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CANADA - Readiness at a price

Mike Bobbitt

Staff member
Directing Staff
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Excellent, but disturbing article on the condition of the CF. Reprinted from Jane‘s Defence Weekly (10 Sept 2003).


CANADA - Readiness at a price

A funding shortfall means that Canada‘s forces are placing future capabilities at risk to meet current commitments, writes Sharon Hobson

Chronic underfunding, over-commitment and govern- ment neglect is causing irreversible damage to the Canadian Forces (CF). Politicians, academics, and serving and retired military officers are all rapidly coming to the conclusion that the CF is on a downward slope to irrelevancy.

Dr Doug Bland, chairman of the Defence Management Studies Program at Queen‘s University, says: "What the force will look like five, six or 10 years from now is a very small constabulary stay-at-home armed forces." He says people have been telling the government for 10 years "that they‘re going to reach a stage where everything crashes".

Many problems have led to this point. For more than a decade the government has underfunded the armed forces, cutting their budget by 23% between 1994 and 1998. The last two government budgets increased the amount of money going to the Department of National Defence (DND), but it is not enough to cover existing operations or fund the military‘s modernisation programme ( Jane‘s Defence Weekly 18 June). Canada is spending only 1.1% of its gross domestic product on defence, compared with a non-US NATO average of 1.9%.

Out of the current C$13 billion (US$9.4 billion) defence budget, C$2 billion, or 15.8%, will be available for capital spending. This is far less than the target set only four years ago by the DND. In its ‘Strategy 2020‘ policy paper, the department stated that it would increase capital spending to 23% of the total budget by 2005. In 2001, that target was downgraded to 21%. Now, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff Lt Gen George Macdonald says: "I don‘t support establishing a fixed target. I think what we need to do is to ensure that we achieve a level of capital spending that we feel is appropriate regardless of what the percentage of the overall budget is."

In his ‘Capability Outlook 2002-2012‘, Gen Macdonald estimates that the capital requirements over the next 10 years will total C$30.6 billion. Although not all those requirements have been validated, it is still likely that the needs will substantially exceed the funding because military planners producing the new Strategic Capital Investment Plan are working with only C$27.4 billion over 15 years.

Gen Macdonald also notes: "The difficulty of gaining political approval for new major capital projects [which has] complicated effective capital planning." Also, he says, "the small number of approved major crown projects, and the attendant ageing of much of the inventory is threatening to both erode the department‘s ability to conduct operations and to create a growing ‘bow wave‘ of demand for new equipment".

Political and departmental decision-making has been stalled for the past couple of years, while a policy review, announced by then-Minister of National Defence Arthur Eggleton in the third quarter of 2001, was under way. All potential new programmes were essentially placed on hold. The review morphed into a "defence update", which was completed towards the end of 2002, but which was never made public.

Defence Minister John McCallum told JDW that his government is "committed to a defence policy review", but when that will take place is not clear. Prime Minister Jean Chrétien is scheduled to retire in February 2004 and his expected successor - Paul Martin, former finance minister (who oversaw the defence cuts of the 1990s) - is expected to call an election sometime later that year. If he is re-elected, he would then, with his new cabinet, order a defence review. Major defence decisions are thus likely to be put on hold for another two years, until after that review.

In addition to insufficient funding and delayed political decision-making, the armed forces have to cope with increased commitments. Chrétien, while meeting foreign leaders, repeatedly offers Canadian troops to serve in overseas hotspots. While in New Zealand in 1999 the prime minister offered troops for East Timor . He said: "We are always there [in peacekeeping missions], like Boy Scouts."

In May of this year, after meeting in Ottawa with French Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Rafarin, Chrétien committed Canadian transport aircraft and troops to help the French-led operation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo , saying: "We have an obligation. It is a very sad situation in Congo ." That same month, while attending a meeting of G8 world leaders in St Petersburg, he offered troops for peacekeeping in Israel . "If there is a need for peacekeepers there, Canada will be there," he said. Israel rejected the offer. The prime minister did not, however, wish to get involved in the US-led war in Iraq , and instead, in a surprise announcement, offered to send two rotations of 1,900 troops to Afghanistan . That essentially left the cupboard bare so that there was no longer any possibility of the US asking for Canadian troops to be sent to Iraq .

The deployment to Afghanistan may have got the government off the hook but it has depleted the army. Chief of the Defence Staff Gen Ray Henault says it will not be able to take on any new offshore deployment for 18 months after the Afghanistan deployment.

The navy is also trying to take a pause in offshore deployments after a busy decade that culminated in sending 15 of its 18 major surface warships to the Persian Gulf over a period of 21 months. The air force, meanwhile, has struggled to keep its ageing CH-124 Sea King ,CC-130 Hercules and CP-140 Aurora fleets flying in support of the CF‘s far-flung deployments.

Some in government recognise the armed forces‘ plight, but there seems to be little movement to fix the problems. Deputy Prime Minister John Manley told an Ontario newspaper in July: "It will cost us more than we forecast for Operation ‘Athena‘ in Afghanistan and I think we‘re going to see increasing demands on the capabilities of the Canadian Armed Forces going forward because the world is a dangerous place. So I think we need to ante up for that."

One month later, however, the government was expected to ask the DND to hand over C$200 million to help it pay for its handling of the various unexpected problems that have assaulted the country this year - the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus, ‘mad cow‘ disease and forest fires.

The army, recognising the impact of the changing security environment and the resource pressures, under Chief of Land Staff Lt Gen Mike Jeffery, produced a plan for transformation into a rapidly deployable, medium-weight, flexible force. The plan impressed John McCallum, who has thrown his support to the army - much to the consternation of the air force and the navy.

However, Howie Marsh, retired army colonel and a former special adviser to Gen Jeffery, says that, while the army has the minister‘s ear, "and he‘s made announcements of intent, there has been no commitment to capital acquisitions". Marsh points out that while projects such as the C$700 million Land Force Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (LF ISTAR) have received some funding for a definition phase, there is no significant money available for the project to begin until at least 2010. Because there is not enough money for all the proposed capital projects, the services have begun fighting among themselves. The army, in particular, is battling to get more of the available resources. Jane‘s Defence Weekly understands that the new Chief of the Land Staff (CLS), Lt Gen Rick Hillier, tried to persuade the senior decision-makers that the capital programme should focus on the army, and that Canada would have little need in the future for a ‘blue water‘ navy or ‘blue skies‘ air force. His angry colleagues rebutted his arguments.

Meanwhile, as operations increase and funding does not, the CF‘s problems mount. An internal performance measurement assessment shows that the current trained effective strength of 52,950 is insufficient to meet operational commitments and tasks. It also says that, "readiness overall is trending downwards" and the high operational tempo "limit the force-regeneration capacity". In fact, "sustained high levels and duration of ... tasks are placing unacceptable burdens on personnel and shortening the life expectancy of major equipments".

"We‘re reaching the end game, but everyone is in denial," says Martin Shadwick, a defence analyst at York University. "Canadians and their government aspire to a global role but, unfortunately, are unwilling to pay for it. As well, they do not seem to realise the speed with which military capabilities are atrophying or the time that will be required to regenerate lost or degraded skills." The CF has been reluctant to speak out about its problems. In its November 2002 report on the military‘s financial crisis, the Senate‘s Standing Committee on National Security and Defence said: "The committee was not always convinced that senior officers and bureaucrats appearing before it were being perfectly frank." The committee noted some senior officers voiced general concerns, but "these amount to small squeaks in the loud arena of public policy-making; what we could use from Canada‘s military leaders now is a thundering roar. Misguided loyalty appears to be muting the military‘s strongest voices".


The Canadian Army is stretched, stressed and insolvent. And that‘s the good news. The bad news is the army is mortgaging its future to survive the present.

"With the deployable field army that I have available," says Gen Hillier, "I‘ve essentially got soldiers either on a mission, returning from a mission, or going to a mission. So the demand right now is at the very maximum that we can put out. To be able to sustain that for any more than the next 12 months will indeed be very problematic." Gen Hillier, who took over as CLS in June, says "right now, we need to get a bit of a respite to be able to get back into the kind of training that produces the right kinds of soldiers in cohesive units".

His predecessor, Gen Jeffery, was often frank in his assessment of the army‘s ‘fragile‘ situation. He told a parliamentary committee last December that the army‘s C$840 million (US$605 million) operating budget is "easily upward to $500 million short in terms of what we need". He told a national newspaper that "our collective skills have now eroded to [such] a level that I have real concerns that we just can‘t get them back".

Training has become a major challenge for the army. While budget cutbacks curtailed collective training through the 1990s - the army held its first brigade-level exercise in a decade earlier this year - individual training has also run into problems. Col Ryan Jestin, Director of Land Personnel, says that as part of a forces-wide decision three years ago to increase recruiting, the army has been bringing in up to 5,800 recruits annually, almost double the previous years‘ intakes. However, the training system cannot handle this kind of throughput. "We‘re recruiting recruits, and they‘re graduating from recruit school every two weeks, but their course doesn‘t start for maybe six or eight weeks, or 20 weeks ... and they end up in what‘s called a holding platoon." He says that within the army today there are 600-900 people waiting to start their training or at some portion of their course but not actually doing their classification training.

The high operational tempo has contributed to the training problem. The soldiers who would normally serve as instructors are in the field force and have been deployed overseas. The deployed forces also have first call on the army‘s scarce spares, materiel and technical support, reducing supplies available to soldiers in Canada .

Over the past decade, the army has served in various global hot spots, including Afghanistan , Bosnia, Croatia ,East Timor , Ethiopia/Eritrea, Kosovo, Kuwait and the Middle East. The army‘s strength is 19,300 - 1,900 short of establishment strength - of which about 10,000 soldiers constitute the field force. Currently 1,200 troops are in Bosnia, 200 in the Golan Heights and 1,900 in Afghanistan , as well as various smaller deployments throughout the Middle East and Africa. At the same time, the army has supplied troops for extensive deployments within Canada to fight forest fires and floods, deliver humanitarian aid and provide security against terrorist attacks.

The army is hoping to reduce the Bosnia commitment to about 500 later this year, and possibly to as few as 50 for its 14th rotation in the early part of 2004. Reducing that commitment will allow the army to implement its managed readiness plan, the Army Training and Operations Framework (ATOF), whereby a third of the army is sustained at high readiness, a third is in training, and a third is in a support and reconstitution phase. "If we‘re down to manageable numbers of about 2,000 [troops deployed]," says Col Jestin, "that would allow us to completely implement ATOF, and would allow us to give virtually everybody at least an 18-month break before they have to go on another mission."

Reducing the offshore deployments would also help the army‘s transformation plans. Marsh says: "Back in the Cold War the forces used to depreciate their training levels in order to get money to buy capital [equipment] for the future force. Now, with the high level of operational commitments overseas, the planners can no longer control the cost drivers in operations, so they have to rob the capital to pay for today‘s forces. So basically you rob tomorrow‘s force to pay for today‘s force."

Funding for capital equipment plans remains a problem for the army. Senior planners within the DND are trying to produce a more coherent approach to strategic resource planning that could be closely linked to the way the CF intends to operate in the future. However, the army is not happy with the result, noting that its programme needs C$10 billion over the next 15 years, but is only slated to receive C$4.3 billion. Marsh warns that "the lack of money for capital, the high level of ongoing operations, plus the depressed force-generation capability back in Canada , equals no transformation".

The army‘s plan for transformation requires a sequence of strategic investments. First, the army intends to develop the information systems for command support in both the mounted and dismounted environments. These include the LF command-and-control information system, the Integrated Soldier System projects and the ISTAR project.

Second, the army intends to focus on precision effects for both direct and indirect fire. Projects involved in this aspect include elimination of the Leopard tank and reduction of TOW Under Armour; transformation of the Air-Defence Anti-Tank System ( ADATS ) to include a ground targeting role; and acquisition of a mobile gun system (most likely Stryker) and an advanced lightweight anti-armour system. Also, mortar systems will be reduced and the M109 eventually eliminated. The army will acquire a company area suppression weapon and a future indirect-fire system.

Third, the army will improve the combat service support to these new capabilities by transforming mobility and logistics. This involves: eliminating the Light Support Vehicle (Wheeled) and Medium Logistics Vehicle (Wheeled) fleets; acquiring a medium support vehicle system; a future mobility enhancement project; and light utility vehicle enhancements.

Fourth, in order to transform the institutional support to these new capabilities, the army is improving training by acquiring the new Weapons Effects Simulation system; setting up the Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre; and improving force generation by instituting whole fleet management and managed readiness.

Air force

Today, more than a decade after the government dropped the axe on defence spending the air force is still attempting to come to grips with its changed circumstances.

It has been a shock to the system. During the Cold War years, the air force was in the enviable position of getting both the equipment and the personnel it needed, to the extent that for some of those years, the regular Canadian Air Force was actually larger than the regular army.

The air force, however, is no longer the favoured child. In 1991, the air force had 725 aircraft; today it has 350 and the numbers will fall to approximately 290 by 2006.

With the fall in its fortunes, the air force has struggled to reinvent itself. Unlike the navy and the army, however, it still does not have an approved strategy for moving forward into the future.

That is expected to change later this year, when the service publishes its ‘Aerospace Capability Framework‘ (ACF), which will provide the road map to guide transformation and air force development over the next three decades.

The tactical component of the ACF is Project Transform, a three-phase initiative that will outline how the air force intends to maintain its operability and relevancy as it modernises and changes. Brig Gen Brett Cairns, director general air force development, says: "In the first phase we took a look at the capacity of the air force as it currently exists," and he expects the minister will be briefed "by the end of the summer".

Phase two, "which we‘ve just issued detailed guidance for, we anticipate having complete by Christmas time. It looks at all our operational capabilities and what we need to do in all those areas to maintain relevancy". The air force will consider "what force structure modifications we might have to make, what recommendations regarding commitments we might have to make". Finally, phase 3 "is the cost and resource bill attached to that".

The fact that so much of the air force‘s planning is still under way, and its options and capabilities still under study more than a decade into the post-Cold War security environment, has raised some eyebrows. Joe Sharpe, a retired air force brigadier general and a former director general of air force development, says the air force, which bore the brunt of defence cuts in the early 1990s, "was so focused on the defence cuts ... and how to survive, that took away from any effort that ought to have been spent looking at preparing for the future".

That was followed by a naval Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, Vice Adm Gary Garnett, who was not convinced the air force had tried hard enough to cut back and was actively pro-navy. Finally, over the past three years, the air force decided "to hunker down and keep our heads down below the visible horizon".

Martin Shadwick, a defence analyst at York University in Toronto, notes that in 1994 the air force showed how out of step it was with strategic reality by appearing before a special parliamentary committee with a presentation that was "unduly fighter-centric, which downplayed other assets and capabilities such as tactical helicopters and strategic airlift, and glossed over important peace support and constabulary roles".

More recently the air force has put its energies into acquiring a strategic air transport aircraft, but "while this acquisition is, in theory, eminently saleable, it too has floundered".

The air force was proud of its CF-18 fighters during the NATO-led operation in Kosovo in 1999 and portrayed the mission as a successful one in which the country "punched above its weight". The operation, however, revealed some key equipment deficiencies, such as the lack of night-vision goggles, secure communications, a secure data-distribution system, and an ‘identification friend‘ or interrogator.

Also, the Kosovo commitment stretched the air force‘s resources. An analysis of the deployment noted that "to sustain operations, at least two pilots for each aircraft were needed for each daily mission. For the eventual 16 sorties per day of flying, Canada , therefore, needed 32 pilots, representing at least half of all available combat-ready aircrew. ... In short, the operational commitment [of 12 CF-18s] pushed the available pool of combat ready pilots to the limit."

Although a total of 18 CF-18s were eventually deployed to Italy‘s Aviano airbase, the combat output never exceeded that of a 12-aircraft operation due to the number of crews and resources deployed.

The CF-18 is now undergoing a C$1.8 billion modernisation programme. The Phase I upgrade package includes a new mission computer, radar, Have Quick jam-resistant radios, a combined interrogatortransponder, stores- management systems and embedded global positioning and inertial navigation systems. A total of 92 of the service‘s 121 CF-18 aircraft will be kept operational until the 80 Phase I modernised CF-18s come into full service in 2006. Phase II projects, which include a radar-warning receiver, datalink, electronic countermeasures, missile approach warning and helmet-mounted sight, are still in the development and planning stages.

The plan to acquire new strategic transports has been rejected. Gen Cairns says the strategic airlift options were briefed to McCallum in June, as scheduled, but "the minister decided that we wouldn‘t continue to pursue the acquisition of aircraft like that, and that we would instead focus efforts on the NATO option, which is looking at some sort of a pooling arrangement to buy aircraft". However, Gen Cairns concedes that progress on the NATO option is "still very slow".

The air force has, however, managed to get approval for two of its five CC-150 Airbus transports to be converted into tanker transports. This C$103.4 million project will be completed in late 2004.

The air force‘s concentration on acquiring strategic air transports caused it to stall on a plan to acquire new C-130 tactical transports. Canada has a fleet of 32 CC-130 transport aircraft, of which 19 are 1960s-vintage E models. Nearly all of these have more than 40,000 flying hours and require long periods in maintenance.

Periodic inspections for other aircraft that have reached their 900-hour limit are then delayed and the aircraft are taken out of service until a maintenance slot becomes available. During the past year, only 10-13 aircraft have been serviceable at any one time.

The C$3.1 billion project to acquire 28 new maritime helicopters to replace the 40-year-old CH-124 Sea Kings has been stalled by political interference. Ten years after a newly elected Liberal government cancelled the previous government‘s plan to acquire EH 101 helicopters, the resuscitated project office has still not been able to issue a request for proposals.

A C$1.4 billion Aurora Incremental Modernization Project (AIMP) will convert 16 of Canada‘s 18 CP-140 maritime patrol aircraft into long-range patrol and strategic reconnaissance aircraft.

The project began in 1999 and will be completed in 2009. The lengthy modernisation process is eating into the air force‘s capabilities.

The AIMP schedule calls for three to five of the 18 CP-140 aircraft to be out of commission at any one time. This is in addition to the three Auroras in long-term inspection and repair, two aircraft that have just returned from the southwest Asia deployment and two aircraft in periodic maintenance.

Given that the serviceability of the fleet has been declining, traditionally hovering around 55-60% but over the last year moving closer to 50%, the air force is effectively left with two-to-four aircraft, split between two coasts for its various training exercises and domestic commitments. The number of yearly flying hours for the CP-140/A fleet has steadily decreased over the last decade, from 18,404 hours in 1992-93 to 11,000 this year. By 2004-05, the air force may not be able to support a yearly flying rate of much more than 6,000 hours.

Moreover, as an internal air force memorandum noted, "the Aurora availability crunch is not going to go away, even after AIMP. About the time the last aircraft comes out, a structural life-assessment programme will be carried out to extend the ELE [estimated life expectancy] from 2010 to 2025 and it is likely that major structural upgrades will be required".


Throughout the 1990s, the navy was the Canadian military‘s trailblazer. It was the first to understand the impact of the new world order, the first to deploy to many of the world‘s hot spots, the first to produce a detailed strategy paper and it shaped its programmes and plans to keep it relevant in the coming decades. Even the best planning, however, cannot make up for unexpectedly deep budget cuts and politically inspired delays experienced in launching key programmes. The current plans are clear enough. Chief of Maritime Staff Vice Adm Ron Buck recently outlined them before an industry audience. He said his priorities are straightforward ( see box ).

He said this collection of programmes will "transform our forces into a navy that will continue to be relevant into the 2020 time frame and beyond".

The equipment plans are not, however, going smoothly. The project to acquire a new maritime helicopter to replace the 40-year-old Sea Kings has been stalled for years and even with McCallum‘s announcement in December that the project would no longer be pursued as a split procurement ( JDW 18 December 2002), delivery of the first new helicopter is at least five years away. Canada‘s acquisition of four Upholder-class submarines from the Royal Navy is under way, but has fallen far behind schedule as the reactivation and modification of the boats proved to be more of a challenge than expected.

The plan to acquire three-to-four Joint Support Ships which would provide under way support to naval ships, sealift, a joint force headquarters and support to forces ashore, has stalled for the last year and is in danger of being abandoned. Some departmental officials argue that while the navy needs new supply ships, it does not make sense to spend additional money for organic sealift when the charter option remains viable.

One Iroquois-class destroyer, HMCS Huron, was taken out of service in 2000, mainly due to personnel shortages. Three further Iroquois-class destroyers are expected to reach the end of their operational lives around 2010, at which point the navy wants to replace their capabilities with the C$5.25 billion Command, Control and Air-Defence Replacement (CADRE) project. The capabilities required include command, control, communications, computers, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR), integrated battlespace management, and area air-defence, including theatre air and missile defence and precision land attack. However, that plan has stalled and may actually be dead in the water.

If the navy does not get approval for CADRE it will have to look at extending the life of the Iroquois class (before upgrading in 1987-1995 the ships were Tribal-class destroyers, so the potential life extension is now being referred to as TRILEX). Another option would be to fit the required capabilities into the frigates (or possibly the Joint Support Ships, if that is approved).

Capt Calvin Mofford, director of Maritime Requirements (Sea), says the Halifax modernisation (HM) project is still in the options analysis phase and is scheduled for implementation starting in 2008. He says that with the move of naval operations from bluewater to the littoral, the navy‘s capability must be optimised against evolving multinational and asymmetric threats. He says the navy will need to be able to participate in more net-centric combined and joint operations with a greater variety of partners, which requires a greater C4ISR capability.

The HM, which will keep the ships operationally effective and sustainable for their designed lifespan of 30 years, is a grouping of activities into one package: maintenance; sustainment projects, which will deal with equipment that is no longer being produced and therefore has become difficult to sustain; stand-alone projects; and the C$1.2 billion Frigate Life Extension (FELEX) project, which will deal with some of the obsolescence issues as well as problems associated with configuration. The navy is hoping to get approval to proceed with a key component of the HM programme, the C$225 million upgrade of the CCS-330 command-and-control system, later this year.

Meanwhile, in addition to experiencing problems getting equipment programmes under way, the navy is being squeezed by budgetary pressures, the resource costs of introducing the new Victoria-class submarines into the fleet and personnel shortages. All of this has been exacerbated by sustaining a multiship commitment to the southwest Asia theatre in support of the US-led ‘war on terrorism‘ - a commitment that involved 15 of the navy‘s 18 major surface combatants (one ship deploying twice) and 3,982 of the 4,100 sailors in sea-going positions deployed over a 21-month period. People and equipment are tired. "The entire navy has been mobilised at a war footing for the past two years," says Dr Richard Gimblett, a naval analyst who helped produce the navy‘s 2001 strategy paper, ‘Leadmark‘. Consequently, the navy is hoping to take a rest from foreign deployments for a year, including holding back its contribution to the Standing Naval Force Atlantic until 2004. Canada has not had a ship in the NATO force since October 2001.

"The readiness of the navy has been run down over the last two years sustaining Op[eration] ‘Apollo‘," says Gimblett, but "the navy skill sets can be reconstituted within a year if they have the money".

However, given that Adm Buck told senior planning staff that he was short by C$103 million and subsequently received only C$6.7 million in additional funding ( JDW 18 June), Gimblett says, "they‘ve got to make up that $96 million somewhere, and the only place you can do it realistically is maintenance and fuel".

Adm Buck told JDW that while the drawdown in the Operation ‘Apollo‘ commitment will ease the strain on the navy, which "will do all of the things that are essential", it will still have to cut back in some areas. "We will do fewer major fleet exercises," probably one instead of two per year. Similarly some minor war vessel deployed exercises "will not be done as frequently" and "we will do more parallel tasking", so that ships engaged in fisheries patrols will also undertake combat-readiness trials, for example. At the same time, the navy will attempt to "catch up as much as we can on the maintenance backlog".

While the navy regenerates, "it can handle most of the contingencies that are looming on the horizon in the next year or two, such as operations off Korea", says Gimblett, "but if the unexpected happens and the navy is needed off the coast of a country equipped with supersonic anti-ship missiles, such as Iran , that would be problematic".

Naval priorities
  • the Maritime Helicopter Project;
  • introduction of the Victoria-class submarine;
  • a modular, more capable Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment/Joint Support Ships with new manning and operating concepts;
  • modernisation of the Halifax-class patrol frigates;
  • replacement of the navy‘s command-and-control/longer-range anti-air warfare capability; and
  • modernisation of the Kingston-class Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels and the introduction of a new more capable small ship to replace miscellaneous auxiliary craft for the navy‘s growing domestic roles.

© 2003 Jane‘s Information Group
did i mention we had to stop using styrofoam(sp?) cups on BMQ coarse and use our issued ones due to ‘budget restraints‘?
lol, good stuff.
I doubt that even a govt change (ie PC, or Alliance) will be able to reverse the trend that the military has been forced into.
I would say that if/when we have a change of government and get the bleeding hearts out of office there will be an increase in Defence Spending,of course that will mean that the cash will have to come from somewhere,I can suggest a whole bunch of useless inatatives and programs started and perpetuated by the idiots in charge to get things rolling

1. Scrap the Gun Registry-waste of money and effort,get rid of the Canadian Firearms Center or at least steamline it‘s activities and juristriction.Over 1 Billion so far and up to 3 billion over the next 5 years come on..

2. End funding to special interest groups,if they can‘t make it on their own,well too bad

3. End Government funding to businesses such as CBC,Bombardier,etc once again if they cannot survive on their own too bad

4. Cap spending and pensions for MPs,seems to me that 4 years employment does a full pension rate!!

5. Clean out NDHQ we have only 3 Brigades in the Reg Force no need for over 100 Generals,Cols,etc

6. Almalgamate Reserve units that cannot maintain adequate numbers of troops,why spend money on a unit that parades well below sustainment levels.it worked for the British Army it will work here too.

The list goes on and on simple when you think about it.
Hey, is McCallum a Chretien crony? Is the ‘tard gonna get turfed when Martin gets coronated?