Author Topic: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic  (Read 3672 times)

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Offline LoboCanada

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WHY NATO NEEDS A STANDING MARITIME GROUP IN THE ARCTIC

Center for International Maritime Security

http://cimsec.org/why-nato-needs-a-standing-maritime-group-in-the-arctic/43617

Quote
Since the Cold War, the U.S. has maintained a steady presence in the Arctic%u2014specifically the European Arctic, or High North%u2014primarily through nuclear submarine deployments while relying on NATO allies in the region for logistical support. However, melting ice caps, an increase in commercial maritime activity, and ongoing territorial disputes necessitate stronger NATO cooperation in the region to achieve a deterrence posture against Russia and safeguard maritime security. Deterring Russian aggression is important in all European bodies of water, and the Arctic will increasingly face the same maritime security issues as other parts of the world, including illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing by China and the movement of migrants and refugees by sea.

Similar to Russia, NATO needs to improve its capability and capacity to operate on the Arctic front. In order to deter the Russian threat and safeguard maritime security, sustained presence in the region is needed. To this end, NATO should create a new standing maritime group dedicated to the Arctic and separate from the maritime groups focused elsewhere.

Thoughts?

AOPS coordinating with a small group of 2-3 icebreakers in NATO around the Arctic Circle? Group in some training with aircraft from Thule, some raiding/deploying from attached helicopters and the like. 


Offline MilEME09

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2020, 15:45:25 »
We would need a naval base closer then halifax to the arctic in order to facilitate such a naval group, Churchill comes to mind. If we host a permanent standing naval task force of the alliance, they may be willing to chip in to cover some of the infrastructure costs.
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Offline Colin P

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2020, 17:19:38 »
Churchill would be good for training, but not really great geographically, needs to be a bit further north.

Online MarkOttawa

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2020, 17:27:03 »
What the article is really about is the Euro NATO Arctic, not the North American.

Mark
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Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2020, 18:21:23 »
Churchill would be good for training, but not really great geographically, needs to be a bit further north.

It would be a gigantic waste of money and is a Militarily irrelevant location.  If Canada wants to dominate its Arctic Archipelago, the natural place to do so would be from the Davis Strait.  It's the natural choke point in the area and what goes in must come out there.

If Canada were to ever get serious about Militarizing the Arctic, the natural location is Iqaluit.  The Federal Government has already committed to building a Deep Water Port there and work is ongoing:



https://www.dredgingtoday.com/2019/05/28/works-to-continue-on-iqaluit-deepwater-port/

Likewise, the Airport in Iqaluit could be greatly expanded to house RCAF assets, in the form of MPAs, etc.

I would also shift the entirety of our Submarine Force to the East Coast.  I don't see any real military benefit to keeping the Vic Class on the West Coast anyways.  They would be better used as a NATO asset, would be vital in protecting SLOC in the North Atlantic if War with Russia ever broke out. 

If war did break out with Russia it's pretty clear to me that the Canadian Arctic is a weakness in any sort of Defence against Russian Submarine raids.  GIUK Gap is the primary Naval Focus but Russia has beefed up their Arctic Capabilities again in recent years and their Submarine Force is highly capable.  Imagine a surprise insertion through the Canadian Arctic could pose some serious problems.  The threat wouldn't even have to be Nuclear Weapons.

Lets say the conflict did break out with Russia.  A submarine armed with Precision Guided Cruise Missiles could punch in to Canadian Waters and could launch Cruise Missiles against Hydroelectric Facilities in Northern Quebec and cripple the electricity grid on the East Coast. 

Of course we could say that the US most likely has Nuclear Submarines already patrolling those waters but would they necessarily be available or would they be reallocated somewhere else for higher priority tasks like lets say China takes advantage of the situation and decides to stir up trouble in Asia?

It would be a bold move   

Offline Chief Engineer

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2020, 18:22:59 »
It would be a gigantic waste of money and is a Militarily irrelevant location.  If Canada wants to dominate its Arctic Archipelago, the natural place to do so would be from the Davis Strait.  It's the natural choke point in the area and what goes in must come out there.

If Canada were to ever get serious about Militarizing the Arctic, the natural location is Iqaluit.  The Federal Government has already committed to building a Deep Water Port there and work is ongoing:



https://www.dredgingtoday.com/2019/05/28/works-to-continue-on-iqaluit-deepwater-port/

Likewise, the Airport in Iqaluit could be greatly expanded to house RCAF assets, in the form of MPAs, etc.

I would also shift the entirety of our Submarine Force to the East Coast.  I don't see any real military benefit to keeping the Vic Class on the West Coast anyways.  They would be better used as a NATO asset, would be vital in protecting SLOC in the North Atlantic if War with Russia ever broke out. 

If war did break out with Russia it's pretty clear to me that the Canadian Arctic is a weakness in any sort of Defence against Russian Submarine raids.  GIUK Gap is the primary Naval Focus but Russia has beefed up their Arctic Capabilities again in recent years and their Submarine Force is highly capable.  Imagine a surprise insertion through the Canadian Arctic could pose some serious problems.  The threat wouldn't even have to be Nuclear Weapons.

Lets say the conflict did break out with Russia.  A submarine armed with Precision Guided Cruise Missiles could punch in to Canadian Waters and could launch Cruise Missiles against Hydroelectric Facilities in Northern Quebec and cripple the electricity grid on the East Coast. 

Of course we could say that the US most likely has Nuclear Submarines already patrolling those waters but would they necessarily be available or would they be reallocated somewhere else for higher priority tasks like lets say China takes advantage of the situation and decides to stir up trouble in Asia?

It would be a bold move

I agree but it wouldn't even have to be under NATO. A standing squadron with US, CAN, DMK, NO would be the way to go. We already exercise in the Arctic with these nations currently, this would be a logical step. Expand the port infrastructure at Iqaluit and expand the fueling facilities at Nanisivik to support the fleet.
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Offline MilEME09

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2020, 18:59:49 »
I agree but it wouldn't even have to be under NATO. A standing squadron with US, CAN, DMK, NO would be the way to go. We already exercise in the Arctic with these nations currently, this would be a logical step. Expand the port infrastructure at Iqaluit and expand the fueling facilities at Nanisivik to support the fleet.

Sounds like more AOPS for a new RCN Northern Fleet are needed, and armed heavy ice breakers for the coast guard.
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Online YZT580

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2020, 22:57:14 »
Sounds like more AOPS for a new RCN Northern Fleet are needed, and armed heavy ice breakers for the coast guard.
  Squadron of P8's would do it. Surface fleet action isn't likely and aircraft can be intercepted by aircraft based a lot further south.  The AOPS might come in useful if they were set up for submarine warfare in team with Aurora.  Basing the CP140 in the north means more time on station and significantly reduces time on the airframe.  I doubt if any invasion will occur in the winter months with the ice cover just too extensive and thick to allow for reliable planning so aircraft could be deployed seasonally or rotated through to keep crews from finding other jobs.

Online GR66

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2020, 00:14:24 »
...

I would also shift the entirety of our Submarine Force to the East Coast.  I don't see any real military benefit to keeping the Vic Class on the West Coast anyways.  They would be better used as a NATO asset, would be vital in protecting SLOC in the North Atlantic if War with Russia ever broke out. 

...

Are you sure that war with Russia is more likely than with China?  NATO/Western Europe has a much larger population, combined military and economy than Russia.  The Russian economy is also highly dependant on energy exports to their "enemy" in the west.  Russia's military is much smaller than during the Cold War, and even ignoring the West's nuclear deterrence, Russia simply doesn't have the manpower to take and occupy all of NATO.  It's simply too large and populous.  Russia can't defeat the whole of NATO without WMD's and would cause their own destruction if they went nuclear. 

China on the other hand is the world's most populous nation with the world's 2nd largest economy.  Its likely military targets (Taiwan, rocks off their coast, North Korea in the case of a collapse, etc.) are much more limited and achievable compared to what Russia would have to take on.  The most effective Western response to any Chinese aggression would also likely be with naval and air forces (including subs). 

I'd suggest that the West coast might be a very important place to base at least half of our subs.

 :2c:

Edited to add:  Not in any way suggesting that we should NOT beef up our Atlantic and Arctic presence.  In my perfect world we'd increase the size of our MPA, surface and sub-surface fleets so that we could meet any possible threats on all three coasts.  Just questioning the logic of shifting all of our subs to the East coast when the argument could be made that there could be serious Chinese threats that subs would be very useful against.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2020, 09:20:34 by GR66 »

Offline Dolphin_Hunter

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2020, 08:09:00 »
Basing the CP140 in the north means more time on station and significantly reduces time on the airframe.  I doubt if any invasion will occur in the winter months with the ice cover just too extensive and thick to allow for reliable planning so aircraft could be deployed seasonally or rotated through to keep crews from finding other jobs.

I’ve always thought that the east coast CP-140 fleet should be based in Goose Bay. 

Offline Dimsum

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2020, 09:32:49 »
I’ve always thought that the east coast CP-140 fleet should be based in Goose Bay.

Why GB over Gander or St. John's?  Infrastructure (airport, obviously not town) or location?
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Offline Dolphin_Hunter

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2020, 15:14:37 »
Why GB over Gander or St. John's?  Infrastructure (airport, obviously not town) or location?

Infrastructure and location.  The town isn’t much, although I have heard great things about Goose Bay from the folks who have been posted there... 

I could be off, but it seems like a decent staging point for arctic surveillance.

Offline lenaitch

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2020, 18:31:57 »
Three questions, mostly from a perspective of general ignorance:

1. Show of hands for those willing to move themselves and families to Iqaluit?  Enough for a flying wing /naval base?  Even is on a rotational basis, would that mean an entire base staffing constantly rotating, and can current staffing handle the constant contribution? Sure, Alert does it but that's what, ~60 members (no families).  I understand one of the current recruitment and retention challenges is some of the locations members have to reside.

2.  Can AOPS actually be considered warships?

3.  How do you arm a civilian icebreaker?

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2020, 18:48:56 »
Sounds like more AOPS for a new RCN Northern Fleet are needed, and armed heavy ice breakers for the coast guard.

AOPS = waste of money for what is being discussed.  It would be a sitting duck target for the RFN SSNs if they decided to come in that way.

A real deterrent for that Arctic for us must include an expanded MPA fleet and nuclear subs. 

Deep water arctic ports;  given the conditions up there at least part of the year, would you invest in the infrastructure, costs, maint of permanent installations for blue water navy assets, or would you run then until the ice is too thick and support them with oilers?
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Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2020, 18:55:09 »
Three questions, mostly from a perspective of general ignorance:

1. Show of hands for those willing to move themselves and families to Iqaluit?  Enough for a flying wing /naval base?  Even is on a rotational basis, would that mean an entire base staffing constantly rotating, and can current staffing handle the constant contribution? Sure, Alert does it but that's what, ~60 members (no families).  I understand one of the current recruitment and retention challenges is some of the locations members have to reside.

Make it standing Detachment; rotate crews thru (RCAF can't rotate Sqn's thru, not with the numbers we have).  90 day 'deployments', or longer if that works.  Have 'base staff' in longer, like Alert times or something, or postings like JTFN (there are long term posting to FroBay for a small number of people).

I am sure Iqaluit would like the financial benefits, I am curious what they would think of the cultural impact/changes and the changes that would happen just with the influx of service members.  Having done LRP Ops more than once out of FroBay, I am not sure what I'd think of a 3 year posting there...
« Last Edit: May 24, 2020, 08:59:28 by Eye In The Sky »
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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2020, 19:21:28 »
Like other successful colonization efforts implemented through the ages, we should promote a business (specifically mining sector) led approach to sovereignty consolidation and expansion.

It looks like Denmark is already pointing at us as a good example and, as an 'Arctic Colleague', doing business together might be a better way forward than just swapping flags on Hans Island, etc:

Arctic Business Opportunities in Canada

Canada has escalated the development of the country's Arctic territories. Large and small infrastructure investments and specifically mining investments are currently taking place or being planned for. Danish companies with export experience to, for example, Greenland and the northern parts of Sweden, as well as Norway and Russia should take a closer look at Canada.

Canada is a country rich in natural resources, but the residual life of the existing fields and mines are getting shorter and shorter. Canadians are aware of the challenge, and one of the strategies is to explore and develop the northern and Arctic regions of the country's vast land mass, which is the world's second largest.
 
As an example, the province of Quebec announced that they will invest $ 80 billion (456 billion DKK) in the province's Arctic area over the next 20-25 years. The focus is on infrastructure and industrial development. Specific areas of business development include energy, mining, forestry, hunting, tourism and food.

Quebec is not the only Canadian province focusing on the Arctic. Other provinces do the same and most recently the federal government has announced that the military presence in the Arctic must be strengthened with a series of new northern military camps and bases. Furthermore the government wants to annually conduct major military exercises in the Arctic.

The largest Arctic industry is undoubtedly the mining industry. Canada is the world's largest mining nation. 980 mines are established in the country, many of them in the Arctic. It is important to note that Canada currently is the country in the world where the largest mining exploration and major mining investments are made. It is expected that about $ 140 billion are to be invested in the mining sector over the next 5 years – that is equivalent to 750 billion Danish kroner!

Why the Arctic?

One of the major challenges for the Canadian operations in the Arctic is a shortage of qualified manpower and the need for innovative and sustainable solutions. Many Danish companies have strong qualifications in the Arctic region and have with tailored products suited for Arctic climate (and the rest of the winter cold Canada). Danish companies with solutions from Camp Supply, logistics (inventory management, coding, tracking, IT systems etc.), energy supply, wastewater management and other entrepreneurial construction projects, etc. should therefore as a very minimum consider exploring the options in the Canadian market.

According to the U.S. investment firm Guggenheim Partners, the Arctic will require close to US$1-trillion of infrastructure investment over the next decade, including transportation, telecommunications and social services to support a new era of economic opportunity from energy, fishing and mining, to defence and tourism.

With fewer than one million residents, the North American Arctic has no choice but to seek outside capital and capacities for its enormous strategic and economic opportunities.

The $180+ billion Investing in Canada plan is supporting over 250 projects in Arctic Canada over the next 10 years in areas like infrastructure, community housing and utility infrastructure

The Trade Council sees a window for developing business relations and facilitate contact between Arctic Canada and The Kingdom of Denmark. This is the reason why we have taken the initiative to build an Arctic Infrastructure Alliance that can utilize on the Trade Council's experiences and network in Canada connected with solutions from Danish companies that match Actic challenges.

Read more about the initiative here: http://canada.um.dk/en/the-trade-council/canada-as-market/current-growth-markets/arctic-business-opportunities/arctic-infrastructure-alliance/
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Offline Colin P

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2020, 19:35:31 »
Whoever wrote that is blowing smoke up our arse. Compared to other Arctic nations our communities have been starved of resources, infrastructure and support. We are only doing the bare minimum required. 

Offline Chief Engineer

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2020, 20:09:17 »
Three questions, mostly from a perspective of general ignorance:

1. Show of hands for those willing to move themselves and families to Iqaluit?  Enough for a flying wing /naval base?  Even is on a rotational basis, would that mean an entire base staffing constantly rotating, and can current staffing handle the constant contribution? Sure, Alert does it but that's what, ~60 members (no families).  I understand one of the current recruitment and retention challenges is some of the locations members have to reside.

2.  Can AOPS actually be considered warships?

3.  How do you arm a civilian icebreaker?


1. Iqaluit is not that bad, but a major influx of cash to build base housing and such is required.

2, AOPS are not warships, the RCN never claimed them to be however will be extremely useful in the Arctic and elsewhere.

3. You can't as far as I know. The CCG is a civilian organization. Now taking an existing ice breaker and arming it and manning it with RCN is possible.
"When your draught exceeds your depth, you are most assuredly aground"

All opinions stated are not official policy of the CF and of a private individual

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Offline Colin P

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2020, 21:04:33 »
Arming the CCG can be done by a stroke of a pen, about 8 years ago we sat down and on a napkin figured about $50,000 to put two .50cal onto a large ice breaker/bouytender. Including shield, mount, comms, ammunition and weapons lockers. Training the crews to maintain, service and shoot those would be easy. The intial training could be done by a roving military instruction team, within the CCG crew rotation and work schedule, so year cost to maintain proficiency is pretty much just ammo and some extra fuel to get to the various ranges or open water.

The real challenge is creating the ROE's and changing the mindsets of the senior Captains and senior management so they would be willing to give the command to use them if the circumstance warranted it.

The other big challenge is boarding parties, the majority of the crews do not have an interest, mindset or training to do that type of work. Most seaman on a buoytender are a mix of construction worker/sailor types. So the role of Boarding party would still likely be RCMP, military or Fish Cops. The role of the HMG is to ensure that the other vessel stops and allows itself to be boarded and does try anything as the boarding party approaches.

The above could literally be fitted into the current mandate of CCG now. If you wanted to arm them closer to the USCG model, then that "stroke of the pen" is needed, changing the role and mandate at the top, along with significant amounts of money to convert ships and training budgets.

Personally I think the big ships should go the HMG route, this gives the government a whole lot more enforcement teeth on both coasts and the Arctic with very little outlay of money, legislation changes and mindset changes. It would also lay out the groundwork for any further increases in the enforcement role in the future.   

Offline Chief Engineer

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #19 on: May 23, 2020, 21:33:08 »
Arming the CCG can be done by a stroke of a pen, about 8 years ago we sat down and on a napkin figured about $50,000 to put two .50cal onto a large ice breaker/bouytender. Including shield, mount, comms, ammunition and weapons lockers. Training the crews to maintain, service and shoot those would be easy. The intial training could be done by a roving military instruction team, within the CCG crew rotation and work schedule, so year cost to maintain proficiency is pretty much just ammo and some extra fuel to get to the various ranges or open water.

The real challenge is creating the ROE's and changing the mindsets of the senior Captains and senior management so they would be willing to give the command to use them if the circumstance warranted it.

The other big challenge is boarding parties, the majority of the crews do not have an interest, mindset or training to do that type of work. Most seaman on a buoytender are a mix of construction worker/sailor types. So the role of Boarding party would still likely be RCMP, military or Fish Cops. The role of the HMG is to ensure that the other vessel stops and allows itself to be boarded and does try anything as the boarding party approaches.

The above could literally be fitted into the current mandate of CCG now. If you wanted to arm them closer to the USCG model, then that "stroke of the pen" is needed, changing the role and mandate at the top, along with significant amounts of money to convert ships and training budgets.

Personally I think the big ships should go the HMG route, this gives the government a whole lot more enforcement teeth on both coasts and the Arctic with very little outlay of money, legislation changes and mindset changes. It would also lay out the groundwork for any further increases in the enforcement role in the future.   
Arming the CCG can be done by a stroke of a pen, about 8 years ago we sat down and on a napkin figured about $50,000 to put two .50cal onto a large ice breaker/bouytender. Including shield, mount, comms, ammunition and weapons lockers. Training the crews to maintain, service and shoot those would be easy. The intial training could be done by a roving military instruction team, within the CCG crew rotation and work schedule, so year cost to maintain proficiency is pretty much just ammo and some extra fuel to get to the various ranges or open water.

The real challenge is creating the ROE's and changing the mindsets of the senior Captains and senior management so they would be willing to give the command to use them if the circumstance warranted it.

The other big challenge is boarding parties, the majority of the crews do not have an interest, mindset or training to do that type of work. Most seaman on a buoytender are a mix of construction worker/sailor types. So the role of Boarding party would still likely be RCMP, military or Fish Cops. The role of the HMG is to ensure that the other vessel stops and allows itself to be boarded and does try anything as the boarding party approaches.

The above could literally be fitted into the current mandate of CCG now. If you wanted to arm them closer to the USCG model, then that "stroke of the pen" is needed, changing the role and mandate at the top, along with significant amounts of money to convert ships and training budgets.

Personally I think the big ships should go the HMG route, this gives the government a whole lot more enforcement teeth on both coasts and the Arctic with very little outlay of money, legislation changes and mindset changes. It would also lay out the groundwork for any further increases in the enforcement role in the future.

There's a few obstacles to your plan. Firstly the unions would never go for it, not to mention I would bet a significant portion of the crews themselves are not going to want anything to do with that type of work. The second is the current government and their attitudes and third a significant portion of the general public would raise hell. So yes more than likely a stroke of the pen could but it will never happen in my estimation.
"When your draught exceeds your depth, you are most assuredly aground"

All opinions stated are not official policy of the CF and of a private individual

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Offline Underway

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #20 on: May 23, 2020, 21:56:34 »
Arming the CCG can be done by a stroke of a pen, about 8 years ago we sat down and... <snip>

Giving the Coast Guard constabulary power in Canada would be the equivalent of arming ambulance drivers, garbage men, linemen, and road construction workers.

No, just no.  I've sailed quite a bit with the Coast Guard, and love them.  They are professional and excellent at their jobs.  But they are not police officers.

Offline Colin P

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #21 on: May 24, 2020, 03:37:58 »
I was there when the fleets were merged, a lot of people left, a lot gnashing of teeth and wailing. The CCG people were pissed because everyone thought of them as the "good guys" and they did not want to be associated with DFO and the Fish Cops who were seen as the 'Guys everyone hates for spoiling their fun/work"( the Science guys hated us both, viewing the CCG as "deckapes" and Fisheries as uneducated meddlers. That passed, eventually we got used to doing enforcement work and we took part in many raids on illegal fishing/clamming. Yes people would be upset, PSAC will whine and moan, but they really don't give a crap about the fleet, hell we got more support for the Rescue Specialist program from our Minister of the day than from management and the union combined.

I read an interesting report where in 1922 DFO borrowed a Lewis gun from the navy and hired a WWI vet and merrily machined gun a Sea lion colony with " Great Success". In the late 60's DFO was seriously considering mounting a .50cal at East Saturna for shooting Killer whales and basking sharks who were seen as a threat to fish stocks. My R class cutter had a Lee Enfield in the Captain Cabin for "just in case". My unit also acquired a brand new in the box 40mm Bofors from DFO at Pat Bay in 1980 that was meant for one of their patrol ships but never mounted. As I recall guns were mounted on some east coast ships for the Turbot war, but I don't know the details of that. I do agree that it won't happen under this government, it could happen under a CPC government and the introduction of the AOP's will likley take the pressure off, barring some unforeseen events. The level of arming I mention is easily doable even under current legislation, but unlikely for the foreseeable future. If you look at their mandate, there is enough interpretation room for it to happen.

  The Canadian Coast Guard  owns and operates the federal government's civilian fleet and provides key maritime services to Canadians.

As a special operating agency of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, we help the ministry meet its responsibility to ensure safe and accessible waterways for Canadians. We also play a key role in ensuring the sustainable use and development of Canada's oceans and waterways.

Canadians expect the federal government to:

protect the marine environment
support economic growth
ensure public safety on the water
ensure Canada's sovereignty and security by establishing a strong federal presence in our waters
We help the government meet the public's expectation of clean, safe, secure, healthy and productive waters and coastlines.

Mission
Our services support government priorities and economic prosperity and contribute to the safety, accessibility and security of Canadian waters.

Vision
Through innovation and excellence, we are a recognized leader in maritime services and safety.

Mandate and organizational values
Our mandate is stated in the Oceans Act and the Canada Shipping Act.

The Oceans Act gives the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans responsibility for providing:

aids to navigation
channel maintenance
marine search and rescue
marine pollution response
icebreaking and ice-management services
marine communications and traffic management services
support of other government departments, boards and agencies by providing ships, aircraft and other services

Offline LoboCanada

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #22 on: May 24, 2020, 22:19:50 »
Build a "CFB Iqaluit" near the new deepwater port and existing airport. Enable it to dock an AOPS or 2 temporarily for their arctic patrols, along with 1 or 2 foreign/NATO vessels. Build up more of a presence at Iqaluit Airport to temporarily house (on rotation) RCAF CP140, P8, and Transport Canada RPAS.

Builds up northern infrastructure, logical area to use that's not too far up but right by Davis Strait.


Not much of a "can do" attitude when it comes to our own sovereignty.

So we balk at the idea of temporarily placing people further north even though we do it in far more remote (Alert) places?

Not cheaply and simply arm larger CCG vessels with HMG, because of being scared of 1 or 2 headlines that most people wont read? Most people don't even know CCG even exists, let alone have strong opinions of their mandate (or that they even have one). In short, nobody really cares... The average citizen will not know or or want to know. So if we can simply arm CCG ships in the East, have a rotating RCMP team aboard for the (compliant) boarding party capability, who can have an extra pers to man the HMG, or who can deputize (as Special Constables while specifically working with a RCMP team) a CCG HMG team - then why not? I'm sure there will be individuals within the CCG now who will be satisfied at the chance, union be dammed. It fits within their mandate, does not cost much and does not anger our arctic pals. But many here point to a union being a hinderance to protecting our own coast, and are happy with that? Or accept it as a reason to do nothing?

Offline Swampbuggy

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2020, 22:45:08 »
To add to this, in my experience, most people I've spoken to are under the impression that the Coast Guard is already armed, a la USCG. I've had arguments with other regular Canadians that fully believe the CCG is interchangeable with the RCN and I've had to show them the difference via the internet. I doubt many Canadians would react/care about a process that ended with the CCG being armed, but I'm certain a small, vocal bunch would make it their mission to make sure it didn't happen.

Offline Colin P

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #24 on: May 24, 2020, 23:07:14 »
To add to this, in my experience, most people I've spoken to are under the impression that the Coast Guard is already armed, a la USCG. I've had arguments with other regular Canadians that fully believe the CCG is interchangeable with the RCN and I've had to show them the difference via the internet. I doubt many Canadians would react/care about a process that ended with the CCG being armed, but I'm certain a small, vocal bunch would make it their mission to make sure it didn't happen.

The argument to sway the big ship people in the CCG is that as 'armed ships" their jobs cannot be contracted away. Let's face it, most of the buoy tending and icebreaking can be done by contracted private ships. I know the CPC was considering this for a bit. The Fleet is sort of split West Coast vs East Coast, Navaids vs SAR, Big ship vs small vessels, Science vs Fisheries and the few freshwater types and the Hovercraft off in their own world.

Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2020, 15:50:22 »
Are you sure that war with Russia is more likely than with China?  NATO/Western Europe has a much larger population, combined military and economy than Russia.  The Russian economy is also highly dependant on energy exports to their "enemy" in the west.  Russia's military is much smaller than during the Cold War, and even ignoring the West's nuclear deterrence, Russia simply doesn't have the manpower to take and occupy all of NATO.  It's simply too large and populous.  Russia can't defeat the whole of NATO without WMD's and would cause their own destruction if they went nuclear. 

China on the other hand is the world's most populous nation with the world's 2nd largest economy.  Its likely military targets (Taiwan, rocks off their coast, North Korea in the case of a collapse, etc.) are much more limited and achievable compared to what Russia would have to take on.  The most effective Western response to any Chinese aggression would also likely be with naval and air forces (including subs). 

I'd suggest that the West coast might be a very important place to base at least half of our subs.

 :2c:

Edited to add:  Not in any way suggesting that we should NOT beef up our Atlantic and Arctic presence.  In my perfect world we'd increase the size of our MPA, surface and sub-surface fleets so that we could meet any possible threats on all three coasts.  Just questioning the logic of shifting all of our subs to the East coast when the argument could be made that there could be serious Chinese threats that subs would be very useful against.

I disagree with your thesis that China is a larger threat than Russia for a number of political, economic and geographic reasons which I will elaborate on:

1.  Political:  China is a Peer Competitior, Russia is a Rogue Actor

It's no secret that China wishes to alter the status quo, but they are unlike Russia, a peer competitor.  The RAND Corporation recently put out a paper that outlines the problem far better than I can, here is an excerpt from it:

Quote
Great power competition has returned. China and Russia have begun to reassert their influence regionally and globally:
 
Today, they are fielding military capabilities designed to deny America access in times of crisis and to contest our ability to operate freely in critical commercial zones during peacetime. In short, they are contesting our geopolitical advantages and trying to change the international order in their favor. However, Russia and China represent quite distinct challenges.
 
Russia is not a peer or near-peer competitor but rather a well-armed rogue state that seeks to subvert an international order it can never hope to dominate. In contrast, China is a peer competitor that wants to shape an international order that it can aspire to dominate. Both countries seek to alter the status quo, but only Russia has attacked neighboring states, annexed conquered territory, and supported insurgent forces seeking to detach yet more. Russia assassinates its opponents at home and abroad. Russia interferes in foreign elections, subverts foreign democracies, and works to undermine European and Atlantic institutions.
 
In contrast, China’s growing influence is based largely on more-positive measures: trade, investment, and development assistance. Among permanent United Nations (UN) Security Council member nations, China has even become the largest contributor to UN peacekeeping operations. These attributes make China a less immediate threat but a much greater long-term challenge.
 
Russia can be contained, employing updated versions of defense, deterrence, information operations, and alliance relationships that held the Soviet Union at bay for half a century. China cannot be contained. Its military predominance in east Asia will grow over time, compelling the United States to accept greater costs and risks just to secure existing commitments. But it is geoeconomics, rather than geopolitics, in which the contest for world leadership will play out. It is in this former domain that the balance of global influence between the United States and China has begun shifting in China’s favor.

https://www.rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PE310.html

Politically it makes no sense to focus Military efforts on China because it's a fools errand to do so and undermines our response to the real military threat to Canada and The West writ large, which is Russian Aggression in Europe and elsewhere.  China has a large military but has shown no real willingness to use it, all of their efforts at this point have been relatively positive.  China could overwhelm and rapidly invade Taiwan now if it wanted but there is no real reason to do so.  China will continue to get stronger economically and continue to enhance its sphere of influence.  This economic fueled growth will continue and will necessitate doing business with China.  Russia has shown themselves to be a hugely destabilizing force and they have a Military that they are not afraid to use.  They are a Proto-Criminal Petro State and are far more dangerous than China from a Military standpoint.  They also have an imperialistic and highly militarized society.

There is an interesting book published in the 1990s in Russia called "The Foundations of Geopolitics: The Geopolitical Future of Russia" by Aleksander Dugin.  It has become a highly read book in Russian Military and Political Elite circles and has been widely read by Russian Military Staff.  You can read a bit about it here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundations_of_Geopolitics#cite_note-HI01-1

In 2017, An Australian media source wrote that, this manifesto of sorts is starting to come true and pretty much "reads like a checklist for Putin's actions".  https://www.news.com.au/world/europe/1990s-manifesto-outlining-russias-plans-is-starting-to-come-true/news-story/343a27c71077b87668f1aa783d03032c

A picture of what this book's world order end state looks like:



2. Economics:  The economic reasons why Canada should focus it's efforts towards Russia rather than China is quite simple.  It lies in the fact that both Countries are commodity superpowers.  The TSX is the 9th largest Stock Exchange in the World and it also lists more Mining + Oil & Gas Companies than any other exchange in the World.  Canada is a World Leader when it comes to Resource Extraction and also happens to be a bastion of Free Market Capitalism and Liberal Values.

China is the World's largest market for commodities.  They are much like Japan was pre-Second World War, they have an economy that is growing rapidly but are commodity poor and must import much of the resources used to fuel their manufacturing and industry.  They also have a burgeoning Middle Class that has an ever increasing appetite for consumer goods and luxuries.



https://www.visualcapitalist.com/chinas-staggering-demand-commodities/

How can a Country like Canada, being the commodity superpower that we are, ostracize the biggest potential future market we have for our goods and services?  This makes no sense from a business or economic standpoint.  Look at our trade and exports in Minerals atm:



China imports 5% of our annual mineral exports and we are heavily reliant on the American export market, which is natural given our proximity to the US but the Chinese Economy presents tremendous growth opportunities for us that just aren't being realized with an Anti-China stance.

It should be noted that Russia is also a commodity superpower but they use their resource wealth in very nefarious ways.  The most recent Oil Market Crash being largely perpetuated by them walking out on OPEC which exacerbated the already tenuous position global markets were in as a result of COVID-19.

This action has had an outsized influence on us as well.  It's a form of economic warfare and has crippled the Canadian Oil Sector with price of WCS dropping to below 0$ at one point.  Yes Russia did temporarily cripple itself by starting the price war in the first place, but it also forced the Saudis to react and inadvertently cripple the American Shale Industry which long term, hurts everyone else far more than it will hurt Russia.  Some of have said that the price war hurt Putin more but I have a feeling that long term, the facts will say otherwise.

So again, we have Russia acting as a rogue state, seeking to destabilize world commodity markets which has the knock on effect of not only weakening us seriously but also the positions of our Allies and I am to be told that China is somehow a bigger threat to us than Russia? 

3.  Geography:  This one is fairly self-explanatory.  China is far away while Russia is more proximate. This proximity is apparent when looking at a global map centered on the Arctic Ocean which Russia has made quite clear, it views as an Ocean that it should dominate.



The Northern Sea Route is already becoming a viable shipping route and is 40% shorter than the comparable route through the Suez Canal.  Russia has been making significant investments in this area and wants the Arctic for themselves.

Canada has shunned militarizing the Arctic of course and the Northwest Passage isn't yet a viable shipping route but it will become one eventually.  I find it incredibly naive that we think Russia, which has shown no resistance to using Military Means everywhere else to achieve its aims elsewhere, will somehow approach our interests in the Arctic with a peaceful and cooperative approach.



All this to say, I think we, along with the Americans and others, have our guns pointed at the wrong adversary.  Yes China has committed acts of subversion and stole from us, as we have also done to them but they have largely tried working within the established international framework and are rising to their natural position.  Russia is a rogue actor, is highly militarized and is a very big destabilizing force in the world.  They actively undermine our Allies and use force to achieve their objectives.  I think they are a far bigger threat to us than the PRC. 

Our lack of investment in a credible Military deterrence toward them is going to cost us dearly in the future. 











Offline lenaitch

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #26 on: May 25, 2020, 15:50:51 »
The OP started the discussion regarding a standing NATO military presence in the Arctic, which may have merit, seeing as we are apparently currently incapable of doing it by ourselves, although it becomes a sovereignty issue when it involves territorial waters.  Building up Iqaluit to base status is likely a good idea but I have to believe it comes at significant cost, regardless of whether the staffing is permanent or rotational.  You folks better than I are able to appreciate what goes into staffing and operating a base, particularly one with flight operations.  If the staffing is 'borrowed', what is the impact on the contributing locations.    Given the size of many of the trades that would be involved (flight crews, maintainers, armourers, etc., etc.) how would that impact operations 'back home in areas such as training, exercises, deployments, etc., and how often would that same folks be back for another go-round?

The discussion then move to arming the Coast Guard.  True, you can give them a gun and train them how to use it, but they need the legal and moral authority to use it in anger; this is more than the stroke of a pen.  Given the right command authority, the military can launch a torpedo at a blip on a screen.  What would be the CG's authority to shoot an anything or anybody other than self-protection?  Even a senior police commander could not order me to shoot the next person who comes out the door - I needed to support my own grounds under the law.  The CG currently provides part of our sovereignty presence in the Arctic, as do the RCMP.  What is the need for an expanded maritime constabulary presence in the Arctic beyond what the police (and possibily DFO) provide?  Illegal immigration?  Drug running?  Do we expect a CG breaker with a machine gun to go toe-to-toe with a foreign warship?  I'm not even sure an AOPS is up for that, and it's a military vessel.

There are currently fairly clear labour laws regarding an employees ability to refuse unsafe work, which generally do not apply to military and emergency service providers, which some exceptions.  It's not just a union thing.  The employer (the government in this case) is obligated to not put employees in harm's way if it's not part of their job.  The concept of 'harm's way' is governed by the conditions of their employment.  Mashing around the Arctic ice in a winter storm has some inherent risk, but the crews signed on for that.  Expecting them to employ deadly force, with the natural expectation that they might get it back, they did not.  As suggested, giving guns to paramedics does not make them cops.  'A cat can have kittens in the oven but it doesn't make them biscuits'.

If we want the CG to be an armed service with all that goes along with that, it needs to be written into the CAF.  Some CG employees might be up for it - I suspect many would not.

Offline Colin P

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #27 on: May 25, 2020, 16:12:05 »
Fish Cops and municipal police are union members, so unions do allow people to get into harms way. The arming of the CCG I mentioned is basically defensive and overwatch of other services boarding parties. The risks do not change much, just the response. We supported/transported Fish Cops boarding certain ethnic fishboats that were believed to be armed with SMG's with only two nervous pistol armed Fish Cops and in a thin skinned Hovercraft.   

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #28 on: May 25, 2020, 16:37:21 »
Obviously not everyone and everything with a gun needs to be in the CAF.

Obviously the government decides what the responsibilities of a service are, and hires people accordingly.  Those who do not wish to play, may leave.

Having an armed CG component, if that is what we want, is simply a matter of deciding so.
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Offline Navy_Pete

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #29 on: May 25, 2020, 16:52:27 »
This seems like a massive pipe dream, and we'll be lucky not to get deep cuts with the COVID tap running fully open for spending.  Also, massively underestimates the challenges with manning a base and being able to do maintenance needed for that kind of presence, and would be a big lead time with huge expenses.

For that kind of investment would make more sense to replace the subs with something with more legs under the ice, but that is equally unlikely.

Offline Colin P

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #30 on: May 25, 2020, 17:00:15 »
Canada needs to continue to upgrade all of it's Arctic infrastructure, not just military related. I would also start naval reserve units up there with smaller patrol boats stored in hangers during the winter and operating in the western and eastern Arctic in the open water season. They can support the Rangers, RCMP, other government agencies. Class A and B jobs up there will have a lot of positive impacts on communities. Improve training facilities up there that we can rotate units through for training, including Allied nations. We should have at least two ice strengthen LST's which would give the military a lot of flexibility in the North. 

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #31 on: May 25, 2020, 17:13:49 »
Canada needs to continue to upgrade all of it's Arctic infrastructure, not just military related. I would also start naval reserve units up there with smaller patrol boats stored in hangers during the winter and operating in the western and eastern Arctic in the open water season. They can support the Rangers, RCMP, other government agencies. Class A and B jobs up there will have a lot of positive impacts on communities. Improve training facilities up there that we can rotate units through for training, including Allied nations. We should have at least two ice strengthen LST's which would give the military a lot of flexibility in the North.

While concurrently striving to increase health, and other human related, outcomes for the inhabitants to something less akin to a poorly run 3rd world country....
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Colin P

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #32 on: May 25, 2020, 18:03:47 »
The current health, economic and community issues in the North are a geo-political risk to Canada and hamper our ability to maintain and exert our sovereignty in the North. 

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #33 on: May 25, 2020, 20:30:52 »
So we balk at the idea of temporarily placing people further north even though we do it in far more remote (Alert) places?

ALERT was built with a specific purpose in mind, for a 'real' mission that dates back decades and continues today and will continue tomorrow.  It is relatively cheap to operate (doesn't involve committing aircraft and vessels 'day to day' to conduct it's mission.

What is 'further north' than ALERT for Canada/Canadian interests (that we may have or want to have a claim over in the future)?
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Offline Oldgateboatdriver

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #34 on: May 25, 2020, 21:25:50 »
What is 'further north' than ALERT for Canada/Canadian interests (that we may have or want to have a claim over in the future)?

The continental shelf (Lomosonov Ridge, in great part).

That means Arctic icebreakers and underwater survey equipment, however. Not basing people on the ice!

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #35 on: May 26, 2020, 00:50:24 »
The continental shelf (Lomosonov Ridge, in great part).

That means Arctic icebreakers and underwater survey equipment, however. Not basing people on the ice!

Unless we finally send a manned mission to the north pole, by foot :)
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Offline lenaitch

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #36 on: May 26, 2020, 23:09:53 »
Fish Cops and municipal police are union members, so unions do allow people to get into harms way. The arming of the CCG I mentioned is basically defensive and overwatch of other services boarding parties. The risks do not change much, just the response. We supported/transported Fish Cops boarding certain ethnic fishboats that were believed to be armed with SMG's with only two nervous pistol armed Fish Cops and in a thin skinned Hovercraft.

It has nothing to do with unions allowing anything.  In Ontario, Section 43 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act lays out an employee's right to refuse dangerous work, unionize or not, and police are among the group of workers that are exempt.  A key component is if the risk is inherent in the work.  For a cop, the risk of getting shot is inherent - being made to drive on bald tires is not. Assuming "fish cops" are DFO, no doubt there is similar federal legislation.  I have no difficulty with defensive overwatch of maritime law enforcement; that is part of their mandate, but the discussion seemed to me as proposing the CG as part of an Arctic naval military presence, not law enforcement.  Perhaps I misunderstood.

Perhaps it would be beneficial to mimic the USCG divisions of white fleet (national security), black fleet (bouy tenders, etc.) and red fleet (heavy ice breaker).

Offline LoboCanada

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #37 on: May 26, 2020, 23:25:56 »
It has nothing to do with unions allowing anything.  In Ontario, Section 43 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act lays out an employee's right to refuse dangerous work, unionize or not, and police are among the group of workers that are exempt.  A key component is if the risk is inherent in the work.  For a cop, the risk of getting shot is inherent - being made to drive on bald tires is not. Assuming "fish cops" are DFO, no doubt there is similar federal legislation.  I have no difficulty with defensive overwatch of maritime law enforcement; that is part of their mandate, but the discussion seemed to me as proposing the CG as part of an Arctic naval military presence, not law enforcement.  Perhaps I misunderstood.

Perhaps it would be beneficial to mimic the USCG divisions of white fleet (national security), black fleet (bouy tenders, etc.) and red fleet (heavy ice breaker).

In Ontario Labour Law, the concept is called a "Bonafide Occupational Requirement". It is completely reasonable to be exposed to XYZ risk as a part of your duties as a worker in a XYZ role.


 

I think considering such a monumental (financial, doctrinal, cultural (within CCG) and legal) it would be unwise to use the CCG as a military force.

Instead, arm a small group of larger CCG vessels, with specialized CCG teams, under the legal umbrella of Special Constables (as a legal status) in conjunction with an onboard RCMP team, would be a worthwhile and measured Law Enforcement asset in an area where none previously exists. No division of CCG resources since these team would only be required to man the HMG and could even be dual-rolled similar to RCN Boarding Parties.

No change to the org mandate, relatively inexpensive, no military angle, not a large strain on CCG resources. Recent examples of arming previously unarmed federal law enforcement officers include (on a certain level) CBSA and Conservation Officers.


Offline CloudCover

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #38 on: May 26, 2020, 23:27:48 »
Seems to me this whole "arming the coast guard" with .50 calls and 20mm guns was suggested as a route of action with the Hero class by P. McKay when he was MND, second by Professor Byers and then "shot down" by the CCG and the RCMP itself: 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/government-to-consider-arming-coast-guard-vessels-1.1199547

Cant find a reference here but I do remember the discussions as unworkable for that class of ship, particularly if the opposition returns fire and ruins everyone's day with a swimming test.


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Offline CloudCover

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #39 on: May 26, 2020, 23:30:20 »
In Ontario Labour Law, the concept is called a "Bonafide Occupational Requirement". It is completely reasonable to be exposed to XYZ risk as a part of your duties as a worker in a XYZ role.


 

I think considering such a monumental (financial, doctrinal, cultural (within CCG) and legal) it would be unwise to use the CCG as a military force.

Instead, arm a small group of larger CCG vessels, with specialized CCG teams, under the legal umbrella of Special Constables (as a legal status) in conjunction with an onboard RCMP team, would be a worthwhile and measured Law Enforcement asset in an area where none previously exists. No division of CCG resources since these team would only be required to man the HMG and could even be dual-rolled similar to RCN Boarding Parties.

No change to the org mandate, relatively inexpensive, no military angle, not a large strain on CCG resources. Recent examples of arming previously unarmed federal law enforcement officers include (on a certain level) CBSA and Conservation Officers.

Again, if one is contemplating using naval gunfire, one had better be prepared to receive it as well. That is not within the design specs of most CCG ships.
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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #40 on: May 26, 2020, 23:36:59 »
Russia should be a natural counterweight to PRC global ambition's.Russia could lose Siberia and its important resources. So an arrangement with NATO would be smart. Anyone who has spent time in the arctic would know that the region would not be a great battlefield. Deny the region certainly to potential enemies which could be done with airpower and USN's nuke subs. Boots on the ground I hope not.

Offline Colin P

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Re: Why NATO needs a Standing Maritime Group in the arctic
« Reply #41 on: May 27, 2020, 00:08:50 »
It has nothing to do with unions allowing anything.  In Ontario, Section 43 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act lays out an employee's right to refuse dangerous work, unionize or not, and police are among the group of workers that are exempt.  A key component is if the risk is inherent in the work.  For a cop, the risk of getting shot is inherent - being made to drive on bald tires is not. Assuming "fish cops" are DFO, no doubt there is similar federal legislation.  I have no difficulty with defensive overwatch of maritime law enforcement; that is part of their mandate, but the discussion seemed to me as proposing the CG as part of an Arctic naval military presence, not law enforcement.  Perhaps I misunderstood.

Perhaps it would be beneficial to mimic the USCG divisions of white fleet (national security), black fleet (bouy tenders, etc.) and red fleet (heavy ice breaker).

We had that: "Red fleet" (CCG), Gray fleet (Fisheries) "white fleet" was Science/CHS. There was also the smaller Grey/white fleet of DPW vessels (dredges, repair vessels and snag pullers) There was a lot of heartache bringing them together.