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The Defence Budget [superthread]

KevinB

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UN  ::)  - some of their programs are commendable -- others are indictable.
Militarily it is a fiasco -- too many tinpot dictators with votes -- and a Security Council that is rife with division.
Franco-German sticky fingers in Iraq a prime example.

The military needs money - big time, it is not the time to freeze spending.
NONE of the current acquisitions that the critics on both sides are currently harping on are boondoggles, but items which the CF has identified as immediate requirements to fulfill our role in government policy.

I amongst others could define areas where the military needs more money right now to rectify current deficiencies.  Near and dear to my heart are small arms - where the LCMM has about 1/50th of the money he requires to upgrade our small arms and provide soldier the required capabilities at the basic level.  Add in money for small arms ammunition, low light equipment and money to train with them in a live fire environment etc.  I could easily justify a $5b increase myself.

It is true that some items (the G Wagon for instance) were knee jerk reactions - but that happens with a rustout Army that when certain capabilities fail.  If anything the Gwagon shows us WHY we need to identify issues before we enter an active theatre, and buy items based upon our needs - rather than buy an illsuited platform (Gwagon is a good platform for somethings, however the variant we bought =sucks)

 

RangerRay

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Some random thoughts:

I find it very ironic that those who say we shouldn't let the Americans determine our foreign policy are the same ones who say we have to do whatever the UN says.  The whole reason why we didn't go into Iraq was because France (and some shadowy Canadians, including a former PM) had oil interests with Saddam Hussein's regime.

As much as I would like to see more openness and public consultation in government in general, defence policy and foreign policy is not one of them.   Most people are very ignorant in these areas and have no clue about defence and diplomatic issues.   When dealing with national interests, that should be left to politicians, diplomats, generals and "experts".

Australia, a country much like Canada in many ways, with a smaller population, appears to have far greater military capability as us.   They have sea lift, strategic air capability (F-111 bombers), tactical attack helicopters, and even aircraft carriers, IIRC...   I heard they are even aquiring M1 main battle tanks.   As well, the past few years, they have been taking a very strong stand on the international scene.
 
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Folks -

Thanks for all of the comments. Very interesting and useful.

I sense that a lot of people on this forum consider themselves independent thinkers - and I see evidence of this spirit all the time in the CF at large.

For example, have you seen the Corporals' Report by Corporal W.C. Gomm and Corporal R.K. Moran that came out in 2002? Here is the link (go to page 70): http://armyapp.dnd.ca/ael/adtb/vol_5/ADTB_vol5no3_e.pdf (page 70).

Also, have you read Col David King's article "We need a Romanow Commission for Defence and Foreign Policy":
http://www.irpp.org/po/archive/apr02/king.pdf

In the media there is a tremendous amount of "group think" from the defence experts - who basically parrot the Generals' line and clam up whenever there is trouble (e.g. who is speaking our for the safety of submariners? Blaming Chretien won't make the subs any safer).

We need to ensure there is a vigourous debate from inside and outside the Forces. It is not uncommon for me to hear from many CF members when we publish our reports - everything from "you're way off" to "you're right, and you don't know the half of it...".

Would you agree the public needs to hear from CF members who are willing to take an independent position from the brass (otherwise public only ever hears the carefull crafted, savvy, media spun story from the brass, and not the real story)? How can this be done?

- Steve



 

paracowboy

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before anyone answers your questions, don't you think it only fair to answer theirs? After all, they asked first.
 

Cloud Cover

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stevenstaples said:
Would you agree the public needs to hear from CF members who are willing to take an independent position from the brass (otherwise public only ever hears the carefull crafted, savvy, media spun story from the brass, and not the real story)? How can this be done?

- Steve

It's being done on this site. Probably 80% of the content of this site challenges the assumptions of the puzzle palace, along with the less than stellar and somewhat biased performance from the media. In fact, with relatively few exceptions, we are an anathema to the media, politicians and others because we can [and have] successfully challenged their articles, assumptions, public statements and plans.    The first article you have mentioned has been discussed on this site- someone will likely provide you with links shortly.

Quick question: why do you have a silhouette of what appears to be a Russian or Chinese destroyer on the front cover of your latest report?   Freudian slip?

Cheers.


 

HDE

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I'm intrigued at the idea of "public participation" in determining the role, and reasonable funding, of the Canadian military.  How do we actually determine who "the public" are?  Is there a requirement that "the public" have any expertise whatsoever on military affairs, equipment requirements, etc?  Does the opinion of members of "the public" carry the same weight as the informed opinion of folks actually in the business?  During the last election campaign the Liberals put forth the claim that we can have either a military or health care and very few members of the media, much less the public, bothered pointing out the dodgy logic being used.  The same can be said of any area of government spending.  Why single out military spending?  This is the sort of "it sounds impressive, but doesn't mean anything"  assertion that formed so much of the work in the Polaris Institute report we're discussing.
The obvious point is that the Polaris Institute doesn't much like the military and then proceeds to put forth all sorts of dubious claims in order to make their point. 
 

GO!!!

Fallen Comrade
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Mr. Staples,

Seeing as no - one else here has mentioned it, we, as serving soldiers are not permitted to challenge the "party line" pushed by the DND.

It is actually a crime, and troops have been charged and sentenced for it before.

You are permitted to speak about your role and responsibilities as an individual. Other than that, it must be forwarded to a Public affairs officer for processing.

So the idea of having the Corporal debating with the General is a moot point. The General would probably jail the Corporal, strategic or not, for pointing out the flaws or inaccuracies in his plan, and he would be permitted to do so.

Can you answer my questions now?
 

Brad Sallows

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The problem with public consultation is that a surprisingly large segment of the eligible voting population is unlikely to concede that security is the precursor for any other social institutions one wishes to construct, and to draw the appropriate conclusion that security should be first in line for whatever resources are available.  By happy coincidences and circumstances and accidents of history, Canada is in a situation in which it is somewhat possible to marginalize security without really bearing the consequences of such imprudence.

For example, I doubt anyone has attempted to estimate within an order of magnitude the value of ocean-borne trade which is secured (eg. not lost to piracy) by the presence of the world's major blue-water navies.  If we had that number, we could at least make a guess whether Canada is bearing its share or freeloading in the security of the oceans.

Likewise, one could measure Canada's contribution to maintaining a secure trading environment in Europe west of the Iron Curtain prior to the latter's fall and determine whether we spent the Cold War riding on the backs of others - trading with Europe incommensurately with our contributions to its security.

It's easy to point to our geographical location and claim that it should take very little to secure our borders. but an honest appraisal can't ignore the presence of the US and the importance to the US of relatively free-market access to Canada.  Are we freeloading in the security of the Americas?

One of the popular current debates in Canada is whether and how to expand trade with nations other than the US.  I will hazard a very rough guess and proposal: if the US is an overwhelming influence on the security of ocean-borne trade, Canada - as a nation aspiring to trade across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans - should as a rule of thumb contribute a naval presence on a per capita basis equivalent to the US and operate closely - dare I say, interoperate - with the US.
 

Gunner98

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Mr. Staples

If you look at the page prior to the Corporal's Report, you will see that these gentlemen had their opinions blessed for publication by the Commander prior to their (one-time only) publication - hardly "free speech" at its finest.

Retired Col David King's article is not presented as the opinion of a serving CF officer but rather as a US National Defense University faculty member. It also comes with a disclaimer as not representative of Cdn or US authorities.

QR&O 4.27 sums it up pretty good:

4.27 PROVISION OF INFORMATION PROGRAMS AND PROMOTION OF COMMUNITY RELATIONS

(1) A commanding officer of a base, unit or element shall ensure that, in accordance with orders issued by the Chief of the Defence Staff, members of the base, unit or element are provided with information on the plans, policies, programs and activities of the Canadian Forces and that requests for information on Canadian Forces activities from either the news media or the general public are dealt with expeditiously.

(2) A commanding officer of a base, unit or element shall take all practicable steps to stimulate and sustain a harmonious relationship between the base, unit or element and the civilian community.
 

pbi

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GO: well posted. Having served on a few missions, I can only share in your distaste for the UN's military prowess. Even that inept organization has learned to contract its business out to regional organizations or standing alliances to get the real work done. The "traditional" UN construct of the light, largely incapable (and often inept...) UN force with no credibility, no straegic, operational or tactical intelligence system or meaningful command and control capabilities has finally been revealed as largely ineffective. That type of force never really resolved any situation, and was actually incapable of "keeping the peace" once one party or the other (or both) felt they wanted to get ugly. A police force that worked on similar principles would be judged useless. Yugoslavia, Somalia (UN) and Rwanda were the last coffin nails on the "traditional blue hat mission": even the UN itself admitted as much in the Brahini Report. If we want to make a difference in nasty places,, against nasty people, and if we want the military portion of  the "3DT" (US= DIME) construct to be capable of doing its part, we need the things the CDS is leading us towards. For the first time I can recall in 31 years of service, we have a PM, MND and CDS who can work together from a common sheet of music. That is refreshing and immensely heartening.

It is the democratic right of all Canadians, regardless of their political orientation, to express their voice on issues including defence. Indeed, on these very pages we have oftren bemoaned the ignorance, apathy and general indifference of many Canadians on the subject of our military capability. In fact, there has been no shortage of venues for that expression over the last few years, from the Minister's Monitoring Commitee travelling sessions to SCONDVA hearings across Canada to the Reserve Roles Missions and Tasks  town halls  that were held all over the country a few years ago.  At some point we have to make decisions, as professionals, advise our government of our needs and recommendations, and get on with it. That is what we are doing, and I believe that we have the support of a majority of Canadians.

Cheers.
 

3rd Horseman

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I agree with you in principle less the UN issue on Yugo, I thought that the Yugo mission ended with success although was very weak at points The reality is that the war ended in fall 95 under blue mission status. IFOR, SFOR only showed up after it was over winter 96. The war fighting of the blue helmets in summer 95 was the true nature of what a blue mission should and could be. Albeit the many 3rd world units did not contribute to the win and do lend credibility to your including Yugo on your list of failed or typical weak blue helmet missions, in the end it was a win, Lester B would have been proud of what the blue helmet had become by that point in history. As for including Somalia I was not there cant comment.
 

Gunner

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3rd Horseman said:
I agree with you in principle less the UN issue on Yugo, I thought that the Yugo mission ended with success although was very weak at points The reality is that the war ended in fall 95 under blue mission status. IFOR, SFOR only showed up after it was over winter 96. The war fighting of the blue helmets in summer 95 was the true nature of what a blue mission should and could be. Albeit the many 3rd world units did not contribute to the win and do lend credibility to your including Yugo on your list of failed or typical weak blue helmet missions, in the end it was a win, Lester B would have been proud of what the blue helmet had become by that point in history. As for including Somalia I was not there cant comment.

So your definition of UN success in 1995:

UNPROFOR 1 (Croatia) - Croatian Op STORM sweeping through UN "Protected Area's" in the Krajina Region, ethnically cleansing/murdering Serbs along the way? 

UNPROFOR 2 (Bosnia) - Ended with "success" based on US involvement through NATO after letting the Europeans try to maintain order (they failed) in their backyard and imposing the seriously flawed Dayton Accord forcing everyone back to the "start state" in 1992 and telling them to "Get along".

I don't agree with you my gunner friend....
 

3rd Horseman

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I will need a little time to formulate a response for UNCRO mission due to its very complicated nature and how it played into the overall mission in Yugo.

As for UNPROFOR (Bosnia) the proof is in the result the war ended under blue mission, I did not see any NATO forces other than special Ops on the ground but I did see UN forces conduct Cbt team attacks, Coy assaults, Artillery duals, Platoon attacks, all which stopped Serb, BIH and Croat army's in there tracks at different times. Obviously the NATO air cover provided by the multi national air forces (all of which were supporting there own battalions on the ground wearing UN blue less the US airforce).

  Now had I had the chance to be king for a day I would have sent SFOR in in 92 followed by IFOR in winter 96 and then UNPROFOR from 97 on. Non the less  the little force that couldn't did in the end mind you it was done by a small group of forces not making up the whole UN family in theatre.

I'm still thinking about UNCRO.......... :-\
 

ruxted

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Link to original article on ruxted.ca


The Defence Budget

It is no secret that Canada is in the throes of a financial crisis.

Governments’ normal reaction is times of crisis is to cut, or at least contain, defence spending to free up money for other more popular projects and programmes.

2009 is not a normal year; The Lady’s Not for Burning or turning and Canadians need to apply the same resolve to their national defence: despite the sorry state of our economy we must not turn back the clock to the 1990s - the defence budget is not for cutting.

2009 is not a normal year because we have Canadian Forces members – our friends and family, the neighbours’ boys, our colleagues’ daughters – at war; they are not just in a combat zone, they are in close contact with the enemy in Afghanistan. We are paying a price – in lives and in shattered minds and bodies – to give effect to the Canadian promoted doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect.” Less important than the lost lives and broken bodies, but costly all the same, is the price of fuel and ammunition and the equipment which are being consumed in combat. After several “decades of darkness” 2009 is not a year to falter. Canadians finally appeared ready, in 2007/2008, to begin the long, painful and expensive process of rebuilding our military muscle so that Canada could, after a 40 year hiatus, ”make a real difference in halting and preventing conflict and improving human welfare around the world,” because, as former Prime Minister Martin said (same source), Canada must practice the kind of “activism that over decades has forged our nation’s international character—and will serve us even better in today’s changing world. The people of our country have long understood that, as a proud citizen of the world, Canada has global responsibilities. We can’t solve every problem, but we will do what we can to protect others, to raise them up, to make them safe.”

2009 is not the year to abandon our global responsibilities. Grave as our economic problems may be they pale in comparison to the economic, military, social and medical problems that bedevil the ”Bottom Billion.” Canadians hope that we can help the “Bottom Billion” without entering another shooting war but events in those countries, which are in a geo-political arc stretching from Afghanistan through to Zimbabwe, suggest that we, Canadians and other rich, sophisticated, militarily capable and mostly Western nations will have to use force to bring help and hope to the poorest of the poor and weakest of the weak.

2009 is a year in which Canada’s defence budget needs to grow, in real terms, even as the nation’s top bank economists are advising Finance Minister Flaherty to, later rather than right now, reign in government programme spending.

DND can and will look for ways to stretch every dollar it has – if DND has learned nothing else since the 1960s, it has learned how to pinch pennies; in fact, it has often been accused of being penny-wise and pound-foolish. Some defence spending – on DND’s badly neglected infrastructure on bases and stations in Canada or on replacing Canadian made equipment that has been worn out or damaged in combat – can be used to stimulate the economy in 2009. Mindless cuts to defence spending will not help Canadians in 2009 or beyond, only contributing more to our financial woes.

Finance Minister Flaherty will bring down a budget later in this month. The Ruxted Group urges him to increase defence spending, in real terms. A larger defence budget is good policy and it can be made into good politics as well.
 

Cronicbny

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What better infrastructure programme than approving the AOPV and building it in Canada? Perhaps some $$$ for new SAR aircraft to a Canadian company (Victoria?!?!) and some bucks towards KINGSTON class mid life refit? There are myriad CF projects in the country that we could use this opportunity to invest in. I can only hope the driven masses in NDHQ are trumpeting the CF's priorities for long term building projects - nothing speaks to politicians like Shipbuilding or aircraft contracts. Even firms in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec could benefit from multi-billion dollar investment in CF capital projects.

The early to mid eighties saw some large Federal expenditures - not exactly economic boom times....

Just a thought/hope.

 
A

aesop081

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You don't like that idea Aviator?

No. I'm a much bigger fan of buying an aircraft that meets the requirements of the job it will be doing. "But the aircraft was built in Canada" doesnt make for a good soundbite when people are dead because the aircraft sent to rescue them wasnt up to the job.
 

Cronicbny

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Fair enough - to be fair I dont know enough about the details of the bid by the local company in Pat Bay
 

Nfld Sapper

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Cronicbny said:
Perhaps some $$$ for new SAR aircraft to a Canadian company (Victoria?!?!)

CDN Aviator said:

Cronicbny said:
You don't like that idea Aviator?

CDN Aviator said:
No. I'm a much bigger fan of buying an aircraft that meets the requirements of the job it will be doing. "But the aircraft was built in Canada" doesnt make for a good soundbite when people are dead because the aircraft sent to rescue them wasnt up to the job.

Yeah remember the LSVW Project  ;D
 

McG

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Cronicbny said:
Fair enough - to be fair I dont know enough about the details of the bid by the local company in Pat Bay
If you want to know, then have a look through these 46 pages: http://forums.army.ca/forums/threads/23889.0.html
 
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