The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence has released its report entitled “Reinvesting in the Canadian Armed Forces: A Plan for the Future.” The report is available on the Committee’s web site under ‘Associated Links’ at the bottom.
The news release make a few interesting points:
- The Committee’s “recommendation to cancel a government decision to sole source 18 new Super Hornets to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s comes after expert testimony that long-term costs would outweigh any short-term savings and that these aircraft would reduce interoperability with Canada’s allies;”
- “Senators also made recommendations to create a more robust and egalitarian Army Reserve Force. Defence experts identified reservists as having extraordinary skill sets; the value of their contributions could be greatly increased with sufficient support;” and
- “Given the challenges of recruitment and retention, the committee recommends the government introduce a signing bonus for people skilled in in-demand trades, as well as for women, Indigenous Canadians and visible minorities.“
The entirely sensible proposal to scrap the Super Hornet purchase and hold an fair, open competition ~ as the Liberals promised in the 2015 campaign ~ will fall on deaf ears.
The main role of the PMO, of the whole Liberal government, it seems, to me, is to propagate the nonsensical narrative that Justin Trudeau is, in some way, a smart man who is ready and able to lead a G7 country when it is increasingly obvious to all but the wilfully blind that he is just a nice, but quite vacuous young man who is a sock puppet for a gang of ruthless, dishonest political power brokers. It is pretty clear to me that the Trudeau Liberals manufactured a “capability gap” in jet fighters ~ one that the commander of the RCAF, a man who actually knows and cares about jet fighters, said never existed and then, to try to ensure that they would not be caught in a bald faced lie they slapped an unprecedented lifetime non-disclosure rule on 200+ senior officials. That ban is unprecedented because it goes against truth and democracy ~ cabinet confidences are big secrets, for a fixed period of time, a generation, even more, but, eventually all decisions are made public so that history can record the truth, fairly. The Trudeau Liberals want to bury the truth, permanently, because they know it makes Justin Trudeau look like a dumb-ass trust-fund kid who is in way over his head.
Making recruiting more efficient and targeting certain groups is a good idea … so long as essential standards are not compromised. That does not mean that all the current standards are correct or necessary ~ I recall, for example, that back in the late 1950s and early 1960s the Canadian Army, at least, recruited many young First Nations men who were, on the surface, in no way “qualified.” Their education, very often, was sub-standard ~ as is still, the case. But the young men were “hand picked,” usually by successful soldiers from the same First Nation, and they were put in platoons where the deficiencies in their education were addressed before they joined with ‘regular’ platoons to do their military training. It was a bit more expensive but it filled two parallel requirements: it got us, the Army, some damned fine men and it gave some good young men a chance at a good career.
Signing bonuses can be a useful tool, but so is a better trades pay system and so would be some mix of rank and specialist designations.
The senate makes a number of very sensible, well considered recommendations:
To increase cooperation within NORAD, and to keep Canada and the United States safer, the Government of Canada must increase effectiveness within NORAD by actively protecting against ballistic missiles heading toward Canadian and American cities.
Modernize our agreement with NORAD to take into consideration the need to increase maritime defences, domain awareness cooperation and cyber defence.
That the Government of Canada immediately commence a competition to replace the fighter jets and make a decision by June 30, 2018; and,
That the Government of Canada cancel the interim fighter jet replacement plan.
That the Government of Canada prioritize requirements related to the defence of Canada, the Arctic and North America, including the renewal of the North Warning System in conjunction with the United States
That the Government of Canada prioritize the replacement of 55 of 95 Griffons with a non-civilian medium- to heavy-lift military helicopters with enough speed and lift capacity to support military needs, and add 24 attack helicopters which will be able to protect the Chinook fleet and military personnel during combat search and rescue.
That the Government of Canada upgrade the Cormorant (VH-71) presidential fleet of helicopters and temporarily station them on each coast to support search and rescue while the Cormorants (CH-149) undergo a mid-life upgrade.
That the Government of Canada prioritize the replacement of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s current fleet of air refuelling tankers.
That the Government of Canada prioritize requirements related to the defence of Canada, the Arctic and North America, by increasing the size of the fighter jet fleet to 120 to defend Canada and simultaneously meet NORAD and NATO commitments.
That the Government of Canada
(i) expedite the acquisition of the unmanned aerial vehicles fleet which includes sufficient options towards meeting the individual needs of the three Services (Army, Air Force and Navy) before the end of 2018;
(ii) acquire multi-purpose systems for the effective surveillance of Canada’s entire territory while also delivering an armed capability to support Canadian Armed Forces operations.
That the Government of Canada implement a new model of pay for individuals with specialized skills which are in demand, and that attractive bonuses be offered to recruit and retain these individuals.
That the Government of Canada direct Air Force Commanders to prepare a short-, medium- and long-term strategic plan to increase the participation of women in the armed forces.
That the Government of Canada conduct a fully independent and impartial review of the capabilities of the Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships (AOPS).
For Recommendations 13 to 16
In order for the Royal Canadian Navy to simultaneously meet a high readiness state as part of NORAD and NATO, and to effectively defend Canada, it is recommended that the Government of Canada commit to a balanced naval capability with an effective presence in all three of Canada’s oceans and that it:
Commence the procurement process before the end of 2018 to acquire 12 new submarines equipped with air independent propulsion systems, six to be based on each coast.
Build 18 surface combatants to ensure protection of Canadian waters as well as Canada’s naval fleet.
Restore maritime defence capability by acquiring the AEGIS or similar styled platform.
Procure a second Resolve-Class Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) ship by 2018 to address an urgent capability gap on each coast.
Expedite replacement of the Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels with mine sweepers and destroyers capable of protecting Canadian waters.
The Government of Canada maintain capabilities acquired in Afghanistan and provide funding needed to maintain army effectiveness and readiness.
An additional 60 upgraded LAV III light armoured vehicles be acquired for the army.
The Government of Canada accelerate plans to acquire new tactical helicopter capability to support the army, including the incorporation of an armed attack component.
The fleet of heavy-lift helicopters be expanded from 15 to 36.
That the Government of Canada ensure that sufficient resources are committed for regular and reserve force training and that it report to Parliament in 180 days on progress.
That the Government of Canada set aside funding necessary, as it does for Regular Forces members, to allow compensation for time spent by reservists in obtaining medical assessments.
That the Government of Canada provide an annual update to Parliament on
(i) Steps it has taken to meet the recruitment target of 21,000 Army Reservists;
(ii) Progress made to strengthen the Army, Navy and Air Force Reserves;
(iii) How successful the Minister of National Defence is in expanding opportunities for college and university students to join the Reserves; and
(iv) Progress made in implementing the recommendations made by the Auditor General in relation to the Reserves.
That the Government of Canada establish an armed Constabulary Coast Guard with the powers to enforce the environmental, transportation, and fishing regulations, as well as criminal code offences.
That the Government of Canada take steps to improve Search and Rescue response times in the Far North by:
(i) expediting the replacement of the CC-138 Twin Otter;
(ii) examining the option of activating the VH-71 helicopters currently in storage to enhance Search and Rescue;
(iii) expanding the existing partnership with the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association to provide more robust Search and Rescue options in the Arctic by local contractors; and
(iv) replacing the current Aurora patrol aircraft fleet with a new patrol aircraft by 2030.
That the Government of Canada move forward with a plan to increase the size of the Rangers to 7000, increase the frequency of the training available to Rangers and seek ways to expand the Junior Ranger and Cadet programs in the North, and that the government report to Parliament in 180 days on progress made.
That the Government of Canada move forward to provide Rangers with coastal capabilities to support search and rescue operations.
That the Government of Canada establish a Reserve Regiment based in Yukon.
That the Government of Canada ensure that the Canadian Armed Forces adhere to its obligations under the Employment Equity Act by identifying and eliminating barriers to the appropriate representation of women, indigenous populations and visible minorities; and that it provide to Parliament a progress report on the work of the Recruiting and Diversity Task Force before 31 December 2017.
I don’t agree with all of the Senate Committee’s recommendations; for example I have said before that corvettes (less than 2,500 tons) are what is needed for coastal patrol and defence and I have suggested that the “armed constabulary” fleet should be in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police marine division, but, in general, I find that I agree with most of what the senators have to say … and I commend and thank them for their work.
Their prescription is for a 2% solution.
I expect the Trudeau regime to ignore this report.