Author Topic: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans  (Read 53383 times)

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Offline Dimsum

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The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« on: August 04, 2015, 20:38:08 »
Ouch. 

Quote
Many Canadians know that, at the end of the Second World War, the Canadian Navy was the fifth-largest in the world. Fewer realize that it has been so badly neglected for so long, it’s now effectively reduced to a coastal defence. Our rusting fleet sits out of sight of most Canadians, over the horizon, but not too far from shore; the sailors aboard struggling to keep the aging ships afloat; the admirals ashore juggling to constantly do more with less. And no one is proposing to fill the massive funding gaps. And replacement vessels remain nothing but unreliable plans on paper.

Meanwhile, in the upcoming election, like they did 10 years ago, the politicians will pose in front of shipyards, talk passionately about Arctic sovereignty and the proud reputation of the Royal Canadian Navy, and re-announce long-promised ships with ever receding launch dates.

http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/the-sinking-of-the-canadian-navy/
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #1 on: August 04, 2015, 20:47:01 »
Ouch. 

http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/the-sinking-of-the-canadian-navy/

A picture is worth a thousand words

Canadian Carrier Task Group, circa 1960s



Canadian Task Group today



Offline cupper

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #2 on: August 04, 2015, 20:54:25 »
What ever you do, don't tell the Navy.

They'll start asking for new offshore patrol vessels that are capable of working up north, new supply vessels, and replacements for the frigates.

Oh, wait….
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Offline Ludoc

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2015, 21:00:48 »
A picture is worth a thousand words

Canadian Carrier Task Group, circa 1960s



Canadian Task Group today


What an amazing advance in technology. One ship that can do a job that used to take all those ships and aircraft. I look forward to the day when the entire RCN is based out of one ship.  ::)

But which coast will get it?

jollyjacktar

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2015, 21:18:35 »
I never really felt piss-ant until my first visit to Norfolk.  Then, I felt like I was part of a Banana Republic Navy or the like. 

Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2015, 21:19:46 »
I never really felt piss-ant until my first visit to Norfolk.  Then, I felt like I was part of a Banana Republic Navy or the like.

Don't worry the feeling in the Army is mutual

Offline cupper

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2015, 21:23:16 »
I never really felt piss-ant until my first visit to Norfolk.  Then, I felt like I was part of a Banana Republic Navy or the like.

I get that sense too every time I drive by the Philadelphia Navy Yard. And those ships are mothballed.
It's hard to win an argument against a smart person, it's damned near impossible against a stupid person.

There is no God, and life is just a myth.

"He who drinks, sleeps. He who sleeps, does not sin. He who does not sin, is holy. Therefore he who drinks, is holy."

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jollyjacktar

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2015, 21:28:12 »
Yeah, I've got green time behind me too.  I remember hearing the 1HQ and Pigs guys relate the hoots of laughter and disbelief from the Armoured guys out of Knox at seeing our CP/vehicle radio sets (they had on display in a museum on base).  Hell, just watch any of the War Amps postings of the Canadian Army Newsreels and see what we once were and how far we've wandered off the path of our former presence (CA, RCN, RCAF).  We make anorexic folks look obese.

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2015, 21:30:51 »
Oh yes, the red face at answering the Yank who asked me while were berthed at the Carrier piers what was our biggest ships, only to find it was PRE.  His face was a picture of shock, pity, scorn and puzzlement all at once.

Offline Monsoon

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2015, 23:26:17 »
From the article:
Quote
According to retired officers and naval experts, the RCN has objectively deteriorated to its lowest capability in over 40 years.
Can that possibly be true? The fleet wasn't much to behold in the early-90s prior to the introduction of the Halifax class and TRUMP. We were operating 1960s combat systems technology at a time when the state of the art had progressed a great deal in the previous fifteen years. Our principle class of surface combattants were propelled by steam engines, FFS. And of "coastal defence" back then (since the article spends a fair amount of time excoriating the Kingston class), the less said the better: converted yard trawlers and wooden 1950s-era minesweepers that couldn't minesweep.

Don't disagree that the fleet needs new ships, like, 10 years ago, but it doesn't do much to help our case to overstate things.

Offline Eland2

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2015, 00:54:03 »
The author of the Macleans article has a point. A valid one. A major, First World, industrialized country like Canada should not have an effectively non-functional navy like it does now. I am still gobsmacked by the fact that it took us twenty years to get the used subs we bought from the UK to a state where they are minimally operational. That is simply unacceptable, and it points to a massive systemic failure. If we saw something like this happening in the US Navy, heads would have rolled from top to bottom.

The blame for the Navy's sorry state of affairs (and the military's in general) can be laid on three things:

1. Apathetic Canadians and their refusal to provide the military that is supposed to serve them with adequate and stable (but not piecemeal) funding. Canadians persist in their belief that somehow it is the responsibility of the United States to pony up the assets, manpower, and money to defend us. The fact that Canada doesn't have the wherewithal to do an all-encompassing job of defending the country does not mean it should not be doing its utmost to do all that it can
do given limited resources. Sadly, the 'Canada is too small to have an adequate military' excuse is used by too many Canadians. Canadians want to live free from the threat of attack by foreign countries, and they want Canada to have a significant role on the world stage, but they won't pay the freight to make sure that happens.

2. A dysfunctional and ineffective military procurement system that creates such significant bottlenecks such that materiel that does get procured is often a decade or more late or out of date, and costs much more than it should. It should not take the publication of an Urgent Operational Requirement to ensure the military gets proper kit within a reasonable time frame.

3. Politicians who, if they don't have a deep-seated dislike of the military, have no interest in the military beyond what it can do to serve their political and partisan interests - namely photo ops and pork-barrelling in their ridings when election time swings around, or greasing the palms of their friends in the corporate sector.

Until we firmly address these three issues, problems like the navy rusting out will happen over and over and over again. The biggest question is, do Canadians have the political will and the desire to change things? Or would they be happier lowering the Canadian flag and applying for statehood?

</rant mode off>

Offline FortYorkRifleman

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2015, 01:41:13 »
Despite all this we somehow are able to produce excellent soldiers, sailors and airmen. That, in itself, is amazing. I won't get into what I think about the article as many of the posters above me have done a good job in doing just that but I like to think that the organization I am applying to will provide me, along with the other applicants, with the skills, knowledge and leadership to make me the best soldier I can be.

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2015, 08:10:43 »
The author of the Macleans article has a point. A valid one. A major, First World, industrialized country like Canada should not have an effectively non-functional navy like it does now. I am still gobsmacked by the fact that it took us twenty years to get the used subs we bought from the UK to a state where they are minimally operational. That is simply unacceptable, and it points to a massive systemic failure. If we saw something like this happening in the US Navy, heads would have rolled from top to bottom.

The blame for the Navy's sorry state of affairs (and the military's in general) can be laid on three things:

1. Apathetic Canadians and their refusal to provide the military that is supposed to serve them with adequate and stable (but not piecemeal) funding. Canadians persist in their belief that somehow it is the responsibility of the United States to pony up the assets, manpower, and money to defend us. The fact that Canada doesn't have the wherewithal to do an all-encompassing job of defending the country does not mean it should not be doing its utmost to do all that it can
do given limited resources. Sadly, the 'Canada is too small to have an adequate military' excuse is used by too many Canadians. Canadians want to live free from the threat of attack by foreign countries, and they want Canada to have a significant role on the world stage, but they won't pay the freight to make sure that happens.

2. A dysfunctional and ineffective military procurement system that creates such significant bottlenecks such that materiel that does get procured is often a decade or more late or out of date, and costs much more than it should. It should not take the publication of an Urgent Operational Requirement to ensure the military gets proper kit within a reasonable time frame.

3. Politicians who, if they don't have a deep-seated dislike of the military, have no interest in the military beyond what it can do to serve their political and partisan interests - namely photo ops and pork-barrelling in their ridings when election time swings around, or greasing the palms of their friends in the corporate sector.

Until we firmly address these three issues, problems like the navy rusting out will happen over and over and over again. The biggest question is, do Canadians have the political will and the desire to change things? Or would they be happier lowering the Canadian flag and applying for statehood?

</rant mode off>


Actually, your first "thing to blame" explains the other two.

Popular apathy, or, perhaps, popular passion is what drives politics. Canadians, broadly and generally, are "passionate" about a few things; those few things are, pretty closely, related to their direct, personal, pocketbook/bank account/pay stub interests. They want lower taxes and more spending on things that directly benefit them ... except in some very, very rare circumstances (two or three times in the past century) it's damned hard for any political leader to put defence on the list of Canadians' "passions."

Scott Gilmore has penned an excellent, passionate cri de coeur that, directly, calls for two things:

     1. Better political/bureaucratic decision making and processes (maybe even a grand strategy for Canada); and

     2. Some popular passion about how we act on the global stage. (Implicit in this is a bigger, better managed defence budget.)

My guess is that there are three groups of very smart people in Ottawa who are interested in this issue.

The first group of really smart (and powerful) people, all of whom wear business suits, none of whom have much, if any, direct experience with the military, agree, very broadly, with Mr Gilmore's analysis; they've been saying much the same thing for years. They have laid emphasis on two elements:

     1. Poor judgement and weak top level leadership in National Defence Headquarters. There is a serious disconnect, they believe, between what the military, especially, says and
         what it can and will deliver. They are dismayed that admirals and generals routinely cry wolf (rust-out) and then manage to cobble together a response to a political demand.
         They think that the military either lies to the government, a venial sin, or to itself, a mortal one.

     2. Political realities. These smart people acknowledge that increased defence spending ~ a necessary element of any solution to Canada;'s military dilemma ~ is politically difficult, maybe even impossible, right now. They argue, however,
         that it is better to spend a bit more (a very few billion more each year) in a controlled manner than to have to spend many of ten of billions more (almost all "off shore") in an emergency situation.

The second group of smart people are younger and have even less contact with or interest in the military. They, however, have their fingers quite firmly on the pulse of public opinion ~ even on fine slices of public opinion. They oppose new defence spending ~ announcements are nice, actual spending is dangerous, they believe, lest it expose the government to a deficit, something which Canadians actually (albeit irrationally) fear. This group's influence is always a (frequently useful) counter balance to the opinions and recommendations of the first group.
 
The third group is larger and very diverse. It actually has a significant "pro-defence" segment, but, mostly, it represents a wide range of "single interests" (which includes national defence as just one of many). It's role is to bring all those "single interests," individually, to the attention of politicians  and senior bureaucrats and political advisors and the media. This group likes to call its members "opinion makers", and sometimes that's accurate. How efficient and effective each "single interest" opinion maker might be depends, in part, on how popular the "interest" might already be ... and defence is a narrow and, generally, unpopular interest. (As I have said, over and over again, popular support for the military might be a mile wide (red t-shirts and yellow ribbons and so on) but it is less than an inch deep and it, that puddle of public support, will evaporate completely when exposed to the heat and light of e.g. economic and social interests.)

The "defence community," which includes many of us, here on Army.ca who serve, did serve or are interested in national defence, is small, poorly organized, weak (indecisive and divided) and, largely, leaderless. Yes, "we" have our own lobby groups within that big, broad "third group" described above, and yes, we have our own PR group, but how do these compare with other groups and other PR leaders? My answer is: poorly. And it's understandable why DND, itself, and its own pet lobby group are less than effective: for one thing their job is to "toe the party line," not to actually promote national defence. Meanwhile, other groups, some with very evident anti-military agendas are not so constrained and can be, therefore, more effective.

So, we, the "military community," are weak, divided, quiet and, generally, "outgunned" and "outmanoeuvred" in the battle to capture public "passions" and so our budgets and systems and management remain inadequate ... because that's the way Canadians have "directed" their political servants.
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Offline Colin P

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2015, 10:17:08 »
The spending on the military needs to be grown in small slices, so it does not become a target. I would keep most of the current ship building policy, but order a couple of new hulls from overseas (Berlins), there is enough work to keep Irving and Seaspan busy for years. Regardless of what some people here think, I still like the idea of the Mistrals coming over and I suspect France would be very willing to work some interesting fiscal arrangements that spreads the costs over many years. We have the crews to man them and it will fit well with the Northern focus for now. It would also instill some morale improvement in the Navy who could use it.
By the time all the other ships come on line, the Mistrals would need a refit and the Halifax's will be due for replacement, which could be done on a slow continuous build program.

Offline FSTO

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #14 on: August 05, 2015, 10:19:17 »
Another reason why is that the 3 political parties cannot agree on a coherent defence policy that would allow buy in from the Canadian public.


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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #15 on: August 05, 2015, 12:25:49 »
Very true, although with Paul Martian and Bill Graham followed by the CPC we were getting close to having 2 parties more or less aligned.

Offline Tcm621

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #16 on: August 05, 2015, 12:39:32 »

Actually, your first "thing to blame" explains the other two.

Popular apathy, or, perhaps, popular passion is what drives politics. Canadians, broadly and generally, are "passionate" about a few things; those few things are, pretty closely, related to their direct, personal, pocketbook/bank account/pay stub interests. They want lower taxes and more spending on things that directly benefit them ... except in some very, very rare circumstances (two or three times in the past century) it's damned hard for any political leader to put defence on the list of Canadians' "passions."

Scott Gilmore has penned an excellent, passionate cri de coeur that, directly, calls for two things:

     1. Better political/bureaucratic decision making and processes (maybe even a grand strategy for Canada); and

     2. Some popular passion about how we act on the global stage. (Implicit in this is a bigger, better managed defence budget.)

My guess is that there are three groups of very smart people in Ottawa who are interested in this issue.

The first group of really smart (and powerful) people, all of whom wear business suits, none of whom have much, if any, direct experience with the military, agree, very broadly, with Mr Gilmore's analysis; they've been saying much the same thing for years. They have laid emphasis on two elements:

     1. Poor judgement and weak top level leadership in National Defence Headquarters. There is a serious disconnect, they believe, between what the military, especially, says and
         what it can and will deliver. They are dismayed that admirals and generals routinely cry wolf (rust-out) and then manage to cobble together a response to a political demand.
         They think that the military either lies to the government, a venial sin, or to itself, a mortal one.

     2. Political realities. These smart people acknowledge that increased defence spending ~ a necessary element of any solution to Canada;'s military dilemma ~ is politically difficult, maybe even impossible, right now. They argue, however,
         that it is better to spend a bit more (a very few billion more each year) in a controlled manner than to have to spend many of ten of billions more (almost all "off shore") in an emergency situation.

The second group of smart people are younger and have even less contact with or interest in the military. They, however, have their fingers quite firmly on the pulse of public opinion ~ even on fine slices of public opinion. They oppose new defence spending ~ announcements are nice, actual spending is dangerous, they believe, lest it expose the government to a deficit, something which Canadians actually (albeit irrationally) fear. This group's influence is always a (frequently useful) counter balance to the opinions and recommendations of the first group.
 
The third group is larger and very diverse. It actually has a significant "pro-defence" segment, but, mostly, it represents a wide range of "single interests" (which includes national defence as just one of many). It's role is to bring all those "single interests," individually, to the attention of politicians  and senior bureaucrats and political advisors and the media. This group likes to call its members "opinion makers", and sometimes that's accurate. How efficient and effective each "single interest" opinion maker might be depends, in part, on how popular the "interest" might already be ... and defence is a narrow and, generally, unpopular interest. (As I have said, over and over again, popular support for the military might be a mile wide (red t-shirts and yellow ribbons and so on) but it is less than an inch deep and it, that puddle of public support, will evaporate completely when exposed to the heat and light of e.g. economic and social interests.)

The "defence community," which includes many of us, here on Army.ca who serve, did serve or are interested in national defence, is small, poorly organized, weak (indecisive and divided) and, largely, leaderless. Yes, "we" have our own lobby groups within that big, broad "third group" described above, and yes, we have our own PR group, but how do these compare with other groups and other PR leaders? My answer is: poorly. And it's understandable why DND, itself, and its own pet lobby group are less than effective: for one thing their job is to "toe the party line," not to actually promote national defence. Meanwhile, other groups, some with very evident anti-military agendas are not so constrained and can be, therefore, more effective.

So, we, the "military community," are weak, divided, quiet and, generally, "outgunned" and "outmanoeuvred" in the battle to capture public "passions" and so our budgets and systems and management remain inadequate ... because that's the way Canadians have "directed" their political servants.
Re: point 1. Gen. Vance in one of his first interviews continued the trend saying we have more than adequate resources to do what is asked of us. We all know it isn't true.  I'll post the source as soon as I remember where I read it.

Offline blackberet17

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #17 on: August 05, 2015, 14:04:10 »
Could it be this?

From here

Quote
Q. Does Canada have the budget and manpower for what it is doing overseas right now?

A. We can continue with what we are doing now, indefinitely. Whether we do or not is a matter for the government to decide. But our capacity in terms of trained personnel and our equipment is entirely appropriate for the current mission sets we are undertaking. And I would say we have the ability to do more if required. So, yes, can conduct training operations, support to Ukraine with the Canadian army and others and at the same time (be able to) respond to support Canadians. I cannot underrate the fact that it is Canada first. It is Canada and our territory that we defend first. Nothing we are doing overseas is effecting our ability to achieve anything in the NORAD environment nor to do anything that we can foresee us having to do to support Canadians.
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Offline Good2Golf

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2015, 16:35:28 »
Could it be this?

From here

That was how I read it:  OP IMPACT and OP REASSURANCE specific.

   :2c:

G2G

Offline CBH99

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #19 on: August 05, 2015, 18:49:18 »
I find the statements from Gen. Vance somewhat misleading - albeit certainly not intentionally or with malice.

Can we continue to do what we are doing now, given the resources we have?  Yes.  But only if our requirements continue to be the odd single ship here, single ship there.  A 6-pack of fighter jets, and a company+ of troops to conduct training & liaison operations in Ukraine.

We can do all of that given the resources we have.  We can also muster up a fair number of troops that can be used domestically for natural disasters (floods, forest fires, etc) - as was recently proven with the relatively quick deployment of 1400 members to assist in firefighting efforts.

Can we do more than that, though?  I'm skeptical.   

I'd be curious from people who are still in, and in-the-know, if we could mobilize for another Afghanistan given the resources we have?  Or ramp up for operations in Ukraine (just for example) if required? 

Legitimate curiosity is all.
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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #20 on: August 05, 2015, 19:06:16 »
I find the statements from Gen. Vance somewhat misleading - albeit certainly not intentionally or with malice.

Can we continue to do what we are doing now, given the resources we have?  Yes.  But only if our requirements continue to be the odd single ship here, single ship there.  A 6-pack of fighter jets, and a company+ of troops to conduct training & liaison operations in Ukraine.

We can do all of that given the resources we have.  We can also muster up a fair number of troops that can be used domestically for natural disasters (floods, forest fires, etc) - as was recently proven with the relatively quick deployment of 1400 members to assist in firefighting efforts.

Can we do more than that, though?  I'm skeptical.   

I'd be curious from people who are still in, and in-the-know, if we could mobilize for another Afghanistan given the resources we have?  Or ramp up for operations in Ukraine (just for example) if required? 

Legitimate curiosity is all.
We could ramp up for a war again, so long as the adversary we are going up against is armed only with sticks and sharpened bits of fruit, like the Taliban, who still caused us enough problems with booby traps, a few small arms and some RPGs, that we left with our tails firmly between our legs and that's exactly what we did in 2011.  Combat Operations in the Ukraine would be completely out of the question given our total lack of Air Defence, Anti Armour, Combat Mobility(think bridging, mineplows, etc), severe shortage of actual Artillery, lack of trucks for CSS, No Attack Helicopters, very little Armour, little to no ISR or Targeting capability, no UAVs. 

Our Army is no more than a very well armed constabulary and if thrown in to a Ukraine type conflict against a peer enemy we wouldn't do so well and would probably suffer a horrific defeat.  Does that answer your question?

Let's not even talk about actual war though, let's talk about Haiti 2010 and the Earthquake.  We would not be able to get ourselves there to help because we have no ships to do so.  Our Supply Ships are gone so what exactly are we going to bring? 
« Last Edit: August 05, 2015, 19:10:39 by RoyalDrew »

Offline CBH99

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2015, 19:09:00 »
That's pretty much exactly what I was thinking, I just didn't want to be the one to verbalize it.  I was hoping I was wrong.
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Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #22 on: August 05, 2015, 19:13:51 »
That's pretty much exactly what I was thinking, I just didn't want to be the one to verbalize it.  I was hoping I was wrong.

It is what it is, no need to hide it.  It's not like it isn't known to our adversaries and allies either.

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #23 on: August 05, 2015, 21:09:37 »
PRE wasn't involved at all in Haiti; that was ATH and HAL.  PRE was in the 18 month refit at the time.

We aren't capable of independently deploying, but realistically we, and most of our allies, aren't capable of any serious action without operating alongside other navies.  Ships cost a lot of money to build.  Spending money on single assets is not politically popular, so not sure why this article's by line isn't signed by Capt. Obvious.

Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: The Sinking of the Canadian Navy - Macleans
« Reply #24 on: August 05, 2015, 21:22:49 »
PRE wasn't involved at all in Haiti; that was ATH and HAL.  PRE was in the 18 month refit at the time.

We aren't capable of independently deploying, but realistically we, and most of our allies, aren't capable of any serious action without operating alongside other navies.  Ships cost a lot of money to build.  Spending money on single assets is not politically popular, so not sure why this article's by line isn't signed by Capt. Obvious.

I just rechecked this and you're right.  Weren't Army folk dropped off in Jamaica and ferried over to Haiti by ship?  That must have been a pleasant voyage crammed into a frigate 😄