Author Topic: The Defence Budget [superthread]  (Read 494330 times)

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Offline Ostrozac

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Re: The Defence Budget [superthread]
« Reply #1900 on: May 17, 2020, 00:16:58 »
Unfortunately it will take a major world event like that to happen again for Canadians to put defense as a priority. Like a Chinese nuclear sub surfacing off Vancouver island or something

Not even that would trigger such a reaction out of Canada — the main reason for China to put such a boat off Vancouver Island would be the US Navy activity out of Puget Sound.

No, what will trigger Canada’s emphasis on defence has been what it always has been, our relationship with our allies. Will the US demand greater participation in North American defence, NATO, or brushfire wars as a precondition for retaining favourable access to the US market?

Either that, or a growing domestic role. The Canadian Forces are the instrument of last resort to backfill any number of capabilities that fall short of warfighting — from search and rescue, to evacuations, and now staffing old age homes. The CAF are the Swiss Army Knife for every department and level of government. The country seems to need that backstop.

Offline Spencer100

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Re: The Defence Budget [superthread]
« Reply #1901 on: May 17, 2020, 01:32:52 »
I was going to post on different thread but...After Covid…the CF (it won't be the CAF) will be a constabulary force.   I'm hoping the gov will be able to negotiate an agreement we still part of NORAD with second in command.  We upgrade the NWS and RCAF pilots can fly in USAF jets. My thinking is that it is better to know what is happening in our airspace than not know even if we can not do anything about.  The US will do something and if we have some pilots there it is better than nothing.  So my vote is upgrade NWS and give up fast jets.  That is going to be the choice.  I hate it but....

Offline CloudCover

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Re: The Defence Budget [superthread]
« Reply #1902 on: May 17, 2020, 16:45:31 »
Right now they are spending 20-30 billion and not getting much of a return on the dollars spent. More than anything else they need a proper white paper that reflects the reality that no Canadian government is willing to find the type of military that they like to tell people we have.  They need to do that before going to far and deep on the big purchases on the books- like the CSC. 
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: The Defence Budget [superthread]
« Reply #1903 on: May 25, 2020, 14:34:15 »
Right now they are spending 20-30 billion and not getting much of a return on the dollars spent. More than anything else they need a proper white paper that reflects the reality that no Canadian government is willing to find the type of military that they like to tell people we have.  They need to do that before going to far and deep on the big purchases on the books- like the CSC.

This current government won't do that. Nor will any that follow it.
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Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: The Defence Budget [superthread]
« Reply #1904 on: May 25, 2020, 15:21:00 »
>Right now they are spending 20-30 billion and not getting much of a return on the dollars spent.

Hard to measure.  Part of what gives a nation soft power is being a credible contributor to hard power.
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Offline FJAG

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Re: The Defence Budget [superthread]
« Reply #1905 on: May 25, 2020, 16:11:52 »
Quote
The gold standard of deterrence and assurance is a defensive posture that confronts the adversary with the prospect of operational failure as the likely consequence of aggression.

Ochmanek, David et al. “U.S. Military Capabilities and Forces for a Dangerous World” RAND Corp 2017  at p. 45  https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR1782-1.html

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Offline Weinie

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Re: The Defence Budget [superthread]
« Reply #1906 on: May 25, 2020, 17:40:39 »
Right now they are spending 20-30 billion and not getting much of a return on the dollars spent. More than anything else they need a proper white paper that reflects the reality that no Canadian government is willing to find the type of military that they like to tell people we have.  They need to do that before going to far and deep on the big purchases on the books- like the CSC.

Sigh....there are so many problems with that statement. How about 100K + direct jobs, and likely 3 times as many as that with a Defence nexus. How about the contributions to local economies through groceries, cars, houses, PILT etc etc. How about SAR, and maritime patrolling, along with contributions to NORAD/NATO/UNIFIER/REASSURANCE. How about sp to Op Caribbe. How about DART? How about the current Op Laser, or floods, fires, sp to Fisheries etc. How about CAF as a participant in international agreements and UN resolutions through enforcement actions. How about CAF as a R&D driver, an option for a career, or just for a 5 year hitch to learn a trade and then jump back into the civvy world. How about CAF pers being leveraged as trainers, mentors in a host of nations? How about sp to GAC and OGD's, which is constant? I haven't even scratched the surface on CAF responsibilities. How much should/DOES that cost? How does one quantify returns?

And please don't fall back on the boilerplate "we need X,Y,and Z, assets IOT maintain combat effectiveness. Show me any military in a Euro/western-based democracy that doesn't have to maintain a solid support base domestically IOT garner funding.

As to the following point, a demand for a "solid white paper" will get the same mix of academics, former military officers, patronage appointments, and devils advocates that have plagued us for the last three iterations. Maintenance of the 2020-2025 approved SSE fiscal support in the current economic mess is unlikely, and more importantly, unfeasible. We are going to take some hits. 
« Last Edit: May 25, 2020, 18:07:43 by Weinie »
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Offline CBH99

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Re: The Defence Budget [superthread]
« Reply #1907 on: May 25, 2020, 18:34:35 »
I think the general point he was trying to make, which I'm sure most of us agree on, is that we COULD be getting far more return on the investment than we are.

Yes, it is a large and stable employer for over 100,000 Canadians.  Far more when you consider the businesses and industries that are supported by providing goods & services to the CAF.  Even more, the further down the supply chain you go.

Yes, we do get a solid return on NORAD and NATO, observer missions, training missions, and a few solid command positions within allied militaries.




As we've all discussed in a variety of other threads, our organization COULD use the resources we have far more efficiently 'en masse'. 

That isn't to say some trades aren't very well run & efficiently employed.  But as a general whole of concept within the organization, I think we can all agree that we could do things more efficiently, and thus put more funds towards things that would make a more deployable/flexible organization.

^^ Example is the HQ bloat, and the thousands of bodies & large sums of money those bloated and numerous HQ's take up. 


Streamlining that alone could allow those funds to be put towards small, albeit important things, that would help fill some of the gaps that members complain about. 
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Offline Weinie

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Re: The Defence Budget [superthread]
« Reply #1908 on: May 25, 2020, 20:34:31 »
I think the general point he was trying to make, which I'm sure most of us agree on, is that we COULD be getting far more return on the investment than we are.

Yes, it is a large and stable employer for over 100,000 Canadians.  Far more when you consider the businesses and industries that are supported by providing goods & services to the CAF.  Even more, the further down the supply chain you go.

Yes, we do get a solid return on NORAD and NATO, observer missions, training missions, and a few solid command positions within allied militaries.




As we've all discussed in a variety of other threads, our organization COULD use the resources we have far more efficiently 'en masse'. 

That isn't to say some trades aren't very well run & efficiently employed.  But as a general whole of concept within the organization, I think we can all agree that we could do things more efficiently, and thus put more funds towards things that would make a more deployable/flexible organization.

^^ Example is the HQ bloat, and the thousands of bodies & large sums of money those bloated and numerous HQ's take up. 


Streamlining that alone could allow those funds to be put towards small, albeit important things, that would help fill some of the gaps that members complain about.

Long ago, I was posted into a unit that regularly kvetched about the decisions and direction given from above (and I bought into that mindset) . It was easy (and ultimately pointless) to blame a host of problems on Higher HQ.

As I have progressed through the ranks and through progressively higher HQ's, context has become a wonderful thing. I became exposed to the personnel, political. economic, societal, media, legal, and myriad other things that staffers (who 1,3,5,20 years ago were in your shoes) now are confronted with.

In 1994 we rationalized HQ's. This resulted in HQ's getting smaller at the Div level. Since then we have a plethora of fin, legal, ethical, and societal impetuses. HQ's are large because they have to be, they have been hammered/hampered/constrained (in the media/parliament) because they "overlooked" something or did not comply with the latest directive. Guess what, mandated outcome is new org to deal with it and make sure it never becomes an issue again and meets reporting targets = more staff. The amount of admin that is required (by law, act, operationally, or ethically) is mind-boggling. There is no bloat.
Be cynical, but also seek context.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2020, 22:09:29 by Weinie »
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Offline Good2Golf

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Re: The Defence Budget [superthread]
« Reply #1909 on: May 25, 2020, 21:45:45 »
The Four Corners would ***** about DND and the CAF if it was the leanest, hardest military in NATO.  It’s in their DNA. It is a mugs game
To believe that money ‘saved’ on significantly scaled back HQs would be redistributed within the CAF.  I can with 100% cynical certainty tell you where it would be redistributed.......NOT the CAF.

As the guy at the table says, “Convince me otherwise.”

In the end, bitching about ‘bloated’ HQs is like pissing yourself in a dark suit, it feels good for you but no one else notices...

Offline Underway

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Re: The Defence Budget [superthread]
« Reply #1910 on: May 25, 2020, 22:26:47 »
Right now they are spending 20-30 billion and not getting much of a return on the dollars spent. More than anything else they need a proper white paper that reflects the reality that no Canadian government is willing to find the type of military that they like to tell people we have.  They need to do that before going to far and deep on the big purchases on the books- like the CSC.

It will be a hard decision now.  Before cuts to the military were easy, the Cold War provided stability and predictability.  The ending of the Cold War allowed the US to continue on as the worlds police force and the rest of us could cash in on their contribution.  Now the world is becoming unstable, going back to WW1 great power competition, with the Japanese, French, British, China and Turks back at it as the US withdraws.  Canada has never been in the position before. The world is becoming competative again, and COVID may have been the beginning of the slow burn that shows us just how dangerous it is.

We also have the benefit of massive military infrastructure projects in the shipyards.  You think a federal government is going to cut jobs just like that during an economic downturn?  Solid working class jobs from important voting areas?

Something has changed.  The zeitgeist feels different.

Offline FJAG

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Re: The Defence Budget [superthread]
« Reply #1911 on: May 25, 2020, 22:33:38 »
Sigh....there are so many problems with that statement. How about 100K + direct jobs, and likely 3 times as many as that with a Defence nexus. How about the contributions to local economies through groceries, cars, houses, PILT etc etc. How about SAR, and maritime patrolling, along with contributions to NORAD/NATO/UNIFIER/REASSURANCE. How about sp to Op Caribbe. How about DART? How about the current Op Laser, or floods, fires, sp to Fisheries etc. How about CAF as a participant in international agreements and UN resolutions through enforcement actions. How about CAF as a R&D driver, an option for a career, or just for a 5 year hitch to learn a trade and then jump back into the civvy world. How about CAF pers being leveraged as trainers, mentors in a host of nations? How about sp to GAC and OGD's, which is constant? I haven't even scratched the surface on CAF responsibilities. How much should/DOES that cost? How does one quantify returns?

And please don't fall back on the boilerplate "we need X,Y,and Z, assets IOT maintain combat effectiveness. Show me any military in a Euro/western-based democracy that doesn't have to maintain a solid support base domestically IOT garner funding.

As to the following point, a demand for a "solid white paper" will get the same mix of academics, former military officers, patronage appointments, and devils advocates that have plagued us for the last three iterations. Maintenance of the 2020-2025 approved SSE fiscal support in the current economic mess is unlikely, and more importantly, unfeasible. We are going to take some hits.

Sorry Weinie. I just don't buy that.

A nation does not spend $20+ billion per year (roughly 8% of the total budget) just so that 100,000 civilian and military civil servants can collect a paycheck to help boost the economy. If you left that money in the public's hand they would use it to contribute much more to the economy.

Canadians spend that money to ensure that when a security threat faces our country, we have the ability to respond. In other words they contribute their hard earned money to ensure that Canada can generate the necessary defence outputs to ensure their way of life.

For some time now it has become obvious that DND/CAF does not have the ability to generate the defence outputs that Canada's investment should buy because we spend over half of that money on full-time personnel of whom far too many do nothing but administer the system. Don't get me wrong; this isn't a teeth to tail ratio argument - tails are essential. This is a self licking ice cream cone administration argument that employs numerous marginally useful GOFOs and all their staffs which produce little, if any, defence outputs and whose costs starve the system of the necessary dollars for equipment and O&M needed to deliver proper defence capabilities.

When I saw the meagre "concurrent operations" provisions in the SSE I was quite frankly embarrassed because I knew (as did everyone else) that this provision was written by our military leadership as to the limits of what they thought we could do. 100,000 full time salaries and 27,000 part-timers (on a good day) and all that we can generate are two battlegroups and two company+ contingents on a continuous basis. And we aren't even doing that much and are nonetheless being stressed doing it.

I'm tremendously proud of today's soldiers, sailors and airmen but regretfully have come to believe that our leadership has lost it's way. I think for me the straw that broke the camel's back was the lack of follow through on Leslie's report on transformation which in itself was quite modest. We have far too many folks who, while I don't doubt their good intentions, seem to be doing little more than protecting the rice bowls of their fiefdoms.

I do agree with you on White Papers. I frankly don't think they matter one bit as long as you have a military leadership whose only solution to security issues is "more money and more full-timers". It's time for a radical change in approach and I doubt a simple Ottawa written white paper will ever deliver that.

The Four Corners would ***** about DND and the CAF if it was the leanest, hardest military in NATO.  It’s in their DNA. It is a mugs game
To believe that money ‘saved’ on significantly scaled back HQs would be redistributed within the CAF.  I can with 100% cynical certainty tell you where it would be redistributed.......NOT the CAF.

As the guy at the table says, “Convince me otherwise.”

In the end, bitching about ‘bloated’ HQs is like pissing yourself in a dark suit, it feels good for you but no one else notices...

Betcha that if the Minster, the CDS and the Deputy Minister were told that of every headquarters position that was cut in Ottawa half the money was to go to equipment and the other half to divide between the three of them no questions asked, we'd have ten thousand less positions in Ottawa within a year.  ;D Seriously though, right now there is no incentive to "fix" the problem and to a large extent there is denial that there even is a problem - its kind of like the boiling frog fable. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_frog

 :stirpot:
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Offline Good2Golf

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Re: The Defence Budget [superthread]
« Reply #1912 on: May 25, 2020, 22:38:41 »
Quote
Betcha that if the Minster, the CDS and the Deputy Minister were told that of every headquarters position that was cut in Ottawa half the money was to go to equipment and the other half to divide between the three of them no questions asked, we'd have ten thousand less positions in Ottawa within a year.  ;D

“If....”

I wouldn’t doubt it.  :nod:

However...You and I both know that money wouldn’t stay in the Department, but would be making a sonic boom on its way back into Finance’s coffers. ;)




Offline Weinie

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Re: The Defence Budget [superthread]
« Reply #1913 on: May 25, 2020, 23:04:25 »
Sorry Weinie. I just don't buy that.

A nation does not spend $20+ billion per year (roughly 8% of the total budget) just so that 100,000 civilian and military civil servants can collect a paycheck to help boost the economy. If you left that money in the public's hand they would use it to contribute much more to the economy.

Canadians spend that money to ensure that when a security threat faces our country, we have the ability to respond. In other words they contribute their hard earned money to ensure that Canada can generate the necessary defence outputs to ensure their way of life.

For some time now it has become obvious that DND/CAF does not have the ability to generate the defence outputs that Canada's investment should buy because we spend over half of that money on full-time personnel of whom far too many do nothing but administer the system. Don't get me wrong; this isn't a teeth to tail ratio argument - tails are essential. This is a self licking ice cream cone administration argument that employs numerous marginally useful GOFOs and all their staffs which produce little, if any, defence outputs and whose costs starve the system of the necessary dollars for equipment and O&M needed to deliver proper defence capabilities.

When I saw the meagre "concurrent operations" provisions in the SSE I was quite frankly embarrassed because I knew (as did everyone else) that this provision was written by our military leadership as to the limits of what they thought we could do. 100,000 full time salaries and 27,000 part-timers (on a good day) and all that we can generate are two battlegroups and two company+ contingents on a continuous basis. And we aren't even doing that much and are nonetheless being stressed doing it.

I'm tremendously proud of today's soldiers, sailors and airmen but regretfully have come to believe that our leadership has lost it's way. I think for me the straw that broke the camel's back was the lack of follow through on Leslie's report on transformation which in itself was quite modest. We have far too many folks who, while I don't doubt their good intentions, seem to be doing little more than protecting the rice bowls of their fiefdoms.

I do agree with you on White Papers. I frankly don't think they matter one bit as long as you have a military leadership whose only solution to security issues is "more money and more full-timers". It's time for a radical change in approach and I doubt a simple Ottawa written white paper will ever deliver that.

Betcha that if the Minster, the CDS and the Deputy Minister were told that of every headquarters position that was cut in Ottawa half the money was to go to equipment and the other half to divide between the three of them no questions asked, we'd have ten thousand less positions in Ottawa within a year.  ;D Seriously though, right now there is no incentive to "fix" the problem and to a large extent there is denial that there even is a problem - its kind of like the boiling frog fable. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_frog

 :stirpot:
If you left that money in the public's hand they would use it to contribute much more to the economy.


I am from the Maritimes, I know where that money would go, not to any economy that I desire.

I see your "skepticism" and I raise the you the "equalization payments" Hard for me to be critical of an institutional HQ when political malfeasance is the norm.

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/programs/federal-transfers/major-federal-transfers.html#Newfoundland
« Last Edit: May 25, 2020, 23:29:35 by Weinie »
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Offline FJAG

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Re: The Defence Budget [superthread]
« Reply #1914 on: May 25, 2020, 23:50:39 »
“If....”

I wouldn’t doubt it.  :nod:

However...You and I both know that money wouldn’t stay in the Department, but would be making a sonic boom on its way back into Finance’s coffers. ;)

You're not being fair. You know exactly how much of a cynic I am and where all my dog whistles are.  ;D

I actually think that it's all a matter of how it's approached. If for example the CDS convinced the Minister that he could double the capability of the army to seriously increase our NATO commitment in Europe by virtue of restructuring the reserves in the way I've argued for in various places and that he would do so by taking one billion in annual funding out of the full-time personnel budget (by which I mean Ottawa) and reallocating it to purchasing equipment and O&M for the army reserve for ten years so long as there is funding stability for that then I could see it being considered favourably by the government especially if it could result in spending within our own country. (I don't particularly like the LAV for Europe and sometimes I wonder if GDLS-C could build tanks and IFVs under licence - bet they could - maybe the GDLS-UK AJAX line - the Brits are getting 589 in various variants for CAD6 billion)

As you've probably determined by now my cynicism is mostly pointed at our internal bureaucracy which is concerned that if they even suggested that they could cut back on the bureaucracy in favour combat capabilities, the government would just take those cuts without the increase in capability. I think much of that is caused by our own rhetoric to the uninitiated that we have lots of capability, thank you very much and that every bit of the bureaucracy is vital so give us more money to replace old equipment with shiny new toys.

Personally, I think Hillyer blew it for us. He had the charisma and the military crisis that allowed him great sway with the politicians. Unfortunately, he was singularly focused on turning the army into fledgling Stryker brigades because he considered heavy forces to be millstones around our necks. On top of that he built a coterie of headquarters and started the build up of headquarters (ably assisted by civilian growth in DND). We became even more risk averse under him and had more and more directorates to work in minutiae of this and that (Good Lord my own Legal Branch grew by leaps and bounds to 150 Reg F and 70 Res F officers [mostly LCols and Majs] and even more civilian staff and which probably has a higher personnel pay envelope than a battalion - don't get me started on the DND&CFLA)

We desperately need an asymmetric force with elements trained and equipped for SOF, light, medium and heavy threats. We already have most of the capabilities to engage effectively in the first three (although poorly organized in the light and medium and which are mostly discretionary commitments) but are woefully incapable of meeting the fourth (which, while remote, may be a compulsory one). I've said this before; at a conference in Germany in the early 2000 my group was briefed by a Russian diplomat from their embassy in Germany who, in response to the question: "What will Russia do if the Baltic States join NATO?" replied "The tanks will roll." He wasn't joking. The unasked question is "when?" The answer by way of the Ukraine was "When we're ready" This is why I think our leaders, military and civilian need to get off their collective butts and build capabilities with the money they have now.


 :cheers:
« Last Edit: May 25, 2020, 23:55:35 by FJAG »
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Offline FJAG

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Re: The Defence Budget [superthread]
« Reply #1915 on: May 26, 2020, 00:09:31 »

I am from the Maritimes, I know where that money would go, not to any economy that I desire.

I see your "skepticism" and I raise the you the "equalization payments" Hard for me to be critical of an institutional HQ when political malfeasance is the norm.

https://www.canada.ca/en/department-finance/programs/federal-transfers/major-federal-transfers.html#Newfoundland

I'm well past "skepticism" and deeply into "cynicism". Actually the only time I was  ever skeptical was as a lawyer whenever I interviewed a witness. I've always been cynical but the degree has been steadily climbing.

What I meant before is don't tax it in the first place and leave it in the hands of the tax paying worker/consumer rather than in the hands of a civil servant. I did not mean pay more pogey although from an economic point of view, there is very little difference between the net effect of that lump of money in the hands of an employed civil servant and that of a welfare recipient (perhaps with the vacations that civil servants take outside the country, the welfare recipient contributes more of it back into the local economy)

 ;D
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Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: The Defence Budget [superthread]
« Reply #1916 on: May 26, 2020, 12:55:35 »
>If you left that money in the public's hand they would use it to contribute much more to the economy.

100% (the sentiment, not the details).  Do not fall into the trap of using jobs and spending to bolster arguments.  Someone who understands "opportunity cost" and "Frederic Bastiat" - which could be just about any neophyte political staffer with a proper liberal arts degree - will hand you your head.  Focus on the capabilities, particularly those with domestic uses, and the pay-to-play aspects of international involvement.  Throw in a couple of appeals to Chesterton's Fence (Wikipedia actually has a good one-line summary: "Chesterton's fence is the principle that reforms should not be made until the reasoning behind the existing state of affairs is understood." (Ie. don't degrade our capabilities because we have peace, because you don't know how much of the former is responsible for the latter.)

I have never read an opinion that armed forces become more bureaucratically efficient the longer an absence of major war prevails.  The only prudent assumption is that as each year passes without trimming, there is more to be trimmed.
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