Yesterday I guessed ~ and it is just an educated guess ~ that Canada needs:
- 30+ warships of various types and sizes;
- About 27,500 soldiers in Army field (combat and support) units; and
- More than the 260± aircraft (of all types, including training aircraft) in the RCAF’s current inventory.
Canada has, right now:
- The Royal Canadian Navy, which has 25 combat and support ships and four submarines and several training and auxiliary vessels ~ about 8,500 sailors are in ships, in schools and in Navy HQs;
- The Canadian Army, which has about 23,000 people in uniform but less than half that number are in field formations and units, a few thousand serve in schools and depots and the remainder, about 10,000± along with about 2,000± sailors and 10,000± air force members serve in all the integrated units and bases and other organizations in the Canadian Forces;
- About 258 aircraft, including nearly 100 tactical (Army support) helicopters, 77 first line fighters, 30± long range transport aircraft, 28 new shipborne helicopters, and 14 long range patrol aircraft and about 15,000 service members who are in the RCAF in flying units and schools and in headquarters; and
- A fairly large (my guess is 20,000+) command and control superstructure and common support base:
I have one simple question: Is that Appropriate for Canada? Is it appropriate for a country that has a population of 35 Million and is a G7 member and, by most guesstimates, one of the 10% or so of the richest countries in the world?
I said, many, many months ago, that Canada needed Triple A+ armed forces. We are not, I said, one of the “big league” nations like America, China, Russia or even India, but nor, I said, are we in the “little leagues.” We are, like it or not, an important trading nation with global interests. So I ask again: is out current military capacity appropriate for our needs? I know that many will say yes, with a yawn, because they really don’t care even a tiny bit about security and defence, some will say we are too heavily armed and that the only road to global peace and security is through disarmament ~ I respect the second opinion, and I respect the people who hold it, but I would remind them of an old saying:
“Everyone will have an army in his country ~ his own or someone’s else’s.”
Most people will, likely, say that they want an efficient, effective defence but they will side with the first group because it is just too far down their priority list … and there’s a message for politicians in that fact.