- Reaction score
This may dovetail with the Army Reserve Restructuring thread, but I felt it was different enough to put separately.
CONTRIBUTED TO THE GLOBE AND MAIL
PUBLISHED 1 DAY AGO
The deployment of 1,700 regular force and reserve military members for duty in long-term care homes in Ontario and Quebec has been widely applauded by Canadians. At the same time, we seem ambivalent about the decision to scale back or suspend several of the Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) international commitments. As far as the public is concerned, the military’s away game is discretionary – a distraction used to keep busy when forces are not needed at home.
The problem is that the country’s stability, prosperity and harmony have long hinged on an expeditionary military force. The CAF asserts the country’s geostrategic interests by bolstering allies and promoting stability abroad. With the globalization of transnational threats, many of Canada’s allies have adopted a similarly expeditionary posture, and our allies have just as much difficulty selling the necessity of these actions to their domestic constituencies as Canada does.
But other countries’ civil-military relations differ from Canada in an important respect: under their social contract, there is a broad consensus to keep the military out of domestic operations. The sentiment they hold is that just because the military can do a job at home does not mean that it should.
These countries want their military to defend their interests; so, in response to a non-security-related emergency, their civil society largely has to cope on its own. That functional logic has informed Canada’s allies and partners in creating organizations that jointly address civil defense and disaster preparedness. Examples include the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the United States, State Emergency Service (SES) in Australia, the Technisches Hilfswerk (THW) in Germany, the Sécurité Civile in France and the Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) in Sweden. These organizations provide surge capacity across a broad spectrum of expertise, as well as trained volunteers and equipment to assist with disaster response.
Canada has no equivalent. Provincial emergency measures organizations have no deployable operational capacity. So, the CAF ends up backstopping emergency response. That is the consequence of a peculiarly Canadian anachronism.
[More at link]