So after something of a “bell ringer” of a speech by Foreign Minister Chrtsia Freeland in which she said that “We will make the necessary investments in our military, to not only redress years of neglect and underfunding, but also to place the Canadian Armed Forces on a new footing—with the equipment, training, resources and consistent, predictable financing they need to do their difficult, dangerous and important work,” we have, today, a somewhat strange policy paper from the Minister of National Defence in which he says he is presenting “a new vision for the Defence team for the coming decades.It is about our contribution to a Canada that is strong at home, secure in North America, and engaged in the world.In a rapidly changing and less predictable world, we recognize that the distinction between domestic and international threats is becoming less relevant.Therefore, we cannot be strong at home unless we are also engaged in the world … [and] … The policy also includes a new framework for how we will implement that vision.“Anticipate, Adapt and Act,” sets out a way of operating that addresses the challenges we face today, and the ones that will emerge tomorrow.“
The policy paper is not “somewhat strange” for what it says but rather for the emphasis … the paper has six themes:
- A new vision which says that:
- “Our strategic vision for defence reaffirms the overarching priority of the CAF: defending Canada and Canadians;”
- “Canada’s defence partnership with the United States remains integral to continental security and the United States continues to be Canada’s most important military ally. We take our responsibility to defend against threats to the continent seriously;” and
- “Canada cannot be strong at home without being engaged in the world.”
2. “The success of Canada’s defence depends on our people. Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members are devoted to serving their country, and we are equally committed to our duty to improve the assistance, services, and care we provide them and their families.”
3. The new policy, “Strong, Secure, Engaged will renew, replace, and maintain core equipment, and continue to support Canada’s multi-role, combat-ready defence force by:
- Investing in modern defence for Canada;
- Providing secure, stable, long-term, predictable funding for Defence;
- Protecting Canadians at home and demonstrating leadership in the world;
- Enabling the CAF to become more capable, diverse, multi-purpose and self-sustaining;
- Creating a more strategically relevant, combat-ready force that will anticipate, adapt, and act within a constantly changing security environment;
- Replacing and modernizing core land, sea, and air capabilities, as well as investing in joint enablers (space, cyber, intelligence) to ensure the CAF has the modern capabilities to succeed on operations; and
- Ensuring interoperability with key allies and partners, through NORAD, NATO, and the Five Eyes community to enable effective operations.“
4. An “innovations” strategy aimed, it seems, at providing a framework to “lead to new global export markets for Canadian innovators and the broader commercialization of some products. This will also support a dynamic defence and security sector that includes over 650 firms, supports the employment of more than 63,000 full-time workers, and contributes to $9.4 billion in revenue. This sector employs highly skilled workers in high quality jobs.”
5. A new business model that is aimed at “streamlining defence procurement, improving the timely acquisition of much needed military capabilities, and increasing economic benefits and creating jobs for Canadians. It will also encourage modernized management of lands and buildings, support infrastructure renewal, and help meet greening targets for government.”
6. A new funding model that explicitly promises that the “defence budget will increase from $18.9 billion in 2016/17 to $32.7 billion in 2026/27 ($17.1 billion in 2016/17 to $24.6 billion in 2026/27 on an accrual basis). This policy includes new defence funding of $ 62.3 billion on a cash basis over 20 years from today’s budget ($48.9 billion on an accrual basis). Total funding available to Defence over the next 20 years will be $553 billion on a cash basis ($497 billion on an accrual basis ).”
I have no real, serious problems with any of the six themes, but the devil is, as they say, in the details.
The paper goes into considerable detail to talk about how the Canadian Armed Forces will recruit, select and manage its people, but not much ~ beyond specific “diversity” targets ~ about what kinds of people he CAF needs. It looks, to me, as though considerable defence policy staff effort was, and, in the future, defence resources (people and money) will be devoted to burnishing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s “feminist” agenda.
The policy paper does, commendably, go into some detail (some quite specific) about what the Canadian Armed Forces will be prepared to do. It says:
“This policy ensures the Canadian Armed Forces will be prepared to:
- Detect, deter and defend against threats to or attacks on Canada;
- Detect, deter and defend against threats to or attacks on North America in partnership with the United States, including through NORAD;
- Lead and/or contribute forces to NATO and coalition efforts to deter and defeat adversaries, including terrorists, to support global stability;
- Lead and/or contribute to international peace operations and stabilization missions with the United Nations, NATO and other multilateral partners;
- Engage in capacity building to support the security of other nations and their ability to contribute to security abroad;
- Provide assistance to civil authorities and law enforcement, including counter-terrorism, in support of national security and the security of Canadians abroad;
- Provide assistance to civil authorities and non-governmental partners in responding to international and domestic disasters or major emergencies; and
- Conduct search and rescue operations.”
It then goes on to say that “the Canadian Armed Forces will be prepared to simultaneously:
- Defend Canada, including responding concurrently to multiple domestic emergencies in support of civilian authorities;
- Meet its NORAD obligations, with new capacity in some areas;
- Meet commitments to NATO Allies under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty;
- Contribute to international peace and stability through:
- Two sustained deployments of ~500-1500 personnel, including one as a lead nation;
- One time-limited deployment of ~500-1500 personnel (6-9 months duration);
- Two sustained deployments of ~100-500 personnel;
- Two time-limited deployments (6-9 months) of ~100-500 personnel;
- One Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) deployment, with scaleable additional support; and
- One Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation, with scaleable additional support.”
I’m sorry, but I find the detailed listing of a few penny-packets of deployments at the end to be errant nonsense. It is, to be charitable, what were taught, when I was young, to be the cardinal sin of “situating the appreciation.” Sensible planner analyze the tasks as they arise and then determine what resources can be brought o bear. Minister Sajjan’s policy paper say that the threats to “international peace and stability” must be of a specific nature that can be addressed by e.g. “Two sustained deployments of ~500-1500 personnel, including one as a lead nation … [and] … One time-limited deployment of ~500-1500 personnel (6-9 months duration) and so on.
I’m sure that the list is, as the Minister said, costed, but I’m also sure the cost was determined first and then the list was made to fit within it. That might be sound management but it is not a strategic plan.
I invite readers to compare the new policy’s “capabilities” to “Detect, deter and defend against threats to or attacks on Canada; Detect, deter and defend against threats to or attacks on North America in partnership with the United States, including through NORAD … [and] … Lead and/or contribute forces to NATO and coalition efforts to deter and defeat adversaries, including terrorists, to support global stability” and so on with my 11 required capabilities that I set out 18 months ago:
- A structure to collect and collate information, from all sources and from all over the world and provide useful strategic intelligence to the cabinet and operational intelligence to departments and agencies;
- A super-structure to make strategic plans and to control and manage our military forces;
- Surveillance and warning systems to cover our land mass and, especially, the maritime approaches to it and the airspace over both;
- Military forces to intercept, identify and, appropriately, deal with intruders;
- Military forces to contribute to the continental defence, especially to the protection of the US strategic deterrent;
- Military forces to patrol our territory, the maritime approaches to it and the airspace over both;
- Military forces to give “aid to civil power” when provincial attorneys general cannot manage with police resources;
- Military forces to provide “civil assistance” when disaster occur and the civil authorities in provinces and cities cannot cope;
- Military forces to conduct expeditionary, combat operations around the world ~
- Unilaterally for relatively small scale low and even mid-intensity operations,
- As part of “coalitions of the willing” for some low and mid intensity operations, and
- With our traditional allies for the full range of operations, including prolonged general war;
- Supporting operational and logistical services ~ telecommunications, engineering, intelligence, medical and dental, supply and transport, materiel maintenance, administration and policing ~ to support all other military forces; and
- An efficient and effective defence procurement system.
I’m still happy with that list … much happier than I am with Minister Sajjan’s hodge-podge of resource driven capabilities and penny packet missions.
The new defence policy is better funded, more realistically funded than was that which the Liberals inherited from the Conservatives … but that, I’m afraid, is not saying much.
More, probably much more to follow in the coming days and weeks.