NOTES ON A FACT-FINDING TRIP TO DWYER HILL, OTTAWA, LANSDOWNE AND
The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence
Political and Social Affairs Division
Library of Parliament
13 November 2002
7 MAY 2002 – DWYER
HILL, OTTAWA AND LANSDOWNE
JOINT TASK FORCE 2
Committee visited Dwyer Hill and was briefed about Joint Task Force 2 by its
The Force will
increase in size slowly because quality will not be sacrificed. To be selected for a “tryout” in Dwyer Hill the recruit
must have served for about seven years in the Canadian Forces, have a stable
family and financial background free of substance abuse, and receive a
favourable recommendation from his/her commanding officer. If the recruit passes the “tryout,” basic training lasts
for approximately seven months.
At some point the recruit takes psychological tests administered by a
contract psychologist to ensure his/her personality is mature and stable.
Because training standards are very high, only about 22% of those who
take the “tryout” eventually become “assaulters” in the Force.
Because of its special nature, all training is done by the Force
first engagement is for three to five years, after which the soldier must
decide whether or not to make the Force his/her career. This choice must be made because after about five years away
from the original unit the soldier’s knowledge of his/her regular trade
becomes stale, and a return to the unit is not feasible. After about seven years as an assaulter, members are eligible
for special training as snipers, divers, explosives experts, etc.
Officer of Joint Task Force 2 reports directly to the Deputy Chief of the
Defence Staff. The proposed
increase in size will lead to the formation of an additional
Assault Squadron. In
addition, there is a Headquarters Squadron, a Training Squadron, a Support
Squadron, and an Air Detachment equipped with Griffon helicopters.
The unit is always
on high alert for readiness to move. The
Commanding Officer must be ready to be “out the door” within two hours, the
advance party within four hours and the main body within seven hours.
The unit moves by air transport and by road; in addition to ground
and helicopter assault, most assaulters have paratroop qualifications.
and Control – Domestic Operation
Joint Task Force 2
trains frequently with the RCMP and occasionally with the Ontario and Quebec
provincial police forces and the police forces of large cities such as Montréal,
Toronto and Vancouver. As a result,
the Commanding Officer of Joint Task Force 2 knows, and is known by, most senior
police officers of the major police forces across the country.
By the time Joint
Task Force 2 has been called out, at least the immediate incident site will be
under the jurisdiction of the RCMP, which has legal jurisdiction over the
investigation of terrorist incidents. A
request for the assistance of the Joint Task Force is therefore made to the
local RCMP or directly to the Solicitor General by a province. It then passes to National Defence and the Deputy Chief of
the Defence Staff, who is responsible for Joint Task Force 2.
Within two hours, the Commanding Officer leaves to consult with the RCMP
officer in charge of the incident site. The
two officers sign a document turning the site over to Joint Task Force 2, but
the document may not be acted upon immediately or at all.
Even before the document is signed, members of the Joint Task Force have
been given police powers. Once the
site has been secured, the two officers sign another document restoring RCMP
control. (Thus the incident site
moves from being the site of a criminal investigation to the site of military
operations and back again.)
E. Communications Security
On Tuesday afternoon, the Committee visited the Communications Security
Establishment headquarters in Ottawa for a round of briefings about Canada’s
crypto logic agency. The
Communications Security Establishment acquires and uses information from the
global information infrastructure to provide foreign intelligence to meet
Canadian needs; it advises on the protection of Canadian electronic information
and information structures; and it provides technical and operational assistance
to federal law enforcement and security services.
The Committee received briefings on information technology security, the
legislation and other authorities that govern the operations of the
Establishment, the Security of Information Act (which has replaced the Official
Secrets Act), etc., and toured the building.
The visit made it absolutely clear to the Committee that the Government
must provide the Establishment with the resources necessary to maintain its
ability to equip itself with state-of-the-art computers and the staff necessary
to use and exploit them. The
briefing personnel seemed happy with the new Security of Information Act.
The Committee learned that the Communications Security Establishment can
help police forces to decode any domestic communications that the latter are
legally entitled to intercept.
F. The Thousand Islands
Bridge, Lansdowne, Ontario
Late on Tuesday afternoon, the Committee visited the headquarters of the
St. Lawrence District, Canada Customs, and the border crossing at the
Thousand Islands Bridge. The port
of entry operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for passenger traffic, and
offers commercial service 24 hours a day on weekdays. In 2000-2001, almost 2 million travellers and 600,000 cars
crossed the border here into Canada, as did 250,000 trucks.
From Lansdowne, service is extended to seasonal small vessel traffic and
tour boat traffic (there were 35,000 vessel report-ins), the municipal airports
of Gananoque and Kingston, and the seaplane bases of Gananoque and Collins Bay.
A chain of 45 designated telephone reporting locations processes about
42,000 calls from owners of aircraft, boats, snowmobiles and cars that use this
system in the Northern Ontario Region and the eastern part of the Prairie
The Committee was briefed by Cathy Monroe, Regional Director of Customs
for Northern Ontario, and by local officials.
During these briefings the Committee learned that the Canadian officials
are as well equipped as their U.S. counterparts and that they cooperate fully
with each other, right down to exchanging equipment. Cooperation with U.S. officials has intensified since 11
Members of the Committee expressed concern about a number of issues:
telephone reporting system basically operates on the honour system – border
crossers phone in and the centre decides whether or not to dispatch someone to
meet them. Holders of a CANPASS may
be checked on a random basis. Airports
and marinas are monitored, sometimes by a video camera.
disturbing were the accounts of how refugee claimants are handled.
About 50-100 persons coming from the United States apply for refugee
status at the Canadian border rather than in the United States.
Lansdowne has 24-30 hours to decide whether to detain these people or, as
is usually done, collect what information the refugee claimants can or are
willing to divulge, and then allow them to enter with instructions to report to
and register at an inland location. Once
these people have been allowed to enter, no effort is made to check whether they
are residing at the address they gave on registering during the roughly two
years it will take before their claim is processed.
has space to unload only one truck at a time.
Of the 23,000 trucks crossing into Canada each month, about 500 are
“back-ended” – their rear doors are opened and inspectors look in or the
dog team may be sent in to sniff the containers – and 50-60 are offloaded and
their contents checked manually or by X-ray.
WEDNESDAY, 8 MAY 2002 – KINGSTON
Tarrant, Deputy Director of Army Training
Lieutenant-Colonel Tarrant, Deputy Director of Army Training, briefed the Committee on the resources devoted to training, the costs of
training non-commissioned ranks and officers, and some of the challenges that
the training establishment faces.
There are five Developmental Periods in the training of a
non-commissioned member of the army. The
first, for example, consists of 10 weeks of basic training for the recruit,
which is followed by 12.4 weeks of army-specific training and 5.6-10.5 weeks of
occupational training. This
training qualifies the soldier as a trained Private.
The second Developmental Period takes in trained and experienced Privates
and trains them as junior non-commissioned officers, and so on.
The costs of training are staggering – about $425,000 to turn a recruit
into a Warrant Officer in the infantry, $570,000 to train in the artillery and
$600,000 in the armoured corps.
There are four Developmental Periods in the professional training of an
officer from Officer Cadet to General Officer, beginning with basic training (14
weeks plus 10 weeks of second-language training), followed by 11 weeks of
army-specific training and 37 weeks of occupational training for infantry
officers or 22 weeks of training for armoured corps and artillery officers.
The training costs from Officer Cadet to General Officer are about
$961,000 in the armoured corps, $1,041,000 in the artillery and $1,127,000 in
Although grade 10 education has been required for 20 years, almost all of
today’s recruits are high school graduates and many have at least some college
Reservists are essential to maintaining the Battle Groups abroad – 250
participate in each rotation – but they require 60-70 days of training to
develop their skills before being deployed.
Since reserve soldiers can be paid for the equivalent of only 35 days a
year, their training opportunities are much more limited than those available to
regulars, who work a 270-day year. Reservists
are given only the most essential part of the courses; if they join the
regulars, they have to make up for their lack of full training. The planned increase in the strength of the Reserves from
15,000 to 18,000 had not been funded at the time of the Committee’s visit.
To maintain their skills and operational experience, instructors are
posted for only three years before they return to their units. The most effective are the full-time instructors, but these
must be supplemented from the units in the summer due to staff shortages.
The cost of moving a soldier and his/her family averages about $40,000;
for reasons of economy, only about two-thirds of those who should be moved, are
At the time of the Committee’s visit, a shortage of training staff for
both officers and men was the most critical problem and had serious implications
for the Field Force. The additional
177 officers and non-commissioned officers needed for training were equivalent
to the staff of three battalions. A
second problem was the shortage of supplies and ammunition for new equipment
once provision had been made for overseas deployments.
If the current recruiting drive is successful, it would take almost five
years to produce the trained and experienced soldiers necessary to meet the
needs of the army.
Lieutenant-Colonel Brad Boswell, Acting Director of Army Doctrine,
briefed the Committee on how the Land Force Doctrine and Training System planned
and managed the intellectual development of the army.
To promote communications interoperability, they intended to test all the
communications equipment used by the United States, Britain, Australia, and
Canada to determine what could work together.
At present, the new Canadian digital communications equipment is fully
interoperable with U.S. equipment.
B. Captain Pascal Durocher,
Deputy Commanding Officer,
2 Electronic Warfare Squadron
The Committee shared a stand-up lunch with the officers, men and women of
the Electronic Warfare Squadron and learned a great deal about the
ineffectiveness of the equipment and consequent frustrations of the Squadron
The ASDIC intelligence-gathering system has never worked. A company that has now gone out of business originally
supplied it on a pre-production basis. As
a result, there are no spare parts and a second unit is now being cannibalized
to supply the parts necessary to keep the remaining three in operation.
In the forward unit, only one of the three functions actually works; the
electronics are prone to damage by cross-country movement.
While the forward unit has voice communication with the soft-skinned base
unit that processes data at the rear, it cannot transmit the data.
The coding and decoding functions are increasingly obsolete.
Modern systems are digital and “frequency hop” as an added measure of
security. The CRTC, however,
restricts the military to its assigned bandwidths, with the result that Canadian
equipment cannot frequency hop. It
is thus more difficult both to develop code-breaking skills and to make
Canadian communications secure.
Personnel could make the ASDIC systems work if they were allowed to
bypass the procurement system and buy off-the-shelf parts. Off-the-shelf parts would also have the advantage of being
relatively inexpensive and easily replaced.
This electronic warfare element of Signals seems out of place. The men and women seem to feel that they are neither wanted nor understood where they are; hence, they believe, they and their requirements receive a very low priority. Their work involves signals intelligence rather than setting up and managing communications systems; would they be more at home assigned to Intelligence instead of Signals?
Cessford, Acting Commander,
Canadian Forces Joint Operations Group
Michael Cessford, Acting Commander, Canadian Forces Joint Operations Group, briefed
the Committee about the mission of the Joint Operations Group.
The mission is to provide a rapidly deployable, joint operational-level
command and control capability for domestic and international missions.
Prior to the Group’s formation in 2000, the military had established ad
hoc headquarters on a mission-by-mission basis, whether the mission was to
participate in the Gulf War, or to help deal with the Winnipeg flood of 1997 or
the 1998 ice storm in eastern Ontario and western Quebec.
Canada can now begin deployment of a headquarters within 48 hours, and
insert an advance party of a command and control unit within seven days.
The Joint Operations Group provides the core of this unit, with one third
of its staff of 128 being deployed at a time.
D. Major Wayne Gauthier
Wayne Gauthier briefed
the Committee about the capabilities of the Disaster Assistance Response Team
(DART), which is an integral part of the Joint Operations Group.
The Disaster Assistance Response Team is ready to move on 12 hours’
notice. On deployment, it provides
the four critical needs in an emergency situation: primary medical care; water
purification; a limited engineering capacity; and a command and control
structure. It is
self-sufficient for two weeks and includes a security section.
It is staffed by about 200 personnel and requires about 26 Hercules
aircraft (four rented Antonovs) to move.
9 MAY 2002 – KINGSTON
A. Canadian Forces School of Communications and Electronics
Major Hall, Deputy Commandant of the Canadian Forces School of
Communications and Electronics, gave a short briefing to the Committee. The School trains soldiers how to set up, operate and
maintain radio, telephone and computer communications in Canada and abroad.
Following the briefing, the Committee visited various classrooms and
spoke with instructors and students before having lunch with some of the
The School lost its major building as a result of the halt in recruitment
when the Forces downsized in the 1990s. Now
it is desperately short of space.
Square has about 20 temporary, portable structures. Twelve double trailers are
on order and will be located at another site.
garage has been developed into classrooms, but it leaks and is referred to as
the “swimming pool.” Its water
supply, although potable, is an unsightly brown colour.
Funds are so
short that old, unused buildings cannot be torn down.
buildings are old, they have asbestos in their ceilings that must be removed
before renovations can be done. This
adds about 25% to the cost of renovations.
share accommodation – four to a room about 16 feet by 16 feet.
Lack of staff is making it increasingly difficult to keep up with the
demand for training. The platoon of
PATs (Privates Awaiting Training) has increased from the size of a platoon (30)
to more than a company (174). While
some training can be extemporized for them (driver training, or further corps
training back at their units – the latter is still unfunded, but done on the
initiative of the School Commander), most of their time is wasted. The normal waiting period seems to be at least seven months,
but depending on the rhythm of courses and whether the recruit is prepared to
take training in his/her non-maternal language, the wait can be more than a
year. When the Committee visited,
about 30 PATS were watching TV, others were working in the tuck shop, etc.
There are currently 180 students in the Practically Oriented Electronics
Training program. Although the
number of seats will be more than doubled to 384, there is a demand for 550-600
The courses the Committee observed had a fair percentage of female
students – 20% to about 33%. The
courses were generally open to reservists.
One of the instructors, Staff Sergeant Francis, is a reservist. If he decides to go regular, his rank will drop to Corporal (a $27,000-a-year salary difference) and he will have to take a lot of courses, some of which he has instructed. As a reservist, he gets no pension. (A naval reservist on duty aboard a coastal defence vessel in the West made the same point, but at least he had not instructed some of the courses he would have to take to regain his reserve rank in the regular force.)