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Opinion - Liberators of the Netherlands in 1945, today... - CBC

MilEME09

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suffolkowner said:
And on that new vaunted non political procurement system with respect to the above

https://www.marketscreener.com/news/CITT-Canadian-International-Trade-Tribunal-OSHKOSH-DEFENSE-CANADA-INC--26592915/

Shame too, Oshkosh would of been great for interoperability with the US, the HEMTT line has a lot of variants, would allow for a lot of new vehicles based off one chassis
 

Eye In The Sky

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Comparing our 2 forces might be a little 'apples to oranges' but that would arguably be the case for comparing us to anyone but "us".

Detailing how small and 'being left behind' our forces are becoming?  I say "valid and on target".
 

daftandbarmy

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I've had the great good fortune to work closely with the Dutch Marines, and other parts of their military, albeit many years ago.

One thing we tend to forget is that the 'Continental' Armies all have very different National Defence imperatives from those of us who inhabit 'Peace Island' a.k.a. North America. They also have fairly considerable, lingering, colonial commitments that we do not.

Regardless, and not to jump on the 'Holier than thou' pulpit, but there are also a variety of issues with the Dutch military that eclipse ours, and that likely have not fully gone away. I'd rather have our Military and Political leadership, and questionable equipment, than the other way around:

Dutch cabinet resigns over Srebrenica massacre

Seven years after the event, the Dutch government finally admitted yesterday that it could have done more to prevent the slaughter of up to 8,000 Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica by Serb forces in 1995 and resigned. With just under a month to go before general elections, Wim Kok, the outgoing Labour prime minister, signalled that his cabinet had decided that the conduct of Dutch peacekeeping troops and the Dutch government at the time had left the government with no choice but to resign en masse.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2002/apr/17/warcrimes.andrewosborn
 

Navy_Pete

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Good2Golf said:
It’s not like the RCN just has CRCN, DCRCN and DGMEPM in NDHQ.  Careful about glass houses...if we were to ask why we had all these personnel bloat problems in the CAF, who would be the key position responsible to assist the CDS to resolve it....hmmmm...oh that’s right...a VAdm... ;)

Are people including the EPMs and the procurement project staff in HQ bloat?  That's somewhat counterintuitive, if you are arguing people need more/modern equipment (that needs support once delivered).

That needs a lot of people, and while the positions are temporary, the projects are long enough and there are enough in the wings that when one is done they can move to the next one.  The only way to combat 'bloat' is to basically restructure the whole procurement process for the whole of government. My personal experience is DND runs really lean on procurement with the teams a fraction of the size for the ships compared to the CPF for example. Lots of folks in the EPM are doublehatted. My personal experience is also the EPMs are running pretty short staffed, with lots of people now doing the jobs that used to be done by two or three, with empty billets anyway.

Bullets, ships and planes don't buy or maintain themselves. An equipment heavy force needs a big support tail for the teeth to be able to do their jobs.  That's completely unrelated to the big giant centralized commands.

That was one thing I didn't understand with the Leslie report either;

 

Good2Golf

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Navy_Pete, the EPMs are likely amongst the least bloated HQs...in fact, understaffed for the burdens of wholesome life-cycle management is a better description of them. I included them (DGMEPM by title) to make the point that large GOFO numbers are not uniquely Services command-related. My own thoughts are that the GOFOs involved in the institutional side of things have the greatest amount of bloat, although one step down from that, are the Services, but I would agree with many that the Army does seem to (anecdotally) have a large share of GOs ‘outside’ of the NCR.  Not sure if that impression is based on facts, but the Div HQs have a lots of *s out there. Maybe someone close to the NCR knows what the current state of public ally available GOFO #s is?
 

FJAG

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There's a world of a difference between the tail that is an absolute necessity to keep the teeth functioning properly, and the administrative bloat that has developed over the years to carry out functions that are the result of building a self-licking ice cream cone in Ottawa every time the idea fairy strikes.

Leslie's report was concentrating on the latter.

Here's one way to trim the system:

https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Journals/Military-Review/English-Edition-Archives/January-February-2017/ART-005/

There are dozens of other ways to optimize a system. Ask Daftandbarmy for help. He does that stuff for a living.

:cheers:
 

Navy_Pete

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I agree, just wouldn't include the EPMs (or ADM(Mat) in general) as being part of the HQ bloat. There are probably a few subsections that could easily be labeled as 'good idea fairies' but generally they do a bunch of the thankless admin tasks that feed into the GoC beast, so aren't necessarily a DND creation.

For context, the head of the EPMs (Commodore or Brigadier) and collectively probably are responsible for $2-3B a year on O&M spending with probably over a thousand people between the directorates. It seemed to be a comparatively high level of responsibility compared to others. From what I saw, they had a much higher workload in their normal day to day compared to most GOFOs in the NCR during peacetime operations, but that could just be a lack of exposure on my part to the moving bits outside ADM(Mat). Reporting is pretty flat, with only a few four ringers (or civvie equivalents), with reasonable divisions of each section with three ringers looking over specific areas of equipment. The general scope of responsibility is really the limiting factor (as opposed to # of personnel reporting to you) as going by just size of the section would mean there are way to many balls to juggle and specific issues to keep track of at the section head level.

I think some of the bloat though is a direct response to TBS and other department's requirements. For example, there is a bunch of work that feeds into maintaining the Canada First defence strategy. That kind of work directly relates to the arguements that get made for annual funding, project approval etc and would be were you go when you get into the cost tradeoffs off something like CSC (for example) and TBS wants to know what you will/won't be able to do if they trim a budget. Its a huge effort to do it, but means that we're in a lot better position then the Coast Guard for arguing why we need money.

Cutting DND bloat like that is counterproductive if there is no change to the GoC bureaucracy requirements, so I think skinning this cat would probably require most of the GoC processes to be burned down and start from scratch, as they flow down a lot of BS.

Probably still a whack of sections that are completely unecessary, but my general impression after nearly a decade in the NCR bouncing between organizations is that the GoC is full of self licking ice cream cones that demand feeding, so it's less a DND specific issue, and more of a response to the parasitic nature of bureaucracies to spawn malignant little empires that create choke points and decision gates to fight through.


 

CBH99

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Thanks Navy_Pete,

I hadn't thought of the broader context before, outside of DND streamlining and organizing itself as an independent department.  What you describe helps clarify some of the questions I had regarding the information FJAG had posted, about HQ bloat.

So if I'm understanding correctly...while DND and NDHQ could probably trim some fat...a lot of the fat is necessary just due to the requirements of TB and PW, and the way they do business?  It would be difficult to radically transform NDHQ on it's own, without TD and PW reducing the amount of BS & hoops that DND has to jump through?


Which makes perfect sense.  Just unfortunate that this monster that slows things down and kills so much of the budget & capability we have, has friends that would also need to go away...  :(
 

dapaterson

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Part of DND/CAF's problems is the intersection of the two.  EPMs should not be military.  ADMs, which are departmental, not CAF, should not have 2* Chiefs of Staff merely to give some poor branches a "thanks for coming out" GOFO position.

Lots of organizations in DND do need military expertise for input, but bureaucratic expertise to advance the requirements.  A rotating cast of military personnel slows progress immeasurably - you either get "the streamer posted in for a year to get a tick in the box who never understands it who causes more harm than good by trying to leave his mark" or "Bottom of the bottom third abandoned for years and ignored by peers".

In trying to do too much of the Departmental administration, the CAF loses focus and starts to adopt damaging, MBA type mindsets.

For example: the CAF needs cooks who can plan and execute balanced meal plans based on available ingredients.  Thus every base was different, and the senior cooks got the experience they need for when they deploy.  Today, instead, we've adopted a national standardized menu.  More efficient (less costly), but our cooks no longer practice their necessary skills for operational employment.  Or the tale that at a Qualification Standard writing board, an airfield engineer was adamant that they could cut all that useless airfield battle damage repair material, because they never did it in their day to day work.

The CAF focus needs to be on delivering military capability to meet the needs of the government; the DND focus needs to be on managing the systems to support that.  When the CAF has too many managerial jobs, those behaviours become incentivized, to the detriment of the CAF.
 

FJAG

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dapaterson said:
Part of DND/CAF's problems is the intersection of the two.  EPMs should not be military.  ADMs, which are departmental, not CAF, should not have 2* Chiefs of Staff merely to give some poor branches a "thanks for coming out" GOFO position.

Lots of organizations in DND do need military expertise for input, but bureaucratic expertise to advance the requirements.  A rotating cast of military personnel slows progress immeasurably - you either get "the streamer posted in for a year to get a tick in the box who never understands it who causes more harm than good by trying to leave his mark" or "Bottom of the bottom third abandoned for years and ignored by peers".

In trying to do too much of the Departmental administration, the CAF loses focus and starts to adopt damaging, MBA type mindsets.

For example: the CAF needs cooks who can plan and execute balanced meal plans based on available ingredients.  Thus every base was different, and the senior cooks got the experience they need for when they deploy.  Today, instead, we've adopted a national standardized menu.  More efficient (less costly), but our cooks no longer practice their necessary skills for operational employment.  Or the tale that at a Qualification Standard writing board, an airfield engineer was adamant that they could cut all that useless airfield battle damage repair material, because they never did it in their day to day work.

The CAF focus needs to be on delivering military capability to meet the needs of the government; the DND focus needs to be on managing the systems to support that.  When the CAF has too many managerial jobs, those behaviours become incentivized, to the detriment of the CAF.

Very true indeed.

Your little cook anecdote reminded me of my last exercise with Third Horse and sitting on the steps of our battery's field kitchen sharing a cup of coffee with my chief cook after the lunch rush had gone with him complaining that he hated the "controlled portion" frozen food that was being sent out to him except for the fact that none of the young cooks he had knew how to break down a side of beef or a hog anyway - so what the hell. People reluctantly giving in to the system.

:cheers:
 

Navy_Pete

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dapaterson said:
Part of DND/CAF's problems is the intersection of the two.  EPMs should not be military.  ADMs, which are departmental, not CAF, should not have 2* Chiefs of Staff merely to give some poor branches a "thanks for coming out" GOFO position.

Lots of organizations in DND do need military expertise for input, but bureaucratic expertise to advance the requirements.  A rotating cast of military personnel slows progress immeasurably - you either get "the streamer posted in for a year to get a tick in the box who never understands it who causes more harm than good by trying to leave his mark" or "Bottom of the bottom third abandoned for years and ignored by peers".

In trying to do too much of the Departmental administration, the CAF loses focus and starts to adopt damaging, MBA type mindsets.

For example: the CAF needs cooks who can plan and execute balanced meal plans based on available ingredients.  Thus every base was different, and the senior cooks got the experience they need for when they deploy.  Today, instead, we've adopted a national standardized menu.  More efficient (less costly), but our cooks no longer practice their necessary skills for operational employment.  Or the tale that at a Qualification Standard writing board, an airfield engineer was adamant that they could cut all that useless airfield battle damage repair material, because they never did it in their day to day work.

The CAF focus needs to be on delivering military capability to meet the needs of the government; the DND focus needs to be on managing the systems to support that.  When the CAF has too many managerial jobs, those behaviours become incentivized, to the detriment of the CAF.

On the flip side, a bunch of defence scientists in the US set the performance requirements for one of the recent generation of US kevlar helmets. Ballistic requirements, comfort for extended wear, etc were all based on state of the art knowledge at the time.  Bunch of prototypes were built, did great at stopping bullets and every single one of them broke during the field testing, because no one thought to consider the normal things the troops were used to doing with the helmets like use them as improptu seats.

Our ADM(Mat) orgs are a mix of civvie and military; you get the mix of people who have actually used them for practical considerations, and you also get some outside ideas coming in for different ways to do things. That helps us usually avoid things not being fit for purpose because we didn't think of how they may actually be used (outside what a textbook says).

Generally speaking I can't really think of any streamers that just bounced in and out of MEPM; there are plenty of high profile jobs there, but it's also recognized that you need that continuity, so postings of 2-3 years is the norm (with some extending longer if it makes sense).  On the technical support side (for the Navy anyway), there is a lot of work between the EPM and the formations to keep things together, so having people with experience on both sides is really important, and something we would lose if it was all military. Also gives us flexibility to put extra horsepower into critical areas as required and re-role people easily, so having a uniform doing effectively a civilian job is a big advantage when you are putting out fires (and we're cheaper for the SWE). There is a lot of politics to moving civvies around that you just don't have with military, so gives us a bit of agility that we wouldn't have otherwise.

Agree with the MBA approach having problems, and the other issues, but it's not really a simple all/nothing approach, and there's a lot of stupid things we do, (like give promotion points for 'breadth of experience' that encourages job bouncing) that add to it as well. Maybe if making things run smoothly was equally as valued as 'promoting change' that would kill a lot of the good idea fairy initiatives.

COS Mat is a lot more then what you are making it out to be, and there is a good reason they tend to go into 3* jobs or pull the pin and become an ADM. I'm not sure who the last ADM(Mat) without time in uniform, but when they are responsible for every single bit of kit in the CAF, just makes sense to maintain that civilian/military mix throughout the whole organization. If nothing else people in uniform  is a very easy way to remind people that they aren't just buying widgets, and makes sure there is a small pool of people that could step into the role with confidence.  It's an absolutely critical job, and if you think our procurement record and funding levels are bad now, just imagine if we had a less then stellar ADM that was getting pushed around by TBS and others.
 

daftandbarmy

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FJAG said:
There's a world of a difference between the tail that is an absolute necessity to keep the teeth functioning properly, and the administrative bloat that has developed over the years to carry out functions that are the result of building a self-licking ice cream cone in Ottawa every time the idea fairy strikes.

Leslie's report was concentrating on the latter.

Here's one way to trim the system:

https://www.armyupress.army.mil/Journals/Military-Review/English-Edition-Archives/January-February-2017/ART-005/

There are dozens of other ways to optimize a system. Ask Daftandbarmy for help. He does that stuff for a living.

:cheers:

Dude.... my CLIENTS do that stuff for a living... I'm just fortunate to be able to help them come up with their own ideas about how to do it better :)
 

FJAG

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daftandbarmy said:
Dude.... my CLIENTS do that stuff for a living... I'm just fortunate to be able to help them come up with their own ideas about how to do it better :)

Yeah! Yeah! That's what I meant.  YOU help THEM optimize THEIR systems. Could you spend a few years in Ottawa? Hell, would you even want to spend a few years in Ottawa?

:whistle:
 

dapaterson

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Navy_Pete said:
...so having a uniform doing effectively a civilian job is a big advantage when you are putting out fires (and we're cheaper for the SWE).

I;ll highlight this as one of my main bones of contention: Military are not less expensive than SWE.  Reg F pay is centralized so never seen, but represents over 25% of defence expenditures.  The cost of military personnel is significantly greater than civilians in many different respects.

Lots of false economies based on the misconception that Reg F personnel are "free".
 

MilEME09

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FJAG said:
Very true indeed.

Your little cook anecdote reminded me of my last exercise with Third Horse and sitting on the steps of our battery's field kitchen sharing a cup of coffee with my chief cook after the lunch rush had gone with him complaining that he hated the "controlled portion" frozen food that was being sent out to him except for the fact that none of the young cooks he had knew how to break down a side of beef or a hog anyway - so what the hell. People reluctantly giving in to the system.

:cheers:

The sad thing is a QL5 cook can challenge the red seal exam, but they do not get the training any more to really pass it. Everything I have seen in CAF kitchens is preprepared stuff from sysco, though when I was in wainwright for PLQ the cooks were baking fresh bread for us. Baby steps I guess, but I have been a Chef civil side for 10 years, the CAF leaves a lot to improve their cook training and execution. The standardized meal plan still can work but they need to start scratch cooking, you don't develop knife skills opening a bag.
 

FJAG

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MilEME09 said:
The sad thing is a QL5 cook can challenge the red seal exam, but they do not get the training any more to really pass it. Everything I have seen in CAF kitchens is preprepared stuff from sysco, though when I was in wainwright for PLQ the cooks were baking fresh bread for us. Baby steps I guess, but I have been a Chef civil side for 10 years, the CAF leaves a lot to improve their cook training and execution. The standardized meal plan still can work but they need to start scratch cooking, you don't develop knife skills opening a bag.

Back in the day, the cooks were my second favourite people right after my maintenance detachment. Those were the days when cooks liked doing mess dinners because it gave them the freedom to be creative and show their stuff. Not so sure how they feel about them these days.

:cheers:
 

TCM621

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I wonder if the problem isn't that our tail too large but the fact we have a tiny head with only a few teeth. I have never met someone working in HQs that would say they were under worked. Everyone I meet agrees we need to cut the fat but not in their shop, they are too busy. In fact, they could probably use another person. We have cut so much in the last 30 years, we are past capacity to the point that commander have to choose which part of their mandate they can fail at.
 

MilEME09

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Tcm621 said:
I wonder if the problem isn't that our tail too large but the fact we have a tiny head with only a few teeth. I have never met someone working in HQs that would say they were under worked. Everyone I meet agrees we need to cut the fat but not in their shop, they are too busy. In fact, they could probably use another person. We have cut so much in the last 30 years, we are past capacity to the point that commander have to choose which part of their mandate they can fail at.

Thing is too, as some here have pointed out, some things that used to be done by local commanders are now pushed up to higher headquarters. Creating the need for more people, as pointed out if TB and PW got their hands, and arms out of our cookie jar, we would probably see a proportional decrease in our HQ bloat.
 

daftandbarmy

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MilEME09 said:
Thing is too, as some here have pointed out, some things that used to be done by local commanders are now pushed up to higher headquarters. Creating the need for more people, as pointed out if TB and PW got their hands, and arms out of our cookie jar, we would probably see a proportional decrease in our HQ bloat.

Or just delegate more, like, you know, we get trained to do but never seem to get around to much in some areas.
 

MilEME09

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daftandbarmy said:
Or just delegate more, like, you know, we get trained to do but never seem to get around to much in some areas.

Exactly, delegate more back down
 
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