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Canada must divide its military resources along foreign and domestic lines - G&M

lenaitch

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In my humble opinion, if the domestic mandate was severed from the CAF, it would do irreparable harm to whatever would be left behind.  Truth be told, the military is not on the radar of the typical Canadian taxpayer.  Defence matters are relegated to a throwaway line on a platform during an election and never discussed because they know the average voter simply doesn't care.  No Canadian politician will stump that the GST has to go up a point to meet the Strong, Secure Engaged goals, or that they can't do pharmacare because warships need to be built.

Sure, there is great outpouring of respect and sympathy during repatriation ceremonies and the like, but it is usually fleeting and, again, my opinion, more towards the victim as opposed to the institution.  We don't have a history of revolution or empire, and our geographic integrity hasn't been breached since the Fenian Raids of the 1870s.  Many simply think that we made soldiers, sailors and airmen out of farm boys in pretty short order in the past and we could simply do it again if we had to.

How many post-boomers actually know about Afghanistan, the former Yugoslavia or any other hot events involving the CAF in the past few decades?  How many sit down a read a newspaper or take an hour to watch the evening news?  These are some of the places where events are covered in-depth, either reportage, analysis or opinion.  Most consume what little news they absorb via social media or 'news' platforms that feed them stuff they have either indicated they are interested in, algorithms have selected for them or, worse, pushed by online advertising.

The vast majority of the Canadian population lives in cities within 100km of the US border.  Unless they live in a base town, Ottawa, go to an airshow, perhaps a Remembrance Day ceremony or live near an armoury, many could go their entire lives without seeing a member in uniform or a piece of military equipment.  Heck, our daughter works at a small Base in a small city and often hears from locals that they didn't know it was there.  "Who's going to invade us?' and/or 'the US will protect us' are not uncommon views held by many.

Does anybody think there is a realistic chance of seeing billions for new equipment, let alone keep whatever funding is left over from the divorce, when it would have absolutely no relevance to the majority of the population?  At now, there is sense that the CAF will help when things hit the domestic fan.

Like it or not, a C-130 evacuating a northern community, or members filling sandbags have as much positive marketing impact as the Snowbirds, and public opinion is really the only lobby group the CAF has when it comes to getting a piece of the pie.  There has been an incredible positive public response to the revelations the military made about what they found in LTC facilities; speaking truth to power that even the governments own inspectors couldn't do.  Professional, objective and non-judgmental.  Some of it came from a background in medical knowledge, but a lot of it was simply observations.

I know some feel that anything that detracts from a focus on hard combat is inappropriate, but I feel that narrow view is dangerous to the future of the CAF.  You can 'train high' but still 'respond low', but not the other way around.
 

dimsum

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Great points. 

The one thing I'd say is that I suspect more Canadians know about Afghanistan than you think.  It was on the news and social media throughout the 2000s until 2011 when we left the combat mission.

Now whether they knew someone (or knew someone who knew someone)?  No, not really.
 

Jarnhamar

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[quote author=lenaitch] I know some feel that anything that detracts from a focus on hard combat is inappropriate, but I feel that narrow view is dangerous to the future of the CAF.  You can 'train high' but still 'respond low', but not the other way around.
[/quote]

A future where the caf is treated like and endless pool of cheap labour is dangerous too.
 

FJAG

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lenaitch said:
...
I know some feel that anything that detracts from a focus on hard combat is inappropriate, but I feel that narrow view is dangerous to the future of the CAF.  You can 'train high' but still 'respond low', but not the other way around.

I've probably argued for the "hard combat" primary mission more than most on this site but I'm also very much in favour of having domestic ops continue as as a secondary task of both the Reg F and Res F.

It's separating "hard combat" from "domestic ops" and making the latter the "priority" of the Res F or to turning the Res F into some vague "domestic" force that I object to.

One can and should be able to do both.

:cheers:
 

Eaglelord17

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I'm dead set against conscription by any means. Having been stuck in a environment I personally chose and hated every minute of it, I can only imagine how miserable you can be if your forced to do it.

Personally I am more of the carrot type of guy. Get rid of all university and college subsidies. Then offer free education for any who volunteer for the Reserves/maybe this civil defence idea. The hard part would be selling the public on it. 
 

Colin Parkinson

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Jarnhamar said:
A future where the caf is treated like and endless pool of cheap labour is dangerous too.

Each regiment shall maintain a farm and garden large enough to feed itself and the local HQ
Each regiment shall provide 200 able bodied men for the Harvest season
Each regiment shall provide snow clearing crews for the season
Each regiment shall provide work crews in the spring to beautify the local MP and MLA yards
 

Brad Sallows

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>I know a LOT of young people (usually not bad people, but in trouble with the law) who would benefit from some form of national service.  (Not conscription).

If there is no conscription, then what is "national service"?
 

quadrapiper

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Colin P said:
Each regiment shall maintain a farm and garden large enough to feed itself and the local HQ
Each regiment shall provide 200 able bodied men for the Harvest season
Each regiment shall provide snow clearing crews for the season
Each regiment shall provide work crews in the spring to beautify the local MP and MLA yards
So the Roman Legions, give or take?
 

Colin Parkinson

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quadrapiper said:
So the Roman Legions, give or take?

I was think Soviet or NK actually. If we followed the Roman model, our guys would be excellent at building defensive works as well and being gay might be an advantage.....
 

Ostrozac

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Jarnhamar said:
A future where the caf is treated like and endless pool of cheap labour is dangerous too.
It's not so much that the CAF is cheap, is that it is incredibly flexible. In practice, more flexible than either other government agencies or the private sector, which seems counter-intuitive but that's what the record shows. That's how the CAF ended up being employed first as staff and then as an Inspector General capability for Long Term Care homes.

Those LTC staff on minimum wage were the actual cheap labour, but in a crisis situation, they couldn't get the job done. Cabinet and the Premiers seem to like having a swiss army knife on hand, an organization of last resort to deal with the gaps in every other capability. 
 

Jarnhamar

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When the caf is deployed to care homes, floods, fires etc.. do the provinces pay for it?
 

PuckChaser

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I really don't think the funding is there, but would a National Guard-type system which is owned by DND but can be called out by the Premiers during states of emergency be the solution here? The US ARNG trains one weekend a month, 2 weeks a year. That's plenty of time to keep up first aid, sandbagging, fire fighting and floor mopping skills. Don't even need to waste money giving them firearms training.
 

Humphrey Bogart

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Or we could just.... properly resource and fund the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves.  Consolidate Units, buy them proper equipment, rationalize the recruit create some enrollment bonuses for youth. 

How many Regimental Associations give scholarships to High Schools?  How many do extensive volunteer work or philanthropy in their communities?  How about a signing bonus for High School and College/University Students?

The CAF is a force of good but WE NEED TO DO MORE and WE NEED TO BE CREATIVE.

 

FJAG

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The military's pandemic response suggests reservists are still seen as second-class soldiers
Author of the article:Robert Smol

When it comes to Operation Laser, the military response to the COVID-19 pandemic, you might rightfully assume our regular, full-time professional military are front-and-centre.

Well, they are not.

Ottawa COVID-19 Update May 28: Outaouais reports death of nursing home attendant

Instead, the overwhelming majority of the military personnel risking their lives trying to clean up and service infected, underfunded and unprepared long-term care facilities are actually part-time reservists. While these figures are constantly changing, the latest update provided from National Defence has 9,500 personnel deployed, of which 8,069 are reservists.

That means approximately 85 per cent of those in uniform risking their lives in the fight against COVID-19 are military “temps.”

Such a reliance on reserves would certainly make sense if our regular army, navy, and airforce were overextended on operations overseas, or were now congregating in large numbers to undergo high-level operational training at home. But that is largely not the case.

So why aren’t more regular military personnel helping in this operation?

The answer, simply put, is that when it comes to planning for such contingencies, there is an inherent value-hierarchy of military deployments and taskings, with the less “career sexy,” non-combat, non-medal-worthy ones at home typically going to the reserves.

Of course, regular force deployments overseas often involve a high degree of personal risk and separation from family. But they are also essential to the military’s raison d’être and, for those who choose to make the military their career, they are a foundational part to any serious career progression. These days, you do not see many senior officers or non-commissioned officers with only one or two medals.

At the very bottom of the career enhancing hierarchy are non-combat aid-to-civil-power or “boy scout” initiatives that do not result in any medals, and do not have the same trappings and career “bragging rights” as, say, deployments overseas with the United States and NATO.

In the larger scheme of things, non-combat community service deployments do not necessarily help or hinder one’s career. So it only makes sense to the military, as with any institution, that the “lesser” important tasks go to the lesser important, temporary employees. The reserves.

Let’s face it, nobody joins the regular or reserve force to be an emergency custodian or personal support worker in an overwhelmed, COVID-infested long-term care facility. Certainly, you can feel good about what you did. But saying that, as a member of the military, you helped clean and sanitize a filthy, infected seniors home that should already have had such measures in place before the pandemic hit will unfortunately not make you, your sacrifice, or the risks you took stand out come Remembrance Day.

So why not give it to the reserves!

It is quite true, and certainly about time, that the gap between the reserves and regular force has narrowed over the years when it comes personnel support matters as well as pay and benefits. For example, today’s reservists can finally earn a military pension. That did not exist for most of my service in the reserves.

But the decision to send mostly reserves into COVID-infested facilities shows there is still an institutional command-level bias towards reservists as temporary, expendable “proles” better suited for the dirty, cumbersome, “fatigue duty” jobs that generate no real operational credit to a well-defined career progression and standard set by senior regular force personnel.

Yet there is a significant difference to Operation Laser that calls out and shames any lingering command prejudice towards the reserves, which is that the service personnel performing emergency personal support worker and other public health and custodial duties are getting wounded — yes, wounded in large numbers. Let’s not for a moment assume that the numerous confirmed COVID-infected soldiers coming out of Operation Laser just have really, really bad colds.

Further, based on the squalid conditions in the homes the military recently divulged, the risk seems quite high that one of these COVID-19 wounded reservists will die in the course of their duties.

Should this happen, will the reservists get the “highway hero treatment”? I hope so, but am not holding my breath. Nonetheless, that decision rests with the career-conscious regular force commanders and senior staff sitting behind their desks in Ottawa.

Robert Smol served for more than 20 years in the Canadian Armed Forces and is currently studying law. Reach him at: rmsmol@gmail.com.

https://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/smol-the-militarys-pandemic-response-suggests-reservists-are-still-seen-as-second-class-soldiers/wcm/9dbbfd88-7739-47ff-9f69-41b2f5efba6e/

:cheers:
 

YZT580

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All kinds of good ideas and all have their minuses as well but the biggest minus to having a domestic organisation is government.  Look at the budget now.  There are insufficient funds to properly equip and transport the forces we have.  We are unable to sustain operations for longer than a few months at a time without burn out.  Given the choice, what area do you think our current government thinking would support with the available dollars?  Great publicity until we actually need an armed force to be an armed force and we discover that all the training has gone on road repair, fire draining and dike construction.  For civilian support I suggest a land based version of the coast guard fully separated from the military.
 

Michael OLeary

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All of this is reminiscent of the 1960s plan to re-role the Reserves into a primary focus on the National Survival/Civil Defence task. IIRC it didn't go over well for recruiting and retention.
 

daftandbarmy

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MilEME09

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Michael O'Leary said:
All of this is reminiscent of the 1960s plan to re-role the Reserves into a primary focus on the National Survival/Civil Defence task. IIRC it didn't go over well for recruiting and retention.

And multiple times since then it has also failed, when will they learn to read history books? DRC's are fine and dandy, part of the problem is by the time a state of emergency is declared, and the CAF is called in it is usually to little too late to actually mitigate damage, instead we are clean up or damage control well after the fact. Politicians generally do not like to look like they re out of control of a situation, happened in Calgary in 2013, City wanted to look like it had control of the situation in an election year, DRC sat on their hands for most of the disaster.

Genius... pure genius!

Although I don't see our troops as second class in any way, and everyone of them I've spoken to are very keen (and honoured) to have the opportunity to serve Canada in any way they can, especially during DOMOPS like these.

DOMOPs are very thankless tasks in a way but many are proud to do it and help their community out in their time of need. Personally I would like to see a medal for DOMOPs, you spend X days total, doesn't have to be concurrent on domestic operations, you get it. While it isn't much, it would be something other then a pat on the back, and a noble speech from an officer.

 

daftandbarmy

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MilEME09 said:
DOMOPs are very thankless tasks in a way but many are proud to do it and help their community out in their time of need. Personally I would like to see a medal for DOMOPs, you spend X days total, doesn't have to be concurrent on domestic operations, you get it. While it isn't much, it would be something other then a pat on the back, and a noble speech from an officer.

Please send me the time and date you actually observed this happening. In my experience this is a very rare event so, of course, I'm curious :)
 

blacktriangle

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Some kind of "GSM-DOM" would be nice to see.

Not only could it apply to LASER, LENTUS but also SAR, and Sovereignty type stuff. Do SAR techs and crews get medals for all the dangerous domestic stuff they stand ready to do 24/7? If not, why the hell not?

I'd also look at some kind of "GSM-OPS" for the Int/Sigs/Ops (and as things are evolving, Cyber, RPAS etc) types that are providing direct, remote support to combat operations or deployed forces.

The CAF puts tons of effort into buttons and badges, and yet fails to recognize large groups of personnel doing important operational work 24/7, 365.
 
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