Governments can (and usually do) consider strategic issues but they also must (and always do) consider both practical and political issue, too. Practicality and politics almost always trump strategy in democracies. People vote, issues don't. Unhappy people will punish political leaders; issues might be more benign.

In my opinion the UK defence cuts, while deep, are not as harsh as the cuts imposed on the CF beginning in 1969 and continuing, almost uninterrupted, until around 2003.

(In fairness: the deepest real cuts to Canadian defence spending occurred over a 20 year period from 1955 to 1975. After 1975 Canadian defence spending very closely 'tracked' US spending - growing and falling in step. Measured as a percentage of GDP (the best way to measure) Canadian defnec spending has (with one brief exception in about 1978-82) declined steadily from nearly 8% of GDP circa 1952 to about 1.25% of GDP today. The last time our defence spending, measured as a percentage of GDP, was at a respectable middle power level (2 to 2.5% of GDP) was in early 1960s - the Diefenbaker/Pearson era. Stephen Harper continues to reduce defence spending as a percentage of GDP. The Conservatives' Canada First Defence Strategy is a (financial) recipe for unilateral disarmament.)

There are several European countries, including France and Italy, that must, sooner rather than later, follow the UK's example. There is also the problem of the USA: which is far, far too deeply in debt. I recommend a thin, new book by Michael Mandelbaum (http://www.sais-jhu.edu/faculty/directory/bios/m/mandelbaum.htm) that outlines some of the problems that impending, necessary budget cuts will have on the USA: The Frugal Superpower. Mandelbaum is not and does not pretend to be a political non-partisan but that doesn't negate the wisdom of his analysis.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Chilme on October 20, 2010, 18:11:01
While it may be true now.....what about 2 years from now ? How about 5 years ? 10 years ?

The trouble with making huge capability cuts based on whats going on now is that later on, when things have changed, you "got nuthin' ".

I agree with you 100%.  A military should always have the capability to challenge any perceived threats.  I do, however, believe that current situations and those in the foreseeable future should play a major role in resource allocation.  Otherwise you spread too thin.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on November 30, 2010, 19:32:31
The Good Grey Globe, to its credit, pays some sensible attention to defence policy and, in the process, give the Liberals a slap upsode the head, in this editorial, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/editorials/liberal-foreign-policy-good-ends-not-enough-means/article1816647/
Quote
GLOBE EDITORIAL
Liberal foreign policy: good ends, not enough means
From Monday's Globe and Mail

The Liberals' trilogy of foreign-policy speeches by Bob Rae, Dominic LeBlanc and Siobhan Coady show a proper firmness on Afghanistan but they are lacking in commitment to provide the equipment and the money required for a vigorous presence in international affairs.

All three shadow cabinet ministers rightly emphasized that Lester Pearson, the founder of UN peacekeeping, would also have supported the Canadian mission in Afghanistan. They not only advocated a return to traditional peacekeeping but also a move toward the responsibility-to-protect doctrine, which means a heightened humanitarian interventionism, where there is no peace to be kept, or conventional governments or armies to mediate between – or specifically Canadian interests. The apparent implication is a series of future missions quite like the present one in Afghanistan.

This greater activism is to be accomplished without any increase in the Canadian defence budget in real terms. Moreover, Mr. LeBlanc, the Liberal defence critic, and his colleagues reasserted their rejection of the Conservatives' proposed purchase of F-35 stealth fighter jets. The Liberals, to their credit, affirm the importance of the Arctic (including a permanent secretariat for the Arctic Council and an ambassador for circumpolar affairs), but are reluctant to buy jets that would enable Canada to be truly and effectively sovereign over its vast northern territories – and which would do much to help the Canadian Forces take part in the overseas interventions that the Liberals favour.

The sustained engagement in foreign affairs of both Michael Ignatieff and Mr. Rae is evident in the considerable substance in current Liberal foreign-policy positions, more than is customary from an official opposition in Canada. But the Liberals' unwillingness to support their principles and proposals with adequate equipment and other resources leaves questions they will have to answer before and during the next federal election campaign.


While there is “substance” in the Liberal foreign policy positions there is much more wishful thinking and destructive politics.
Title: Military needs billions
Post by: GAP on January 13, 2011, 08:03:16
Military needs billions
When will politicians face reality on massive defence money needed?
By DAVID AKIN, QMI Agency Last Updated: January 13, 2011
Article Link (http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/david_akin/2011/01/12/16864811.html)
 
Deep in the bowels of National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa, bureaucrats are quietly pulling together pricing information to buy more giant Boeing C-17 transport planes.

Canada already has four C-17s — acquired with some controversy — in 2007.

Brand new, they have a sticker price of around $400 million. But some planners in the air force have noted the U.S. no longer wants to buy all the C-17s it had ordered from Boeing, which means there’s a good chance the Yanks might be in a mood to let one of its allies, like us, buy some off them at a deep discount.

Now, just to be clear, the senior generals of the Canadian Forces, let alone Defence Minister Peter MacKay or the federal cabinet, are not pushing a program to commit billions more for the C-17s, particularly while the government is trying to push through its controversial multibillion-dollar purchase of new F-35 fighter planes.

Still, the revelation that low-level planners at defence are even jotting notes on the backs of napkins about acquiring anywhere from two to six more C-17s is a reminder that our two leading political parties, the governing Conservatives and their Liberal challengers, are largely avoiding what ought to be a crucial and important debate leading up to the next federal election.

Simply put: Our Canadian Forces needs billions and billions of dollars worth of new gear — not just new fighter planes — but no one has any clear plans to pay for what they need, particularly in a time of global fiscal restraint.

Alternately, one party or the other could stand up and, as Conservatives have done in Britain and Democrats did in the U.S., start announcing big-time cuts to military acquisitions and other programs.

Instead, we’ve been watching Conservatives and Liberals argue bitterly about the merits of purchasing the F-35 fighter plane, though both largely agree we will need some kind of new fighter plane to replace our fleet of excellent-but-aging CF-18s.

Whatever plane we choose is going to cost us billions. How will we pay?

And is that most urgent need? Is that the top spending priority?

What about new search-and-rescue capabilities? As one defence insider put it, the equipment we have has the capability for the search part but there are too many scenarios where we simply don’t have the gear for the rescue part.

We need new technology for surveillance and monitoring, particularly in our resource-rich north. The solution there could be a combination of satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles and surveillance aircraft to replace our aging CP-140 Auroras.

Again: This will cost billions.

Or we could outsource search-and-rescue to private-sector companies and likely save a pile.

Our navy needs new ships, the most expensive of which would be one or two joint-support ships, a type of vessel that can take on multiple configurations to be, for example, a troop carrier or a supply ship. It’s a vital tool for just about any mission the CF might be given. This could be the most expensive purchase of all.

That’s just a small part of a long list. As we get set for Budget 2011 and a possible election, politicians should be straight up with voters and with those in uniform about the kind of military we want — and are prepared to pay for.

david.akin@sunmedia.ca
end
Title: Re: Military needs billions
Post by: E.R. Campbell on January 13, 2011, 08:44:04
It seems to me that this is a continuation of the discussion in our (existing) Defence Budget (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,82898.0.html) [merged, Bruce] thread. The Great Recession is still with us, and despite the real, pressing needs in National Defence (and a very few other spending envelopes) governments are not inclined to spend on anything that is not a "vote getter" - and defence spending is never popular with more than a small minority of Canadians.
Title: Re: Military needs billions
Post by: Not a Sig Op on January 13, 2011, 09:08:22
Search and rescue, now there's a thought. Why are there any domestic military units with SAR as a primary task when a civillian agency could accomplish exactly the same task cheaper, and potentially more efficiently due to less reduced red tape?
Title: Re: Military needs billions
Post by: Technoviking on January 13, 2011, 09:15:00
Search and rescue, now there's a thought. Why are there any domestic military units with SAR as a primary task when a civillian agency could accomplish exactly the same task cheaper, and potentially more efficiently due to less reduced red tape?
First of all, awesome profile pic!

Anyway, I think part of the answer may lay in the fact that any national search and rescue organisation ought to be that: national.  I realise that provinces have their own, and if I'm not mistaken, there are clear boundaries for "who searches when".  The other part of why may be due to the unlimited liability "clause" that the military has.  If a search and rescue agency were comprised solely of civilians, then there would perhaps be issues.  I'm not sure.  But I think the main reason is that the national level search and rescue "task" is best suited for the military, given its experiences, and expertise, in the area.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Bruce Monkhouse on January 13, 2011, 09:28:12
Because for all the talk of private enterprise saving "tons" of money, time, etc., that seems to only work out on paper, never in real life.

Lets see, same planes, same fuel, same wages, add in profit margin,......oh, oops......
Title: Re: Military needs billions
Post by: Not a Sig Op on January 13, 2011, 09:38:34
First of all, awesome profile pic!

THANK YOU! I changed that a few months ago and have been secretly hoping somone would comment on it.

Quote
Anyway, I think part of the answer may lay in the fact that any national search and rescue organisation ought to be that: national.  I realise that provinces have their own, and if I'm not mistaken, there are clear boundaries for "who searches when".  The other part of why may be due to the unlimited liability "clause" that the military has.  If a search and rescue agency were comprised solely of civilians, then there would perhaps be issues.  I'm not sure.  But I think the main reason is that the national level search and rescue "task" is best suited for the military, given its experiences, and expertise, in the area.

I could understand if they were combat SAR units, but they're not, they have little to no defence application (If there is, I've missed it and appologize), yet they're lumped into the defence budget.

If we rid ourselves of primary SAR taskings, that frees up a lot of people, a lot of resources, and we never again have to hear "Well ok, but what does this do for search and rescue" when trying to buy a fighter jet or a tank. (We even get to say "None. It's a tank. It kills people.")

According to the Canada command website, we have approx 160 SAR techs. That's arguably 160 of our best troops tied up in a role that has no combat application (Admitedly, anyone working in a SAR tech role is there because they want to be there, but that's beside the point). Plus associated staff and logistic tail.

So either make a new federal agency, or better yet use an existing federal agency. The coast guard would be a prime candidate for this tasking, they already have SAR taskings, they have facilities in most areas of Canada, and have experience maintaing air assets. Give them our primary SAR taskings (As well as sufficient resources to handle the increased work load, and expand inland), and they'd probably do it more efficiently (Not better, but more efficiently).

Money is saved in cutting the logistics tail that comes with a military unit. No annual postings, operate air assets out of private air strips, etc.

Of course, it's only fair that we'd be expected to maintain secondary SAR roles in the air force and navy (Heck make army pers available for GSAR on a limited basis, when they're in garrison, most units can spare at least a few), but if it doesn't have a combat application, it shouldn't be on our budget.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Bruce Monkhouse on January 13, 2011, 09:52:08
I am certainly no expert on SAR, but I would venture every ship that has needed someone taken to hospital, every plane that has 'landed', not of its own accord, or even a lost soldier in the Artic might think it would have a "combat application".

IMO, of course.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Not a Sig Op on January 13, 2011, 10:06:04
I am certainly no expert on SAR, but I would venture every ship that has needed someone taken to hospital, every plane that has 'landed', not of its own accord, or even a lost soldier in the Artic might think it would have a "combat application".

None of those things have anything to do with a combat application.

Don't get me wrong, it's very important, but it's not somthing that ONLY the military can do.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Bruce Monkhouse on January 13, 2011, 10:09:33
None of those things have anything to do with a combat application.

I think we're taking this thread far of it's topic, however, I'm sure a torpedoed ship or a shot down pilot might like to think they are "combat".

Or are we just talking about what you consider "combat"?


..and to get back on "Defence Budget", can you come up with some sort of numbers that show the saving?  I've been doing the 'Govt" thing pretty much since I was 17 and have seen many 'save money' schemes that have, and some that still are, costing us lots of dollars. And just to clarify, my ideology is less govt., however my experience hasn't borne that out yet.

Bruce
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: captloadie on January 13, 2011, 10:10:17
From Wikipedia:

"Canadian defence policy today is based on the Canada First Defence Strategy,[12] introduced by the Conservative Government of Stephen Harper after he took office in 2006. Based on that strategy, the Canadian military is oriented and being equipped to carry out six core missions within Canada, in North America and globally. Specifically, the Forces are tasked with having the capacity to:

Conduct daily domestic and continental operations, including in the Arctic and through NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command);
Support a major international event in Canada, such as the 2010 Winter Olympics;
Respond to a major terrorist attack;
Support civilian authorities during a crisis in Canada such as a natural disaster;
Lead and/or conduct a major international operation for an extended period; and
Deploy forces in response to crises elsewhere in the world for shorter periods"

I would say that SAR is one of the CF's primary roles, whereas true combat applications fall further down the list.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Not a Sig Op on January 13, 2011, 10:28:53
There's no question that (domestic) SAR is a primary tasking of the military, my point is it shouldn't be on our budget, it should be on somone elses.

Here's a question, theoretically, we invade north korea tommorow. Can you pick up 103 sqn, drop them in Seoul, and put them on standby for combat SAR?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: captloadie on January 13, 2011, 10:48:19
So you have your opinion on what our priorities should be.

Unfortunately for you, Stephen Harper and the Government set the priorities, and domestic and continental operations come first, and always will. The role of the military is and will likely always be, Canada first. Ask Joe Bloggins on the street if they think their tax dollars are better spent doing National SAR, or fighting a war in the middle east, and I would feel confident on betting on what the answer would be.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: aesop081 on January 13, 2011, 10:52:16
Can you pick up 103 sqn, drop them in Seoul, and put them on standby for combat SAR?

No, you can't.

But make no mistake. If you take National SAR and give it to another department, the money and everything that goes with it ( personel, aircraft,etc...) will not stay with DND. It will not simply be funded from someone else's budget. The money for national SAR will follow national SAR.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Not a Sig Op on January 13, 2011, 11:24:57
No, you can't.

But make no mistake. If you take National SAR and give it to another department, the money and everything that goes with it ( personel, aircraft,etc...) will not stay with DND. It will not simply be funded from someone else's budget. The money for national SAR will follow national SAR.

I know. I wouldn't expect it not to. It's a big tasking. No department would be able to do it without the funding and assets.

But, you also stop providing combat training to people who's only tasking is SAR, you stop spending money on annual postings, you stop spending money on career courses where the focus is defence. You get more SAR bang for your buck as a result, and we never again would have to hear "Yes, but what about search and rescue?", because we reply "Remember, we don't do that any more?"

Arguably, the only way a SAR unit has a combat application is if it's deployable, and in order to be deployable, it can't leave a hole in domestic SAR by going.

Capt Loadie:  This is a discussion forum. Specificly, this is a discussion thread about defence budget. The intent is to discuss this things. Shy of running for office, none of us have any effect on any of the political subjects we discuss, and very little effect on any of the military subjects we discuss.

If you're not interested in intelligent discussion, may I suggest Yahoo! answers as a much more appropriate destination? I'm in the middle of a snow day at the moment and have little else to do, as I'm waiting on some linseed oil to harden.

You're quite right, I'm also certain that Joe public would prefer to see their tax dollars spent on SAR. My point is if what we take from our budget what we spend on SAR, and transfer it to another agency, Joe Public gets a more efficient use of their tax dollars, and we ultimately save money.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Bruce Monkhouse on January 13, 2011, 11:37:08
My point is if what we take from our budget what we spend on SAR, and transfer it to another agency, Joe Public gets a more efficient use of their tax dollars, and we ultimately save money.

A point without facts isn't all that sharp. Just in a few posts you have gone from give SAR to the private sector to give it to another Govt. agency, and not shown how either one saves a single dime.

Just speculation......
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Not a Sig Op on January 13, 2011, 11:45:25
A point without facts isn't all that sharp. Just in a few posts you have gone from give SAR to the private sector to give it to another Govt. agency, and not shown how either one saves a single dime.

Fee free to point out where I suggested transferring SAR to the private sector. If you can find it, I'll buy you a beer.

The money is saved in not training people who have no combat role for combat, and in eliminating the extra logistic tail imposed by being attached to the military. I've pointed these things out as well.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: aesop081 on January 13, 2011, 11:50:35

But, you also stop providing combat training to people who's only tasking is SAR, you stop spending money on annual postings, you stop spending money on career courses where the focus is defence.

What combat training ?

Postings ? Thats making the broad assumption that any department taking over SAR would not have to move people around.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Not a Sig Op on January 13, 2011, 12:05:53
What combat training ?

Basic training, any trade courses, career courses, as well as on going training and operations prior to either transferring to the SAR tech trade, or being posted to a SAR unit in a support role, as well as any on going annual qualifications, such as range time. As well as tactical/combat flying training for pilots. Have I missed anything?

Quote
Postings ? Thats making the broad assumption that any department taking over SAR would not have to move people around.

Show me another department that will pack up and move it's employees/families every four years.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Bruce Monkhouse on January 13, 2011, 12:06:25
civillian agency could accomplish exactly the same task cheaper, and potentially more efficiently due to less reduced red tape?

This is where it appears I thought you meant private. Not being military and all, my thought was civilian meant private,.....my bad.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Bruce Monkhouse on January 13, 2011, 12:07:59
Show me another department that will pack up and move it's employees/families every four years.

RCMP?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Not a Sig Op on January 13, 2011, 12:11:53
This is where it appears I thought you meant private. Not being military and all, my thought was civilian meant private,.....my bad.

Fair enough, I can see the ambiguity. Though aside from the RCMP, I can't think of any other federal government agency that isn't "civillian".

Like I said, best option would be to transfer the tasking (and associated funding) to the coast guard, they already have SAR experience, SAR taskings, facilities in most regions of Canada, and experience maintaining and operating air assets.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Not a Sig Op on January 13, 2011, 12:14:23
RCMP?

Ok, you win that round, but while they have a secondary GSAR tasking, they'd be a poor choice to inherit our SAR tasks.

And I appologise, as this is dragging the thread off-topic, but it was joined with larger budget thread after I made my initial post about SAR, I don't suppose you could split it could you Bruce?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on January 13, 2011, 12:25:28
OK we are sidetracked but before someone steers us back I have this to say about SAR:

I do not beleive for one minute that another government department nor a civilian company could provide the quality of Search and Rescue that the CF already provides. Nor do I believe divesting ourselves of the SAR task would save us any money at all. The CF has the national SAR tasking and it shoudl remain that way.

I say what I say for a few reasons:

1.  Unlimited Liability - SAR techs are ordered into extremely hazardous circumstances routinely some of which are life threatening. Would another department or a civilian company be willing to order their employees into a situation where the employee could be at serious risk?
2. The issue of unions - and before you discount this - the issue of unions has to be dealt with. What "unionized" SAR techs would be allowed to do, hours of work etc would need to be hashe out.
3. The CF has the command, control and infrastructure in place. What would be the benefit of divesting ourselves of the SAR tasking?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: SeaKingTacco on January 13, 2011, 12:45:42
I'm actually with Sig Op on this one.

I've seen the amount of staff and command attention SAR gets in the Air Force.  Frankly, it sucks alot of heat and light away from our core combat capabilities.

I don't buy the argument that SAR gives the CF great press.  Half of the time a newspaper photo caption of a Cormorant or a Buffalo identifes it as Coast Guard anyway.

I would argue that the only reason the CF does SAR at all is because of institutional inertia.  We were given the task after WW2, because no one else could do it.  In 2011- I'm not so sure either another Govt Dept or a Civilian Company couldn't carry out the task, with the Cf tasked to augment as secondary SAR in the event of something really big or particularly remote.

Even if we gave another govt dept all of the PYs, aircraft and funding currently associated with primary SAR, I think the CF would still be further ahead.

My 2 cents worth, of course.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Not a Sig Op on January 13, 2011, 13:22:44
More on savings... and I hate to do it this way, because suggesting a base closure makes me feel dirty, but bare with me... picking on 103 Sqn because they're technically the only pure SAR squadron...

Transfer assets/role of 103 Sqn to the coast guard, operate out of Gander International as opposed to CFB Gander (They can't be moved to St. John's or Halifax, that's been made clear by a recent study), and administered by CCG Base St. John's. Give anyone currently posted to 103 Sqn the option of taking a posting somwhere else, or doing exactly the same job they used to do, wearing a slightly different shade of blue. They can even already transfer their pension time.

Which leaves us for what role for CFB Gander? Support of Leitrim's operations, and 5CRPG HQ? Move 5 CRPG HQ to CFB Goose Bay, close CFB Gander, stand up CFS Leitrim Det Gander, administered by Leitrim and supported by CFS St. John's. Hand over the now surplus assets of CFB Gander to the town of Gander, to help off-set political fallout from base closure.


Now, holy-political-hell would be raised by the base closure, but holy-political-hell would be raised at the transfer of SAR assets anywhere anyway even if it makes operational and financial sense. Which is why we still have the SAR taskings we have.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Journeyman on January 13, 2011, 14:09:51
Well, if you're adamant about making the most of your 'snow day' by saving the Airforce budget, argue for scrapping the Snowbirds.   :stirpot:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: SeaKingTacco on January 13, 2011, 14:36:46
...and the Skyhawks, while we are at it.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Not a Sig Op on January 13, 2011, 14:44:08
I was under the impression that the "Sky Hawks" is a secondary tasking? That's a minimal cost for a great public relations asset.

I'm totally in favor of giving the snow birds the boot. Not nearly enough PR bang for the bucks, they're recognized as the snow birds, they're seldom recognized as the Canadian Forces Snow Birds, no matter how much we might like to think other wise.

Not too fond of the ceremonial guard either, but at least there's a few hundred years of tradition there, and there's no aircraft to pay for/support.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on January 13, 2011, 15:10:55
The Sky Hawks are a full time parachute demo team.

Well since I stuck my foot in this earlier, I disagree with getting rid of the Snowbirds, SkyHawks and the CG. For what its worth, I think these units tell the Canadian poplulation that the CF is a valuable institution and their expense is offset by the good PR and recruiting opportunities.

My 2 Cents, plus GST
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Not a Sig Op on January 13, 2011, 15:25:31
Fair enough, they do provide valuble PR (Even if I don't see the snow birds as cost effective).

They're far to easy targets for budget cutting anyway, given that the options are disband completely, or keep, and they're far to visible, they'd never be cut.

But back to search and rescue, there wouldn't be any disbanding, just moving, making things more efficient. Same service, money spent more efficiently.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Journeyman on January 13, 2011, 16:53:01
But back to search and rescue, there wouldn't be any disbanding, just moving, making things more efficient. Same service, money spent more efficiently.
OK, this has gone on for most of the day (and really should be split from the Defence Budget thread), without any substantive evidence to back your claims.

Are your opinions informed by any link to SAR experience or Airforce budget and operations planning? Can you provide any details of the SAR budget, preferably including O&M costs? Can you even define "efficiency"? Is there any indication that the Coast Guard, or whatever anonymous private agency you are imagining, has the desire or ability to even take over the task, let alone provide "same service, money spent more efficiently"?

If not, then you remain merely a Reserve SigOp sitting at home, repeating uninformed, unqualified opinions; hardly the "intelligent discussion" you claim.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Not a Sig Op on January 13, 2011, 17:22:21
OK, this has gone on for most of the day (and really should be split from the Defence Budget thread), without any substantive evidence to back your claims.

Are your opinions informed by any link to SAR experience or Airforce budget and operations planning? Can you provide any details of the SAR budget, preferably including O&M costs? Can you even define "efficiency"? Is there any indication that the Coast Guard, or whatever anonymous private agency you are imagining, has the desire or ability to even take over the task, let alone provide "same service, money spent more efficiently"?

If not, then you remain merely a Reserve SigOp sitting at home, repeating uninformed, unqualified opinions; hardly the "intelligent discussion" you claim.

I'm sorry, has putting the sacred cow that is airforce SAR out to pasture struck a nerve? Does anyone who has more experience with air force budget and operations planning care to tell me I'm wrong?

No one is imagining a private agency, you're putting those words in my mouth. I already gave a full example of how 103 Sqn, and CFB Gander can be transferred and shut down.

If you're having difficulty with the definition of efficiency, would "accomplishment of or ability to accomplish a job with a minimum expenditure of time and effort" work?

Any other agency is going to have to spend exactly what we spend to maintain the same SAR assets. It's the associated costs that you won't have to spend any more. Packing people up and moving them every four or so years. A large, well equipped gym, with PSP staff. Mess facilities. Career courses. Combat training. Etc.

I don't mean to give the impression I have anything against SAR. Like it or not, we've got base closures coming, and more cutbacks. At the end of the day, would you like to transfer SAR squadrons and cut their logistcs tail, or shut down combat units?

The storm seems to have subsided and I have a driveway to shovel.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Journeyman on January 13, 2011, 18:56:24
The nerve struck, after watching you go on and on all day, is some peoples' inability to stay in their lane.

You see, I was merely asking you to provide some evidence to back your claims. Repeating an unsubstantiated claim over and over again does not constitute proof.

Since YOU provided the thesis that dropping SAR is a brilliant, cost-effective move, then YOU are obligated to provide proof of your argument. Again, "oh...oh YA, well you prove I'm wrong" just doesn't provide you with any credibility.

You dismiss away the fact that our Defence Policy mandates the CAS to conduct SAR.

You seem unaware that most SAR Squadrons are Transport and Rescue; without access to the O&M budget (do you know what O&M means?), one cannot begin to estimate the potential cost saving of divesting ourselves of the SAR task. Again, you can say it over and over again, but you've provided absolutely no evidence.

If you're going to hang your hat on a dictionary definition of efficiency, which emphasizes "minimum expenditure of time and effort," then there really is no task that wouldn't be better served by letting someone else do it. Again, no logic to back you.
.....unless you're saying that without those pesky SAR Techs around, there'll be no more need for "gyms, with PSP staff. Mess facilities. Career courses. Posting cycles" -- you do know that the rest of the squadrons' personnel also use those things.

You've also ignored the request for info on the Coast Guard's desire/ability to acquire and maintain this task; you do know a SAR capability can't be invented overnight, right? But I guess, if you're dismissing all the other requests to validate your argument, what's one more problem to be simply wished away. And I guess it wouldn't be the CF's problem anyway.

No one is imagining a private agency, you're putting those words in my mouth.
Quote
Why are there any domestic military units with SAR as a primary task when a civillian [sic] agency  could accomplish exactly the same task cheaper, and potentially more efficiently due to less reduced red tape


Oh, and budget cuts aren't a zero-sum game -- it's not SAR vs "Combat" (whatever you believe that to be); there are other options available through adjusting personnel, training, headquarters....


So, no, no "SAR as Sacred Cow" nerve;
just a desire to see contributors to the site provide evidence of their assertions (or at a minimum, some hint that their opinions are professionally credible through their training, experience, knowledge).  
I wouldn't have thought that was such a difficult concept.

But then, I've never felt a need to go on and on about Res SigOps either -- it's not "my lane."


Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Not a Sig Op on January 13, 2011, 19:36:54
You dismiss away the fact that our Defence Policy mandates the CAS to conduct SAR.

Fine, I give up.

I'm well aware it's in our mandate to provide SAR. My original point was that it makes no sense to have it in our mandate, and that the government would be well served to transfer that mandate and associated budget and assets to another agency.

If you don't like the alternative scenario I've presented, honestly, I don't care. It makes sense to me.

I can also get into the garage again.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on January 13, 2011, 21:35:20
You know a Sig Op....you're 26. You don't have all the answers as NONE of us do. So go run for Parliament and become MND. Please, you are starting to irritate some of us.
I'd like to know if you're like this on a training night....
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Journeyman on January 14, 2011, 15:13:34
Fine, I give up.
It's not a win/lose exercise; it's an ongoing effort, by some, to improve the intellectual status of Army.ca (and CF members as a knock-on effect) -- hence often-repeated posts on "spelling, grammar, logic, and evidence."
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: GAP on February 03, 2011, 12:14:03
 Billions in shipbuilding contracts will make waves for Harper
STEVEN CHASE OTTAWA— From Thursday's Globe and Mail Thursday, Feb. 03, 2011
Article Link (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/billions-in-shipbuilding-contracts-will-make-waves-for-harper/article1892593/?cmpid=nl-news1)

Stephen Harper is poised to kick off the greatest round of government shipbuilding in Canada since the Second World War.

The massive equipment purchase is also going to give him a political headache.

Pegged at $35-billion, the sums involved easily dwarf the funds committed for the Conservatives' controversial and hotly contested plan to buy $9-billion worth of F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin.

It will ultimately pit three regions of Canada against each other and force a difficult choice upon Mr. Harper. He'll have to decide which region to leave in the cold during what could be an election year: the East, the West or Quebec.

The federal shopping list includes a fleet of new defence, patrol and scientific research vessels, from frigates to the John G. Diefenbaker, which will be the most powerful icebreaker Ottawa has ever owned.

The Conservative government will select two marine construction yards for the job of building $33-billion in large vessels – companies that will end up dominating public shipbuilding in Canada for decades.

But by giving two yards the bulk of the work, Mr. Harper is inviting trouble.

Regional anger over procurement decisions are stuff of legend in Canadian politics and have damaged incumbent governments. A 1986 decision by the Mulroney government to award a CF-18 fighter maintenance contract to a Quebec firm over a superior bid by a Winnipeg-based company enraged western Canadians and helped spur the rise of the Reform Party.

Five yards are expected to bid for either one or both of the shipbuilding packages: the larger order to assemble frigates, destroyers and patrol ships – and the smaller to build non-combat vessels including the polar-class Diefenbaker icebreaker.

Ottawa hasn't attached an official dollar figure to these packages, but sources familiar with the matter value the combat order at roughly $25-billion, the non-combat around $8-billion. In the first five to eight years, both packages will pour roughly the same level of investment in shipyard work – and the non-combat order is expected to grow over time to include more replacement Coast Guard vessels.

The bidding competition will heat up this month when Ottawa invites bids for the two large-vessel packages. The federal government is expected to render its decision by August or September.

Winning a contract will mean the right of first refusal to build all the vessels in the package.

Of the five yards that have made the shortlist for bidding, three are considered major contenders. They include Irving Shipbuilding Inc.'s Halifax yard, Davie Yards of Lévis, Que., and Washington Marine Group's Vancouver Shipyards in North Vancouver, B.C.

Mr. Harper's National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy is an attempt to change the playbook for Canada's boom and bust shipbuilding industry, laying out a 30-year plan that ensures a steady stream of construction work for at least two yards.

There's a strategic military reason for this too. It ensures Canada, like many of its NATO allies, maintains a constant capacity to build naval vessels.

A politically risky feature of this new procurement style however, is that it concentrates the work into just two shipyards. From an accountant's perspective this makes sense: The winners have better economies of scale, thereby reducing costs – as well as ensuring a buildup of skilled labour at the yards in question.

It's a departure from the way regional politics have forced Ottawa to conduct government shipbuilding in the past, when contracts have been chopped up and spread around. Traditionally, a single ship might be assembled by different yards – ultimately increasing the vessel's price tag.

The consolation price for three losing shipyards is they will be able to bid on an estimated $2-billion of construction work for smaller non-combat ships.

Ottawa says there's enough of these smaller jobs to suffice.
More on link and second page
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MarkOttawa on February 03, 2011, 13:12:09
More at the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute's 3Ds Blog:

The Government’s Fun with Shipbuilding Money and Numbers
http://www.cdfai.org/the3dsblog/?p=93

Quote
The Globe and Mail today runs a major piece on the “National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy” the government announced in June 2010:

    "Billions in shipbuilding contracts will make waves for Harper"

In typical Canadian media fashion the article concentrates on the politics involved - and misses the really interesting thing.  The government’s numbers just don’t add up, especially for the poor Canadian Coast Guard...

Mark
Ottawa
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Haletown on February 03, 2011, 13:57:00
Mark . . . they aren't doing New Math, they are doing Government Math.

What you have proved:

A)  Bureaucrats can't do math
B)  Bureaucrats can do math but they know Journalists can't
C)  Journalists can do math but they are too lazy to do math
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MarkOttawa on February 03, 2011, 13:59:52
Haletown: C) certainly, but also I think that politicians don't give a flying fig for truth in figures.  Not exactly news, but...

Mark
Ottawa
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on February 03, 2011, 19:15:15
A propose f not very much: a few, well 25 or so, years ago I had occasion to learn that, in Canada, most universities required at least one math course (usually statistics) for pretty much every honurs undergraduate and prety much every graduate programme - even e.g. hstory. The theory is that anyone taking "honours" should have at least some mathematical ability and even historians need to be able to understand data. There were a couple of notable exceptions - two programmes in which those who could not possibly, ever, pass a math course could find refuge:

1. Education/BEd; and

2. Journalism - at both the BA and MA levels.

Perhaps, I hope, that's changed but, with a handful of exceptions, I always assume that journalists do not comprehend e.g. compound interest or inflation and I assume that they just regurgitate whatever drivel they get from someone, anyone, who the journalist thinks can do basic arithmetic - i.e. a bureaucrat, lobbyist, politician, the civvie cleaner, anyone ...
Title: PM defends defence spending
Post by: 211RadOp on February 23, 2011, 10:35:43
From the Kingston Whig Standard

http://www.kingstonwhigstandard.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2990015 (http://www.kingstonwhigstandard.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2990015)

PM defends defence spending
By BRYN WEESE, PARLIAMENTARY BUREAU
 

OTTAWA -- The first duty of a national government -- "everywhere and always" -- is to protect its people and territory from external threats, and that means buying the best for the Canadian Forces, according to the prime minister.

Stephen Harper threw down the gauntlet Tuesday to his critics who question his government's military spending, including the $16 billion put toward 65 new F-35 stealth fighter jets.

That purchase is expected to be a major election issue for the Liberals and NDP in the next campaign, whenever it's called.

While announcing a new $155-million helicopter base in B.C., Harper warned against "wilful naivete" in national security, and said Canada has to be ready to defend itself from any and all threats.

"If you don't do that, you soon don't have a country and you don't have any of the other good things you once thought were more important," he said. "Our country has certainly never gone and will never go looking for trouble. However, many times during the past 200 years, trouble has come looking for us. While Canada does not aspire to be an armed camp, neither is there any place in national defence for wilful naivety."

NDP defence critic Jack Harris shot back at Harper Tuesday, saying protecting Canadians is equally important in times of peace, too, and in that regard the government has failed.

There's no excuse, for example, for Canada to be the worst in, probably, the developed world in terms of search and rescue response times, Harris said, adding response times in Canada are 30 minutes between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday to Friday, but slows to two hours during the evenings and weekends.

Norway, by comparison, has pilots in the air within 15 minutes of receiving a search and rescue call, 24/7, and the United States and Australia both have 30 minute response times, 24/7.

The new 20,000-square-metre helicopter base announced Tuesday at Canadian Forces Base Esquimault near Victoria, B.C., will house the 443 Squadron, and its nine new Cyclone helicopters are expected to arrive in 2014.


Canada is buying 28 Cyclones to replace the country's ageing Sea Kings.

bryn.weese@sunmedia.ca

Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: Container on February 23, 2011, 10:52:13
Layton understands that we are a huge country mostly filled with nothing right? We can't have the same response times as......Norway.

Nor do we have the population density to have the same coverage as the States.

Has he ever been out of Toronto?

**EDIT** OOPS! I saw NDP Jack and missed Harris. My apologies to Mr. Layton- this time!***
Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: Wookilar on February 23, 2011, 12:27:29
No need to apologize, there's not much difference between any of them IMHO (Peter Stoffer is about the only one on that side of the house that has any sense at all).

The only way to improve SAR response times would be more.....as in more SAR Techs, more pilots, more FE's (are they still called Flight Engineer's?) more choppers and planes and more Bases for them to operate from.

Gee, didn't we used to have more????

There's no way the NDP will support more spending on the CF, for any reason.

Once again, empty posturing from the NDP. If they really were worried about SAR response times, they'd support more initiatives that would actually affect them.

Wook
Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: ModlrMike on February 23, 2011, 16:50:55
Mr Harris needs to remember that for virtually all of the current government's tenure, Canada has not been at peace. Perhaps his gaze should turn elsewhere in assigning blame for reaping the "peace dividend".
Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: George Wallace on March 11, 2011, 11:30:50

Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act.

Quote
Coffee Talk


Canada's military spending highest since World War II

by Sameer Vasta
10/03/2011 1:00:00 PM


LINK  (http://news.sympatico.ca/oped/coffee-talk/canadas_military_spending_highest_since_world_war_ii/115dc9d1)

Increasing Canada's defence budget by 54 percent over the past decade should not come at the expense of foreign aid and diplomacy.

According to a new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (http://www.policyalternatives.ca/), military spending in Canada is expected to hit at least $22.3 billion (http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20110309/canada-military-spending-110309/) this budget year, the highest since World War II and a 54 percent increase in defence spending over the last decade.

The increase in defence spending is staggering, but perhaps not surprising considering Canada's recent role in the Afghanistan War. What is shocking, however, is that our country now ranks 60th out of 102 contributing countries to United Nations peace-support missions. This is a drastic change from the years before, where Canada not only was a top worldwide contributor to UN peace missions, but is also a radical departure from our previous role as the country that redefined modern peacekeeping under the leadership of Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson.

Over the next 17 years, Canada has committed to increasing its military spending by $90-110 billion dollars. This not only comes at a shaky time in the global economic environment, but also at a time where the need for humanitarian aid and non-military global security spending is high. The report continues to say (http://www.policyalternatives.ca/publications/reports/canadian-military-spending-2010-11) that Canada could easily meet the 0.7% Official Development Assistance (ODA) target (http://www2.parl.gc.ca/content/lop/researchpublications/prb0710-e.htm) by diverting the increase in military spending to global aid. (Canada has never met the 0.7% ODA target, coming closest — 0.5% — in 1986-1987.)

Does Canada really need to increase its military spending over the next few years? As far as I know, the credible threats to the country's sovereignty and security are small; justification for an increased defence budget is difficult to find in light of the other competing priorities that face our nation and the world around us. Our troops deserve new and adequate equipment and preparation, but this should be done by re-evaluating military priorities and using the current budget wisely. Substantial increases, in the billions of dollars, to defence spending should instead be invested in areas where Canada has had the most impact, and can continue to lead the world and help make it a better place.

Investing in humanitarian aid, peace-support missions, and research on global issues like climate change and migration also has a role in the security of our country and the role it plays on the world stage. Increasing military spending to World War II levels — especially at the expense of international diplomacy, foreign aid, and thought leadership — may not be the best way to remind the world that Canada is strong, free, and committed to peace.


Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: Technoviking on March 11, 2011, 11:50:07
I find that the author of that piece is comparing 2011 dollars on par with 1945 dollars.  While the gross spending may be the same, the purchasing power is obviously not at World War Two levels.

As well, I wish that people would remember that even though we "were there" with UN Peacekeeping Missions, we were simultaneously "there" with our NATO brigade, Air Division and Fleets during the Cold War.  But times have changed, and sometimes you just have to shoot people in the face to make a point: the blue beret only gets you so far.
Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: Good2Golf on March 11, 2011, 12:18:36
...good thing nobody is asking questions about the $1.76 TRILLION  that HRSDC will spend (estimates based on pro-rated figures from the HRSDC 2010-2011 Report on Plans and Priorities (Section 1.7 - Spending Profile) (http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/rpp/2010-2011/inst/csd/csd01-eng.asp)) in that same 17-year period...


I suppose helping a proportionately small number of Canadian citizens, vice protecting ALL Canadian citizens doesn't warrant as much interest, even though the expenditures for them are approximately 500% higher than defence and protection of Canadian rights and values for all. 


Regards
G2G

Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: HavokFour on March 11, 2011, 12:23:48
This is being debated on CPAC this very moment, if anyone is interested.

EDIT: And by that I mean the F-35 price tag. Accountability, blah, blah, blah.
Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: MarkOttawa on March 11, 2011, 13:06:46
In any event ISAF has been repeatedly authorized by the UN Security Council; hence by participating in it we are taking part in a UN mission.

Mark
Ottawa
Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: thunderchild on March 12, 2011, 22:06:13
It was the Liberals who got us into Afghanistan not the Conservative party.
Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: HavokFour on March 12, 2011, 23:00:22
It was the Liberals who got us into Afghanistan not the Conservative party.

Something they tend to forget at times.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MarkOttawa on March 15, 2011, 15:33:34
From the government's 2008 "Canada First Defence Strategy":
http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/pri/first-premier/defstra/summary-sommaire-eng.asp

Quote
...the Government has committed through Budget 2008 to raise the annual increase in defence funding to 2 percent from the current 1.5 percent starting in fiscal year 2011-12. Over the next 20 years, these increases will expand National Defence's annual budget from approximately $18 billion in 2008-09, to over $30 billion in 2027-28. In total, the Government plans to invest close to $490 billion in defence over this period. Most importantly, the infusion of reliable funding will provide the certainty required to conduct longterm planning and meet future requirements...

The 2011-12 situation is outlined in Conference of Defence Associations' "Commentary 1-2011", by Brian MacDonald.  Money has been clawed back a bit:

Waiting for Defence Budget 2011/12: Third of the Canada First Defence Strategy Budgets
http://cda-cdai.ca/cda/uploads/cda/defbudget2011.pdf

Mark
Ottawa
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Haletown on March 15, 2011, 16:09:01
2%, while a paltry sum, would be a huge increase from our traditional 1.2%  - 1/3 %.

I really doubt that Harper et al will come through with the funds.  They are pretty good at obfuscating, but better than the alternatives at CF support.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MarkOttawa on March 15, 2011, 16:55:22
Sad but true.  One does rather long for the days of the muscular Mickey I.:
http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/index.cfm?PgNm=TCE&Params=M1ARTM0013421

Quote
...Following a 2005 lecture at the University of Dublin's Trinity College, Ignatieff excoriated Canadians for trading on Canada's "entirely bogus reputation as peacekeepers" for 40 years and for favouring "hospitals and schools and roads" over international citizenship. "If you are a human rights defender and you want something done to stop [a] massacre, you have to go to the Pentagon, because no one else is serious," Ignatieff said.

"It's disgusting in my own country, and I love my country, Canada, but they would rather ***** about their rich neighbour to the south than actually pay the note," he said, in response to a question about PEACEKEEPING. "To pay the bill to be an international citizen is not something that they want to do."..

Mark
Ottawa
Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: Bert on March 21, 2011, 12:48:57
The original article talks about SAR response time without definition and compares the response
process of other countries with equal ambiguity.  <Sigh>. 

Perhaps a defense white paper may help Canadians to understand the challenges of maintaining
a viable military capable of domestic assistance, SAR, and national defence.  Defence spending
is like maintaining a car.  Most people understand why they have a car, but the partisan political
forum confuses the "why(s) we have the car" with the relative "quality of the parts to put into it".

Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: Sythen on March 21, 2011, 13:23:44
Wonder how much different the SAR response times would be had the Liberals not canceled the EH-101 like they plan to cancel the JSF?
Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: Chilme on March 21, 2011, 21:22:19
Its too bad we couldn't have one of these politicians against spending make an emergency landing in the middle of NWT.  I'm sure the time they spend waiting for SAR pers to fly up from Trenton, would be enough for them to think of better ways to spend that cash.
Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: PuckChaser on March 21, 2011, 21:26:04
Its too bad we couldn't have one of these politicians against spending make an emergency landing in the middle of NWT.  I'm sure the time they spend waiting for SAR pers to fly up from Trenton, would be enough for them to think of better ways to spend that cash.

Or put them in a HLVW on Route Fosters.
Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: Sapperian on March 21, 2011, 21:46:47
I wonder if the article comparing our defense budget to that of the second world war takes inflation into account. I haven't studied information, but I find it hard to believe that we are spending the same money (in today's dollars) or as a GDP percentage.

Edit: Not even mentioning the blanket remark that we are at over 50% increased spending since this time last decade... 9/11 led to Afghanistan, so perhaps the defense budget is a little more strained, and a little more important than it was January-September 10, 2001.
Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: ArmyRick on March 21, 2011, 22:01:05
It a fairly simple concept IMO. If we want to participate in international military operations (most Canadians do) we have to pay for it.

Or we we don't pay fiddle for defence and keep all our troops at home, strictly domestic defence.

Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: PuckChaser on March 21, 2011, 22:01:19
I wonder if the article comparing our defense budget to that of the second world war takes inflation into account. I haven't studied information, but I find it hard to believe that we are spending the same money (in today's dollars) or as a GDP percentage.

Theres no way it does. We were in total war mode in 1945 and any extra money was being put into the war effort.
Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: Journeyman on March 22, 2011, 00:27:34
It a fairly simple concept IMO. If we want to participate in international military operations (most Canadians do)  we have to pay for it.
But that begs the question, do "most Canadians" equate our participation in "international military operations" as combat in South-West Asia.....or some mythical blue beret-wearing UN sun-tanning mission?

I suspect that the absence of critical thinking causes 'SPF 35' to trump 'F-35' in the minds of most Canadians.
Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: George Wallace on March 23, 2011, 09:09:47
I wonder if the authors of these studies really looked at costs over the past seventy years?  A guestimation of what some of those costs may look like this:


12 oz bottle/can of Coke:

     1940 = $   .05
     2011 = $ 1.00

Draft Beer:

     1940 = $   .05 for 2 X 12 oz glass
     2011 = $ 6.50 for 1 X 10 oz glass


Of course we are spending more on Defence.
Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 23, 2011, 09:20:06
Here is a simple graph, courtesy of InflationData.com (http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/default.asp)

(https://Army.ca/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.inflationdata.com%2Finflation%2Fimages%2Fcharts%2FAnnual_Inflation%2FCumulative_Inflation_by_Decade.jpg&hash=7dbc3bc4ff5c1eea7aec4bd8c37e8044)


As you can see inflation compounds, just like compound interest, and we have seen deflation, too - look at 1920 to 1940.

What is interesting is the two rates of change: 1940 to 1970 (which, had it been sustained, would have trended out to about 750% by 2010) and 1970 to the present (which shows a remarkably consistent trend). 
Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: Sapperian on March 23, 2011, 11:47:05
That graph does cut off at the right side, here is a similar graph from the same source.

This is inflation per decade, but does not register cumulatively
http://inflationdata.com/Inflation/Inflation/DecadeInflation.asp
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MarkOttawa on March 23, 2011, 17:23:27
Guess who's taking the 2011 budget hits?

DND to shoulder almost one-third of spending restraint
http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20110322/dnd-federal-budget-restraint-110322/

Quote
The Defence Department may not be heading back into the old decade of budget darkness, but it could be in for a time of twilight.

The military will make it home from the war in Afghanistan just in time to take a lead role in the battle against the federal deficit.

Figures released in Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s budget on Tuesday show he’s relying on the Defence Department to rein in spending sharply.

He expects Defence to account for up to 26 per cent of the federal government’s anticipated $2 billion in spending cuts next year.
That figure jumps to 35 per cent in both 2013 and 2014 — or $1 billion a year…

Government supplementary estimates tabled earlier suggest that reduced overseas operations will save Defence as much as $300 million a year starting in 2012, although it’s not clear how much of that is attributable to the changed Afghan mission.

The government announced in the 2010 budget that the military would contribute to the deficit fight, but the numbers have become more stark.

[Douglas] Porter [deputy chief economist at Bank of Montreal] said there’s a certain volatility in the defence projections because, as the Libyan crisis has demonstrated, no one can predict how and when the military will be deployed…

Budget documents call the restraint measures at Defence “a key element” of the plan to wipe the anticipated $29.6 billion deficit for 2011-12 off the books.

Starting next year, there will be cuts to “redundant and outdated equipment” and to the procurement system, which is already short of program officers, will be streamlined.

The department has struggled with big-ticket purchases — such as new supply ships [see here for more
http://www.cdfai.org/the3dsblog/?p=136]
 - partly because of a lack of planning staff.

Full details from the budget documents themselves--those details on the impact on DND are pretty well buried:
http://www.cdfai.org/the3dsblog/?p=152

Mark
Ottawa
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Haletown on March 23, 2011, 18:45:37
wonder if that includes the $30 Billion Iggy and Jack say we shouldn't spend on new Fighters . . .  because that money is allocated from current department allocations.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: AirForceMonkey on March 23, 2011, 20:20:00
Now I am not much into politics and have a long way to go to understand, but I don't think that the defense is the best place to cut for any Country, I mean, it doesn't really matter if you have free health care, great social programs and what have you, if you can't protect your Citizens... Just my  :2c:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: kratz on March 26, 2011, 11:57:12
My 9er just reminded me that there will most likely be a delay in seeing the annual economic adjustment to our pay due to the election. For the same reason, we will probably not hear of any potential changes to PLD until after the election as well. Essentially everything related to all those items are in a delayed holding pattern  until the fall, most likely.
Title: Re: PM defends defence spending
Post by: Fergie on March 26, 2011, 18:12:10
Hello all,

I managed to find two studies (one of them the actual one cited from the article) that will probably clear the air on the "how is this measured" question.

http://www.ploughshares.ca/libraries/WorkingPapers/wp031.pdf
(a similar study of post-war spending until 2001 with the same author contributing)

http://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/National%20Office/2011/03/Canadian%20Military%20Spending%202010.pdf
(the study cited in the article)

Summary:

1) The measurement of defence budgets is done via "Real dollars" with base years in 2001 (the first study) and 2010 (the study from the article).  This is about as accurate you can get at effectively comparing dollars/value across time.  Just like all forms of economic measurement it can't capture everything 100%, e.g. production practices becoming more efficient over time due to technology, but in terms of measuring a defence budget on the whole it's fairly accurate.

2) The article headline skews the actual results of the study... we're not spending more today than we did during WWII, but rather since 1946-47... Obviously a significant difference.

The studies are interesting reads (and not too lengthy) and may provide some interesting surprises, but all in all it's obviously bias against increasing defence expenditures.  Hope this was helpful,

-Fergie
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: linkinarmy on May 19, 2011, 17:10:16
Hey I have a quick question here. How is it that the Spanish Armed Forces have a defence budget relatively similar to our own but have over double the man power, More aircraft, equipment, vessels, etc.

Just curious
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on May 19, 2011, 17:30:22
Given the amount that DND habitually underspends, a reduction of $500M stil elaves money on the table unspent.

And re: Spain:  I suspect they still have universal conscription, which saves a lot of money on your personnel budget.  As well, our pay scales compare favourably with any army in the world.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: linkinarmy on May 19, 2011, 17:34:23
Ok makes sense. I thought about the pay thing too. It had me wondering though because there a modern professional military that spends around the same as Canada.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Journeyman on May 20, 2011, 02:58:28
But I'll leave you with a philosophical question linkinarmy....

Of what utility is having a military of "over double the man power, more aircraft, equipment, vessels..." if you withdraw it all from multinational operations and have them all hunkered down at home, where their conventional warfighting skills contribute nothing?

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: linkinarmy on May 20, 2011, 14:44:16
Its useless but look at countries like Russia and China with huge militaries that do nothing out side there borders. Im not saying we should have a military of that size. Just wondered how Spain could afford all those capabilities with a budget similar to ours.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on May 20, 2011, 15:08:58
Its useless but look at countries like Russia and China with huge militaries that do nothing out side there borders. Im not saying we should have a military of that size. Just wondered how Spain could afford all those capabilities with a budget similar to ours.


Every sensible country maintains just enough military power to meet their national vital interests, at home and abroad.

The Chinese armed forces (the People's Liberation Army), for example, has been drastically reduced in size over the past 25 years and, simultaneously, has made equally dramatic improvements in quality and professionalism. There is a lesser (perceived) need for internal security and a slowly increasing need to employ expeditionary forces - including on baby-blue beret type UN missions.

Canada tries to maintain just enough military power, at the lowest possible cost, to buy us 'seats' at various international tables.

Some countries, Spain is probably one, Russia is likely another, but Canada and e.g. Australia are not amongst them, still perceive domestic threats that appear to require large standing armies, at home.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MrsAlex on May 20, 2011, 23:17:32
I really liked those Ignatieff'S words you posted (way up there ^). They reflect something I've thought for a while, and tried to explain to people around me. Most people who think CF budget should be cut down argue that we should use diplomacy instead of military to solve international problems. But an healthy army is a major diplomatic tool. It always has been so. I just think the population in general don't understand how important for Canada is its army and how much it costs to keep it not just barely functional but really efficient and competent.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: FoverF on May 23, 2011, 12:54:07

Some countries... but Canada and e.g. Australia are not amongst them, still perceive domestic threats that appear to require large standing armies, at home.

Perhaps. But Australia still manages to operate amphibs, attack helicopters, AWACS, and significant submarine forces, as examples of useful and expensive capabilities which we lack. They also have 2 large flat-deck vessels in the pipeline, and already have a Hornet replacement program in place, with Super Hornets already delivered, and spots secured in the F-35 production line. Each one of these things is, in my opinion, pretty significant.

They do all this while maintaining otherwise comparable naval, ground, and air forces to Canada, and with essentially the same budget.

While not a complete picture by any means, it seems to me like they are getting a significantly bigger bang for their buck.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: GAP on May 26, 2011, 11:20:06
MacKay faces job cuts at DND – and an eager rookie nipping at his heels
JANE TABER OTTAWA— Globe and Mail  Thursday, May 26, 2011
Article Link (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/mackay-faces-job-cuts-at-dnd-and-an-eager-rookie-nipping-at-his-heels/article2035519/)
 
The anticipated slash and burn of the public service by the newly-minted Conservative majority government could be starting at the Department of National Defence. Reports Thursday morning say 2,100 jobs will be cut over the next three years.

This as Defence Minister Peter MacKay attempts to defend what many see as his diminished role. In the cabinet swearing-in last week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Julian Fantino, the former top cop in Ontario, as Mr. MacKay’s Associate Minister in charge of procurement, which comes with a huge budget that is between 14 and 16 per cent of the department’s $22-billion total.
More on link
 
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: aesop081 on May 26, 2011, 11:45:45
and already have a Hornet replacement program in place, with Super Hornets already delivered, 

The Super Hornet in RAAF service is not a replacement for the "legacy Hornet". It is an interim measure to bridge the gap between the retirement of the F-111 and the (much delayed) arrival of the F-35. In other words, the Super Hornet is an temporary F-111 replacement.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: FSTO on May 26, 2011, 11:55:31
The Super Hornet in RAAF service is not a replacement for the "legacy Hornet". It is an interim measure to bridge the gap between the retirement of the F-111 and the (much delayed) arrival of the F-35. In other words, the Super Hornet is an temporary F-111 replacement.

I think the point of his comment is that Australia appears (from up here anyway) to get more out of their defence dollars then Canada does.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Simian Turner on May 26, 2011, 12:02:21
And re: Spain:  I suspect they still have universal conscription, which saves a lot of money on your personnel budget.  As well, our pay scales compare favourably with any army in the world.

Suspect is like a shot in the dark, fact is Spain ended conscription in 2001 after 230 years- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/spain/1332085/Conscription-ends-in-Spain-after-230-years.html
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: aesop081 on May 27, 2011, 23:41:32
I think the point of his comment is that Australia appears (from up here anyway) to get more out of their defence dollars then Canada does.

I gathered that, but have we lost the ability to make a point using facts ?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Chris Pook on May 28, 2011, 12:14:10

Every sensible country maintains just enough military power to meet their national vital interests, at home and abroad.

......

Canada tries to maintain just enough military power, at the lowest possible cost, to buy us 'seats' at various international tables.

........

A few days ago I came across this entry  (http://faculty.marianopolis.edu/c.belanger/quebechistory/encyclopedia/allanhughmontague.htm) in the Quebec History Encyclopedia.  I believe it demonstrates how much that attitude is bred in the bone of our "administering classes".  Hugh Allan was one of the Allan Steamship family and part of that set of Anglo-Scots Montrealers that Quebecers love to hate but were the driving force behind Canada.   Note the number of directorships and clubs on his resume.  It worked for those men at a personal level and was perceived to be the key at the professional and international level.

Just an aside.


WRT the budget and specifically the F-35:

What happens to the budget estimates on F-35 costs if we make the following assumptions:

Buy a limited number of air frames (original capital cost)
Lease engines (http://www.geae.com/services/finance/engineleasing/index.html) supplied and maintained by OEM (Operations & Maintenance Budget)
Buy training services on an ongoing basis from the US (Personnel Management Budget - reverse of the BCATP and the NATO Hawk Plan at Moose Jaw)
Fund expeditionary activities (like Afghanistan and Libya) out of general revenues as extraordinary expenditures rather than the Defence Budget.

Fund DND to purchase training and maintenance to support and sustain minimal standing obligations (standing patrols, observation posts and quick reaction forces).  Ensure that there is retained a step-up ability to surge a "suitable, credible, politically acceptable, sufficient" field force or two.

With that model in mind I believe that the Government could credibly claim that they can field, for example, 65 F-35s and maintain a couple of 4 ship QRFs indefinitely on a very modest budget. 

The fly in the ointment is that after that minimal obligation has been met then the operating budget will determine how much or how little training time and "engine" time can be purchased in a given year.  On the plus side; moving the expeditionary costs off the annual estimates for the Department could both result in the Department getting what it needs when it needs it (with the politically astute necessity of supporting the troops) while at the same time taking some of the heat off the Department by maintaining a smaller standing budget.

I don't trust politicians any more than I trust bureaucrats or salesmen - or for that matter pimps, panderers, proselytizers or the press - but it occurs to me that there are always many ways to skin cats.  And the politicians, bureaucrats and salesmen of the world are very astute when it comes to finding ways to modify assumptions so as to find the single method that will result in the least pain ..... to them.  The yowling of the cat is a secondary matter.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Nemo888 on May 28, 2011, 13:13:45
I can't believe the Conservatives are cutting 10% of DND staff (2100) and 15%(5% per year for 3 years) of Contractors. I can't reprint it here becasue that journalist is banned from the site.  The only thing that comforts me is that if DND is getting axed like this departments they don't like will be cubicle ghost towns.

So much for priority hiring though. Won't be many places to go soon.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: aesop081 on May 28, 2011, 16:17:25
I can't believe

Why ? What did you expect them to do ?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: FoverF on May 28, 2011, 16:19:29
I gathered that, but have we lost the ability to make a point using facts ?

Whether the Super Hornets will be temporary or not remains to be seen.

But you are correct, the Super Hornets are not intended as replacement of the legacy Hornets, they are the replacement of the F-111.

Which is what I should have said in the first place, because in addition to being more accurate it also better supports my point, as it illustrates yet another capability gap (operating different fast-jet types in complimentary roles).
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on September 28, 2011, 10:43:18
From another page:
So the PBO can't do basic arithmetic and make a $1 billion addition error, they conclude canceling a multi-billion dollar second engine cost will increase the program costs and  they invent some truly, truly, bizarre  estimating methodology for  future aircraft costs based on the weight of an aircraft and people still take Kevin Page/the CBO seriously?


Wonder how Page figured out how much 8 million lines of software code weighs?


Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page's estimates have, finally, been scrutinized in this article, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/double-vision-flahertys-fiscal-forecasts-win-out-over-watchdogs/article2182950/
Quote
Double vision: Flaherty’s fiscal forecasts win out over watchdog’s

BILL CURRY
OTTAWA— Globe and Mail Update

Published Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2011

Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page releases his latest forecast Thursday challenging the Conservatives’ deficit numbers, but a review of his record to date reveals his estimates are less accurate than the government’s.

Mr. Page’s Thursday report – which is expected to expand on the PBO's concern that Ottawa faces a long term deficit due largely to demographics – comes in advance of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s fall economic update, which has not yet been scheduled.

Since his March 2008 appointment as Canada’s first Parliamentary Budget Officer, Mr. Page’s numbers have been at odds with government estimates over everything from fighter jets to infrastructure spending, and most recently the deficit.

Now, after three years of prognosticating since Mr. Page’s arrival on the national scene, it is possible to look back and see which side has the better track record when it comes to Ottawa’s bottom line.

An analysis by The Globe and Mail reveals the edge goes to the government. Reports from Finance and the PBO since Mr. Page’s appointment show that in 15 comparable forecasts, the government beat the PBO nine times. The PBO forecasts were more accurate four times and there were two ties.

Measured another way, the Finance Ministry comes out slightly ahead with an average forecasting error – the difference between the projected surplus or deficit and the final number – of $12.6-billion, compared to $13.2-billion for the PBO.

Deficit forecasts are particularly important now amid growing warnings the world economy will slip back into recession. Deficit targets are also being used as justification to cut government spending – Mr. Flaherty has vowed his Conservative government will erase the nation’s $29.6-billion deficit by the 2014-15 fiscal year – without major public-service layoffs or cuts to health and social transfers to the provinces.

Mr. Page, meanwhile, warns that Canada faces a permanent, long-term structural deficit unless Ottawa cuts deeper than planned or raises taxes to cover the costs of Canada’s aging population.

Some independent economists told the House of Commons finance committee Monday that Mr. Flaherty may have to push back that target if the economic growth continues to slow.

Finance and PBO each released two reports at the onset of the recession in late 2008 and 2009 that are the source of their most dramatic forecasting errors. Finance’s 2008 fall update for 2009-10 proved to be off by $49.7-billion. A similarly timed report by PBO – its first forecast – was off by an even greater amount, $51.7-billion.

But the accuracy of the forecasts from both sides has improved since the peak of the recession.

Both Finance and PBO were provided with the opportunity to review the Globe and Mail’s comparison and provide input and comment.

“We will let the chart speak for itself, which I think it does well,” Chisholm Pothier, Mr. Flaherty’s spokesman, said in an e-mail.

Mr. Pothier pointed out that private-sector economists and the International Monetary Fund were also caught off-guard by the depths of the global recession and its impact on government bottom lines around the world.

For his part, Mr. Page noted that the differences are minor and based on a very small sample of three years.

“All told, the difference between Finance and PBO forecasts (on average) is very small,” he said in an e-mail. “I think it should be kept in mind that PBO provides its forecasts and analysis essentially with a full-time staff of three people, whereas Finance has an entire branch that is responsible for preparing budgets and updates.”

The Conservatives created the PBO, but the government has since faced questions about the level of funding provided and its willingness to hand over government spending data.

Finance Canada says the department has 10 full-time employees who work on fiscal analysis and forecasting, but only five of those work solely on fiscal forecasts.

Until this June, the PBO and Finance both relied on the same average of private-sector forecasters for assumptions regarding the strength of economic growth. That means any differences of opinion were focused on the impact of fiscal decisions like government spending or restraint.

In June, PBO announced that it will produce its own forecasts for economic growth and will no longer rely on the private-sector average.

The last time Ottawa erased the deficit in the mid-1990s, some accused Liberal finance minister Paul Martin of using excessively dire deficit projections to justify painful spending cuts to health, education and employment insurance. The ultimately inaccurate forecasts also set the stage for the government to later boast of beating its own targets.

One of the economists critical of the Martin approach, Jim Stanford of the Canadian Auto Workers, sees this tactic playing out again with the Conservatives.

“The billions in spending cuts that Mr. Flaherty is considering are, in my view, wrong and I think he too has painted the fiscal outlook darker than it is to try to justify those planned cuts,” he said.

Yet Mr. Stanford acknowledges his theory doesn’t explain why the PBO – an independent body – warns Ottawa won’t meet its deficit targets.

“I think the PBO folks are too bleak about the deficit numbers, too – especially their claim that we have a ‘structural” deficit,’ which I do not accept,” Mr. Stanford said.

Methodology

To compare the forecasting record of Finance and the PBO, The Globe and Mail based its calculations on seven reports per organization covering the period of November, 2008, to June, 2011. These reports were chosen because they could each be paired with a comparable forecast released around the same time, based on the same public information.

The forecast covers three years, but only the first two years are measured against final numbers. The final deficit number for 2010-11 have not yet been announced. For that year, the forecasts are measured against the latest deficit estimate in the June budget.


Now this comparison is, admittedly, of budget deficits rather than F-35 costs but it indicates that, compared to the Government of Canada, Page errs, fairly consistently, on the pessimistic side. There is no reason to believe that his analyses of e.g. fighter planes does not suffer from the same pessimistic bias.
 
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Haletown on September 28, 2011, 11:32:31
Well said.

Page is a very political operative. He realizes his survival requires him to be government negative so the Opposition will protect him. 

In short, he is a bog standard career bureaucrat well versed in playing the Ottawa game.

That F-35 report was ludicrous, it plumbed new depths of totally inept analysis.  Projecting future costs based on historical aircraft weights . . .
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Oldgateboatdriver on September 28, 2011, 11:37:40
Well, here's my suggestion for deficit cutting: Get rid of the PBO - or should we call him by his real designation OOBO (Official Opposition Budget Officer).

Let's face it, it is the Government's job to prepare and present a budget to  Parliament and the Official Opposition's job to analyze and criticize the government for any error therein before the whole Parliament votes on the said budget. The Official Opposition already has a "research" budget to hire all the so called advisors and experts it may need to carry out its function. Why should we, as taxpayer, then pay on top of that for an allegedly neutral officer of Parliament to provide equally allegedly "impartial"   analysis of the government's budget, when such analysis can only serve the opposition?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on September 28, 2011, 12:53:03
Well, here's my suggestion for deficit cutting: Get rid of the PBO - or should we call him by his real designation OOBO (Official Opposition Budget Officer).

Let's face it, it is the Government's job to prepare and present a budget to  Parliament and the Official Opposition's job to analyze and criticize the government for any error therein before the whole Parliament votes on the said budget. The Official Opposition already has a "research" budget to hire all the so called advisors and experts it may need to carry out its function. Why should we, as taxpayer, then pay on top of that for an allegedly neutral officer of Parliament to provide equally allegedly "impartial"   analysis of the government's budget, when such analysis can only serve the opposition?


I disagree.

I think we need a bigger, better PBO. I think the PBO is in the right place - subordinate to the Librarian of Parliament, but so should be several other parliamentary officers, but not, of course, the Auditor General of Canada who needs a separate level of independence from everyone, including Parliament.

The Librarian of Parliament needs to be able to serve committees (HoC and Senate) and the committees of the whole with staff and expert, unbiased advice that is equally as expert as that provided to the government of the day by the civil service but is free from direction from anyone except the Librarian her (or him) self.

Parties - those with 12 or more seats in the HoC and or n senators should be allocated resources (money) to hire expert, partisan staff to advise committee members - there are a lot of parliamentary committees so there need to be a lot of these partisan staffers. They, partisan parliamentary staffers, would lessen the opposition's dependence on outside lobbyists and special interest groups like the Rideau Institute (http://www.rideauinstitute.ca/staff/) because MPs would have more, better information at hand.

That's hundreds of new people - mostly lawyers and economists - costing many, many tens of millions of dollars, but I think 'better' governance is worth the expense.

My  :2c:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on October 11, 2011, 18:56:51
After being caught being less accurate than Jim Flahery and the Finance Department ...

(https://Army.ca/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fbeta.images.theglobeandmail.com%2Farchive%2F01324%2Fnw-pbo-forecast29_1324487a.jpg&hash=c647992aed1234655a0cd519ae7b421b)

... PBO Kevin Page makes a misstep according to this article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/ottawa-notebook/kevin-page-event-raises-eyebrows-and-sends-liberals-scrambling/article2197689/
Quote
Kevin Page event raises eyebrows – and sends Liberals scrambling

BILL CURRY
Ottawa— Globe and Mail Update

Posted on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A federal Young Liberal organization is scrapping plans to receive political donations at an event Tuesday evening featuring Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page.

Just hours before the event in Nanaimo, B.C., the lead organizer told The Globe and Mail money raised at the door would go the Vancouver Island University Young Liberals. The organizer also said receipts would be offered to those wishing to claim a political donation for tax purposes.

But after The Globe asked Mr. Page to comment on the optics of his appearance at an event that would be raising money for the Liberal Party, the Parliamentary Budget Officer said he would refuse to appear unless he was assured any profits would go to charity. He said he was told the event was non-partisan and that he would be contacting the organizer.

Minutes later The Globe received an email from the organizer explaining that plans had changed.

“We just now decided to clear the air and to wash away any misunderstandings or misconceptions,” wrote Mike McDowall, who is organizing the event and who is also vice-president of the federal Liberal association for Nanaimo-Alberni. “All the proceeds will go to pay for costs and any other profits raised will go to a local Nanaimo food bank.”

Chisholm Pothier, a spokesman for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, described Mr. Page’s planned appearance at the event as “deeply disappointing” and said it calls into question the neutrality of his position. “One would think he would know better,” he said in an email.

The event in Nanaimo was promoted on the website of the federal Liberal Party.

Advance tickets were $5 for students and $10 for adults. It was billed as a non-partisan event and there was no mention of raising money for the Young Liberals.

Yet when The Globe first contacted Mr. McDowall Tuesday, he explained that money raised at the door would go the Young Liberals on campus.

“Technically the money will be going to the VIU Young Liberals, part of their financial assets,” he said when asked about what would happen to the money raised at the event. “We are giving the option for people to sign off if they want to get a tax donation... We’ll be mentioning that.”

The Parliamentary Budget Office is non-partisan and staffed by public servants. Its reports challenging the federal government’s financial numbers have at times created tension between Conservatives and the office.

When asked by The Globe about the optics of appearing at a Liberal-organized event, Mr. Page said there was never any mention of partisan fundraising.

“If there are any surplus funds (after cover for [the] hall or technology support or coffee) I will request it go to a local charity or I will not speak,” he wrote.

Local NDP MP Jean Crowder said she and other New Democrats would be attending the event. While she did not expect the organizers would make a large profit, she said it would be “problematic” for Mr. Page if money did go to the Liberals.


This is amazing. Page is a smart guy ... how could he be so careless? Or is he flying his (new? old?) partisan Liberal colours before he departs?

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on October 11, 2011, 19:07:20
Smells to me like a Liberal shenanigan; I don't think Mr Page would pull a stunt like that.

...not that young political staffers ever make mistakes...  ::)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: GAP on October 11, 2011, 19:19:11
He may be a bent Liberal or not, but you can't fault him for his vast experience in immediate backpedalling once he was confronted with it.....
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on October 11, 2011, 19:32:25
There's a bit of minor and, I'm sure, unintentional humour on the Globe and Mail web site. It shows/says:

(https://Army.ca/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fbeta.images.theglobeandmail.com%2Farchive%2F01329%2Fweb-budget-offi_1329369cl-4.jpg&hash=a9dfc27727302277b6ef53d3598d8190)
Kevin Page event raises eyebrows – and sends Liberals scrambling
   GLOBE SURVEY Double vision: Flaherty’s fiscal forecasts win out over watchdog’s
   DEMOGRAPHICS Find $46-billion to pay for aging population, budget watchdog says
   PROFILE Kevin Page: Bean-counter with a backbone


Which, more or less, says:

Kevin Page event raises eyebrows – and sends Liberals scrambling
   GLOBE SURVEY Double vision: Page is not very good at guessing about finances
   DEMOGRAPHICS Page, who isn't very good a forecasting, forecasts a need for $46-billion for something or other
   PROFILE Kevin Page: Bean-counter may not be very good, but he stands up for himself and defends his mistakes
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Haletown on October 11, 2011, 19:38:37
and I wonder who paid for his airline to Nanaimo + living expenses for this little gig.

It would be too funny if it turns out he hitched a ride on a Challenger  :nod:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on October 11, 2011, 19:45:13
and I wonder who paid for his airline to Nanaimo + living expenses for this little gig.

It would be too funny if it turns out he hitched a ride on a Challenger  :nod:

I was just thinking that.  >:D
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Thucydides on October 11, 2011, 20:22:53
While it is important that Parliament have non partisan officers to carry out the various background activities, I am not exactly feeling confident for two reasons:

1. What happens when a "non partisan" organizations becomes overtly partisan like Elections Canada?

2. What is the value of these organizations when they can be and are often ignored (like the Auditor General)?

As most regular readers know, my answer isn't to pay for "better" government, but rather take out the shears and have less government altogether. A government with fewer powers and a smaller footprint on our lives will automatically have less abilty to meddle in our affairs, commit colossal blunders or carry out crony capitalism.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on November 01, 2011, 11:11:58
Although he doesn't specifically mention DND, Kevin Lynch, former professional head of our Dept of Finance and former Clerk of the Privy Council, gives some counsel on how to reduce spending and be more productive, at the same time, in this article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/opinions/opinion/stimulus-austerity-we-can-have-both/article2220167/
Quote
Stimulus. Austerity. We can have both

KEVIN LYNCH
From Tuesday's Globe and Mail

Published Tuesday, Nov. 01, 2011

The reality of fiscal restraint is descending on all governments and, despite Canada’s past prowess, complacency is a risk. Let’s not let tangential debates about whether the fiscal books should be balanced in 2014 or 2015, or whether taxes are too high or too low, distract policy-makers and the public from the core job at hand: putting Canada on a sustainable fiscal footing and doing so in a way that makes government more productive and innovative rather than simply doing less of the status quo.

The fiscal challenges facing Canada should not be underestimated, particularly in a number of provinces led by Ontario. The global recovery will be longer, slower and more volatile than expected, and these reduced growth prospects will negatively affect Canadian tax revenues and increase social safety net spending. In facing such a worsened economic reality, we are no different than any other OECD country; where we should be different is how we respond fiscally.

In much worse fiscal circumstances in 1995, government did not just cut spending, it realized it had to innovate in how to deliver government differently and more productively. This required “cuts and investments,” new thinking about how to deliver government services to Canadians, and the willingness to make difficult choices.

At Industry Canada, where spending reductions were more than 40 per cent of the departmental budget, the reduction target was actually exceeded in order to reinvest in innovative ways of serving clients: shifting from subsidies to strategic information delivered electronically; new low-cost, high-impact initiatives such as Schoolnet to connect all Canadian schools to the Internet; reinvestment in university research through new models such as the Canada Foundation for Innovation and the Canada Research Chairs; and modernizing framework policies to encourage growth rather than subsidies to finance it.

The challenge today is somewhat different than then – namely, how do we maintain our relatively strong fiscal position in a difficult global environment?

Governments have to use the necessity of fiscal restraint as an opportunity to make government more efficient, more effective and more relevant, not just lower cost. They should avoid simplistic across-the-board cuts to government operations, which typically starve capital and investments in innovation and are too often viewed as a painless source of deficit reduction.

The federal government is right to look for savings in its program spending, and to do so in targeted ways. It is also right to avoid the false debate between stimulus on the one hand and austerity on the other – in a sound fiscal framework, you can and should have both. This requires innovation in policy-making that is responsive and responsible.

Sustainable fiscal balance requires transparently eliminating or reducing programs with commensurate reductions in budgets and employment, and eliminating inefficient or outdated tax expenditures. Government should consider modernizing its “back office” by simplifying and automating administrative processes to reduce staffing levels and costs. While shifting to a smaller, more information-technology-enabled government work force, they should avoid the mistake of the 1990s and continue the recruitment of talented young Canadians to ensure a high quality and innovative public service.

While the fiscal reality will be smaller government, the objective should be more innovative, flexible public services. Why shouldn’t we have the option of “online government” in the same way we take online banking for granted? Why can’t we reduce the red tape and regulatory burden of government, particularly on small business, not by diminishing regulatory standards but by taking a taxpayer-centric approach to government rather than a departmental approach to taxpayers?

Why are we so hesitant to embrace public-private partnerships that mobilize private capital, are financed through user-pay models rather than direct tax dollars, and can set whatever level of auditable service standards the public deems appropriate? Why not consider an overhaul of our framework policies from competition policy to intellectual property to investment to trade to immigration and others as a low-cost, high-return way to improve Canada’s long-term growth prospects? Why is government not a risk-sharing partner in the market launch of innovative new goods and services by Canadian firms through its purchasing policies?

But our fiscal challenges run deeper and longer term. Governments need to address the fiscal dilemma posed by declining productivity growth and aging demographics. These produce the double fiscal wallop of lower revenue growth than we’ve experienced for decades and higher spending pressures for health, pensions and other demographically related spending.

Squaring this circle of sustainable fiscal balance comes back to increasing innovation and productivity performance to rebuild our sustainable growth and adjusting our entitlement programs to the growth economy we will have. Ultimately, fiscal balance and growth must go hand in hand.

Kevin Lynch is vice-chair of BMO Financial Group.


It is my impression, based upon what I read here and what I hear at periodic luncheons in the Mess, that DND, including the CF, could do with a lot of streamlining involving both better (and smaller) "back office"* operations and fewer people managing (outdated? duplicate?) programmes.

Spending growth, which DND needs, and spending growth beyond that promised in the Canada First Defence Strategy, which Canada needs, requires that we, Canadians, "rebuild our sustainable growth" and recognize that we must and, I believe can have fiscal balance (austerity) in tandem with growth (stimulus).


__________
* The large HQs here in Canada and the people, processes, procedures, IT and communications that serve them. The "front office" is the lower level, operational, formations and HQs that employ forces at home and abroad.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on November 03, 2011, 11:16:27
More on the defence budget in this article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canadas-military-seeks-a-strategy-to-fit-2011-budget-realities/article2223432/
Quote
Canada’s military seeks a strategy to fit 2011 budget realities

CAMPBELL CLARK | Columnist profile
From Thursday's Globe and Mail

Last updated Thursday, Nov. 03, 2011

This week, for the first time since Stephen Harper took office, there are no Canadian Forces on combat operations overseas.

Now, the military is being thrust into the peacetime battle over budgets. But the map of the battlefield is out of date. The government’s 2008 long-term defence strategy still rests on spending budgets which are currently being cut. The strategy needs an update.

With the end of Canada’s mission in Libya, which began before six years of combat in Kandahar had ended, the Canadian Forces are quickly packing up kit, with the seven CF-18s and other planes expected back at base by the weekend.

Defence spending increased, especially for the army, over the years of Afghan combat. But the military no longer has the wartime narrative that grounded public support for spending, and it fears peacetime cuts. Combat operations are winding up amid a European financial crisis that’s feeding fears of recession or stagnation. Some had hoped the military would be spared cuts, but they’re coming.

In August, before he retired, Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie, who was given the task of identifying ways to cut $1-billion from the defence budget, recommended a battle of the bulge, cutting thousands of headquarters jobs and 30 per cent of the $2.7-billion spent on professional and services contracts.

The former chief of the defence staff, General Rick Hillier, warned the recommendations would “destroy the Canadian military.” His argument didn’t seem to be with Lt.-Gen. Leslie’s priorities for cuts, but with making big cuts at all.

That argument appears lost. Two budgets have confirmed the Harper government will cut $1-billion a year, about 5 per cent, as of 2013. On top of that, the Defence Department, like all other government departments, is now presenting two options for more cuts, either 5 per cent of its budget(about $1-billion) or 10 per cent, so the government can choose how much more to slash. Defence is unlikely to escape that round of belt-tightening.

Still, there are hints there is some flailing around about how to cut. There’s talk of scrapping the navy’s second-hand submarines, still not up to snuff after huge spending. A memo on cutting real estate left Defence Minister Peter MacKay juggling the risky question of closing bases.

Gen. Leslie’s report led to hand-wringing in the military. The Defence Department identified $1- billion in “savings” months ago, but hasn’t said what they are. Mr. MacKay’s spokesman, Jay Paxton, said it “identified savings that do not affect the core capabilities or readiness of our military.”

Mr. Harper made backing the military a big part of his political identity, increasing spending each year by about $1-billion. His government says its 2008 defence strategy is still the blueprint. But the strategy projected $490-billion in spending over 20 years and budgets have since lopped $44-billion from that, with more likely to come.

But there’s almost a whole navy and air force to buy in the next 20 years, and the job might be botched if future purchases do not fit into current budget plans. The costs can be accounted for over decades, but only so many mortgages can be paid at once. Capital equipment budgets are about $3-billion now; by 2017, new fighters and frigates will each cost $1-billion a year, even if they aren’t over budget.

“At some unknown point, you run out of money again,” said Queen’s University defence expert Douglas Bland. “You could end up with a one-capability armed force. We could end up with a very strong navy and a weak air force, reduced to transportation operations.”

Half the defence budget pays people, so numbers must be cut, Mr. Bland said, and some things must be cut in big ways, or spending will creep back. Gen. Leslie, who found administrative jobs grew by 57 per cent since 2004, suggested starting there.

But soon, before the choices shrink, the government’s going to have to say how it’s going to fit the military it planned for in 2008 into the realities of 2011.

Campbell Clark writes about foreign affairs from Ottawa


The Canada First Defence Strategy promises to cut defence spending when measured as a percentage of (likely/projected) GDP by about 2035, and now there is a perceived requirement to cut further.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Remius on February 29, 2012, 09:47:45
From the Ottawa citizen today.  Spending estimates were released yesterday.  Recruiting, basic training and soem MAT stuff is going to take a hit.

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Tory+spending+estimates+include+upcoming+cuts/6224218/story.html
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: George Wallace on February 29, 2012, 13:10:42
Follow the money:

http://finance.sympatico.ca/galleries/military_money



Canada        $560 / person

Canada is 20th in the ranking of per capita military spending. The $20 billion spent on the Armed Forces make up 1.5% of GDP, which lands Canada 84th on the GDP list. Voluntary service can start at 17 years with parental consent. The service obligation is three to nine years. Reserve or military college applicants can be as young as 16.



Top end:

United Arab Emirates        $2,653 / person

The seven emirates of the UAE are on the peninsula that separates the Persian Gulf from the Arabian Sea. Despite a moderate foreign policy, UAE's armed forces consume 7.3% of the oil-rich country's GDP. It is completely volunteer service. The forces consist of army, navy, including Marines, air force, air defense, border and coast guard directorate. The $15 billion of spending is the 16th highest military budget in the world.


followed by:

United States        $2,141 / person

In a league of its own when it comes to military spending, the United States spends more than $687 billion as the world's remaining ''superpower.'' That is more than half a trillion above the next highest spender, China. This huge expenditure covers the branches of the Army, Navy, including the Marines, Air Force and coast guard. There is no conscription but voluntary service comes with an obligation of eight years of service, including two to five years of active duty depending on the branch. To keep the military spending in perspective, it is 4.7% of the U.S. GDP.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: milnews.ca on February 29, 2012, 13:38:35
From the Ottawa citizen today.  Spending estimates were released yesterday.  Recruiting, basic training and soem MAT stuff is going to take a hit.

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Tory+spending+estimates+include+upcoming+cuts/6224218/story.html
Source docs here:
2011-12 Supplementary Estimates (http://bit.ly/zVIDN6)
2012-13 Part I and II - Main Estimates (http://bit.ly/yvCDrv)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on February 29, 2012, 13:41:48
From the Ottawa citizen today.  Spending estimates were released yesterday.  Recruiting, basic training and soem MAT stuff is going to take a hit.

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/Tory+spending+estimates+include+upcoming+cuts/6224218/story.html

Other news reports say that retention is at a high in the Reg F, and that the force expansion targets for the Reg F have been met.

So, with fewer people leaving, and with no need for increased recruiting and basic training to fill new positions, it's no surprise that the CF would spend less on recruiting and basic training.  Seems almost, well, logical.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Journeyman on February 29, 2012, 13:49:06
...leading to an unsurge in whininess in the Recruiting threads, as even more people have their brilliance and superstar abilities overlooked by the mean, nasty system.

    :pop:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: milnews.ca on February 29, 2012, 14:11:16
And for further digging, here's DND's section of the Main Estimates.....
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: milnews.ca on February 29, 2012, 22:28:16
Next piece of the puzzle - the budget:
Quote
The federal government will unveil its much-awaited austerity budget on March 29, although Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said those expecting a detailed schedule of spending cuts may be disappointed.

Flaherty said Wednesday the budget will not lay out in specifics where the government plans to find between $4 billion and $8 billion in annual savings over the next three years.

"There’s not going to be intricate detail," he told reporters in Ottawa.

"But there'll be enough information that it'll be comprehensible, that it will describe what we're doing in terms of the deficit reduction action plan, and much more than that, this is a jobs and growth budget." ....
The Canadian Press, 29 Feb 12 (http://ca.news.yahoo.com/finance-minister-jim-flaherty-announces-federal-budget-unveiling-203920009.html)

While the Treasury Board says (http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/media/nr-cp/2012/0228-eng.asp), "the close proximity of the tabling of the Budget to the Main Estimates means the Estimates do not reflect new Budget initiatives and priorities", DND's Main Estimates look like a fair bit of cutting is being envisioned (~8% by my take of the document attached to the post before this one?) at this point in the process.  Who knows what the Budget will bring to change that, though.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on June 04, 2012, 07:19:26
More on the defence budget and, specifically, the deeply flawed Canada First Defence Strategy, in this article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tories-plan-to-revamp-defence-spending/article4227726/
Quote
Tories plan to revamp defence spending

MURRAY BREWSTER
Ottawa — The Canadian Press

Published Sunday, Jun. 03 2012

The Harper government is redrafting its extensive, multi-billion shopping list of equipment for the Canadian military in an exercise many observers believe will set more sober expectations in a time of austerity.


The revision to the Canada First Defence Strategy is slated to be complete and ready for public consumption by fall, multiple sources have told The Canadian Press.

Although Defence Minister Peter MacKay describes the hallmark plan as a “living document,” the reset comes at a time when the government has been hammered politically over the F-35 stealth fighter, an issue that tarnished the fiscally responsible image that the Conservatives try to project.

Defence sources say there is a baseline expectation that the promises made in the original 2008 document will be mostly kept, but whether the government will be buying in the quantities outlined at the height of the Afghan war when the federal treasury was flush, is another matter.

“We have to do this reset and it would have happened regardless of the recession, regardless of the fiscal realities,” Mr. MacKay insisted during an interview with The Canadian Press.

But the political thinking, according to some defence insiders, is that a redrafted wish list will take some of the bite out of opposition attacks and restore public confidence rattled by the F-35.

When it was announced with much fanfare, the $490-billion, 20-year defence policy was hailed as the prescription for a Canadian military which the Conservatives say was starved for cash.

But delivering on that long laundry list of ships, tanks and planes has turned into an excruciating experience, which found a voice last week in Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose’s declaration that she was “tired of being told why something can’t be done.”

But defence experts, such Phillipe Lagasse at the University of Ottawa, who studies procurement, said he hopes the procedural frustration and the storm over the F-35 doesn’t lend itself to some quick, politically palatable decisions.

“They weren’t able to achieve everything they hoped they could achieve under Canada First, [and] it didn’t happen as smoothly as they hoped,” said Mr. Lagasse, who noted the procurement system wasn’t structured to deal with such an ambitious list.

Aside from the politically-charged stealth fighter program, which has been harshly criticized by the Auditor-General, there are a host of planes and ships that have yet to leave the drawing board, including fixed-wing search aircraft and navy supply tankers.

Sources said the various drafts circulating around National Defence acknowledge that there is some equipment that must “be replaced right away,” but there are other more complicated issues, such as the F-35 and the glitch-plagued Victoria Class submarines.

The navy is currently studying whether the four British-built boats can have their life extended until 2029, but it’s clear that thought is already being given to replacing them.

Sources said the next generation of submarines has already been the subject of high-level briefings within the military and it is expected the redrawn strategy will highlight such a plan.

Mr. Lagasse said the challenge for the government will be to temper the military’s expectations.

Already signs are emerging that Conservatives are looking for long-term economical defence solutions, while those in uniform tend to believe the budget restraint is just temporary.

“Unfortunately, until they’re honest with each other, and I hope that is what this document will do, we’ll be engaged in a dialogue of the deaf,” said Mr. Lagasse.

The mistake the Conservatives made with the first version of their strategy was to raise expectations by being very specific about what they were going to buy, he added.


At the risk of saying "I told you so ..." this was easy to see coming; I will repeat myself and say:

1. Canadians' support for the CF may be a mile wide (all those red T-shirts and yellow ribbons) but it is only an inch deep, especially when it comes to defence spending vs other (social) priorities; and

2. The Canada First Defence Strategy was never anything more than an ill-considered shopping list. It promised a finite decrease in defence spending when projected as a percentage of GDP out to 2035. It could do that by "low baling" costs and being vague, to be charitable, about dollars and cents.

The Conservatives are doing what needs to be done in tough economic times: restraining discretionary spending - and few things are more politically discretionary than national defence. But there still needs to be a plan for our national defence - one that promises real growth in defence spending (as a percentage of GDP) over, say, 20 years, of an order that will buy us the people, the kit and consumables we (all Canadians) need to provide to DND and the CF to guarantee* our own security.


_____
* Not unilaterally - in conjunction with traditional friends and trusted allies
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on June 04, 2012, 10:55:25
See also here (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,76329.msg1147615.html#msg1147615) for more on the Canada First Defence Strategy.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: ModlrMike on June 04, 2012, 11:03:08
Of course it doesn't matter what the defence budget looks like. The NDP will cry that the money should go to healthcare and education, or to "feed the poor".
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: M2A on June 05, 2012, 11:16:48
Sourced from TimesColonist.com, 5 June 2012, Link Here (http://www.timescolonist.com/news/Tories+knew+military+budget+unaffordable+documents/6731123/story.html)

Quote
Tories knew military budget unaffordable: documents
BY LEE BERTHIAUME, POSTMEDIA NEWS
JUNE 5, 2012 3:03 AM

The Conservative government knew as far back as last year that Defence Department budget cuts had made its multibillion-dollar shopping list of military equipment "unaffordable," Postmedia News has learned.

As a result, National Defence officials have been urging the government since May 2011 to push the reset button and re-evaluate "the level of ambition" for its vaunted plan to rebuild the Canadian Forces.

The Canada First Defence Strategy, the centrepiece of the Conservative government's long-term vision for the military, was unveiled with much fanfare in May 2008 and promised to invest $490 billion in new equipment and upgrades over the next 20 years.

"The Canada First Defence Strategy will strengthen our sovereignty and our security," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said at the time.

"Our government will ensure that Canadian Forces have the personnel and equipment they need to do their job, to protect our values and project our interests, to fulfil Canada's international commitments, to keep our true north strong and free."

The long list of projects includes building a fleet of new naval vessels, dozens of new military aircraft and hundreds of vehicles for the army, as well as important upgrades and refits for existing equipment.

But briefing notes prepared for Associate Defence Minister Julian Fantino weeks after the last federal election and obtained through Access to Information show he was warned billions of dollars in spending reductions had rendered the Canada First Defence Strategy impossible to fulfil.

"The funding reductions from Budget 2010 and the reduced funding line going forward will make the Canada First Defence Strategy [CFDS] unaffordable," reads the briefing material.

"The department will be challenged to deliver on the CFDS commitments as a result of forecasted decreases in funding and increased in costs," it adds.

A key part of the Canada First Defence Strategy was annual increases to the defence budget over the next two decades. But the 2010 federal budget cut those increases in half. This past federal budget went further, ordering $1.1 billion in spending reductions over the next three years over and on top of $1.1 billion in budget cuts this year.

The briefing material notes that the government has planned to undertake periodic reviews of the strategy, the first of which was to be undertaken last year. To that end, National Defence officials recommended the government "conduct a CFDS Reset to confirm the level of ambition," among other things.

An official in Defence Minister Peter MacKay's office confirmed Monday that the strategy is being reviewed, but he would not offer specifics, including whether the plan to invest $490 billion over 20 years has changed.

"Minister MacKay is working with Minister Fantino and officials to refresh the Canada First Defence Strategy," Jay Paxton said in an email.

"Until this work is complete, it would be misleading and disingenuous to allocate an investment amount to such an important document."

Philippe Lagasse, an expert on military procurement at the University of Ottawa, said the Conservative government intentionally built up a reputation for supporting the military even though it was hard-pressed to fulfil the commitments laid out in the Canada First Defence Strategy from the beginning.

© Copyright (c) The Victoria Times Colonist
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on June 05, 2012, 12:57:27
Of course it doesn't matter what the defence budget looks like. The NDP will cry that the money should go to healthcare and education, or to "feed the poor".

Or payoff the likes of poor misunderstood Omar......poor little darling....  :rage:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on June 05, 2012, 13:15:29
The National Post takes a firm editorial stand against cuts to the defence budget.

Here, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the National Post is that editorial:

http://digital.nationalpost.com/epaper/viewer.aspx
Quote
Don’t cut the Armed Forces

Saving money on military matériel has its own price: higher casualties during combat

Multiple sources have told The Canadian Press that the federal government intends to revise the Canada First Defence Strategy, initially announced by the Conservatives in 2008. Stung by a recent series of military procurement bungles (the F-35 being the first and foremost), the government will now be looking to find savings in the equipment purchases planned for the next 20 years.

These purchases were to have eventually replaced all of the military’s major fleets of vehicles and weapons, leaving us with a modernized and effective fighting force. But the money ran out, so the government must now scale back some of its promises for future military shopping sprees — especially since the Tories are clearly counting on a return to balanced budgets as the feat that will win them the next election.

But here’s the problem: Even though the price tag for the procurement section of the original Canada First strategy was eyepopping, it was still going to be a fairly modest updating and upgrade of our existing military capabilities. If the government cuts that, it will be cutting the Forces.

As originally laid out, the plan called for $45-billion to $50-billion in “investments” to replace “core military capabilities.” These included 15 new frigates and destroyers, 17 new search-and-rescue planes, 65 “next-generation fighters” (later announced to be the F-35), 10-12 new maritime patrol planes and a new fleet of Army vehicles, both to replace vehicles lost or worn out during operations in Afghanistan. Fiftybillion dollars is a lot of money, no doubt. But when you look at what Canada would actually be getting for that price, you see that it is not a huge amount of equipment.

We have written before about how risky it is for the Air Force to consider operating with only 65 fighter jets. The same risks apply to the other equipment. Canada has the world’s longest coastline, so it will be difficult to make do with fewer than 15 warships and 12 patrol planes. This is a huge country, and largely uninhabited, so cutting back on search-andrescue will be tough. The Army can perhaps lower its expectations for how much equipment it needs, and how good that equipment will be, but as Afghanistan showed us, the price of cutting Army equipment before a conflict is higher casualties during that conflict (and also, realistically, more money ultimately spent, as better equipment must be bought suddenly and then rushed into service).

None of the items in the original Canada First plan is exactly a frill. It seems impossible to imagine achieving any big savings without impacting any of these core purchases, or reducing some of the other “pillars” of a strong military that the plan identified — personnel, readiness (training and state of equipment repair) and the military’s general infrastructure.

Sadly, it will likely be personnel that will bear the brunt of any cuts. The Canada First strategy had called for a Canadian Forces of 100,000 members, including 30,000 reservists, and these personnel account for 51% of the military’s spending. Eliminating a plane here or a ship there will be small change next to simply limiting the number of men and women in uniform.

Such a move would be shortsighted. It takes years to train a soldier, and as the military found during the war in Afghanistan, for every soldier you send abroad, you need four others at home, either training to go next or recovering from a recent mission. There is a limit to how small the Canadian Forces can be while still having enough trained personnel ready for deployment to handle all of the jobs the government insists the military be able to accomplish. But as the government hunts for savings, it seems inevitable that a smaller military lies in the country’s future.

This is a shame. Canada should have a moderately sized, well-trained and well-equipped military. A country of 34 million need not raise armies fit to conquer the world, but as a major industrial nation and economic power, Canada needs some muscle to back up its words. Let us hope that even as it hunts for savings in its military spending, the government will remember this fact, and cut only where necessary, and only with great care.


Good on the Post for taking a principled stand. Its position will not be popular, but it is right.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on June 09, 2012, 13:18:29
Here, courtesy of the National Post is a useful graphic (http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/06/08/graphic-financing-canadas-armed-forces/) on Canadian defence spending over the past 60+ years:

(https://Army.ca/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fnationalpostnews.files.wordpress.com%2F2012%2F06%2Ftoronto-na0609_militaryspe-copy.jpg&hash=f39c55075fab2495584757ea2c8ccfbc)

As I always do, I will argue that spending as a percentage of GDP is a much better measurement than dollars spent. The dollars spent measurement tells us a lot about the inflation rates of military vs general materiel but it doesn't tell us how 'important' we think our national defence is. Looking at the blue line (spending as a % of GDP): the precipitous rise and decline in military spending in the 1950s coincides with a dramatic and fundamental shift in Canadian strategic thinking but the steady decline from 1963 until today reflects the reality of Canada: our fellow citizens, notwithstanding the red T-shirts and yellow ribbons, do not "support the troops" or care, overly, about their own national security and defence.

Here is a partial list of modern democracies and (according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) how much (as a % of GDP) they spend on defence:

Israel - 6.3% (they live in a rough neigbourhood)
USA - 4.7%
Singapore - 4.3%
Chile - 3.5%
Greece - 3.2%
South Korea 2.9%
UK - 2.7%
France - 2.7%
India - 2.5%
Taiwan - 2.4%
World Average - 2.2%
Australia - 1.9%
Italy - 1.8%
Germany - 1.8%
Fiji - 1.7%
Brazil - 1.6%
Norway - 1.6%
Finland 1.5%
Canada 1.5%
Netherlands - 1.5%
Denmark - 1.4%
New Zealand - 1.2%
Spain - 1.1%

We can, and should do 'better' than Finland and Fiji and we can afford and should spend something very, very close to the world average (2.1% is my suggestion.)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: GnyHwy on June 09, 2012, 13:24:05
The Greece 3.2% is kind of comical.  I'm no math wiz, but I think 3.2% of 0=0.

Or is their 3.2% just enough to cover these guys.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Thucydides on June 09, 2012, 14:51:08
Greece fields a relatively modern force including such items as Leopard 2 tanks and the latest versions of the F-16, mostly out of fear of what the Turks are up to. Now with the current and ongoing fiscal crisis, they might have some difficulty paying their servicemembers and doing upkeep on the shiny kit, but nevertheless,it is still there.

The other thing that skews the numbers a bit is many of the "high spenders" have relatively small economies, so if you have to buy modern military equipment then in absolute terms you will be paying a greater portion of your budget (even if in reality the unit costs are the same as a nation with a larger economy buying the same stuff). Japan has a very effective and modern force with the most advanced Aegis cruisers as part of the fleet, for example, but they only spend about 1% of their GDP; they have such a huge economy that 1% is an enormous amount of money.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on September 24, 2012, 09:57:59
The Conservatives are, finally - and for the first time in a looooong time for any Canadian government - being honest about their defence budget priorities according to a report (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tories-plan-buy-canada-military-budget/article4562844/) in the Globe and Mail which is headlined: "Tories plan ‘buy Canada’ military budget".

The article says:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tories-plan-buy-canada-military-budget/article4562844/
Quote
The Harper government is embarking on an ambitious effort to develop a Canada-first military purchasing strategy – one that aims to funnel as many procurement dollars as possible to domestic firms with the potential to be leaders in their field.

It is the latest step in the Conservatives’ plans to craft a defence industrial policy for Canada – an effort to harness the power of the military-security budget in the service of long-term jobs and economic growth.

The article goes on to say that:

Quote
Ottawa’s not planning to spurn foreign suppliers. But it wants to be smarter about backing Canadian industry where possible – funnelling more of the $240-billion the government plans to spend over 20 years on military acquisitions to domestic suppliers ... but ... This new approach, which Ms. Ambrose has championed throughout government, has its risks and its critics. Some Department of National Defence officials worry it will end up adding costs and delays to military spending.

The article also notes that "The use of procurement to stimulate innovation has been a long-standing practice in other countries, particularly the U.S. with its enormous defence expenditures,” but the existing Canada First Defence Strategy does not promise "enormous defence expenditures," in fact, it (the Tory "Strategy") promises to reduce the defence budget when measured as a percentage of GDP.
 
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Chris Pook on September 24, 2012, 11:16:34
Ibbitson from the above article:

Quote
For instance, flight simulators and munitions – bombs and bullets – are two areas where Canadian companies have become strong international competitors in the defence and security markets.

Ottawa wants to nurture more companies that can become the next CAE Inc. or General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems Canada.

Perhaps not a Canadian Lockheed Martin but perhaps a Kongsberg.  Not an Arrow but a Penguin.  Not UAVs like Global Hawks but UUVs like those being developed on the West Coast now.   Systems that we can sell and trade on the open market as a one for one exchange for other defense systems - Like the Aussies have done with their Bushmasters and Austal products (JHSVs and LCSs).

Maybe we could take a lead in developing the LTA transport sector as we did with the Bushplanes. Those went from Beaver to Otter to Caribou to Buffalo to DASH 7 to DASH 8 to Bombardier Qs.

Nothing wrong with buying locally if the locals have what you need, at a price you are able and willing to pay.

Canada's problem is that the locals don't have what the DND needs and they can't develop it in a timely fashion.  Nobody can anywhere in the world.  All defence projects, and most government and commercial projects for that matter, take years if not decades to develop new technologies.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: milnews.ca on September 24, 2012, 13:52:12
It wouldn't be the Globe without a counterpoint....
Quote
In a breathtaking piece of economic nationalism run amok, the Harper Conservatives are embarking on a new military procurement policy that would see defense dollars used to grow domestic industry.

This is not about picking the best hardware for the military, as National Defense has very valid concerns about this policy increasing cost overruns and delivery delays. It is rather about using defense department dollars as a way for government to support companies that it sees as future economic champions. The policy is based on the flawed premise that a country can create economic growth by overpaying for goods and services.

The proposal has the explicit objective of leveling the playing field with foreign jurisdictions who subsidize their national military hardware producers. But do Canadians gain by trying to one-up foreign governments in the corporate welfare game?

If the Swedish government wants to provide financial subsidies to the Canadian military the Canadian taxpayer should rejoice. This presents no loss to the Canadian economy, as those dollars can be spent on other priorities such as health and education, or be used to lower taxes ....
"Mike Moffatt is an assistant professor at Ivey School of Business at Western University and a regular contributor to Economy Lab.", G&M, 24 Sept 12 (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/economy/economy-lab/buy-canada-plan-is-economic-nationalism-run-amok/article4563279/)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on September 24, 2012, 14:21:42
Three simple terms come to mind:

Pork;

Featherbedding; and

LSVW redux.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Canadian.Trucker on September 24, 2012, 14:53:44
More budget slashing, great.  Love it.  GREAT!!!  :endnigh:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Chris Pook on September 24, 2012, 19:34:00
Many folks here would like the government to buy the CV90 for the Canadian Army.

How did the CV90 get to market?

The Swedish government had the Swedish Army talk to the Swedish vehicle supplier Haegglunds and the Swedish arms supplier Bofors about what could be done and what was wanted.  The Swedish government then paid for design work and prototyping.  It then bought some 400 CV90s for its own use. 

All costs were borne by the Swedish taxpayer, who also got paid to build it and who also was required to come out for a couple of weeks training every year or two to learn how to drive it. 

The Swedes then turned around and sold the equipment at whatever price the market would support and took the profits to defray the costs (defray - not eliminate but reduce) to the greatest extent possible.  In the process they keep Swedes employed building CV90s and supply foreign income so that Swedish taxpayers don't have to pay so much.

They also get to maintain a body of expertise that allows them to put out the Bv206, the BvS10 and a variety of other weapons systems that they get to trade on the open market allowing them to buy weapons and radars that they don't manufacture themselves.

And they retain the ability to produce a piece of kit that, apparently, many people on this site want to buy.

Why can't you substitute Canada for Sweden and International Submarine Engineering producing AUVs and USVs (as an example) for Haegglunds producing CV90s?

The CV90 design was commissioned in the early 1980s - a Marder with a bigger gun.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Chris Pook on September 25, 2012, 12:19:46
Further to my last:

And with potential repercussions for the JSS/AOR project (Berlins) as well as the AUV-UUV-USV market.

Despite the West Coast location it might also impact the AOPS and CSC projects.

Atlas Electronik establishes Canadian subsidiary in Victoria (http://www.defense-aerospace.com/article-view/release/138657/atlas-elektronic-sets-up-canadian-unit.html)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Thucydides on September 25, 2012, 13:50:36
Emotionalism aside, it would be very interesting to see a detailed examination of how Sweden, a nation with similar geography, population and GDP to Canada (and also bordering on a region with very large and sophisticated military industries) was able to develop, build and field advanced military equipment for such a long time.

While most of us would be somewhat agog over the details of such things as SAAB jet fighters, the S tank, FH-77, AIP subs (powered by Stirling engines) and their Stealth missile boats, there can be little doubt that these were (and are) effective pieces of kit quite capable of doing the job needed by the Swedish military, and satisfying the few foreign customers that were allowed to purchase from Sweden. While this isn't to say we should rush into producing our own (name piece of kit here), there should be no reason to nix the idea outright, and if intelligently applied, could well work to our advantage as the current government suggests.

This would actually be best served (at least at first) by going into "niche" markets which are otherwise not well served. A strange example that I could think of off the top of my head is space surveillance capabilities. A consortium of Canadian Universities built a small space telescope (called MOST) which was about the size and weight of a barracks box, yet capable of high degrees of pointing accuracy, for the price of @ $10 million CAD. Launching a fleet of similar satelites in time of crisis would provide a very robust surveillance capability (especially when multiple satelites are ganged together in a process called optical interferometry, which creates a virtual telescope with an arbitrarily large aperture). Since our actual defense needs are rather small, "boutique" manufacturers could compete for certain contracts that other arms dealers would ignore (replacing the LSVW, G Wagon and MilCOT with a robust vehicle based on a commercial frame like a Ford F-450 could be possible using this sort of strategy).
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: GAP on September 25, 2012, 13:59:37
Quote
A consortium of Canadian Universities built a small space telescope (called MOST) which was about the size and weight of a barracks box, yet capable of high degrees of pointing accuracy, for the price of @ $10 million CAD. Launching a fleet of similar satelites in time of crisis would provide a very robust surveillance capability (especially when multiple satelites are ganged together in a process called optical interferometry, which creates a virtual telescope with an arbitrarily large aperture).

Especially with private firms now in the running to be doing the heavy lifting....
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on September 27, 2012, 13:47:16
Further to "Tories plan ‘buy Canada’ military budget" (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,82898.msg1175238.html#msg1175238), this is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Winnipeg Free Press:

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/ambrose-appoints-businessman-to-work-with-defence-industry-government-171539721.html
Quote
Ambrose appoints businessman to work with defence industry, government

By: The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose has appointed an Ontario businessman to help improve Canada's often-troubled defence procurement process.

She says Tom Jenkins will be a special adviser and will work with defence contractors to boost competitiveness.

Jenkins is executive chairman and chief strategy officer of OpenText Corp., of Waterloo, Ont.

He was chairman of an expert review panel which looked at federal support for research and development and made recommendations for the government's 2012 economic plan.

Ambrose says Jenkins will look at ways to streamline procurement and increase job opportunities in defence-related industries.

The military procurement process has long been a source of complaints, with some projects delayed for years and others hit by cost overruns.

"I look forward to working with Mr. Jenkins to improve our ability to leverage military procurement in support of Canadian jobs and industry, including innovation and technology development," Ambrose said in a statement.


Please note that this is not about reforming a terribly cumbersome bureaucratic process, it is, as stated, about leveraging military procurement to try to create Canadian jobs.
 
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: milnews.ca on September 27, 2012, 22:19:04
What doesn't come through in PWGSC's news release on Tom Jenkins'  appointment (http://news.gc.ca/web/article-eng.do?mthd=tp&crtr.page=1&nid=696669&crtr.tp1D=1) is that he's not alone - more on who else is helping out here (http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1043673/leveraging-military-procurement-advisory-panel-announced) (highlights mine).....
Quote
.... the Government of Canada appointed Tom Jenkins as a Special Advisor to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, the Honourable Rona Ambrose.

"I have agreed to assume this role and am pleased to support the Minister in the capacity of Special Advisor in her work to help improve the ability to leverage military procurement in support of Canadian jobs and industry, including innovation and technology development," said Mr. Jenkins.

"To assist me in this role, I have asked four distinguished Canadians to contribute as expert advisors in this important work - their significant experience related to business, industry and government will be valuable input to me, and I look forward to working with them," he added.

These individuals are: Major General (Retired) David Fraser; Peter Nicholson, former President and CEO, Canadian Council of Academies; Ray Castelli, CEO, Weatherhaven; and Christyn Cianfarani, Director, Government Programs, Research and Development, and Intellectual Property, CAE Inc. Full bios are available at: http://files.newswire.ca/1131/BiosPanelMembers.pdf (http://bit.ly/VR6kH6)

Efforts of Mr. Jenkins and his advisors will be focused on engaging a range of stakeholders involved in Canada's defence-related industries to develop criteria, and a supporting process to inform the selection of key industrial capabilities ....
Bios also attached in case link doesn't work for you.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: GAP on October 01, 2012, 07:54:41
$2.5B carved out of Defence budget
by The Canadian Press - Sep 30, 2012
 Article Link (http://www.castanet.net/news/Canada/81214/2-5B-carved-out-of-Defence-budget)

An independent analysis has concluded the waves of federal budget cuts washing over National Defence will run deeper and likely be more painful than advertised by the Harper government.

While it won't exactly be a return to the "decade of darkness" the Conservatives attribute to the Liberal years, the reductions will be significant and are expected to cut into the military's "readiness," or ability to respond quickly to a crisis.

The days of soldiers rationing their training ammunition, fuel and money used to make equipment operationally ready may be about to return, the report warned.

The research paper, written for the Centre for Security and Defence Studies at Carleton University, estimates the cumulative effect of the Harper government's strategic review and the overlapping deficit reduction action plan will carve up to $2.5 billion out of the nearly $21 billion National Defence budget by 2014-2015.

The 27-page report, penned by defence expert Dave Perry, is believed to be the first comprehensive snapshot on the post-war military of the impact of the federal government's duel-tracked deficit reduction plan and spending freezes.

"With the economy once again the government's top priority, the Canadian Forces will need to adjust to a new fiscal climate, one which will reduce its budget by at least 11 per cent over the next three years," said the research report, a copy of which was obtained by The Canadian Press.

"At the same time, the military's ability to make budgetary adjustments has been tightly constrained by the decision to retain its frontline military capabilities. As a result, the Operations and Maintenance budget will bear the brunt of these budget cuts."

The Harper government has repeatedly said it wants Canada playing a leading role internationally alongside allies, but the report warns, the way the cuts are shaking out, the military will be strained almost as badly as in the 1990s.

"As a result, it will be very difficult for the military to play the same expeditionary role that it has in recent years," said the report. "While the pursuit of influence may not be over, with less funding available for operational readiness, the prospects of making influential military contributions abroad will be greatly reduced."
More on link
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Canadian.Trucker on October 01, 2012, 10:26:40
The Harper government has repeatedly said it wants Canada playing a leading role internationally alongside allies, but the report warns, the way the cuts are shaking out, the military will be strained almost as badly as in the 1990s.
I love it.  "Hey, we still want the political benefits of sending soldiers overseas, but we don't want to spend the money the properly prepare and equip them for such a task."

The word frustrating doesn't even begin to describe the situation.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on October 01, 2012, 11:15:18
Back in the 1990s, when Prime Minister Chretien and Finance Minister Martin were attacking the (far too large) Canadian budget deficit, the message to DND was, roughly: the country is in dire straits and we must all "pull together" to win our "war on the deficit;" DND and the CF must do their full and fair share, too. We did a more than full and a more than fair share, but we knew that was coming because good, solid public opinion polling - the kind you can trust - told us, then, and tells us know that Canadians do not like spending on their defence. DND and the CF rank, consistently, at the bottom of most Canadians' public spending priorities lists ~ we are down with symphony orchestras and ballet companies.

Despite all the red t-shirts and yellow ribbons, Canadian's support for their military, which may be a mile wide, is only an inch deep.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Remius on October 01, 2012, 11:46:40
Back in the 1990s, when Prime Minister Chretien and Finance Minister Martin were attacking the (far too large) Canadian budget deficit, the message to DND was, roughly: the country is in dire straits and we must all "pull together" to win our "war on the deficit;" DND and the CF must do their full and fair share, too. We did a more than full and a more than fair share, but we knew that was coming because good, solid public opinion polling - the kind you can trust - told us, then, and tells us know that Canadians do not like spending on their defence. DND and the CF rank, consistently, at the bottom of most Canadians' public spending priorities lists ~ we are down with symphony orchestras and ballet companies.

Despite all the red t-shirts and yellow ribbons, Canadian's support for their military, which may be a mile wide, is only an inch deep.

To add to that, we can also say that regardless of who is in power be it Conservative, Liberal or NDP, if push comes to shove and times are lean, they will all cut into the Defence budget regardless of how much they say they are commited to the CF and DND.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: standingdown on October 01, 2012, 12:17:43
All we need is a pay/promotion freeze and then we will be able to have a real party in the coming years.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Petard on October 01, 2012, 21:36:49
All we need is a pay/promotion freeze and then we will be able to have a real party in the coming years.

I would say after the next "pay raise" the pay effectively is frozen, but I think what you meant is pay incentive freeze ( as seen in the 90's) as well; I wouldn't doubt that is being considered.

As for promotions, who knows? The way things are going there may well be a high attrition rate, in which case the rate of promotions might actually increase slightly, although all that experience (and $ invested in creating it) going out the door will definitely make for a helluva party
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on October 01, 2012, 21:43:54
The CF's "high" attrition rates of a few years ago were largely driven by demographics: more personnel than usual who were eligible for an immediate annuity on release.  With that bubble having gone through the system, and with the mid to late 90s cohort mostly missing from the Regular Force (FRP didn't make a huge difference in the Reg F's size; all but stopping recruiting did), we now have a Reg F with lower average years of service, and thus with fewer people able to release immediately (and fewer options for those who do, with the changes in Reserve employment and reductions in the public service).

All this to say: increased attrition is unlikely in the near term.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Infanteer on October 01, 2012, 21:51:04
Meh, the usual post-war budget cutting.  I'm not too concerned; although we aren't going to see any post-Korea, NATO fuelled expansion a la 1953-54, we aren't going to fall off the map as we did in 1919 or 1946.

We'll live.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Canadian.Trucker on October 01, 2012, 22:10:19
Meh, the usual post-war budget cutting.  I'm not too concerned; although we aren't going to see any post-Korea, NATO fuelled expansion a la 1953-54, we aren't going to fall off the map as we did in 1919 or 1946.

We'll live.
I will readily admit I got in when the ice cream and candy bar was just opening up and pouring out, so I didn't personally live through the decade of pain.  However, I can live if someone cuts off my left nut with a rusty razor, hell I am probably still "effective".  Doesn't mean I want to experience that pain, and if I do it's something that will have a lasting effect for a long time.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: ModlrMike on October 01, 2012, 23:18:01
That there will be pain is without doubt. I just don't think it will be as bad as the 90s pain.

To put it in context... during the Liberal cuts Defence shouldered a 23% reduction, all other government offices grew. There's been nothing from Ottawa lately that appears to be setting us up for a repeat evisceration.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: PrairieThunder on October 01, 2012, 23:21:32
That there will be pain is without doubt. I just don't think it will be as bad as the 90s pain.

To put it in context... during the Liberal cuts Defence shouldered a 23% reduction, all other government offices grew. There's been nothing from Ottawa lately that appears to be setting us up for a repeat evisceration.

Speaking on that note, after The Right Honourable Mr. Harper promised to increase the funding after decades of abysmal conditions at times, I think he's the last guy that wants the CF to end up there again.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: FJAG on October 01, 2012, 23:51:17
I have to admit that being retired I get a little less enraged than I used to over these things - and I have to admit I'm a veteran of the Trudeau years when it was easy to work up a good rage over what the government was doing.

My biggest concern isn't whether we're spending an appropriate percentage of the GDP but rather where the hell is our money going?

In my mind we're losing billions on what I call bureaucratic friction. Stupid government procedures and processes that require a disproportionately large overhead in both military and civilian staff to administer.

Arbitrarily cutting budgets and reducing staff might lower the budget but not alleviate the problems within DND.

One needs a program to streamline and reduce policies and procedures which runs in combination with an integrated staff reduction plan. 
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: ModlrMike on October 02, 2012, 01:19:24
One needs a program to streamline and reduce policies and procedures which runs in combination with an integrated staff reduction plan.

Bureaucratic mission creep is not limited to DND. There are too many departments with arcane procedures that serve only to chew up dollars and reduce the amount of service provided to the taxpayer. Sadly none of the government's efforts to increase efficiency will have much effect because the primary outcome of streamlining would be a reduction in the public service. PSAC has no interest in this outcome.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: milnews.ca on October 02, 2012, 08:45:54
One needs a program to streamline and reduce policies and procedures which runs in combination with an integrated staff reduction plan.
Figure out what will be done differently, or not be done anymore, THEN figure out how many folks you need - what a concept!
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on October 24, 2012, 19:05:23
This report, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Halifax Chronicle Herald, illustrates, I think, the divide between the political centre (PCO/Treasury/Finance) and DND/CF about which I have written several times:

http://thechronicleherald.ca/canada/153665-pm-told-mackay-to-cut-more-defence-administration-letter-shows
Quote
PM told MacKay to cut more defence administration, letter shows

October 24, 2012

BY MURRAY BREWSTER THE CANADIAN PRESS

A leaked letter shows the prime minister told Defence Minister Peter MacKay last spring that his initial budget proposals did not cut deep enough on the administrative side of National Defence.

The three-page letter — dated June 15, 2012, and obtained by The Canadian Press — was written to provide ``guidance'' to MacKay and General Walt Natynczyk as the Conservatives embarked on a rewrite of their marquee defence policy.

The document sheds light on the divide between Stephen Harper's office, determined to wrestle the deficit to the ground, and a defence establishment resolved to protect the budget gains of the last five years.

Harper's missive sets out what cuts he was prepared to accept, what wouldn't work, and even suggests National Defence unload some of its surplus property.

``It is important that we reduce the current overhead in regular force military and civilian personnel, and in those activities that do not directly contribute to operational readiness,'' he wrote.

A spokesman for MacKay said the government doesn't comment on leaked documents and remains focused on getting the military the resources and equipment it needs.

Harper's letter to MacKay underscored that the days of ever-increasing defence spending are over, a new reality first announced in the March 29 budget and in a myriad of other public statements.

``We need to acknowledge that, given the current fiscal climate, there can be no expectation that the defence budget will grow in the next few years,'' he wrote.

``As a result, it will be imperative that we make every effort to ensure that each dollar currently devoted to defence is targeted towards enhancing our operational capabilities.''

The fact Harper had to spell out everything speaks to the kind of resistance his government seems to be facing from defence, said University of Ottawa defence expert Phil Lagasse.

``I think it suggests there's an appreciation on the part of the prime minister that the defence establishment has a tendency to try and do things its own way, and that it has been resistant to political direction in recent years,'' he said.

``Does that reflect poorly on the defence minister? Perhaps not as a person, but certainly it seems to suggest that the prime minister is somewhat concerned about his defence minister's ability to properly implement his preferences and his direction.''

In 2008, as part of the first defence strategy, the Conservatives promised stable and predictable funding increases to the military over 20 years. While it still provides increases to the operational budget, those hikes are more than offset by planned cuts that one defence researcher estimated a few weeks ago could total $2.5 billion a year by 2014.

Defence has been wrestling with how to implement the government's strategic review and the deficit reduction plan, but proposals about what to cut have been a closely guarded secret.

It's clear from Harper's letter that MacKay's first round of proposals last spring did not pass muster.

``As we begin our review of the (Canada First Defence Strategy) I ask you start by making the detailed completion of your Department's Deficit Reduction Action Plan (DRAP) your first priority,'' the prime minister wrote.

``Thus far, your DRAP proposals have not sufficiently addressed corporate and institutional support and services.''

The letter estimated that almost $11 billion out of a total Defence budget of $20 billion was swallowed by both civilian and military administration.

Harper urged MacKay to consult more with a cabinet committee that's steering the government-wide series of cuts, and to talk more with his office.

He also laid down red lines about what not to cut.

``You should work closely with the next iteration of the Strategic and Operational Review Committee, as well as central agencies and my office, and present detailed proposals that critically examine corporate and institutional overhead with a view to avoiding budgetary reductions that impact on operational capabilities, the part-time reserves, training within Canada, and the promotion and protection of our national sovereignty,'' said the letter, which was copied to Treasury Board President Tony Clement and Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose.

In a paper for Carleton University's Centre for Security and Defence Studies, defence expert Dave Perry warned that the cuts planned by the Harper government can't help but take a bite out of ``readiness'' because of the way the Defence Department manages its budget and the military's unwillingness to give up capabilities, such as ships, tanks or planes.

As the letter suggests, Harper remains convinced the savings can be had in the bureaucracy in much the same way retired lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie suggested in a landmark report last year.

``You will need to demonstrate that all internal efficiencies have been identified and pursued, in addition to those in the 2011 Transformation Report,'' Harper wrote.

``This should include: critically examining the corporate and institutional overhead with a view to reducing duplication and consolidating on both the military and civilian sides; considering options to reduce DND's real estate holdings while remaining cognizant of government priorities.''

The letter indicates a firm belief by the Prime Minister's Office that general Leslie was correct in urging significant cuts of overhead, said Lagasse.

But Lagasse says he remains skeptical that Harper and Leslie are right.

``The programs they have in place exist for a reason. They're not all fat and they're not all pork. You will eventually need those very things you're being asked to cut,'' Lagasse said.


I think Philippe Lagasse has correctly defined one of the symptoms of the problem: the Minister of National Defence becomes a captive of a well entrenched bureaucracy and that minister surrounds himself with young political aids rather than with good policy people. The top levels of DND and the CF are filled with smart, tough people - they easily roll over young ministerial staffers, especially when mind numbing spreadsheets are used.

I disagree with Lagasse and Dave Perry: there is room, in my view, to make significant cuts to overhead and do no harm to, perhaps even enhance, readiness. Too much HQ effort, at too high rank levels is devoted to inter-agency politics rather than on preparing for combat operations; the Treasury Board, for example, has a legitimate role in all government spending, it is not an enemy and ought not to be seen as such by NDHQ at high bureaucratic and military levels. Sadly, and more difficult to change: even more effort is wasted on federal government mandated busy work and social engineering. But I reiterate what I have said before: a 5% cut to the defence budget can be and should be absorbed, completely, within the top two levels of command and control; no cuts need be or should be made to combat, support and service support organizations although some procurement may have to be stretched, due in part to necessary changes in he procurement superstructure.

But: PM Harper has to tackle the dysfunctional government procurement system - especially in so far as it mismanages defence procurement.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: GAP on October 24, 2012, 20:45:22
Quote
I think Philippe Lagasse has correctly defined one of the symptoms of the problem: the Minister of National Defence becomes a captive of a well entrenched bureaucracy and that minister surrounds himself with young political aids rather than with good policy people. The top levels of DND and the CF are filled with smart, tough people - they easily roll over young ministerial staffers, especially when mind numbing spreadsheets are used.

I disagree with Lagasse and Dave Perry: there is room, in my view, to make significant cuts to overhead and do no harm to, perhaps even enhance, readiness. Too much HQ effort, at too high rank levels is devoted to inter-agency politics rather than on preparing for combat operations; the Treasury Board, for example, has a legitimate role in all government spending, it is not an enemy and ought not to be seen as such by NDHQ at high bureaucratic and military levels. Sadly, and more difficult to change: even more effort is wasted on federal government mandated busy work and social engineering. But I reiterate what I have said before: a 5% cut to the defence budget can be and should be absorbed, completely, within the top two levels of command and control; no cuts need be or should be made to combat, support and service support organizations although some procurement may have to be stretched, due in part to necessary changes in he procurement superstructure.

But: PM Harper has to tackle the dysfunctional government procurement system - especially in so far as it mismanages defence procurement.

Now send that to each treasury board member....
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Infanteer on October 24, 2012, 21:33:23
I disagree with Lagasse and Dave Perry: there is room, in my view, to make significant cuts to overhead and do no harm to, perhaps even enhance, readiness. Too much HQ effort, at too high rank levels is devoted to inter-agency politics rather than on preparing for combat operations; the Treasury Board, for example, has a legitimate role in all government spending, it is not an enemy and ought not to be seen as such by NDHQ at high bureaucratic and military levels. Sadly, and more difficult to change: even more effort is wasted on federal government mandated busy work and social engineering. But I reiterate what I have said before: a 5% cut to the defence budget can be and should be absorbed, completely, within the top two levels of command and control; no cuts need be or should be made to combat, support and service support organizations although some procurement may have to be stretched, due in part to necessary changes in he procurement superstructure.

Agreed.  One only has to get into the line-by-line weeds of spending, often at the L3 or L4 level, to see how much nickel-and-diming occurs for things that do not contribute to operational effectiveness....
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on October 24, 2012, 22:00:45
Agreed.  One only has to get into the line-by-line weeds of spending, often at the L3 or L4 level, to see how much nickel-and-diming occurs for things that do not contribute to operational effectiveness....

In 1997, the MND decreed that all officers need a degree.  That has been accepted as dogmatic truth ever since.

At the same time, in the same document, the MND decreed that there should be less than 65 General/Flag Officers.  That has been widely ignored.

Perhaps we should put as much effort into trimming the GOFO ranks (and the related SOs, EAs and other staff that they attract) as we do into getting tactical level officers university degrees.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on October 24, 2012, 22:33:56
I disagree with Lagasse and Dave Perry: there is room, in my view, to make significant cuts to overhead and do no harm to, perhaps even enhance, readiness.
I concur.  We have covered, many times, areas to save resources while enhancing effectiveness.  These have been in the areas of superfluous HQs, unnecessary bases, over ranked positions, over-inflated staff establishments, mandated busy-work, retention of micro vehicle fleets, and frivolous cosmetic buttons & bows changes.  That is a fairly generic list with specific examples available to be found in various threads.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: plagasse on October 25, 2012, 16:10:52
Just a quick note about my last quote in the story. Most here take me to mean that no overhead should be cut. That's not my view. I'm simply pointing out that overhead cuts should be done with care and caution. There's no point cutting parts of DND or the CF's C2 that will be recreated sometime in the future. Similarly, it would be unwise to cut areas, such as the policy group or DRDC, that do useful work. Finally, it will serve no real purpose to let certain people go only to hire contractors or consultants to replace them. There are savings to be made, but I worry that the Leslie report was a bit too cavalier.

PL
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: milnews.ca on October 25, 2012, 16:17:05
Just a quick note about my last quote in the story. Most here take me to mean that no overhead should be cut. That's not my view. I'm simply pointing out that overhead cuts should be done with care and caution. There's no point cutting parts of DND or the CF's C2 that will be recreated sometime in the future. Similarly, it would be unwise to cut areas, such as the policy group or DRDC, that do useful work. Finally, it will serve no real purpose to let certain people go only to hire contractors or consultants to replace them. There are savings to be made, but I worry that the Leslie report was a bit too cavalier.

PL
Thanks for jumping in with some more info - always good to hear these things "straight from the horse's mouth", so to speak, and allowing a bit of exchange/dialogue.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on October 25, 2012, 16:43:14
Just a quick note about my last quote in the story. Most here take me to mean that no overhead should be cut. That's not my view. I'm simply pointing out that overhead cuts should be done with care and caution. There's no point cutting parts of DND or the CF's C2 that will be recreated sometime in the future. Similarly, it would be unwise to cut areas, such as the policy group or DRDC, that do useful work. Finally, it will serve no real purpose to let certain people go only to hire contractors or consultants to replace them.
I think many here can appreciate where you are coming from.  There are too many examples of muscle being cut to save fat, and there are also too many examples of cuts to a specific budget without care to the fact that the taxpayer will be paying more to retain the same effect through a different funding path. 
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on October 25, 2012, 16:46:18
Just a quick note about my last quote in the story. Most here take me to mean that no overhead should be cut. That's not my view. I'm simply pointing out that overhead cuts should be done with care and caution. There's no point cutting parts of DND or the CF's C2 that will be recreated sometime in the future. Similarly, it would be unwise to cut areas, such as the policy group or DRDC, that do useful work. Finally, it will serve no real purpose to let certain people go only to hire contractors or consultants to replace them. There are savings to be made, but I worry that the Leslie report was a bit too cavalier.

PL

Thanks for jumping in with some more info - always good to hear these things "straight from the horse's mouth", so to speak, and allowing a bit of exchange/dialogue.


Indeed, and welcome Prof Lagassé.

I'm not so sure LGen Lesie was all that cavalier: HQs have grown in both number and size since Gen Hillier took over. The fault cannot all be laid at the feet of senior officers but:

1. We seem, to me, to be in thrall of US military organizations. In my opinion the US DoD and the US armed services are not well organized for either operations or administration, and they certainly offer a poor model for small countries;

2. The very worst aspect of American military organization and one which is fundamentally wrong is command/staff relationships. The US staffs are too big, too rich (in rank) and lacking in responsibility - the US military took the worst of the Franco-Prussian staff systems and left the good bits behind. We adopted the US command/staff model and we need to get away from it if for no other reason than it breeds fat;

3. We pay too much attention to public relations, which is sexy, and too little to combat service support (administration and logistics) which is dull and difficult.

But, the main failings, in my opinion, lie with senior civil servants who could have and should have reined in the worst aspects of military management years and years ago. I blame the Clerk and the DM DND for not saying "enough!" circa 2006 when HQ bloat was evident.

To you main points:

1. We certainly do need a robust - able to withstand the shocks of war in FM Wavell's words - effective and efficient C2 system. I (and others) do not advocate wholesale slash and burn but I, for my part, want fewer HQs (accepting that some of those that remain will be large) in which the principle staff officers, beginning with the CDS if I can have my Xmas wish early, are all one rank lower than today, while commanders in the fleet and field forces remain the same or, in the case of brigade group commanders, are one rank higher;*

2. I agree with you re: both ADM (Pol) and DRDC. I have no brief for how the DM organizes his HQ and I believe that R&D is, currently, too low in the pecking order;

3. Contractors are excellent for surges but we cannot rely upon them. For one thing the contracting world's main source of the experts we need for a surge is the CF, if we cut functions and rely upon contractors we cannot train the next generations of contractors.

So, I suspect we are in violent agreement, except, perhaps for my desire for fewer, lower ranked military HQs.

__________
* I hold firm to a principle I have advocated often in these pages: the principle staff officer in any HQ must be outranked by the subordinate commanders. Thus in a corps HQ (where the commander is a LGen and the subordinate (Div) commanders are MGens) the principle Ops and Adm/Log staff officers should be BGens; in Divs (where the subordinate commanders are Cols but should be BGens) the principle staff officers should be Cols, and in brigades, where the principle subordinate commanders are LCols the principle Ops and Adm/Log staff officers should be Majs.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: plagasse on October 25, 2012, 21:22:39
I very much agree on the commands. Reducing them was the right call. And there's much more reform needed.

In terms of the PR piece, and battles with central agencies, there's a risk there. Admittedly it doesn't do much for frontlines or operations. But it is an important part of the larger political game, especially now that the Afghan campaign is coming to an end. Eliminating that capacity may be costly in the longer term.

I also agree that civilian officials and central agencies should have been far more careful startling in 2006. My guess is that the political environment wasn't favourable to that kind of intervention. Nor is it necessarily easy now, given the divergent incentives of the centre and DND/CF.

My larger concern is the capital program. As the centre focuses on overhead and NDHQ tries to find savings in operational readiness, both are ignoring the fact that the major fleets can't be replaced within the existing budget. Everyone seems content to pretend that everything will be just fine.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on October 25, 2012, 21:39:03
I very much agree on the commands. Reducing them was the right call. And there's much more reform needed.

In terms of the PR piece, and battles with central agencies, there's a risk there. Admittedly it doesn't do much for frontlines or operations. But it is an important part of the larger political game, especially now that the Afghan campaign is coming to an end. Eliminating that capacity may be costly in the longer term. Good point; I haven't given enough weight to the political realities.

I also agree that civilian officials and central agencies should have been far more careful startling in 2006. My guess is that the political environment wasn't favourable to that kind of intervention. Nor is it necessarily easy now, given the divergent incentives of the centre and DND/CF.

My larger concern is the capital program. As the centre focuses on overhead and NDHQ tries to find savings in operational readiness, both are ignoring the fact that the major fleets can't be replaced within the existing budget. Everyone seems content to pretend that everything will be just fine. Agreed. Somehow the whole government has to come to grips with the need to have an efficient and effective procurment system that, simultaneously, allows politicians to exercise their own control. I'm not sure how to square that circle.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: plagasse on October 25, 2012, 21:46:47
Dave Perry asked me to post the following on his behalf:

"I don’t for a minute think that the DND/CF is perfectly efficient.  There are a number of efficiency improvements that can and should be made.  What I seriously question, however, is 1) Is defence actually inefficient to the tune of $2 billion? and  2) Assuming that it is, is there any realistic prospect of enacting that many improvements, given normal bureaucratic imperatives?
 
If the answer to either of those questions is no (which I certainly think is the case) the Canadian military is facing the prospect of real cuts to its readiness.”
 

 
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: PPCLI Guy on October 25, 2012, 22:42:04
Reductions in readiness WILL occur as a result of reduced O+M budgets, but only if we insist on doing things exactly as we are doing them now.  I know of one major formation that is facing a 40% reduction to its O+M (essentially training, and hence readiness) budget next fiscal year that will NOT suffer any significant reduction in readiness, simply by changing the way in which they train.

If inputs are reduced but outputs are expected to remain the same, then it is the process that must change.  In many cases, there is room for significant adjustments to process - this will allow us to retain current levels of output (readiness) with reductions in inputs (resources).
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: GAP on October 25, 2012, 22:53:58
Is the  current levels of output (readiness) what we require?

Does it need to be higher or lower or of a slightly different focus?

 :dunno:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: cupper on October 25, 2012, 23:06:17
 
1. We seem, to me, to be in thrall of US military organizations. In my opinion the US DoD and the US armed services are not well organized for either operations or administration, and they certainly offer a poor model for small countries;

2. The very worst aspect of American military organization and one which is fundamentally wrong is command/staff relationships. The US staffs are too big, too rich (in rank) and lacking in responsibility - the US military took the worst of the Franco-Prussian staff systems and left the good bits behind. We adopted the US command/staff model and we need to get away from it if for no other reason than it breeds fat;


Fortunately we have not inherited the associated pork barrel vote buying that the US Congress seems to have made the US military into over the decades since the end of WWII. A lot of the bloat and waste that they are now faced with cutting is a direct result of lobbying efforts and political vote buying. The Defense Industry was smart in setting up factories through out  the Congressional map in order to make sure that the Members give their goods and services place of primacy when budget items are considered. As a result, many programs that were duplicates of existing programs, or unwanted or unneeded items just kept getting funding.

Shutting bases in a congressional district is the political equivalent of suicide. As is cancelling a weapons development program. Or reducing the numbers of units in a state.

That's not to say that politics does not play a role in decisions in Canada as well. I was working and living on base with the CE Section in Cornwallis the year before the closure decision was finalized. I saw both sides playing out.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on October 26, 2012, 00:16:22

Fortunately we have not inherited the associated pork barrel vote buying that the US Congress seems to have made the US military into over the decades since the end of WWII.

Canada has similar problems.  I recall a mid 90s OAG report describing how we purchased aircraft spares from Canadian providers, who merely drop-shipped them from the US plants at a 50% or more mark-up.

The C7 is a slightly Canadianized M-16, for a more than slightly increased unit cost.  Similarly, the LSVW was nothing if not a regional economic award; and the less we say about CF-18 maintenance and Griffon acquisition, the better.  Discussions of Canadian ship-building lead one down the path of asking why we must buy from less efficient Canadian shipyards.

As long as DND has multi-billion dollar procurement budgets, it will attract political attention, and varying levels of pork.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: cupper on October 26, 2012, 01:01:21
All valid points. But with the US system, as a politician, you are chained to the need to get reelected, and therefore vote for that which will achieve reelection, rather than vote for the option that is best in economic and policy consideration.

In Canada, the political question is not as self serving for the defense industry. For instance, ship building contracts for the most part go to one of three regions. You send the contract to one region knowing that it is possibly going to piss off the voters in the region that got screwed over.

As for buying equipment overseas as in all of your examples, although it makes economic sense, would be difficult to sell to the voters. And when you consider that most major equipment suppliers are subsidiaries of American firms it becomes a moot point anyway.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on October 26, 2012, 06:48:05
All valid points. But with the US system, as a politician, you are chained to the need to get reelected, and therefore vote for that which will achieve reelection, rather than vote for the option that is best in economic and policy consideration.

In Canada, the political question is not as self serving for the defense industry. For instance, ship building contracts for the most part go to one of three regions. You send the contract to one region knowing that it is possibly going to piss off the voters in the region that got screwed over.

As for buying equipment overseas as in all of your examples, although it makes economic sense, would be difficult to sell to the voters. And when you consider that most major equipment suppliers are subsidiaries of American firms it becomes a moot point anyway.


Unless you consider the CPF or TRUMP (Tribal Class Update and Modernization Programme) projects back in the 1980s when we, intentionally, split contracts so that a second rate - in one case unqualified - yard would get ¼ of the contract value. Or consider the impact on efficiency by refusing to even consider allowing NDHQ to concentrate in one location on Moodie Drive in Ottawa. I'm with dapaterson.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on October 26, 2012, 06:58:02
Reductions in readiness WILL occur as a result of reduced O+M budgets, but only if we insist on doing things exactly as we are doing them now.  I know of one major formation that is facing a 40% reduction to its O+M (essentially training, and hence readiness) budget next fiscal year that will NOT suffer any significant reduction in readiness, simply by changing the way in which they train.

If inputs are reduced but outputs are expected to remain the same, then it is the process that must change.  In many cases, there is room for significant adjustments to process - this will allow us to retain current levels of output (readiness) with reductions in inputs (resources).

:goodpost:

Resource scarcity is nothing new, the whole Hellyer thing, in the 1960s and beyond, was rooted in resource issues. Mr. Hellyer didn't set out to screw everything up; he was, seriously and honestly, intent on finding ways to make the DND and the RCN, CA and RCAF function in more efficient and cost effective ways.

Many of Minister Hellyer's ideas were given impetus by a fellow named J Grant Glassco, whose Royal Commission on Government Organization, which reported in 1962/63, did excellent work but which sideswiped DND and the RCN, CA and RCAF by noting the large number of committees required to get things done and contrasting that with the joint or unified organizations the Committee had seen in the USA.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Journeyman on October 26, 2012, 09:48:57
I know of one major formation that is facing a 40% reduction to its O+M (essentially training, and hence readiness) budget next fiscal year that will NOT suffer any significant reduction in readiness, simply by changing the way in which they train.
Would you flesh this out a bit? What are they changing?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Colin P on October 26, 2012, 12:33:33
Canada has similar problems.  I recall a mid 90s OAG report describing how we purchased aircraft spares from Canadian providers, who merely drop-shipped them from the US plants at a 50% or more mark-up.

The C7 is a slightly Canadianized M-16, for a more than slightly increased unit cost.  Similarly, the LSVW was nothing if not a regional economic award; and the less we say about CF-18 maintenance and Griffon acquisition, the better.  Discussions of Canadian ship-building lead one down the path of asking why we must buy from less efficient Canadian shipyards.

As long as DND has multi-billion dollar procurement budgets, it will attract political attention, and varying levels of pork.

The thing about shipyards is that they require new builds to reinvest in their significant amount of infrastructure. This was my concern about the BC shipyards not getting the ferry contracts. The shipyards here have built a good international rep for speedy and quality repairs, but that work is highly unpredictable and difficult to take to the bank for the capital required for reinvestment to maintain a competitive edge. So it really comes down to a policy decision, if you want shipyards capable of building or even repairing our naval fleet, you need to sustain them by restricting government new builds to domestic builders. if you are willing to give up that ability then accept the price that comes with it. Not only will your hulls come from somewhere else, but all the major repairs and refits will have to go outside the domestic marketplace.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: PPCLI Guy on October 26, 2012, 14:01:29
Would you flesh this out a bit? What are they changing?

The simplest change has been to return to training in austere conditions, using only issue kit, equipment and vehicles - in other words, to live within one's means vice renting our way out of the need to plan....
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Journeyman on October 26, 2012, 14:02:27
Ack. Thanks
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on October 26, 2012, 14:14:32
The simplest change has been to return to training in austere conditions, using only issue kit, equipment and vehicles - in other words, to live within one's means vice renting our way out of the need to plan....

Heretic!  Next you'll say that deployed HQs for brigades need to be agile, responsive and mobile, not sprawling tent cities filled with a cast of thousands.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on October 27, 2012, 14:55:20
The simplest change has been to return to training in austere conditions, using only issue kit, equipment and vehicles - in other words, to live within one's means vice renting our way out of the need to plan....

but but what about the troops and their IPads, IPhones, etc etc ....how are they supposed to call ? how will they upload their antics to Youtube? :'(
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Infanteer on October 27, 2012, 15:03:47
The simplest change has been to return to training in austere conditions, using only issue kit, equipment and vehicles - in other words, to live within one's means vice renting our way out of the need to plan....

One only has to play with a DTSF to see what impact light stands, generators, heaters and MSA have on the training bill.  Costs can easily be cut by 25% by living tactically and not in heated mod tents with electricity and lighting while deployed to the field.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on October 27, 2012, 15:05:44
But we've always done it that way!!  ;)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: cupper on October 27, 2012, 15:08:57
Actually, it's a good move. It will save huge amounts, as all of the reservists will release because field ex will no longer be fun and enjoyable, but rather will now just be work. >:D
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on October 27, 2012, 15:13:23
Actually, it's a good move. It will save huge amounts, as all of the reservists will release because field ex will no longer be fun and enjoyable, but rather will now just be work. >:D

We live austere most of the time. There is not enough time to build tent cities.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: cupper on October 27, 2012, 15:17:50
We live austere most of the time. There is not enough time to build tent cities.

Don't forget I came from a Combat Service Support background, where the union agreement required a lavish field lifestyle. ;D
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on October 27, 2012, 15:42:39
Don't forget I came from a Combat Service Support background, where the union agreement required a lavish field lifestyle. ;D

Seen! :)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on October 27, 2012, 16:19:31
Don't forget I came from a Combat Service Support background, where the union agreement required a lavish field lifestyle. ;D


It often makes good sense to make life/work as comfortable as possible for CSS elements when they are supporting another group that is being trained, but CSS elements need to be trained and tested, too, under realistic (hard) conditions. Sometimes CSS elements can be trained/tested while they are supporting others ~ maximum concurrent activity and all that.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on October 29, 2012, 07:56:47
More on cuts in this report which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/new-defence-chief-takes-helm-as-forces-look-to-cut-spending/article4716968/
Quote
New Defence Chief takes helm as forces look to cut spending

CAMPBELL CLARK
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Sunday, Oct. 28 2012

The new Defence Chief will be welcomed with frugal pomp as he takes command of the Canadian Forces for an era of budgetary restraint.

Lieutenant-General Tom Lawson will be sworn in as General Lawson and appointed leader of Canada’s armed forces on Monday with a 21-gun salute, a ceremony presided over by the Governor-General, and a speech from the Prime Minister.

But the military has told its people not to travel to the event, and reports indicate officials are trying to ensure the ceremony’s price tag is smaller than the $250,000 spent when General Rick Hillier left command in 2008.

The shindig on a shaved budget symbolizes the very different job Gen. Lawson faces as Chief of the Defence Staff. His two most recent predecessors, Gen. Hillier and General Walt Natynczyk, were morale-boosting leaders of troops overseas. Gen. Lawson will have to mediate internal battles at home over resources.

“The priority is no longer operations. The priority is making the department more efficient, cutting the budget, or whatever the buzzword is,” said David Perry, a defence analyst with the CDA Institute. “It was Afghanistan and operations for a long time. Now it’s resource allocation.”

Gen. Lawson, who turns 55 on Friday, is a fighter pilot who flew Starfighters and CF-18s, but most of his career lacked that Top Gun flash. His star rose within the forces when, as a colonel, he was seen as having done a crack job as commander of Canada’s largest Air Force base in Trenton – a task that requires a deft administrator.

Both Gen. Hillier and Gen. Natynczyk, who steps down Monday, took the top post when military budgets were rising. Both took on the task of raising the spirits and profile of soldiers in Canada as they led a military that was operating in Afghanistan, and in Gen. Natynczyck’s case, Libya.

Gen. Lawson faces a different task. The budget cuts will strain the military’s ability to stay ready for a mission, and will likely see different branches battle over scarce funds.

Mr. Perry said the cuts already announced by the government amount to about 11 per cent of the military’s budget, and it will hit far deeper in a category of spending known as operations and maintenance.

The Canadian Forces are being told they cannot cut the numbers in its regular force, whose salaries are the military’s biggest expense. And it must preserve the military’s capital-spending plan to buy new planes, ships and other equipment – which is already underfunded.

So far, its ideas for cutting administration and civilian staff won’t generate enough savings, Mr. Perry said.

What’s left is the training and equipment tuneups that keep units ready to ship out, he said: “It means that the operational readiness is going to be reduced.”

The Harper government, however, has made it clear that it does not want the cuts to show in public. Defence Minister Peter MacKay repeatedly states that the defence budget has gone up every year under the Conservative government. But Mr. Perry said two recent rounds of cuts are going to have a substantial impact and in real terms the Forces won’t return to their pre-cut funding levels for eight or nine years.


Managing resources, especially money, is important and, as David Perry says, it has not been a high enough priority for some time. I remain unconvinced that DND has the will or even the skill to slice away at real, institutional fat - which exists - without cutting away a lot of muscle, too.
 
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on November 05, 2012, 18:32:18
Some reflections on the current situation from someone who has seen it (though maybe on a different scale) before:
Quote
Former defence chief 'sensitive' to new commander's fiscal challenge
John de Chastelain agrees there's not much fat to trim as Ottawa warns expenses must be reduced

The Guardian (Charlottetown)
Jim Day (jday@theguardian.pe.ca)
05 November 2012


John de Chastelain knows all about belt-tightening. He was Canada's chief of defence staff in 1989. The Cold War had ended. Canada faced a severe deficit. It was time for Ottawa to make cuts and the 1989 federal budget came down like a large axe on the Department of National Defence.

CFB Summerside, at the time home to anti-submarine and coastal patrol aircraft, was identified as a candidate for the chopping block. In 1991, the base was closed and the majority of military units were transferred to CFB Greenwood in Nova Scotia.

De Chastelain fought unsuccessfully to keep Canadian forces stationed in Europe. Instead, those organizations were moved back to Canada and absorbed into a force that was already being reduced.

"We ended up closing a number of bases, including here in Prince Edward Island,'' said de Chastelain, who was guest speaker Saturday night at a fundraising dinner in Charlottetown for The Nichola Goddard Foundation that was created in honour of the first female soldier killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2006.

"I went to Summerside, in fact as chief of defence staff, to give the very sad news that we were going to be closing the base as we did in other places in Canada,'' he added.

"And it was very difficult because the people that had been working in those places had been working professionally and well. It was part of their life. Nobody wanted to have to do things like that and yet if we were to have met the limits placed on us, we had to do it.''

Canada's newly minted top military commander, Gen. Tom Lawson, has also been told trimming will take place under his command.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered a clear message to the military last Monday as Lawson replaced retiring general Walt Natynczyk as chief of defence staff.

"The Forces will also be subject to the same pressures that the uncertainties of the global economy have imposed across our government and around the world,'' the prime minister told a gathering of the senior military leadership at the war museum in Ottawa.

"In order to free up resources to carry out work on the ground, administrative expenses have to be reduced.''

De Chastelain, who attended the change of command ceremony Monday, says he is "sensitive to what Tom is going through.''

He agrees with Lawson's assessment that there's not much fat to cut, particularly when it comes to combat units.

"The difficulty is that having made the cuts that we did 20 years ago, there are not too many bases you can close now,'' said de Chastelain.  "There are no troops to withdraw from Europe now. And we do have these capital acquisition programs - new ships and new aircraft - coming up. So, yeah, it's going to be tough.''

De Chastelain is hopeful the Canadian Forces will be able to continue to carry on out of area operations for a reasonable period of time, rather than simply set up a headquarters and then leave the work to others, which Canada has had to do before, he notes, with UN operations in the Middle East and Lebanon.

His major concern in 1989 through 1991 was, with all of the cuts the Defence Department was undergoing, to maintain the basis for combat capability for land, sea and air.

"We had to keep that in place so that if required we could build rapidly on it,'' he said.  "Once you do away with something entirely, it's very hard to get it back.''

De Chastelain says the most notable strength of Canada's military today, without question, is professionalism.

When he was still in uniform, NATO members constantly raved about Canada's system of training officers in all three branches of service as being extraordinary.

"And therefore I think that is one of our greatest attributes: the fact that we have very professional men and women in the Forces because we train and we train for the hard tasks and we equip for the hard tasks,'' he said. "And I think that must be maintained at all costs.''

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: standingdown on November 05, 2012, 19:22:16
250k for Gen Hillier's change of command parade? Not knowing the exact breakdown of what went on, I can't comment too much...but it is does seem like a fair chunk of change for a change of command ceremony.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Sythen on November 05, 2012, 20:56:43
250k for Gen Hillier's change of command parade? Not knowing the exact breakdown of what went on, I can't comment too much...but it is does seem like a fair chunk of change for a change of command ceremony.

Wonder how much of that was things like soldier's salaries and such that would be paid regardless? When media report numbers, they always like to include stuff like that.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Sheep Dog AT on November 05, 2012, 21:48:15
All change of command parades will consist of the oldest Cpl kicking the Commander's butt with a frozen mukluk out the door.  :piper:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on November 05, 2012, 22:14:20
Wonder how much of that was things like soldier's salaries and such that would be paid regardless? When media report numbers, they always like to include stuff like that.
Given that the media tends to report what we account as the costs, probably none of that was Reg F pay.  There might be Class A P Res pay if the reserves provided some contingent or if reserve senior leadership attended as guests.  Another chunk would be travel, meals, hotels and incidentals for out-of-town military & public service dignitaries.

In any case, that event is a well past sunk cost and it sounds like we (the CF) learned to keep costs more in check this time around (including asking all those out-of-towers to stay home).  I think what is more relevant now is the question of how do we move forward, cutting costs while protecting operational readiness.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Wookilar on November 06, 2012, 11:24:25
One only has to play with a DTSF to see what impact light stands, generators, heaters and MSA have on the training bill.  Costs can easily be cut by 25% by living tactically and not in heated mod tents with electricity and lighting while deployed to the field.

I have been pondering this for awhile. It seems that every few years our power requirements go up a couple notches. Not because we necessarily need the power, but because the power is available.

The amount of money we spend on power generation is astounding, especially if you look at the CA as a whole. It was not that long ago that we had one 20KW gennie (1954 Cat in-line 8 cyl by the way) powering C/S's 0, 8, 88, the UMS, the kitchen and the mess tent at 1 VP. That was only 10-12 years ago.

Now, every C/S has a 10KW generator at a minimum. There is no way that 8 needs anything above a 2KW to run the radios and computers. Even a 5KW is more than enough to power everything in the CP along with a heater or two if required. Last EX I was on with 1 VP, there were two 10KW gennies running C/S 8. It had nothing to do with the radios or computers (computers draw very little power by the way) or even the 1 vacan that they were running.

I'm trying to figure out a way to do a power audit for a 1st line unit; what they would require on a Roto 0 type environment. I think higher would be shocked at how much electricity a Bn needs vs what we can generate.

I can't be the only one that wonders everytime I walk into a CP know and think "What is all this for?" If I see one more fancy hot fluid making machine I'm going to lose my tiny mind. And do we really need smart boards? Really? And "field deployable tv" with their own pelican cases? Really?

I am certainly not against using equipment/power for comfort's sake and some M&W items. By all means. One tv in the kitchen tent worked for along time, why doesn't it work now?

I think know we could see a substantial cost savings if we had a power....I don't know....reconciliation (?).
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on November 06, 2012, 14:02:58
I prefer actual maps and map boards over fancy electronic gadgets. A good coffee pot is hard to beat though ......
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Journeyman on November 06, 2012, 14:31:10
.... If I see one more fancy hot fluid making machine I'm going to lose my tiny mind.
:orly:  I have no heartache eliminating the "fancy," but tread lightly if you're suggesting taking away my coffee!
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on November 06, 2012, 15:01:36
:orly:  I have no heartache eliminating the "fancy," but tread lightly if you're suggesting taking away my coffee!

Don't worry, the medical system is ready for you:

(https://Army.ca/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2F24.media.tumblr.com%2Fkm1XRMY3NoowhnozupcmZdLvo1_400.jpg&hash=a522fb651b0914442df5858f8ffbd28a)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Wookilar on November 06, 2012, 17:11:31
Lol absolutely not!! I need it as much as the next guy, but seriously, do you need to bring your capachino (sp?)maker to the field? Seen it, don't laugh. Ever want to hear a 10K TQG bog down, there's your culprit.

A 5K will run everything you need. The tassimo can stay home.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on November 07, 2012, 12:09:38
Here are a few ways that I see to immediately cut costs while protecting capability:
And here are some options options for long-term savings (though most will cost money up-front prior to the savings being achieved later):

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on November 07, 2012, 12:47:41
A few more contentious suggestions:

* Top to bottom compensation and benefits review to eliminate duplication and overlap
* Revisit posting policy to reduce annual move requirement (excluding off-BTL)
* Revisit IPR move policy to eliminate same-location moves (eg a paid move from Orleans to Kanata on release)
* Replace CANEX with private suppliers (who will pay market rents for CF facilities)
   * Retain small deployed NPF expertise to surge for deployments if required (hint: this does not include a Tim Hortons trailer)
* Return to annual TOS boards, particularly at ranks of LCol and above and MWO and above, to determine whether continued service meets a military requirement
* Enforce limits on GOFOs as ordered in the 1997 MND report (roughly a 1/3 reduction)
* Return to performance pay for GOFO and Capt(N)/Cols
   * Make PMAs and performance info per above public
* Make PMAs and performance information for all Public Servants public


For IM/IT

* Migrate from MS Office to Open Office to reduce IM/IT licensing costs
* Migrate from Outlook to open-source web-based DWAN email to reduce IM/IT licensing costs
* Dissolve ADM(IM), putting IM/IT support into CANOSCOM, IM/IT procurement into ADM(Mat), and comms and ISTAR systems under CJOC
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: PanaEng on November 07, 2012, 13:02:38
MCG, what is “tactical infrastructure” ?

Great  ideas, from you and dapaterson;  can't argue against any of them.

does anyone have a DND or gov wide figure for licensing costs of MS Office, Outlook and servers?
I think shared services will be better positioned to handle a conversion as opposed to each department independently.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on November 07, 2012, 14:43:57
MCG, what is “tactical infrastructure” ?
They are the FOBs complete with many giant circus tents, stadium lighting, daily showers for everyone, sea container sized electrical generators, and more protable diesel heaters than one cares to count.

 
* Return to performance pay for GOFO and Capt(N)/Cols
While we are at it, lets also tie pay incentives for all other ranks to performance and conduct.  If you are on a remedial measure (IC through to C&P) then the pay incentive is delayed by the duration of that remedial measure.  If you receive an unsatisfactory PER, then the pay incentive is delayed by a full year.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on November 07, 2012, 15:26:46
Forgot a few:

* Restructure establishment to differentiate between Lt and Capt
* Return to competitive promotion to Capt
* Revisit Degreed Officer Corps decision
   * Permit short engagements with no promotion beyond Capt without a degree
* Eliminate full-time second language training
   * Individuals may elect to pursue SLT on their own time; a decision not to get a language profile will limit future promotion possibilities
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on November 12, 2012, 07:22:31
This report, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from CBC News deals with our favourite topic:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/11/09/f-military-policy.html?cmp=rss
Quote
What kind of military can Canada afford?
Doing the same with less after spending cuts

By Daniel Schwartz, CBC News

Posted: Nov 12, 2012

While Canadians remember their fallen, there are questions about what kind of military Canada will have in the near future.

Defence spending has increased by about a billion dollars every year under the Harper government, but the military faces shrinking budgets in the years ahead.

National Defence cost the government $22.8 billion in the last fiscal year, almost 10 per cent of total program expenses. The cuts are expected to take $2.5 billion out of the military budget.

For Esprit de Corps magazine editor Scott Taylor, the military must "sacrifice something, whether it's capability, or whether it's manpower, something's going to have to go."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper set out a different challenge in his speech on Oct. 29 welcoming Canada's new chief of defence staff: "Within very real budgetary constraints, Canada needs to maintain a modern, general purpose military capability."

In his speech after his appointment, Gen. Tom Lawson acknowledged that the military would "have to stay within a budget that will be tighter than what we had expected," after what he described as "a wonderful new period where we've had a chance to refurbish many of our capabilities."

When defence spending increased

That period began in 2005, with the Liberal government under Paul Martin announcing in its budget that it would provide the military with $13 billion in new funding over the next five years, which it described as "the largest increase in defence spending in the last 20 years."

Martin had been finance minister 10 years earlier, when the government faced a debt crisis that led to massive cuts in spending by all government departments, including National Defence.

The new direction was the result of an improved financial situation, a changed international climate and a new prime minister more inclined to hand money to the military.

A 2005 white paper set out what the government wanted from all that new funding. The Canadian Forces would be "reorganized and retooled" to carry out both short missions and emergencies as well as longer mission-specific task forces. Full-time troop strength, then 60,000, would increase by 5,000 and new equipment would be purchased. The emphasis was on the army.

The Martin government would soon fall, and although the new Harper government would set its own defence policy, it would carry out the plans for increased spending. They would emphasize Arctic defence and move away from the focus on the army.

In 2008, the Harper government released its Canada First Defence Strategy, which set out plans to spend $490 billion on defence over 20 years.

Defence expert Philippe Lagassé, from the University of Ottawa, described the strategy's "very broad list" of six missions as something "you can pretty much put everything in under the sun." In terms of equipment, especially the major fleets, "the strategy is simply to replace everything you have."

Teeth vs. tail

That was also the year of the global financial crisis, and although the government continued to increase defence spending, and underestimate costs, it soon recognized problems ahead.

The government appointed Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie to review spending and requirements and recommend where to cut. In his 2011 report, Leslie detailed how headquarters staff had grown by nearly half but the regular forces by only a tenth since 2004.

Spending on consultants and contractors was up $2.7 billion per year.

"We are going to have to reduce overhead and invest in output; we have to become slimmer," Leslie wrote in the report. He recommended a major change in the way the department operates, with major cuts at headquarters and especially to spending on consultants and contractors, while continuing to carry out all current operations.

"In short, we are going to have to reduce the tail of today while investing in the teeth of tomorrow," Leslie wrote.

Lagassé is skeptical about Leslie's approach.

"The department has pushed back a bit, because as easy as it may seem to try and find efficiencies, there aren't that many places you can cut and still keep everything you are doing, as you are doing it," he says.

He told CBC News that the military is concerned "that you can only slash administration so much before it begins to affect your ability to be an effective force, even on the field."

Taylor, a former soldier, notes that the culture at the Department of National Defence is not one that embraces change.

"There's a culture of resistance, a culture of internal empire-building, so these guys are going to push back at everything."

However, Harper has continued to back Leslie's general recommendations. In a June letter to Defence Minister Peter MacKay, which was later leaked to Canadian Press, he made that clear.

"It is important that we reduce the current overhead," he wrote MacKay, adding not to expect "that the defence budget will grow in the next few years."

Two weeks ago, in his speech marking Lawson's appointment as CDS, Harper echoed Leslie: "The Canada First Defence Strategy must continue to advance, and as I’ve said before, with the constant search for more teeth and less tail."

Impact on troops

For Taylor, that strategy is "a hodge-podge and every direction you look it's going to need huge amounts of money." If the military goes ahead with its current procurement plans, Taylor notes, the operating costs for the new equipment will be huge.

"We just can't move forward in all the directions they say they are going to move forward, not with the amount of money that's in the pot now," Taylor told CBC News.

He says the military also faces retention problems, and that "morale is going into the toilet for the army." Once the training program in Afghanistan is over, the forces will be without a mission. For a soldier, Taylor says, that's like attending hockey practice all the time, without ever playing a game. Despite the dangers, soldiers want to do their job for real.

As well, along with the frontline experience the troops got in Afghanistan came increased pay and rapid promotion, which also means a higher income, Taylor explained.

"Love it, hate it, disagree with it; the mission in Afghanistan was a mission," Taylor said, and it gave soldiers and pilots a sense of purpose. Now, with just training exercises ahead, the fear is they will get bored, which, of course, produces more problems.

While the idea is out there that the absence of a mission like Afghanistan means substantial budgetary savings for the military, Lagassé notes that while the savings are fairly significant, the mission received incremental funding from the House of Commons.

What did come out of the DND budget won't be "sufficient to make up for the cuts DND is being asked to take in, simply because there was that incremental funding."

A more specialized military?

Canada is not alone in facing questions about what kind of military it can afford. In 2010, NATO proposed that its members eliminate some overlapping capabilities, with just one or a few members specializing in some tasks. However, Harper has made clear that he wants to continue with the general-purpose military of the Canada First Defence Strategy.

The government has said it will issue a "reset" of that strategy, which should be made public soon, but Lagassé doesn't expect anything to change except for some numbers.

"We're simply moving forward with an unaffordable strategy that will ultimately leave us with forces that have been devised in an ad hoc manner."

If Canada's military were faced with a choice of hoping for new funds in the future or taking the specialization road, Lagassé says, they'd rather wait and hope. For now, he said they will take "a two-pronged approach."

On the one hand, they will be "cutting back on operational readiness in the short term on the assumption they probably won't be deployed on any major operation for some time."

At the same time, the military keeps going with its procurement programs, "even though they are unaffordable, and eventually force the government to be in a bind and have to give you more."

Lagassé points to the huge $35-billion shipbuilding program.

"If it so happens you can't build the number of ships you stated you were going to build with the amount of money you'd been given, then given the amount of attention the government has drawn to the shipbuilding strategy, you can force their hand and force them to give you a top-up in order to ensure that you can build an additional number of ships."

Faced with situations like this in the past, Lagassé notes that the Canadian Forces ultimately made it through and did their jobs, which he said is "somewhat their curse."

"Even when they're dealt a relatively difficult circumstance, they seem to make it through, never really forcing the government into a crisis situation, where they have to resolve the problem once and for all."


Despite having lived and served through several decades of darkness™ and watched the CF not only survive but do hard, credible work (in e.g. Gulf War I and the Balkans) without anything like an adequate budget, I agree with Prof. Philippe Lagassé when he says:

1. "We're simply moving forward with an unaffordable strategy that will ultimately leave us with forces that have been devised in an ad hoc manner." That, ad hoc planning with insufficient resources, is all we have had since 1969;

2. The DND senior management - civilian and military - would rather wait and hope than speak out ~ "speak truth to power;" and

3. The CF is, in a way, its own worst enemy having, as I mentioned just above, again and again, to muddle through and do what was needed despite the government.

I remain wedded to desire for a military establishment that would do what External Affairs Minister and later Prime Minister Louis St Laurent wanted Canada to do in the 1950s: be a leader of the "middle powers" in the world. That requires a mix of soft and hard power. Both cost money and sufficient hard power requires, in my considered opinion, a sustained (for decades) investment of never less than 2% of GDP for DND's budget. We currently spend about 1.4% of GDP, according to the SIPRI Yearbook (http://www.sipri.org/yearbook). Other, roughly comparable countries spend (same source):

Australia:            1.8%
Malaysia:            2.0%
Netherlands:      1.4%
Norway:             1.5%
Portugal:            2.1%
Singapore:         3.7%
-------------
World Average:  2.2%
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on November 15, 2012, 13:15:24
* Restructure establishment to differentiate between Lt and Capt
* Return to competitive promotion to Capt
Absolutely.  On Army establishments there are 183 Lt positions that should probably all become Lt/2Lt positions (there is currently no concept of a Lt/2Lt position, and the Army has zero established 2Lt positions).  There are 296 C/Lt positions that could probably all be converted to hard Lt positions, and that is without looking at any other L1’s positions.

* Revisit Degreed Officer Corps decision
   * Permit short engagements with no promotion beyond Capt without a degree
We do this.  It is called CEOTP and they are limited to the rank of Capt until a degree is completed.  Once the guy is in the CF we then have the IBDP to then send a Capt at full pay to pursue a full-time undergrad programme.  I am not sure it is the best cost saving approach.  Anyway …

In the current climate, we need to look at more than just where to cut.  We also need to look at where to get better mileage from the same resources.  Here are a few thoughts to that end:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Old Sweat on November 15, 2012, 13:27:54
The C/Lt positions are worth a hard look. They came about in 1967 or 1968 when, as the rumour goes, Paul Hellyer decided to do the same thing with junior officers that he had done with junior ranks, that is promote automatically to captain after a certain period of time regardless of establishment positions. I seem to recall that the time in the rank of lieutenant was pegged at two years, and as second lieutenant had been abolished, this meant that all at once literally hundreds of lieutenants became captains (or lieutenants (N)) overnight.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Journeyman on November 15, 2012, 13:41:29
  • Replace ....dive pay and parachute allowance with enhanced casual allowances
  • Reduce the number of PRes unit HQs.  Individual sub-units can retain unique regimental identities, but they will be grouped under a single stronger battalion HQ.
Yes, and yes.

While the money is a nice perk that no one will willingly turn away, most jumpers and/or divers I know would do it for free.

How many Res Infantry units parade at less-than optimal strength in Toronto? Ottawa? Montreal? I think it is doable from a logical and leadership perspective. I also suspect that the hand-wringing over cap-badges will be horrific, regardless of how it is worked out and marketted.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on November 15, 2012, 14:23:11
We do this.  It is called CEOTP and they are limited to the rank of Capt until a degree is completed.  Once the guy is in the CF we then have the IBDP to then send a Capt at full pay to pursue a full-time undergrad programme.  I am not sure it is the best cost saving approach. 

CEOTP is officially an interim measure, and can be turned on or off each year.  We need to institutionalize it.

We also need to revisit the ROTP/DEO weighting.  ROTP is very expensive, and loses four years of military service to undergrad studies.  Shrinking ROTP would save significant money; we'd likely have to triage the programs at RMC and save only those that are unique - why build our own at extra cost when we can buy off the shelf? (And why does RMC have military members and public servants teaching an "MBA"?  Isn't the DND/CF requirement for MPA instead?)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on November 15, 2012, 15:36:06
CEOTP is officially an interim measure, and can be turned on or off each year.  We need to institutionalize it.

We also need to revisit the ROTP/DEO weighting.  ROTP is very expensive, and loses four years of military service to undergrad studies.  Shrinking ROTP would save significant money; we'd likely have to triage the programs at RMC and save only those that are unique - why build our own at extra cost when we can buy off the shelf? (And why does RMC have military members and public servants teaching an "MBA"?  Isn't the DND/CF requirement for MPA instead?)


Many, many years ago Gen (Ret'd) Ramsey Withers did a study on RMC.

Amongst the  several proposals considered was one for a slimmed down RMC with three departments:

1. Engineering - teaching selected core course curricula for MILE, MARE, AERE and electronics - of course CELE and EME would be trained but the core courses would be as indicated. Equally all officers could take engineering degrees but within the limits indicated;

2. Logistics - teaching a range of topics, including courses leading towards a BComm, but aiming to produce a recognized degree in Logistics/Management; and

3. The Military Arts - history, economics, geography, etc, etc, etc, all wrapped up in a strategic studies sort of programme.

The premise was that most CF officers would come from Civvy U, through a reborn UNTD/COTC sort of thing. RMC would be even more selective and much more specialized.

I'm not sure how the whole project ended, nor do I know how that particular submission was received. I recall it because Gen Withers asked my boss for some inputs and he (RAdm Ed Healey) told me to draft them; but it was a very secondary task and, for the life, of me, I can't remember what we said except that we insisted upon a solid core course curriculum for MARE officers.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on November 15, 2012, 15:50:26
Ah - but do we need a degree-granting institution?  Or more of a trade-school that provides additional education needed for specific occupations?

AFAIK Sandhust is not a university; why does RMC need to be one?

(And why does a Commander for 600-700 officer cadets need to be a 1*, when a battle group of 1500 can be commanded by a LCol?)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on November 15, 2012, 16:22:10
Ah - but do we need a degree-granting institution?  Or more of a trade-school that provides additional education needed for specific occupations?

AFAIK Sandhust is not a university; why does RMC need to be one?

(And why does a Commander for 600-700 officer cadets need to be a 1*, when a battle group of 1500 can be commanded by a LCol?)


Good and fair points.

I think there was an earlier discussion about this, here on Army.ca, where someone, maybe even me, raised the prospect of a training/education > service > education/training scheme wherein all prospective officers, degree holding or not, would do two years at a military college at which they would, over say, two years, receive extensive and detailed military training and some university level education with a distinct military flavour: history, leadership, geography, etc. (Think Sandhurst.) This would be followed by commissioning as a 2Lt and by service (three to five years) in the fleet or the field during which both the officer and the CF could make decisions about his/her future. Those selected and agreeing to stay in the CF would go on to finish their degrees, some at RMC some at Civvy U. This phase would be followed by more, advanced classification and generalist training, including staff training for some (those who gained entry to the staff college through rigorous, competitive examinations) . A few officers might, during this phase, decide that they do not wish to finish their degrees; they will be warned that their prospects for promotion beyond Maj are lessened but some, a "happy few," might do very well, despite a lack of formal education, because they are first rate leaders and decent military managers, too.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on November 15, 2012, 18:28:40

Good and fair points.

I think there was an earlier discussion about this, here on Army.ca, where someone, maybe even me, raised the prospect of a training/education > service > education/training scheme wherein all prospective officers, degree holding or not, would do two years at a military college ...
I think you will find that somewhere in here:  http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,105418.msg1132127.html#msg1132127
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on November 16, 2012, 13:19:31
Quote
Defence will also cut spending: MacKay
Minister says economic realities can't be ignored

Lee Berthiaume
Ottawa Citizen
16 November 2012


Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Thursday that the Canadian Forces will do its part to help the federal government balance the books by cutting administration and exploring new partnerships with foreign allies.

That may be easier said than done, however, as military officials have been quietly fretting over a very public order delivered by Prime Minister Stephen Harper late last month that the Defence Department focus on "more teeth and less tail."

Speaking to Postmedia News from Halifax as he prepared to welcome foreign dignitaries and military officials to an annual international defence summit, MacKay said Canada's defence budget is necessarily large.

"It is out of necessity given the importance of security," he said.

But MacKay also said National Defence cannot ignore the economic realities facing the country, including the need to rein in spending to cut the federal deficit.

"That's what the prime minister expects, that's (what) the government and taxpayers want us to deliver," he said.

"We're very familiar with the necessity to be responsible to taxpayers while at the same time continuing to deliver excellence at home and abroad."

That will be welcome news to Harper, who sternly warned the Defence Department during a change-of-command ceremony last month that the era of increasing military budgets is over and that belt-tightening is the order of the day.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: milnews.ca on November 16, 2012, 13:33:22
Meanwhile, closer to the sharp end....
Quote
With a volatile federal budget still in the red, cuts are being made across the country, including at CFB Edmonton, where a multitude of issues are currently being faced.

According to Lieut.-Col. John Reiffenstein, base commander at CFB Edmonton, the local base is seeing cuts of more than 50% to its operations and maintenance budget.

Reiffenstein said that, as a result of the new budget, some programs will have to be cut.

“Whereas before we relied on commissionaires... to provide security in a couple of spots, that ate up a considerable portion of my budget,” he said at the Fort Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon.

“We can’t do that anymore, so we’ve got to figure out what risks we can assume in terms of, say, roving patrols; what risks we can assume in terms of having a soldier who’s also a clerk, keeping an eye on the front entrance to a building — things like that.

“We cannot continue to spend money the way we were spending it while we were fighting the war in Afghanistan. Those days are over and our job in uniform is to get on with it.”

Although it has not yet been confirmed, Reiffenstein said that programs associated with areas such as the family resource centre, which provides services like daycare, could be some that see cuts.

“We’re still working through that. I am concerned,” Reiffenstein said.

“I provide a certain amount of support to them right now and I am concerned about what I am going to be able to continue to do in the future. (Right now, the daycare) is right where they work and everybody wants that... But if I can’t continue to provide funds, do I look at things like that? I don’t know.

“And are there other options available to our families, albeit not as good of ones? Yes.” ....
Edmonton Sun, 14 Nov 12 (http://www.edmontonsun.com/2012/11/14/edmonton-garrison-troops-bracing-for-drastic-cuts)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on November 16, 2012, 16:03:22
As the old joke about dead lawyers* says, it, Harper Government Announces 10,980 Public Sector Positions Eliminated in Past Six Months (http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/media/nr-cp/2012/1116-eng.asp), is a good start.

1,621 were/are to be cut from in (and around) DND, by the end of this round of cuts we should be 'down' by 19,000+ civil servants. In my guesstimation there is room to cut 21,000 more by 2015, making it a nice round cut of 40,000.


-----
* What do you call 5000 dead lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?
   A good start!
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Colin P on November 26, 2012, 13:54:55
Our new Act is in front of the house right now, regardless of Royal Assent, it may take a year to bring it into force as they laid off the people doing the regulatory work. Not to mention one of the first groups to get hit in our department were the HR people who were supposed to handle the people impacted.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on November 28, 2012, 11:46:28
While this thread is full of ideas to cut fat & tail while protecting muscle & teeth, it doesn't look like there will be much detail publicly available on what is actually getting cut.
Quote
Tories stonewall attempts to examine Defence cuts
The Daily Gleaner
Murray Brewster
28 Nov 2012


OTTAWA - Opposition attempts to shed light on spending cuts at National Defence were met by lawyerly objections from Conservative members of the House of Commons committee charged with overseeing the military.

Government MPs, led by junior defence minister Chris Alexander, tried to limit the scope of questions put to Defence Minister Peter MacKay by New Democrats and Liberals to a table of supplementary budget documents.

Both opposition parties were stymied in their efforts to find out precisely what is being cut and how the department will meet its budget targets.

MacKay assured them the budget was shipshape, and that Defence wouldn't be asking for any more cash over and above the $19 billion it expects to spend this year.

The department is holding the line, MacKay said, even though Defence faced increased costs for some equipment projects and payouts to injured soldiers for ending the clawback on their pensions.

"We have identified ways to meet these specific funding needs through decreases in spending in other areas of National Defence and reallocations of previously approved budgetary resources," he said.

But when opposition members tried to probe planned cuts, or ask why certain projects were not being funded, they were told it was outside the field of what the all-party committee met to discuss.

The chairman supported those arguments.

The tactic frustrated both the Liberals and the NDP, who tried to force through a motion that called on Defence to co-operate with parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page, who has demanded to see details from each department of the Harper government's planned cuts.

"It just seems we've got money moving around with no one knowing exactly how much is going where," said NDP defence critic Jack Harris.

"The whole object seems to be to limit the amount of information this committee and parliamentarians get, and hence (what) the public gets. There's something very wrong with that."

Liberal defence critic John McKay described the committee as being lost in "fog."

He pointed to the minister's announcement a few weeks ago that defence would spend $11 million more on the mental health of soldiers.

"So where did that 11 million bucks come from?" McKay asked. "It was reprofiled. Did it come out of trucks? Did it come out of procurement?"

A spokesman for the defence minister said the cash for mental health came from a line item known as the cost move budget - a $408-million fund that has been declared surplus.

A few weeks ago, a leaked letter detailed how Prime Minister Stephen Harper had told MacKay last spring that his initial budget proposals did not cut deep enough on the administrative side of National Defence.

The three-page June 2012 letter, obtained by The Canadian Press, underlined the divide between Harper's office and National Defence, which has become increasingly resolved to protect the budget gains of the last five years.

Harper set out what cuts he was prepared to accept, what wouldn't work, and even suggested National Defence unload some of its surplus property.

Questions about the leaked letter and a major transformation report were considered by the majority Conservative members on the committee to be out of order.

Earlier this fall, a defence researcher analyzed the Harper government's budget statements and concluded that the hit on military would be greater than previously thought, running as deep as $2.5 billion by 2014.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on November 28, 2012, 12:36:26
 :off topic:

We, Canada, our parliament, haven't quite "got" the role of either committees or the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

I encourage everyone to read this (http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/House/compendium/web-content/c_g_financialprocedures-e.htm), especially this bit (http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/House/compendium/web-content/c_d_estimatesdocuments-e.htm). (They are quite clear and simple: well written and easy to understand.)

We need to fit the legitimate needs of parliamentarians (who, after all, serve us) in their committees, to examine and comment on the estimates, into the estimates process, and we need to fit the PBO and his boss, the Librarian of Parliament, into that process, too - in support of committee members. Unfortunately, in Canada, the government and the opposition parties and the PBO himself, have all conspired, albeit not together, to frustrate one another and, in the process, to deny us - taxpayers - the information which we ought to have.

The process of budget, estimates (main and supplementary) and expenditure review (audit) needs to flow smoothly but there needs to be "room" for parliament, mainly in committe, aided by the PBO, to review and comment on all three.

 :sorry:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: GAP on November 28, 2012, 13:36:40
Quote
A spokesman for the defence minister said the cash for mental health came from a line item known as the cost move budget - a $408-million fund that has been declared surplus.

Really? I thought, through reading some other threads, that it was reduced, but the impression I got was it was definitely NOT surplus as a whole....
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on November 28, 2012, 16:16:25
He either misspoke or is misquoted.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Towards_the_gap on November 28, 2012, 17:13:15
  • Prohibit the use of WSE on deployments (We do not need to pay guys above their rank when there are other sitting at home already collecting pay at that level)

I'm sorry, but I will argue this one. How about not prohibiting tour WSE's, but make the rules for it more stringent...No automatic WSE's for positions before deploying, either promote substantive or just deploy the lower rank person at his rank.

..I say this as someone who was promoted WSE after his section commander was killed. Not every situation is the same.

Everything else is spot on though.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: PuckChaser on November 28, 2012, 17:36:16
The rules are pretty stringent for WSE already, need to be EPZ and qualified in the next rank filling a position that is low ranked above your rank. But if you're going to limit WSEs, why not just stop deploying so many reservists? Its the same thing, why pay an extra $70,000 a year for a Sgt when there's a RegF one sitting at home in Canada. Its a slippery slope. WSEs just as PRes members deploying offer valuable experience. And not quite the same as Towards_the_gap, I speak as someone who was a PRes member deployed and also WSE on another deployment.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on November 28, 2012, 20:27:20
A hard look at the establishment to figure out how many Reg we need for rotos 0 and 1, ramping up to increasing numbers of Res on rotos 3 and following, needs to be done.  The results may not be pleasing to all branches, though.  Maintaining a large Reg F in being is not the correct answer to meet all our capability requirements - that expense is even greater that the incremental cost of inducting Res F pers for operational service (preferably under the Special Force construct or some other method to avoid the current "Injured on ops?  Benefits vary depending on whether you're Reg or Res").

At the same time, we need to study the WSEs that did occur.  Were they because of a shortage at that rank, or because some people never deployed?  If there are 100 people of the right rank and trade, and no one can deploy, maybe the solution isn't to WSE someone, but rather to seat a career board and retire a few of the non-deployables, giving the person deploying the rank permanently.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: PuckChaser on November 29, 2012, 09:37:31
I know for at least Op Attention, the orders indicated the mounting unit was to make maximum use of WSE for positions, and that a minimum of 20% of deployed pers had to be reservists. This last part lead to RegF members spending 2 months on predeployment training, and then being told before Christmas that they'd lost their tour to a reservist who hadn't even been asked if they wanted to deploy yet. That decision was the fastest way to cause animosity between little and big R and jump up the budget for the tour, IMO.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: GAP on December 04, 2012, 07:48:01
No fat to cut in Army overhead; budget cuts affect training of soldiers: general
By: Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press 12/3/2012
Article Link (http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/no-fat-to-cut-in-army-overhead-budget-cuts-affect-training-of-soldiers-general-181910731.html)
 
OTTAWA - The commander of the Canadian Army told a Senate committee Monday there is no administrative fat to cut in his branch and that budget restraint is forcing him to train soldiers to a lower standard than during the Afghan war.

Lt.-Gen. Peter Devlin testified at a Senate committee that 22 per cent of his force's baseline budget has been slashed, and when combined with the loss of a stipend for the Kandahar mission, the cumulative fiscal hit is even bigger.

"As you would expect that has an effect on people, infrastructure and training," he told senators.

Devlin underscored that 74 per cent of the army is the field force, and only four per cent take up a headquarters or administrative role among the 25,500 regular members, 16,000 reservists, and 5,000 rangers.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made it clear he believed the National Defence Department could cut more deeply on the administration side as he laid out his thoughts in a letter to Defence Minister Peter MacKay.

"It is important that we reduce the current overhead in regular force military and civilian personnel, and in those activities that do not directly contribute to operational readiness," Harper wrote on June 15, 2012. A copy of his letter was obtained last month by The Canadian Press.

Yet Devlin's testimony Monday provided a stark contrast to Harper's assertions, with the general stating that the army has already "streamlined army command and control, reducing the size of national and regional headquarters, and restructured our approach to support."

But it was on training, the bedrock of army readiness, that Devlin received many questions.

"We are training to a lower level than we trained, when we were training for combat operations," he said.

According to figures released earlier this year, at the height of the Afghan war in 2009-10, the army spent $123 million on training, including a special $79 million cash injection specifically for Afghanistan.

That figure fell to $57 million last year and is down to an estimated $46 million this year.

Devlin says he's focused his dollars on what's known as Level 5 training, which is live fire exercises meant to keep soldiers sharp for combat, but even still the army would require 60 days notice to deploy on another overseas mission.

He says he's even held back on a portion of his infrastructure budget in order to preserve training.

Conservative Senator Don Plett seemed skeptical with some of what he heard on Monday, suggesting that with the war in south Asia all-but-over for Canada, there were savings to be had.

"As we're moving out of Afghanistan, it only seems logical to me, sir, that we would be scaling back on some of this training," he said. "If you're saying it takes 60 days for you to get up to a certain level that should the need arise, I would think this government or any other government would step up to the plate and give you the resources that you need."

His comments were reinforced by a spokesman for MacKay late Monday.

"The Canadian Armed Forces are no longer in a combat mission in Afghanistan, they are no longer securing the skies over Libya, they no longer have 2,000 members in Haiti," said Jay Paxton in an email.

"For these reasons training is necessarily slowed to a more normal tempo so as to ensure the best use of taxpayer money, but Canada still has the best trained and most respected military personnel in the world. They stand ready to respond whenever Canadians need them."

Devlin noted that during the Kandahar mission, up to 3,000 soldiers, aircrew and staff officers would be trained per overseas rotation. That figure has now dropped to about 300.

The overall defence budget is expected to shrink by as much as $2.5 billion by 2014, according to independent research. As late as the end of October, when the new chief of defence staff was installed, the prime minister insisted that most of the cuts could be made in administration.
end
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: George Wallace on December 04, 2012, 11:02:14
I would like to submit the following to our esteemed Members of Parliament:

No fat to cut in Army Fire Department overhead; budget cuts affect training of soldiers Firefighters: general  Chief
By: Murray Brewster, The Canadian Press 12/3/2012
Article Link (http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/breakingnews/no-fat-to-cut-in-army-overhead-budget-cuts-affect-training-of-soldiers-general-181910731.html)
 
OTTAWA - The commander of the Canadian Army Fire Chief told a Senate committee Monday there is no administrative fat to cut in his branch and that budget restraint is forcing him to train soldiers Firefightersto a lower standard than during the Afghan war since the last major fire.

Lt.-Gen. Chief Peter Devlin testified at a Senate committee that 22 per cent of his force's baseline budget has been slashed, and when combined with the loss of a stipend for the Kandahar mission past year, the cumulative fiscal hit is even bigger.

"As you would expect that has an effect on people, infrastructure and training," he told senators.

Devlin underscored that 74 per cent of the army Fire Department is the field force firefighters, and only four per cent take up a headquarters or administrative role among the 25,500 regular members, 16,000 reservists auxilary, and 5,000 rangers volunteer firefigters.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Stephen Harper made it clear he believed the National Defence Fire Department could cut more deeply on the administration side as he laid out his thoughts in a letter to Defence Minister Fire Commissionaire Peter MacKay.

"It is important that we reduce the current overhead in regular force military full-time firefighers and civilian personnel, and in those activities that do not directly contribute to operational readiness," Harper wrote on June 15, 2012. A copy of his letter was obtained last month by The Canadian Press.

Yet Devlin's testimony Monday provided a stark contrast to Harper's assertions, with the generalChief stating that the army Fire Dept has already "streamlined army command and control, reducing the size of national and regional headquarters, and restructured our approach to support."

But it was on training, the bedrock of army firefighting readiness, that Devlin received many questions.

"We are training to a lower level than we trained, when we were training for combat operations worse case scenarios," he said.


......................and so on.

So, if we haven't had any major fires in town for the last decade or so, we can close down some of our firehalls and sell of some of our pumper trucks.  Brilliant.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: mariomike on December 04, 2012, 11:33:30
So, if we haven't had any major fires in town for the last decade or so, we can close down some of our firehalls and sell of some of our pumper trucks.  Brilliant.

In the news this week.

"One of the largest areas where they ( sic ) city has found savings is the fire department."

"Ed Kennedy, president of the Toronto Professional Fire Fighters’ Association, told Torstar News Service the lost manpower would mean taking five of 128 fire trucks out of service and an increase in some response times.":
http://metronews.ca/news/toronto/458898/city-proposes-1-95-per-cent-property-tax-hike/
 

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: George Wallace on December 04, 2012, 11:44:43
Security comes at a cost.  People are employed to keep you secure and safe, and to do so without you even knowing it, so you can go merrily on with your life's prosuites without concerns.  When they are no longer there, and your life is threatened in any manner, it becomes another Rudyard Kipling "Tommy" situation.


"You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
 For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"
 But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;
 An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
 An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees! "


Rudyard Kipling's poem: Tommy



Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Towards_the_gap on December 04, 2012, 12:15:04
I'd say this is more apt:


Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap;
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Rick Goebel on December 04, 2012, 21:02:35
Calgary’s Fire Department caught flak in 2010:

“Calgary's top-heavy fire department has too many chiefs, critics are charging.
With 17 members of the management team wearing the stripes of either chief or deputy chief, two council hopefuls and the firefighters' union are turning up the heat on the department, decrying the command structure that dwarfs those of Toronto, Vancouver and Edmonton.
Mark Faires, president of the Calgary Firefighters Association, said the spike in management positions has been particularly vexing due to lagging standards for front-line workers and equipment.
"In a similarly-sized department like Edmonton or Vancouver, you'd find only about four or five," he said.” Quoted from the Calgary Sun http://www.calgarysun.com/news/calgaryvotes/2010/10/07/15621661.html

Like fire departments, the military tends to say it has to cut front-line services when told to make cuts.

I frankly find it a little hard to believe that only 1020 regulars (4% of 25,500) “take up a headquarters or administrative role” in LFHQ, LFTDS, 1 Cdn Div, 4 x Area HQs, 3 x Regular Bde HQs, 10 x Reserve Bde HQs, 4 x ASGs, 4 x ATCs, and 7 x bases.  In the specific case of the CBG HQs, I’m willing to bet big bucks that the total cost of the current CBG HQs is more than the cost of the 21 Dist HQs they replaced.  I suspect that the difference is big and, I suspect, unjustifiable by any identifiable improvement in the performance of the reserve force DUE TO the increase in HQ cost.  Perhaps the Army Comd might want to start there and work his way through the rest of the system.

Rick Goebel
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on December 05, 2012, 03:14:17
I suspect the Army Commander is correct.  The administrative structures of the Army are pretty lean ... which is not to say that the administrative structures of the CF are lean.  There are certainly other L1s that are purely or mostly administrative in their nature (ie. most of the ADMs and CMP) and likely there is some fat within these organizations. 

And, while the Army's administrative structures are generally lean, there are pockets of fat to be found.  Many of these require looking deeper in the weeds than the Army Commander should be looking, but his staff and subordinate staffs should be finding these.

There is also plenty of fat to be cut from places outside of administrative structures.  We can find fat in superfluous command structures.  We can cut fat from wasteful processes, unnecessary activities, duplication of efforts, redundant establishments, etc.  Administrative structures are not the only place to find fat.  There is plenty of fat to cut, and a lot of ideas were pointed out on the previous page.
Quote from: MCG
Here are a few ways that I see to immediately cut costs while protecting capability:
  • Reduce/Stop the use of “tactical infrastructure” in field exercises
  • Do not bring kitchen appliances to the field (with the exception of in field kitchens)
  • Maximize the use of local training areas before traveling
  • Teleconference to avoid TD for meetings and working groups
  • Prohibit the use of WSE on deployments (We do not need to pay guys above their rank when there are other sitting at home already collecting pay at that level)  - exceptions only for late tour battlefield promotions for casualty replacement
  • Deploy the next Op ATTENTION as 100% Reg F (again, Reg F pay is a sunk cost while a year of Class C pay for a Sr NCO of Jr Offr to train & deploy could instead added another training day for a Class A unit)
  • No new “buttons & bows” announcements
  • Do not rebadged any more units for the sake of resurrecting old regiments
  • Stop any unannounced plans to rebrand/rebadged/rename any branches, corps or organization for the purposes of historical sentimentalism
  • Stop using rented civilian vehicles when military patter vehicles are available and serve the purpose
  • Tie pay incentives for all ranks to performance and conduct.  If you are on a remedial measure (IC through to C&P) then the pay incentive is delayed by the duration of that remedial measure.  If you receive an unsatisfactory PER, then the pay incentive is delayed by a full year.
  • Rebalance officer enrollment paths to reduce the number of ROTP entrants by increasing the number of DEO entrants

And here are some options options for long-term savings (though most will cost money up-front prior to the savings being achieved later):
  • Consolidate all of NDHQ and appropriate other NCR units on the Nortel Campus
  • Move CFC from Toronto to Ottawa (Nortel Campus) or Kingston (RMC or the closing prison)
  • Divest unnecessary niche vehicle micro-fleets (if required, increase size of standard fleets to maintain platform numbers)
  • Smash LFDTS & CTC into a single layer of HQ, transfer capability development functions from LFDTS to COS Land Strat
  • Re-close CMR and consolidate ROTP back into RMC
  • Consolidate all of 1 CMBG in Edmonton to reduce future steady-state cost moves
  • Procure more training simulators for diesel guzzling equipment (like aircraft, Engr Hy Eqpt and MBT)
  • Re-evaluate rank levels in HQ establishments

In the current climate, we need to look at more than just where to cut.  We also need to look at where to get better mileage from the same resources.  Here are a few thoughts to that end:
  • Replace SDA, LDA, dive pay and parachute allowance with enhanced casual allowances – the current systems reward posting messages as opposed to rewarding/compensating for the behaviour that we want: going to sea, going to the field, diving, and jumping out of aircraft.
  • Reduce the number of PRes unit HQs in the Army.  Individual sub-units can retain unique regimental identities, but they will be grouped under a single stronger battalion HQ.
  • Revisit the requirement for Reg F bands.  There are 71 musicians from Sgt to CWO on Army Ref F establishments alone.  That is a lot of PYs that could be put to better purpose (especially when we have been cutting from operational units to put PYs in new capabilities)
Quote from: dapaterson
A few more contentious suggestions:

* Top to bottom compensation and benefits review to eliminate duplication and overlap
* Revisit posting policy to reduce annual move requirement (excluding off-BTL)
* Revisit IPR move policy to eliminate same-location moves (eg a paid move from Orleans to Kanata on release)
* Replace CANEX with private suppliers (who will pay market rents for CF facilities)
   * Retain small deployed NPF expertise to surge for deployments if required (hint: this does not include a Tim Hortons trailer)
* Return to annual TOS boards, particularly at ranks of LCol and above and MWO and above, to determine whether continued service meets a military requirement
* Enforce limits on GOFOs as ordered in the 1997 MND report (roughly a 1/3 reduction)
* Return to performance pay for GOFO and Capt(N)/Cols
   * Make PMAs and performance info per above public
* Make PMAs and performance information for all Public Servants public
* Restructure establishment to differentiate between Lt and Capt
* Return to competitive promotion to Capt
* Revisit Degreed Officer Corps decision
   * Permit short engagements with no promotion beyond Capt without a degree
* Eliminate full-time second language training
   * Individuals may elect to pursue SLT on their own time; a decision not to get a language profile will limit future promotion possibilities

For IM/IT

* Migrate from MS Office to Open Office to reduce IM/IT licensing costs
* Migrate from Outlook to open-source web-based DWAN email to reduce IM/IT licensing costs
* Dissolve ADM(IM), putting IM/IT support into CANOSCOM, IM/IT procurement into ADM(Mat), and comms and ISTAR systems under CJOC
Adding to these ideas we could cut more fat/waste by with the following:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on December 06, 2012, 08:24:38
John Ivison has some harsh words for DND's bean counters in this article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the National Post:

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/12/05/john-ivison-canadian-military-struggling-to-slash-budget-in-new-post-afghanistan-post-libya-reality/
Quote
Canadian military struggling to slash budget in new post-Afghanistan, post-Libya reality

John Ivison

Dec 5, 2012

The British military is a bit strapped for cash these days, so it has ordered its personnel to “work from home” over the holidays to save on gas and electricity bills.

“Army shuts down for Christmas,” ran the headline in the Sunday Times.

The Canadian Forces have their own money troubles. Budget 2012 called for $2-billion in savings from its budget over three years.

But according to testimony at the Senate Finance committee this week, the brass at National Defence have a much more subtle solution than sending the entire armed forces on block leave. Rather, they have just moved a few decimal points around, shifted some numbers from one column to another and voila, money has appeared as if by magic.

Maj.-Gen. Robert Bertrand, acting chief financial officer at DND, gave the good news that no new funding is required from Parliament. But that is only because money is being “re-profiled” from the capital spending budget into the operations budget.

The supplementary spending estimates being examined by the Senate committee show that $162-million is being transferred from the capital budget to offset the spending cuts on the operations side.

“We had a capital re-profile as a result of changes in payments and contract schedules for our capital program in the order of $280-million … Again there is no requirement for additional budget appropriations through these supplementary estimates,” said Maj.-Gen. Bertrand.

It was good of him to tell us, since, remarkable as it may seem, no department is required to seek parliamentary approval unless they are looking for more money.

But it was presented as if this were an entirely logical course for the military – there was $280-million lying around, so we decided to spend it on salaries.

This may be acceptable if it didn’t deplete DND’s capital assets at a time when tens of billions of spending on new equipment is going to fall due before too long – for new fighter jets and new ships, to name but $40-billion worth of capital expenditure.

Maj.-Gen. Bertrand attempted to explain to the senators, a number of whom have had distinguished business careers, how he could spend part of his capital budget and yet still have the money available for new equipment when it was required. The senators didn’t grasp the intricacies of the process and asked him to put it in writing.

“It is a tricky concept to understand,” said Maj.-Gen. Bertrand.

“I should say so,” said Senator Irving Gerstein.

The real story here is DND’s struggle to bring its budgets into line with the new reality, post Afghanistan, post-Haiti, post-Libya and post-Winter Olympics. We have just gone through a seven year period of heightened Canadian security activity, which saw the operating budget rise from around $12-billion to over $15-billion in 2010/11.

DND’s attempts to make cuts clearly did not impress the Prime Minister, who wrote to Defence Minister Peter MacKay last spring, saying his initial proposals did not cut deeply enough into the department’s administration.

Stephen Harper re-inforced that message at the change of command ceremony for new Chief of Defence Staff, Tom Lawson, where Mr. Harper called for a “modern, general purpose military” with “more teeth and less tail,” echoing the language in the report on the transformation of the Canadian Forces produced by Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie.

Its 43 recommendations were not well received by DND, even if it is obliged to continue analyzing the effect of redeploying or eliminating 7,000 regular forces personnel and civil servants; cutting 3,500 reservists and lopping off $1-billion from the contracting budget.

Those kinds of spending cuts would shrink personal fiefdoms and power bases, so the generals are once again attempting to protect their budget gains and do an end run around the government by tapping their capital budget.

Far easier to come back to Parliament, cap in hand, when they do need the money for new equipment and claim that the $162-million slipped down the back of the couch or was exchanged for a handful of magic beans on the way to market.

Either that or they could raid the operations budget and send everyone home for Christmas.

National Post


As Ivison suggests, this is budgetary sleight of hand, robbing Peter to pay Paul and all that ... but that doesn't make it a bad thing. Maybe it is time for Parliament to rethink the artificial "stovepipes" that it imposes - capital, PO&M, grants and contributions, etc. These were vital controls that, as the Peel Royal Commission Cardwell Reforms showed, were necessary in the 19th century. The question is: are the administrative constraints imposed to solve the sorts of problems that surfaced in Crimea in the 1850s and South Africa circa 1900 still appropriate?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: GAP on December 06, 2012, 08:51:52
John Ivison has some harsh words for DND's bean counters in this article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the National Post:

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/12/05/john-ivison-canadian-military-struggling-to-slash-budget-in-new-post-afghanistan-post-libya-reality/

As Ivison suggests, this is budgetary sleight of hand, robbing Peter to pay Paul and all that ... but that doesn't make it a bad thing. Maybe it is time for Parliament to rethink the artificial "stovepipes" that it imposes - capital, PO&M, grants and contributions, etc. These were vital controls that, as the Peel Royal Commission Cardwell Reforms showed, were necessary in the 19th century. The question is: are the administrative constraints imposed to solve the sorts of problems that surfaced in Crimea in the 1850s and South Africa circa 1900 still appropriate?

I dislike articles by Ivison simply on the basis he has an axe to grind and the wheel is anything Conservative. That said, for once he hit the nail on the head. You don't take your capital budget to offset operational costs just so the mini empires can continue.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on December 06, 2012, 09:23:09
I disagree with almost everything Jack Granatstein says in this article which is reproduced under the fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Ottawa Citizen:

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/opinion/op-ed/Delays+deficit+fighting+direction/7656792/story.html
Quote
Op-Ed: Delays, deficit-fighting and no direction
After a promising start, it is becoming increasingly clear the federal government has no defence policy, J.L. Granatstein writes.
 
By J.L. Granatstein, Ottawa Citizen

December 5, 2012

No one who has followed the history of Canadian defence has any doubt that for their first four years in power the Harper Conservatives were the best government for the Canadian Forces since the 1950s St. Laurent government. Coming into power at the beginning of 2006, the Tories supported the troops in Afghanistan with the equipment — Leopards, C17s, new C130J Hercules transports, Chinook helicopters, anti-mine vehicles — and personnel they needed, they extended the mission twice, they increased defence spending massively, and they even produced their Canada First Defence Strategy in 2008.

The war in Afghanistan, however, did not go the way the government had hoped. The Canadian Forces did well in the field, but public support gradually turned against the conflict, deciding that it was costly and unwinnable. The Harper government read the tea leaves and pulled out, deciding (under pressure from our allies) to leave only a training cadre to work with the Afghan military and police. Supporting the CF in a war was not necessarily a recipe for votes, or so the prime minister came to understand, at least not so long as Canadian servicemen and women suffered casualties.

If Afghanistan was one blow to the government’s defence plans, the Canada First Defence Strategy was another. The CFDS, despite its name, was not a strategy so much as a list of promised equipment purchases. It did not try to lay down much of a rationale for the nation’s defence or indicate how the government envisioned the ways in which the Canadian Forces might be employed in the future. Instead it promised guaranteed growth in defence spending, proposed a modest increase in personnel strength, and promised a long list of equipment to be acquired — 15 combat vessels, support ships, the F-35 fighter, and a fleet of land combat vessels. In all, the government pledged to spend almost half a trillion dollars over the next 20 or so years.

And maybe it might have done so, the voters permitting. But the sharp recession of 2008 tossed all plans into the garbage bin, and deficit fighting, not defence spending, soon became the Tories’ driving force. Instead of the promised increases, there are cuts that are already north of 10 per cent of the Department of National Defence budget. The Army has already reduced its training, and there will be more cutbacks everywhere.

Compounding the government’s problems are the never-ending procurement delays in virtually every program in the Department of National Defence. The Chrétien government cuts in the 1990s slashed program managers, and DND has never recovered from this. But too many rules and regulations, too much insistence on domestic suppliers, and sometimes an inability to make decisions (or making the wrong ones) has made a mess of program after program. The F-35 is the best known (and most expensive) debacle, but search and rescue aircraft and helicopters are right up there — and the very expensive (but necessary) combat ship program is all but certain to be a costly mess.

Worst of all, it is becoming increasingly clear that the government has no defence policy. Nowhere has the government stated that it foresees threats or crises that might require Canadian intervention with this or that kind of forces. Granted, in a world in flux, such forecasts are difficult to make in a credible way, but such thinking used to be called strategic planning. Governments and their militaries formed such judgments, and the elected politicians, in consultation with the brass, determined that they needed so many battalions, aircraft, ships and the money to pay for them. Moreover, in a democracy, the public was ordinarily consulted in the preparatory stages and informed, via a White Paper, of the broad outlines of the government’s policy.

Not here, not now, not from the Harper government. We get no indications that there is a policy in the works and nothing so much as the sense that the government wishes that it had never made defence such a large part of its party program. Equipment purchases might still be good job creators — and vote getters — but the Canadian Forces and defence in Tory eyes now seem to constitute a swamp where no one dares to go.

This is unfortunate, to say the least, but it does leave an opening for the opposition parties to lay out defence policies of their own. If the NDP and Liberals can rise above prattling about peacekeeping and determine where the challenges of the next decades may lie and what this nation needs to do to protect itself and its friends, they can serve their own — and Canada’s — interests.

J.L. Granatstein is a distinguished research fellow of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute.

© Copyright (c) The Ottawa Citizen


First paragraph: wrong! While the Conservatives did, indeed, buy much needed new equipment, much of it was already on the books thanks to previous administrations. They did not increase "defence spending massively" - when measured as a percentage of GDP, the only sensible way to do it while taking account of both inflation and national capacity, defence spending stagnated during the Afghanistan mission. The Canada First Defence Strategy, as I have explained again and again, promises to lower defence spending as a percentage of GDP over the next 25 years.

Second paragraph: correct.

Third paragraph: also correct but the dollar figures are meaningless. All they did, and still do, is to provide a target for e.g. Stephen Staples.

Fourth paragraph: wrong! For the reason he got right in the third para, Granatstein should understand that he Canada First Defence Strategy itself, not the Great Recession, sent DND to the fiscal woodshed.

Fifth paragraph: wrong! While the defence procurement system is, indeed, in need of a MASSIVE overhaul, the decision making problems are, in the main, inside DND, not at the cabinet table.

Sixth paragraph: wrong!. The Harper government does, indeed, have a defence policy. It is a linear decendant of the Diefenbaker, Pearson, Trudeau, Mulroney and Chretien defence policies. It asks one question: "how little can we do, how little can we spend, and still a) keep our seats at various international tables, and b) not annoy the Americans?"

Seventh paragraph: same as the sixth.

Eighth paragraph: wrong, again! neither the NDP nor the Liberals have any need to enunciate a coherent defence policy. They understand, as do the Conservatives, that, despite all the red T-shirts and yellow ribbons, Canadians, by and large, may "support the troops" but they do not support anything like an adequate or appropriate level of defence spending.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: GR66 on December 06, 2012, 09:42:54
Eighth paragraph: wrong, again! neither the NDP nor the Liberals have any need to enunciate a coherent defence policy. They understand, as do the Conservatives, that, despite all the red T-shirts and yellow ribbons, Canadians, by and large, may "support the troops" but they do not support anything like an adequate or appropriate level of defence spending.

I'm certainly not arguing the truth of this statement, but how much of it is self-fulfilling prophesy by all the political parties?  For decades our politicians (both in government and in opposition) have avoided any serious discussion of the need for combat capable military as a part of a broader foreign policy strategy along with the costs required to obtain these benefits.  If our "leaders" don't make the effort to educate the people then they shouldn't be shocked when the people don't understand the issue.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Good2Golf on December 06, 2012, 11:54:45
Mr. Ivison and indeed it would seem many "business experienced" Senators don't understand (which may in part be a failing of DND to properly message) the generally inflexible Federal financial structure that the Department must operate within. DND was one of the first Federal Departments to be directed by the Treaury Board to adopt fiscal planning using the 'Accrual Accounting' method, this is to say a multi-year future value based system that most Canadians would understand as a mortgage.  The challenge is that the TB then places significant restrictions on DND (and the other Departments as well) with in-year 'Cash Accounting' policies, in effect 'compartmentalizing' the 'discretionary' portion (things other than Legislated fixed costs like salaries or Federal grants) of the annual cash allocation into fairly rigid structures that are less able to be adjusted in light of notable in-year cost drivers/variances.  Canadians would understand this best as the bank giving them only a portion of their mortgage's cash advance, and even then telling the homeowner how much they could spend, based on the homeowner's planned budget made at the beginning of the mortgage period, on particular elements of the house; 45% to payment of capital, 15% to roof repair, 25% to maintenance and 15% to betterments. Problem was there was a significant snow pack over the winter and there was a huge sprin melt that overwhelmed your foundation drainage system, clogging it completely. You want to effect repairs to the drainage system right away and put some of the betterments off (re-profile the expenditure) until next year. Great idea you think, nope...bank says you can't do that until next year with an amended expenditure plan.

Such is the case with the compartmentalization of monies given to DND. It is not at all like a private business that can allocate the expenditure of its revenues without any of the restrictions that TB places (for the right reason in general, but not providing the substantive flexibilty needed) on in-year expenditures.

Regards
G2G
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: GnyHwy on December 07, 2012, 00:45:47
I do have a basic understanding of this, but I always wondered when larger capitol projects like CCV, MSVS get pushed to the right, what happens to the cash?  I realize there may not have been significant money planned to be spent for that capitol project in that fiscal year, but sometimes there would be.  It would seem that this would be a great opportunity to push smaller projects through rather quickly, and sometimes this probably does happen.  But, if the project isn't ready because there is no one doing the paperwork for the smaller projects concurrently and as a contingency plan, it can't happen.  That coupled with the small amount of times per year that you can get approval, coupled with what recently seems as even more oversight for transparency, and you pretty much can't spend squat.   

Your average troop with a handful of years in the Regts doesn't understand this, and I think we do a poor job explaining it to them as well.  Also, as G2G mentions, we may be doing a poor job explaining this deficiency it to our civilian bosses. 

Troops just wonder why they can't have the latest and greatest piece of gear that is out there, and why the hell does it take so long to procure?  But who's going to explain it to them?  The guys that need to be doing the paperwork for the next procurement?

Since we are bent around using the term capability development, perhaps we should develop our capability to develop capabilities.  That is what seems deficient to me.


Title: Ex-top army commander sounds the alarm on defence spending
Post by: Eye In The Sky on January 19, 2013, 11:55:54
Article Link (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/01/19/pol-the-house-retired-lieutenant-general-andrew-leslie.html)

Ex-top army commander sounds the alarm on defence spending

$475M rise in administrative spending despite 22% army budget cut, says Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie


A retired top army commander who penned a controversial report on transforming the military is breaking his silence 18 months after retiring from the ranks.
 
In an interview airing Saturday on CBC Radio's The House, retired Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie said he's been drawn out from the sidelines after seeing a $475-million increase in spending by the Department of National Defence (DND) for professional services, including consultants and contractors, coupled with a 22 per cent cut in the army's budget.

'It's going to result in lower levels of readiness, it's going to mean our troops are not as well trained.'—Retired Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie

The Public Accounts show that spending for Professional and Special Services at National Defence went from $2.7 billion in 2009-2010 to $3.2 billion in 2011-2012.
 
"This has a direct impact on our troops. It's going to result in lower levels of readiness, it's going to mean our troops are not as well trained … It's going to have an impact on part-time reserves, the lifeblood of the army. So I can't watch from the sidelines," Leslie told host Evan Solomon in his first in-depth interview since retiring in Aug. 2011.

Rise comes despite 22% army budget cut

According to Leslie, the vast majority of those professional services include consultants and contractors which he calls "overhead." And this, said the general who oversaw the Canadian army until 2010, runs contrary to the advice he gave DND in his Transformation Report commissioned by the military.
 
"The strongest recommendation we had was that the corporate services number should be reduced by 10 per cent per year [over three years]. And it's going exactly in the wrong way."
 
In addition to this increase in spending, Leslie noticed that his successor, Lt.-Gen. Peter Devlin, testified before the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence in early December that his budget had been cut by 22 per cent.
 
"As you would expect, that has had an effect on people, infrastructure and training," said Devlin, the Commander of the Canadian Army.
 
"Training has a direct impact on operational capability, a direct impact on the part-time army who are the reserves, and a direct impact on training in Canada. All to the negative," said Leslie.

A 'disconnect'

The prime minister told Defence Minister Peter Mackay, in a letter dated June 15, 2012 and obtained by The Canadian Press, that his proposed budget did not cut deep enough into the administrative side of National Defence.
 
According to Leslie, "there's an obvious disconnect between what's actually being said in terms of guidance and direction to DND and what's actually happening."
 
In a separate interview on The House, the vice chief of the defence staff, Vice-Admiral Bruce Donaldson, defended DND's spending on professional and special services.
 
Donaldson told Solomon that consulting includes a "very broad range of activity" and that in many ways "it's much more economical" to turn certain contracts over to the private sector.
 
The federal government is said to have identified $530-million in cuts over the next three years to "contracting and in-service support of defence material," according to a written statement by Jay Paxton, a spokesperson for the minister of defence.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: ArmyRick on January 19, 2013, 19:20:24
Sounds like people need to be fired!
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on January 19, 2013, 20:01:00
I do have a basic understanding of this, but I always wondered when larger capitol projects like CCV, MSVS get pushed to the right, what happens to the cash?


Sorry I missed this Q earlier.

Short answer:  As always, it depends...

DND/CF has some A-base capital funding - money that is there and is use it or lose it.  For that part of the defence budget, ADM(Mat) and others try to over-program - that is, for every dollar they know they have, they plan on spending more - say $1.10 or so.  That way, as one or two projects slip, there's enough for everyone.  If everything runs on time, they can delay some projects to remain within the allocation.  If too much slippage happens, the money is lost at the end of the fiscal year (called lapsing).  There are limited provisions to carry money forward from one fiscal year to the next.

Many more recent projects, however, get accrual funding.  In that case the funding is assigned to the project.  If the project shifts its timelines, the funding is shifted as well, so it's not lost, just delayed.

There's a great deal that goes on behind the scenes, of course, with staff from ADM(Mat) and ADM(Fin CS) liaising with the Treasury Board Secretariat to keep the numbers straight, but that's a simplified version of how things work.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on January 19, 2013, 20:16:07
Sounds like people need to be fired!
Our stovepipe approach to the budget cutting and our stovepiped HR allocation systems must be at least partially behind this.  Some of the contractor and consultant increase is probably filling holes from civilian and reserve positions that no longer exist … some of this increased spending could have been avoided by reallocating Reg F from lower priority work.  Unfortunately, our ability to level resources with priorities is substantially slower than our ability to hack with a stovepipe.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Monsoon on January 20, 2013, 21:14:40
Sounds like people need to be fired!
Unfortunately, Andrew Leslie is no longer available for that. However, he does seem happy to sling **** from the sidelines using what he must know are misleading figures: if you save $1B in fixed overhead, who cares if your contracting fees to replace the services outsourced increase by less than half that? I have to wonder if he's looking at a transition into politics in an opposition party. God help us all if he ends up as MND.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on January 20, 2013, 22:51:21
God help us all if he ends up as MND.

Not a first for the family... (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_McNaughton)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: PuckChaser on January 20, 2013, 23:19:28
Unfortunately, Andrew Leslie is no longer available for that. However, he does seem happy to sling **** from the sidelines using what he must know are misleading figures: if you save $1B in fixed overhead, who cares if your contracting fees to replace the services outsourced increase by less than half that? I have to wonder if he's looking at a transition into politics in an opposition party. God help us all if he ends up as MND.

It matters when many units are cutting their training down to absolutely the bare minimum that could use $500m a year desperately. Sounds like you have more of a personal axe to grind against Leslie than any of the talking points he's providing.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on January 21, 2013, 00:01:34
Do you know where DND is spending money on contractors?  Do you want them all cut?

For example, most civilian medical professionals you see are contractors.  The Military Family Resource Centres?  They're independent, and payments to support them show up as professional services (contractor) costs.  Companies that make plans for new buildings?  Contractors.  Commissionaires at the gates?  Contractors.  Cost moves?  Brookfield gets a fixed price per move (a contractor), plus the trucking companies that move the HG&E are... you guessed it... contractors.



Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: milnews.ca on January 21, 2013, 07:50:45
Unfortunately, Andrew Leslie is no longer available for that. However, he does seem happy to sling **** from the sidelines using what he must know are misleading figures: if you save $1B in fixed overhead, who cares if your contracting fees to replace the services outsourced increase by less than half that? I have to wonder if he's looking at a transition into politics in an opposition party. God help us all if he ends up as MND.
More on his latest utterances (http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2013/01/19/pol-the-house-retired-lieutenant-general-andrew-leslie.html).....
Quote
A retired top army commander who penned a controversial report on transforming the military is breaking his silence 18 months after retiring from the ranks.

In an interview airing Saturday on CBC Radio's The House, retired Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie said he's been drawn out from the sidelines after seeing a $475-million increase in spending by the Department of National Defence (DND) for professional services, including consultants and contractors, coupled with a 22 per cent cut in the army's budget.

The Public Accounts show that spending for Professional and Special Services at National Defence went from $2.7 billion in 2009-2010 to $3.2 billion in 2011-2012.

"This has a direct impact on our troops. It's going to result in lower levels of readiness, it's going to mean our troops are not as well trained … It's going to have an impact on part-time reserves, the lifeblood of the army. So I can't watch from the sidelines," Leslie told host Evan Solomon in his first in-depth interview since retiring in Aug. 2011.

According to Leslie, the vast majority of those professional services include consultants and contractors which he calls "overhead." And this, said the general who oversaw the Canadian army until 2010, runs contrary to the advice he gave DND in his Transformation Report commissioned by the military.

"The strongest recommendation we had was that the corporate services number should be reduced by 10 per cent per year [over three years]. And it's going exactly in the wrong way."

In addition to this increase in spending, Leslie noticed that his successor, Lt.-Gen. Peter Devlin, testified before the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence in early December that his budget had been cut by 22 per cent.

"As you would expect, that has had an effect on people, infrastructure and training," said Devlin, the Commander of the Canadian Army ....

Do you know where DND is spending money on contractors?  Do you want them all cut?

For example, most civilian medical professionals you see are contractors.  The Military Family Resource Centres?  They're independent, and payments to support them show up as professional services (contractor) costs.  Companies that make plans for new buildings?  Contractors.  Commissionaires at the gates?  Contractors.  Cost moves?  Brookfield gets a fixed price per move (a contractor), plus the trucking companies that move the HG&E are... you guessed it... contractors.
Indeed - more from the same CBC.ca piece above:
Quote
.... In a separate interview on The House, the vice chief of the defence staff, Vice-Admiral Bruce Donaldson, defended DND's spending on professional and special services.

Donaldson told Solomon that consulting includes a "very broad range of activity" including "medical and mental health services," even "maintenance and repairs."

"A lot of it relates to supporting the men and women in uniform," Donaldson said, adding that in many ways "it's much more economical" to turn certain contracts over to the private sector.

With respect to the army's 22 per cent budget cut, Donaldson said Devlin's testimony before the Senate committee may have been misunderstood.

"Devlin was actually saying that he's been successful in preparing the army for what's next. He's reoriented training in the army to make sure they are operationally ready for the next deployed mission," said Donaldson.

The vice chief of the defence staff said the cuts in the army's budget reflect "the ramp down" from Canada's combat mission in Afghanistan ....
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Monsoon on January 21, 2013, 12:38:53
It matters when many units are cutting their training down to absolutely the bare minimum that could use $500m a year desperately. Sounds like you have more of a personal axe to grind against Leslie than any of the talking points he's providing.
Not at all - as others (including, now, the VCDS) have pointed out, the increase in that one line-item isn't money being "wasted". It's a direct result of certain expensive in-house services being out-sourced. If anything, the reallocation from in-house to contractor of some support services saved the Army reserve budget from being raided harder than it was.

I don't know Leslie personally, but I do know what a disgruntled politician looks like. Perpetuating the rumour that he was ever in the running for CDS is a pretty good example of the reason he was succession-planned out.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on February 22, 2013, 11:21:50
Defence Minister Peter MacKay has just announced (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/harper-government-to-revise-its-military-procurement-plan-after-2013-budget/article8963798/), in Brussels, that the Canada First Defence Strategy, which includes a long term funding plan that I find weak and, indeed, even destructive, will be revised after the release of the 2013 budget. I expect the outcome will be weaker still until, at least, the national budget is back in surplus.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on February 22, 2013, 11:34:53
Maybe we will find some ideas from this site make their way into the new plan.
A lot are below the strategic radar, but there are a few that would fit nicely into a vision and plan at that level.
http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,82898.msg1193048.html#msg1193048
Title: CDS's estimates of coming budget cuts: $1.1B - 2.5B/three years
Post by: milnews.ca on February 22, 2013, 16:23:12
Defence Minister Peter MacKay has just announced (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/harper-government-to-revise-its-military-procurement-plan-after-2013-budget/article8963798/), in Brussels, that the Canada First Defence Strategy, which includes a long term funding plan that I find weak and, indeed, even destructive, will be revised after the release of the 2013 budget. I expect the outcome will be weaker still until, at least, the national budget is back in surplus.
Got it in one, Mr. C. .....
Quote
Canada’s military was put on notice Friday that no stone will go unturned as the Harper government slashes hundreds of millions of dollars in defence spending.

National Defence is facing budget cuts in the order of between $1.1-billion and $2.5-billion over the next three years as the Harper government rewrites its vision for the military.

This has resulted in a behind-the-scenes struggle between different parts of the military over what should be cut and what is absolutely necessary for Canada’s men and women in uniform to continue doing their jobs.

That struggle has occasionally broken into public view, notably in the form of repeated warnings from Prime Minister Stephen Harper last year that National Defence will be required to do its part to cut the federal deficit.

Canada’s new top soldier appears to have gotten the message as he used a major speech at a defence conference in Ottawa on Friday to warn that implementing those budget cuts will be the Canadian Forces’ “centre of gravity” for the foreseeable future.

“There’s a budget to balance and Defence must do its part,” Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Tom Lawson told a crowd of senior military officers, industry representatives and experts. “That is an immutable fact.”

Organizations only undertake significant efforts to make themselves leaner and more efficient “when forced to make substantial cuts, or when they’re motivated by the opportunity to re-invest the savings in themselves,” Lawson said.

This is exactly the situation National Defence is in, he said, given the prime minister’s demand for “more teeth and less tail” by cutting administrative costs and putting the money back into front-line capabilities.

“It will be our centre of gravity for a year, two years, three years to come,” Lawson warned, adding that everything will be examined for savings ....
Postmedia News, 22 Feb 13 (http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/02/22/between-1-1b-and-2-5b-in-defence-spending-cuts-coming-soon-top-soldier-warns/)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Old Sweat on February 23, 2013, 09:15:15
In my opinion the CF is doing very little to help itself during this period. A short while ago we learned that the PM wanted the forces to reduce its administrative tail and not to reduce operational forces. What part of that is too hard to understand? So, the budgets for the field force including the reserves are being cut, while we continue to maintain a large number of headquarters, whose major function seems to be to provide places for GOFOs to micromanage their subordinate formations and units.


Talk about an addiction to self-licking ice cream cones.  :sarcasm:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: milnews.ca on February 26, 2013, 07:30:08
Two tidbits:
Quote
“THERE’S NO PLACE like home” could become the battle cry of the Canadian military as spending on overseas operations is forecast to take a steep dive.

Internal Defence Department reports show total spending on foreign deployments could drop to just $5 million in the 2014-15 fiscal year from the current anticipated level of $476 million.

The figures are contained in a June 1, 2012 financial report by the Department’s assistant deputy minister of finance.

The report was obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has vowed to balance the budget by 2015.

The records show that, by then, the government expects it will no longer be paying for the tear-down and clean-up of the Kandahar combat mission, nor the Afghan training mission in Kabul set to end early next year. More significantly, it has not budgeted for any new operations, including a renewal of current peacekeeping missions and no contingency fund is aside.

The internal spending forecast notes that the tables are revised three times a year and officials note the government always has the option of adding money to the budget if cabinet decides to send the military somewhere ....
The Canadian Press, 26 Feb 13 (http://thechronicleherald.ca/canada/782660-military-cuts-will-greatly-limit-foreign-deployments)

Quote
The federal government plans to slash $4.9 billion in discretionary spending in the next year - with the Department of National Defence bearing the brunt of cuts, while departments involved in the Conservatives' law and order agenda are spared.

The plan was unveiled Monday as Treasury Board President Tony Clement tabled the government's main budgetary estimates for 2013-14 in the House of Commons.

The detailed document provides a glimpse into how the government intends to increase or decrease funds for a long list of departments and agencies in the next fiscal year.

In additional to Defence, other departments facing spending reductions include the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Environment Canada, Transport Canada, the Canadian International Development Agency, Canada Border Services, and Health Canada.

But others will see their budgets go up. They include: Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada, the RCMP, the Security Intelligence Review Committee, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, the National Research Council, Citizenship and Immigration Canada, and Canadian Heritage ....
Postmedia News, 26 Feb 13 (http://www.vancouversun.com/business/National+Defence+government+cuts+discretionary+funds/8016314/story.html)

2013-14 Main Estimates (400+ page PDF) here (http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/est-pre/20132014/me-bpd/me-bpd-eng.pdf), DND's section (6 page PDF via Google Drive) here (http://bit.ly/YvgRsg).
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on February 26, 2013, 10:19:26
So the Conservatives just played the same shell game on us the Liberals did.


They won't be getting my vote the next time.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: George Wallace on February 26, 2013, 10:27:45
So the Conservatives just played the same shell game on us the Liberals did.


They won't be getting my vote the next time.

 ;D


Are you going to try "Green" next time around?



 >:D
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on February 26, 2013, 10:29:44
;D


Are you going to try "Green" next time around?



 >:D

I did the last provincial election. At least the Greens are up front about Defence- they don't like the military. The Conservatives, like the LIBs, used us for political points.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: PPCLI Guy on February 26, 2013, 10:37:30
So the Conservatives just played the same shell game on us the Liberals did.


They won't be getting my vote the next time.

I disagree.  Baseline funding has been dramatically increased over the last 8 years.  They aren't the problem - we are.  We refuse to make any tough decisions, and would rather fiddle while Rome burns.  To continue the Rome analogy, we would rather squeeze more taxes and tribute from the provinces than change Rome itself.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on February 26, 2013, 10:43:13
Good point. I tend to shoot from the hip sometimes.

As people that know me.....well they know that.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Old Sweat on February 26, 2013, 10:44:38
I disagree.  Baseline funding has been dramatically increased over the last 8 years.  They aren't the problem - we are.  We refuse to make any tough decisions, and would rather fiddle while Rome burns.  To continue the Rome analogy, we would rather squeeze more taxes and tribute from the provinces than change Rome itself.

Remember the reaction, or apparent lack of ability to take a hint, when the front office told the DND/CF to reduce the administrative tail instead of cutting the sharp end.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: GAP on February 26, 2013, 11:25:41
If they don't do it themselves, they may just find someone else doing it for them....
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: milnews.ca on February 26, 2013, 11:33:02
If they don't do it themselves, they may just find someone else doing it for them....
:nod:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on February 26, 2013, 11:37:05
I recall reading a business article where a corproate president explained "Change happens.  By you or to you - your choice."

I suspect that change is going to happen to the CF...
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Journeyman on February 26, 2013, 11:47:37
We can't really expect otherwise.  When the administrative tail (our massive, multiple HQs) are directed to cut that administrative tail, it all sort of collapses into a mobius strip of powerpoint-driven inertia.

One doesn't have to look past the threads here on courses being cut or the elimination of education funding; any change to the overarching HQ (CDA)?  Nope.  :not-again:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Old Sweat on February 26, 2013, 11:55:43
We can't really expect otherwise.  When the administrative tail (our massive, multiple HQs) are directed to cut that administrative tail, it all sort of collapses into a mobius strip of powerpoint-driven inertia.

One doesn't have to look past the threads here on courses being cut or the elimination of education funding; any change to the overarching HQ (CDA)?  Nope.  :not-again:

And on occasion, after the headquarters staffed firm direction to reduce the tail, I have seen some NDHQ directorates actually grow.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Remius on February 26, 2013, 12:19:48
Hmm.  Well I can't speak to other HQs or what not, but where I am at they've cut half the class b positions.  About 75 positions all told.  As well, through attrition we've seen a number of people leave and not be replaced.  New hiring is stopped and only hiring from within our org is allowed.  My former team has gone from 5 to 3 with no plans to staff the two vacant positions.  I've been moved to another part of the org to make up for lack of numbers on another team.  I'll be doing parts of jobs from three people that have left.

I also know that the ADR office has been completely decimated leaving I think one or two people left from what was a staff of 15 or so. 

Not saying that the tail has been cut enough but cuts are there and that they do exist.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on February 26, 2013, 12:22:04
And on occasion, after the headquarters staffed firm direction to reduce the tail, I have seen some NDHQ directorates actually grow.

Well, someone has to track & follow up to make sure the change happens  ::)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on February 26, 2013, 12:35:00
I disagree.  Baseline funding has been dramatically increased over the last 8 years.  They aren't the problem - we are.  We refuse to make any tough decisions, and would rather fiddle while Rome burns.  To continue the Rome analogy, we would rather squeeze more taxes and tribute from the provinces than change Rome itself.


 :goodpost: and it needs repeating.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Journeyman on February 26, 2013, 13:00:26
I'll be doing parts of jobs from three people that have left.
That is the other part of the equation. Are we willing to accept that some tasks will not be done, or will we burn people out trying to "do more with less"? 

Please tell me that the Directorate of Useless Bling and Random Re-namings will not be kept as a high priority.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on February 26, 2013, 13:11:24
Please tell me that the Directorate of Useless Bling and Random Re-namings will not be kept as a high priority.

[I Wish This Was Sarcasm, But Even I'm Not Sure]

First of all, it's a Director General, with directors for useless bling and random re-namings.

Second, after the dust settles we need someone to hand out "DM/CDS Innovation & Change Leadership Awards" - and who better to receive one than the Fearless Director who actually did all those random re-namings?

[/I Wish This Was Sarcasm, But Even I'm Not Sure]
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: George Wallace on February 26, 2013, 13:49:02
That is the other part of the equation. Are we willing to accept that some tasks will not be done, or will we burn people out trying to "do more with less"? 

"More with less" has been the standard SOP.  I doubt it will change........or perhaps that box can be ticked off on someone's PER and the SOP will change.......Well!  That was an idiotic thought.   SALY.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on February 26, 2013, 15:19:25
Once an organization is created, it seemingly becomes far to easy to justify why it must persist forever … even if the original requirement is no longer present.  I think HQs and staffs can be amongst the worst for this.  Maybe proximity to their own problems and organizational tendancy for self preservation seeps into staff recommendations for where to make cuts.

I have seen sr officers choose not to point out where they see redundancies so as to not offend the people currently in the positions.  So the wastefulness of the positions continues; the problem has nothing to do with the hard working pers in the positions but everything to do with the work of the positions being unnecessary.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: ArmyRick on February 26, 2013, 17:10:51
Agree 100%. You can be the hardest working and most efficient broom and mop tracker in the organization BUT if we don't need a damn broom and mop tracker....Sorry job done. Or at least thats the way it should be.

Did General Leslie not compare a HQ with being down sized to a dying badger defending itself? Or something like that?

I think the CF as an organization, needs INTEGRITY, how dare we go through with historical name changes (like adding royal this and that) and boost HQ/admin tail and then somewhere else in the CF, tell some sect comd he only gets 2-3 occupants in the back of his LAV or a Platoon can only have 4 guys shoot C9 PWT3 instead of its 6.

Sometimes, we have a hard time putting priority where it needs to be.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on February 26, 2013, 17:32:54
Agree 100%. You can be the hardest working and most efficient broom and mop tracker in the organization BUT if we don't need a damn broom and mop tracker....Sorry job done. Or at least thats the way it

Sometimes, we have a hard time putting priority where it needs to be.

Agreed.

I would change the "sometimes" to "most of the time."

Our whole reason for existing is to rain death and destruction upon  our  enemies, those who would do our nation and its people grievous harm.

Too many bureaucrats, military and civilian.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Halifax Tar on February 26, 2013, 17:48:50
I think the CF as an organization, needs INTEGRITY, how dare we go through with historical name changes (like adding royal this and that) and boost HQ/admin tail and then somewhere else in the CF, tell some sect comd he only gets 2-3 occupants in the back of his LAV or a Platoon can only have 4 guys shoot C9 PWT3 instead of its 6.

Has there been any financial numbers released on the cost of adding Royal to some organization yet ?  I would be interested to see the actual financial distress this has put on the CF.  And how that money was shifted from other facets to pay for such a change.

I say show integrity by admitting some of these HQs and what not are needless and only exist to have positions for officer and senior ncm career advancement while actually providing little in the combat or combat support capability of the CF.  Lets look at the break down of chiefs to indians in the CF re work that voodoo magic a little...

Just the opinion of one under-educated lower decker...

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: UnwiseCritic on February 26, 2013, 18:22:03
I can agree that the CF needs a little house cleaning. And that there has to be budget cuts so we no longer run a deficit. But a huge problem with the CF is the lack of discrimination. If we just raised the bar told some people no and your fired (in a polite way) we could save a lot of money and still maintain an effective fighting force. And everything should be based around the combat arms and maybe even leaning towards special forces as they now spearhead everything we do. But this 5 million for overseas deployments is ridiculuos and nothing in reserve... Great planning guys.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: FJAG on February 26, 2013, 18:22:49
I sometimes think that the real problem is that its easier to justify why we need thirty guys in the server room to keep all the computers in the building working than why we need a third rifle platoon in a company or an extra two gun dets in an arty battery.

The effects of not manning the server room are much more immediate and wide spread than the other.

"Trimming" the budget will never work. We need a complete, from the ground up, redesign of the entire DND structure.

I'm not holding my breath. Since I can't influence the outcome anyway, I'm just going to sit back and watch.  :pop:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Journeyman on February 26, 2013, 18:27:03
But a huge problem with the CF is the lack of discrimination. If we just raised the bar told some people no and your fired (in a polite way) we could save a lot of money and still maintain an effective fighting force
       ???
While I truly hesitate to have you post more, could you re-write this so that whatever point you're trying to make is somewhat comprehensible.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Jarnhamar on February 26, 2013, 18:30:48
       ???
While I truly hesitate to have you post more, could you re-write this so that whatever point you're trying to make is somewhat comprehensible.

You don't think arbitrarily firing people (in a polite way) based off of a More Discrimination In the Canadian Forces policy is a good idea?

On that note.
Cancel the Maple Leaf (or make it electronic only)
Stop putting crap like glow sticks and hand sanitizer on kitlists (which gets mass issued for kit inspections then promptly lost by troops)

That'll save millions.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Journeyman on February 26, 2013, 18:44:48
....is a good idea?
  :dunno:   I couldn't figure out what he was trying to say.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Halifax Tar on February 26, 2013, 18:53:34
Stop putting crap like glow sticks and hand sanitizer on kitlists (which gets mass issued for kit inspections then promptly lost by troops)

That'll save millions.

Excellent point!  We can go further with this, much further.  As a Sup Tech I will be honest that I am disgusted at what we LPO.  You should see the exacerbated PPNS requirements Dv HQs need.

I say issue each soldier/sailor/airmen a pen , pencil, eraser and FMP every year.  Thats your PPNS allotment per year, any other "gucci" stuff you HAVE TO HAVE from the staples.ca website is bought with your own dime on your own time.   

LPO should be for immediate operational requirements that the CF cannot fill with its ingrained supply chain not the "go to" way of doing supply business or an avenue to get the gucci kit people wouldn't spend their own pay cheque on!
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Jarnhamar on February 26, 2013, 19:00:55
  :dunno:   I couldn't figure out what he was trying to say.

Me neither. I'm pretty sure firing people out of the blue on a pro-discrimination platform might result in a lawsuit or two  ::)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Halifax Tar on February 26, 2013, 19:03:11
Me neither. I'm pretty sure firing people out of the blue on a pro-discrimination platform might result in a lawsuit or two  ::)

I think he means "shedding some tail to grow some teeth", which we could probably all agree on, but I suspect he just worded it wrong.  Could be just my interpretation though...
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Good2Golf on February 26, 2013, 19:11:41
Did General Leslie not compare a HQ with being down sized to a dying badger defending itself? Or something like that?

You mean like the re-establishment of 1 Cdn Div HQ that he seemed to personally champion?   ???


I disagree.  Baseline funding has been dramatically increased over the last 8 years.  They aren't the problem - we are.  We refuse to make any tough decisions, and would rather fiddle while Rome burns.  To continue the Rome analogy, we would rather squeeze more taxes and tribute from the provinces than change Rome itself.

Indeed.

Look at page  II-216 of the Main Estimates (DND portion) that Milnews.ca posted ( 2013-14 Main Estimates -  DND's section (6 page PDF via Google Drive) here (http://bit.ly/YvgRsg) ) and note that $832M that DND failed to spend during its authority period as well as $359M of project money re-profiled to the future due to 'adjusted' project timelines was removed form the 13/14 budget. 

Those capital 'lack-of-expenditures' alone account for $1.2B of reductions from previous years.  Yes, there are also factors of other Government Departments contributions to the overall delayed expenditures, but it's in DND's back yard and the Department is being held to account for it by the PM and the Dept. of Finance.

 :2c:

Regards
G2G
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: UnwiseCritic on February 27, 2013, 01:33:25
Yes maybe poorly worded shedding some tail and growing some teeth is correct. I have just seen some made up positions for people becuase we were scared to get rid of them move them etc. Eg we had a lav captain in a company without lavs. We also had guys dagging twice becuase everyone seemed to want somthing to do or justify there job.(Too many people and too little a pie) . I can agree on the fact we do waste a lot of money on stuff such as glow sticks as well.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: milnews.ca on February 27, 2013, 10:57:25
Cleaned up to keep 'er on the Defence Budget.

Milnet.ca Staff
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on March 06, 2013, 18:34:07
The money spent on services contracts is again interesting in the news:
Quote
External contracting by DND rises by $500 million: report
Total bill may still be climbing despite instructions from Ottawa to cut back

Murray Brewster
The Canadian Press
06 March 2013


Money spent by National Defence on outside consulting and professional services has increased dramatically, even as the Harper government was warned the practice needed to be curbed.

Spending on external contracting rose by $500 million between 2009 and 2011, the year retired lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie advised the department it could safely cut 30 per cent of those agreements.

The contracting figure stood at $2.7 billion when Leslie, former top army commander, tabled his watershed analysis of how to overhaul the military in 2011.

The latest set of government financial estimates shows the number was $3.2 billion in 2011-12 - and it may be climbing.

A report tabled last week by the parliamentary budget officer suggests the amount could jump higher in the current budget year because National Defence was forced to go back and seek extra spending authority for "professional and special services."

An additional $774 million was pumped into the department in 2012-13 for contracting. That is over and above an extra $776 million the federal government set aside to pay a class action lawsuit by disabled veterans.

Even if the Harper government reduces defence contracting by $460 million, as promised, it will still be far short of the goals set out in the Leslie report.

Defence Minister Peter MacKay suggested earlier this week that the end of the Afghan training mission in Kabul next year will ease the pressure on the department and reduce the need for outside services.

"We have soldiers, fulltime soldiers, regular force soldiers, coming back from Afghanistan, assuming their positions throughout the country, throughout the department, and thus doing less contracting. So, there are savings to be found there," he told the Economic Club of Canada.

With trained soldiers fighting in Kandahar for five years, and later training Afghan forces, the Canadian army was forced to rely on private contractors to carry out some training functions and maintenance services.

The trend over the last decade has been to take many of the routine jobs and functions in the military, including repair and overhaul of equipment, and give it to the private sector.

The idea was to reserve soldiers for fighting and front-line duties.

In some cases, the decision to replace uniformed and civilian jobs at National Defence with the private sector has been made against the advice of senior military commanders, by federal bureaucrats who say it's the mandate of the Harper government to eliminate public service jobs.

New Democrat defence critic Jack Harris said the situation has become "utterly incoherent" and an embarrassment.

"They're all over the place when it comes to numbers," he said. "They don't seem to have a handle on this at all."

The winding down of the Afghan war means this should be an era of budget savings on contractors, Harris added.

But MacKay insisted in his remarks to the economic club that no stone was being left unturned in the hunt for savings. "We are looking in very painstaking detail at every area of the department in which we can find efficiencies," he said.

Private consultants and contractors provide myriad services, from emptying garbage pails and mopping floors, all the way to fine-tuning and repairing some of the military's state-of-the-art aircraft.

Giant defence contractors also have lucrative professional services contracts, according to public accounts records.

The largest single amount paid out in 2011-12 was to U.S.-based Lockheed Martin, which took in $175.3 million for a single engineering contact.

The company best known in the political world as the builder of the F-35 stealth fighter had six other service and consulting deals with the Canadian government that year.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on March 06, 2013, 18:59:10
The devil is always in the details.  What is being contracted out, and why?

In many cases it makes more sense to purchase skills, knowledge and abilities from contractors than to incubate, develop and maintain them in-house as military personnel or public servants.  Admittedly, part of the reason for going to contractors is because of the sclerotic employment policies and processes that hamstring public service hiring, but there are valid reasons to use contractors.

I'm afraid that we're going to end up throwing out babies with bathwater on this one - for example, refusing to order buses (contracted out) to bring Reservists to training events, rather than reducing or cutting contractor support to "projects" that never manage to deliver any appreciable product other than inflated TD expenses and contractors writing documents that never get approved...
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MilEME09 on March 06, 2013, 19:56:47
Honestly I think part of it is DND not allocating their resources properly, I've heard stories of Techs sitting around in edmonton with little work to do, meanwhile they are hiring civilian contractors in say Petawawa because they dont have enough techs to keep up with the work load. Thats just one side of the contracting though at the front line level, I've seen posted on this site DND's requests for IED experts and other things that sound like to me we should have the full internal capabilities to supply. It may be a case of DND just spending budget not to loose it, but it think it could be better spent then getting contractors to fill the role of say a supply tech.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: captloadie on March 11, 2013, 13:58:54
There is an interesting article in the Citizen today that can't be reposted here, but seems to be the beginnings of the public relations battle between L1's. It would be nice if the CDS would nip this in the bud before all the dirty laundry gets aired to Joe Citizen.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on March 11, 2013, 17:32:23
I'm afraid that we're going to end up throwing out babies with bathwater on this one - for example, refusing to order buses (contracted out) to bring Reservists to training events, rather than reducing or cutting contractor support to "projects" that never manage to deliver any appreciable product other than inflated TD expenses and contractors writing documents that never get approved...
I worry that you are correct.  I have seen examples of the same but in an opposite direction, where units were forced to pay multiple times the price to contract a buses with drivers despite available DND buses and drivers because SWE was being cut regardless of the cost and overtime was not to be authorized.  I suspect one can find this example still happening, but I am no longer in a place to see it.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 17, 2013, 19:30:04
I'm not sure how current this report, reproduced under the fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail, might be:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/military-faces-deeper-cuts-in-looming-budget-document-reveals/article9857337/
Quote
Military faces deeper cuts in looming budget, document reveals

MURRAY BREWSTER
OTTAWA — The Canadian Press

Published Sunday, Mar. 17 2013

It seems the only soldiers who are safe from the coming budget axe are those that parade around Parliament Hill in the changing of the guard ceremony for tourists in the summer, according to a leaked report.

Defence spending will be in crosshairs when the federal budget is presented on Thursday as the Canadian army faces another barrage of major reductions over and above the Conservative government’s established deficit-fighting strategy and program review.

An army planning document shows that land forces are bracing for a further 8 per cent hit on operating and maintenance in the coming fiscal plan, in addition to an existing 22 per cent budget reduction.

The latest cuts, estimated in the range of $32-million, will slice into the army’s ability to train for operations in the jungle, desert and mountains, and come on top of $226-million in cuts ordered in the government’s strategic review and Deficit Reduction Action Plan, says a Jan. 31, 2013 document, written by Lieutentant-General Peter Devlin.

There’s expected to be an $8-million clawback on contracted services, and the army will be required to absorb a further $10-million related to civilian wages.

The document says funding for full-time reservists will have to be further reduced, and unused cash in the budget for part-time soldiers may have to be raided in order to keep full-timers.

Yet, despite the budget ravages, the army is under pressure to maintain the pet projects and pageantry admired by the Conservatives, who once promised stable and predictable funding.

“Ceasing activities viewed as priorities by the government of Canada will invite scrutiny into those activities the Army chooses to do at the expense of those items that hold government interest,” said the letter, which is meant to guide the army’s business planning for the coming year.

“As an example, activities such as the Ceremonial Guard hold particular interest for the [government of Canada] and must be sustained; even at the expense of area programming. Any and all [government of Canada] directed activities will be fulfilled.”

The Ceremonial Guard, comprised of mostly reserve members, conducts the changing of the guard ceremony on Parliament Hill during the tourist season.

National Defence is the biggest discretionary line item in the federal budget and has long been the target for deficit-slashing governments, regardless of political stripe.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned Defence Minister Peter MacKay last June that initial budget-cut proposals did not go deep enough on the administrative side of the department, a message he reinforced at the swearing-in of new defence chief General Tom Lawson when he said he wanted a military with “more teeth and less tail.”

When criticized about how spending cuts appear to have singled out the army, MacKay has pointed out that the army’s baseline budget is $500-million higher than it was when the Conservatives took office in 2006.

“After years of unprecedented growth, and following the end of the combat mission in Afghanistan, it is necessary for the government to balance military needs with taxpayer interests,” said MacKay spokesman Jay Paxton.

“Under our government, the military will always have the tools it needs to defend Canada and care for its people.”

Defence sources say as much as $600-million will be cut out of military “readiness” in all branches in the coming year. Readiness refers to training and equipment maintenance that a military needs to do in order to deploy both overseas and at home.

Indeed, Gen. Devlin’s planning report says the army will have to limit the scope of its operations in the Arctic, which is “five to seven times” more expensive than missions conducted in southern Canada.

The average 1.5 per cent increase in the army’s budget for fuel comes nowhere near covering the anticipated diesel costs, which rose by 24 per cent in 2011-12. As consequence, the army will have to “reduce the level of activity.”

In a recent interview with Maclean’s magazine, MacKay revealed that department intends to sell surplus property, some of which is either outdated or too costly to maintain.

Analyst Dave Perry from Carleton University in Ottawa has crunched the overall defence budget numbers and projected, in an updated analysis to be released this week, that the department will lose $2.4-billion — about 12.4 per cent — of its approximately $20-billion budget when compared against spending in 2011-12.

In his benchmark report, retired lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie called for deep cuts in the size of National Defence headquarters and for the savings to be plowed back into the field force.

But Perry’s analysis shows that since the government will not cut the overall size of the regular or reserve forces, and is not expected to give up equipment capabilities, such as specific classes of planes, tanks and ships, there is nowhere else to cut except in readiness and training.

“Since the size of the regular Forces is the largest driver of overall personnel spending, and major capital fleets account for the bulk of capital equipment fleets, this essentially protected the two single largest spending categories from the budget reduction,” Perry wrote in his analysis, obtained in advance by The Canadian Press.

“As a result, the department has been tasked with finding the majority of its cuts from the funds spent on (operations and maintenance).”

Leslie’s report has gone largely ignored, he said.

“DND has taken almost no action to enact his recommendations,” Perry said. “As a result, the bulk of the budget cuts are falling on operational readiness and training.”


It is not clear to me that the cuts Brewster discusses are new - they may have been discussed here, in Army.ca, already - he may, simply, be discussing the Army Commander's response to them.

But, speaking as a Conservative (and a significant monetary supporter of the CPC), I find it shameful and, indeed amateurish, that cabinet did not impose these cuts with conditions: like a measured 15% cut in C2 overhead. It appears to me, based on 35+ years of service, the last 1/4 in modestly senior posts in NDHQ, that the CF (or CAF) has a fat, even bloated C2 system above ship, unit and squadron level. Now some of that C2 bloat is there because of "government priorities" and it appears, therefore, that Minister MacKay did not follow the Prime Minister's direction ~ perhaps because he is a captive of the very large, bloated[/i] HQs Prime Minister Harper says he wants to cut.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: jeffb on March 17, 2013, 19:53:30
But, speaking as a Conservative (and a significant monetary supporter of the CPC), I find it shameful and, indeed amateurish, that cabinet did not impose these cuts with conditions: like a measured 15% cut in C2 overhead. It appears to me, based on 35+ years of service, the last 1/4 in modestly senior posts in NDHQ, that the CF (or CAF) has a fat, even bloated C2 system above ship, unit and squadron level. Now some of that C2 bloat is there because of "government priorities" and it appears, therefore, that Minister MacKay did not follow the Prime Minister's direction ~ perhaps because he is a captive of the very large, bloated[/i] HQs Prime Minister Harper says he wants to cut.

While I agree with your assessment, I disagree that this is the approach to take. The government should task the CF and DND, through the CDS, with maintaining certain capabilities and missions.  They should then fund the military according to the wider national strategy. It should then be up to the CDS, answering to MND, to allocate financial resources in order to accomplish those tasks. If they money does not meed the need then it should be up to the CDS to go back to the government with the impact.

Let the CDS, through his staff and subordinate commanders, run the CF.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 17, 2013, 20:27:27
While I agree with your assessment, I disagree that this is the approach to take. The government should task the CF and DND, through the CDS, with maintaining certain capabilities and missions.  They should then fund the military according to the wider national strategy. It should then be up to the CDS, answering to MND, to allocate financial resources in order to accomplish those tasks. If they money does not meed the need then it should be up to the CDS to go back to the government with the impact.

Let the CDS, through his staff and subordinate commanders, run the CF.


I'm not sure letting "the CDS, through his staff and subordinate commanders, run the CF" is Constitutionally proper or, for that matter, even a good idea. I'm not sure that the CDS and his subordinate commanders are qualified to "run the CF." He (and they) are there to administer the CF as a force in being, but establishing, organizing, equipping and directing the CF is not the CDS' business. it is the business of cabinet and the bureaucracy, part of which is uniformed. i think parts of many of the CF's problems stem from too much military intrusion into matteres where the military is ill qualified to operate: areas like defence policy and equipment procurement.

But maybe I'm a bit of an iconoclast.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on March 17, 2013, 20:35:57


But maybe I'm a bit of an iconoclast.


I had to look up that last word. You are but you are in good company.

I agree, there are too many uniformed politicians - more correctly wannabe politicians.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: mad dog 2020 on March 18, 2013, 07:25:50
From the Halifax Chronical Herald 18 March 2013

OTTAWA — It seems the only soldiers who are safe from the coming budget axe are those that parade around Parliament Hill in the changing of the guard ceremony for tourists in the summer, a leaked report suggests.

Defence spending will be in the federal budget crosshairs this week as the Canadian Army faces another barrage of major reductions over and above the Harper government’s established deficit-fighting strategy and program review.

An army planning document, obtained by The Canadian Press, shows that land forces are bracing for a further eight per cent hit on operating and maintenance in the coming fiscal plan, in addition to an existing 22 per cent budget reduction.

The latest cuts, estimated in the range of $32 million, will slice into the army’s ability to train for operations in the jungle, desert and mountains, and come on top of $226 million in cuts ordered in the government’s strategic review and Deficit Reduction Action Plan, says a Jan. 31, 2013 document, written by Lt.-Gen. Peter Devlin.

There’s expected to be an $8 million clawback on contracted services, and the army will be required to absorb a further $10 million related to civilian wages.

The document says funding for full-time reservists will have to be further reduced, and unused cash in the budget for part-time soldiers may have to be raided in order to keep full-timers.

Yet, despite the budget ravages, the army is under pressure to maintain the pet projects and pageantry admired by the Conservatives, who once promised stable and predictable funding.

“Ceasing activities viewed as priorities by the government of Canada will invite scrutiny into those activities the Army chooses to do at the expense of those items that hold government interest,” said the letter, which is meant to guide the army’s business planning for the coming year.

“As an example, activities such as the Ceremonial Guard hold particular interest for the (government of Canada) and must be sustained; even at the expense of area programming. Any and all (government of Canada) directed activities will be fulfilled.”

The Ceremonial Guard, comprised of mostly reserve members, conducts the changing of the guard ceremony on Parliament Hill during the tourist season.

National Defence is the biggest discretionary line item in the federal budget and has long been the target for deficit-slashing governments, regardless of political stripe.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned Defence Minister Peter MacKay last June that initial budget cut proposals did not go deep enough on the administrative side of the department, a message he reinforced at the swearing-in of new defence chief Gen. Tom Lawson when he said he wanted a military with “more teeth and less tail.”

When criticized about how spending cuts appear to have singled out the army, MacKay has pointed out that the army’s baseline budget is $500 million higher than it was when the Conservatives took office in 2006.

“After years of unprecedented growth, and following the end of the combat mission in Afghanistan, it is necessary for the government to balance military needs with taxpayer interests,” said MacKay spokesman Jay Paxton.

“Under our government, the military will always have the tools it needs to defend Canada and care for its people.”

Defence sources say as much as $600 million will be cut out of military “readiness” in all branches in the coming year. Readiness refers to training and equipment maintenance that a military needs to do in order to deploy both overseas and at home.

Indeed, Devlin’s planning report says the army will have to limit the scope of its operations in the Arctic, which is “five to seven times” more expensive than missions conducted in southern Canada.

The average 1.5 per cent increase in the army’s budget for fuel comes nowhere near covering the anticipated diesel costs, which rose by 24 per cent in 2011-12. As consequence, the army will have to “reduce the level of activity.”

In a recent interview with Maclean’s magazine, MacKay revealed that department intends to sell surplus property, some of which is either outdated or too costly to maintain.

Analyst Dave Perry from Carleton University in Ottawa has crunched the overall defence budget numbers and projected, in an updated analysis to be released this week, that the department will lose $2.4 billion — about 12.4 per cent — of its approximately $20-billion budget when compared against spending in 2011-12.

In his benchmark report, retired lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie called for deep cuts in the size of National Defence headquarters and for the savings to be plowed back into the field force.

But Perry’s analysis shows that since the government will not cut the overall size of the regular or reserve forces, and is not expected to give up equipment capabilities, such as specific classes of planes, tanks and ships, there is nowhere else to cut except in readiness and training.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: UnwiseCritic on March 18, 2013, 14:52:14
"The latest cuts, estimated in the range of $32 million, will slice into the army’s ability to train for operations in the jungle, desert and mountains" Situation no change.

"Defence sources say as much as $600 million will be cut out of military “readiness” in all branches in the coming year" Don't worry they contracted out a precog who said nothing will happen in the near future.

"MacKay revealed that department intends to sell surplus property" maybe they will sell off Wainwright.

"As an example, activities such as the Ceremonial Guard hold particular interest for the (government of Canada) and must be sustained" Gotta make sure the cameras fim some sharp looking soldiers. That's how wars are won now. (I do think it is good pr)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Colin P on March 18, 2013, 16:24:02
How does one fire a 21 gun salute with 81mm mortars by the way?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: ARMY_101 on March 18, 2013, 16:48:29
2013-2014 main estimates by department (http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/est-pre/20132014/me-bpd/sopa-rsap-eng.pdf)

DND expended $20.22 billion in 2011-2012, estimates it spent $19.8 billion in 2012-2013, and is requesting $17.99 billion for 2013-2014.

... Just to give a preview of what we may expect in Thursday's budget.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: UnwiseCritic on March 18, 2013, 16:55:48
Pg.40
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on March 19, 2013, 11:33:57
Quote
There's no fat left to cut, top soldier says
The Daily Gleaner
Steve Rennie (The Canadian Press)
19 March 2013


OTTAWA - Canada's top soldier says the armed forces have no fat left to cut ahead of this week's austerity budget.

But Gen. Thomas Lawson told the Senate security and defence committee he understands that militaries around the world are being forced to operate with less money.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's budget on Thursday is widely expected to make substantial cuts across government, and the Defence Department and Canadian Forces won't escape unscathed.

Lawson, who took over last year as chief of defence staff, said the military already runs a lean operation.

"I would like to think that there was fat in the armed forces," he said Monday. "I don't think there is."

"What we find as we squeeze (is) that there is very little fat," he added later.

Still, the governing Conservatives will be looking to shave off a little more.

A leaked army planning document obtained by The Canadian Press says land forces are bracing for a big hit on operating and maintenance on top of existing budget cuts.

Those cuts will slice into the army's ability to train for operations in the jungle, desert and mountains.

The document, dated Jan. 31 and written by Lt.-Gen. Peter Devlin, says funding for full-time reservists will have to be further reduced, and unused cash in the budget for part-time soldiers may have to be raided in order to keep full-timers.

Lawson acknowledged more reservists - many of whom signed up for full-time service during the Afghanistan mission - will likely go from being full-time to part-time soldiers.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned Defence Minister Peter MacKay last June that initial budget cut proposals did not go deep enough on the administrative side of the department.

Lawson's remarks came on the heels of a paper that says the Defence Department has struggled to spend billions of dollars allocated to it in past budgets.

The Conference of Defence Associations Institute puts unspent and carried-over funding over the last six years at nearly $8 billion - mostly in the areas of capital equipment and infrastructure.

But the problem, as defence analyst David Perry sees it, is that sections of the department that seem to find themselves with more budget dollars than they can spend are not be the ones facing reductions.

Instead, he says it is areas such as operations and maintenance - which have no trouble spending their allocated money - that will feel the brunt of the budget cuts.

"It is therefore not the case that the funds being cut would not have been spent in any event," Perry writes.

"Rather, DND faces the dual pressures of funding reductions in some budget areas and a loss of purchasing power in others."

DND could lose more than $500 million worth of purchasing power, he estimates.
I am not sure why we keep coming to the conclusion that there is no fat to cut.  There is plenty of fat, but most of it requires more effort, requires more planning & thought than "shaving the ice cube, and/or is within protected empires or sacred cows.  There is a list of options identified in this thread:  http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,82898.msg1193048.html#msg1193048

The coming cuts are likely to be much deeper than the existing fat, but if we stop denying the existence of fat then we can focus some of the pain where it will do the least damage.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 19, 2013, 12:25:12
There is always "fat" in every large organization. Gen Lawson is not a fool, he knows there is fat. He doesn't want to cut the C2 superstructure which is worse than fat, it is bloated ~ morbidly obese. Why not?   :dunno:   Perhaps he's just lazy, maybe he doesn't want to upset his colleagues. The "why" shouldn't really matter to parliamentarians: they should just conclude that the job (CDS) is too big for Gen Lawson.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Old Sweat on March 19, 2013, 12:47:01
Or perhaps he does believe that all the various bits and pieces of the bureaucracy are necessary vital, and that they are all undermanned lean and mean. In other words, perhaps he is process oriented, which is not unusual in government, and feels that meetings, and briefings, and studies and all the rest of the paraphernalia actually contribute to the defence of Canada. If so, Edward's last sentence still applies.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: ArmyRick on March 19, 2013, 14:52:35
From the ground floor level, I can see there is still fat to trim, and lots of "hidden fat". I know the ITCB class B has finally been severed completely (three years after it was supposed to stop), but certain institutions/organizations continue to keep class B soldiers on staff when either it could be reverted to a heavy employed Class A soldier or filled by Reg F positions. If we are serious about being honest to the tax payer, time to get lean and mean for real.

Again, I think HQ everywhere could most certainly "trim it up", but hey that's just me.

I also know talking to other people on the reg f side, they have seen senior serving members wastefully employed or just "marking time" while waiting for pension clocks to run out. I disagree with such notions of entitlement to employment in the CAF.

Do we as an organization (the Canadian Armed Forces) really have the stomach to make these cuts? It will certainly make a lot of people unhappy. 
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Journeyman on March 19, 2013, 14:58:57
From the ground floor level....
Ah, but that's the problem with "the floor level" -- you clearly don't see the wisdom ( ::) ) in asking headquarters where headquarters' fat can be cut.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: George Wallace on March 19, 2013, 17:11:17
Ah, but that's the problem with "the floor level" -- you clearly don't see the wisdom ( ::) ) in asking headquarters where headquarters' fat can be cut.


 >:D   'cause when they look down, they can't see the floor.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: PuckChaser on March 19, 2013, 17:24:26

 >:D   'cause when they look down, they can't see the floor.

Will be interesting to see those individuals do the shuttle on the FORCE test... images of a basketball being bounced off the floor come to mind...  ;D
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Ostrozac on March 20, 2013, 00:01:21
How does one fire a 21 gun salute with 81mm mortars by the way?

With illum rounds, during the day, over the Ottawa river? Template it like it's the Canada Day fireworks?

In all seriousness, keeping a weapons system around for purely ceremonial reasons strikes me as kind of pointless. If firing salutes with guns is important, then we can do it with M777, if it isn't important, then we simply don't do it.

With budget cuts coming, some things simply aren't going to get done.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 20, 2013, 00:19:16
Look, folks: we have had budget cuts before ~ worse than these (in proportion). We survived. It wasn't always easy but, sometimes, we took good, hard looks at what we did and how we did things and we decided to be more efficient. We never cut the Ceremonial Guard, nor the Snowbirds, nor saluting cannons. We are not popular in this country, notwithstanding yellow ribbons and red T-shirts; polling puts us, consistently, near the bottom of most Canadians' list of spending priorities. Balancing the budget in Canada is nearly akin to rugby in New Zealand, plus it's good policy. DND always does a full and more than fair share when budget cuts are needed, we always survive. We will this time, too.

That's my perspective from 35+ years in uniform during the past 50+ years.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Journeyman on March 20, 2013, 00:24:44
....but rugby is enjoyable.   ;D
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: devil39 on March 20, 2013, 00:31:41
....but rugby is enjoyable.   ;D

Were you not  a back?   Or maybe a "scrum fluff" flanker?  Go figure....

Try sticking your head between two fat guys legs.....
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: PPCLI Guy on March 20, 2013, 01:41:08
Were you not  a back?   Or maybe a "scrum fluff" flanker?  Go figure....

Try sticking your head between two fat guys legs.....

BTDT
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: milnews.ca on March 20, 2013, 08:20:49
Were you not  a back?   Or maybe a "scrum fluff" flanker?  Go figure....

Try sticking your head between two fat guys legs.....
BTDT
Not that there's anything wrong with that .....  >:D

Drifting back to the budget, the Department of Finance info-machine says it'll be easy to catch the budget/economic action plan/whatever tomorrow (http://www.fin.gc.ca/n13/13-038-eng.asp).
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Journeyman on March 20, 2013, 08:41:38
Were you not  a back?   Or maybe a "scrum fluff" flanker?  Go figure....

Try sticking your head between two fat guys legs.....
Really?  You come out of Milnet hibernation to post that? 
It's got to be tough at your age..... forgetting that I was the guy beside you wearing the 5.   

But you are getting older.   Sad, really.   >:D
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on March 20, 2013, 15:19:08
Quote
Military braces for more spending cuts
Some fear new 'decade of darkness'

Lee Berthiaume
Ottawa Citizen
20 March 2013


The Conservative government's oft-stated support for Canada's military is coming under the microscope as senior officers and defence analysts brace for more cuts in Thursday's federal budget.

And some are even warning that unless dramatic steps are taken, the military is in danger of entering another dreaded "decade of darkness."

An analysis by retired Lt.-Col Brian MacDonald of the Conference of Defence Associations has found military spending as a percentage of gross domestic product trending toward its lowest level since 1997.

The "decade of darkness" was the name given by former chief of defence staff Rick Hillier to describe the deep spending cuts imposed on the military by the government of former prime minister Jean Chrétien in the 1990s.

MacDonald stated that the declining ratio of defence spending to GDP - from a high of 1.4 per cent in 2009-10 to an estimated 1.08 per cent by 2015 - is "more consistent to a return to "the Decade of Darkness' than to the 'Brave New World' promised" by the federal Conservatives.

Such a comparison is potentially volatile for the federal government, which has painted itself as a champion of the Canadian Forces while blasting the Chrétien government for the cuts imposed under its rule.

Douglas Bland, chair of defence management studies at Queen's University, said the Conservatives have discovered what the Chrétien Liberals already knew: there's always cash to be found in the defence budget.

"It's like a change jar," Bland said, noting that provinces don't get angry when money is taken from the military and few Canadians notice, "so there is very little blowback."

But CDA analyst David Perry wasn't prepared to say the Canadian Forces is entering another "decade of darkness."

Perry released his own study this week that found national defence funding has been reduced by $2.12 billion, or about 10.6 per cent, in the last two federal budgets - a number that may be even higher if new cuts are introduced in Thursday's budget.

But that compares to a more than 20 per cent cut imposed by the Chrétien government, Perry said, "so we're about halfway to where we were in the '90s"

The fact the federal government has pledged to maintain the Canadian Forces' strength at 68,000 regular force members and 27,000 reservists, and that it's still planning to buy new equipment, are noteworthy.

"Every other time the budget has been cut, the front-line personnel have been reduced and the capital budget has been frozen or reduced," Perry said.

"This will make it easier to come back in three or four years if the books recover and bump things back up."

But the fact the military is severely restricted in what it can and cannot slash is causing other short-term problems, Perry said, including hitting training and maintenance disproportionately hard.

This is consistent with concerns recently raised by the head of the Canadian Army, Lt.-Gen. Peter Devlin, whose own force is facing a 22 per cent spending cut.

"While we have had our budget reduced by 22 per cent, there are a bunch of fixed costs," Devlin told a Senate committee Dec. 3.

"It means that the training budgets for the formations are probably about 45 per cent lower than it was."

Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Tom Lawson acknowledged during an appearance before a Senate committee Monday that managing the spending reduction would be the focus of senior officers for the foreseeable future.

And he agreed there will be challenges.

"Anywhere we look for these savings, we will do so carefully," Lawson said. "But there will be some loss of capability."

Yet the country's top soldier said he remained optimistic - in part because the military had recovered from the "decade of darkness."

"The Canadian Armed Forces of 2013 is well ahead of where we were back in the mid-1990s," Lawson said.

"I can see clearly how far we have come to where we are today."

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 20, 2013, 15:31:40
Some interesting chat here (http://ww3.tvo.org/video/189323/military-we-can-afford). I have chatted, briefly, with Stephen Saideman about this; I suspect he, and Prof Stein, are right: cuts to HQs (which I believe are both possible and would, indeed, produce positive results) and reforms to the defence procurement processes will not produce the required cuts. We must do a lot less with less money - but: we have done that before. We, the nation, can sustain a core of general purpose combat capable forces with less resources; it is not easy but it is possible.

According to Elinor Sloan's (http://www1.carleton.ca/polisci/people/sloan-elinor) research, the public is content to maintain adequate defence spending but, as I have said before, that same public also demands a balanced budget. My quesstimate is that the latter trumps the former.

 
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: drunknsubmrnr on March 20, 2013, 16:06:54
Quote
Try sticking your head between two fat guys legs.....

Try being the fat guy.

Is there any flexibility in reducing some units readiness to boost other units? ie tying the MCDV's and submarines to the wall while diverting funding to fully fund frigates operations

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: PuckChaser on March 20, 2013, 16:11:11
Is there any flexibility in reducing some units readiness to boost other units? ie tying the MCDV's and submarines to the wall while diverting funding to fully fund frigates operations

There probably would be, but I strongly suspect there are people unwilling to let their departments take that hit in order to have readiness increased it other operational areas.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 20, 2013, 17:15:34
Try being the fat guy.

Is there any flexibility in reducing some units readiness to boost other units? ie tying the MCDV's and submarines to the wall while diverting funding to fully fund frigates operations


I wonder if, in the current O&M climate, some admirals are not considering tying up a frigate (n sailors and $n,nnn.nn/hour to operate) and manning an extra MCDV (only n/5 sailors and $nn.nn/hour).
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Dolphin_Hunter on March 20, 2013, 17:23:34
Try being the fat guy.
 ie tying the MCDV's and submarines to the wall while diverting funding to fully fund frigates operations

Tying up the boats (subs) would be a horrible idea, if those were to get tied up for any length of time we might as well leave them there.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Monsoon on March 20, 2013, 17:41:19
There probably would be, but I strongly suspect there are people unwilling to let their departments take that hit in order to have readiness increased it other operational areas.
Well, there's only L1 involved in that decision, so that wouldn't be the issue; the fact that it's a bad idea would probably be the driving factor. As Dolphin-Hunter pointed out, tieing up the subs now would more or less write off the entire sub programme (fine if that's your goal, I guess - but it doesn't seem to be anyone's goal). As for the Kingston class, those ships are so laughably cheap to run that the cost/benefit math for tieing them up just doesn't compute. They see off a lot of the RCN's domestic commitments (SOVPATs, FISHPATs, SAR station, etc) at a fraction of the cost (like, a tenth) of running a heavy to do the same thing. I wouldn't be surprised if paying them off entirely meant fewer days at sea doing task group-level work/training.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: PuckChaser on March 20, 2013, 18:00:35
Well, there's only L1 involved in that decision, so that wouldn't be the issue; the fact that it's a bad idea would probably be the driving factor. As Dolphin-Hunter pointed out, tieing up the subs now would more or less write off the entire sub programme (fine if that's your goal, I guess - but it doesn't seem to be anyone's goal). As for the Kingston class, those ships are so laughably cheap to run that the cost/benefit math for tieing them up just doesn't compute. They see off a lot of the RCN's domestic commitments (SOVPATs, FISHPATs, SAR station, etc) at a fraction of the cost (like, a tenth) of running a heavy to do the same thing. I wouldn't be surprised if paying them off entirely meant fewer days at sea doing task group-level work/training.

I didn't necessarily mean the RCN, just happened to quote his example as well. Tying up older ships would be akin to tying up LSVWs or MLVWs in the Army for a year, they would be rotten hulks when you tried to start them up again. Aren't the MCDVs run by reservists? That's a lot of Cl C money being dumped into crewing those ships, are there not crews available from ships in extended refit?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Chief Engineer on March 20, 2013, 18:05:43

I wonder if, in the current O&M climate, some admirals are not considering tying up a frigate (n sailors and $n,nnn.nn/hour to operate) and manning an extra MCDV (only n/5 sailors and $nn.nn/hour).

Right now there is a plan to man another MCDV this summer for force generation with a mix reg/reg crew. Right from the Admirals mouth last month he said the MCDV's will be doing the lions share of Fisheries and such as other CPF's go into refit for the foreseeable future. They are cheap to operate compared to a CPF and will be seeing more operations down south in the form of OP Caribe where they are very well suited.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Chief Engineer on March 20, 2013, 18:09:46
I didn't necessarily mean the RCN, just happened to quote his example as well. Tying up older ships would be akin to tying up LSVWs or MLVWs in the Army for a year, they would be rotten hulks when you tried to start them up again. Aren't the MCDVs run by reservists? That's a lot of Cl C money being dumped into crewing those ships, are there not crews available from ships in extended refit?

MCDV's are indeed run by reservists, but most of the billets are reserve billets and the reg force has little interest manning them. You would think there are lots of extra crew around, but there isn't really with things such as coursing and other manning challenges such as the Orca's.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 20, 2013, 19:07:09
Right now there is a plan to man another MCDV this summer for force generation with a mix reg/reg crew. Right from the Admirals mouth last month he said the MCDV's will be doing the lions share of Fisheries and such as other CPF's go into refit for the foreseeable future. They are cheap to operate compared to a CPF and will be seeing more operations down south in the form of OP Caribe where they are very well suited.


That, using (smaller & cheaper) MCDVs for tasks which are within their capability envelope, is just good sense.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 20, 2013, 19:17:41
MCDV's are indeed run by reservists, but most of the billets are reserve billets and the reg force has little interest manning them. You would think there are lots of extra crew around, but there isn't really with things such as coursing and other manning challenges such as the Orca's.


At some point the RCN, especially, but the CF as a whole, has to come to grips with permanent vs non-permanent establishments. Our colleague dapaterson has pointed out, time and again, that the CF is breaking its own rules.

While I think the idea of reserve manned ships (and units) is great, it appears, as I understand it, that it violates the rules. Maybe we need to rethink the regular/reserve split; maybe we need two components: the active force and the reserve force and, maybe, within the reserve force we need a permanent (or active) reserve, which is on full time service and can be called to active service without further administrative action but which is not subject to e.g. postings (except for deployments) and a non-permanent (or volunteer) reserve.  :dunno:  My sense is that the Naval Reserve (the RCN(R)?) cannot run more than, say, half of the MCDVs and credible Naval Reserve Divisions. Maybe there need to be some nearly fully RCN(R) crewed MVDVs used for reserve training, say four or five of them, while the other seven or eight have mixed crews and are used for tasks like fisheries patrol and Op CARIBE, oceanographic research and even mine countermeasures.


Edit: typo
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: drunknsubmrnr on March 21, 2013, 10:52:45
Quote
At some point the RCN, especially, but the CF as a whole, has to come to grips with permanent vs non-permanent establishments.

I agree. I also think that Regular force-manned as opposed to Reserve-force manning is the tip of the iceberg.

We've already seen with Huron that once a ship goes, it won't be replaced. Would it not make sense to decide now what the future fleet should be and divert as many resources as we can towards that? Once the remaining destroyers are paid off, chances are pretty good they won't be replaced. I think that 15 surface combatants are a lot more useful to the fleet and the country rather than 12 surface combatants and 4 training submarines.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on March 21, 2013, 11:15:24
The RCN has done considerable work to forecast the current and future fleets, and the personnel requirements to manage the transition from one to the next.

The challenge is in the large number of moving pieces - a one-year delay in AOPS means that the CSC is also delayed at least a year, meaning that the pers plan is now askew.  And that's a relatively simple thing... throw in occupational changes, departmental priorities, and so on, and the RCN has a large challenge on their hands.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: drunknsubmrnr on March 21, 2013, 11:31:20
Quote
The RCN has done considerable work to forecast the current and future fleets, and the personnel requirements to manage the transition from one to the next.

The work appears to amount to a detailed wish list. The chances of actually getting the desired fleet in an operationally useful timeframe are slim. We're already seeing this with the JSS and AOPS, and they're not terribly complicated platforms.

RCN project planning must involve a lot of "And this is where a miracle happens" milestones....

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: ARMY_101 on March 21, 2013, 13:48:34
3 hours to go!  Who else is excited? ;D

www.budget.gc.ca
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Canadian.Trucker on March 21, 2013, 13:54:29
3 hours to go!  Who else is excited? ;D

www.budget.gc.ca
I expect your question is a little tongue in cheek, since there is little to be excited about from what I've heard.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on March 21, 2013, 20:25:15
According to a report in the Ottawa Citizen (http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/budget+endorses+jobcreation+plan+linked+future+military/8133669/story.html) the budget explicitly endorses "the report by Tom Jenkins, chairman of OpenText Corp., [which] recommended in February that the government use a "once in a century" opportunity to leverage the $490 billion in defence spending over the next 20 years." This is precisely the opposite of most bang for the buck and, instead, provides most pork for the buck; the CF will get whatever Canadian industry can produce, not what the military operational requirements specify. Ho-hum, we've been here before - anyone else old enough to remember the split CPF and TRUMP contracts?

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: milnews.ca on March 21, 2013, 20:31:55
.... This is precisely the opposite of most bang for the buck and, instead, provides most pork for the buck; the CF will get whatever Canadian industry can produce, not what the military operational requirements specify ....
.... with industry happy to hear it (highlights mine):
Quote
The Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) strongly endorses the federal government's commitment to create and implement a defence procurement strategy in which Canadian companies will be part of any plan to build equipment for the Canadian Forces, as expressed today in the federal Budget.

"Military procurement is the largest single area of discretionary spending the government has," said Mr. Page.  "The Government is boldly seizing the opportunity this spending represents to create jobs, especially high-end manufacturing jobs, in the Canadian defence and security sector.  This is an important step forward, putting Canada on a similar footing to other highly industrialized countries with clear strategies to promote their defence and security sectors."

Mr. Page added, "The government's commitment in the Budget recognizes that it is in the national interest to have a strong, innovative, domestic defence-related manufacturing base that produces leading edge equipment, generates high-value exports, and supports knowledge-based jobs for Canadians."

CADSI had broadly supported recommendations put forward by OpenText chairman Tom Jenkins in his report to the government on leveraging defence procurement around Key Industrial Capabilities in the Canadian sector.  "Our industry is delighted that the government endorsed Tom Jenkins' proposal to use Key Industrial Capabilities to leverage military procurement and has committed to expediting the implementation of the Jenkins recommendations this Spring," said Mr. Page ....
Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries info-machine, 21 Mar 13 (http://www.newswire.ca/en/story/1133913/government-seizing-the-opportunity-to-leverage-military-procurement-to-drive-jobs-in-high-end-manufacturing-cadsi)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: ARMY_101 on March 21, 2013, 22:53:03
Is it just me, or does Budget 2013 (http://www.budget.gc.ca/2013/doc/plan/budget2013-eng.pdf) not mention the specific amount of money DND/CAF will be receiving?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on March 21, 2013, 23:03:17
That information is contained in the Main Estimates, which will then be amended by the Supplementary Estimates.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: ARMY_101 on March 22, 2013, 09:16:32
That information is contained in the Main Estimates, which will then be amended by the Supplementary Estimates.

Estimated spent in 2012-2013: $20,678,142,610
Main estimates (http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/est-pre/20132014/me-bpd/me-bpd-eng.pdf) for 2013-2014: $17,985,310,381
= $2.69 billion reduction

... Not bad.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Monsoon on March 22, 2013, 11:38:08
Estimated spent in 2012-2013: $20,678,142,610
Main estimates (http://www.tbs-sct.gc.ca/est-pre/20132014/me-bpd/me-bpd-eng.pdf) for 2013-2014: $17,985,310,381
= $2.69 billion reduction

... Not bad.
Just to contextualize a bit, the "Estimated spent" is the final, year-end tally - (almost) always higher than the Main Estimate. For comparison, the Main Estimate going into 2012-13 was $19,799,128,095, so this year's Main Estimate is only $1.8B less (a reduction of about 9%).

And budget cuts allocated by component:

- "Land readiness" (CA): 6.9%
- "Joint readiness" (CJOC, et al): 7.3%
- "Maritime readiness" (RCN): 10.6%
- "Aerospace readiness" (RCAF): 9.6%
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: ARMY_101 on March 22, 2013, 12:37:19
Just to contextualize a bit, the "Estimated spent" is the final, year-end tally - (almost) always higher than the Main Estimate. For comparison, the Main Estimate going into 2012-13 was $19,799,128,095, so this year's Main Estimate is only $1.8B less (a reduction of about 9%).

And budget cuts allocated by component:

- "Land readiness" (CA): 6.9%
- "Joint readiness" (CJOC, et al): 7.3%
- "Maritime readiness" (RCN): 10.6%
- "Aerospace readiness" (RCAF): 9.6%

What about all the ADMs, CMP, and all the other L1s not considered Army, Navy, or Air Force?  Are they covered under "Support" and internal services?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Monsoon on March 22, 2013, 12:40:10
What about all the ADMs, CMP, and all the other L1s not considered Army, Navy, or Air Force?  Are they covered under "Support" and internal services?
I suspect some of what they do gets rolled into "Joint and Common" (which is bigger than either the RCN or the RCAF, so it's got to be more than just CJOC), but there are a lot of other line items in the Main Estimate they could fall under. These four lines above only account for just over half the total Defence budget.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on March 22, 2013, 13:21:05
The Program Activity Architecture (PAA) describes the activities of Defence, and is what is used for the attributions of costs.  All done at an extremely high level; units & formations aren't asked or tasked to contribute to it.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Monsoon on March 22, 2013, 14:06:12
The Program Activity Architecture (PAA) describes the activities of Defence, and is what is used for the attributions of costs.  All done at an extremely high level; units & formations aren't asked or tasked to contribute to it.
True - not everything the RCAF does is "Aerospace Readiness", and not all "Aerospace Readiness" is done by the RCAF alone... but it's a handy thumb-guide to how things will likely break down L1-wise, since we don't really get to see the breakdown by formation. For example, Comd RCN has been quoted in the media as saying he expects an 11% cut to his budget this year: that corresponds quite closely to the 10.5% cut to "Maritime Readiness" in the PAA.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Good2Golf on March 23, 2013, 19:03:24
Did I read page II-37 of the Main Estimate correctly, that the CBC, after all its vilification of the Conservative Government was actually only cut 0.9%?

12-13   $1,074,319,060
13-14   $1,064,769,960
cut       $      -9,550,000

-9,550,000 ÷ 1,074,319,060 x 100 = -0.889%


Poor CBC...  :'(
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on July 12, 2013, 07:28:47
Quote
Federal government accused of deficit slashing by stealth as defence spending $2.3B below budgeted amount
Murray Brewster
National Post
11 July 2013


OTTAWA — New figures from the parliamentary budget office show National Defence hasn’t spent billions of dollars set aside for it during the last budget year in a continuing trend that’s being described as deficit slashing by stealth.
 
The data on quarterly expenditures in the federal government show that by the end of the last fiscal year in March, the department had spent $2.3 billion less than what was allocated by Parliament.
 
That’s more than 10% of the annual defence appropriation, which also happens to be the single biggest discretionary line item in the federal budget.
 
The figures for previous years show that $9.6 billion has gone unspent in defence since the 2006-07 budget year — a trend defence officials have blamed on late equipment projects and an inefficient bureaucracy.

A former commander of the army says this calls for an explanation from the Harper government.
 
“I am not aware of any other Western armed forces, who are all going through budget reductions, underspending by such a dramatic amount over such a relatively long period of time,” said retired lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie.
 
He said the spending pattern is either a matter of managerial incompetence or a deliberate policy.
 
“If it is deliberate, the government of Canada needs to explain why.”
 
Some of the unspent funds, mostly earmarked for equipment, can be moved to other budgets in an exercise known as re-profiling, but a university expert in defence spending say the continuing pattern makes him wonder if the aim is deliberate.
 
Dave Perry, of Carleton University and the Conference of Defence Associations, says if it was simply a matter of a faulty process, a government committed to ending inefficiency would have fixed it.  “I really cannot conceive of how this is could not be considered a major problem and why they couldn’t, over the span of three years, address this,” he said.
 
Perry said he doesn’t believe “that this is entirely accidental” and he’s heard of plans and projects being delayed as a way to make DND’s books look better and make an even greater contribution to deficit reduction

The effect on operations and equipment is magnified by the government’s parallel deficit-fighting plans, which aim to cut baseline appropriations.
 
Leslie said the effect is like absorbing three big budget cuts all at once. He pointed to Senate testimony from the current army commander and former head of the navy, who both said their operations budgets have taken major hits.  Ultimately, the military’s ability to quickly respond to emergencies and mount sustained operations is affected, he said.
 
National Defence isn’t alone in not spending what Parliament gives it. The budget office numbers show the federal government as a whole only spends about 90% of what is appropriated.  The RCMP, Transport Canada and Natural Resources and Aboriginal Affairs had a tougher time spending their budgets last year, according to the data.  But the size of the defence numbers and the consistency of the problem make the department stick out.
 
The numbers released this week are not final, officials at the budget office acknowledged. The federal government will present a final tally on revenue and spending later this year when the public accounts are tabled in Parliament.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on July 14, 2013, 17:37:57
LGen Peter Devlin makes some candid remarks about the current budgetary situation in this article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Montreal Gazette:

http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Hardwon+lessons+Afghan+life+support+outgoing+army/8658566/story.html
(https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTVJW_H9EAVifgQmpSA4J3HSw03GmeiCRclaFOAhJRe3XlLrf5slg)
Quote
Hard-won lessons of Afghan war on 'life support,' outgoing army commander warns
 
BY MURRAY BREWSTER, THE CANADIAN PRESS

JULY 14, 2013

OTTAWA - Budget restraint and under-spending at National Defence have left some of the army's hard-won capabilities from the Afghan war on "life support," says the outgoing commander of the Canadian Army.

The federal government needs to recognize that intelligence operators are as much a part of today's front line as soldiers and tanks, said Lt.-Gen. Peter Devlin, whose three-year tenure as Canada's top soldier comes to an end Thursday.

"I am unusually proud that there is an army that has been reloaded and I've spent an incredible amount of energy and effort to pay respect to the lessons that were learned with blood in Afghanistan," Devlin said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Much of Devlin's 35-year career in the military was spent in the field in Afghanistan, as well as in Iraq as an exchange officer with the U.S. Army.

But the transition from the front line to Ottawa's political trench warfare can be daunting, and Devlin's candid — but tactful — assessments of the effect of budget-slashing at National Defence have been like fingernails on a chalkboard to a government that's staked much of its reputation on embracing the military.

Before a Senate committee last December, Devlin revealed the army's baseline budget had been cut by 22 per cent and warned there was little fat to cut throughout the organization — a view that did not sit well in political circles.

It has been a scramble to maintain not only training, but elements Devlin described as the "softer skills" essential to fighting modern wars, such as intelligence, surveillance and expertise in countering improvised explosive devices.

"Some of them, to be quite frank, are on life support," he said. "Some are important; others we have had to make rough choices."

Each of those elements figured prominently in the hit-and-run war against the Taliban, and yet the army has found itself redirecting soldiers from infantry, armoured and artillery regiments in order to maintain the necessary intelligence capability.

The ranks of troops who conduct information and electronic warfare — more important than ever on the modern-day battlefield — are stretched thin, Devlin said. "The definition of what soldiers are considered the pointy end of the stick is much broader now, and I would argue that the intelligence analyst is a pointy-ended soldier today."

The army is pushing it, he said, but has "just enough" door gunners for training to man the new CH-47F Chinook helicopters, which began arriving last month.

Equipment such as surveillance balloons and electronics towers, used to keep 24-hour watch over the battlefield, are instead packed up in storage and used sparingly for training because of shrinking budgets, he added.

"If our training scenarios are not rich enough to keep those skills honed at the level they should be, it will mean we will take extra time, extra training and extra resources to bring them up to an appropriate level to represent Canada professionally — the way Canada needs to be represented — domestically or internationally."

A series of internal briefings, released to The Canadian Press over the last year, echo Devlin's concerns, including one memo that warns of possible "degradation," particularly in intelligence.

“Recent operational experience has reinforced the conviction that deployed land forces ... depend on a sophisticated (human intelligence) network that draws from all sources,” said the April 8, 2011, briefing, obtained under the Access to Information Act.

The army found itself hobbled at the beginning of the Kandahar mission in 2005, by the absence of that sophisticated ground network of sources, and by its lack of experience in interrogating prisoners.

Defence analysts have been warning for months that while the army has been able to maintain training at the highest level for quick reaction units, which are designed to deploy in a crisis, its ability to mount a sustained operation similar to the one in Afghanistan has been compromised by cuts to training and readiness.

Devlin's comments come just days after the parliamentary budget office revealed that National Defence had under-spent its budget by as much as $2.3 billion last year — bringing the cumulative total of unused funds to $9.6 billion since 2006.

The department claims some of that cash is the result of government belt-tightening in the form of strategic review and deficit reduction, which combined could carve as much as 13 per cent a year out of the defence budget.

When asked last week, the department refused to provide detailed figures. But Stephen O'Connor, the associate deputy minister of financial services, told CTV on Friday that the figures for under-spending last year were not as bad as the budget office made it seem.

O'Connor estimated the number at slightly less than $1.5 billion. "That's still a large number, we understand that, but there are reasons behind that number," he said.


Two points:

     1. LGen Devlin "warned there was little fat to cut throughout the organization," but the point is that there still is "fat." There was when we were doing slash and burn exercises in NDHQ in the 1980s and 1990s
         and there is now. If anyone says that there is no HQ fat left to cut then I guarantee that person is either not a veteran of NDHQ or has another agenda - and yes, I am talking about Gen Lawson; and

     2. "Stephen O'Connor, the associate deputy minister of financial services, told CTV ... the number [the unspent money] [is] slightly less than $1.5 billion. "That's still a large number, we understand that, but there
         are reasons behind that number.""  There are, indeed, reasons, good, proper and legal reasons behind that and the number is manageble and can and should be programmed because it happens year after year after year.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: milnews.ca on July 14, 2013, 18:55:30
Quote
Federal government accused of deficit slashing by stealth as defence spending $2.3B below budgeted amount ....
.... "Stephen O'Connor, the associate deputy minister of financial services, told CTV ... the number [the unspent money] [is] slightly less than $1.5 billion. "That's still a large number, we understand that, but there are reasons behind that number.""  There are, indeed, reasons, good, proper and legal reasons behind that and the number is manageble and can and should be programmed because it happens year after year after year.
The Info-machine responds (http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?id=4894)....
Quote
Recent reports in the media are providing a misleading impression of how the Department of National Defence manages its spending.  This statement is being issued to clarify matters:

Based on current departmental financial information, our unused appropriations in 2012-13 will be less than $1.5 billion. The final 2012-13 spending levels will be reported to Parliament later this year as per normal.  It is important to note, however, that the vast majority of the amount of unused appropriations was beyond the department's control.

For example, these unused appropriations were associated with:

    Requirements to lapse authorities associated with decisions that flowed from the deficit reduction action plan which were announced after the Main Estimates were tabled.
    rescheduling of a payment to a foreign government from 2012-13 to 2013-14, as required by accounting rules;   
    a change in the timing of payments required from a judicial decision as the decision was not taken until early April 2013, pushing the funds into the 2013-14 fiscal year; and
    revised cash flow schedules for capital equipment and infrastructure projects.

Defence procurement tends to be complex and lengthy, involving a number of stakeholders.  Spending forecasts are based on plans but these plans are dependent on a number of assumptions and considerations ....
Title: Re: "Re-Royalization" (RCN, RCAF & RCEME), renaming, CF to CAF, old badges, and "new" Army Divisions
Post by: Jarnhamar on July 15, 2013, 13:35:07
That's horrible.
Title: Re: Re: "Re-Royalization" (RCN, RCAF & RCEME), renaming, CF to CAF, old badges, and "new" Army Divisions
Post by: Colin P on July 15, 2013, 13:43:55
Part of the budget problem is jumping through all of the hoops to actually be allowed to spend the money. Frankly I think if a proposal/contract/project is 2/3rds the way along, the money should automatically carry over to the next fiscal. I lost count how projects have hit my desk come March and then have to tell them they need a CEAA review or First nation consultation before we could issue a permit and the funding agencies refusing to guarantee to carry over the money, despite their holding onto it till the last minute and causing the crisis in the first place.
Title: Re: "Re-Royalization" (RCN, RCAF & RCEME), renaming, CF to CAF, old badges, and "new" Army Divisions
Post by: FSTO on July 15, 2013, 15:13:25
Part of the budget problem is jumping through all of the hoops to actually be allowed to spend the money. Frankly I think if a proposal/contract/project is 2/3rds the way along, the money should automatically carry over to the next fiscal. I lost count how projects have hit my desk come March and then have to tell them they need a CEAA review or First nation consultation before we could issue a permit and the funding agencies refusing to guarantee to carry over the money, despite their holding onto it till the last minute and causing the crisis in the first place.

This x a zillion!
In the name of accountability -  the powers that be have put in so many oversights and reports for expenditures it is amazing that we are able to even buy fuel! Coupled with the risk avoidance mentality that permeates at the decision making level we have this massive road block to getting major purchases completed.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: UnwiseCritic on July 15, 2013, 18:01:16
This x a zillion!
In the name of accountability -  the powers that be have put in so many oversights and reports for expenditures it is amazing that we are able to even buy fuel! Coupled with the risk avoidance mentality that permeates at the decision making level we have this massive road block to getting major purchases completed.

Is this some of the fat we could trim?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Ostrozac on July 15, 2013, 18:31:26
a change in the timing of payments required from a judicial decision as the decision was not taken until early April 2013, pushing the funds into the 2013-14 fiscal year;

Is this the Envoy/RoyalLepage/IRP decision?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on August 01, 2013, 12:44:40
Look, folks: we have had budget cuts before ~ worse than these (in proportion). We survived. It wasn't always easy but, sometimes, we took good, hard looks at what we did and how we did things and we decided to be more efficient. We never cut the Ceremonial Guard, nor the Snowbirds, nor saluting cannons. We are not popular in this country, notwithstanding yellow ribbons and red T-shirts; polling puts us, consistently, near the bottom of most Canadians' list of spending priorities. Balancing the budget in Canada is nearly akin to rugby in New Zealand, plus it's good policy. DND always does a full and more than fair share when budget cuts are needed, we always survive. We will this time, too.

That's my perspective from 35+ years in uniform during the past 50+ years.


There is an interesting article in today's Globe and Mail about newly released documents from Britain's National Archives (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/declassified-documents-reveal-british-views-of-inordinately-sensitive-canadians/article13545855/#dashboard/follows/). The report refers, specifically, to a briefing note prepared for Prime Minister Margrert Thatcher for a 1983 trip to Canada. It warns her about Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's "unsound personal views on East/West problems and the strategic balance.” It also added that “the Canadians are a people of the extreme centre. They have not been averse to the quiet life offered by Trudeau nor keen to spend more money on defence or effort abroad.”

Nothing has changed in 30 years, in fact, nothing has changed in 60 years, since the end of the Korean War: Canadians do not like to spend money on defence and they do not like sending the CF overseas. It is the way it always has been and I can see nothing that suggests it will change in my lifetime or yours (which is, I hope, much longer).

Get used to skrimping and saving and to doing more with less ~ some of us did it for 35 years.


Edit: spelling  :-[
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Jed on August 01, 2013, 13:24:57

There is an interesting article in today's Globe and Mail about newly released documents from Britain's National Archives (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/declassified-documents-reveal-british-views-of-inordinately-sensitive-canadians/article13545855/#dashboard/follows/). The report refers, specifically, to a briefing not prepared for Prime Minister Margrert Thatcher for a 1983 trip to Canada. It warns her about Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's "unsound personal views on East/West problems and the strategic balance.” It also added that “the Canadians are a people of the extreme centre. They have not been averse to the quiet life offered by Trudeau nor keen to spend more money on defence or effort abroad.”

Nothing has changed in 30 years, in fact, nothing has changed in 60 years, since the end of the Korean War: Canadians do not like to spend money on defence and they do not like sending the CF overseas. It is the way it always has been and I can see nothing that suggests it will change in my lifetime or yours (which is, I hope, much longer).

Get used to skrimping and saving and to doing more with less ~ some of us did it for 35 years.

Spot on. It is my hope however, that the public sees fit to properly fund our wounded warriors which they have done so in the past but appear to be reneging on at the present time.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Old EO Tech on August 01, 2013, 13:39:52

There is an interesting article in today's Globe and Mail about newly released documents from Britain's National Archives (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/declassified-documents-reveal-british-views-of-inordinately-sensitive-canadians/article13545855/#dashboard/follows/). The report refers, specifically, to a briefing not prepared for Prime Minister Margrert Thatcher for a 1983 trip to Canada. It warns her about Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's "unsound personal views on East/West problems and the strategic balance.” It also added that “the Canadians are a people of the extreme centre. They have not been averse to the quiet life offered by Trudeau nor keen to spend more money on defence or effort abroad.”

Nothing has changed in 30 years, in fact, nothing has changed in 60 years, since the end of the Korean War: Canadians do not like to spend money on defence and they do not like sending the CF overseas. It is the way it always has been and I can see nothing that suggests it will change in my lifetime or yours (which is, I hope, much longer).

Get used to skrimping and saving and to doing more with less ~ some of us did it for 35 years.

I totally agree, the Canadian population only likes to see us when we are doing aid to civil power stuff/disaster relief.  And they still don't want the price to be very high :-/  This is just a fact of life and many politicians, especially liberals, but not limited to them, have taken advantage of this.

Jon
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: GAP on August 01, 2013, 15:28:16
Spot on. It is my hope however, that the public sees fit to properly fund our wounded warriors which they have do so in the past but appear to be reneging on at the present time.

That's because of the great selling job when they brought it in. I listened for, but found zero dissent when it came in. Everybody was willing to give it a chance because of the $250,000 number was being thrown out, etc. etc..

nobody read the small print. ::)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Jed on August 01, 2013, 15:37:25
Similar to the sales job they did when they brought in the new pension for the Reg and the Res force (while confusing it with CRA Compulsory Retirement Age changes). And this was pushed by our own people.

Enough to bring out the cynic in me.  ;D
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on August 02, 2013, 12:10:23
Quote
Strong. Proud. Ready?
Stephen Harper has championed stronger defence. But impending cuts will take a toll on unreformed armed forces with more tail than teeth

The Economist
Aug 3rd 2013


BOTH Rob Nicholson and Peter MacKay looked cheery enough as they shared a laugh after swapping the defence and justice portfolios in a cabinet shuffle last month. But only Mr MacKay, the new justice minister, had good reason to smile. He inherits a department where most of the Conservative government’s law-and-order agenda has already been implemented while leaving one where difficult spending cuts lie ahead. It is Mr Nicholson, widely seen as a capable politician, who must now choose what to cut while also wrestling with problems over orders for new fighter jets and ships. His appointment follows those of new commanders for all three armed forces. So a new team is in charge of Canada’s defence—a subject especially close to the heart of Stephen Harper, the prime minister.
 
Canada is hardly alone in trying to trim its defence budget. Most of its allies, including the United States, Britain, France and Germany, are also trying to do the same with less. But since he took office in 2006 Mr Harper has made support for the armed forces a personal trademark. He has used it to differentiate his government from its Liberal predecessors, which ushered in what both the generals and the prime minister call “the decade of darkness”, when funding was cut as part of a successful effort to eliminate the budget deficit in the 1990s.

The Conservatives set out to reverse what they claimed was neglect of the armed forces, pouring money into troops and equipment. Defence spending had already started to rise again in the last few years of Liberal government; but in the first two years of a Conservative one it shot up to C$19.2 billion ($17.1 billion) in 2008-09 from C$15.7 billion in 2006-07. To existing orders for support vehicles, search-and-rescue helicopters and howitzers, the Conservatives added plans to buy F-35 fighter jets for the air force, support ships and Arctic patrol vessels for the navy, plus a polar icebreaker for the Coast Guard, and some transport helicopters. The opposition parties called the 2008 “Canada First” defence strategy more of a shopping list than a policy document.
 
The Conservatives have also worked to change the image of the Canadian armed forces from peacekeepers (a Liberal idea) to fighters. They celebrated military milestones. The government spent C$28m to mark the bicentenary of the War of 1812 between what was then a group of British colonies and the United States. Red Fridays, when Canadians wear red to support the troops, won political support. The image makeover was helped by the fact that Canadian forces were fighting in Afghanistan and were led by a charismatic and outspoken chief of the defence staff, General Rick Hillier.
 
Circumstances have changed. General Hillier has retired. Canada is no longer fighting in Afghanistan, although 950 trainers will remain until next year as part of the international effort to create an Afghan army. Money is tight. The federal budget slipped back into deficit in 2008-09 and the government’s determination to return to surplus before the next election in 2015 means even a favoured department like defence is not being spared. It lost just over C$2 billion in the first two rounds of government-wide spending cuts and looks likely to lose as much again as the 2015 deadline looms. The “Canada First” strategy is unaffordable and there are mutterings about a new decade of darkness.
 
That need not happen. Mr Nicholson could rootle out a 2011 report on military reform commissioned by the government, which spells out how the ministry could save money yet still invest in future needs such as cyber-security and enhanced Arctic capabilities. Its main recommendation was to cut the bloated bureaucracy at headquarters, which swelled during the years of plenty, and send officers back into the field. It also recommended reducing the amount spent on consultants, contractors and professional services, which rose 54% to C$2.7 billion a year during the six-year period of review (and jumped to C$3.2 billion the following year). Canada’s forces need to trim the “tail” so they can invest in the “teeth”, says Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie, the report’s author.
 
But the defence department has done almost the opposite. It has cut money for operations and maintenance, reducing readiness, while preserving the number of full-time troops at about 68,000 and proceeding with the procurement programme, albeit with a slight delay. Such a strategy only makes sense if full funding is restored quickly, according to David Perry, a defence analyst, in a paper for the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, a think-tank. Otherwise, the armed forces risk being fully equipped and, on paper, fully staffed but unable to deploy troops. Lieut-General Leslie says the navy is already short of 900 active-duty sailors while “expensively trained naval operators are sailing their desks up and down the corridors in Ottawa”.
 
Mr Nicholson has given no sign that he will dust off the Leslie report. Still, the wholesale clean-out at the top of the department has prompted speculation that Mr Harper himself has decided to take charge. That could be a good thing, says Jack Harris, the defence spokesman for the opposition New Democratic Party, as the prime minister has said in the past he wants troops in the field rather than at their desks. Mr Harris urges a white paper laying out a new defence strategy to replace the outdated “Canada First” policy.
 
With less cash, officials have fallen back on cheaper ways of reviving past military glory. Two years ago the navy and air force inserted the word “royal” into their official names. The army plans to revert to historical titles for privates, who now become sappers, bombardiers, fusiliers or troopers depending on their function. A fortnight ago the army adopted a new badge and a new tagline: Strong. Proud. Ready. Canadians would not argue with the first two. But some think the third is now in doubt.
http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21582526-stephen-harper-has-championed-stronger-defence-impending-cuts-will-take-toll
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: pbi on August 06, 2013, 09:28:05
Unfortunately, the unprecedented surge in popularity and profile that the military experienced during Afghanistan may turn out to be a double-edged sword for the CF as it tries to come to grips with what is already a straitened financial environment.

The ten years or so that we fought in Afghanistan represented 0-Major, or O-Sgt/WO in military career terms. That means we have an entire generation of leaders who have not really known what it's like to serve in a "shoestring Army".

The descent from that (well-earned) "high" to what is typically the norm for a peacetime CF is going to be that much more difficult, and hurt that much more, because of this recent period of rejuvenation or rebirth.

Like E.R, I can only offer that the CF have survived this before, and are going to survive it again. Bitterness and introspection, or reverting to "buttons and bows" will not help.

IMHO what we have going for us in the CA is neither mass nor firepower nor overwhelming logistic capacity; it's just people. As long as the CA remembers that, and stays focused on developing professionals who can grab the torch when the  time comes (and it will come again-it always does, just when we least expect it...), we will do OK.

And, I guess it's worth reminding people that professional soldiers should never hitch themselves to the wagon of any particular political party. In the end, our politicians are just that: politicians. They will make their decisions for the good of the nation (we hope), or for the good of their party (too often), but rarely will they ever uphold the cause of the military at the cost of anything else critical.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Canadian.Trucker on August 06, 2013, 11:10:00
Agreed pbi.  I joined at the start of the money wave, so I have not known what it's like to exist during the decade of darkness.  Regardless we all still have a job to do, and even with a reduced budget we have to move forward and perhaps get creative with our training to maximize the resources we have to play with.

Flexibility and economy of effort.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: pbi on August 07, 2013, 14:04:04

Flexibility and economy of effort.

You are going to need both.....
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Canadian.Trucker on August 07, 2013, 14:34:56
You are going to need both.....
Understatement of the week.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Old Sweat on August 07, 2013, 14:47:44
In my 20s and 30s I experienced the worst of the budget cuts, reductions, disbandments and all the rest of the integration and unification which was not well planned at all and in fact was implemented in a pretty haphazard manner. Then add on the general contempt in which the government of the day held the forces in the seventies, and it was not easy being a soldier. This also was the Vietnam and post-Vietnam era, and the dislike of the war and of the military in general migrated north of the border and we were widely viewed as baby killers and all the rest. In spite of all that, or maybe because of it, we took pride in doing our best with what little we did get, and trained as hard and as often as we could.

Two generations of Canadian service people lived through all this with no real prospect of being on the two way range. Despite that we maintained extremely high standards. Our legacy and our payback came watching you guys and gals perform so magnificently in Afghanistan and Haiti and Libya and patrolling in far distant waters and . . . Less I get too preachy, I'll just close by urging you to build on what you learned and don't ever take the easy way out. Soldiering in times of peace when the budgets shrink is not easy, but it can be done. No, it has to be done, lest ye break faith.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Jed on August 07, 2013, 15:25:29
In my 20s and 30s I experienced the worst of the budget cuts, reductions, disbandments and all the rest of the integration and unification which was not well planned at all and in fact was implemented in a pretty haphazard manner. Then add on the general contempt in which the government of the day held the forces in the seventies, and it was not easy being a soldier. This also was the Vietnam and post-Vietnam era, and the dislike of the war and of the military in general migrated north of the border and we were widely viewed as baby killers and all the rest. In spite of all that, or maybe because of it, we took pride in doing our best with what little we did get, and trained as hard and as often as we could.

Two generations of Canadian service people lived through all this with no real prospect of being on the two way range. Despite that we maintained extremely high standards. Our legacy and our payback came watching you guys and gals perform so magnificently in Afghanistan and Haiti and Libya and patrolling in far distant waters and . . . Less I get too preachy, I'll just close by urging you to build on what you learned and don't ever take the easy way out. Soldiering in times of peace when the budgets shrink is not easy, but it can be done. No, it has to be done, lest ye break faith.

Great post.  :goodpost:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on August 07, 2013, 16:57:22
In my 20s and 30s I experienced the worst of the budget cuts, reductions, disbandments and all the rest of the integration and unification which was not well planned at all and in fact was implemented in a pretty haphazard manner. Then add on the general contempt in which the government of the day held the forces in the seventies, and it was not easy being a soldier. This also was the Vietnam and post-Vietnam era, and the dislike of the war and of the military in general migrated north of the border and we were widely viewed as baby killers and all the rest. In spite of all that, or maybe because of it, we took pride in doing our best with what little we did get, and trained as hard and as often as we could.

Two generations of Canadian service people lived through all this with no real prospect of being on the two way range. Despite that we maintained extremely high standards. Our legacy and our payback came watching you guys and gals perform so magnificently in Afghanistan and Haiti and Libya and patrolling in far distant waters and . . . Less I get too preachy, I'll just close by urging you to build on what you learned and don't ever take the easy way out. Soldiering in times of peace when the budgets shrink is not easy, but it can be done. No, it has to be done, lest ye break faith.


Many years ago I was asked to speak to a somewhat broad question about what kind of Army (CF) we wanted. All the good words/ideas like flexible and affordable and, and, and ... had been covered so I decided to take a soldier specific focus.

Now, this was in the midst of the decades if darkness (the plural matters because, as Old Sweat says, there were several of them. The ideas being presented had to be something we could manage under the highly constrained circumstances in which we found ourselves.

My thinking, such as it was, led to me to believe that, like the lord high executioner, I needed a little list (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ULo08dw1Ub4). Mine ended up with six items, all related to the notion that the modern Canadian soldier must be: _________

Here is my little list (the first four, I insisted, must be in this exact order):

     1. Tough;
     2. Superbly disciplined;
     3. Well trained;
     4. Adequately equipped;
                                             (the next two, I suggested, were not “order” sensitive, but they were equally important)
     5. Properly organized; and
     6. Well led.

It was a somewhat lengthy presentation and I cannot remember most if but here is a encapsulated sketch of the items, from memory:

Tough refers to both physical and mental “robustness” - what Field Marshal Lord Wavell described as the ability to withstand the shocks of war. What is was not was what my old friend MGen (ret'd) Clive Addy called “macho thuggery” (this was just after the Somalia Inquiry so that sort of thing was on many minds). (I explained that toughness is not the same as brute strength and that nothing in my comments could or should be considered as, in any way, restricting the employment of women.) But, I reminded my audience, war was a rough, dirty business, not for the faint of heart, mind of body. Toughness, I opined, could be taught, in fact it had to be taught – developed and nurtured in every phase of training and employment for all officers, NCOs and men. We were never too old or too senior to need “toughening up,” I said, and I suggested that the time would come when some officers in the audience, wearing more rank than they had at the moment would have to make hard, life and death decisions and we had all better hope that they were tough enough to do it.

Discipline, I told my audience, is the sine qua non of soldiering: the toughest guys and gals in the world are useless if they are not able to submerge their (natural) fears and sense of self preservation and “soldier on” just because  they ARE soldiers and their duty requires it. Discipline, I said, is what sets really good armies apart from just good or average or just acceptable ones. Well disciplined – and I kept repeating the phrase “superbly disciplined” - soldiers, I said, would always find a way to “make a silk purse from a sow's ear,” and I reminded my audience that given our current budgetary situation, “sow's ear” pretty much described our equipment situation. I also said that we didn't need a “school of discipline” or a CF disciplinarian or anything new: all we needed was to reinforce what was already written in our (recent) military ethos documents and what was written, in blood, in our military history. Like toughness, superb discipline needed to be an everyday thing – I recall digressing, just a bit, into remarks on senior officers' dress, deportment, passing of faults (like saluting) in NDHQ, conduct at all ranks social functions and physical fitness, there was an uncomfortable silence in the room – and it needed to be instilled by example, from the top down. Quiet, almost invisible, self discipline, I said, was the goal. Square bashing and screaming NCOs was just a step on a long – permanent – quest for superb discipline in all ranks in all circumstances.

Training did (and still does) cost money and we were (and you still are) right to look closely at training to make sure it is what is needed, that it is delivered when it is needed and that it is done in an efficient and effective manner. But, I said, a separate training function, separate from the general staff in HQ and separate from combat formation and unit commanders in the field, was neither efficient nor effective. Service schools, I suggested, must be where we always find our best officers and NCOs – getting in to a school staff position should be hard, getting out of one should be easy. School postings, like HQ staff jobs, should be temporary things, between regimental duty tours, and they should be damned hard work, too – but since only the best should be posted in to a school those who are there should often be promoted when they leave – and all the hard work will be worth it. But the important training is not done in schools, it is done in units and in the field, on exercises. That's where we teach soldiers, NCOs and officers, including colonels and generals, how to apply the skills and knowledge, including “leadership” knowledge, learned in the schools.

Equipment did cost money and I suggested that we had to be sure we understood the old adage that the very best is the enemy of the good enough and we needed to question the last 5% of performance when it consumed 20% of the budget for an item. It was out duty, as staff officers, I said, to “fight,” in all our committees, for the Army's fair share of the capital budget and then to “fight” to ensure that we, the Army staff, spent it wisely.

Organization is a very subjective issue but I suggested to my colleagues and superiors that we, the CF, were not especially well organized and, more important, that poor organization cost real, measurable money. There is no “perfect” or even "right” organization but there are very imperfect and, indeed, wrong ones and it is the duty of the staff to recommend better organizations.

Leadership is “easy,” I suggested – it is, essentially, a combination of toughness, discipline and training piled on top of what an honest young man or woman learned from his family, friends and teachers. But I did mention that leadership training was (still is) vital and nowhere more than at the junior levels – corporal and 2nd lieutenant. Leadership training, I suggested, is an essential component of TQ5, 6 and 7 training.

Why is this long story relevant to budgets? Because, 20+/- years ago, we were also (still) in a budget crisis and we were looking for ways to, as Old Sweat suggests to maintain the “extremely high standards” which had been passed on to us and we had to do that with too little money and too many tasks.

I suggest that keeping our your “great little army” great isn't overly expensive and it can be done if officers and NCOs, on regimental duty and in HQs, want to make it work.

Clearly, not all my ideas found favour with those to whom they were presented but I still think they are valid.

Attitudes matter more than "stuff," and the very human business of developing tough, superbly disciplined, well trained and adequately equipped soldiers need not stop or even slow when budgets are tight. In fact, as an old friend used to say: "when the weather's bad let's step up the training;" we should say, "when budgets are tight let's use our imaginations."
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Canadian.Trucker on August 07, 2013, 17:16:46
Excellent well rounded post/presentation E.R.

I agree that many of these things are in the attitude and implementation of a high level of expectation/discipline/work by Officers and SrNCO's. 

A thread I'm reminded of in regards to training is here on army.ca where it was asked for ideas on inexpensive and free ways to do interesting and relevant training for soldiers to keep them sharp and get them out of the rut of doing the same old thing.  I know for myself when I was a Pl Comd with the G&SF I sat down with the OC's direction on training and developed a training plan that could be implemented in a 2.5 hour parade night to keep soldier skills up, instead of just cleaning weapons and hitting the mess.  It was not extremely work intensive to implement once the plan was in place, it just required some creative thought and (just as important if not more so) buy in from my NCO's to do the training.  In the end it was a great success and the Pl loved it because it was challenging and relevant for them.

Unlimited funds does not automatically produce excellent results, and therefore limited funds does not produce poor results, it is in the leadership of our military that the results will be based upon I believe.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: UnwiseCritic on August 07, 2013, 17:27:36
Unlimited funds does not automatically produce excellent results, and therefore limited funds does not produce poor results, it is in the leadership of our military that the results will be based upon I believe.

Bingo! Which is why I'm so surprised leadership is last on the list... E.R. suggests the system will take care of that. But I think the only way the system can take care of that is if the leadership takes care of the system. How do we do make sure we go round and round the circle in a positive/beneficial way. We identify the correct people in the recruiting centers.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on August 07, 2013, 18:01:11
It's about time someone posted that quote about officers in the four categories with the stupid and industrious being weeded out.....
We need to do some heavy weeding....
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on August 07, 2013, 18:04:21
Bingo! Which is why I'm so surprised leadership is last on the list... E.R. suggests the system will take care of that. But I think the only way the system can take care of that is if the leadership takes care of the system. How do we do make sure we go round and round the circle in a positive/beneficial way. We identify the correct people in the recruiting centers.


I said that leadership and proper organization were not "order sensitive," in other words leadership could be first and organization last, or vice versa, or both at the top or both, as I listed them, at the bottom, but the other four, I suggested, need to be in that precise order because you can disciple a tough person but you cannot, necessarily make a disciplined person tough enough to be a soldier; equally training ought not to be wasted on people who are not both tough and well disciplined and "adequate equipment" will get good results in the hands of tough, superbly disciplined and well trained troops, but even the very best equipment will be wasted in the hands of troops who are poorly trained or ill disciplined and so on.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: UnwiseCritic on August 07, 2013, 18:09:06
Get used to skrimping and saving and to doing more with less ~ some of us did it for 35 years.
Edit: spelling  :-[

A very hard truth to accept


I said that leadership and proper organization were not "order sensitive," in other words leadership could be first and organization last, or vice versa, or both at the top or both, as I listed them, at the bottom, but the other four, I suggested, need to be in that precise order because you can disciple a tough person but you cannot, necessarily make a disciplined person tough enough to be a soldier; equally training ought not to be wasted on people who are not both tough and well disciplined and "adequate equipment" will get good results in the hands of tough, superbly disciplined and well trained troops, but even the very best equipment will be wasted in the hands of troops who are poorly trained or ill disciplined and so on.


I stand corrected and yep much wiser than I.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Navy_Pete on August 09, 2013, 11:10:30
It's about time someone posted that quote about officers in the four categories with the stupid and industrious being weeded out.....
We need to do some heavy weeding....
Found on http://old-soldier-colonel.blogspot.ca/2011/07/field-marshal-moltkes-four-types-of.html (http://old-soldier-colonel.blogspot.ca/2011/07/field-marshal-moltkes-four-types-of.html)

“There are only four types of officer. First, there are the lazy, stupid ones. Leave them alone, they do no harm…Second, there are the hard- working, intelligent ones. They make excellent staff officers, ensuring that every detail is properly considered. Third, there are the hard- working, stupid ones. These people are a menace and must be fired at once. They create irrelevant work for everybody. Finally, there are the intelligent, lazy ones. They are suited for the highest office.”
Field Marshal Erich Von Manstein

I would disagree about the lazy stupid ones though.  Nothing like someone rubber stamping something without even a token review, especially when you're engineers supposed to be certifying something as safe to operate.  Sadly I normally now assume when first working with someone that they haven't done anything properly and question it rather then assume their head is an external organ.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: SeaKingTacco on August 09, 2013, 12:33:38
I think lazy, in this sense, refers to finding simple, easy ways of doing things and not over complicating military life.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Navy_Pete on August 11, 2013, 21:59:09
I think lazy, in this sense, refers to finding simple, easy ways of doing things and not over complicating military life.

Ah, seen, thanks.

Big fan of KISS.
Title: F-35 purchase may force Conservatives to chop infantry battalion from military
Post by: S.M.A. on August 15, 2013, 00:24:47
Related:

National Post link (http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/08/14/john-ivison-f-35-purchase-may-force-conservatives-to-chop-infantry-battalion-from-cash-strapped-military/)

Quote

John Ivison: F-35 purchase may force Conservatives to chop infantry battalion from cash-strapped military

As Rob Nicholson, the new defence minister, settles in at National Defence headquarters, he will have been briefed on the war of the Two Towers — one run by DND bureaucrats who control the purse strings; the other by the uniforms of the Canadian Forces.

The on-going hostilities are likely to flare up as the new minister is forced to make some unpalatable decisions on resource allocation, including the possibility of reducing the size of Canada’s 68,000 regular forces by chopping one or more of its nine infantry battalions.

Earlier this month, U.S. defence secretary Chuck Hagel indicated the Pentagon might have to decide between a “much smaller force” or a decade-long “holiday” from modernizing weapons systems and technology. Word leaked that the cancellation of the $392-billion F-35 joint strike fighter program was being contemplated — a rumour defence officials later tried to quash.

Canada has its own cash crisis — by 2014/15, nearly $2.5-billion will have been cut from DND’s budget.


The Armed Forces want to maintain the existing number of troops and bases, while adding new gear like the F-35s. An update released late last week showed that DND is still committed to buying 65 F-35s, despite cost increases. Rather than increase the $8.9-billion it would cost to buy the planes, the department simply reduced the amount of contingency it had in place for cost over-runs from $602-million down to $342-million, to remain within the $9-billion ceiling. “The provision for acquisition contingency could be considered low for a project of this size and scope,” DND admitted in the update.

David Perry, a senior analyst at the Conference of Defence Associations Institute, said the military brass’s hopes of muddling through are likely to prove forlorn. “Something has to give,” he said. “They are facing a significant budget crunch that is going to force them to make some serious reforms,” he said.


According to the 2011 transformation report authored by Andrew Leslie, the now retired former Canadian Forces general, the military was already $1-billion short in funding for the Canada First Defence Strategy acquisitions to re-equip the military. He suggested $2-billion in savings by cutting non-operational spending on things like consultants and administration to pay for the capital acquisitions and satisfy the government’s deficit-reduction plan. But the report has been gathering dust since it reached the less than enthusiastic hands of then defence minister, Peter MacKay.

The uniformed tower in DND not only resisted the Leslie report, it is fighting the prospect of any reduction in numbers or equipment cancellations. The preferred option is to find “efficiencies” in ongoing operations — a Holy Grail type search that has yielded few results in the last 20 years.

This, after all, is the department that is never able to spend its capital budget, at considerable cost to the taxpayer. When it can’t spend its capital allocation, it “reprofiles” the money but loses purchasing power because projects are not compensated to adjust for inflation, which runs at 7% annually according to the Defence Specific Inflation average. The cumulative impact has been $556-million of lost purchasing power in recent years, according to Mr. Perry.

Andrew Leslie points out that the administrative overhead has grown by 40% in recent years, since 2006, while the number of deployable troops has grown by just 10%. “Reduce overhead before you attack output,” he said.

Yet Mr. Perry estimates that, even if the Leslie report was implemented in full, it probably wouldn’t be sufficient. At some point the Canadian Forces will have to reduce personnel numbers or get out of the expensive business of fighter jet or submarine warfare, he said.

Given the expensive investments in planes and ships, the most logical place to cut is the army, which has seen numbers rise to 68,000 from 60,000 in recent years. The suggestion from some quarters is that the current structure, where Canada has three regular force regiments — the Royal Canadian Regiment in Ontario and New Brunswick; the Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry in Alberta and Manitoba and the Royal 22nd Regiment in Quebec City — is a political construct without justification in the real world. Each regiment has three battalions but the imperative for that number is more political than military, so the argument goes.
.
When asked specifically if the Conservatives were committed to maintaining a regular force of 68,000, Mr. Nicholson’s press secretary Julie Di Mambro said only that the government would maintain a “modern, first-class military that is sustainable over the long term.”

When asked if it were possible that there may be revisions in planned equipment acquisitions, she said the Canada First Defence Strategy remains the basis for defence planning. However, she added “all countries normally review their specific defence policy priorities and objectives every few years to ensure that they are keeping pace with evolving strategic realities.” All of which suggests everything is under review.

Chopping a battalion in Quebec City — the only part of the province where the Conservatives may keep their head above water at the next election — may make Mr. Nicholson blanche.

Mr. Leslie gave some indication of the likely reaction to any cuts to the army’s “teeth,” as opposed to its “tail.”

“If the decision is taken to reduce training, regular forces or reserves, Canadians should start to ask some serious questions about the fiscal competence of the government,” he said.

But if Mr. Perry’s calculations are correct, DND can’t simultaneously slash budgets, maintain headcount and invest in new gear without doing something drastic — especially when the budget was insufficient in the first place.

National Post
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Ostrozac on August 15, 2013, 00:48:43
Chopping an infantry battalion is pretty drastic. And why Valcartier, as was hinted at? Petawawa has infrastructure issues, and Edmonton has attrition issues -- and Gagetown and Shilo are isolated from their parent brigades. If we were to go down the road to 8 battalions, Valcartier would be the last place I would think about for downsizing. I know that the R22eR have been recruiting more anglos lately, but the manning situation in 5 Brigade seems pretty healthy, and so did the infrastructure last time I visited there.

Anybody with recent experience in 5 Brigade want to chirp in?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: PPCLI Guy on August 15, 2013, 01:00:46
Before we start the process of arguing, in public, over which Battalion we should cut, let us first consider this statement:

Quote
The suggestion from some quarters is that the current structure, where Canada has three regular force regiments — the Royal Canadian Regiment in Ontario and New Brunswick; the Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry in Alberta and Manitoba and the Royal 22nd Regiment in Quebec City — is a political construct without justification in the real world. Each regiment has three battalions but the imperative for that number is more political than military, so the argument goes.

Mr Ivison is a smart man, and I am a fan of much of what he writes, and I respect the manner in which he writes it.  Having said that, before he wrote this piece, I think it quite likely that he did not know we had nine infantry battalions, and would have been very hard-pressed to name the three Regiments to which they belong.

This begs the question: which "quarters" are suggesting this, and who specifically suggested it to Mr Ivison?  Perhaps more importantly, to what end did they "suggest" this.

It should be quite interesting to watch the response to this piece, both internal and external to the Army and CF.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: CombatMacgyver on August 16, 2013, 10:21:30
Chopping an infantry battalion is pretty drastic. And why Valcartier, as was hinted at? Petawawa has infrastructure issues, and Edmonton has attrition issues -- and Gagetown and Shilo are isolated from their parent brigades. If we were to go down the road to 8 battalions, Valcartier would be the last place I would think about for downsizing. I know that the R22eR have been recruiting more anglos lately, but the manning situation in 5 Brigade seems pretty healthy, and so did the infrastructure last time I visited there.

Anybody with recent experience in 5 Brigade want to chirp in?

I'm not entirely sure about the number of Anglos posted to the R22R battalions as I`m with 5BNS, but there are a surprising amount of Anglos posted here (none that want to be here but that`s another story)

In chats with some of the VanDoos about this article the response was generally something akin to: 'we have three half-empty battalions but when one deploys it magically becomes a full batallion.  So if they cut, for example 1R22R, we'll just have two slightly-more-than-half-full batallions without losing any guys from the regiment'

Not sure what the intent there would be.  You could make an argument for lower overhead as you'd have one less building to worry about, maybe less civilian staff and officer positions, but you're still going to have the same amount of enlisted guys.

edit - added quotation
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: milnews.ca on August 16, 2013, 10:50:26
Thought I'd share this blog post (http://bit.ly/15NMAWY) by a U.K. defence bureaucrat, talking about the challenges Canada and other middle powers face with shrinking budgets - well worth the read!  From the post:
Quote
.... Humphrey makes no secret of being an enormous admirer of the Canadian military – having studied in Canada, and been fortunate enough to undertake a short attachment to the Royal Canadian Naval Reserve, he has fond memories of being part of a very professional organisation, and to this day thinks warmly of the people and role. Later on, his career has regularly brought him into contact with members of the Canadian military, who have always been supremely professional. Therefore, he continues to follow developments in the Canadian military quite closely.

(....)

The biggest question arguably facing Canada today is how to address what is a three pronged axis of interest. As an Atlantic and Pacific power, with substantial economic interests in both areas, Canada has an inevitable interest in both regions, which have extremely different challenges. At the same time, the emerging interest in the Arctic, where global warming and climate change is seemingly allowing an opening of trade routes, means a previously neglected region suddenly takes on far more strategic role. Beyond this home position, Canada continues to play a major role overseas, providing troops, aircraft and ships to participate in operations across the globe from the Gulf to Afghanistan.

(....)

Medium powers like Canada though struggle to balance their wider interests, desire to play  a role in global affairs against a small military and limited resources. The question for powers such as this is what do they wish to be? On the one hand there is perhaps the inevitable temptation for finance ministries to push for a gentle glide path into military obscurity – maintain the bare minimum, and replace high end capabilities like frigates or Main Battle Tanks with OPVS and wheeled vehicles – in other words abandon pretences of capability. At the same time there is a natural desire to want to play more of a role and be more than a bit player – it is perhaps noticeable how many leaders enjoy the attention and press coverage that comes from being seen as influential on the wider stage, and the plaudits that come from this. This perhaps explains the reluctance in some countries to pare down military expenditure. At the same time maintaining a reasonably sized military has wider industrial and economic benefits – the presence of a substantial defence industry is often linked to military capability – scaling this down reduces the ability to not only build and support equipment at home (with all the attendant benefits for the economy and sovereignty) but also reduces export orders which helps the economy. This is a challenge facing Canada now – invest at considerable cost in new Frigates, creating a shipbuilding programme to assure them of sovereignty, or buy overseas, saving money for wider capability, but reducing economic benefits to taxpayers – who would expect to see their tax dollars spent at home ....
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Remius on August 16, 2013, 11:23:52
I could see them cutting 2 or even 3.  One from each.

PPCLI has manning issues to begin with.  Going to 2 battalions would be pretty effortless.

2 RCR would remain as it has the only footprint in Atlantic Canada. But 1 or 3 would likely be the targets.

And cutting the 22eme is easier when you cut everywhere else as well.

Beef up CSOR, Primary Reserve units.

And tehn 10 years from now when we can't do anything we'll experience another recruiting surge.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Infanteer on August 16, 2013, 12:22:50
Once you cut something, it is almost impossible to get it back.  Better to leave the shell for when that surge comes.  450 Sqn required a war.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Rifleman62 on August 16, 2013, 13:18:03
Infanteer:
Quote
Once you cut something, it is almost impossible to get it back.  Better to leave the shell for when that surge comes.  450 Sqn required a war.

Does that thought process go for the Reserves also??   :P





Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: George Wallace on August 16, 2013, 13:24:32
Infanteer:
Does that thought process go for the Reserves also??   :P

Whole Reserve units have disappeared.  Started way back in the '70s.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Rifleman62 on August 16, 2013, 14:45:43
I thought the symbol represented "tongue in cheek".

Whole Reg F units Army units disappeared at the same time: The Black Watch, QOR of C, to the Militia: Cdn Guards, Cdn Airborne, 4 RCHA, etc, gone.

Both "sides"have been hit. I spent 1962 to 2007 in the Molitia watching it happen.

I do agree with Infanteer's statement, but lets not start the Reg F vs P Res kerfuffle again.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Inquisitor on August 16, 2013, 16:11:03
I could see them cutting 2 or even 3.  One from each.

...

Beef up CSOR, Primary Reserve units.

And then 10 years from now when we can't do anything we'll experience another recruiting surge.

During the Chretien cuts wasn't one of each a 10-90 BN 10% RF and 90% PR ?How did that play out?

I have a strong hunch the answer is not well.

Comment. Given the cuts I find it odd that the INF BNs are not retaining core cadre capabilities such as 81 MM mortar, TUA, Assault pioneer etc. These are skill sets that add capability and take a long time to acquire. Also with life in garrison add additional challenge. Back in the 70's the BN's had these posn's manned. They could add on militia riflemen to fill gaps on fairly short notice.

Just my .05

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on August 16, 2013, 16:12:33
During the Chretien cuts wasn't one of each a 10-90 BN 10% RF and 90% PR ?How did that play out?

I have a strong hunch the answer is not well.

Comment. Given the cuts I find it odd that the INF BNs are not retaining core cadre capabilities such as 81 MM mortar, TUA, Assault pioneer etc. These are skill sets that add capability and take a long time to acquire. Also with life in garrison add
 additional challenge. Back in the 70's the BN's had these posn's manned. They could add on militia riflemen to fill gaps on fairly short notice.

Just my .05

It wasn't our choice to not retain those capabilities.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Good2Golf on August 16, 2013, 16:12:49
Inf Bns were stripped of mortars and pioneer elements a long, long time ago.  Not even on the table.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on August 16, 2013, 16:49:02
It wasn't our choice to not retain those capabilities.

It was the choice of the Army (writ large) not to maintain those capabilities.  In the analysis at the time, it was decided that they were lower priorities than others, and thus were divested.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Good2Golf on August 16, 2013, 19:28:16
Apparently "UBIQUE" translates to 'We'll be ther for you!'

;)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on August 17, 2013, 12:48:32
If we need to find money to make the F-35 initial procurement feasible, then kill the CCV project.  The Army could invest the CCV money in itself in hundreds of better ways but, since that will not be happening (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,70178.msg1231038.html#msg1231038), it makes more sense to sacrifice the CCV project than a battalion upon the alter of F-35.

In chats with some of the VanDoos about this article the response was generally something akin to: 'we have three half-empty battalions but when one deploys it magically becomes a full batallion.  So if they cut, for example 1R22R, we'll just have two slightly-more-than-half-full batallions without losing any guys from the regiment'
There is an argument to be made for closing the third battalions and rolling the personnel and positions into the first and second battalions.  Unfortunately, that is not what is being suggested in the article.  The article suggested that the battalion would be closed and the positions (PYs as they are called) would be harvested.  Some of the personnel could move to other battalions where vacant positions exist (in some cases requiring re-bading), but most would redundant and offered release or remuster.  In the Army, we have a pretty good idea what in Infantry battalion should look like, and many people assume the difference between that and reality is just that the people are missing - in fact the battalions are underestablished and the positions do not exist for people to be hired into.  Some battalions may even be over established, but to the troops in those battalions it still looks like there are spaces.  The truth is hidden in the mechanics and bureaucracy of how we establish and build our organization.  The hollow battalions are hollow by design, and in the west this is exacerbated for positions gone unfilled.

I am skeptical that there ever was official talk of closing down a full battalion.  Maybe.  If we need ways to reduce the force, it will require deep analysis and hard decisions to do it in a way that does not wreck the organization.  We have been trimming quietly from everywhere for years, and we are at the point now just a little bit more from everywhere will start to result in failings all over the place.  The waffer thin mint if you will.  An aggressive position-by-position review of the whole CAF will turn up a number of redundant or wastefull positions hidden away in organizations, but the fiefdoms will bitterly defend themselves.  If we really do need to reduce the force and in relatively short time, someone will have to decide which capabilities, bases, and/or units were are prepared to be done with ... and maybe that will be some portion of our infantry.  Perhaps it is time to abandon promises of new battalions (or at least 500 more service members) for particular places on the map.  I don't know.  But maybe it is not force reduction that we need to achieve.  Maybe we just need to find more money.

If we need ways to save money, this thread is full of ideas.  Page 12 compiled a few lists of them:
Quote from: MCG
Here are a few ways that I see to immediately cut costs while protecting capability:
  • Reduce/Stop the use of “tactical infrastructure” in field exercises
  • Do not bring kitchen appliances to the field (with the exception of in field kitchens)
  • Maximize the use of local training areas before traveling
  • Teleconference to avoid TD for meetings and working groups
  • Prohibit the deployment of pers into positions requiring WSE (We do not need to pay guys above their rank when there are other sitting at home already collecting pay at that level)  - exceptions only for in-theatre casualty replacement
  • Deploy the next Op ATTENTION as 100% Reg F (again, Reg F pay is a sunk cost while a year of Class C pay for a Sr NCO of Jr Offr to train & deploy could instead added another training day for a Class A unit) (too late for this)
  • No new “buttons & bows” announcements
  • Do not rebadged any more units for the sake of resurrecting old regiments
  • Stop any unannounced plans to rebrand/rebadged/rename any branches, corps or organization for the purposes of historical sentimentalism
  • Stop using rented civilian vehicles when military patter vehicles are available and serve the purpose
  • Tie pay incentives for all ranks to performance and conduct.  If you are on a remedial measure (IC through to C&P) then the pay incentive is delayed by the duration of that remedial measure.  If you receive an unsatisfactory PER, then the pay incentive is delayed until you receive a satisfactory one.
  • Rebalance officer enrollment paths to reduce the number of ROTP entrants while increasing the number of DEO entrants
  • Stop the practice of sending new CF buttons & fasteners with all new DEU coats ordered on the Logistik Unicorps site (these buttons typically go straight to the garbage as most soldiers already have the buttons which are removable from the old coat, and most soldiers wear branch/regimental buttons) - if someone needs buttons they can spend more points to get them.
  • Remove the recently introduced Army DEU parka from Logistik Unicorps issue - it duplicates a function already provided by the gabardine.
  • Allow only one IPR move per service couple.  Instead, a reunification move will bring the first retiring member to live with the mbr continuing to serve, or if both retire at the same time then a reunification move will bring the mbr without F&E to the mbr with F&E.

And here are some options options for long-term savings (though most will cost money upfront prior to the savings being achieved later):
  • Consolidate all of NDHQ and appropriate other NCR units on the Nortel Campus
  • Move CFC from Toronto to Ottawa (Nortel Campus) or Kingston (RMC or the closing prison)
  • Divest unnecessary niche vehicle micro-fleets (if required, increase size of standard fleets to maintain platform numbers)
  • Smash LFDTS & CTC into a single layer of HQ, transfer capability development functions from LFDTS to COS Land Strat
  • Re-close CMR and consolidate ROTP back into RMC
  • Consolidate all of 1 CMBG in Edmonton to reduce future steady-state cost moves
  • Procure more training simulators for fuel guzzling equipment (like aircraft, Engr Hy Eqpt and MBT) – include this in the initial acquisition of future systems
  • Reevaluate rank levels in HQ establishments – the goal is to reduce where unnecessary inflation has occurred
  • Replace military ID cards, PKI cards, and military driver's licences with a single universal military identification

In the current climate, we need to look at more than just where to cut.  We also need to look at where to get better mileage from the same resources.  Here are a few thoughts to that end:
  • Replace SDA, LDA, dive pay and parachute allowance with enhanced casual allowances – the current systems reward posting messages as opposed to rewarding/compensating for the behaviour that we want: going to sea, going to the field, diving, and jumping out of aircraft.
  • Reduce the number of PRes unit HQs in the Army.  Individual sub-units can retain unique regimental identities, but they will be grouped under a single stronger battalion HQ.
  • Revisit the requirement for Reg F bands.  There are 71 musicians from Sgt to CWO on Army Ref F establishments alone.  That is a lot of PYs that could be put to better purpose (especially when we have been cutting from operational units to put PYs in new capabilities)
Quote from: dapaterson
A few more contentious suggestions:

* Top to bottom compensation and benefits review to eliminate duplication and overlap
* Revisit posting policy to reduce annual move requirement (excluding off-BTL)
* Revisit IPR move policy to eliminate same-location moves (eg a paid move from Orleans to Kanata on release)
* Replace CANEX with private suppliers (who will pay market rents for CF facilities)
   * Retain small deployed NPF expertise to surge for deployments if required (hint: this does not include a Tim Hortons trailer)
* Return to annual TOS boards, particularly at ranks of LCol and above and MWO and above, to determine whether continued service meets a military requirement
* Enforce limits on GOFOs as ordered in the 1997 MND report (roughly a 1/3 reduction)
* Return to performance pay for GOFO and Capt(N)/Cols
   * Make PMAs and performance info per above public
* Make PMAs and performance information for all Public Servants public
* Restructure establishment to differentiate between Lt and Capt
* Return to competitive promotion to Capt
* Revisit Degreed Officer Corps decision
   * Permit short engagements with no promotion beyond Capt without a degree
* Eliminate full-time second language training
   * Individuals may elect to pursue SLT on their own time; a decision not to get a language profile will limit future promotion possibilities

For IM/IT

* Migrate from MS Office to Open Office to reduce IM/IT licensing costs
* Migrate from Outlook to open-source web-based DWAN email to reduce IM/IT licensing costs
* Dissolve ADM(IM), putting IM/IT support into CANOSCOM, IM/IT procurement into ADM(Mat), and comms and ISTAR systems under CJOC

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: PuckChaser on August 17, 2013, 13:19:29
Migrating to a completely different office suite is neither easy, or cheap. We'd spend far more than we'd save with all the helpdesk headaches and migration headaches for very little gain.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Inquisitor on August 17, 2013, 13:21:21
I understand there was already one move to cancel CCV and the Government said no.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on September 03, 2013, 09:27:48
John Ibbitson, in this article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail, takes a look at the defence budget and, as I read it, Conservative indifference t the defence of Canada:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/globe-politics-insider/warship-collision-shows-not-everythings-shipshape-with-canadas-military/article14076905/#dashboard/follows/
Quote
(https://Army.ca/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fbeta.images.theglobeandmail.com%2Fmedia%2Fwww%2Fimages%2Fflag%2Fgam-masthead.png&hash=19ff3553db0adc5a5af34a8cb80569c3)
Warship collision shows not everything’s shipshape with Canada’s military

SUBSCRIBERS ONLY

John Ibbitson
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Tuesday, Sep. 03 2013

The two damaged warships that limped into Esquimalt, B.C. on the weekend offered a painful reminder of the fragility of the Canadian Forces at home and abroad.

The Conservative government has committed to a slow, steady modernization of equipment over the course of the next 30 years. But the emphasis is on slow, and on any given day, any given mishap can expose the inherent weakness of Canada’s military.

“If everything goes smoothly, we’re okay,” said Anthony Seaboyer, a political scientist at Queen’s University who specializes in national security issues. “But if things like this happen, we’re less and less able to react to them than we were in the past.”

A recent wave of defence budget cuts – expected to reach $2.5-billion by 2015 – is one reason for the decreasing ability to react, as the Harper government struggles both to retain a functioning military and to balance the budget before the next election.

The destroyer HMCS Algonquin and refuelling vessel HMCS Protecteur collided during a training exercise in the Pacific Ocean on Friday, damaging both ships.

A press spokesman for the Pacific fleet on Monday said both vessels had returned to port and were being examined. A fuller update is expected later this week, but the Algonguin, which received the brunt of the damage, is likely to be laid up for a while.

And until the damage to the Protecteur’s bow is repaired, the Pacific fleet will have no refuelling capability.

That operational gap highlights the price the navy is paying as Ottawa drags its heels on the promised renewal of the fleet. The National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy – which commits $33-billion over 30 years to replace and upgrade core naval assets – remains, for the most part, all paper, no keels.

The navy is not alone. The army is at risk of losing the intelligence and combat skills it acquired in Afghanistan through lack of training. And the fate of the F-35 fighter jet, intended to replace the aging CF-18s, remains uncertain.

The problem is threefold. The first is the government’s commitment to balance the budget in 2015, which has led to spending cuts across all departments, including National Defence.

The second is the time lag between a committment to replace something as large as a plane or a ship, and actually replacing it. Plans to replace the Protecteur, for example, were announced as far back as 2004, but a new vessel won’t be ready until 2018, at the earliest, and the armed forces has never seen a procurement deadline it couldn’t miss.

Third, there is the constant examination and re-examination of priorities. The Canadian Forces has a mandate to protect the national borders while also being ready at any time to deploy overseas on either a short-term or extended mission, in concert with allied forces.

But what is the right mix? How much should go to training special forces, providing air support for ground troops, and protecting the coasts? How important is it to defend the Arctic versus being able to assist NATO allies when the need arises? What is the nature of the terrorist threat and how can the military identify and respond to it?

What is the best ratio between purchasing, training and hiring? And why are there so many people at headquarters?

Among the democracies, governments everywhere struggle with these questions, while also balancing the needs of their militaries with domestic priorities.

Though critics abound, Prof. Seaboyer said he believes the Canadian government, overall, is taking the right approach. “The balance that has been struck … makes sense in terms of future needs that may arise,” he explained. “The problem is, who can see into the future?”

Billions of dollars of acquisitions could prove useless in conflicts that no one predicted. It’s another reason why it makes sense to go slow on procurement – except, that is, until a ship turns to starboard when it should have turned to port, and suddenly there’s a big hole in the Pacific fleet.

John Ibbitson is the chief political writer in the Ottawa bureau.


John Ibbitson says, at the beginning of the article, "The Conservative government has committed to a slow, steady modernization of equipment over the course of the next 30 years." That is not true. The Canada First Defence Strategy commits Canada to a slow, but steady decline in defence spending by any fair and sensible measure. Much was made of the $30 Billion "end state" but $30+ Billion inflated dollars, even at today's inflation rates, in 2027/28 will represent fewer real dollars for defence as a percentage of GDP (the best way to measure that sort of long range spending), as a share of government spending, as a share of your pay packet and so on. It is a strategy for unilateral disarmament ~ it was good politics but it was and is bad policy.

Ibbitson also says, at the end of the article, "Billions of dollars of acquisitions could prove useless in conflicts that no one predicted. It’s another reason why it makes sense to go slow on procurement," and that's not true, either. A well planned, sensible force structure and concomitant capital equipment programme will produce Adaptable forces that can cope with the unexpected, when it happens. That same well planned, sensible force strucrure and equipment programme will produce forces which are Appropriate for a G-8 nation and Available when required. Triple A armed forces, in other words - not in the big leagues, but able to what Canadians expect: to promote and defend Canada's vital interests in the world. But we really want TripleA+ forces: Adaptable, Appropriate, Available and Affordable. The Canada First Defence Strategy certainly does provide for Affordable armed forces, but I would argue that they cannot and will not meet Canada's requirements because giving Canadians what they want ~ spending less and less and less on national defence ~ is not the same as giving Canadian what we need. In my opinion a real strategy for Canada would result in budget growth to about 2% of GDP over the next 15 years.

The rest of Ibbitson's article makes sense; the Canada First Defence Strategy does not.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on September 03, 2013, 12:52:24
And there is some reinforcement, in an article in the National Post (http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/09/03/matt-gurney-canada-needs-a-bigger-fleet/), for the idea that we need to figure out how many is enough warsips for "a G8 country with the world’s biggest coastline" and then budget for that requirement.

The article, speaking broadly about ships, tanks and aircraft, says, "we don’t have [enough] right now, because successive Canadian governments have gotten into the bad habit of replacing larger number of older military vehicles (of all kinds) with smaller numbers of more capable vehicles. The argument is, of course, that a smaller number of more advanced vehicles, be they ships, tanks or planes, can do the work of a larger number of older ones with greater efficiency. But there is a minimum number of vehicles and units that must be kept available if Canada is to maintain a proper, modern military. And right now, we’re well below that number." It goes on to conclude that, "Warships are also vital instruments of national policy, both at home and abroad. Having a Navy isn’t cheap, but if we’re going to do it, we may as well do it right." The author could have extended that to all three services and the many, varied and vital support functions, too.
 
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on September 03, 2013, 15:02:18
John Ibbitson, in this article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail, takes a look at the defence budget and, as I read it, Conservative indifference t the defence of Canada:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/globe-politics-insider/warship-collision-shows-not-everythings-shipshape-with-canadas-military/article14076905/#dashboard/follows/

John Ibbitson says, at the beginning of the article, "The Conservative government has committed to a slow, steady modernization of equipment over the course of the next 30 years." That is not true. The Canada First Defence Strategy commits Canada to a slow, but steady decline in defence spending by any fair and sensible measure. Much was made of the $30 Billion "end state" but $30+ Billion inflated dollars, even at today's inflation rates, in 2027/28 will represent fewer real dollars for defence as a percentage of GDP (the best way to measure that sort of long range spending), as a share of government spending, as a share of your pay packet and so on ...


My guestimate is based on:

     2013: GDP ≈ $1.75 Trillion
     2013: Defence Budget ≈ $20.1 Billion ≈ 1.14% of GDP

     2013-2017: a slow recovery, GDP growth never reaches 3% annually
     2013-2028: modest to good GDP growth, no "great recession," but growth never reaches 4%

     2028: GDP ≈ $2.85 Trillion
     2028: Defence spending ≈ $32 Billion (Canada First Defence Strategy says over $30 Billion in 2028)
     2028: Defence Budget ≈ 1.12% of GDP which means a decline in real spending over the next 15 years.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: FJAG on September 03, 2013, 16:19:14
I've always thought that calculating defence spending as a percentage of GDP is akin to the way religions demand a tithe from their adherents (or for that matter Chile's old Copper Law that dictated that 10% of all earnings from Chile's nationalized copper industry went to military equipment). You create some magic number (like 3%) and say that this is what you should commit every year to ensure that we (either God or DND) can provide you with a warm, fuzzy, secure life. I could never quite grasp why defence should get more just because the economy has gotten better (or the price of copper skyrocketed or alternatively why it should get less if the economy slides)

IMHO defence spending should run like any other budgeting process; first by critically analysing the organizations program needs (i.e. what are our defence/security objectives; what are the options for how they will be met; what is the cost); secondly, by reviewing income available for program delivery; thirdly, by comparing those costs against other program needs and setting priorities or making compromises.

A recent National Post graphic showed that in the last ten years our real dollars spending on defence has gone from just over 12 to just under 23 Billion (2012) dollars but stayed approximately steady at
1.2 to 1.4 to 1.2 % of GDP. GDP aside, that was a very serious commitment of cash.

The same graphic shows that we have increased our spending by +53% (the US by +59%, the UK by +18%, France by -0.6%, Germany by -3.6%). Yup others did way more and others did way less. What does this prove? It proves that there is no standard although one could make arguments that Russia and China are entering into a new arms race. Do we do a knee-jerk reaction?

http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/06/08/graphic-financing-canadas-armed-forces/ (http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/06/08/graphic-financing-canadas-armed-forces/)

Long story short. I'm having a hard time getting excited about all this arbitrary up and down in the defence budget. I'm a Trudeau era guy. I've seen bad. I've seen arbitrary. What I have never seen (especially in the last ten years) is DND taking any serious steps to control its "tail" based expenditures. I don't expect I ever will.

 :stirpot:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on September 03, 2013, 16:37:08
Fair enough, FJAG, but the last time we made defence decisions in the way you would prefer was back circa 1950.

By the 1960s the rate of inflation for the cost of modern weapon systems was soaring and still, I think, remains two or three times as high as the general inflation rate. It made defence spending more and more difficult. In fact, as I have said several times, I think that ~ the cost of defence ~ was the primary driver behind Mr. Hellyer's experiments back in the 1960s.

(An Ameican aerospace exec did a tongue in cheek paper many years ago demonstrating the inflating values of combat aircraft and showed that at some point in the future the nth generation fighter jet would consume the entire defence budget and it would be allocated to the USAF on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the USN on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and the USMC on Sundays. Can anyone with really powerful google-fu find it?)

Dollars, big or small, are just numbers unless they relate to something: and relating them to GDP is a useful way to measure the national commitment to defence. As you point out, in a decade defence spending appears to have nearly doubled, but, in reality, relative to the nation's capacity, it remained stable.

I believe that the strength of the political will to defend Canada can only be measured by comparing it to the strength of the political will to provide good hospitals or prisons or symphony halls.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Infanteer on September 03, 2013, 23:52:01
(An Ameican aerospace exec did a tongue in cheek paper many years ago demonstrating the inflating values of combat aircraft and showed that at some point in the future the nth generation fighter jet would consume the entire defence budget and it would be allocated to the USAF on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the USN on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and the USMC on Sundays. Can anyone with really powerful google-fu find it?)

From a footnote in the Black Swan concept we were just discussing:

Quote
As Norman Augustine, an aerospace industry executive, stated in his famous forecast of 1986 in reference to the
soaring prices: ‘In the year 2054, the entire defence budget will purchase just one aircraft. This aircraft will have to be
shared by the Air Force and the Navy three and one half days each per week except for leap year, when it will be made
available to the Marines for the extra day.’ His dire prediction of vanishing aircraft inventories equally applies to ships.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: myself.only on September 04, 2013, 08:15:05
In fact, as I have said several times, I think that ~ the cost of defence ~ was the primary driver behind Mr. Hellyer's experiments back in the 1960s.

Well, the stated objective definitely was the never-ending, chimerical pursuit of efficiencies in the face of rising defence costs.
But at the level of personal motivation, I don't think we can discount Hellyer's own unfortunate experiences struggling with inter-service inefficiencies while trying to enlist in WW2.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on September 05, 2013, 14:32:10
Just a few words, reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail, about why DND's budget is going to be tight for a few more years:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/top-business-stories/jim-flaherty-lauds-frugal-germans-rejects-us-printing-more-money/article14125180/?cmpid=rss1&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter#dashboard/follows/
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Jim Flaherty lauds ‘frugal’ Germans, rejects U.S. ‘printing more money’

MICHAEL BABAD
The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Sep. 05 2013

Flaherty rejects Fed stimulus

Canada’s finance minister gave a nod to “frugal” Germany today as he again rejected the money-printing ways of the Americans.

Jim Flaherty was referring to the Federal Reserve’s massive stimulus program known as quantitative easing, or QE, under which the U.S. central bank is acquiring $85-billion (U.S.) a month in bonds.

All eyes are on that program, of course, because of indications that the Fed could soon begin to pull back, something that has caused angst among investors who want to be certain the economy and the markets can withstand that.

“The Americans tend to emphasize creating more jobs and less concern about the accumulation of public debt and printing more money, with which I’ve never agreed,” Mr. Flaherty said in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he’s attending the G20 summit.

“The Germans tend to be more prudent and frugal like Canadians tend to be.”

The Federal Reserve is trying to ease the high level of unemployment in the U.S., where 11.5 million people can’t find work.

The U.S. jobless rate stood at 7.4 per cent in July, and the August reading is scheduled to be released tomorrow. In Canada, where unemployment rate is 7.2 per cent, 1.4 million people are without jobs.

Mr. Flaherty's comments came as his government appeared to step back from its target for reducing the national debt, even as it presses other nations at the G20 summit to follow Canada’s lead in curbing debts and deficits.

Mr. Flaherty and Prime Minister Stephen Harper used the setting of this year’s G20 leaders’ summit to release new debt targets for the federal government, The Globe and Mail's Bill Curry reports from St. Petersburg.

Ottawa is now promising to bring its debt-to-GDP ratio down to 25 per cent by 2021. The government said this would be in addition to erasing annual deficits by 2015.

However the new target of 25 per cent appears to represent a softening of a timeline Mr. Flaherty’s own department released in 2012. Last fall, Finance Canada released long-term projections suggesting a debt-to-GDP ratio of 23.8 per cent in 2020-21.


There are three classes of people who don't like defence spending:

     1. Senior bureaucrats, many of who are economists, in every government department, including a handful in DND itself, because they recognize that defence spending is discretionary and politically difficult;

     2. Economists, because they recognize that defence spending is, broadly, unproductive; and

     3. Voters, the vast majority of them, anyway, because they realize that every dollar spent on defence, a common good, is a dollar that cannot be spent on themselves or on their pet projects.

The Americans always consider themselves exceptional and, in defence production, they are; America produces the overwhelming majority of the defence hardware it buys - in a less than wholly efficient and effective way US defence spending does create US jobs. There are similar situations in Russia and China (who, together with the USA have the biggest defence budgets in the world). Canada, like Germany and most other countries, does not have much of a defence export industry ~ we have some, just not much. In our situation frugality, especially with regards to the nation's defence makes economic sense.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: ARMY_101 on September 20, 2013, 12:54:51
Does anyone actually have a table of the DND/CF budgets by year? After searching budget documents, Treasury Board/Finance Canada websites, etc, I cannot find anything that clearly and easily breaks down the total budgets by year.

For example, is this accurate: http://milexdata.sipri.org/result.php4 ?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MarkOttawa on September 20, 2013, 13:02:19
See p. 14 and following here:
http://atlantic-council.ca/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Defence-matters-jul-8.pdf

Mark
Ottawa
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on September 26, 2013, 10:11:59
More news if this report, which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail, is correct:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/dnd-braces-for-cuts-as-ottawa-targets-deficit/article14540777/?cmpid=rss1&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter#dashboard/follows/
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DND braces for new wave of job cuts as Ottawa targets deficit

BILL CURRY
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Sep. 26 2013

A new wave of job notices is going out at National Defence Thursday as the department absorbs big spending cuts to help the Conservative government climb out of deficit.

The vast majority of the 172 workers who will receive “affected” notices are at Canadian Forces Base Montreal, where 145 positions are impacted. Receiving a notice does not necessarily mean a person will be laid off. The union representing defence workers received advance notice of the letters, but the department did not indicate to the union how many positions it plans on eliminating.

“We didn’t see this coming,” said John MacLennan, President of the Union of National Defence Employees. Mr. MacLennan said the affected positions represent direct service to the Canadian Forces.

According to the union, the affected staff are primarily mechanics who work on tanks and armoured personnel carriers.

“These are not back-office jobs,” he said, taking issue with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s claim that cuts would only affect “back-office stuff.”

“These are front-line workers that overhaul and repair the engines, make sure the turret’s working, the gun’s working on it, the cannon’s working on it,” he said, warning that the government will be losing the corporate knowledge that it paid for in terms of staff training.

Julie DiMambro, a spokesperson for Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, would not confirm details of the notices.

“With the mission in Afghanistan winding down, the civilian workforce that was brought in to backfill for deployed military members is being reduced and the Department will make every effort to ease the impact on affected employees,” she said in a statement.

National Defence received about $20.1-billion in approved funding during the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2013. A recent report from the department’s Deputy Minister, Richard Fadden, indicates that one quarter into the current fiscal year, spending is down about 9 per cent.

The 2012 budget announced $5.1-billion in permanent government-wide cuts by next year, of which $1.1-billion was to come from National Defence.

More than two years have passed since Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie – now retired and volunteering as an adivsor to Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau – issued a detailed report on how the department and the Canadian Forces could save money.

Mr. Leslie’s report on “transformation” in July, 2011, received a cool reception from military brass. The report found the staff size of DND and the Forces at headquarters had increased 46 per cent from 2004 and 2010 and that the department was spending too much on Ottawa-based contractors and consultants.

The report recommended trimming levels of bureaucracy – what he called the “tail” – in order to prioritize spending on the front-line military – or “teeth.”

The report found the department was spending about $2.7-billion a year on contracts to consultants and contractors, employing at least 5,000 people.

It would appear from the department’s latest spending update that the government is cutting back on contractors, although the union warns that Thursday’s cuts will lead to more outsourcing.

The 2012 federal budget required DND and the Canadian Forces to find $692.4-million in savings this year and $1.1-billion in permanent annual savings by next year.

After the first three months of the current fiscal year, the department reported that 44 per cent of the year’s targeted savings have been achieved. A departmental report says this was done through “administrative efficiencies, reducing reliance on contracted services and rebalancing the workforce.”

The government is attempting to find savings while maintaining CAF regular force strength at 68,000, with an additional 27,000 reserves. The government’s most recent estimates for civilian personnel indicated a slight decline from 25,408 this year to 24,814 in 2015-16, but those figures came with a footnote stating that “these planning figures may be further reduced.”

Former Chief of Defence Staff Rick Hillier weighed in this week about the current changes at DND.

“It’s a massive, massive challenge and the cuts are enormous,” he told CTV’s Power Play on Monday. Mr. Hillier retired from the Canadian Forces in 2008.

He expressed concern that without reducing the size of the Forces, the cuts will come to training and operations budgets.

“And that means soldiers will sit in garrison and ships will remain tied up at the dock and airplanes won’t fly and I think you have to balance that,” he said, recommending that Ottawa shrink the Canadian Forces down to 50,000 personnel.


I agree with Gen (Ret'd) Hillier about reducing the size of the forces. My suggestion is:

     1. Cut 25 flag and general officers ~ if their work is really important it can be done by Capts(N)/Cols;

     2. Cut 50 Capts (N) and Cols ~ replace all four stripe 'director' positions in NDHQ with Cdrs/LCols who are, anyway, out "first level executives;"

     3. Cut 100 each Cdrs/LCols and LCdrs/Majs ~ and the work they do goes with them; and

     4. Cut most of the "dot Coms" and return their functions to NDHQ and other, level 2, HQs and then cut 200 other officer and NCM positions.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on September 26, 2013, 10:34:04
     1. Cut 25 flag and general officers ~ if their work is really important it can be done by Capts(N)/Cols;

     2. Cut 50 Capts (N) and Cols

     3. Cut 100 each Cdrs/LCols and LCdrs/Majs ~ and the work they do goes with them; and
Where do these numbers come from?

... replace all four stripe 'director' positions in NDHQ with Cdrs/LCols who are, anyway, out "first level executives;"
Would the follow-on be to reduce all three stripe section heads to LCdr/Maj and make Capt the working rank of NDHQ?

     4. Cut most of the "dot Coms" and return their functions to NDHQ and other, level 2, HQs and then cut 200 other officer and NCM positions.
In a way, this has been done.  There are only two that remain as CEFCOM, CANADACOM and CANOSCOM were all merged.  Though, I have no doubt that efficiencies can be found.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on September 26, 2013, 12:31:29
Where do these numbers come from? Essentially out of my ***, but I did think a bit about the 25 GOFOs and then multiplied the others.
Would the follow-on be to reduce all three stripe section heads to LCdr/Maj and make Capt the working rank of NDHQ? No. Director is the "first level executive" in the civil service. Cdr/LCol (ship/unit CO) is ours; they should be harmonized.
In a way, this has been done.  There are only two that remain as CEFCOM, CANADACOM and CANOSCOM were all merged.  Though, I have no doubt that efficiencies can be found. Agreed.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on September 26, 2013, 12:37:57
In 1997, the MND report on leadership and management of the CF directed a reduction to 65 GOFOs.  To my knowledge, that written direction from the MND has never been rescinded.

It would be interesting for an MND to walk in one day and tell the CDS,

"Right.  Your GOFO establishment, effective tomorrow, is 1 Admiral/General, 5 VAdm/LGens, 15 RAdm/MGens, and 45 Cmdre/BGens.  Come back tomorrow with your establishment plan.  Come back the day after with your posting plot against the new establishment, and I'll sign off the release messages."
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on September 26, 2013, 14:31:37
... replace all four stripe 'director' positions in NDHQ with Cdrs/LCols who are, anyway, out "first level executives;"
Would the follow-on be to reduce all three stripe section heads to LCdr/Maj and make Capt the working rank of NDHQ? No. Director is the "first level executive" in the civil service. Cdr/LCol (ship/unit CO) is ours; they should be harmonized.
Sect Heads report to directors and are typically Cdr/LCol and they oversee a team of primarily majors.  If you drop the directors, I would assume you then drop the section heads and the "working staff."   If that is not where you are going, how do you see this work?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on September 26, 2013, 14:49:17

It would be interesting for an MND to walk in one day and tell the CDS,

"Right.  Your GOFO establishment, effective tomorrow, is 1 Admiral/General, 5 VAdm/LGens, 15 RAdm/MGens, and 45 Cmdre/BGens.  Come back tomorrow with your establishment plan.  Come back the day after with your posting plot against the new establishment, and I'll sign off the release messages."

Interesting yes, it would be. I'd be curious as to how long the MND remains the MND after he tells the CDS this.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Old Sweat on September 26, 2013, 15:30:48
I suspect any MND with the confidence to slash the GOFOs could survive, especially if he had done his homework with the PMO and PCO. Having said that, Edward's figure should have a separate add on pool for international/representational positions. This would includes posts such as the DComd NORAD and Canmilrep NATO as well as ones that pop up from time to time like the one in Naples LGen Bouchard filled and LGen Vance is in now. There probably are minimum eight to ten of these posts that are our share of alliances' command and control.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on September 26, 2013, 16:09:06
I suspect any MND with the confidence to slash the GOFOs could survive, especially if he had done his homework with the PMO and PCO. Having said that, Edward's figure should have a separate add on pool for international/representational positions. This would includes posts such as the DComd NORAD and Canmilrep NATO as well as ones that pop up from time to time like the one in Naples LGen Bouchard filled and LGen Vance is in now. There probably are minimum eight to ten of these posts that are our share of alliances' command and control.


I agree, in my perfect world® the CDS would be a three star, ditto the VCDS and DCINC NORAD and CANMILEP NATO. When, from time to time, we get positions like the one in Naples occupied by LGen Vance, that three star would be "surplus" and approved, and funded, on a temporary basis, by cabinet. Equally when, even less often, we get a four star position - e.g. Chairman of the NATO Military Committee which Gen (Ret'd) Henault occupied from 2005-08 - one of the three stars would be promoted and that position would also be "surplus." Further, in my perfect world®, the CNS, CGS (currently CCA) and CAS and the DCDS, the head of the J-Staff in NDHQ and head J-3 guy, would all be two stars. So would the commanders of major commands and the Defence Advisors (Attachés) in Washington and London.

A Canadian officer who made it, in a full 30+ year career, to one star would be a "star." The very good officers would retire as Capts(N)/Cols and the consistently "better than most" would finish their careers as Cdrs/LCols.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on September 26, 2013, 16:44:42
With a Reg F target of 68K paid strength, one GOFO per 1000 would be 68.  Given that the 68K is paid, not trained, strength, we should be able to provide our share to our alliances out of that 68 and still have enough left in Canada for our own needs - if, outside of specialists & limited staff, you start to need one per 4K trained (that's one per bde) we've still got plenty, even for unforecast requirements.


Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MilEME09 on October 08, 2013, 22:10:14

Federal auditors found $1.5 billion in ‘significant’ defence department accounting errors

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/2013-budget/Federal+auditors+found+billion+significant+defence/9012549/story.html (http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/2013-budget/Federal+auditors+found+billion+significant+defence/9012549/story.html)


this is why we cant have nice things
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: S.M.A. on November 08, 2013, 13:33:18
Not sure what to think of Ivison's commentary as he slams the DND in his commentary below, which was titled "While the House was mesmerized by the train wreck in the Senate, National Defence pulled a fast one" on the National Post website's front page:   

National Post (http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/11/07/john-ivison-nevermind-the-bread-and-circuses-mps-should-focus-on-government-spending/)

Quote

(...)

For example: The Department of National Defence appears to be transferring $57-million from its capital budget into its operating budget (a DND spokeswoman said the amount is actually $62-million but couldn’t explain why).

Obviously, this is excellent news for those who need to pay the bills at Defence. It’s not even bad news for those charged with buying the planes, ships and armoured vehicles identified as necessary under the Canada First defence strategy. DND is notorious for being unable to spend its capital budget on time — a practice that has resulted in $556-million in lost purchasing power in recent years, according to analyst David Perry, thanks to a 7% Defence Specific Inflation average.

But it’s bad news for the taxpayer. You can’t take money from the capital budget, re-allocate it to the operations budget, and still have money in the capital pot to buy the equipment that you’re already committed to.


MPs should be asking some hard questions about this and other nuggets buried deep in the body of the estimates
It’s an exercise in kicking the can down the road and coping with the $2.5-billion in operational cutbacks the Conservatives ordered as part of their deficit reduction plan. This financial sleight of hand is an open secret in the bureaucracy and the Department of Finance is quiescent since it gives DND flexibility to manage the cuts, while keeping budgets on track to balance across government in 2015.

It’s possible the uniforms could decide to live with smaller capital budgets, and do without the shiny new kit they’ve already earmarked. Possible, but not probable. More likely, they will come back to Parliament, cap in hand, for a capital budget top-up when they need the cash.

Ironically, when a similar thing happened last year, it was the vigilance of members of the Senate Finance committee that brought the matter to public light.

Senator Irving Gerstein asked Major-General Robert Bertrand, acting chief financial officer at DND, how he could spend part of his capital budget on operations and still have money available for new equipment.

“It’s a tricky concept,” said Maj.-Gen. Bertrand.

“I should say so,” said Mr. Gerstein.

Defence is facing a budget crunch, as it tries to maintain existing numbers of troops and bases, while adding new gear like the F35 fighter jets. The answer appears to be the perennial search for “efficiencies” in ongoing operations. In the interim, the department is raiding unspent money in the capital budget.

Yet this transfer requires parliamentary approval. MPs should be asking some hard questions about this and other nuggets buried deep in the body of the estimates. For example, why does Public Works need $25-million for “additional office accommodation” and $38-million to “fit up” Crown-owned buildings, when there are 20,000 fewer public servants than there were a couple of years ago?

(...)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Navy_Pete on November 08, 2013, 20:58:30
So they cut $2.5 billion, and transferring $62 million to keep the lights on and meet govt operational requirements is somehow bad for the taxpayer?  I'm confused.

They purposely created so many hoops to jump through for capitol spending that most of that money would just get unspent in the fiscal year anyway.  Our system is highly optimized and very efficient at not spending a dime, but keeping a lot of people busy to try and do so.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: marinemech on November 08, 2013, 21:25:00
how about going after contractors who are dragging their heels on the multi-billions dollars of contracts that are years overdue, by assigning multimillion dollar per pay penalties.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on November 14, 2013, 08:32:12
More on the defence budget and, specifically, the deeply flawed Canada First Defence Strategy, in this article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Globe and Mail:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/tories-plan-to-revamp-defence-spending/article4227726/

At the risk of saying "I told you so ..." this was easy to see coming; I will repeat myself and say:

1. Canadians' support for the CF may be a mile wide (all those red T-shirts and yellow ribbons) but it is only an inch deep, especially when it comes to defence spending vs other (social) priorities; and

2. The Canada First Defence Strategy was never anything more than an ill-considered shopping list. It promised a finite decrease in defence spending when projected as a percentage of GDP out to 2035. It could do that by "low baling" costs and being vague, to be charitable, about dollars and cents.

The Conservatives are doing what needs to be done in tough economic times: restraining discretionary spending - and few things are more politically discretionary than national defence. But there still needs to be a plan for our national defence - one that promises real growth in defence spending (as a percentage of GDP) over, say, 20 years, of an order that will buy us the people, the kit and consumables we (all Canadians) need to provide to DND and the CF to guarantee* our own security.


_____
* Not unilaterally - in conjunction with traditional friends and trusted allies


So, the chickens are finally home ... this article, which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Globe and Mail revisits the Hobson's choice that faces the Government of Canada ~ cuts the forces to fit the money available or add some money (which doesn't exist until after the 2015 election:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/globe-politics-insider/as-ottawas-defence-shopping-list-keeps-getting-longer-somethings-got-to-give/article15433715/?cmpid=rss1&click=dlvr.it#dashboard/follows/
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As Ottawa’s defence shopping list keeps getting longer, something’s got to give

SUBSCRIBERS ONLY

Campbell Clark
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Nov. 14 2013

It’s an eye-popping figure: $105-billion for new warships. It’s a sobering estimate of what it costs to buy a navy. Too bad there’s no sober assessment of what Canada’s defence will do without.

There is an inescapable squeeze: the cost of all the military equipment the Conservatives pledged is edging higher, but the military budget is shrinking.

The new $105-billion estimate of lifetime costs for building warships – released by the government as it awaits an Auditor-General’s report on its shipbuilding plans – shows why current decisions have to fit into a long-term plan that adds up.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper built a big part of his political persona on pumping money into the military, as the Conservatives blamed previous Liberal governments for putting the Canadian Forces through what general Rick Hillier called a decade of darkness. Now it seems like Mr. Harper doesn’t want to admit the money he pledged isn’t there by revamping the plans.

When his government set out its plans for military-equipment purchases, in a 20-year defence strategy issued in 2008, it was planning bigger defence budgets. This year’s defence budget was supposed to be $21.7-billion, but now, in reality, it’s $3-billion less. It’s projected to stay relatively flat. The gap between the plan and reality is getting bigger every year.

Add the $105-billion lifetime cost for ships to the $45-billion estimated by accounting firm KPMG for F-35 fighter jets – even if the decision on buying them is on hold for now – and it starts to look like real money. In broad terms, that would take up a quarter of the defence budget, year after year, unless the budget is increased. And there’s more on the shopping list.

The $105-billion projection for warships doesn’t come from a spiralling price tag – if there are cost increases or overruns, they will be added later. But it’s supposed to be all-inclusive, and long-term: it includes the purchase price, but also 30 years of maintenance costs and the salaries of people who will operate them.

It provides a great big number, with everything, in theory, thrown in. In this case, it’s a useful illustration: it amounts, with a just a small portion missing, to what it costs to buy and operate a navy over 30 years. The $105-billion breaks down (roughly, because of the accounting details) to about $3.5-billion a year in constant dollars – but it’s there year after year, for decades.

It includes the ships that are the backbone of the navy – the so-called “surface combatants” that will replace the current frigates and destroyers. Building “up to” 15 of them will cost $26.2-billion, and with maintenance and operations, the total cost is estimated at $90-billion over 30 years. The $105-billion total also includes the cost of replacing two supply ships and adding “up to” eight new Arctic patrol vessels. Barring the costs of operating and (possibly) replacing Canada’s four submarines and its 12 small coastal vessels, it’s pretty much the fleet.

There isn’t much to cut, unless you do without a navy. Some in the military would do without the Arctic patrol vessels, about 8 per cent of the cost estimate, but the government insists. The biggest element – about 85 per cent – is the crucial frigates. The $26.2-billion purchase price is already very tight, said David Perry, a defence analyst with the CDA Institute, so the government will have to either shrink the small fleet or skimp on their capabilities.

Big price tags for a navy and fighters mean a big figure has to be squeezed into the defence budget every year. Half the defence budget, more than $9-billion, goes to salaries, and only a small fraction is for the navy or fighter squadrons. The overwhelming portion is in the army and bureaucracy. Billions more are spent on bases and training – though the Defence Department is already reducing the latter. It is cutting billions, and stretching the life of equipment, but its capital spending is supposed to go up.

There’s still the other things Mr. Harper pledged to buy: search-and-rescue planes, maritime patrol planes and close-combat armoured vehicles. And as the estimate for warships illustrates, decisions made now will be paid for year after year, long after Mr. Harper is gone.

So far, it won’t all fit. Former lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie, when he was still in the army, called for restructuring the military, cutting overhead to pay for its cutting edge. The government still argues cost-cutting will make it fit. But something big has got to give, and as yet, the Conservative government hasn’t explained what it is. The military isn’t back to the decade of darkness, not yet, but its budget is in the shadows. Time for a new plan.

Campbell Clark is a columnist in The Globe’s Ottawa bureau.


Let me repeat a few points:

     1. The Government of Canada is doing the right thing - restraining, cutting discretionary spending until its fiscal house is in order again;

     2. The Canada First Defence Strategy was never about increasing Canada's military strength. It was, at best, a juvenile, ill advised bit of political fluff designed to fool the vast majority of Canadians who are economically illiterate,*
         at worst it was a cynical attempt to cut the military by stealth. It makes no strategic sense at all - but then Canadian governments are, generally, poor at strategy, and it's poor economics, too;

     3. Defence spending is not productive ~ and that includes "buy Canadian" projects;

     4. LGen (ret'd) Leslie is, partially, right, but a bit timid. The CF is a C2 train wreck. It is over-managed and mismanaged to a degree that goes beyond being disgraceful. Many, most of a our flag and general officers are, at least, one rank higher
         than necessary or even desirable and fully ⅓ can be, and should be retired without replacement ~ management would improve ~ and we should "delayer" one complete level of the CF C2 superstructure;

     5. Canada needs a grand strategy, starting with a vision that leads towards a sensible, politically acceptable foreign policy and a defence policy that produces armed forces which are:

          a. Appropriate for a G8 nation which is, by any measure, in the world's top 10%,

          b. Adaptable to an ever changing strategic environment;

          c. Available when and where needed ~ which implies adequate numbers of people (in units, not HQs) and adequate (working) equipment and adequate strategic "lift," and

          d. Affordable ~ we may not be a "big league" military power, and we don't need or want to be one, but we can be, and should be in the Triple A + league.


_____
* It probably worked with much of the Conservative base, too, which is, generally, less educated than the supporters of more progressive parties.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: jollyjacktar on November 14, 2013, 12:02:10
Honestly.  When I saw that piece about the life cycle cost of new vessels over a 30 year period,  I wasn't a bit surprised.  What did they expect the cost of personnel, fuel and refits ect would cost over such a prolonged period of time?  I'd be willng bet that in reality the cost will be much more at the end of the day.  That's the cost of doing business and is exactly why you don't see the major powers or many others with major fleets of the past.  Who the hell can afford it?  This is just some trying to make hay and get the masses all up in arms at the expense of the government of the day.
 ::)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on November 14, 2013, 12:36:07
Honestly.  When I saw that piece about the life cycle cost of new vessels over a 30 year period,  I wasn't a bit surprised.  What did they expect the cost of personnel, fuel and refits ect would cost over such a prolonged period of time?  I'd be willng bet that in reality the cost will be much more at the end of the day.  That's the cost of doing business and is exactly why you don't see the major powers or many others with major fleets of the past.  Who the hell can afford it?  This is just some trying to make hay and get the masses all up in arms at the expense of the government of the day.
 ::)

I'm pleased to see more realistic life cycle costs being used and publicized.

The downside is that these large numbers play into the hands of the large anti-military faction in Canada.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: jollyjacktar on November 14, 2013, 15:37:23
Yes, I agree it's good to be up front with it as well.  But, as I said it's someone who's trying to raise crap on the procurement at the Conservatives expense.  Pure politics.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: jollyjacktar on November 15, 2013, 10:51:56
Excellent article.  Shared under Section 29 of the Copyright Act.

Quote
Kelly McParland: Demanding cost certainty for new Navy vessels is an exercise in fantasy
Kelly McParland | 14/11/13 10:23 AM ET
More from Kelly McParland | @KellyMcParland

A news item the other day reported that the federal government had, for the first time, released an all-inclusive figure  giving its best estimate for the total lifetime costs of the new warships it is building.  The bill, it said, “will exceed $100-billion … tens of billions of dollars more than Ottawa has previously disclosed.”

The implication is that the federal Conservatives are involved in another example of financial chicanery, similar to the ever-changing price estimates for the F-35 fighter purchase program. An NDP strategist duly appeared on Wednesday to declare the entire 30-year program (which is in Year Two) had been “bungled” and was “another absolute mismanagement of the procurement process.”

Which is nonsense.

The actual estimated cost for up to 15 surface combat vessels is $26.2 billion, pretty much what it was to begin with. Another $3 billion is budgeted for Arctic offshore patrol vessels. The inclusion of a package on non-combat vessels brings the price tag to $36.6 billion. A spokeswoman for Public Works and Government Services told the Halifax ChronicleHerald (much of the shipbuilding will take place in Halifax) that numbers may move a little now that the program is underway and more refined projections can be made.

What’s changed is this: in order to fend off headlines feigning shock and outrage, the government has made its best guess as to the total costs associated with the project over three decades. In addition to the actual cost to design and build the ships, it consulted its crystal ball and tried to estimated every other possible expense that could possibly relate to the ships over that period, including the running costs, the crew costs, the maintenance costs, the food costs,  repair costs … you name it. The hull gets a bit rusty and you have to scrape it clean … in 2031, say … and gee, what’s that going to cost, do you suppose? First you have to know how wages, benefits, fuel, supplies and general economic trends have changed between now and 2041 or so.  Then  you have to apply it to an entire fleet of  ships, based on how you think they might have been deployed in the interim.  It’s sheer fantasy: governments can barely get economic forecasts right from year to year, so guessing what the world might look like 20 or 30 years down the road is just make believe.

Ottawa needs to have a number to offer when asked, however, so it came up with one: $64 billion. As it noted in the Public Works update:

The Canadian Surface Combatant project is in the very early days of its definition work. At this point, the current preliminary acquisition cost estimate, for planning purposes, is approximately $26.2B. There is an additional early, projected estimate of approximately $64B for personnel, operating and maintenance costs over 30 years. This gives the Canadian Surface Combatant a total preliminary through-life cost estimate in the vicinity of $90B. It is important to note that the initial, rough estimate of $64B is a projection essentially based only on the costs associated with the existing frigate and destroyer fleets, and will be refined over time.
Which, in English, means: “We don’t really know, but you wanted an estimate, so here’s an estimate.” This is the number that has critics salivating in hopes of another F-35 shouting match in Parliament.

There’s nothing clarifying about asking Ottawa to peer into a murky future and anticipate 30 years of costs for $26 billion worth of vessels.
To demand exactitude in a project so large, vast and complex, spread over 30 years, is ridiculous. It’s a bit silly to even expect Ottawa to try.   These are war ships, people: they could go to war. Wars can do damage to ships. Say a shell hits a Canadian ship 20 years from now; you going to call up Stephen Harper in retirement and blame him for getting the estimate wrong?

The equivalent exercise in the non-government world would be to require automobile builders to advertise the price of their vehicles based on the estimated lifetime cost, rather than the amount they actually charge you to buy it.

So, a compact car priced at $25,000 would have to include all the estimated costs for gasoline, oil, repairs, tires, insurance, maintenance, and the possibility that, somewhere down the road, you back it into a tree and need a new bumper, which you decide to pay for yourself rather than risk your insurance rates being bumped. All that, over the entire lifetime of the car, which could vary anywhere from a few years to a couple of decades, depending on how you drive and how well you treat the vehicle.  So now your Honda Civic costs $60,000, even though you’re only going to pay $25,000. Does that make sense?

Everyone wants more clarity from Ottawa, and honesty when it comes to spending. But there’s nothing clarifying about asking Ottawa to peer into a murky future and anticipate 30 years of costs for $26 billion worth of vessels. You might as well ask it to announce the inflation rate 25 years down the road as well, and pick the Stanley Cup winners for 2023 through 2040.

National Post
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on November 15, 2013, 11:06:50
Excellent article.  Shared under Section 29 of the Copyright Act.


As to his Honda Civic analogy: yes, it does make economic sense to understand and to programme, however roughly, the life cycle costs of a complex system. It makes very, very good sense with big, complex military systems like ships, major army weapon and support systems and aircraft.

But, the Auditor General of Canada, using the best available professional standards, needs to set (and, now and again, update) the rules for life cycle costing and DND, and other government departments and the Parliamentary Budget Officer need to obey those rules. As I understand the latest go 'rounds in Ottawa the AG, DND and PBO all have different systems; that's silly and counter-productive. The AG is the expert, not ADM(Mat) or ADM(Fin) or the PBO. One ring to rule rule to guide them all.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: FSTO on November 15, 2013, 12:09:41

As to his Honda Civic analogy: yes, it does make economic sense to understand and to programme, however roughly, the life cycle costs of a complex system. It makes very, very good sense with big, complex military systems like ships, major army weapon and support systems and aircraft.

But, the Auditor General of Canada, using the best available professional standards, needs to set (and, now and again, update) the rules for life cycle costing and DND, and other government departments and the Parliamentary Budget Officer need to obey those rules. As I understand the latest go 'rounds in Ottawa the AG, DND and PBO all have different systems; that's silly and counter-productive. The AG is the expert, not ADM(Mat) or ADM(Fin) or the PBO. One ring to rule rule to guide them all.

It would be nice for a standard to be set.
Also it would be nice for the "critics" to acknowledge that wages, rations, O&M (and other costs) are already captured within the yearly budget and that this is not new money that is over and above the yearly cost to operate the CAF. But then it is not sexy to point that out. Although our media outlets should be the ones to point out that fact to the talking heads. Sadly that never happens.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on November 15, 2013, 12:26:41
It would be nice for a standard to be set.
Also it would be nice for the "critics" to acknowledge that wages, rations, O&M (and other costs) are already captured within the yearly budget and that this is not new money that is over and above the yearly cost to operate the CAF. But then it is not sexy to point that out. Although our media outlets should be the ones to point out that fact to the talking heads. Sadly that never happens.


Agree! And that's why we need someone like the AG, a real, unbiased, expert accountant, to set a standard, and then we need everyone ~ and governments (politicians and bureaucrats, alike) will hate this ~ to follow the damned rules or have their political and bureaucratic knuckles rapped, in public, for trying to lie to the Canadian people.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Colin P on November 15, 2013, 12:47:37
It would be nice for a standard to be set.
Also it would be nice for the "critics" to acknowledge that wages, rations, O&M (and other costs) are already captured within the yearly budget and that this is not new money that is over and above the yearly cost to operate the CAF. But then it is not sexy to point that out. Although our media outlets should be the ones to point out that fact to the talking heads. Sadly that never happens.

Mind you, when we asked for a tasking of a CCG ship, they wanted to charge us for every cost, not just the additional ones. The ship sitting at the dock consumes x amount of money a day without a tasking and then they wonder why we hire a commercial vessel instead. Sometimes I wonder if our own management understands such mundane facts as well.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on November 15, 2013, 14:04:33
Mind you, when we asked for a tasking of a CCG ship, they wanted to charge us for every cost, not just the additional ones. The ship sitting at the dock consumes x amount of money a day without a tasking and then they wonder why we hire a commercial vessel instead. Sometimes I wonder if our own management understands such mundane facts as well.


My guess, based on 37 years in uniform and another decade in the private sector working very closely with government, is that some, but not most, do not; but even those who do are bound by an incredible array of often contradictory regulations, some dating back to the 19th century, that make financially sound decision making difficult and, sometimes, even impossible.

The add political interference ...
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Navy_Pete on November 16, 2013, 11:26:30
I think some of the life cycle costing does have a lot of merit in some respects for looking at things like crew sizes.

It's nice to say we need x crew (which they have pulled a number out of their asses without knowing what the ship looks like, what it will do, or how they will run it), but everytime you add a body onboard, there is a large cost once you get above the critical mass that will fit into the hull you end up with based on the stability/seakeeping requirements.  For every crew member you have growth in the requirement for all habitability systems (sewage, garbage, fridges, HVAC etc) and the various life saving systems (lifeboats, fire escape etc).

It's a good way to keep the good ideas club from arbitrarily pulling a crew size out of their hats, and as we are generally well ahead of other navies in embracing automation with each ship, core crew sizes should be shrinking, not growing.

Some of the other navies now run their CTG staff from a shore unit and use satcomms to pass orders.  When it's working, it's indistinguishable from embarked command staff for all the other ships in consort.  That way the Cmdre can have 30 staff with all their own minions without needing the bunking and infrastructure on the ship. If nothing else, morale on the ships probably improves as you aren't suddenly overrun with the mobile ballast extra personnel that come on board.

You can make the argument that kind of arrangement leaves you vulnerable if comms are down, but I've seen first hand how few of them are actually useful if they are embarked and comms go down (ie about 5 of the 60 were doing anything, the others were hanging out in the messes watching movies).

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Chris Pook on November 16, 2013, 11:40:55
...

(about 5 of the 60 were doing anything, the others were hanging out in the messes watching movies).


About a year or so ago I was looking at the nominal roles for HMS Victory at Trafalgar.  Of the 1000 or so men on board (primarily gunners and marines with a small cadre of shiphandlers and tradesmen) I could only identify a staff for Nelson of about 7 men.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on November 19, 2013, 17:14:26
More cuts coming according to this article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Ottawa Citizen:

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/national/Troop+reductions+could+table+Canada+defence+chief+says/9185278/story.html
Quote
(https://Army.ca/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.asinter.com%2Fimages%2FSpringshow_page_pics%2Fottawa_citizen_logo.jpg&hash=f6d49e3f52c1f962ae79aa8768bde260)
Troop reductions could be on the table, Canada’s defence chief says
 
BY LEE BERTHIAUME, POSTMEDIA NEWS

NOVEMBER 19, 2013

(https://Army.ca/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ottawacitizen.com%2Fnews%2Fnational%2Fcms%2Fbinary%2F9185279.jpg&hash=1b83a9faf69b90e779450b0b14c87b82)
Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Tom Lawson
Photograph by: Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press/Files , Postmedia News

OTTAWA – Canada’s top soldier has raised the possibility of cutting military personnel from the Canadian Forces’ ranks to deal with budget cuts.

The federal Conservative government has long said it will not reduce the military’s strength from its current total of 68,000 full-time members and 27,000 reservists despite billions of dollars in spending reductions.

But Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Tom Lawson told reporters Tuesday that cuts could be on the table when military planners present cabinet with options for a new long-term vision for the Canadian Forces in the coming months.

Lawson made the remarks following a speech to the Canadian Club in which he acknowledged the difficulties in dealing with the budget cuts while maintaining the military’s current strength and not cutting the Canadian Forces’ capabilities.

More to come …

lberthiaume(at)postmedia.com

Twitter:/leeberthiaume

© Copyright (c) Postmedia News


Troop reductions would be a very, very good thing if they are applied, 100%, to the too numerous, bloated HQs in and around Ottawa. We can do with several, about ⅓ fewer admirals and generals and far fewer navy captains and colonels, too.
Title: Troop Reductions could be on the table
Post by: Teager on November 19, 2013, 17:14:46
OTTAWA – Canada’s top soldier has raised the possibility of cutting military personnel from the Canadian Forces’ ranks to deal with budget cuts.

The federal Conservative government has long said it will not reduce the military’s strength from its current total of 68,000 full-time members and 27,000 reservists despite billions of dollars in spending reductions.

But Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Tom Lawson told reporters Tuesday that cuts could be on the table when military planners present cabinet with options for a new long-term vision for the Canadian Forces in the coming months.

Lawson made the remarks following a speech to the Canadian Club in which he acknowledged the difficulties in dealing with the budget cuts while maintaining the military’s current strength and not cutting the Canadian Forces’ capabilities.

More to come …

lberthiaume(at)postmedia.com

Twitter:/leeberthiaume
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: PuckChaser on November 19, 2013, 17:44:34
Troop reductions would be a very, very good thing if they are applied, 100%, to the too numerous, bloated HQs in and around Ottawa. We can do with several, about ⅓ fewer admirals and generals and far fewer navy captains and colonels, too.

And you know thats exactly what won't be cut. Would you approve a plan to cut your own job? PYs will come out of operational units, reduced recruiting or another FRP.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on November 19, 2013, 17:47:19
And you know thats exactly what won't be cut. Would you approve a plan to cut your own job? PYs will come out of operational units, reduced recruiting or another FRP.


I fear you're correct. My statement reflects the triumph of hope over experience.  :dunno:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: PuckChaser on November 19, 2013, 18:05:12

I fear you're correct. My statement reflects the triumph of hope over experience.  :dunno:

Unfortunately to quote a motivational poster I saw recently at work, "Hope is not a valid COA." Fingers crossed I'm proven wrong on this, some trades won't survive PY cuts again.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: standingdown on November 19, 2013, 18:21:52
So what did FRP entail the last time around? Are there any incentives for those serving on IE25 but not eligible for a pension yet? I have figured something like this would happen in the near future...but I guess they haven't said any specifics yet.

I concur with others that we are in a bloated military that is executive friendly. I don't see the cuts coming in the right places.
Title: Re: Troop Reductions could be on the table
Post by: jollyjacktar on November 19, 2013, 18:55:53
FRP! FRP! FRP!   :nod:
Title: Re: Troop Reductions could be on the table
Post by: MilEME09 on November 19, 2013, 19:57:08
Well we can hope harper will stick with his commitment and keep personal levels where they are and throw this idea out the door
Title: Re: Troop Reductions could be on the table
Post by: Jarnhamar on November 19, 2013, 19:59:06
Talkin to the ol Canadian Club eh? I do that sometimes too.
Title: Re: Troop Reductions could be on the table
Post by: standingdown on November 19, 2013, 20:04:28
LOL
Title: Re: Troop Reductions could be on the table
Post by: milnews.ca on November 19, 2013, 20:14:33
OTTAWA – Canada’s top soldier has raised the possibility of cutting military personnel from the Canadian Forces’ ranks to deal with budget cuts.

( .... )

More to come …

lberthiaume(at)postmedia.com

Twitter:@leeberthiaume
More here (http://o.canada.com/news/national/troop-reductions-could-be-on-the-table-canadas-defence-chief-says/) at the latest version of the story.
Title: Re: Troop Reductions could be on the table
Post by: George Wallace on November 19, 2013, 20:26:00
Well we can hope harper will stick with his commitment and keep personal levels where they are and throw this idea out the door

With the Pips and Crowns?
Title: Re: Troop Reductions could be on the table
Post by: ArmyDoc on November 19, 2013, 21:28:25
Interesting.  6 weeks ago at the Defence Renewal Team rollout, the message was that there were no planned reductions in military positions, that Defence Renewal was about reinvesting money savings. Then, Gen (Ret'd) Hillier suggests that we reduce the Reg F from 68K to 50K. Now, a mere 6 weeks later, troop reductions are potentially on the table due to budget cuts.

This would follow the historical short-sighted Canadian practice of over-reducing military strength after a conflict. Hard not to think "thank you for your service" post-Afghanistan.
Title: Re: Troop Reductions could be on the table
Post by: tomahawk6 on November 19, 2013, 21:34:00
So what regiments will give up a battalion ?  >:D
Title: Re: Troop Reductions could be on the table
Post by: ArmyDoc on November 19, 2013, 21:50:11
So what regiments will give up a battalion ?  >:D
Since the goal is "more tooth, less tail" it is unlikely to be any combat arms units. Not sure how you cut 5k+ positions and re-allocate another 5K to new capabilities (Chinook, cyber, int) etc without completely gutting capabilities.  Pointy end bayonets are not the rate-limiting step in operational capability, it is often the supporting enablers.
Title: Re: Troop Reductions could be on the table
Post by: MilEME09 on November 19, 2013, 21:55:02
Edited due to duplicate post. Apologies.

I see a lot of waist lines that need cutting >:D maybe that will save money
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on November 20, 2013, 01:18:16
More cuts coming according to this article which is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provisions of the Copyright Act from the Ottawa Citizen:

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/national/Troop+reductions+could+table+Canada+defence+chief+says/9185278/story.html

Troop reductions would be a very, very good thing if they are applied, 100%, to the too numerous, bloated HQs in and around Ottawa. We can do with several, about ⅓ fewer admirals and generals and far fewer navy captains and colonels, too.
I agree.  Given his previous stance on managing defence costs, I could even see the PM publicly directing that (if cuts do occur) only headquarters establishments may be reduced and that units must be left alone.  This would be a good thing (though, there are certainly units that have fat to shed too).

We have identified a number of reduction opportunities in this thread already (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,82898.msg1250537.html#msg1250537).  Admittedly, I would have preferred to see cuts in one place reinvested in another, but we have to live within our fiscal limitations.  Previously identified areas for force reduction include:
We could also look at partial civilianization of PSel and TDO occupations.  Others have mentioned blanket 10% cuts to all staffs, though I prefer a deliberate line-by-line, task-by-task review of the establishment which will target areas of fat more specifically than other places.

FRP! FRP! FRP!   :nod:
I hope we can find a more intelligent way of reducing the personnel to match any drop in positions.  Fresh RMC grads should not be given a big chunk of cash to go off into civilian world with their free education, but instead there should be a system that targets/encourages those personnel who have reached or are most closely approaching the 20 year mark.  As previously mentioned by dapaterson, we could/should also return to annual TOS boards (particularly at ranks of LCol and above and MWO and above) to determine whether continued service meets a military requirement.

One can expect that any force reduction will be accompanied by an end to accommodations as it will become more urgent to fill those positions with fit service personnel.  That will add urgency to resolving issues related to transition support and veteran support for injured soldiers.
Title: Is a smaller Canadian Forces in the future?
Post by: X Royal on November 20, 2013, 03:08:08
Just seen this story.
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/cutting-size-military-could-table-harper-government-201346410.html (http://ca.news.yahoo.com/cutting-size-military-could-table-harper-government-201346410.html)
Any thoughts.
Title: Re: Troop Reductions could be on the table
Post by: Bird_Gunner45 on November 20, 2013, 10:24:53
FRP! FRP! FRP!   :nod:

Perhaps a telling sign on the state of the Army (Or maybe just my particular sub-component of it) was that on hearing the news of a potential FRP people actually got EXCITED and began discussing the possibility of it being like the last one with buy outs, etc.

Any similar experiences or are the people in my sub-component just that low morale?
Title: Re: Troop Reductions could be on the table
Post by: Halifax Tar on November 20, 2013, 10:58:30
Perhaps a telling sign on the state of the Army (Or maybe just my particular sub-component of it) was that on hearing the news of a potential FRP people actually got EXCITED and began discussing the possibility of it being like the last one with buy outs, etc.

Any similar experiences or are the people in my sub-component just that low morale?

I am roughly 6 years from a 20 year pension so the deal would have to be pretty good but I will defiantly look at what is offered if something is offered.  I wasn't around for FRP, how did it work ?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Remius on November 20, 2013, 11:42:55
I doubt they will do FRP as it was back in the 90's.  They haven't offered any deals to teh PS in their reduction.

My guess?  They'll start with attrition.  I'm willing to bet those that have 30 years + that are due for retirement are in HQ establishments anyway and they will simply not replace those positions.

MCG's RMC consolidation is a good start and reducing ROTP targets in favour of DEO is another.

Not sure about the bands though.  Maybe reduce to the CF Central Band only.

Maybe, just maybe we'll see some real reserve restructuring as well.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on November 20, 2013, 13:29:30
My feeling - no FRP will be offered. Some of the cuts will be covered by attrition and reduced recruiting.

Having said that - this is a trial balloon. If it's not shot down it may float....ya know?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: George Wallace on November 20, 2013, 13:42:29
My feeling - no FRP will be offered. Some of the cuts will be covered by attrition and reduced recruiting.

Having said that - this is a trial balloon. If it's not shot down it may float....ya know?

I doubt attrition will meet the goals.  We all know what kinds of problems reduced recruiting generate. 

Doesn't look good.
Title: Re: Troop Reductions could be on the table
Post by: kilekaldar on November 22, 2013, 13:34:31
So what regiments will give up a battalion ?  >:D

Looks like 2 VP and 2 RCR.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/analysis/manitobans-need-answer-on-shilos-future-232964821.html

Title: Re: Troop Reductions could be on the table
Post by: Remius on November 22, 2013, 13:58:46
Looks like 2 VP and 2 RCR.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/analysis/manitobans-need-answer-on-shilos-future-232964821.html

Looks more like worries as opposed to actual decisions about both.  The article is also a bit misleading in that the minister waffled on the whole garantee that 2VP won't be cut.  By stating yea or nay it would be easy to start speculating.  Not garanteeing it does not mean it's a fait accompli.

It would make more sense to amalgamate 1 and 3 RCR (both are in the same area and share space with CSOR) and it might actually be better to do it in a riding that will vote CPC no matter what.

2 RCR is the only atlantic infantry footprint (barring the reserves) so it makes no sense to cut them.  But I wouldn't put it past them to merge 2 of the PPCLI battalions.

We'll see what comes.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: George Wallace on November 22, 2013, 14:01:38
You do realize you just said: "makes no sense".  You of course know that usually means something is about to happen that does not make sense, and someone will call it "a good thing".
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Remius on November 22, 2013, 14:06:44
You do realize you just said: "makes no sense".  You of course know that usually means something is about to happen that does not make sense, and someone will call it "a good thing".

Very true George.  Not sure if they'll call it a good thing, but they'll likely sell it as making the CF leaner and meaner and how they are commited to a robust, effective and capable CF, thank the men and women who have served.  Plenty of spin on whetever happens.
Title: Re: Troop Reductions could be on the table
Post by: Hamish Seggie on November 22, 2013, 14:23:23
Looks like 2 VP and 2 RCR.

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/analysis/manitobans-need-answer-on-shilos-future-232964821.html

Don't hold your breath.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Sheep Dog AT on November 22, 2013, 15:41:17
It would cost far to much to move all the pers and equipment from Shilo to Edm as well as cleaning up the Base to be turned over to the public. 
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on November 22, 2013, 16:19:37
It would cost far to much to move all the pers and equipment from Shilo to Edm as well as cleaning up the Base to be turned over to the public.
Couple with the fact disbanding the battalion,  the only unit in the CF that has been awarded the US Presidential Unit Citation for Kapyong would not sit well with the soldiers, the Americans and the Koreans.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Jed on November 22, 2013, 16:29:39
Couple with the fact disbanding the battalion,  the only unit in the CF that has been awarded the US Presidential Unit Citation for Kapyong would not sit well with the soldiers, the Americans and the Koreans.

Probably go over as well as disbanding the Airborne Regiment or messing with the Black Watch or Queen's Own.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Old Sweat on November 22, 2013, 16:44:02
We are getting wrapped around the axle over a bit of speculation by an individual who wrote an oped piece that was published in The Winnipeg Free Press. The author made a bunch of assumptions, some of which may be valid and some of which appear to be pretty wild. Any meaningful reduction in the CAF would have to entail cutting much more than the 1300 positions or so embodied in two battalions. Frankly I am prepared to see what falls out of the trees in the days ahead, but to reach the ceiling Rick Hillier was talking about would require massive amputations, not just trimming. I don't think that is politically possible or even very smart, given the state of the world.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Rifleman62 on November 22, 2013, 17:07:06
Jim Seggie:
Quote
Couple with the fact disbanding the battalion, the only unit in the CF that has been awarded the US Presidential Unit Citation for Kapyong would not sit well with the soldiers, the Americans and the Koreans.

Sorry RSM, that means nothing to the Americans or the Koreans, nor to any government.

If we were to cut one of the two PRes Inf units in Wpg, who would it be?

A unit that costs the government extra for kilts, bag pipes, or a unit that has the "Royal" designator, the name of the city in its title, and a longer more distinguished history?

We have gone through this many times as recently as less than ten years ago when the Camerons almost got re-rolled to Engineers.

Winnipeg does not need, has not needed since the 70's two PRes Infantry units. Unsustainable. When the time comes to cut, I fear the Highland mafia will have the most pull. History, names, etc will not even enter into the equation.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: rifleman on November 22, 2013, 17:18:35
Perhaps they could cut one battalion down to something like 10% Regular Force and 90% Reservist?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Halifax Tar on November 22, 2013, 17:32:50
Jim Seggie:
Sorry RSM, that means nothing to the Americans or the Koreans, nor to any government.

If we were to cut one of the two PRes Inf units in Wpg, who would it be?

A unit that costs the government extra for kilts, bag pipes, or a unit that has the "Royal" designator, the name of the city in its title, and a longer more distinguished history?

Sounds like buttons and bows to me... I believe many on here are against that stuff...
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Monsoon on November 22, 2013, 17:50:44
Perhaps they could cut one battalion down to something like 10% Regular Force and 90% Reservist?
Given that the structure of most reserve units is 8-10 full timers and 80-100 class "A" types, that would be pretty much every militia unit in the army.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on November 23, 2013, 01:58:48
It would cost far too much to move all the pers and equipment from Shilo to Edm as well as cleaning up the Base to be turned over to the public.
Consolidating 1 CMBG is one of those things that would spend money to save money.  Overtime there would be savings from reductions of cost moves, TD and equipment transportation.  It would also make life easier as the Bde would not find itself trying to FG a TF in two separated locations, or conducting identical min-load courses in two locations to avoid putting half a max-load course on TD.

Moving 1RCHA and 2PPCLI from Shilo would not necessitate the base be closed (though some facilities on the base would be).  And (depending on who you talk to) the preferred consolidation location for 1 CMBG would be debatable.
 

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Strike on November 23, 2013, 02:11:29
Consolidating 1 CMBG is one of those things that would spend money to save money.  Overtime there would be savings from reductions of cost moves, TD and equipment transportation.  It would also make life easier as the Bde would not find itself trying to FG a TF in two separated locations, or conducting identical min-load courses in two locations to avoid putting half a max-load course on TD.

Moving 1RCHA and 2PPCLI from Shilo would not necessitate the base be closed (though some facilities on the base would be).  And (depending on who you talk to) the preferred consolidation location for 1 CMBG would be debatable.

What you would also have to consider is where the guns would be able to play.  Do we even have enough land around Edmonton?  Is Wainwright comparable?  The cost of land in Alberta is pretty darned high, then add the costs for environmental assessments and the time it would take to get all of that set up.  By the time any of that were to ever get sorted, the winds of change would be blowing again and the solution of moving the guns would no longer be valid.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on November 23, 2013, 02:20:06
There is also the political element to consider. The Conservatives may lose ground in Manitoba if one of the two major units is moved.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: PPCLI Guy on November 23, 2013, 03:09:10
I have heard that this story is completely unfounded.  It might be worth it to hold off on the frenzy of discussion until Monday and see what the chain of command has to say.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: GAP on November 23, 2013, 09:09:16
This whole issue is based on an article about a Liberal trying to create an issue that they can cry foul on regarding a dumb question.

Quote
That's not good enough for Lamoureux, who says "the future of 2 PPCLI and CFB Shilo are being put into question because of this government's lack of commitment to Manitoba. People all over the province, and in particular Shilo, are concerned. The minister's non-answer causes me to believe that they have a hidden agenda and they do not want their decision to interfere with the upcoming byelection."

Up to now, the Brandon-Souris byelection has lacked a dominant issue for candidates and voters to focus on. The possibility of 2 PPCLI and CFB Shilo being targeted by federal spending cuts -- and the possibility the Harper government is withholding the news until after the byelection -- could reframe the dynamics of the campaign days before the vote.

That the issue right there and it's media pap. It is cold in Manitoba this weekend, so other than grannies skidding into the ditches while driving, what else is going on.......oh, that byelection thingy in Brandon....hmmm.......

The possibility of 2 PPCLI and CFB Shilo being targeted by federal spending cuts is a guarantee......as proportionally as every other area. Some a wee bit more than others.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Strike on November 23, 2013, 11:21:30
Kinda like Goose Bay - every few months someone tries to stir the pot in order to get people to vote for them/support them without thinking about how much their unfounded rumours are affecting people.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Haletown on November 23, 2013, 12:27:38
We are getting wrapped around the axle over a bit of speculation by an individual who wrote an oped piece that was published in The Winnipeg Free Press. The author made a bunch of assumptions, some of which may be valid and some of which appear to be pretty wild. Any meaningful reduction in the CAF would have to entail cutting much more than the 1300 positions or so embodied in two battalions. Frankly I am prepared to see what falls out of the trees in the days ahead, but to reach the ceiling Rick Hillier was talking about would require massive amputations, not just trimming. I don't think that is politically possible or even very smart, given the state of the world.

An OpEd pice written by someone who has a long deep history with the Liberal Party of Canada. Not saying he is pushing an agenda buy there is an election happening in the  area and politics is politics.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Sheep Dog AT on November 23, 2013, 19:55:39
I have heard that this story is completely unfounded.  It might be worth it to hold off on the frenzy of discussion until Monday and see what the chain of command has to say.

Thank you. I was waiting for someone in the bigger picture to respond.
Title: Bean Counters Coming to a Unit Near You
Post by: 54/102 CEF on December 01, 2013, 20:09:51
Straws in the wind but big names verbalising...........

Get a trade / skill to take with you out the door is always good advice

Troop reductions could be on the table, Canada’s defence chief says Lee Berthiaume
Published: November 19, 2013, 2:29 pm
http://o.canada.com/news/national/troop-reductions-could-be-on-the-table-canadas-defence-chief-says/

"One of Lawson’s predecessors, retired general Rick Hillier, warned in a recent interview that reducing the size of the military was the only way to ensure the force remains strong and stable.

“If we do this right, we can still have an agile force, we can still have a superbly trained force and we can still have a force capable in this era of threats,” Hillier told CTV in September. “But it’s going to be smaller, you just can’t get around it.”

Putting Military Pay on the Table
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
Published: November 30, 2013
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/01/opinion/sunday/putting-military-pay-on-the-table.html?hp&rref=opinion

"After a decade of war, the very idea of cutting benefits to soldiers, sailors and Marines who put their lives on the line seems ungrateful. But America’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan is over or winding down, and the Pentagon is obliged to find nearly $1 trillion in savings over 10 years. Tough choices will be required in all parts of the budget. Compensation includes pay, retirement benefits, health care and housing allowances. It consumes about half the military budget, and it is increasing.

In a speech last month, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned that without serious savings in this area, “we risk becoming an unbalanced force, one that is well compensated but poorly trained and equipped, with limited readiness and capability.” Meanwhile, Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, told a hearing: “The cost of a soldier has doubled since 2001; it’s going to almost double again by 2025. We can’t go on like this, so we have to come up with [new] compensation packages.”
Title: Re: Bean Counters Coming to a Unit Near You
Post by: Transporter on December 01, 2013, 21:58:14
The military compensation package in the US is sweet, but expensive. Pension is 2.5% per year, average best three, collect after 20. And that's without having to pay a dime into it. Also, upon retirement, free (or nearly free) health/dental care for members and their dependants at US military medical facilities. It's even sweeter if you consider the fact that nine (9) states have no state income tax, thirteen (13) other states exempt 100% of military pensions from income tax, and virtually all of the remaining states have varying tax exemptions or deductions for military pension income (ex, 50% of pension income exempt from taxation, etc).
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Occam on December 04, 2013, 10:32:12
You know it's bad when...

Received as a NCR-wide e-mail.



PLANTS IN THE WORKPLACE
 
The Treasury Board Secretariat’s ‘Guide to the Management of Real Property’ categorizes plants as a discretionary expense. Accordingly, plants are considered to be optional within the workplace. The Government of Canada Workplace 2.0 Fit-up Standards have clarified that plants and associated maintenance costs, previously covered by PWGSC, are now in fact a tenant (DND) responsibility.  The cost to DND to maintain the plants currently placed in the workplace within the NCR would be in the neighbourhood of $300,000 per year. Therefore, given that plants in the workplace are not core to DND's mandate, and that we are facing some significant current budgetary challenges, DND will not assume these costs.  As such, PWGSC will arrange for the removal, disposal and/or relocation of the existing plant inventory over the coming weeks and months as our maintenance contracts expire.
 
This message is being sent on behalf of Brigadier-General M.P. Jorgensen, Chief of Staff to the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, to all recipients in the National Capital Region (NCR) and as such does not need to be forwarded to anyone within the NCR.  Please do not reply as this mailbox is not monitored.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Old Sweat on December 04, 2013, 10:51:05
Geez, Jorgey survived the Herc crash (in Alaska?) when he was in the AB Regt to be reduced to this.

 :sarcasm:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: PPCLI Guy on December 04, 2013, 10:57:59
300K will buy a week in the field for 1 CMBG.  I say kudos for rooting out waste wherever it is.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Old Sweat on December 04, 2013, 11:03:18
Imagine how long 1 CMBG could be in the field if the system had the discipline to prune the staff with the equal vigour shown in clear cutting NDHQ.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Infanteer on December 04, 2013, 11:12:29
That's the kind of line item review that needs to be done; managing the budget won't be about big things like cutting a battalion, it'll be about eliminating the death by 1000 cuts that occurs daily throughout the defence budget.  Kudos to the General.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Good2Golf on December 04, 2013, 11:24:06
Quote
I say kudos for rooting out waste wherever it is.

I see what you did there. :nod:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: milnews.ca on December 04, 2013, 11:41:58
300K will buy a week in the field for 1 CMBG.
Excellent stat - useful as a response to anyone saying, "it's only a few hundred thousand, nothing that'll break the bank if we keep it in."
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on December 04, 2013, 11:51:22
Excellent stat - useful as a response to anyone saying, "it's only a few hundred thousand, nothing that'll break the bank if we keep it in."


 :goodpost:

And it reinforces the good points made by Infanteer and PPCLI Guy. Sorry as I am too see BGen Mike Jorgensen shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic paper on the 13th floor, he's doing the right thing and he's doing things right.

Remember this, Old Sweat? (https://Army.ca/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fottawaephemera.files.wordpress.com%2F2009%2F09%2Fruler.jpg&hash=a5e97bb67f5478099fd8e290bfee9136)

I'm not sure printing "Misuse is abuse" on pencils and rulers was cost effective but you and I both remember what real austerity felt like, don't we?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Old Sweat on December 04, 2013, 11:53:52
The trouble with cutting the small stuff is that the system lacks the discipline to keep all the little "nice to haves" out. Watch for the plants to creep back in over the next few years. I may be cynical, but how much could be saved by curtailing or rolling back the growth in headquarters' size and especially the ones that exist purely to put the gloss of self importance on staff functions? Methinks the institutional wing of the CAF and DND is hunkered down and will outwit and out wait the reformers once again.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: milnews.ca on December 04, 2013, 11:58:50
.... how much could be saved by curtailing or rolling back the growth in headquarters' size and especially the ones that exist purely to put the gloss of self importance on staff functions? ....
The tough part is reaching internal consensus at that level re: which bits "put the gloss of self importance on staff functions".  Who offers to walk the plank first?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Sheep Dog AT on December 04, 2013, 12:02:43
I wonder how much baby will go with the bath water.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on December 04, 2013, 12:06:09
The trouble with cutting the small stuff is that the system lacks the discipline to keep all the little "nice to haves" out. Watch for the plants to creep back in over the next few years. I may be cynical, but how much could be saved by curtailing or rolling back the growth in headquarters' size and especially the ones that exist purely to put the gloss of self importance on staff functions? Methinks the institutional wing of the CAF and DND is hunkered down and will outwit and out wait the reformers once again.


I couldn't agree more, but you and I have both seen more than one of these decades of darkness®, and that's why you know the small stuff, the "nice to haves," will creep back, but, until (unless) some organizational discipline is imposed on the CF ~ because it seems unlikely that the CF will discipline itself, the "senior leadership" being bereft of leaders ~ then the small stuff will have to do. Warships are being tied up, potted plants for HQ functionaries can go, too.

Of course, maybe Capt Bligh (or the captain from "Mister Roberts") could use them ... to raise morale, of course.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on December 04, 2013, 12:07:27
Perhaps leave the plants, and let the employees water them on their own time, instead of hiring plant attendants?  After all, for the past decade everyone in NDHQ takes care of their own garbage - no cleaners.

Do folks in 1 CMBG still have cleaners picking up garbage from their desks?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Infanteer on December 04, 2013, 12:12:32
Do folks in 1 CMBG still have cleaners picking up garbage from their desks?

Yep, she just came through my office.  Mind you, I believe that is a 3 CDSG/CDSB Edm expense.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on December 04, 2013, 12:32:04
Yep, she just came through my office.  Mind you, I believe that is a 3 CDSG/CDSB Edm expense.

So, you're saying Comd 3 Div spends money on cleaners to pick up your trash rather than have you take it out the bin yourself.  And therefore that's a higher priority to him than giving 1 CMBG more money for training.

And how much is spent on ground maintenance for Edmonton - for flowers etc - you know, the plants that will be eliminated in NDHQ?

I'm betting there's more than 300K that could be saved in Edmonton alone... but this 300K is in NDHQ / CFSU(Ottawa), and therefore we should eliminate everything there.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Occam on December 04, 2013, 12:45:07
And how much is spent on ground maintenance for Edmonton - for flowers etc - you know, the plants that will be eliminated in NDHQ?

Looking here at LStL and 455 DLC (now known as the ADM(Mat) Campus), I don't see many plants in common areas within the buildings.  I know this is outside the scope of the e-mail this morning - but the landscaping and greenery that is done on the outside surrounding the two buildings is impressive...and IMHO overkill.  We could fence in the property surrounding the buildings, post an armed guard, and grow cash crops (medicinal pot, perhaps?) to supplement DND's budget. 

Now where did I put that ADM(Mat) Suggestion Award form...

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on December 04, 2013, 12:51:19
Looking here at LStL and 455 DLC (now known as the ADM(Mat) Campus), I don't see many plants in common areas within the buildings.  I know this is outside the scope of the e-mail this morning - but the landscaping and greenery that is done on the outside surrounding the two buildings is impressive...and IMHO overkill.  We could fence in the property surrounding the buildings, post an armed guard, and grow cash crops (medicinal pot, perhaps?) to supplement DND's budget. 

Now where did I put that ADM(Mat) Suggestion Award form...

Ah, but those are not DND owned buildings.   Rented.  And the owners have requirements under local zoning to maintain the properties (which they contract out).

But the idea of growing medical maijuana in a secure area, like the hallways of NDHQ... I think you deserve a DM's innovation award.  Or at least a bag of nacho chips.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Sheep Dog AT on December 04, 2013, 12:57:19
All cleaning services at CFB Shilo are done by a contracted from sweeping floors to taking out the garbage.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Occam on December 04, 2013, 13:07:52
Ah, but those are not DND owned buildings.   Rented. 

Seen.  That would explain it.

Quote
But the idea of growing medical maijuana in a secure area, like the hallways of NDHQ... I think you deserve a DM's innovation award.  Or at least a bag of nacho chips.

I like nacho chips.   ;D 

Kidding aside, this is my first experience with a frozen NICP (spare parts) budget, and it's a little daunting.  All these buys are piling up, and when the taps reopen in April, I can see the budget being exhausted in very short order.  The techs in uniform are going to have to do some creative maintenance on the equipment when parts bins in the warehouses start coming up empty.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on December 04, 2013, 13:30:26
...
Kidding aside, this is my first experience with a frozen NICP (spare parts) budget, and it's a little daunting.  All these buys are piling up, and when the taps reopen in April, I can see the budget being exhausted in very short order.  The techs in uniform are going to have to do some creative maintenance on the equipment when parts bins in the warehouses start coming up empty.


We've been through that before and hopefully the folks in the LCMM shops and in the 3rd andf 2nd line maintenance units remember how to manage shortages and how to manage the (too small) "flood" in April.

Good luck!
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Infanteer on December 04, 2013, 14:19:25
So, you're saying Comd 3 Div spends money on cleaners to pick up your trash rather than have you take it out the bin yourself.  And therefore that's a higher priority to him than giving 1 CMBG more money for training.

And how much is spent on ground maintenance for Edmonton - for flowers etc - you know, the plants that will be eliminated in NDHQ?

I'm betting there's more than 300K that could be saved in Edmonton alone... but this 300K is in NDHQ / CFSU(Ottawa), and therefore we should eliminate everything there.

Sure.  But my budget only has L101, so I don't know who decides to pay for cleaners but if I do, I'll pass on your idea.   ;)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on December 05, 2013, 05:27:04
The trouble with cutting the small stuff is that the system lacks the discipline to keep all the little "nice to haves" out.
I wonder how much baby will go with the bath water.
These are my worries.  Part of the answer is here:
That's the kind of line item review that needs to be done; managing the budget won't be about big things like cutting a battalion, it'll be about eliminating the death by 1000 cuts that occurs daily throughout the defence budget.
The potential savings are exist; we have identified a number of reduction opportunities in this thread already (http://forums.army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,82898.msg1250537.html#msg1250537) and can now add office garbage removal and plant maintenance to the growing list of potential savings.

Unfortunately, it is easier to take the belt-sander to evenly wear-down everywhere than it is to locate and make deep cuts to the areas of luxury and option … especially to those such areas that also have stakeholders ready to fight for preserving the excess.

In a time of austerity, the loss of indoor vegetation is a good news story. 
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Privateer on December 06, 2013, 18:44:44
My suggestion for one (admittedly minor) item that could be cut immediately:  The plastic name tags worn on DEU.  The tags are ugly and unnecessary on non-operational clothing.  An easy item to just delete from the system.  These should just disappear.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Furniture on December 07, 2013, 04:51:07
Perhaps leave the plants, and let the employees water them on their own time, instead of hiring plant attendants?  After all, for the past decade everyone in NDHQ takes care of their own garbage - no cleaners.

Do folks in 1 CMBG still have cleaners picking up garbage from their desks?

This is an excellent idea! No cleaners just like on ship, the Jr ranks will clean all of the ship/office twice a day. Of course during that time nothing else will get done because the highly paid experts are scrubbing toilets and floors... seems like a perfect system. Maybe we should hire a few thousand extra Pte-Cpl to make sure our toilets and break rooms are clean at all times, we cam even call them Molly's to keep the RCN influence alive.

Taking garbage from desks is the least important function of cleaners, that's like saying we have electronic banking so we don't need pay clerks....
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Occam on December 07, 2013, 10:39:30
My suggestion for one (admittedly minor) item that could be cut immediately:  The plastic name tags worn on DEU.  The tags are ugly and unnecessary on non-operational clothing.  An easy item to just delete from the system.  These should just disappear.

Or......if you really want a DEU nametag, you can buy (from your personal funds) one of those designer/vanity nametags that I've seen OUTCAN people wear.  You know:

Lieutenant Commander James "Jimbo" Bloggins
Royal Canadian Navy
Executive Assistant to the Chief Bottle Washer
ADCOMSUBORDCOMPHIBSPAC

Toss on a couple of unit/command badges and you're good to go.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Navy_Pete on December 08, 2013, 12:32:20
Wrt the plants contract, to put it in context, the contractor performing the work hired mentally handicapped people to do the work, so now they are out of work.  This was cut across a number of departments.

No idea where the actual plants where, as there aren't any 'fitted' plants in LStL, but this was more of a community service.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Occam on December 08, 2013, 12:41:10
No idea where the actual plants where, as there aren't any 'fitted' plants in LStL, but this was more of a community service.

Look to your right when you're the first in line for Tim Horton's - or at least there used to be one there.  I'm pretty sure there are others, I just can't place them.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on December 08, 2013, 15:01:22
Taking garbage from desks is the least important function of cleaners, that's like saying we have electronic banking so we don't need pay clerks....

Well, we don't need pay allotments any more, that's for sure; I have greater flexibiltiy to manage my money online (even on my phone) so why waste effort on maintaining that system?

Maybe by eliminating useless functions we can reduce or repurpose clerks.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on December 19, 2013, 04:18:54
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/retired-generals-take-aim-at-ottawa-s-handling-of-defence-cuts-1.2469381
Quote
Retired generals take aim at Ottawa's handling of defence cuts
 Deep cuts planned for training and maintenance

Evan Solomon, Kristen Everson
CBC News
18 Dec 2013

Tension is growing between Canada's top generals and the government over how to carry out deep cuts to the military.

CBC News has learned that those cuts are coming for the operations and maintenance budget, which includes training.

Sources have told CBC News the government's plan for the future of the Canadian Forces, known as the Canada First Defence Strategy, was debated at a federal cabinet meeting Tuesday in Ottawa.

The government does not want to reduce the number of soldiers from current levels of 68,000, nor does it want to cut the budget for high-profile equipment such as planes and ships.

But the military says that leaves only training and maintenance, and that doesn't sit well with some military experts.

Retired general Rick Hillier, the former chief of defence staff, came out blasting the Canada First strategy on Wednesday.

"You're going to devastate the capability of the Canadian Forces" if the military's choice of cuts goes ahead, Hillier told CBC News.

"If all the other things are untouched because you don't want to reduce the number of people, because you're committed to equipment, then you're going to savage the operations and training piece of it, which means that soldiers won't train, sailors won't sail and men and women won't be in their aircraft very much."

Hillier is calling for an overhaul of the entire military strategy — starting with a reduction of the number of soldiers.

"The defence strategy is no longer affordable. You need to re-set. You need to reshape it and you need in fact to come out with a new Canada First Defence Strategy."

The government last year announced total cuts of $2.1 billion to the military's $20-billion budget by 2015.  Those cuts are already being felt.

Sources inside the military tell CBC News that brigades have been sent letters informing them of cuts of 61 per cent to operations and maintenance budgets.

Those cuts mean there will be less money for  food, fuel and ammunition for training exercises.

"Fewer training dollars, and less maintenance money means there's fewer platforms for people to go on an exercise with, and then at a certain point down the road, there's going to be fewer aircraft and fewer ships for the Canadian Forces to actually deploy with," said  Dave Perry, a senior defence analyst with the Conference of Defence Associations Institute.

Perry pointed to a recent announcement by the navy that it can't maintain the number of coastal defence vessels at sea it had previously.

Generals are not allowed to talk about the cuts openly, because it is a politically sensitive issue that goes to the Conservatives' base of support, but one senior member of the military told CBC News the government is cutting the defence budget while "pretending they are not."

Another former top soldier now working as a policy adviser to the Liberals said he can't understand why the Canadian Forces are short of money when the Department of Defence underspent its budget by $1.3 billion in April.

"This is fiscal mismanagement on a vast scale," said retired lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie, who authored a controversial "transformation" report on the future of the military before he left in 2011.

"Our transformation team, over two years ago, recommended they cut consultants and contractors, which in 2010 was at $2.77 billion per year.

"Since then DND increased spending on consultants and contractors to $3 billion a year," he told CBC News Wednesday. "This is irresponsible."

A Conservative MP was not made available to discuss the issue on CBC News Network's Power & Politics Wednesday.

But Defence Minister Rob Nicholson's office released a statement in response to CBC News's request for comment.

"Our government has made unprecedented investments in the Canadian Armed Forces. In fact, since 2006 we have boosted defence budgets by 27 per cent, roughly $5 billion in annual funding," the statement quoted Nicholson as saying.

"The government will continue to place priority emphasis on meeting operational requirements, training within Canada, supporting the part-time reserves, undertaking national sovereignty missions and caring for ill and injured soldiers."
The messages are getting bleaker.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on December 19, 2013, 05:22:50
And it is reported (http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/Freeze+departmental+budgets+adds+pressure+unions/9297853/story.html) that the "government is freezing departments’ operational budgets for another two years ... [it] will affect all departments and separate agencies and is expected to generate $1.7 billion in savings over two years." DND is part of that freeze and a good slice of those savings will come from DND.

Given the government's guidance ~ no (significant) cuts to personnel nor to high profile equipment projects (F-35s and new ships) ~ it seems to me that the only sensible course open is to:

     1. Cut HQ bloat ~ a massive redesign of the CF C2 system, which will include a large scale "delayering" process that will cut the numbers of, especially, GOFOs and colonels and move those PYs, quickly, through early retirement,
          to the fleets and the field force;

     2. Cut unnecessary equipment projects like the Close Combat Vehicle.

Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Dimsum on December 19, 2013, 07:37:20
And it is reported (http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/Freeze+departmental+budgets+adds+pressure+unions/9297853/story.html) that the "government is freezing departments’ operational budgets for another two years ... [it] will affect all departments and separate agencies and is expected to generate $1.7 billion in savings over two years." DND is part of that freeze and a good slice of those savings will come from DND.

Given the government's guidance ~ no (significant) cuts to personnel nor to high profile equipment projects (F-35s and new ships) ~ it seems to me that the only sensible course open is to:

     1. Cut HQ bloat ~ a massive redesign of the CF C2 system, which will include a large scale "delayering" process that will cut the numbers of, especially, GOFOs and colonels and move those PYs, quickly, through early retirement,
          to the fleets and the field force;

     2. Cut unnecessary equipment projects like the Close Combat Vehicle.

I'd like to believe that option 1 could happen, but the cynical realistic part of me says no one will cut jobs for their peers.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: milnews.ca on December 20, 2013, 07:59:49
You know it's bad when...

Received as a NCR-wide e-mail.



PLANTS IN THE WORKPLACE ....
Every little bit helps (http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/Freeze+departmental+budgets+adds+pressure+unions/9297853/story.html) - interesting defences to keep the plants ....
Quote
The Department of National Defence is facing such a spending squeeze that it is getting rid of all plants at its offices across the National Capital Region to save $300,000 a year.

A recent internal memo said the department wasn’t going to keep plants at its 40 area locations as they are not “core” to the department’s mandate and too expensive to maintain during a time of restraint.

“If it doesn’t fly, sail or fire bullets, they will get rid of it,” said John MacLennan, president of Union of Defence Employees. “They’re cutting so close to the bone that they have to cut plants. How much further can they go, stop buying furniture?”

Since then, more than 350 potted plants have been listed for sale to the highest bidder on Public Works website gcsurplus.ca. The plant removal will continue in coming months as the existing maintenance contracts expire.

The decision has been the subject of mockery, but some argue it’s a sign of how squeezed departments are after years of spending reductions, as well as the government’s scant concern for the ambience or health of the workplace.

“It’s penny-wise and pound-foolish,” said Ron Cochrane, co-chair of the joint union and management National Joint Council. “Aside from the costs, they serve a purpose of providing more oxygen and the government is always talking about how they want a healthier workplace.” ....
If you want to give any of the plants a good home, go to gcsurplus.ca (http://gcsurplus.ca/mn-eng.cfm), click on "What's For Sale?" and search for "live potted plants".

And a reminder of what a $300K saving can mean ....
300K will buy a week in the field for 1 CMBG.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on December 28, 2013, 08:29:49
This article was written about all government departments, but it makes several specific references to DND and even the general stuff applies to our budget concerns.
Quote
Conservatives trim shadow government
But spending on professional services may have actually increased locally

James Bagnall, OTTAWA CITIZEN
27 Dec 2013

It turns out it wasn’t just civil servants who were squeezed by the Conservatives’ efforts to downsize the federal government. Spending on outside professional services has also dropped significantly, according to recently released public accounts data.

While the government spent a sizable $10 billion in fiscal 2013 (12 months ended Mar. 31) on a wide variety of professionals, that was nearly $700 million less than in the previous year. It was also the lowest annual total in four years for the sector, which includes engineers, lawyers, management consultants, guards, translators, lobbyists and computer specialists, among others. The sector is often referred to as a shadow government because it contains so many people who work side-by-side with full-time civil servants.

About one-quarter of the government’s annual spending on professionals involves federal departments that contract with each other; the rest of the professional services budget is earmarked for private sector players.

Among the top 12 categories of professional services, the government hiked spending in 2013 only on security, which cost $413.3 million — up 8 per cent year-over-year. The big item here was a 17 per cent jump in the RCMP’s budget for independent security specialists, to $135 million.

In sharp contrast, there were double-digit declines across government for spending on temporary help (down 20 per cent year-over-year), scientific research (off 16 per cent), training (minus 13 per cent) and translation services (a drop of 12 per cent).

This should have been bad news for the National Capital Region, which depends heavily on the professional services sector. But the evidence suggests the latter held up rather well locally. There were 78,100 employed in Ottawa-Gatineau in professional services on March 31 — up 4,600 from a year earlier. A substantial portion of these depend on the federal government for contracts.

The sector employed 85,300 in November — a new record. It made up 12.3 per cent of the region’s total jobs. Indeed, the rise of professional services locally has helped offset to a considerable extent the drop in civil service jobs.

There were 130,200 federal government employees in Ottawa-Gatineau as of November, down 18,000 from Mar. 31, 2012, shortly after Finance Minister Jim Flaherty delivered his most draconian federal budget. Over the same 20-month period, the professional services sector added 11,800 jobs.  These contrasting trends also hint at a third one — it’s possible that retiring government workers are entering the private sector in greater numbers for second careers as consultants or scientists [to the government].

During the peak of the government downsizing, the region’s workforce shrank, suggesting civil servants who accepted buyouts or retired were simply saying goodbye to employment. But that may no longer be the case.

A look at the top suppliers of professional services to government shows there are plenty of potential vehicles for a second career. Roughly one in three of the 50 largest in fiscal 2013 are military contractors — not surprising, considering that the Department of National Defence accounts for 30 per cent of the federal government’s total spending on professional services.

Nor has the ratio shifted much over the past decade. All that changes is the ranking of a few military specialists whose revenues ebb and flow according to the status of the government’s most recent major procurements. Babcock (submarines), Halifax Shipyards (warships) and Seaspan Marine (non-combat vessels) have all improved their ranking in recent years courtesy of the government’s program to rebuild the fleets of the Navy and Coast Guard.

The top supplier, General Dynamics, is a U.S. military conglomerate with a key stake in two of Canada’s largest military programs — the long-running quest to replace the Navy’s Sea King helicopters, and armoured combat vehicles, built in London, Ont.

Most of the professional services contracts involving the military are specialized engineering jobs, which is why you find so many ex-service employees doing them. The government shelled out $1.5 billion on military engineering in fiscal 2013, down from $1.6 billion the year before. Even so, that constituted the lion’s share of the $2.2 billion allocated for engineering services of all types in fiscal 2013.

The government also spent more than $1 billion each in fiscal 2013 on health services and information technology, only slightly less than the year before. Express Scripts Canada, the subsidiary of a St. Louis-based giant, manages government employees’ pharmacy, dental and health claims. Dozens of independent contractors — from IBM to Maplesoft — help the government keep its information technology networks up to date.

The Ottawa region is also the headquarters for a lively staffing services sector — companies that fill employment gaps at federal departments, or supply particular skills under long-term contracts for certain projects. Calian, the company founded by former Ottawa mayor Larry O’Brien, is the largest of these, thanks in part to a multi-year deal to supply health services workers to the military.

Among the notable items in last year’s professional services budget government-wide:

• The Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development spent by far the most on legal services — $106 million. Think land claims. The next biggest spender was Canada Revenue Agency with a legal bill of $66 million. Disputes over tax assessments were a big item here.

• The government earmarked $459 million for management consultants — with Public Works accounting for $184 million. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development was the next biggest buyer of management consulting with a budget of $45.5 million.

• The big spenders on health services were Veterans Affairs ($333 million), Public Safety ($257 million) and National Defence ($179 million). This involved anything from treatments for post-traumatic stress to rehabilitation for combat veterans, border guards and members of the RCMP.
http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/Conservatives+trim+shadow+government/9328968/story.html

If the skills required to perform a service contract would have required someone to first serve a career in the military, does it cost more to perform the task with a service member or to pay both a pension and the cost of a contract?  In other words: could money be saved by increasing the number of authorized PYs to bring long-term work requiring military skills back into the military, or would such a move just be an exercise in moving costs from one pot of money to another pot of money?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Monsoon on December 28, 2013, 12:29:44
If the skills required to perform a service contract would have required someone to first serve a career in the military, does it cost more to perform the task with a service member or to pay both a pension and the cost of a contract?  In other words: could money be saved by increasing the number of authorized PYs to bring long-term work requiring military skills back into the military, or would such a move just be an exercise in moving costs from one pot of money to another pot of money?
My understanding is that including pension benefits in the cost of contractors who are receiving pensions is a red herring. Because federal pensions are properly managed and fully funded (unlike many municipal pensions), the pensions are paid out of a separate actuarially managed fund, not out of departmental funding. The actual cost for a pension to the department is booked in the FYs in which the the recipient worked and was provided employee-side contributions to the pension in the past. Thus, as long as the cost of a contractor is less than the cost of a service member PY (which includes employee-side pension contributions for the member, and a host of benefits that are actual tangible costs at the department level, as well as salary), then it makes sense to use a contractor no matter whether they are a pension beneficiary or not. Of course you need to adjust for the marginal value you attribute to a service member's being able to be posted elsewhere in the organization while a contractor cannot, but at the institutional level this is generally a smaller amount than we believe at the tactical level.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on December 28, 2013, 14:24:10
Pension is a cost to the government.  Regardless of when it is accounted for, the pension cost is not occurred by the government until it is being paid out.  It is not a red herring because, while the department does not pay, the business case could be made to increase PYs and their funding if that will save money somewhere else.

If we do not create the contract work to draw members out of the forces, then they continue paying into the pension instead of drawing from it.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Monsoon on December 28, 2013, 15:17:41
Pension is a cost to the government.  Regardless of when it is accounted for, the pension cost is not occurred by the government until it is being paid out.
You are mistaken. Pensions can only be a liability in the current FY (to the department or the government at large) when they are not properly funded in the FY in which the pension accrues. That is not the case with federal pensions; thus, no savings in the federal budget's current FY can be won by preventing someone from drawing their pension.

You would be correct if federal pensions were managed like the EI system, where funds go into general revenue and expenses come out of general revenue (-ish; technically there is an "EI fund", but it's not actuarially managed and been raided freely in the past, with the resultant shortfalls coming out of general revenue. Consider EI to be an example of a fund that is actuarially under-funded). The federal pension plans are fully funded in the FYs in which the pension benefit is earned by the employee and pensions paid out have never come out of in-year funding.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: E.R. Campbell on December 28, 2013, 16:01:15
This article was written about all government departments, but it makes several specific references to DND and even the general stuff applies to our budget concerns.http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/Conservatives+trim+shadow+government/9328968/story.html

If the skills required to perform a service contract would have required someone to first serve a career in the military, does it cost more to perform the task with a service member or to pay both a pension and the cost of a contract?  In other words: could money be saved by increasing the number of authorized PYs to bring long-term work requiring military skills back into the military, or would such a move just be an exercise in moving costs from one pot of money to another pot of money?


It seems to me that there is another issue, besides cost, and that is that many of the jobs that go to consultants are not suitable for serving military officers. In some cases we the CF needs a very long service, specialized sort of person in, say, the rank of major or WO ... but we you really don't want to have too many of those people "blocking" positions in the CF. So we the system encourages them to retire and then hires them back as consultants ... it "unblocks" some valuable military positions and we you still get the people we you want.

In some cases it might make very good sense to hire people into the civil service directly from the military ... I managed that once, it was a long, painful process which took up entirely too much of my personal time (and political capital) as a director. I got what my organization needed: a civil servant who would a) stay in place for a long time, and b) had the right mix of military experience/knowledge and academic education. Everyone, right up to and including the VCDS and the DM of DND, agreed it was the right move, but the process ~ the public serving staffing process ~ was far too complex. It was designed to prevent just the move I wanted needed to make: a direct transfer from a military officer to a senior engineering position.

We You, the military, have a need for the CF to train some specialists who will, after a useful time in the military (say 20 to 25 years) retire and return to us your organizations as either civil servants or consultants: the choice is defined by the degree of permanence you need.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: milnews.ca on February 09, 2014, 18:42:38
You know it's bad when...

Received as a NCR-wide e-mail.



PLANTS IN THE WORKPLACE ....
A quick update - now it's not JUST DND (http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/house-of-commons-plants-soon-to-hit-auction-block-1.2526263) ....
Quote
The NDP’s undercover plant plot may be about to dry up.

On Thursday, a memo went out to the offices of MPs and House of Commons staff from Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers  to inform them that all plants in House of Commons buildings will be removed and sold.

The Department of Public Works no longer pays for the watering of plants in federal government buildings due to budget cuts. The “discretionary expense” of plant watering was downloaded to departments, which must now decide whether to take over the responsibility by April 2015.

The House of Commons, like the Department of Defence, has decided that it will not pay to water the plants in its offices on and around Parliament Hill and will instead sell them online ....
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on February 09, 2014, 23:30:35
And, for a fun read on the path to the CAF's current situation, have a read here: http://www.cdainstitute.ca/images/LesswithLessJan2014Perry.pdf
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Good2Golf on February 10, 2014, 00:11:22
And, for a fun read on the path to the CAF's current situation, have a read here: http://www.cdainstitute.ca/images/LesswithLessJan2014Perry.pdf

Yeah, I printed that one out, Andrew...if only they had us do less....
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: ArmyVern on February 10, 2014, 00:47:10
Yeah, I printed that one out, Andrew...if only they had us do less....

Amen.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: MCG on February 12, 2014, 06:56:21
Some defence specific assessment of the recent budget.

Quote
Federal budget sends Canadian military’s equipment buying plan into limbo; new fighter jets likely off the table
Murray Brewster, Canadian Press
National Post
11 February 2014

OTTAWA — The badly needed new equipment on the Canadian military’s shopping list may end up becoming a wish list over the next three years after Tuesday’s federal budget pushed $3.1 billion in planned capital spending into the future.
 
The reallocation and delay outlined in Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s fiscal plan was something long expected in defence circles, and a dramatic demonstration of how far the department has fallen in terms of the political pecking order in Ottawa.
 
In practical terms, it’s a reflection of the government’s failure so far to deliver long-promised new ships, search planes, helicopters and trucks. But it’s also part of a Conservative campaign to outflank the deficit in the run-up to the 2015 election.

Defence sets aside a certain amount each year to buy new gear, but the new budget kicks that planned spending — originally scheduled to take place between 2014 and 2017 — to “future years,” putting many programs in doubt.
 
Flaherty defended the decision, saying it wasn’t a cut and the money is being socked away until the military can use it.
 
“There’s no point in having money sitting there when they can’t spend it this year, which they can’t,” he said prior to the budget’s public release. “So, we’re pushing it forward, not taking it back.”
 
A senior government official, speaking on background, wasn’t able to provide a list of the affected projects and noted that the cash in many instances had not been appropriated by Parliament.

Future governments must decide when the money will be put back, the official said.
 
The stowing of equipment funds adds to previous Conservative austerity measures, which have already carved as much as $2.1 billion out of defence.
 
As the biggest discretionary pot of federal money, the military is accustomed to having a target on its back. But the pain won’t end once the government delivers a $6.3-billion surplus at the end of the 2015-2016 budget year, one defence analyst says.
 
National Defence will continue to feel the squeeze as the Conservatives strive to keep the books balanced — without generating new revenues — in order to finance long-promised goodies such as income splitting, said Dave Perry, a professor at Carleton University and a researcher with the Conference of Defence Associations.
 
“If you are making all of these moves to restrain federal spending writ large, cut taxes and spend money on other programs, I don’t see a big windfall coming for the military post-2015,” Perry said.
 
“I just don’t see how it can work given the political parameters they’ve outlined.”
 
Deferring capital spending will erode the buying power of projects that have already been announced, forcing the military to either make do with fewer ships, planes and vehicles, or settle for less sophisticated gear, he added.
 
The replacement of the country’s aging jet fighters, which National Defence was supposed to start spending on next year, will likely be the most high-profile victim of the reallocation.
 
The government put the F-35 program, a political lightning rod, on hold in December 2012 and has yet to say whether it will hold a full-fledged competition to determine which fighter to buy.
 
Other big-ticket items likely to fall into the shuffle would include the navy’s new supply ships, the long-promised Arctic patrol boats, replacements for Canada’s aging Sea King helicopters and new fixed-wing search planes, among others.
 
Defence Minister Rob Nicholson, who announced a reboot of the military procurement program last week, promised the government would begin posting a renewed list of its defence equipment needs this June.

In the meantime, though, Perry said the renewed departmental spending freeze — coupled with other restraint measures — will have a significant impact on defence, forcing it to internally reallocate as much $591 million by 2015.
 
That will mean less cash for operations, maintenance and training — and the numbers are stark.
 
In the 2009-10 budget year, the last before the axe began to fall on spending, National Defence was given $7.6 billion to spend on upkeep, fuel, patrols and exercises. According to Perry’s research, that number has fallen by 18 per cent.
 
The effects are already apparent. On Monday, the Snowbirds flying team announced it was cancelling performances in the U.S. due to budget cuts. A number of the army’s logistics trucks, known as the B-Fleet, have also been mothballed.
 
And defence sources say funding for CF-18 operations and maintenance, the air force’s premier weapons system, has already been curtailed by as much 25 per cent.
 
“The navy has a lot less flexibility because they don’t have the math to play with,” Perry said. “They’ll be tying up ships, even if there is no further pain.”
http://news.nationalpost.com/2014/02/11/federal-budget-sends-canadian-militarys-equipment-buying-plan-into-limbo-new-fighter-jets-likely-off-the-table/
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Lightguns on February 12, 2014, 07:58:10
A quick update - now it's not JUST DND (http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/house-of-commons-plants-soon-to-hit-auction-block-1.2526263) ....

I am amazed, I am a bube resident and we have potted plants.  Folks brought em it and they water, it cost nothing.  There is actually a part of the government that gets supplied and maintained potted plants?

bube should be cube!
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on February 12, 2014, 09:58:51
I am amazed, I am a bube resident and we have potted plants.  Folks brought em it and they water, it cost nothing.  There is actually a part of the government that gets supplied and maintained potted plants?

On the other hand, there's no garbage pickup in NDHQ - you have to deliver your own trash to the bins.  From what I know of most bases, folks still get their trash picked up at their desks...
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Halifax Tar on February 12, 2014, 10:35:04
On the other hand, there's no garbage pickup in NDHQ - you have to deliver your own trash to the bins.  From what I know of most bases, folks still get their trash picked up at their desks...

Cant speak for everywhere but not my office/warehouse.  We look after our own garbage.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: George Wallace on February 12, 2014, 10:37:59
Garbage pick up.  That is all set out in the negotiated/requirements in the Cleaner contract.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Journeyman on February 12, 2014, 11:15:01
There is actually a part of the government that gets supplied and maintained potted plants?
Yes, they're posted in.   :nod:
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: dapaterson on February 12, 2014, 11:41:54
There is actually a part of the government that gets supplied and maintained potted plants?

And the landscaping on a base appears by magic without human intervention?
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Hamish Seggie on February 12, 2014, 11:46:07
And the landscaping on a base appears by magic without human intervention?

A distant cousin of the Good Idea Fairy.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: George Wallace on February 12, 2014, 12:02:24
And the landscaping on a base appears by magic without human intervention?

50/50.  Someone has to load those rounds fired into the Impact Areas.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Occam on February 12, 2014, 14:09:20
A quick update - now it's not JUST DND (http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/house-of-commons-plants-soon-to-hit-auction-block-1.2526263) ....

As long as we're on the topic, there's an update from DND as well.  From the Defence Team (http://national.mil.ca/news-nouvelles/article-eng.asp?id=458) people (DWAN link only):

Quote
Adopt a Plant – Keeping DND Green for a Good Cause

Recent policy changes have meant that the DND has had to part with all of the greenery in its National Capital Region offices. Thanks to the quick thinking of one employee, not everyone is saying goodbye to their workplace plant life.

Upon hearing of the plant removal, <name removed> took it upon herself to place an online bid on the 60 plants located within her building. As luck would have it, she won them all.

Not having the means to take care of all the plants herself, Ms. <name removed> set up a plant “adoption” program, which would give employees in her office the opportunity to take on the responsibility for caring for their favourite office plants. For a minimum adoption fee of $20, employees could choose to either take their plants home, or leave them at work. The initiative has been a great success! Within less than a week of returning from holidays all 60 plants found new caregivers.

All proceeds from the adoptions are being donated to the Soldier On Fund, a Canadian Armed Forces charitable fund that helps serving and retired military members overcome their non-visible or visible illness and injury through sport and other physically challenging activities. To more than $1,230 has been raised. 

Anyone inspired by Ms. <name removed>’s initiative, can place bids on the auction website at www.gcsurplus.ca.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Old Sweat on February 12, 2014, 17:16:31
This story which states that DND requested the deferment of $3B from its capital budget was taken from the National Newswatch site. It is reproduced under the Fair Dealings provision of the Copyright Act.

DND requested budget time-out: Harper

By The Canadian Press — Feb 12 2014

OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the request to put off $3 billion in military equipment purchases was made by National Defence and does not represent a cut.

His comment comes in the face of Opposition demands that the Conservatives outline precisely which capital programs are being deferred over the next three years.

The new federal budget provided a global figure but no details on what is affected and when the reinvestment will occur.

Harper says the budget adjustment came from the military because it's unable to spend the cash during that time period, which happens to coincide with the government's drive to balance the budget.

Defence experts say the delay means that programs will lose buying power and the military may have to do with either fewer or less-capable pieces of equipment.

Harper insists the money will be available when the department needs it.
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Nemo888 on February 12, 2014, 17:51:15
I'm not really sure what that means. Deferred for three years and it needs to be deliberately put back into the budget kind of sounds like cut to me.

Any better numbers available? They don't say where the cuts will be. 2012 was over a 40 billion deficit, 2013 still waiting for Q4 to get the final numbers.  A balanced budget will not be painless.
Title: Re: Canadian Federal Budget 2014 (11 Feb 2014)
Post by: milnews.ca on February 12, 2014, 19:46:48
No wonder all that capital spending is being "moved" - DND wanted it (http://metronews.ca/news/canada/939607/dnd-requested-budget-time-out-harper/)!
Quote
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the request to put off $3 billion in military equipment purchases was made by National Defence and does not represent a cut.

His comment comes in the face of Opposition demands that the Conservatives outline precisely which capital programs are being deferred over the next three years.

The new federal budget provided a global figure but no details on what is affected and when the reinvestment will occur.

Harper says the budget adjustment came from the military because it’s unable to spend the cash during that time period, which happens to coincide with the government’s drive to balance the budget ....
Title: Re: Canadian Federal Budget 2014 (11 Feb 2014)
Post by: E.R. Campbell on February 14, 2014, 09:00:28
David Parkins, in the Globe and Mail, explains the impact of the federal budget on the Canadian Armed Forces in one picture:

(https://Army.ca/forums/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theglobeandmail.com%2Fincoming%2Farticle16866866.ece%2FBINARY%2Fw620%2Fweb-friedcar14col1.jpg&hash=be9a3bc1173ec7cdc1669d77faa191da)
Source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/are-you-csis-csec-or-rcmp/article16655155/#dashboard/follows/
Title: Re: Re: Canadian Federal Budget 2014 (11 Feb 2014)
Post by: blackberet17 on February 14, 2014, 10:02:05
If paracord and gun tape are holding that $hit together, it may not be too bad...

I jest.
Title: Canadian military ruled by balance sheets not foreign policy
Post by: MCG on February 18, 2014, 23:40:26
With all the talk of retirement moves, John Ivison brings discussion back to the real problems: poor budget/resource management and absent political direction.  Let's bring our attention back to this.
Quote
Report fires at aimless Canadian military ruled by balance sheets not foreign policy
John Ivison
18 February 2014

Rob Nicholson, the defence minister, clearly thinks that attacking a retired general over his moving expenses, in order to undermine his new role as an adviser to Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, is a priority and efficient use of his time.
 
The $72,000 bill for Andrew Leslie to move from one part of his tony Ottawa neighbourhood of Rockcliffe to another may stick in the craw of many taxpayers but it’s clear he operated within the Department of National Defence’s relocation rules.
 
Yet for Mr. Nicholson, this is the only event of note to have prompted a ministerial statement to the press in recent times. It has at least diverted public attention from a new report that excoriates the government’s handling of the defence file post-Afghanistan.
 
The Conference of Defence Associations Institute’s Strategic Outlook for Canada, released Tuesday, takes no prisoners.

“Ignoring defence requirements based on what the outside world looks like and not doing anything about it, is tantamount to delinquency of one’s government duty,” concludes the report, authored by veteran defence commentators Ferry de Kerckhove and George Petrolekas.
 
From the South China Sea to Syria, in times of crisis, Canada is a non-player, thanks to its adversarial approach, they say.
 
Ouch.
 
Canada is not alone in adopting what they call a “quasi-isolationist” approach to foreign engagement.
 
But it is the imperatives driving defence policy that disturb the authors — and should unsettle all Canadians.
 
“Fiscal pressures are leading to cuts to defence, based more on the balance sheet than on what a nation wishes to do in the world. For Canada, cuts to capability, delay or elimination of procurements, or reduction in readiness are imposed without the benefit of a foreign policy and defence review to articulate our national interests. This is deeply troubling …. Absent an articulated vision of its role in the world, and the provision of the right means to achieve it, Canada risks doing little and mattering even less in world affairs.”

Anecdotal evidence from sources inside DND suggest a department in disarray. The most obvious manifestation of this is the litany of failure on the procurement front. Aside from the well-documented cluster-flub of the F-35 fighter jet purchase, there was the recent decision not to proceed with the Close Combat Vehicle purchase — after an estimated $38-million of public money was spent on the tender process.
 
Then there is the Cyclone helicopters fiasco. The $1.7-billion spent on the effort to replace the aging Sea-Kings is the stuff of management failure legend, spanning three governments. But the Conservatives decided in December to plough on with the purchase when a more prudent move might have been to admit to mistakes made and go back to the drawing board. Sources suggest that there are over 200 ways in which the Cyclone fails the statement of operational requirement. Four of the 28 aircraft ordered are sitting in Halifax but are not considered operational because they lack the integrated electronics capability required.
 
There is plenty of blame to go around for these foul-ups — from inexperienced and credulous project management staff at DND, who were outmanoeuvred by highly motivated industry pitchmen, to military brass not prepared to risk their careers by admitting they got it wrong.

But the major structural complication behind much of the chaos at DND is that there is no clear concept of what the military should be doing after Afghanistan. The new defence procurement strategy announced this month is unlikely to revolutionize the process if there is still a lack of political direction on precisely what the military should be preparing itself for.
 
Budget freezes and the deficit reduction plan has chopped $2.7-billion, or 14%, from the defence budget. This has resulted in ad hoc cuts to operations such as land training programs, full-time reserve employment and aerospace and maritime readiness.
 
The Speech from the Throne last year called for the renewal of the Canada First Defence Strategy, at the same time as it announced further budget cuts. To say the CFDS is outdated is an understatement – one of its six core missions is to support key international events in Canada “like the 2010 Olympics.”
 
As the CDA paper points out, there may be a role for a Canadian “transitional disengagement force” to police a future peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians. Are we equipped for such a role? The authors say the Prime Minister is devoted to the Arctic, but point out that Canada’s physical presence is no match for other Arctic powers. Should that be the focus of future capacity building?

Even decisions that have already been made are now open to question, given the new fiscal climate. Both the Auditor General and the Parliamentary Budget Officer have found that the ships in the Royal Canadian Navy’s fleet will be replaced with less capable vessels unless the fleet becomes smaller.
 
Another recent CDA paper by analyst David Perry makes clear the government needs to reorient the military “to face new strategic demands with significantly fewer resources, in order to make the best of doing less with less.”
 
General Tom Lawson, the chief of the defence staff, acknowledged this salient fact in his Guidance to the Armed Forces, which said the military needs to “synchronize our level of ambition for new operational capabilities to today’s fiscal realities.”
 
The Conservatives love to harken back to the “decade of darkness” under the Liberals. At the same time, Mr. Nicholson is absorbed with firing a political broadside at a retired general who has retaliated by pointing out he faced real bullets when he was fighting for his country.
 
The defence minister’s time would be better served calibrating our ambition and articulating a vision of what the government wants from its military.
 
Beyond our support of Israel and freedom of religion, it’s not clear what Canada’s foreign policy goals are — or how its armed forces are expected to fulfill them. No wonder we are wasting hundreds of millions of dollars buying the wrong military hardware.
http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2014/02/18/john-ivison-report-fires-at-aimless-canadian-military-ruled-by-balance-sheets-not-foreign-policy/

... and for the report that he references, see here: http://www.cdainstitute.ca/images/so2014en.pdf
(Unlike the article, the report itself really deserves discussion in a forgein policy thread)
Title: Re: The Defence Budget
Post by: Old Sweat on April 30, 2014, 07:28:47
This story from the Ottawa Citizen suggests the CAF is considering dropping some capabilities and/or personnel cuts. It is reproduced under the Fair Dealing provision of the Copyright Act.

Canadian military studying personnel cuts, heavier reliance on allies for new defence strategy
http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/2013-budget/Canadian+military