Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Defence and Security
Issue 1 - Evidence, July 18, 2001 (afternoon session)
OTTAWA, Wednesday, July 18, 2001
The Standing Senate Committee on Defence and Security met this day at 1:04 p.m.
to conduct an introductory survey of the major security and defence issues
facing Canada with a view to preparing a detailed work plan for future
Senator Colin Kenny (Chairman) in the Chair.
The Chairman: Our committee is the first permanent Senate committee with
a mandate to study subjects of security and defence. Today we are beginning an
introductory survey of the major security and defence matters facing Canada,
with a view to preparing a comprehensive work plan for future intensive studies.
We intend to spend the summer and fall on this survey and report back to the
Senate early in February.
This afternoon we are continuing our hearings with Colonel William Peters. Col.
Peters completed infantry officer training and joined the First Battalion of the
Royal Canadian Regiment then based in London, Ontario. Over the next 18 years he
served six tours of regimental duty in Canada and Germany, and two UN
peacekeeping tours in Cyprus. He also completed the command and staff training
course in Toronto and a one-year course at Mobile Command Headquarters as Senior
Staff Officer Infantry. After three years as a member of the Directing Staff and
Deputy Director Land Studies at Canadian Forces Command and Staff College in
Toronto, Col. Peters worked on the staff of the Director, Land Concepts in
Ottawa for a year before being selected for full-time post-graduate studies at
the Royal Military College of Canada, in Kingston. Upon graduation, he was
promoted to his current rank and posted to National Defence Headquarters as
Director, Land Strategic Planning. He was subsequently also appointed Director
of Infantry. This afternoon Col. Peters will give us an overview of the current
capabilities and future challenges of the army.
Colonel William Peters, Director, Land Strategic Planning, Chief of Land
Staff: Honourable senators, as you heard in the introduction, I am currently
at the senior army headquarters, which is located here in Ottawa at National
Defence Headquarters. It is my privilege to address you today on behalf of
Lieutenant-General Mike Jeffrey, who commands the army. I would like to brief
you on two interrelated subjects: The army's current capabilities and future
challenges. I will address those subjects in that order. Before I proceed, let
me make three brief preliminary comments.
First, I am cognizant of the potentially dry and specialized nature of this
subject matter. Consequently, we have kept this presentation general in nature,
to avoid overwhelming you with facts, figures, organization charts and arcane
jargon. I hope that this approach will satisfy your requirements and promise
that any specific questions that you may have will be answered as fully as
possible after my formal presentation.
Second, as a secretarial note, you have been provided with a copy of my script
and some supporting figures to which I will refer during this presentation.
Figure 1 is the introduction to this presentation. You have also been provided
with a take-away package with additional information which is located in the
conspicuous Army folder.
Third, my presentation will focus, as requested, on the Army contribution to our
national military capabilities. Throughout my briefing, you should understand
that the unique contribution of ground forces complements those of the air and
sea environments to produce effective joint force capability.
I will now move on to discuss the army's current capabilities. During the course
of your review, you will probably have to grapple with a host of abstract
comments, facts, figures and contrary perspectives. As you proceed, we think it
important that all those involved in the formation of defence policy remember
one of the most important stakeholders in the issue: Canada's soldier. From an
army perspective, if any one factor should govern Canadian defence policy and
broader public attitudes to defence issues, it should be this: Your soldiers are
your sons and daughters. At its core, the Canadian army is a community of
incredible young Canadian men and women from across all regions of the
socio-economic and cultural spectra. Our soldiers do difficult work for Canada
and they do it well, often far from home, under conditions of isolation and
risk. They bring us great credit as a nation and help us in times of need,
inevitably making significant personal sacrifices in the process. We cannot
shield them from risk and sacrifice: they know that these both come with their
chosen profession. We cannot shield them from the conditions of resource
scarcity that exert their influence across all areas of public policy. However,
we can keep uppermost in our minds that, in exchange for the burden they carry
for us, we gain a burden from them. We have a duty to ensure that our policies
and routine decisions are fair, informed and as generous as circumstances
In order to understand the army's current capabilities and future challenges, it
will be useful to spend a little time describing armies in general. Armies are
necessarily complex organizations. This is so, first, because of the nature of
the environment in which they operate. Unlike the relatively uniform sea and air
environment, the ground is enormously diverse. It ranges from open plain and
desert to thick forest, level terrain to mountain range, and rural countryside
to urban sprawl. Armies must operate in all of these conditions, and must
possess the unique equipment and expertise particular to each.
Next, ground warfare is highly personal in nature. Success relies on thousands
of individual actors and small groups bringing many distinct activities and
skills to bear at different points and times. This dispersed, independent action
is indispensable to success, and it poses incredible challenges in terms of
command and control. Next, for an army to be successful in battle, it must
perform a wide range of functions in harmony. To coin a phrase, an army is a
system of systems: literally hundreds of different kinds of weapons, equipment,
activities and procedures. Finally, ground warfare is extremely intimate: It is
conducted in close contact with the opponent, and involves inevitably high
levels of stress and personal discomfort.
In the face of their diverse challenges, armies must be able to perform five
distinct though interrelated functions, and we term these command, sense, act,
shield and sustain. An absence or deficiency in any one of these functions can
be terminal. These functions are listed on figure 2, with some supporting images
to show how this theoretical construct is translated into physical capability.
Command is the critical operational function. We need the moral and intellectual
capacity to determine the objective, define the means and shape action on the
battlefield. This capacity is resident in our force structure primarily in the
various headquarters and signals organizations. However, this capacity must be
pervasive. Command does not just occur at the very top of the organization but
throughout, and all the way down to the 22-year-old master corporal in charge of
a small team of three soldiers.
Next, we require situational awareness: the capacity to sense or see our
opponent and our environment. This function supports command by collecting an
extensive base of information through various means that is translated through
analysis into knowledge that enables commanders to make more effective
decisions. This is largely the domain of specialized reconnaissance and
intelligence personnel, although all of the land force can contribute, as well
as aviation units from the air force. Sensory dominance enables swifter victory
at lower cost in resources and lives.
Next, we need the capacity to act on our knowledge of our environment according
to the commander's concept of operations. We need field engineers to assist
mobility, artillery to suppress and confuse, armour to move boldly and to shock
and disorient, and infantry to close the final few metres and take possession of
Next, we need to shield ourselves from our opponent's actions from all
directions and defeat his own attempts at gaining situational awareness. The
focus for this function is largely on air defence, field engineers, military
police and signals personnel.
Finally, armies need ammunition, fuel, water, spare parts, food and amenities to
sustain operations. We need an elaborate and dependable logistics chain to
supply us, repair us and move us that extends from the factory floor to the
While this is a basic description of armies in general, let us move on to
discuss the current capabilities of Canada's army. Today's army is the net
result of decisions taken in the past. Of these decisions, the policy direction
contained in the 1994 white paper is the most significant and is a good place to
start in describing our current capabilities. The white paper affirmed a
long-standing commitment to general purpose combat capability that the army
continues to support. In line with this overall aim, the army's mission remains
to generate and maintain combat-capable, multipurpose land forces to meet
Canada's defence objective. In addition, the white paper provides a number of
specific tasks that act as the basis for the army's current organization and
The major tasks include the obligation to provide a brigade group of about 5,000
soldiers, or three separate battle groups of about 1,250 soldiers each, and an
infantry battalion group of about 1,000 soldiers for multilateral operations
anywhere in the world, or to sustain indefinitely one battle group and one
battalion group. You should note that it is this latter task that is the most
demanding for the army, over time.
A brigade group with associated support elements is also required to support the
defence of North America. For the protection of Canada, we must be prepared to
respond to requests for aid to the civil power, humanitarian assistance and
disaster relief, and assistance to other government departments. Finally, at
least for our purposes here, the white paper makes a qualitative description of
the desired level of our capability. We will be able to fight "alongside
the best, against the best."
In all, the white paper has important meaning for us. It means that we are to
focus on combat operations as our raison d'être and that tasks of a lesser
order of risk, such as peace support operations and domestic disaster relief,
are secondary to that purpose. It also implies a level of resource support
sufficient to fulfil these tasks. We find the thrust of the white paper
eminently reasonable. It is precisely because we prepare for war that we can be
effective as a peacekeeping force, and in the more mundane but still important
tasks of fighting floods and reacting to ice storms. This is depicted
graphically as a spectrum on conflict in figure 3. Moreover, we obviously
support the commitment to provide the resources that our soldiers need to do
their difficult and often dangerous tasks on our behalf.
How has the direction and guidance in the white paper and elsewhere been
translated into the specific organization and capabilities resident in today's
army? The Canadian army consists of approximately 20,000 regular force soldiers,
15,000 part-time reserve force soldiers and 5,000 civilian employees. Our
regular force soldiers are organized into three brigade groups of roughly 5,000
personnel each, with the remainder serving in various headquarters, support
establishments, training establishments and independent units.I will not go into
further detail describing a brigade group unless you ask. Suffice it to say that
a brigade group is a fighting formation consisting of infantry, armour,
artillery, field engineer, aviation and other units, and is the lowest level of
military organization having all five operational functions - command, sense,
act, shield and sustain - resident in it in sufficient quantity to operate
independently for extended periods on the battlefield.
Our 15,000 part-time reservists serve in 10 brigades located throughout Canada.
Note that these reserve brigades are much smaller and lightly equipped and
trained, and are not capable of deployment or of combat operations in their
present state. Our historical approach has been to use reserve brigade
structures for force generation, largely for individual augmentation, although
this is being expanded to a company-sized element, consisting of about 100
soldiers, deploying with a regular force unit in 2002.
These are the major component parts of the army in Canada today. If you refer to
figure 4, you can see how these forces are combined and distributed across the
country - our footprint, if you will. Starting in the west, Land Force Western
Area has responsibility for one regular force brigade group based in Edmonton,
three reserve brigades based in Vancouver, Calgary and Winnipeg, and a training
centre in Wainwright. Land Force Central Area has a regular force brigade group
based in Petawawa, three reserve brigades based in London, Toronto and Ottawa,
and a training centre in Meaford. Sector du Québec de la force terrestre has a
regular force brigade group in Valcartier, two reserve brigades based in
Montreal and Quebec City, and a training centre in Farnham. Finally, Land Force
Atlantic Area has two reserve brigades based in Moncton and Halifax, a training
centre in Gagetown, and also in that location the major army training facility,
the Combat Training Centre. All of the land force areas also contain area
support groups and units composed of military personnel and civilians that
provide logistical support.
There are other headquarters and units that do not fall under area command: the
land staff at NDHQ, of which I am a part; a functional headquarters called the
Land Force Doctrine and Training System at Kingston, which manages the army's
leadership development, training system and future concepts; and other
specialized army units. Remember that I have given you an overview of only the
major organizations and locations. Individual units are even further dispersed
throughout smaller communities, especially in the reserves. This geographical
approach gives us the capacity to be responsive to threats or emergencies
anywhere in Canada.
I would like at this point to tie together some of the major points of my
presentation so far by referring to figure 5. Starting with the column on the
left, we develop our concepts, doctrine and strategy by conceptualizing how an
army contributes to joint operations, by performing the functions of command,
sense, act, shield and sustain. The next column shows how these abstract
functions are translated into physical capabilities or structures designed for
employment on operations to perform specific tasks, as allocated in the white
paper and elsewhere. Finally, the column on the right shows the institutional
structure required to generate those capabilities for the force employer; force
generation again being the essence of the army mission.
What can the Canadian army do for Canada in its present condition? It is our
hope that the answer to this question is at least partly self-evident. During
the 1990s, our soldiers carried a large proportion of the burden of Canada's
national security policy. We sustained an operational tempo higher than anything
we had seen since the Korean War, with deployments in Eastern Europe, Africa and
the Pacific Rim, not to mention major domestic deployments in response to floods
and ice storms. Some of the major operations are summarized on figure 6. You are
undoubtedly familiar with most of these. It should also be recognized that for
the first half of that decade, our soldiers met the unprecedented challenges
that we set them in the midst of a succession of significant budgetary
In our professional judgment, at this point, the Canadian army can do everything
that it is called upon to do by the white paper, as summarized on figure 7. If
necessary, and if given the anticipated warning, we can field a combat-capable
brigade group, but note that it would take resources drawn from all three of our
regular force brigade groups in order to do so. Moreover, there are some
high-intensity battlefield roles that this brigade group might not be able to
perform, but we must remember that we are fighting alongside the best. Canadians
will fight as members of a coalition joint force.
In addition, as we demonstrated by successfully accomplishing the unprecedented
operational tempo of the 1990s, we are capable of indefinitely sustaining two
battle group-sized units abroad on demanding peace support operations. As we
will see shortly, we managed to accomplish these tasks only at a considerable
price. We are very concerned about our ability to sustain this tempo at current
That concludes my brief description of current army capabilities. To summarize:
Armies are a complex system of systems, but enormously flexible in employment.
We can engage in combat, support peace, and help Canadians in need. Moreover, at
least to date, we have been able to satisfy the demands of the defence white
paper within allocated resources, and have arguably had to sustain a higher
tempo of domestic and international operations with fewer resources than were
envisioned when the decade began. All this has come at a cost. As General
Jeffrey has stated, the army is fragile. As with most institutions, Canada's
army will face new and substantial challenges in the future from almost every
quarter. Changes in the future security environment will put considerable
pressure on the development of relevant capabilities.
NATO has adopted a vision of future conflict that consists of two views: The
View 1 conflict is the more conventional contest of wills between nations: high
tempo operations involving the application of increasingly complex technologies
akin to the Gulf War. However, it is the View 2 conflict that is considered to
be much more likely in the future. This could involve the participation of
non-state actors using asymmetric means to achieve their objectives,
compensating, if you will, for their lack of strength in conventional forces by
using, for example, computer network attack, biological and chemical weapons,
and terrorist activity in urban areas. We will need to design capabilities that
can respond to an increasing range of potential threats.
One of the most dramatic areas of technological advancement is in the capacity
to see the battlefield, and in turn be seen by our opponent, with a widening
array of powerful sensors - from space, unmanned aerial vehicles and
ground-based optics. This increase in information can be quickly translated into
a better understanding of the battlefield that improves the agility of a force.
When combined with the improvements in range, lethality and precision of weapon
systems, this will yield tremendous advantage to the side that achieves
information dominance and, in particular, one that has long-range strike assets.
These two developments - the changing nature of the threat and the pace of
technological change - will challenge the fundamental balance of our
capabilities between those tasks that require relatively large numbers of people
with those that require an increasing degree of technological sophistication in
order to remain relevant and effective.
The army will also face some institutional challenges. Physical infrastructure
is poor and will likely continue to deteriorate in some areas. We will have to
reduce the burden of operational tempo and incremental taskings that are
becoming intolerable for our soldiers, in particular our junior leaders. This
burden is estimated to be the equivalent of about 80 working days a year beyond
the typical work year. We must increase our attention to collective training to
ensure that we keep alive vital combat skills at higher levels of command, which
we consider to be eroding at an accelerating pace.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, we sense a moral component to our
challenges, including mistrust in senior leadership and a lack of unity of
thought, purpose and action under some circumstances. Linking all of these is
the common theme of resource scarcity. Even without the need to find the
resources necessary to address our challenges, the army will be hard pressed to
maintain its current program within its current resource envelope. Modernization
and change are expensive undertakings, and they exert a substantial new form of
pressure on our fiscal situation.
The army is planning to meet these challenges. We are currently in the process
of completing a major study of its current capabilities and future challenges,
with a view to formulating a new strategic plan for meeting those challenges.
What follows is a summary of the thrust lines of that strategy.
The first point is to connect with Canadians. The army cannot survive in
isolation from, and without the understanding and support of broader Canadian
society. Open and honest communications are in the best interests of the
institution as a whole, and a deliberate program for achieving this objective
has been designed and outlined.
The second point is to shape army culture. The army must examine the impact of
various societal trends on the distinct future needs of a force prepared to
engage in the complex and demanding environment of ground warfare. We must be
able to adapt to some of the broad changes in Canadian society while preserving
the uniquely military values required for cohesion and success in combat. Toward
this end, a three-year army culture project has been initiated.
The third point is to deliver a combat-capable, sustainable future force
structure. As mentioned earlier, the brigade group, of which the Canadian army
has three in its structure, is the lowest level at which all required army
functions are present. Unfortunately, our high operational tempo, resource
scarcity and other factors have begun to undermine the integrity of army
capability at this level, a trend that must be reversed. We must create the
resource flexibility necessary to allow for reinvestment in brigade group
expertise and competence and to create a modern, capable and sustainable
structure including equipment. This will require either new resources or
reductions in the army program in other areas. Note that constraints on the
army's resource flexibility are such that it is difficult to envision achieving
reallocation without personnel reductions. In other words, we will need more
money or we will have to reduce the size of the army.
Finally, manage readiness. Over the past decade, the Army has attempted to
maintain uniform standards of readiness throughout the structure - a fact that,
in combination with heavy operational tempo, has exacerbated the strain on Army
personnel. A more comprehensive approach to managing readiness is currently in
the early stages of development. It will deliver the required level of high
readiness units and formations when they are needed, but also program time for
recuperation for individuals and units when they are not needed for current
All of these objectives, summarized on Figure 8, are focussed on producing a
more capable and sustainable Army of Tomorrow. A common theme is the importance
of our people - failing to enhance the attraction and retention of the right
kind of soldiers and civilians through significant institutional change on both
the physical and moral planes, would put at risk the provision of Army
capabilities in the future. Another notable theme is to more fully integrate the
complementary and supplementary roles of the Reserve Force with those of the
The army has served the nation well throughout its history. It has made
significant adjustments in the last decade to a changing strategic landscape -
the shift from bipolarity in the international system, rapid technological
advancement, increased competition for national resources, and cultural change.
The army has faced resource and personnel reductions, an increase in tempo of
activities and its own cultural challenges.
As General Jeffrey pointed out to SCONDVA, he has considerable confidence in the
overall capabilities of the army, particularly in the areas of operational
experience, leadership and intellectual development. However, he assesses that
the army as an institution is fragile in some ways, a situation that he intends
to address by re-establishing an appropriate and enduring balance between
resources, people and tasks. By resolving the shortfalls of today and seizing
the opportunities presented by the future, we hope to make a transition into a
whole new generation of military effectiveness.
Thank you for your attention, and I look forward to answering your questions.
Senator Stollery: I am taking the opportunity to ask this question
because the Foreign Affairs Committee had evidence, particularly from a German
Brigadier, that there was great difficulty in all western countries in
recruiting soldiers. He was very interesting on the difficulty they would have
in Germany, in the United Kingdom and in France, indeed in today's world, in
just getting people to join the army. Is that so in Canada as well?
Col. Peters: That is very true, sir. It is a problem throughout the
western world, more so for those countries that are changing over to an
all-volunteer force from a conscripted force. They face a greater challenge.
We have had experience with an all-volunteer force for some time. Nevertheless,
we face competition from the civilian sector and from a good economy. We must
present sufficient challenge for those individuals to attract them into army
life in the future. It is a challenge we can surmount, but it will remain a
challenge as we deal with a declining pool from which to draw those talented
people, and increased competition for those people from elsewhere.
Senator Stollery: The Armed Forces are becoming more technical, but it
seems that infantry numbers do seem to be dropping. I remember our conversation
at the Foreign Affairs Committee and I wonder if that is part of the reason
that, in Canada, we have a decreasing number of actual soldiers.
Col. Peters: That would be a consideration in the future, but primarily
we are looking at producing capability. How can we best produce that capability?
As I have said, some of our tasks require large numbers of people. Other tasks
can be done efficiently and effectively with fewer people but with more
technology. A balance must be sought. We must consider the availability of
personnel in the future. What is our capability to meet our goals and what is
the best mix of people and technology for Canada?
Senator Stollery: Traditionally, all armies, in my experience, recruit
their professional soldiers in - to use the current term - economically
disadvantaged areas of the country. Italian soldiers, you will find, come mostly
from areas with less job opportunities. It is similar in Canada. We had a
conversation earlier today about seeing soldiers in cities. I have never seen
any in Toronto since, probably, 1946. It is not, I suppose, a place where they
Col. Peters: We will certainly seek in future to attract a very capable
soldier who can deal with the technological challenges that will be confronting
him or her on joining the army. Some of the equipment that we are currently
bringing in means that we must seek better educated recruits. We want to put
more emphasis on that. Again, we will be competing with many other people who
are after that same pool of recruits, but that is where we want to put our
focus. Large numbers of poorly trained and poorly equipped soldiers on the
battlefield of the future will have even less relevance than in the past. Human
resources must be tied in with technology in order to produce an efficient
Senator Stollery: I am talking about the basic problem of competing in
Senator Forrestall: Thank you, Colonel, for your excellent presentation.
We are all here to learn, and we are learning.
Do you believe that the Canadian army is combat-ready? Is it capable of joining
with the United States, Great Britain or other nations of this world in engaging
in a high intensity conflict? Associated with that question, how big a force
could we deploy in six months or in another required time period? How long could
we sustain that force, given attrition?
Col. Peters: Our contribution to the allies, as I outlined very briefly
in my presentation, is a brigade group with an additional battalion group. That
is a force size of about 6,000 which we could deploy within 90 days to support
our alliance obligations. That force would be capable of combat, again
acknowledging that it would be relying on some higher level capabilities that
are not resident in the Canadian army from our allies. That is part of the plan
that we expect would be put in place.
That force could be sustained, however, for only 60 days of combat operations.
We would then have to turn to some mobilization measures to ensure a presence
beyond that time period. We are working very heavily now in mobilization
planning to ensure that that is the case. The capacity is there, given the other
regular force capabilities; the force generation structure in Canada we would be
able to draw from. Ultimately, we would certainly draw from the reserves in
order to get that capability as well.
Senator Forrestall: We would not wait that 60-day period before we
Col. Peters: Certainly not. If we were deploying a brigade group
offshore, that would signal a major international emergency, and would trigger
further decision-making on behalf of the government to address that situation.
Certainly we would require some measure of mobilization to sustain that type of
Senator Forrestall: Would jump companies be included in that number?
Col. Peters: Right now, the brigade group does not include parachute
capability. It is a mechanized brigade group. We have that capability still
resident in the force structure should we desire to reformulate for a specific
task. Right now, the brigade group is a mechanized force.
Senator Forrestall: Are we training jumpers?
Col. Peters: Yes, we are training currently at the Canadian Parachute
Centre. We train jumpers who are dispersed throughout the army, but we also
maintain currently three companies of parachute infantry.
Senator Forrestall: Where are they located?
Col. Peters: One is serving with the third battalion of each of the three
regular force regiments. They are in Edmonton, Petawawa and in Val Cartier.
Senator Forrestall: Throughout your forces, on what can you draw down?
There must be a large number of people who could quickly be brought back up to
Col. Peters: In terms of parachute capability? Yes, I would have no idea
of the total number of qualified people. With parachute school continuing in
operation, we could augment that capability if required. We could call on those
individuals who are not currently serving with the jump companies. That is quite
Senator Forrestall: Do we have other speciality training, for example,
Col. Peters: Yes, some of that expertise is also resident at the Canadian
Parachute Centre. There are trained individuals spread throughout the army,
primarily in the infantry corps, but others as well.
Senator Forrestall: Do we have any language or dialect capability?
Col. Peters: Yes. Not specifically in the army, although some would be
resident there by virtue of the type of people we are attracting as recruits.
That would be a joint force capability. If army formations were deployed, we
could draw on that capacity if it were appropriate.
Senator Forrestall: Would we have it below the company level?
Col. Peters: No, again, just by virtue of some language capability being
available in a recruit, but not a specific role at that level.
Senator Forrestall: I am very concerned about the budgetary shortfall,
and the current operations and maintenance shortfall particularly. I have the
sense that it is somewhere between $175 million and $200 million. Has this been
ameliorated? Are you back in some kind of a balance, or are you still running a
bit of a deficit?
Col. Peters: It is not a deficit, strictly speaking, because we are
actually balancing the books. It is a demand that is not being satisfied right
now. That was ameliorated somewhat by budget 2000, which brought in additional
money that helped the army situation. However, we keep responding to additional
demands, so right now, that has not been fully ameliorated. We are still
studying and taking steps to fix it. We are also considering ways of focussing
that deficit. You have seen through my comments that it is our infrastructure
and our collective training where that demand has not been filled. The army is
still in the range of 150 million at conservative estimates of the demand that
we must find ways to address that. We still face that significant demand
Senator Forrestall: Are you trying to overcome the problem without having
to reduce the three brigades to two?
Col. Peters: Certainly we would desire a three brigade structure because
it gives us additional flexibility. It is no secret that we have looked at the
possibility of two brigade models that could continue to do the task that we are
asked to do. Certainly, there is a range of options in between that would see
some reduction of personnel without going to two brigades. However, as I said
earlier, because of the restrictions on the army commander in what he could
actually change, it is difficult to foresee how personnel reduction would not be
part of the solution, given the magnitude of the problem facing us.
There is a relatively small budget to deal with a large deficit. There is very
little flexibility in what can be effected in terms of basing and all the rest,
of which you are well aware. That has led us to the conclusion that ultimately
numbers of personnel must be part of the solution.
Senator Forrestall: The basic numbers being cast about by different
people and different interests scare the hell out of me. It seems to me that we
sell ourselves short by not arguing for fuller complements. For example, when
was the last time we exercised a full brigade?
Col. Peters: That is difficult to say. I believe that around 1992 there
was a full-up brigade exercise, but you must remember that we are introducing a
lot of simulation equipment at which brigade-level training is done. Our staff
colleges continue to exercise officers at that level of training. The difficulty
is, as was the case with the navy presentation, you still want to get out there
and do it from time to time, but we have few resources to allow that to happen.
Perhaps, if we had slightly fewer numbers of people, we wonder whether we could
then focus our resources on ensuring that the capability we do have is well
Senator Forrestall: Could we sustain it beyond six months? Could we
sustain two brigades beyond six months?
Col. Peters: The second brigade group, as is stands right now, is
required for continental operations, theoretically. Theoretically, we could
sustain those, again given decisions on mobilization. That is the key.
Senator Forrestall: It would be a hell of a thing if we had a snowstorm
in Toronto again.
Col. Peters: Some tasks would fall by the wayside if you were focussing
on the most important. Certainly, the reserve force figures large in our
capacity to sustain operation. It is not only the regular force that we draw on
Senator Forrestall: I have long had concerns about the way in which we
treat returning peacekeepers, particularly reservists. I have always been
concerned about the absence of any resource to hands-on counselling and help
where it is needed. Is that still a pretty rough area for us? Is there still
work that we must do in the area, not only for returning reservists but for any
with traumatic experience? We were in Bosnia and Herzegovina. We saw what some
of those young men and women experienced in a particular incident. That was not
Col. Peters: There is no question that there is work yet to do. We have
learned much from our experiences throughout the 1990s. We are addressing some
of the problems in a more forthright fashion, and putting more resources to
those problem areas. We are looking at different ways of taking care of people
on their return, both medically and with support after the medical process has
You are aware of some of the centres that have been set up to assist that
process. One of the challenges has always been the reservist who tends not to
stay in that same supportive environment for as long as the regular force
soldier does. However, it is also difficult to force a regular to stay in order
that we may look after him when he wants to go home.
Senator Forrestall: His boss wants him back to work.
Col. Peters: There is conflicting demand that must be resolved. We are
doing a much better job of addressing the problem, but there are new initiatives
being examined at the moment that will improve that situation even further.
Senator Forrestall: Are we getting a level of cooperation that is
satisfactory from industry generally in Canada about letting us have their young
men and women for two months, three months or for longer periods?
Col. Peters: We would always want to have more flexibility, but the tools
are in place to assist that process.
Senator Forrestall: Has it improved over the last few years?
Col. Peters: I could not give statistics to demonstrate that, I am sorry.
Senator Forrestall: Generally, what is the drug abuse situation among
your soldiers, and what is the state of the marital relationships of the
individuals returning from peacekeeping operations?
Col. Peters: That is a pretty broad range, and I could not give you
statistics. There are some areas that we are concerned about in looking after
our people broadly. I would not say that drugs and alcohol are on the list of
those concerns with which we deal that are increasing in importance. Certainly,
we are placing more resources in the areas that reflect stress levels. I believe
that you are familiar with some of the programs in place for controlling or
limiting alcohol consumption in theatres, and that has undoubtedly had some
positive effect. However, no, I could not give any more figures. There is
certainly work to be done. No one says that we have addressed all of the problem
areas. Some of those are not in the range of the immediate things that we need
Senator Forrestall: Thank you.
Senator Wiebe: Colonel Peters, if I may, I will play the role of the
devil's advocate. You made the comment that the army is fragile. I make the
comment that our country is in a fragile position. You talked about the
capability of our Armed Forces to provide a brigade, a combat-ready group for
offshore deployment, and I believe that is true; we have that capability. It
would take six months, probably, to re-supply that, as you say.
However, what would happen onshore if our country were suddenly invaded? We have
the Department of Defence, and this is the Defence Committee. The planes can
come in and bomb our cities, the ships can bomb our shores, but we are not a
conquered country until the troops move in, which is the army. We cannot conquer
a country without the army; regardless of what the air force and the navy say,
we still need ground troops.
I maintain that we do not have them and that our public has the perception that,
to defend our country, we need only give someone a gun and teach him or her how
to march and obey orders. That was the case in the first and second world wars
and in Korea. Now, we need highly skilled, technically trained individuals in
the army. We need to have that kind of force ready to defend our country from
Will we continue to be dependent on the U.S. to provide that kind of protection
for us from such a perspective? What happens in the event that the U.S. becomes
the invader? As the devil's advocate, I pose this to you, because it seems to me
that, with a 20,000 regular force, it will not take too many weeks of combat
before our highly trained, professional soldiers will be casualties. What do we
have to replace those casualties, apart from 15,000 reservists? That provides us
with 35,000 individuals to defend a country that is 5,000 miles broad.
Col. Peters: First, that primarily goes back to our threat assessment
that was talked about by Mr. Bonn. Certainly, if you talked to military
officers, you would find that most would be supportive of larger numbers in all
capabilities so that we would have a greater measure of flexibility,
sustainability and, simply, greater numbers available to deal with our task.
We must examine the potential threat, and the threat of invasion to the
continent of North America is extremely low. We would expect, if that situation
changed, to have years of strategic warning in which to review our policy on
what military capabilities we were holding. Certainly, the argument has often
been made that we must keep a certain level of capability to assure the
Americans that we are doing our part in respect of continental defence.
However, it leads us to that old problem of how much is enough? What is the
precise level that is required? That is very difficult to determine. Right now,
we feel reasonably confident that, with a three-brigade structure, we can
address the tasks that we have been asked to perform. Certainly we could do more
with more, but right now the threat, in the opinion of the Government of Canada,
does not justify greater expenditure of resources.
Now, could we generate more capability, given time? Certainly we could. With
time and resources, if the strategic situation changes, we could alter our
posture, but right now the threat does not appear to justify that sort of move.
Senator Wiebe: As far as the politicians, governments and the public are
concerned, cost in dollars is always utmost in their minds. Of the three
services, the land segment - the army - seems to be suffering the most in terms
of capital replacement. There has been much better capital replacement for the
navy and the air force than there has been for the army. Again, this is
expensive; it costs a great deal of money to maintain a regular force. It costs
the same amount of money to train a reservist as it costs to train a regular
army recruit. The difference is that the reservist, for a good period of time,
is paid his living expenses by the private sector, and a regular army recruit is
paid 12 months of the year.
To acquire more capital funds for the procurement of equipment, what is the
army's feeling about being more active regarding the recruitment of highly
skilled, trained individuals through the reserve sector?
Col. Peters: Regarding your first point - the equipment - certainly, it
would be easy to obtain relative agreement amongst army officers that we would
like to see more capital directed to army projects. I believe it to be an
overstatement to say that the army has not received a good share of
recapitalization throughout the 1990s. Some of the major projects that we are
now in the process of implementing - the three-armoured personnel carrier,
communications equipment, the Coyote Reconnaissance Vehicle - are all relatively
recent additions. There are some other areas with which we are not as pleased.
We need to put more effort into the upgrading of our indirect fire and our
intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, reconnaissance resources, or
ISTAR. There are areas that need more work, but it is an over-simplification to
say that the army has not been recapitalized. We have a way to go, but remember
that we are contributing to what Commodore McNeil talked about - the joint force
capability that can come from the three elements. In some cases, it may be
better to come from the air force or the navy, and in some cases, it may be
better to be focused on the army. In any event, we will always look at that
production of joint force capability.
I am not exactly clear on your point concerning the reservist. Certainly we are
looking at the future roles for reservists to branch out beyond the simple
augment of our regular force units for a particular operation. We are looking at
some roles for the reserves that would be largely resident in the reserve force
with specialized areas of expertise such as nuclear, biological and chemical
warfare, and civil/military cooperation specialists. We are looking at that kind
of capability being more resident in the reserve force of the future. We are
also looking at making some of the heavier capabilities - the traditional ones -
resident in the reserve force where, with greater warning time, we can bring
that capability to a level that we can use. Historically, we have had some
reticence in doing that. We are now looking at it in more concrete terms. Does
that address your question on the reserve force?
Senator Wiebe: Yes, it does, partially. Canada is not using the potential
of the reservists in all three sectors - army, navy and air - as well as we
could. We have a significant amount of opportunity there to train those highly
skilled people and have them ready in case there is ever is a situation where
such capability is required. I do not want to get into specific issues, but
something that does disturb me is the amalgamation of some of the ground troops.
I will use as an example the changes that are taking place in Western Canada,
where you now have four provinces under one command, which is the Western
Command. Much of the personnel and equipment is located in Edmonton. If there is
a natural disaster in one part of those four western provinces, it could be
difficult to move some of that equipment and men to those areas quickly enough
to have a meaningful effect on that disaster.
Is the army looking at backing up a few steps and providing some equipment and
manpower in other areas of the provinces?
Col. Peters: We are looking at backing up. You will understand that there
are different dynamics that affect those types of decisions on where people
should be based. We certainly put significant resources into rebuilding areas
like Edmonton so we could house more units there, so we could more efficiently
conduct our training business and save, ultimately, on some of those
infrastructure costs that are really killing us.
For a small force, spread out in as many locations as we are, we end up paying
so much to accommodate ourselves and that produces some of the demands, some of
the pressures that we have on our budget. If we can do something to ameliorate
that, that is one of the steps we can take.
We realize that this structure does reduce our flexibility in some ways to move
as quickly around the country. It does not mean that we cannot do it; we still
are well spread across the country. However, we are not as dispersed as we used
to be. We still have units on pretty high-readiness alert to respond to
provincial level emergencies. Certainly if we were spread more across the
country, we would be better able to do that, but again, how much is enough? What
level is the correct level, and how much are we prepared to pay for the
flexibility of having these units spread across the country? This is a question
that is not easily answered.
We would like to have greater involvement with the larger communities instead of
withdrawing into a fewer number of bases. However, the hard reality of the
fiscal situation drives us, in part, to that sort of conclusion, as long as it
is not interfering with our ability to perform the tasks that we have been asked
Senator Meighen: Colonel Peters, I do not want to flog the reserve horse
unduly but did I hear you say that the army is perhaps prepared to look at the
navy's model of deploying reservists as opposed to the traditional one in the
Col. Peters: I would not put it in those terms. We look at both allied
forces and the other services all the time for anything that we can import as an
idea that will assist us in our ongoing efforts to improve our organization and
structure. The army or the navy has particular tasks and ways of dealing with
those tasks. I would not want to draw too many parallels. If you are talking
purely about trying to create larger organizations with specific tasks, then
that is one direction that we are looking at. Clearly, using larger
organizations either on specific tasks or to augment the regular force would
enhance the cohesion and pride of the reserve force. We are certainly looking at
that, as I illustrated in the example which I gave you for rotation to the
Balkans in 2002. There are many issues to be dealt with when we look at that
situation, but that is the intent. We will be working our way up to that,
starting with smaller groups at the section and platoon level, and working up to
the company. It is roughly in line with what the navy has done, but I would not
draw too many close parallels.
Senator Meighen: Fair enough. However, I tend to share what I think is
Senator Wiebe's feeling - and this may be unfair criticism - that the navy seems
to have been more successful, or apparently more successful, at integrating and
employing reservists within its structure than has the army. You are not unaware
of the criticisms that have been levelled, rightly or wrongly, against the
regular force and their opinions as to how reservists should be employed and not
employed. In this day and age of depletion in your numbers, it may behoove you
to look at different ways of dealing with reservists and integrating them into
the land forces so as to count on more of them to perform a significant role.
I have one other line of questioning. One paragraph on page 11 that struck me
The army will also face some institutional challenges. Physical infrastructure
is poor and will likely continue to deteriorate in some areas. We will have to
reduce the burden of operational tempo and incremental taskings that is becoming
intolerable for our soldiers, in particular our junior leaders...
Another concept that you addressed is that we will either need more money or
will have to reduce the size of the army. If you do not get more money, I
suppose you must reduce the size of the army. To reduce the size of the army,
you will compound the problem you set out on page 11 of the intolerable level of
There is one way to reduce the level of operational tempo and that is to say,
"With great respect, sir, no, we cannot do it." I get the feeling -
and you probably will not want to tell me what really went on, but I get the
feeling that when our country's leaders for what may be very well-meaning
purposes say, "Ready, aye ready," if you will pardon the phrase, to
every UN demand, you people generally feel that if they said we would do it, we
better find a way to do it. You stretch and stretch until you impose this
intolerable demand that I think is there, on the families and forces. In my
submission to you, it has reached a level where something must be done or else
you will have a severe morale and recruitment problem. One way to solve it is to
say, "No, can't do it."
Col. Peters: That is certainly one way to solve it. There is another way,
and that is some organizational restructure that takes off some of the pressure.
Right now we have a significant number of people serving overseas, but that is
not beyond what we have been tasked to do, again going back to that white paper
formula of two battle group-sized units sustainable overseas. Our areas of
difficulty, in addition to the operational tasks, are the incremental tasks.
When the individuals return from overseas, they may be sent on another task over
which we have some greater control.
Senator Meighen: Do you mean things such as an ice storm?
Col. Peters: No. In particular, training tasks in Gagetown, for instance.
In the early 1990s, in our efforts to become lean and mean, we ended up trimming
much of our training capacity down to the barest bones, and told ourselves that
we would augment them when required with field forces. The trouble is that the
tempo of operations meant that those same individuals, prior to going on a
tasking, were involved in overseas operations. That is where, in our attempt to
become very efficient, we have created additional burdens in incremental
tasking. We can affect that, to a degree.
Most would expect the military leadership to say no when that truly is the case;
when we really cannot handle an additional task, then we would expect the
military leadership to say that they cannot handle that task. However, it should
be the very last resort because we are tasked to do certain things, and we
should follow through on those. There is another way of ameliorating the
Senator Meighen: Thank you.
Senator Banks: Colonel, this morning and this afternoon, some of my
colleagues have bemoaned the absence of the army, in particular, from our
cities. I live in Edmonton and I must tell them, and you, how proud and happy we
are with the army's establishment in Edmonton.
Senator Meighen: That is because they moved up from Calgary.
Senator Banks: Some of them did, but some of them were already there. In
any case, we are delighted and proud that they are there in what I think is, if
I am not mistaken, the largest army base in the country, is it not?
Col. Peters: Certainly.
Senator Banks: I want to talk about the officer corps that I have read
about in a couple of places. One was in a news report a few weeks ago, which
said that the officer corps comprised about 22 per cent of the Canadian Forces.
Is that right?
Col. Peters: That would sound about reasonable, given the army
Senator Banks: These people at the Royal Canadian Military Institute have
said approximately the same thing, and I presume that when they say that, they
mean commissioned officers. If you will allow me to round up to 25 per cent just
for the ease of making my point, I would include warrant officers, which, as
everyone knows, are the most important part of any army. Therefore, 25 per cent
of the present complement of the Forces are in positions of command.
I am imagining an army with one out of four soldiers, airmen, naval personnel,
being in positions of command, which seems an odd proportion. I appreciate the
necessity for incentive and the opportunity for advancement, particularly when
it comes to the recruiting problems we have been talking about, but it would
seem to me that in an armed force - and I am asking this by way of information
because I am obviously not a military person - is one out of four not a high
level of command persons? Are other armed forces in the world staffed by
officers to that same extent?
Col. Peters: It certainly depends on the historical experience and the
culture of those different countries how they would organize themselves,
officers versus non-commissioned members. I believe the essence of your point,
however, is important to understand. Fundamentally, the one in four is not a
command relationship. Of those 25 per cent, 22 per cent, whatever the figure,
those officers are not all in command positions at one given point in time. Many
of them are serving in other capacities, largely as staff officers in supporting
If you look at a unit level, an infantry battalion of about 700 men and women,
you would find that probably there would be one officer for every 20 soldiers.
At a unit level, therefore, the ratio to actual combat soldiers is much
The difficulty is that the Canadian army is a pretty small operation compared to
many armies in the world, and we lack economies of scale. Yet we are expected to
do many of the things that the American army, for instance, does. We conduct a
great deal of coordination activities with our allies. We need our teaching
institutions to teach officers. If you have a large army, relatively, your
proportion of people doing that can be much smaller, but you must conduct those
activities, otherwise the army atrophies as a useful institution. It cannot
conduct all those behind-the-scenes activities - the preparation, the training,
the doctrine preparation, all of the planning activities. We have soldiers and
the officers serving as attachés with other armies of the world in order to
maintain links, as well as participation in international committees. NATO takes
up a large proportion of our officers, and you need that expertise to serve
It is not as simple as comparing the number of officers and soldiers. Again, we
must look in terms of capability, and the production of staff officers for many
of the jobs, we expect, is simply part of that capability. That is part of the
cost you pay for generating the field force capabilities that you see deployed
Senator Banks: We are not being inefficient, then? In your view, things
are operating properly with respect to the proportion, but officers are more
Col. Peters: True enough. There is always room to look at restructuring,
and we are currently doing that. A while ago, we cut the size of National
Defence headquarters almost in half by deciding that we could probably do the
same sorts of things with half the people. Broadly, it is not accepted that you
can do that sort of thing. There are some efficiencies, and some things that we
probably should have been doing are not being done right now, but some things
that we should be doing have limited personnel assigned to them, and that
creates difficulties. Broadly, I think, we are not inefficient. There are
certainly areas where further efficiencies could be made, but we have been cut
fairly lean and mean early in the decade, and largely that benefit has been
Senator Banks: Is it the case that if we had a lot more private soldiers
we would not need all that many more officers?
Col. Peters: That is right. The ratio would change as you added field
force capability; quite right.
Senator Banks: I appreciate the answer because I had the vision of the
army marching down the street and there are three guys and an officer in front
of every three infantrymen, which is silly, but thank you for that response.
The Royal Canadian Military Institute mentions in its report, which I am sure
you have seen, that there are 7,000 members of the forces involved in personnel
management out of a complement of how many in the forces altogether?
Col. Peters: Somewhat under 60,000.
Senator Banks: Are there 7,000 people involved in human resource
management, as it is called?
Col. Peters: Again, that is not my particular area of expertise. We have
an organization assistant deputy minister human resources military and civilian,
who would be able to give you better clarity on that.
Senator Banks: The people I am referring to are members of the regular
The Chairman: Could you get that information back to committee, please?
Col. Peters: Very well.
Senator Banks: I am confused, because we have heard from many officers
today about the fact that we need to be prepared to fight in combat situations,
to use the words of the white paper, "alongside the best, against the
best." I envision in that circumstance we are talking about an intense
battlefield situation, that that is the model that is being envisaged there, but
what we hear today is that the task of the forces is being tailored, designed
and operated in a way that is more realistic given the fact that the likelihood
of our being attacked, unless it is by Martians, is rather more remote than it
Are those two things completely compatible? Are we hearing two different
stories? Is it the case that we are producing a brigade group in the army that
is capable of going and doing - God forbid that it should ever happen again - a
D-day or a Dieppe, or defend against such a thing, or have we really put that
aside and determined that we are not really going to do that any more?
Supplementary to that, if that is so, is it possible to train an infantryman to
be an attack soldier, if I can put it that way, with a bayonet or whatever the
modern means are by which he will do that, because, technology aside, you cannot
win anything until you occupy the land in the end. Can I be a good infantryman
in that sense and a good peacekeeper at the same time? Are the two things not
Col. Peters: To answer your last question first, we have deemed it really
a tenet of army structuring and organization that you need to be capable of full
combat operations in order to become a good peacekeeper. That has been a
fundamental tenet, especially in the 1990s where the range of peace support
operations has broadened to include some very close-to-conflict or conflict
situations. If you are stuck with a person who has been trained to be a
peacekeeper and the situation escalates, you create a lot of risk for that
individual, and certainly risk to the nation that the task will not be
performed. Therefore, we need to have that capability. Our combat capability is
what gives us our expertise on peace support operations. That is generally the
way we view that relationship.
Again, there are some specific tasks, some forms of peace support operations,
such as in chapter 6, manning the Green Line in Cyprus. Some countries did not
take that approach and looked at just training someone to look through
binoculars and report on the situation. That could be done. However, generally
speaking, we have targeted a greater capacity to deploy capable groups of
soldiers with that fundamental war fighting capability.
Your earlier point was whether we have continued our capacity at the higher
level, brigade group level. That is one of the areas where I think, as I have
said, we have degraded our capacity in order to focus our activities in putting
good battle groups out, primarily to the Balkans but to other operations as
well. You can get away with that for a number of years because you are resting
on the incumbent training and expertise of those individuals who have gone
through that training in the past. However, we have now reached the point where
we need to reinvest in that capability to keep it alive, to ensure that we
generate effective forces for our future peace support operations. That is the
area I think you are aiming at. Have I answered your question?
Senator Banks: Yes, thank you.
Senator Cordy: This is a follow-up to comments made earlier by Senators
Forrestall and Meighen related to peacekeeping. Certainly we, as a country, have
an excellent, well-deserved reputation as peacekeepers, and we are committed as
a country to peacekeeping around the world. However, in the past number of years
it seems that interventions have become very much long-term interventions, and
situations are not always ones in which we would desire that our military be
involved. Senator Forrestall talked about Kosovo and Bosnia. You mentioned the
follow-up, that the military has learned that there is a follow-up when the
personnel return back to Canada. How has the change in peacekeeping affected the
budget of the Canadian military?
Col. Peters: Certainly it has been one of those tasks that we have had to
assign resources to, but again, it is one of the missions that had been assigned
to us and therefore we have to follow through on that.
In the army budget, for instance, much of our training for combat operations
again applies to the preparation for peace support operations. When peace
support operations put so much pressure on the army budget that we can no longer
cope, then we have received infusions of resources from the department in order
to deal with that overhead. Therefore where additional costs could be reasonably
ascribed to certain peacekeeping operations, then we have been reimbursed, by
and large, for those.
In that sense, the impact has been less on the army than you might have
suspected. Of course, internally the department has to find those resources from
somewhere. If not from government, then from other programs within the
department. Broadly, it still affects, certainly, the departmental program,
although it is limited on the army because of that payback, if you will.
Senator Cordy: Thank you.
Senator Pépin: I would like to come back to a question raised earlier by
one of my colleagues with respect to...
... post-traumatic stress syndrome. You said that you realize that work needs to
be done but that you do not have any immediate plan to act or to correct the
situation. You do not have any statistics.
On the other hand, I think it is a major problem. There were two reports or
studies done about all the problems that military families are going through.
There was one by Professor Erickson and another by Senator Cohen in June.
If you know the situation, is it because you do not have any statistics that you
do not act?
Col. Peters: I am sorry, I did not express myself very well in my earlier
remarks. I was purely relating to the question of drugs and alcohol. Certainly
post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a current area of concern to which
we are applying resources. A study has been initiated on the medical side in
order to compile our combined experience, which is not altogether clear, as you
understand, between PTSD and those stress-related injuries that are somewhat
less than that but still of concern. That study has been initiated and we expect
it to collect the statistics in order that we might have a better idea of the
nature and extent of our problem.
We have an idea of what our current centres have looked at in terms of numbers
of patients, but it is difficult to draw conclusions because we do not know how
many people have actually been treated. However, I would very much reinforce my
statement that this is an area on which we are working a great deal, both from
the medical side and on the follow-up, personnel side after medical activity has
Senator Pépin: In another connection, you referred to future challenges
and the considerable challenges the Armed Forces will be facing. You say that
NATO has adopted a vision of future conflict that consists of two
"views". View 1 is the more conventional contest of wills between
nations, and View 2 involves computer network attacks, biological and chemical
weapons and terrorist activity in urban areas. You say that you need to design
capabilities that can respond to threats in these areas. Has that work already
begun? One does indeed have the feeling that these kinds of activities
increasingly pose a direct threat.
Col. Peters: Again, the army is not the sole organization involved. We
have an organization in Kingston called the Director, Land Strategic Concepts
that has the responsibility to look far into the future to determine what type
of environment we would face 10 to 20 years in the future. They have done a
number of studies over the past three years to determine some of the likely
characteristics of that environment. It is very difficult to predict what will
be there, but we can draw some conclusions over the development of current
trends, plus the additional threats that could face us in the future. That is
what I am saying. Very generally, right now we are looking at how the army would
contribute to a capability to address those threats. You have heard some of
them. One example would be the nuclear, biological and chemical defence
capability in the reserves. The computer network attack would be more in the
joint force area, for which we are not responsible.
We are certainly concerned about the future of urban operations as our potential
opponents look to avoid the strength of western armies on the conventional
battlefield and seek to hole up in urban areas and conduct operations there
where our advantage would be much less pronounced.We are certainly looking in
those areas. I could point to several examples where we have started moving
toward that in our organization, but much of it still is in the realm of study
Senator Atkins: Colonel, you referred to battle groups. That is a concept
that was developed in the United States. Is the Canadian model the same as the
Col. Peters: No. Our model is broader than that of the United States.
"Battle group" is a commonly accepted NATO term. There are
similarities, but I could not tell you the latest American doctrinal
consideration of battle group. The term has been in use for a long time in
Canadian doctrine. It is one that still expresses the idea that we mix
organizations - infantry, armour, engineer and artillery - in order to produce
effects on the battlefield, which we have done since the Second World War. It is
merely a different term that is being applied to that concept, that
Senator Atkins: At Fort Benning, for instance, they have the jump school
and the infantry school. There was a serious amount of interchange with Canada
so that Canadian servicemen could go down there and train in these facilities.
Is that still taking place in different institutions?
Col. Peters: Yes, it certainly is. Relatively speaking, we have even
increased our focus on the American army and its activities. We have always had
a fairly robust exchange and liaison program, whereby we have large number of
officers serving with all of the major schools in the United States and with
some of the headquarters in order to gain that experience of what is the world
leader in army developments. That is very important to us.
We have come under some pressure in terms of costs and relative areas of effort,
but that is not an area that has not suffered, generally. We have retained that
as a priority.
Senator Atkins: Further to that, do the Americans give us access to any
advancements they have made in terms of the equipment that they are developing,
so that we have some idea of what is going on?
Col. Peters: We have a very close relationship with the Americans. We
will never know everything the Americans know, of course. They will share
information as they see fit. Ultimately, however, it is in their best interest
to see an effective Canadian army.
Remember that in some ways we have been in the forefront of developing some
capabilities that we have passed to the Americans. It is not entirely a one-way
street, although certainly the effort that they put into research and
development far exceeds our own.
The light armour vehicle, the LAV3, which we developed and are implementing, was
also selected for the American army brigade combat team concept. Thus we have
managed to insert our own contribution to the process.
Senator Atkins: Are they sending any troops here for training or any
Col. Peters: Yes, they do from time to time, for the variety and use of
training areas. That is still done. We are relying on some of their
In the fall, in Gagetown, we will be conducting an exercise with some of their
measurement tools to test the capabilities of our LAV3 at a more rigorous
setting. They will use that data, of course, for their own purposes. Thus, there
is a significant deal of coordination and mutual assistance that goes on.
Senator Atkins: You see that as a good thing?
Col. Peters: Absolutely. This is an area where the army can get
significant bang for the buck. We can piggyback on the efforts of others in
order to improve our own approach to force development and capabilities.
The Chairman: Colonel, I have a supplementary question to that of Senator
Forrestall during the discussion of problems of operational tempo. Specifically,
how many soldiers does it take to sustain a battle group overseas indefinitely?
If you have 1,250 soldiers in a battle group, how many soldiers are required to
keep that battle group there on a permanent basis?
Col. Peters: Basically, 6,250. It takes four plus one equals five. In
other words, we would have four times that force resident in Canada, plus the
force itself. That is how we would measure our capability.
The Chairman: If those troops are going over for six months at a time,
and there are four here for each of them, could you briefly describe to the
committee what the four different phases are while they are back here?
Col. Peters: Broadly, we have a three-phase cycle of preparation for
deployment, the deployment itself, and then reconstitution after the deployment.
This is described in much more detail in some of our plans.
However, broadly speaking, we have a period in which we need to collect the
people for that rotation and give them the additional training required, and the
theatre-mission-specific training that is required to deploy. That is where they
would receive their reservist augmentees and perhaps additional capabilities
from across the army. They then would deploy on the operation itself. When they
come back, they would reconstitute in order to spend some time with their
families and not rotate immediately again. As well, they would be required to do
some taskings in order to support those other groups that are preparing and are
actually on operations. They would then be back into the window again for
preparing for the next operation. That is broadly the way we would see the
Those pieces of the cycle would roughly be a year in length. In other words,
each person has roughly two years between rotations abroad. That is the intent.
Senator Meighan: Could I clarify that for my understanding? There are two
years between foreign deployments? Is that what happens now, or is that what you
would like to see?
The Chairman: I think he was describing the theoretical model, but in
some cases we have heard that that does not happen with all the folks.
Col. Peters: That is exactly right.
Senator Banks: The number was 6,250, correct?
Col. Peters: That is correct. We need 6,250 people to sustain 1,250.
The Chairman: Four are needed in Canada for each one overseas,
Colonel, your presentation has been very helpful. I would like to thank you very
much on behalf of the committee. We look forward to having you back before us
again before long. Thank you very much.
Col. Peters: Thank you sir. It was my pleasure.
The Chairman: Colleagues, we have before us Colonel Hines. Colonel Hines,
for those of you who can decode what he has on his chest, has a very broad
military experience, having served in the army, navy and air force. In 1971, he
joined the militia as a gunner with the 56th Field Regiment Royal Canadian
Artillery in Brantford, Ontario. As part of the regular force, he served as a
maritime surface and subsurface officer in Halifax and later underwent submarine
training in England.
After furthering his education, he was assigned to communications and served in
a number of posts including Anchorage, Alaska and Baden, Germany. In September
1990, as part of Canada's commitment to the Gulf War, he was appointed commander
of the communication unit that deployed to Doha, Qatar, with the Canadian Air
Task Group, Middle East.
After serving as the Deputy Director, Intelligence, Security and Operations
Automation, he was posted to headquarters of the Peace Stabilization Force in
Bosnia-Herzegovina. Upon returning to Canada, he was posted to Air Staff in
Colonel Hines will now give us an overview of the air force, its current
capabilities and future challenges. Welcome.
Colonel A. Glynne Hines, Director of Air Programs, Chief of the Air Staff:
It is my pleasure, on behalf of Lieutenant-General Lloyd Campbell, the Commander
of Air Command and the Chief of the Air Staff, to provide you this afternoon
with a brief overview and insight into Canada's air force.
Our Air Force is not large by world standards, particularly when compared to
nations such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France; however, it is
very capable, and above all, relevant to Canada's foreign and domestic policies.
We have, over the course of the past decade, rationalized, restructured and
reorganized as both an air force and as part of the larger Department of
National Defence and Canadian Forces. The Air Force of today is substantially
different to the one that you would have seen ten years ago, and will continue
to evolve as we face the challenges and opportunities presented in the 21st
century. As I will explain this afternoon, Canada possesses general purpose air
forces that are capable of working independently or as part of larger national
or international forces.
In my briefing this afternoon I will concentrate on three areas: first, I will
describe today's air force with reference to how we arrived at the organization,
structure and resources that we have today; second, I will describe our
operational commitments, both at home and abroad; third, I will offer some
insight into some of the challenges that will be faced by your air force in the
years to come.
The organizational focus of Canada's air force is Air Command. Formed in
September, 1975, it was a recognizable successor to the Royal Canadian Air
Force, RCAF, which, along with the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Armed
Forces, ceased to exist as a separate service on February 1, 1968, under
provisions of Canadian Forces unification.
Over the years, the structure of Air Command has evolved, with the latest and
most significant change occurring in 1997. In that year, Air Command's four
operational groups - Fighter Group, Air Transport Group, Maritime Air Group and
10 Tactical Air Group - were combined into the formation called 1Canadian Air
Division. At same time, Air Command Headquarters in Winnipeg was disbanded and
the responsibility for the strategic direction of the air force was assigned to
the newly formed Chief of the Air Staff, NDHQ, Ottawa.
The Chief of the Air Staff acts as both the advisor to the Chief of Defence on
air force issues and as the Commander of Air Command. The operational command of
the air force rests with the Commander of 1Canadian Air Division, Winnipeg.
Tactical command is vested in the 13 Wings that comprise 1 Canadian Air
Division. Canadian NORAD Region Headquarters is integrated into the headquarters
in Winnipeg. The Commander of 1 Canadian Air Division also commands the Canadian
The Air Staff, commanded by Lt.-Gen. Campbell, is organized into functional
groups responsible for force development, strategic planning, operational
research, operational requirements, information management, force employment,
personnel, training, flight safety, business management and public affairs. As
the headquarters staff, we provide Lt.-Gen. Campbell with advice on all matters
pertaining to the air force and we provide input to the rest of NDHQ on air
The 1994 Defence white paper called for the Canadian Forces to maintain
multipurpose, combat capable forces to accomplish a wide variety of domestic and
foreign tasks. In the case of the air force, principally these tasks include
monitoring and controlling Canada's territory, airspace and Maritime areas of
jurisdiction, assisting other government departments in areas such as fisheries,
drugs, disaster responses and environmental protection. Of course, the air
force, as we hear on a day-to-day basis, does a great deal of work associated
with search and rescue across the nation. In fact, a day seldom goes by that our
search and rescue forces are not called upon to respond to real emergencies,
whether on land, off the coast or over the Great Lakes.
Internationally, commitments include the continental air defence
responsibilities that we share with our colleagues in the U.S., as part of
NORAD, as well as other maritime air cooperation search and rescue and airlift
arrangements with the Americans. In addition, there is a variety of
international tasks in the white paper that deal with overseas commitments and
Unquestionably, over the past decade, we have been asked to respond to the kinds
of capabilities that the white paper demands. Although the Canadian Forces have
not collectively deployed tens of thousands of people abroad at any one time,
nor has the air force deployed an entire wing of fighters, we have been where
required when required. For example, in the case of Operation Allied Force, the
air force deployed an appropriately sized force to meet NATO's requirements for
coalition combat power. In the Gulf War, 1990-91, we deployed about 28 aircraft.
The kinds of operations that we have performed with Sea Kings on navy ships in
the Arabian Gulf, with the Hercules doing airlift around the world, Griffon
helicopters in Bosnia and Kosovo and our Aurora maritime aircraft, all represent
parts of that multi-purpose combat capability espoused by the white paper.
With this introduction as a backdrop, I would like to move to my three basic
points, beginning with today's air force. As I indicated in the overview, the
mission of Air Command is to generate and maintain combat capable, multipurpose
air forces to meet Canada's defence objectives. The operative phrase here is, of
course, combat capable. While we conduct search and rescue, humanitarian
assistance, VIP transport and air demonstration, our focus is to conduct and
support combat operations as an instrument of Canadian government policy.
Our five major roles are: to defend Canadian sovereignty; contribute, in
conjunction with the U.S, to the defence of North America; perform a wide range
of domestic tasks; search and rescue; provide aid to civil authorities; deploy
overseas in support of government policy; and, in conjunction with our allies,
conduct combat operations as directed. As you can well imagine, such a wide
diversity of tasks places an enormous demand on personnel and resources. Today's
air force team is a blend of well-trained and motivated civilian and military
professionals, working with industry and other government departments and
dedicated to providing cost-effective aerospace power that is responsive to the
needs of the Canadian government. To this end, we invest in our people,
equipment and capability to ensure that we can get the job done as required by
the white paper. I have included, as Exhibit 1, a graphic of air force
deployments since 1999. You will note the diversity of our tasks and of the
regions to which we deployed troops and conducted operations. In the past two
years, all of our capabilities have been exercised in real-life operations
around the world.
Exhibit 2 includes a map of Canada illustrating the national lay-down of our Air
Force. You will note that we have operational locations from coast to coast and
well into the Arctic. With reference to Exhibit 2 and starting from west to
east, I would like to provide you with a snapshot of what we have at each
location. I will leave our northern locations to the end, and then follow up
with a description of various aircraft that we operate.
Starting with 19 Wing in Comox, we have a base with approximately 1,200 military
and 300 civilians conducting two critical national missions. A squadron of CP
140 Aurora maritime patrol aircraft is available to conduct around-the-clock
aerial surveillance of Canada's west coast, including a large section of the
Pacific Ocean, our coastal approaches and the inland passage. This mission is
conducted in direct support of the navy and, in fact, the assets are under the
operational control of the commander of MARPAC.
In addition to patrols in support of the navy, Comox-based aircraft also support
the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the RCMP and Citizenship and Immigration
Canada, conducting patrols aimed at protecting Canadian sovereignty and
enforcing Canadian laws. You are undoubtedly aware of the role played by the
Auroras in detecting and localizing vessels transporting illegal migrants, drug
smugglers, illegal fishers and polluters. While Auroras cannot stop vessels,
they can contribute to the legal requirement of "hot pursuit" and can
localize vessels to be intercepted by surface vessels.
In addition to being the west coast maritime patrol base, Comox is also home to
a search and rescue squadron currently flying Buffalo fixed-wing aircraft and
Labrador helicopters, soon to be replaced by the Cormorant. This squadron
specializes in maritime, coastal and mountain SAR, with specialist crews and
flying aircraft especially suited for this demanding role.
At Pat Bay airport near Victoria, we have a helicopter squadron flying Sea Kings
as an integral part of the navy on the west coast. The five aircraft operating
from Pat Bay spend most of their time onboard west coast ships deployed wherever
the Maritime Commander sees fit to dispatch his fleet. Again, while part of the
air force, these crews and aircraft are under the operational control of the
navy and form an integral part of a ship's weapons system. The Sea King
community represents one of the tightest knit and most operationally deployed
part of the air force for the past quarter of a century.
Moving inland from the west coast, we come to 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta. Cold
Lake is home to 2,280 military and up to 430 civilian employees, depending on
the season. 4 Wing is the backbone of Canada's fighter force, being the home of
two Tactical Fighter Squadrons, the Operational Training Unit, the Air Weapons
Range and the Primrose Lake Evaluation Range. Fighter aircraft in Cold Lake are
on standby to conduct defence of North America interception missions for NORAD
and other sovereignty missions, and to deploy worldwide as a part of a coalition
air task force. CF-18s regularly deploy to bases on the coasts, to the U.S. and
to the Arctic in response to potential military threats or illegal activities.
In Cold Lake, a cadre of contractors from Bombardier supports the military and
civilian staffs. Cold Lake is also home to the Aerospace Engineering and Test
Establishment, a unit that provides technical expertise, develops modifications
and new subsystem designs and conducts trials on aircraft either in the CF
inventory or about to become part of the inventory. Finally, Cold Lake is home
to one of the two deployable tactical air defence radar squadrons that serve to
augment NORAD radar coverage or are available to deploy in support of NATO or
other coalition operations requiring aerial surveillance.
Continuing our trek east, we reach Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, home of 15 Wing and
the centre of pilot training for the air force. Moose Jaw is home to
approximately 800 military and 200 civilian employees and more and 300
contractors. Under the NATO Flying Training in Canada program, or NFTC contract,
a consortium led by Bombardier provides flying training for CF and a number of
allied nation pilots. Pilot candidates arrive in Moose Jaw having undergone
selection in Portage-la-Prairie, or one of several civilian institutes, and
proceed through training on the contractor-owned Harvard II turbo-prop and Hawk
jet trainer. Fighter candidates then proceed to Cold Lake, while helicopter and
multi-engine fixed-wing pilots proceed to Portage-la-Prairie for training in
appropriate aircraft before proceeding to their respective operational training
units to fly their selected aircraft.
NFTC is a Canadian success story and, in spite of some initial growing pains, is
producing excellent results and is now being considered by other nations. The
introduction of the NFTC as a service contract where the contractor provides the
aircraft has resulted in the elimination of approximately 100 Tutor aircraft
from the training inventory, with the associated reduction in demand on national
procurement and the capital program. Moose Jaw is also home to the famous
Snowbirds aerobatic display team who continue to fly the Tutors.
Moving into Manitoba, we arrive at Winnipeg, home of 17 Wing and 1 Canadian Air
Division Headquarters. Winnipeg is home to approximately 2,800 air force members
and civilian employees, 17 Wing includes a CC130 Hercules Squadron tasked to
provide search and rescue services in central Canada and the north, and also to
provide airlift and limited tactical aerial refuelling in support of CF
deployments worldwide. A small squadron of highly modified de Havilland D-8s
operates in support of navigator training in Winnipeg as well.
On the subject of schools, 17 Wing is home to several of the core air force
training institutes, including the School of Aerospace Studies, the Navigation
School, the School of Meteorology and the School of Aerospace Medicine, just to
mention a few.
Entering Ontario, we reach CFB Borden, near Barrie, which is home to 16 Wing.
This organization exercises command over most of other remaining air force
schools, including the School of Aerospace Technology and Engineering and the
air force Leadership and Professional Development Centre.
Further east into Ontario is 8 Wing at Trenton. Just as 4 Wing is the backbone
of the fighter capability, 8 Wing is the centre of air mobility for Canadian
Forces. Trenton is home to approximately 2,500 air force members and 400
civilian employees. With the bulk of the CC130 Hercules fleet and all of the
CC150 Polaris or Airbus fleet, Trenton is key to every major deployment
involving Canadian Forces personnel worldwide.
Strategically located on the shore of Lake Ontario, 8 Wing also provides search
and rescue services in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence River and northern and
eastern Canada using a combination of CC130 Hercules and Labradors, soon to be
replaced by Cormorants. Trenton is also home to a variety of specialized units
including the Air Contingency Capability Centre responsible to plan, prepare and
implement deployments, a deployable radar control and communications squadron
responsible to establish communications and air traffic control facilities at
austere airfields around the world.
Moving to North Bay, we find 22 Wing, home of the Canadian Air Defence Sector of
NORAD. In the underground facilities here, 500 or more air force members and 130
civilian employees conduct the 24/7 air surveillance mission in support of the
defence of North America and Canadian sovereignty. It is in this facility where
the integrated picture of aerospace activities across North America is fused. It
is from here that fighter aircraft are controlled as they intercept military
intruders or detect aircraft conducting illegal activities. The aging equipment
is due to be replaced over the next several years and its functions relocated to
a new building, enabling the closure of the underground complex.
To some degree, as we move east of Ontario, the tactical level of the Air Force
becomes a mirror image of the West. Bagotville, Quebec is home to 3 Wing with
two CF-18 Tactical Fighter Squadrons and a deployable air defence radar
squadron, all fulfilling similar roles to those of 4 Wing. Bagotville is home to
1,500 Air Force members and civilian employees. 3 Wing's focus is obviously on
eastern North America and the Eastern Arctic, but elements also deploy across
Canada and around the world.
As we continue to move east, we reach 14 Wing in Greenwood, Nova Scotia. While
ostensibly filling the same mission as Comox, the operation is significantly
larger because, in addition to having a larger NATO area of responsibility for
maritime surveillance, 14 Wing is also home to the CP140 Aurora Operational
Training Unit, responsible to train maritime crews to operate the aircraft as an
integral part of a maritime weapons system. Operational and flight training for
the Aurora are also conducted here. Additionally, 14 Wing is home to a search
and rescue squadron operating Hercules and Labrador aircraft in the SAR role
previously described. Greenwood is home to approximately 2,100 air force members
and 300 civilian employees.
Continuing south into Halifax, we find 12 Wing Headquarters in Shearwater. As I
indicated earlier, Sea Kings operate from Pat Bay in support of the navy on the
west coast. However, 12 Wing Shearwater is the focal point for all Sea King
operations in Canada. Here we find two operational squadrons and the operational
training unit that takes military helicopter pilots and crews and trains them
for the rigors of Sea King operations with the navy. Sea Kings from Shearwater
support Canada's Atlantic fleet and provide backfill as necessary for the west
coast. Again, just like at Pat Bay, helicopter detachments of aircraft and crews
are attached, under the operational control of the navy for maritime operations
and exercises. Shearwater`s 12 Wing is home to approximately 1,200 air force
members and 100 civilian employees.
Moving further east to Gander, this relatively small operating location is home
to a squadron of Labrador helicopters conducting search and rescue operations in
the Atlantic provinces, with particular emphasis on maritime SAR in the Grand
Banks and Hibernia areas. The Cormorant will soon replace these aircraft when it
enters service over the next two years. Gander is presently home to about 80 air
force member and 70 civilian employees, a number that will likely reduce as the
Cormorant project introduces a new contracted maintenance concept.
Travelling north into Labrador, we find 5 Wing Goose Bay, home of the Allied
Flying Training Centre. With its vast, sparsely populated low-level training
areas, the base is an attractive location for allied deployments. In fact, more
than 8,000 sorties are conducted from Goose Bay annually. Operated under a
unique cost-sharing arrangement, Canada manages a major services contract and
provides services to deployed allied air forces on a cost-shared basis. There
are less than 300 military and DND civilians engaged in managing this
multimillion-dollar, multi-year contract for services and support.
As I indicated when I started this brief look at the air force, I have left the
north until now. Across the north of Canada, we have a string of North Warning
radar sites and fighter aircraft forward operating locations, or FOLs, that
contribute to the NORAD mission. The radar sites are staffed by a small cadre of
contractor employees managed from offices in North Bay and Ottawa. The radars
detect intruders and feed data directly into the complex in North Bay. They also
house the communications equipment through which interceptors are controlled.
No tour de force would be complete without mentioning the significant presence
of our air force on army bases. Headquartered in Kingston, Ontario, 1 Wing
commands the tactical aviation force that operates the CH146 Griffon helicopter,
a highly modified version of the Bell 412. Kingston`s 1 Wing has squadrons with
1 Brigade in Edmonton, 2 Brigade in Petawawa, 5 Brigade in Valcartier and the
Combat Training Centre in Gagetown. Additionally, two Air Reserve Squadrons in
Borden and St. Hubert and an Air Reserve Flight in Edmonton augment the tactical
aviation force generation capability. The tactical aviation squadrons are an
essential part of the army, forming one of the manoeuvre units within each
brigade. On a day-to-day basis, just like the Aurora and Sea King are part our
navy, the Griffons are an integral part of Canada's army.
Referring back to Exhibit 1, I would like to walk through some of our
international deployments of late. You are all familiar with the CF's
contribution of forces in Bosnia-Herzegovina as part of Op. Palladium. In
addition to the regular airlift that transpires using Hercules and Airbus
aircraft, Canada contributes eight Griffons as part of the NATO Aviation Element
within the stabilization force. As one of the few fleets capable of operating at
night in instrument conditions, these aircraft provide critical reconnaissance
and airlift support within the Canadian area of responsibility and across the
theatre of operations.
Our participation in Operation Allied Force, the NATO air campaign over Kosovo,
is a most recent example of Canadian Forces CF-18 deployments as part of a
coalition air force. Deployed in advance of the air campaign and armed with a
variety of air-to-ground weapons, we made a significant contribution to the NATO
campaign in Kosovo.
Op. Toucan, our deployment to East Timor in 1999, is a good example of support
to a UN mission. Two Hercules and one Airbus provided transport of personnel and
equipment to Australia, while Sea Kings embarked on board HMCS Protecteur
provided shoreline reconnaissance and local transportation. The recently
completed mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea demanded Airbus and Hercules support
to sustain Canada's troops committed to this important mission.
As mandated by Canada's defence plan, the air force maintains aircraft and
people at a variety of readiness levels to respond in times of tension or crisis
around the world. For example, four CF-18s are on alert to respond immediately
to national or NORAD requirements to defend North America, with an additional
six to be made available at short notice. Twelve CF-18s are designated as our
contribution to NATO's Rapid Reaction Force (Air), with an additional 12
assigned at longer notice for NATO's main contingency force.
One Sea King is always dedicated to NATO's Standing Naval Force Atlantic, while
as many as ten more are earmarked for NATO or the UN at readiness levels varying
from 10 to 60 days. One Aurora is on constant standby on each coast to respond
to the needs of the associated navy fleet commanders, and two Auroras are also
committed, at 21 days' notice, to respond to NATO missions, followed by an
additional four at 90 days' notice to contribute to NATO's main contingency
Three Griffons are on immediate notice to support internal security operations,
while each army area retains an aircraft on eight hours' notice to respond to
domestic requirements. We have eight Griffons that are dedicated to the UN
Standby Force of 30 days' notice to move, while an entire doctrinal squadron of
24 aircraft is dedicated, at 90 days' notice, in support of NATO's main
Airbus and Hercules aircraft are maintained on a variety of readiness levels,
ready to respond to transport the troops in times of tension or emergency. Their
readiness levels vary, depending on the troops that they need to transport.
Finally, as I indicated for search and rescue, we maintain rapid reaction search
and rescue forces on two hours' notice in three search and rescue regions. This
includes both fixed-wing search and rescue and rotary-wing aircraft operating
from the five SAR bases. In recent years, our CF SAR resources have averaged
over 8,000 rescues per year, and in 2000 alone over 5,000 lives were saved as a
result of CF SAR intervention.
I have touched on where we operate in Canada and around the world. I would like
to give you a brief summary of standing commitments, should we be called upon.
Senator Stollery: On a point of information, in relation to the Griffon
helicopters. I am looking at the DND state of current capital stock chart that
we discussed earlier, and I do not see those aircraft on there. I see everything
here but Griffon. I keep looking at it to see how old these things are. Does
that aircraft have another name?
Col. Hines: I am not familiar with the chart to which you refer.
Senator Stollery: I do not see anything here that tells me how old they
Col. Hines: The aircraft is less than 10 years old.
Senator Stollery: That is fine, but it is not on here. I do not see it on
Col. Hines: Top left, in the yellow circle, blue dot.
Senator Stollery: Thank you.
Col. Hines: As I indicated earlier, the defence of North America mission
is vested in our resources committed to NORAD. In addition to the people that we
have working on the NORAD complex in Colorado, this includes the Canadian NORAD
Region Headquarters staff in Winnipeg, the fighter squadrons and mobile radar
squadrons in Cold Lake and Bagotville, the operations and technical staff
conducting surveillance and control operations from North Bay and the contracted
radar support in the Arctic. While today's "low threat" environment
only warrants an airborne response within an hour of detection, in times of
escalating threat, such as the case of Northern Denial last year, we are capable
of having fighters airborne within minutes of an alert being sounded.
The national sovereignty mission consists of air missions from the armed defence
of North America, at one end of the spectrum, to routine surveillance missions
off the coast or in the Arctic. All types of CF aircraft conduct these missions.
With all of these commitments, both routine and in times of tension, and given
our footprint across Canada, there is often a misunderstanding of how big our
air force is in terms of aircraft fleet sizes. As the media reported earlier
this year, we continue to reduce the number of aircraft that we hold, retaining
only those fleets that are necessary to support those commitments at home and
abroad that I have just described.
Exhibit 3 shows our fleet sizes over the past few years and the projections for
the near future. As you will note, we are in the process of eliminating
"non-core" fleets and reducing the number of aircraft in our core
fleets to the minimum required to conduct operations and meet our commitments.
This fleet rationalization will reduce our operating costs and contribute to our
ability to recapitalize our core capabilities for the future. In some cases
capabilities will be eliminated, while in others we will contract for services
previously performed in-house, such as pilot training and the NATO Flying
Training in Canada program that I just described.
On the actual equipment front there is both good news and bad news. The bad news
is that many aircraft in our fleets are aging. Some of them will time expire
around the 2012-2017 time frame, and if we replace these fleets, or if we
replace the capabilities that they represent, it will cost Canadians a great
deal of money at a time when there will continue to be other fiscal pressures.
As a force development strategy, we really do not think about replacing just one
platform with another platform that looks a lot the same. It might be something
quite different that provides us with that same capability that we require. This
is the basis of our capability-based planning efforts that were described by
Cmdre. McNeil this morning.
On the good news side, from an air force perspective, there is much to be
First, of course, the government's agreement and approval of the contract to
modernize 80 of our CF-18s, which will bring these systems up to world class
standards. It is an excellent aircraft today, but we want to maintain it that
way. It needs the kind of investment that we have planned over the next five
The same is the case for the CP140 Aurora. We have a similar modernization
program underway to update the sensors and the communications systems to ensure
that this, our only strategic reconnaissance platform, remains capable well into
the future. Mobility, as you have heard, is a key factor in our meeting defence
commitments worldwide. We have completed the avionics upgrades to the Hercules
fleet and are now studying options to include a truly strategic airlift
capability for Canada over the next several years.
Search and rescue, as I mentioned earlier, is a major activity assigned to the
Air Force. Later this year, we will take delivery of the 15 new Cormorant
(CH149) search and rescue helicopters that will replace our aging Labradors. It
is a first-class aircraft and there is no doubt that it will serve Canada and
Canadians very well.
In the maritime helicopter area, the outlook is also positive. The government's
approval of the MHP project last year was welcome news, and we are more
confident that, despite the questions that exist out there about the
requirements analysis and the acquisition processes, we are embarked on a path
that will deliver us an excellent aircraft to replace the Sea King.
In the call letter for this briefing we were asked to identify some of the
challenges that we in the air force will face over the next few years. Our
challenges are not unlike those that you have already heard from the army and
the navy. After a decade of reductions and restructure, and an improving
national economy, we are faced with increasing difficulty in recruiting and
retaining the people that are the essence of the air force. While much has been
made of our shortage of pilots, for example, similar problems exist in the
technical occupations, particularly in the information technology field. Simply
put, we are losing people in certain areas faster than we can produce them. It
is not because of the large degree of unhappiness around the air force, or the
CF for that matter, but it has much to do with the fact that there is a
tremendous demand out there for the kinds of people that we attract in the first
place, and ultimately produce through our training.
Why people leave the air force or the Canadian Forces is indeed a complex issue.
This situation is being faced by every one of our allies, and when we meet with
them on a regular basis, whether it is with the U.S., the U.K., or our European
allies, they express the same problems. They are all in the same situation and
they have tremendous shortfalls of pilots and other trained personnel, and they
need to come up with a variety of incentives to keep people in their
There are no practical, short-term fixes. Our human resources strategy must
focus on long-term, sustainable development of people who want to be part of the
air force and the Canadian Forces.
A second challenge is with the balance that must exist between the CF's need to
change, to position ourselves for the future and the operational imperatives
that affect our day-to-day lives. The Defence plan calls these the change and
sustain agenda. The balance that must be achieved is more than merely a balance
between annual operating budgets and capital acquisition; it is a change in
philosophy that embodies the revolution in military affairs and capability-based
planning that you heard about earlier today. This will change the manner in
which military operations are planned and conducted, principally as a result of
the explosion of information technology.
Information technology is providing commanders with more information faster than
ever before. Quicker decisions may be possible based on more reliable
information. In fact, attacks may be less lethal, depending on the nature of the
targets and the desired outcome.
Similarly, we become more susceptible to attacks against our command and control
and communications infrastructure, leaving us vulnerable to cyber-terrorism and
attacks by non-state actors, as you heard in the discussions earlier today on
the asymmetric threat.
The revolution in military affairs, or RMA as it was discussed earlier today, is
contributing to our overall assessment of capabilities. In the past, the air
force, much like the army and the navy, was organized and equipped very much
along unit and equipment lines. That is to say that our focus was very much
"OPLAN-oriented." During the Cold War, we trained and equipped based
on the OPLANs for the defence of North America or for Europe. Our equipment was
very much selected for the specific task that was called for in the plans. In
fact, we practised to defend and attack specific targets based on our impression
of the enemy's plans.
As a result of the uncertainly created by the end of the Cold War, and the
probability that alliances and threats would change, we shifted our focus from
specific equipment to a more holistic approach that links equipment to
capabilities, and capabilities to probable missions and tasks. Our aerospace
capability framework, for example, will address generic types of air activities
that are likely to warrant a CF response. As a nation, we can determine the
priorities for military action and thus establish which priorities and which
capabilities we need to develop.
In an organization that is technology-dependent, the impact should be obvious.
Major equipment acquisitions do not happen at the drop of a hat. The decisions
made to acquire a fleet and then the maintenance of that fleet for 20 or 30
years have significant implications for the air force. First, we have to have a
better idea of the security environment for the next five to 15 years. Then we
need to make sure that the amalgam of equipment, resources and people will be
able to deliver the required capability when it is first fielded. Finally, the
chosen solution must be open enough to ensure that we have the flexibility to
enhance or modify it as the environment or Canadian priorities change. Our
crystal ball is seldom good enough to predict that far into the future; hence
the need for evolutionary developments and the fielding of capabilities,
something at which we are getting better.
Let me conclude now with some final thoughts with regard to the Air Force. In
our view, it has to be able to respond rapidly, which is what air forces are
about. It has to pursue technological upgrades in a timely manner, because if we
don't, we won't be maintaining relevance in combat areas. We have to maintain
interoperability with our key allies, and in this regard, particularly the
United States. We have to provide support to Canadians. Canadians do expect
something for the $11-12 billion spent every year on the organization. Just
being ready for the next conflict is not enough. As I said in my opening
remarks, where there are tensions - and we can't do everything - we have to give
precedence to quality over quantity in this environment in which we live.
Finally, and arguably most importantly, we have to look after our people. They
are Canada's Air Force. With this, I would be happy to answer any questions that
my presentation may have generated.
Senator Forrestall: I have tried unsuccessfully to get answers about Sea
Kings from politicians, soldiers and admirals. Now that we have a submariner
with us, perhaps we can get an answer. The answers have been well hidden, and
you would be the only one with the capability of knowing what is going on.
I have three questions that I would like to put to you. It is my understanding
that at least two of the three major contenders for the maritime helicopter are
not happy with the basic vehicle requirement specifications, and that the
department is in the process of rewriting and, in fact, lowering the basic
vehicle requirement specifications. Can you comment on this? Are we lowering the
basic vehicle requirement spec. for the Sea King?
Col. Hines: Sir, I am not an expert on the maritime helicopter project.
Senator Forrestall: You are a submariner. You are an expert on
Col. Hines: I am not an expert on the maritime helicopter project. I do
know that there is a requirements review under way.
Senator Forrestall: If you are not, I will not pursue my questions,
because they do get a little more technical and touchy than that.
The Chairman: Can I suggest, Senator Forrestall, that you put your
questions on the record and that we ask the department to provide us with a
Senator Forrestall: What for? It is hard enough to get an answer. I want
a spontaneous reply. With all due respect, I would rather hold my questions and
ask the witness when he comes. I put that one on the record and we will leave
that one stand.
Thank you for your presentation. It was excellent.
Senator Atkins: Colonel, when the decision was made for the CF-18, there
was incredible enthusiasm within the air force at the idea that they were
getting that aircraft. I assume there is still that enthusiasm about having that
aircraft as the major fighter aircraft in the air force.
My question is, I have an impression that, while it is a great aircraft, it is a
high maintenance aircraft. Is that true?
Col. Hines: I am not an expert in CF-18 maintenance. However, I can tell
you that all complex fighter aircraft are high maintenance aircraft. The CF-18
does not have a reputation for being a higher maintenance aircraft than
comparable aircraft in use by other militaries. In fact, the aircraft being used
by the Americans, CF-18, was chosen and continues to be a lower maintenance
aircraft than some of the other aircraft that are used, for example, by the U.S.
Air Force. Therefore, the CF-18 is probably on the lower side rather than the
That having been said, our aircraft are aging, and part of the modernization
program that we have embarked upon is to improve the serviceability and
maintainability, as well as improving the weapons for this aircraft.
Senator Atkins: There is nothing that the Americans are coming up with
that is comparable to it, at least at the moment, and that is why we are
committed to the maintenance of the CF-18s down the road?
Col. Hines: Yes. We have committed to the CF-18 upgrade project, the
incremental modernization project that will carry the aircraft out to the
2015-2017 time frame.
During the period between now and then, we will be investigating other
opportunities with our allies to determine what is available out there on the
15-year horizon to replace the capability that is presently being provided by
Senator Atkins: Did you say that we have 80 of them?
Col. Hines: Right now we have 122. We have a financial commitment to
modify, through the incremental modernization program, 80 aircraft. That will be
the end state for the fleet. Eighty CF-18s will be modified.
Senator Atkins: You referred to the fact that one of the difficulties
that the air force is having is that they train pilots and then they are losing
them - primarily, I assume, to the airlines?
Col. Hines: Yes.
Senator Atkins: I know, as a matter of fact, that that is a problem not
just with the RCAF.
Col. Hines: Correct.
Senator Atkins: I know the Americans are losing a number of their class
pilots as well. It seems strange that the airlines keep complaining about the
amount of passenger traffic they have. What is happening in the airline industry
that there is such a demand for pilots?
Having said that, what incentives are there in the air force to keep pilots
after they have been trained?
Col. Hines: Several years ago, a financial incentive program was offered
to the pilots. Some pilots took that incentive and some did not. Those who took
the incentive are still with us, but they will be approaching the end of their
contract period in the next few years.
Senator Atkins: Are the hands of the air force tied in terms of what they
can offer? Do they have any flexibility?
Col. Hines: The air force has to operate within the bounds of the rest of
the Canadian Forces as far as promotions and salary envelopes are concerned. The
pilots get a specialist pay associated with flying, and they get flying pay.
However, it is not always financial issues that make people decide to leave the
service or to stay in.
Senator Atkins: It is the long-term commitment?
Col. Hines: It can be any number of things. Everyone who leaves has a
personal reason for doing so, just as those of us who stay have a personal
reason or reasons. There is no single push or pull factor that applies to
everyone across the board.
Senator Atkins: What is the estimated cost of training a fighter pilot?
Col. Hines: I could only guess on that, although I could find out the
approximate cost. I do not have a good answer to that today.
Senator Atkins: From the airline perspective, it is the natural pull.
Col. Hines: Yes. When the airlines recruit a pilot from the air force,
they are getting someone with maturity, experience and flying hours, developed
in a harsh environment. These are people who have demonstrated leadership
skills. The characteristics the airlines want are the characteristics that we
are producing in our people.
Senator Atkins: Is there any plan for closing Greenwood or changing its
Col. Hines: Not to the best of my knowledge. I have been involved in a
number of reviews over the last little while and discussions about changing the
role of Greenwood or shutting it down have never come up.
Senator Atkins: I ask because Chatham, Summerside and Shearwater in the
Maritimes have taken a hit in terms of air bases.
Senator Meighen: Senator Atkins was asking about the upgrade of the
CF-18. On the DND state of current capital stock chart to which you referred a
moment ago, can you give us an indication of where the blue dot representing
CF-18 might move after refitting?
Col. Hines: The CF-18 will move up and to the left on that chart. I
suggest that it will move up more than it will move to the left, because the air
frame of that aircraft has a more or less fixed life expectancy.
Senator Meighen: Sort of like the Sea King?
Col. Hines: It is due to the different fabrication techniques and the
different materials used. It is much easier to do repairs on a metal aircraft
such as the Sea King than it is on the fibre from which the CF-18 is
constructed. The life expectancy of the airframe on the CF-18, because of the
way it is made, the materials from which it is made and the fabrication
techniques, is less than that of traditional aircraft. On the CF-18, while we
can see the functionality improving significantly due to modifications, i.e.,
that it will go up, but it will not go a long way to the left. It will not
necessarily fall into that yellow circle because the life expectancy is still
relatively fixed in the 2015-2017 time frame.
Senator Banks: Does a pilot's military flying time count toward his
commercial multi-engine licence?
Col. Hines: He will be credited, depending upon what type of licence he
seeks. If he seeks an air transport rating, for example, and he passes his tests
and has the appropriate military multi-engine flying time, yes, it will be
credited toward that. If an airline were looking for someone with 2,000 hours of
multi-engine time and he had done 2,000 hours of multi-engine time while in the
Canadian Forces, it would count towards that, yes.
Senator Wiebe: It costs a tremendous amount of money to train a pilot. A
big part of that is in the flying hours, and it costs a lot of money to get
those hours in.
When a pilot enlists, does he sign up to stay with the air force for any
specified period of time? Once he gets his qualifications to fly multi-wing, can
he automatically resign and go on to something else or does the air force have
the opportunity to use his talents for a certain period of time?
Col. Hines: There is a period of obligatory service following the
completion of pilot training. That period, if memory serves me correctly, is
Senator Wiebe: That is good news. I think the airlines are getting a free
ride. As I said, it costs a lot of money to train pilots and they can certainly
add the salary incentive because they do not have the cost of training. I
imagine a big part of the problem is that baby boomer pilots are now retiring.
This is creating quite a demand for pilots, and not only in the air force.
Col. Hines: As I indicated in my presentation, this is a problem
experienced in Europe, the U.S. and Australia. The aging commercial pilot
population is creating a huge sinkhole for anybody who wants to be a commercial
pilot and has all the training qualifications.
Senator Wiebe: I know that our air force, much more than the other two
services, shares a lot of knowledge, time and work with the U.S. Of the 13,500
regular force people, how many would be stationed in the U.S.?
Col. Hines: My best estimate would be about 200 stationed in the U.S., of
the air force.
Senator Wiebe: How many of those would be involved with NORAD?
Col. Hines: The bulk of those would be with NORAD.
Senator Wiebe: Do we have many American personnel stationed here in
Col. Hines: Are you asking about NORAD or the entire U.S. air force?
Senator Wiebe: The entire U.S. air force.
Col. Hines: From the entire U.S. air force there would be in the
neighbourhood of 100 to 150.
Senator Wiebe: Are there many Canadians in Alaska?
Col. Hines: Yes, there are. I am not sure what the current number is. We
have Canadians in the AWACs in Alaska and with the Alaska NORAD region. I myself
spent some time there with the Alaska NORAD region.
Senator Wiebe: I notice that the civilian force is about 300 personnel
larger than the reserve force. Of the three sections of the air force, the air
force seems to have the lowest amount of reserve force members. Could you
Col. Hines: I cannot explain why we have the lowest. With 13,000 members
in the air force, we have a relatively small portion of the Canadian Forces. Our
air reserve is not in formed units, with the exception of the two helicopter
squadrons, the helicopter flight in Edmonton and the Dash 8s in Winnipeg. We do
not have a footprint across the country like the militia has.
Our air reserve members are integrated into the wings across the country. The
largest number of our members are employed on real part-time duty doing regular
Senator Wiebe: They would be basically full-time individuals, but classed
Col. Hines: No, they would be doing part-time work on a base. In a
commercial enterprise there could be full-time employees and part-time
employees. We have a similar set up.
We have reserve flights at all the bases across the country. Most of the wings
have a number of reservists who are working the equivalent of 8 days to 10 days
Senator Wiebe: I notice that the U.S. has a fairly substantial amount of
reservists working within the air force, especially in the flying capabilities.
Is the cost part of the reason that we do not do that?
Col. Hines: We traditionally have two types of air reserve pilots in the
air force. The first type are those who join to be air reserve pilots. They tend
to enter into the tactical community either through Saint-Hubert, Edmonton or
Borden. They fly helicopter. Basically, they are grown from the bottom up.
The other type of air reserve pilot is the ex-regular force pilot who, for
whatever reason, chooses to leave the air force, but still wants to keep his
hand in. Those pilots will fly part-time for the air force, and may be pursuing
a flying career with someone like Air Canada.
We have quite a number of pilots in the air reserve who are being employed as
pilots on a regular basis, be it in the tactical aviation world or carrying on
flying whatever they were flying when they retired. There is no shortage of air
reserve pilots. We have air reserve pilots flying the Sea King, for example.
Senator Wiebe: My final question may be an unfair question to you, but of
course my heart is with number 2 wing, the Snowbirds out of Moose Jaw. They are
still flying the Tutor, and the Tutor has been retired. Given that a new
training base has been established, will they be mothballing enough of those
Tutors to keep the Snowbirds flying for the next 20 years, or will we see an
eventual change in the Snowbirds?
Col. Hines: Currently, we are investigating other options to provide an
aerial display capability for Canada, which could include anything from the
Snowbirds continuing with the present airframe. That is one extreme. The other
extreme is any arrangement of contracted support. That does that not mean
contracted flying by contractors; it would mean a contractor-furnished aircraft,
which would be flown by military pilots. Those are the two ends of the spectrum.
Senator Wiebe: Are you also looking at sponsorship?
Col. Hines: We are not looking at that to the best of my knowledge.
Currently, we are looking at a way to continue the Canadian aerial display
capability that we have in the Snowbirds today, out beyond the next five years.
Senator Wiebe: The Snowbirds, by the way, are recognized world-wide, as
are our RCMP. I hope that a lot of emphasis is placed in maintaining that
What percentage of Canadians, vis-à-vis NATO pilots, are trained at CFB Moose
Col. Hines: Right off the top of my head, I could not tell you. I could
find out the number, recognizing that the NATO flying training in Canada has
only been running for a relatively short period of time. We have not only NATO
people, but also pilots from Singapore who are being trained here. It is a
growing venture. I could get those numbers.
Senator Wiebe: That would be appreciated.
Senator Banks: What kind of helicopter is the CF-124?
Col. Hines: The CF-124 is the Sea King.
Senator Banks: What is the CF-149?
Col. Hines: The Cormorant.
Senator Banks: Thank you. Someone, not that long ago, thought that we
needed 122 CF-18s?
Col. Hines: Yes, sir.
Senator Banks: We will have a fleet, once they are upgraded, of 80
CF-18s. That is a reduction of more than one-third. What happened?
Col. Hines: A number of things have happened. We no longer have troops
stationed at Baden, in Germany. We do not have the three squadrons of fighter
aircraft that were in Baden. The demands by NATO have changed. At the time that
we bought the CF-18, we were in the midst of the Cold War. We had a commitment
of so many aircraft on the ground in Europe, and so many aircraft with a flyover
capability. That requirement on NATO's behalf has diminished, so we do not need
as many there.
As well, we have been using the CF-18 as a training aircraft. When pilots came
off the Tutor in Moose Jaw, they proceeded to Cold Lake and did flying training
on the CF-18. We will continue to have the operational training unit in Cold
Lake, but there will be an advanced flying training conducted on the Hawk
aircraft. The fighter pilot candidates leaving Moose Jaw will carry on with
their basic fighter training with advanced training on the Hawk, prior to
transitioning to the CF-18. There is less of a requirement for the CF-18s.
The Chairman: If I made add as a footnote, it was a recommendation of the
joint committee in 1994 that the number of CF-18s be reduced.
Senator Forrestall: Keep Shearwater open so that we may continue to have
the finest air show in North America on our back doorstep every September.
The Chairman: Colonel, did I miss in your presentation any comments about
Col. Hines: We are investigating a strategic refuelling capability. We
have a tactical re-fueler; a version of the CC-130 Hercules is a tactical
re-fueler. We have those aircraft. We have embarked upon a study to investigate
a strategic air refuelling capability to replace that which we lost when the
Boeing 707s were retired.
The Chairman: Was that included in the presentation? Did I miss it?
Col. Hines: I skipped through that section in the interests of keeping
within my 30 minutes.
Senator Forrestall: Did we do something with the Airbuses?
Col. Hines: We have not undergone a modification program with the
Airbuses, sir. Modifying the Airbuses is a potential solution to providing the
strategic air-to-air refuelling capability down the road, but it has not been
Senator Atkins: What happens to the 122s and 80s?
Col. Hines: Those 42 aircraft will be declared surplus, in whatever
process we use within the government to declare air planes surplus. First, we
will determine whether there are any parts, components or anything on those
aircraft that are of value to us to continue to keep the rest of the fleet
7We will then go through the process of declaring aircraft surplus. The 80
aircraft that we modify will be the newest of the aircraft that we receive. We
took delivery of the CF-18s over a number of years. We will modify the newest
ones. The ones that are not being modified will actually life-expire before the
2015 time frame that I talked about earlier.
Senator Atkins: How many women are flying CF-18s?
Col. Hines: I do not know, sir, but I could find that out.
The Chairman: Would the committee like that information?
Senator Atkins: Yes.
The Chairman: If you would, please.
Senator Meighen: Two disparate questions: I do not know where this falls
in your mandate, Colonel, but I remember a great deal of public concern about a
system that would ring an airfield to provide ground-to-air missile defence.
Perhaps you could tell us the state of that system, if that is possible?
Col. Hines: It was part of the air defence field system. That question
would probably have been better asked of Col. Peters. It is equipment that is
held by the army for airfield defence, specifically procured for defence of the
two airfields in Europe. It is presently on the army inventory, and it is being
operated and supported by the army.
Senator Meighen: Where is it being operated and supported by the army?
Col. Hines: Here in Canada. I am not sure of the exact location.
Senator Meighen: What is, in your view, the greatest priority for the air
force, right now?
Col. Hines: The greatest priority for the air force must be the
resolution of our human resources problems. It must be a combination of the
recruiting and the retention issues being resolved hand-in-hand.
Senator Meighen: Is retention largely a question of money?
Col. Hines: I do not believe so.
Senator Meighen: What are the other factors?
Col. Hines: People want a change of lifestyle; they want to do something
Senator Meighen: How do you counteract that, other than with money?
Col. Hines: I do not know. The whole notion of career has changed for
many of the young people that we have coming through. When I joined, people were
joining for 30 years. People do not join for 30 years any more.
Senator Meighen: They do not join anything for thirty years.
Senator Forrestall: We have parked, in a convenient place but very
obvious to photographers, at least seven EH 1s that have been available and
still are available, apparently, short of a few little odds and sods and a paint
job. Why not have those back here where the training is done for the work-ups
and familiarization? Why do we continue to let them sit on the farm somewhere in
Col. Hines: Do you mean to let the EH 1 with the delivery program that
Senator Forrestall: We have not had any deliveries. There are six or
seven that could have been delivered some months ago.
Col. Hines: Right now, we are in the process of training the crews for
them. The initial crews to fly the Cormorant are in the U.K. undergoing
training. The aircraft manufacturer was delayed because of technical
difficulties, and we had indicated that we would not be accepting the aircraft
until the technical difficulties had been resolved. It is my understanding that
those difficulties have been resolved, or if they have not, they are in the
final stages of being resolved. However, our crews are undergoing training right
now, so we are not ready to take the aircraft just yet. We will begin to receive
the Cormorant later this summer.
Senator Forrestall: We are not using any of the planes that we were to
take delivery of, are we?
Col. Hines: No. To the best of my knowledge, the training is being
conducted in the U.K. as part of the contract.
Senator Forrestall: It is a shame that the planes are there, and yet they
are not available to us. Thank you.
The Chairman: Thank you for your presentation, Col. Hines. We hope to
call on you again.
Our next witness is Commodore. Jean-Yves Forcier. Cmdre. Forcier joined the navy
after high school graduation. Upon completion of his initial training, he was
posted to Halifax to commence his seagoing career. He has served on a number of
Her Majesty's ships: HMCS Saskatchewan, Ottawa, Protecteur,
Algonquin and Preserver. During the Persian Gulf crisis, he was
seconded to Deputy Chief of Staff Operations with the Canadian Naval Task Group,
and later with Canadian Forces Middle East Headquarters in Bahrain.
After being posted to National Defence College, Cmdre. Forcier was transferred
to Quebec City for two years as Deputy Commander of the Naval Reserve. In 1996,
he assumed the position of Commander, Fourth Maritime Operations Group in
Esquimalt, B.C., and the following year was double-hatted as Chief of Staff,
Canadian Fleet Pacific.
Since September 2000, Cmdre. Forcier has been serving as Chief of Staff J3 at
National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa.
Perhaps after telling us what "J3" stands for, Commodore, you could
then go on and give us an overview of current operations at the domestic and
Commodore Jean-Yves Forcier, Chief of Staff J3, Deputy Chief of the Defence
Staff: Honourable senators, first of all I will explain the title of Chief
of Defence Staff J3. J3 is the joint staff nomenclature that we have in the
planning headquarters, and "3" stands for operations. I am the
operational specialist, if you will, on the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff.On his
behalf, I am delighted to be here at the inaugural meeting of this committee
today. I have had a chance to listen to the presentations this morning. I know
that you have received extensive briefings on policy and the management
framework of the department. I know that my colleagues from the three services
have provided you with details on their structure, equipment and capability.
My aim today is to provide this committee with an overview of the current
Canadian Forces operations on the international scene and introduce you to the
framework of operations within Canada. Being the last speaker, I am mindful that
you do not wish to hear a long presentation and may possibly wish to explore
specific issues from earlier presenters. However, I do have a short set of
formal remarks and I will proceed with them, if I may.
As you heard from Mr. Bon this morning, the 1994 white paper mandates the
Canadian Forces with "the defence of Canada and Canadian interests and
values. The primary obligation of the Department of National Defence and the
Canadian Forces is to protect the country and its citizens from the challenges
to their security."
The promotion of global peace, as a key to protecting Canada's security, remains
a central element of our nation's foreign policy. Canada's own security,
including economic security, is increasingly dependent upon the security of
others. More than ever, globalization, technological development and the skill
of human activity reinforce Canada's fundamental interdependence with the rest
of the world. Canada needs to address security issues in an integrated fashion
and to draw on all available assets. We are a nation that respects international
agreements and are involved with the UN, NATO and other international
organizations as a means to ensure Canadian security through a more stable
Let me first address the domain of international operations. As you are aware,
the nature of peacekeeping operations has changed significantly since the end of
the Cold War. The UN Secretary General's Report "A Peace Agenda" which
outlines the concept of preventive diplomacy, preventive deployment,
peacemaking, peace enforcement, and peace building for modern peacekeeping
operations best exemplifies this change.
Since 1947, the Canadian Forces have completed 71 international operations. To
this number can be added the current 16 operations and, including the numerous
domestic support operations which have taken place over the last five decades,
the overall number of operations on our book now exceeds 110.
To date, more than 100,000 personnel have deployed on international operations,
and unfortunately 108 of our serving members have died while deployed on these
peace support missions.
This past year was a transition period for the Canadian Forces in international
operations. While several missions closed or were significantly scaled back as
part of the CF efforts to rationalize its commitments around the world, there
were also new mission start-ups. Throughout the year, Canadian Forces personnel
were deployed on 25 missions worldwide. The number of CF personnel deployed on
these missions was reduced to approximately 3,000 in the year 2000, and last
month to 2,500. Although this represented a reduction in deployed personnel from
the 1999 level of over 4,500, which incidentally was the highest level since the
Korean War, this level of activity continued to take place with a significant
demand, of course, on our CF personnel resources, as I am sure you have heard
from the environmental representative here today. The CF's participation in
international operations continues to represent a higher ratio of the total
force structure deployed on peace support operations than that of most
like-minded Western nations.
I will now cover our current commitments by region, starting with the Balkans.
Contributing to the peace and stability in the Balkan region continues to be the
major portion of our commitments abroad, and currently represents our largest
deployed force of over 1,600 personnel. In June 2000, the Canadian Forces
rationalized its commitment in the region by withdrawing our contribution of a
battle group stationed in Kosovo, and focusing Canadian efforts in
Bosnia-Herzegovina by increasing our force in that area. This rationalization
permitted us to reduce our personnel commitment in the region by 1,000
personnel. Furthermore, it allowed us to relieve the stress on our overworked
support personnel by only needing to support one mission in the Balkans. This
rationalization was done in concert with our NATO partners, some of whom also
rationalized their commitment at that time.
In addition, as a result of NATO's efforts, portions of the Balkans are starting
to return to normalcy. Therefore, to go along with the rationalization of our
land forces in the area before Christmas 2000, we were able to redeploy the six
CF-18 fighters that were left to maintain, in Aviano, Italy, the support to NATO
operations in the Balkans.
I will move now to Africa. While we were reducing personnel in the Balkans over
the November-December 2000 period, we were concurrently deploying an infantry
company group as part of a Dutch-Canadian contribution to the United Nations
peacekeeping forces monitoring the peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Including the national command and support elements, we had a total of over 450
personnel deployed as part of the task force in East Africa. This contribution
was for a six-month period and came to an end at the end of June. Our remaining
contribution there has been reduced to a cadre of military observers working
with the United Nations.
Of course, the CF remains engaged in several other countries in the African
continent, both with the UN, in Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of
Congo, and in coalitions such as the multinational effort to train the national
armed forces in Sierra Leone.
I will now shift to the Middle East. Canada continues to provide a significant
contribution to the stabilization efforts in this region. In the Middle East,
the Canadian Forces provide military observers and support personnel to the UN
on the Golan Heights and in various locations in Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan and
Syria. In addition, the Canadian Forces provide staff officers to the
multinational force and observers in the Sinai to supervise the Camp David Peace
Accord ceasefire between Israel and Egypt.
During the past year, Canada deployed three ships to the Arabian Gulf as part of
its periodic contribution to the UN maritime interdiction force conducting
operations to monitor and enforce UN Security Council resolution sanctions
against the import and export of commodities, including oil, to and from Iraq.
Two of the ships, HMCS Calgary and HMCS Winnipeg, deployed from
Esquimalt, British Columbia, while the third ship, HMCS Charlottetown,
deployed from Halifax, Nova Scotia. In addition to conducting operations vital
to achieving UN goals in the region, all three Canadian ships benefited from the
opportunity to conduct multinational maritime operations with navies of other
participating countries. Two of the ships were integrated into the complex
operations of deployed United States carrier battle groups during their transit
to and from the region.
Canadian Forces also participates with the UN by providing military observers
for the monitoring of the Kuwait-Iraq border, and in fact we have been engaged
in that mission for about 10 years. This small mission is coming to an end early
I will move on now to the operations at home. Contributing to global security
through participation in international stabilization efforts is but one part of
the Canadian Forces mandate. First and foremost is the Canadian Forces
responsibility, as outlined in the Defence white paper, to maintain the
capability to mount "...effective responses to emerging situations at
home." Thus, in addition to standing commitments within our borders, such
as search and rescue and activities related to the defence of Canada and its
sovereignty, the Canadian Forces are regularly called upon to provide assistance
to a wide variety of non-defence agencies across Canada. While it should
normally be considered as a force of last resort, the Canadian Forces' inherent
flexibility, cohesiveness, unique capabilities and recent past successes have
resulted in an increased number of requests for support above and beyond what we
provide on a routine basis. The majority of these additional requests for
Canadian Forces assistance can be roughly grouped in three broad categories,
which I will briefly discuss in turn.
Events such as the 1997 Manitoba flood and the 1998 ice storm represent the
first category where you will find the Canadian Forces responding to requests
for assistance from overwhelmed authorities. While emergency assistance is
primarily a provincial and territorial responsibility, the Canadian Forces
remain poised to help as needed when disaster strikes and Canadians' lives are
Timely response is made possible through an extensive network of Canadian Forces
liaison officers with provincial authorities and with immediate reaction units
in each of the four land force areas on which you were briefed earlier. Ships
and aircraft are also available on short notice should their capabilities be
The second major category concerns Canadian Forces assistance to other federal
government departments. Here the Canadian Forces mostly provide services of a
logistical nature, such as airlift, lodging and the temporary loans of
equipment. The Canadian Forces also provides, on occasion, skilled personnel to
provide expert advice and services in the field of communication networks,
logistics, nuclear, biological and chemical defence, counterterrorism, and so
on. In this category, typically the Department of Foreign Affairs and the
Solicitor General's department would request our assistance to support major
events like the Summit of the Americas. Canadian Heritage will do so for royal
visits and state ceremonial events, and also, as an example, games and other
sporting events are supported through our dealings with Sports Canada.
Recent past recipients of CF assistance also include Citizenship and Immigration
Canada, with temporary housing of Kosovar refugees, and the Transportation
Safety Board during the recovery efforts following the Swissair 111 crash off
Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia. The list could go on for a while yet, but it serves
to highlight our level of involvement and commitment to Canada.
The third major category is the Canadian Forces assistance routinely provided to
law enforcement agencies. Here, the RCMP is clearly our prime customer. While CF
personnel are not normally called to enforce laws as such, they often sail the
ships or fly the aircraft that enable RCMP officers to carry out their duties
when and where it would often not be possible for them to do so.
I would like to point out in particular our active collaboration with the RCMP
in their fight against the importation of illegal drugs and its marijuana
eradication program. Last March, CF assistance to an RCMP operation led to the
seizure of more than two tonnes of cocaine by U.S. authorities. A memorandum of
understanding between the RCMP and the Canadian Forces is in place to facilitate
the provision of Canadian Forces assistance to such operations.
In addition to the RCMP, the Canadian Forces also support several other agencies
charged to enforce specific laws of Canada on a more or less standing basis.
These include assistance to Citizenship and Immigration Canada in cases of
illegal migrant smuggling vessels heading to Canadian shores, to Fisheries and
Oceans in the form of fisheries patrols, and to Corrections Canada in the event
of a disturbance at a federal penitentiary.
Finally, while they have seldom been used, there are mechanisms in place whereby
provincial, territorial and even municipal police forces could secure CF
assistance when confronted with a situation that is or is likely to be beyond
their capability to manage.
As a final comment, let me say that our standing national and tempo of
international operations stretch the Canadian Forces. While the forces were able
to meet the demands of the last two years, as you heard through some of the
other presentations, it is a pace that is difficult to sustain. When asked to
maintain a high tempo of operations, the men and women of the forces spend less
time in Canada between international deployments. This has an impact both on
their professional development and on their quality of life, as well as on the
quality of life of their families, who must endure long periods of separation.
Nonetheless, we join to serve the nation's needs at home and abroad, and the CF
continues to conduct its operations in a highly effective manner within the
limits of its capabilities. As such, Canada's Armed Forces can expect to
continue to be solicited for participation in future crisis areas as they
develop, whether these occur at home or abroad.
Senator Banks: By way of information, am I right that maintaining the
force of 1,600 people on a long-term basis in the Balkans would require a total
commitment overall of about 8,000 members of the Canadian Forces, to allow for
rotation? That would be four times the number that are there, to take into
account the rotation.
Cmdr. Forcier: That is the rule of thumb, or the figures that the army
has generated and is using to sustain the forces. That is correct.
Senator Banks: You said that Canada has a higher representation of its
total force deployed in peacekeeping operations than other like-minded nations.
One could argue that numbers can prove anything, but one of the reasons for that
might be that our total force is lower than it should be. If you had greater
numbers of personnel, then the percentage of people who were deployed in those
kinds of things would, perforce, be smaller. We have a sort of formal complement
of forces now that I think is in the order of 60,000. Am I right?
Cmdr. Forcier: More or less.
Senator Banks: We have heard of difficulties in recruitment and
retention. How shy of the complement are we now? How short are we of people?
Cmdr. Forcier: I do not have exact figures.
Senator Banks: Perhaps you could give us an estimate?
Cmdr. Forcier: We are about 1,000 people below the expected ceiling.
Senator Banks: One thousand out of 60,000 is not so awful. It is not a
critical shortage in terms of meeting the obligations?
Cmdr. Forcier: Obviously, we seem to be managing within the numbers that
we have. I should point out that within the 60,000-structure, if we identify
people who are in deployable operations jobs today, you have roughly 25,300
people who could be counted as being deployable, operational today to fill a
Senator Banks: Is that a normal ratio in an armed force, that is to say,
35,000 people to support the operations of 25,000 people at the end of the day?
Cmdr. Forcier: The 35,000 people are not just support. It is a
combination of people in the training pipeline.
Senator Banks: In the overall structure, if you have a force of about
60,000, is it comparable with other countries that 25,000 of those would be
Cmdr. Forcier: I admit I do not have statistical data to compare,
personally. Looking at it from my position right now, and looking at the numbers
that we have, it seems to make sense. Some of these 25,000 people will migrate
to other jobs later on. Certainly, you do not want these people to be always
ready, loaded to go. Clearly there is a rotation here that occurs. Whether or
not we are talking roughly a one-to-one ratio, whether you are tagged in an
operational position somewhere or in an operational unit, whether it be a ship
or battalion, and so on, and then your next cycle is to be teaching at a school
or to be working in National Defence headquarters, it seems to be a reasonable
ratio. However, I do not have any formula to base this on.
The Chairman: I am a little confused at your last response that we are
1,000 short. I am sure I read recently that the Canadian Forces are undertaking
a recruiting campaign for 10,000.
Cmdr. Forcier: It may be more than 1,000. It may be closer to 2,000. My
limited knowledge of human resources issues is that we are looking at a campaign
for recruiting at attrition rates, forecast retirement of personnel. I have
heard that some get a presentation; of course, the baby boomer syndrome probably
kicks into this as well. It appears that my colleagues from Human Resources are
targeting 10,000 to get us back to the right level and to have a sustainment
thereafter at those levels.
I can refer you to the Human Resources personnel, who I am sure have the data
and the equations that they are working on there.
The Chairman: Please provide that.
Cmdr. Forcier: I would say, anecdotally, from previous readings in other
jobs that I have had, we have a normal attrition rate, roughly, of 10 per cent,
as do all folks. Ever year we have people who are due to retire. To sustain the
recruitment and to get back on this approved ceiling of 60,000 is probably why
the effort is being aimed at 10,000. I am sure we can provide you with the
Senator Banks:This report, which I am sure you have read, from the Royal
Canadian Military Institute, refers to about 7,000 regular forces personnel
being involved in personnel management, or human resources, as it is called. I
detest that term. Out of 60,000 people, that figure seems high to me. I asked
one of the gentlemen who preceded you today about that subject. He was not sure
whether that is so. Do you think it is about right that we have about 7,000
regular force people doing whatever personnel people do?
Cmdr. Forcier: I have to admit, I have not read the report. I have been
concentrating on operational issues, quite frankly. However, I am aware of the
Senator Banks: Does that number sound about right?
Cmdr. Forcier: My question would be, what is the definition of
personnel-related positions and HR support, and so on? If these people are
involved in a combination of headquarters staff, which have directions to
operations, and are involved in some cases with training in the schools, it
might be a satisfactory number, but I have no knowledge of what the so-called
Senator Banks: Could you check that out for us and let us know whether
the contention in here is correct, that there are that many regular forces
personnel involved in personnel matters?
Cmdr. Forcier: I will certainly get that information for you.
Senator Banks: I would be grateful for that.
Senator Wiebe: I would like to go back for a moment to Canada's
involvement in the Balkans. The forces basically, I guess, served under two
different situations in Bosnia: one was under the United Nations, and the
current one is under NATO. A number of our servicemen, upon returning, developed
some psychological problems.
Have you had enough time to analyze the reasons for those problems? The reason I
say that is that, when forces served with the United Nations, the rules of
engagement are such that all they could do was observe the atrocities and report
them. This is pretty frustrating for an individual who observed some of the
atrocities that took place over there. On the other hand, the rules of
engagement with NATO are that when they see an atrocity taking place, they can
move in and do something about it. The psychological feeling is that it is
difficult to stand by and watch some atrocities when, as a peacekeeper, your
mandate is to keep the peace. Has that helped the situation in terms of the
stability of some of our soldiers?
Cmdr. Forcier: I cannot compare those because I was not here, nor was I
involved in the joint operations for the first regime. However, we are dealing
with whatever psychological challenges people had from the first set of
missions. I know that you have had discussions today on PTSD. We have had quite
an aggressive campaign to provide better care for our members. Some of those
folks have now been recycled into different jobs and back out in the field
again, and have been looked at for their suitability to redeploy.
With regard to the rules of engagement issue, in my short tenure in National
Defence headquarters in the operations branch I have been involved very closely
with the issues of rules of engagement for all the missions. Part of my mandate
is to negotiate with our chain of command what robustness we wish for rules of
engagement. I can tell that you that we have very robust rules of engagement.
Even if we are working on a UN mission under the NATO umbrella, the decision to
protect our individuals and to allow them some freedom of action is now very
much scrutinized. We engage early with our partners.
As an example, when we deployed troops to Eritrea and Ethiopia, there was no
doubt in my mind that those folks were deployed under very robust rules of
engagement. Fortunately, the situation stabilized very quickly there and we did
not see, on our watch, the kinds of atrocities that were seen in previous
Some very sharp legal minds and good operators with varied backgrounds and
experience advise me on rules of engagement. Ten years ago, perhaps one or two
individuals were expert on rules of engagement; today, I have a stable of them.
Senator Wiebe: I can understand rules of engagement as they apply to
protecting oneself from a Canadian's point of view. However, in Bosnia, under
the UN, they were allowed to protect themselves but they were not allowed to
intervene in some of the atrocities that the local people were committing
against each other. They could only report them and stand by and watch. Under
the UN now, the rules of engagement allow them to move in to prevent foreseeable
atrocities, or at least deal with it after the fact.
Cmdr. Forcier: We are not the only nation that has learned along the way.
I see many like-minded people when we discuss these issues now. I have not seen
any resistance to having a fairly robust, agreed-upon coalition, or
multinational rules of engagement. We hope that this is an era that is now in
our history and will not be repeated in the international community. In the
future, we hope that we will be allowed not only to protect our forces but also,
depending on the situation, to extend protection to the local population and to
deal with some of these issues.
I have been heartened by each succeeding mission. Not only have we furthered our
knowledge and understanding of rules of engagement but we were also able to
negotiate with our partners a good collateral set of rules of engagement.
Senator Wiebe: I know that a number of our servicemen have served under
both regimes in Bosnia. I had an opportunity to spend six days with them there.
Their demeanour was so much better under the UN. I am wondering whether enough
time has elapsed that the department can know whether the instances of
psychological damage is different under the two sets of rules of engagement? It
may be too early to know that.
Cmdr. Forcier: I do not know if we have statistics. I know that we have a
closer follow-up process, both in the theatre and once they are back. Part of
our planning for the mission, right from the beginning, is how we will sensitize
people to the reality. I have seen, both at the unit level and at the collective
level of deployment, a much more in-depth understanding of the climate and
conditions of where they are going. I am sure that my colleagues in the army
have appreciated the fact that they should be retraining people to understand
that this is not UNPROFOR any more; that the situation on the ground has
changed, the relationship with the locals has changed, the infrastructure has
changed and these are the current rules.
I have had a chance to visit and will visit again soon. I have a very positive
view of their understanding. They understand that the rules and the climate have
changed, and that is positive.
Senator Forrestall: There is a difference, is there not, between the blue
berets and the green berets? Do the numbers that we have been hearing today
Cmdr. Forcier: It is a total number of both green berets and blue berets.
Senator Forrestall: They operate under different mandates?
Cmdr. Forcier: It is the total that operates under an operational
mandate. We have more than 2,500 people deployed right now. Many people are
deployed to train under the services, but those who operate under real rules of
engagement number 2,500.
Senator Forrestall:Do you know approximately how many would be UN and how
many would be NATO?
Cmdr. Forcier: Based on the numbers we have in Bosnia right now, I would
say about 1,600. The bulk of the green beret jobs are in Bosnia right now, with
a few odds and sods around the world.
Senator Forrestall: I do not know how we measure the number of people in
the Canadian Armed Forces, but years ago someone thought it would be useful if
certain people had, for whatever purpose, access to a number on a regular basis.
The number representing the people in the Canadian Armed Forces was best
measured, in someone's judgment, by the number of cheques issued for pay at the
end of each month.
Following this over a long period of time, I found how remarkably accurate it
was. Based on those numbers, we have about 52,000 member in the Canadian Armed
Forces. I am not concerned about that, but I am concerned about the discrepancy
How much money do we get from the United Nations for allowances for Canadian
personnel serving with the UN?
Cmdr. Forcier: I do not have those figures at my fingertips, but you are
correct that there is an allowance system that is provided by the United
Senator Forrestall: That is right, and we do not get a cheque back from
Cmdr. Forcier: No, we do not, but whether we are deploying the green or
the blue berets, we pay our troops some incentive for deploying in hazardous or
risk areas, over and above the commitment of payback from the United Nations. In
other words, there is a scheme under which we address supplementary funding
Senator Forrestall: It makes a bit of a difference. It makes a difference
in the numbers that you count. We do not count people whom we are not paying.
We had people seconded to other purposes, other roles and other jobs, not only
here in North America but in Europe and elsewhere in the world. It was not a
large number but we had people who had a leave of absence whom we were no longer
How do we obtain an accurate count of the number of people in the Canadian Armed
Forces? How do you measure it? Where do you cut it off? How do you define it?It
is one of the loosest numbers I have ever seen.
In addition to recruitment, as I understand it, we now encourage people to stay
on beyond the mandated retirement age. Do we have categories for this? Do we
retire people and bring them back to work the next day on contract, making it
more difficult to derive a final number?
Rather than ask for specific answers immediately, could someone take a look at
that and give the chair or the clerk a response?
Cmdr. Forcier: I will refer your question to our Human Resources folks.
They will provide the statistics by category.
Senator Forrestall: I am simply saying that we have an authorized level
of 60,000 people in the Armed Forces. My understanding is that there are a lot
less than that, and it might be of interest to the committee to know just how
far off that number is.
Cmdr. Forcier: I will pass on the question and make sure that you receive
Senator Pépin: I must admit that having read your report and heard your
presentation, you seem to be doing a fabulous job despite your limited means and
the constraints you are facing in terms of either your budget, your equipment
needs or the staff complement you would like to have.
It is a well-known fact that members of the Armed Forces suffer stress while
taking part in either UN or NATO missions. They are also repeatedly required to
spend periods of time abroad. They return to Canada after a three- or six-month
tour of duty, spend a couple of weeks here and have to leave again. That affects
their quality of life and results in additional stress. You've already told us
that you are understaffed. Might that not be one of the reasons why you're
having trouble recruiting new members?
Cmdre. Forcier: With respect to the deployment cycle, we have two
policies that go hand in hand. One of them is to not authorize anyone to be
redeployed without first spending at least twelve months back home. The staff of
the Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for Armed Forces Personnel are
currently reviewing the matter of individual travel. I am aware of the concept
they are working with, and the idea is to avoid bringing people back home,
telling them they are part of such and such a unit and won't be going anywhere
for at least twelve months, and to then turn around the next day and transfer
them to another unit. We want to be sure that not only are people not being
deployed outside of Canada, but that they are not being moved from their home
base, so that they can enjoy a more stable life. For example, we might decide to
bring a young soldier back home who has been deployed with a battalion or on one
of our ships, and then turn around and tell him that to be eligible for a
promotion, he'll have to take a course that, unfortunately, is only offered at
the other end of the country. That's the sort of thing we want to avoid. That
review began two or three months ago, I believe, and in the meantime, people
have become more aware of the problem.
Through our studies of stress, we have realized that this is a very important
factor. In my case, I have people who were transferred to my operational
directorates. I am careful now not to send them overseas to conduct
investigations for many weeks at a time. I don't want to place them in a
situation that would be in conflict with our rules.
Senator Pépin: That would certainly have a very beneficial effect on
family life, as well as on the spouse, who very often would like to have another
occupation besides staying at home all the time. She is unable to hold down a
stable job because she never knows when she'll have to start packing and move
across the country.
Cmdre. Forcier: Before being repatriated from a mission, people like to
know when they will be returning home. If we can guarantee them that they will
be back at home or in the area for at least one year, as you say, they will be
in a better position to plan their lives. I think that is a positive
development. We are probably learning certain lessons in the wake of our
rotation of accelerated operations, that did cause certain constraints.
Senator Pépin: But again, if you had as much staff as you would like, it
might easier to operate that way.
Senator Meighen: In 1994, this committee was in Bosnia. One of the most
important things to the troops there at the time was the presence of a Canadian
medical unit and to be treated by Canadian doctors. That familiarity was
terribly important to the troops. If I am not mistaken, at that time there was
some talk of the Canadian medical unit being replaced, whether because the
physicians had been there for a period of time or due to cost, I do not know.
The troops would then have to be looked after by a medical unit from another
country, which I suppose is not end of the world. If you need medical treatment,
it is does not matter who treats you, but it was a disquieting business.
What is the position of the medical service to Canadian Forces in Bosnia at the
Cmdr. Forcier: With the last rotation in Bosnia, we recently closed the
surgical centre that we had in Konjic. We did it, as you said, with the view
that the situation in the Balkans, certainly in our area of operation, had
somewhat stabilized. Also our partners had brought much more capability into the
That being said, it does not mean that there is no Canadian medical support to
the theatre. There are still Canadian medical officers and physicians through
the formations. We just do not have our own little mini-hospital. It has not
been a problem thus far.
The closing of the surgical centre was not a cost-cutting measure. It was
decided through a detailed study by our surgeon general and in consideration of
the balance of contribution here.
We have self-imposed pressure for some of the reasons about which we have heard,
including stress. We have a constant need to revise our contribution. Clearly, I
and my staff and my colleagues from the other nations periodically look at
whether the contribution is at the right level with the right mix of people as
the situation on the ground changes. The professional opinion was that we could
do without having our own standby surgical team present as we could move people
around quickly. As well, we had comparable services available.
Senator Meighen: Is it a problem to keep competent physicians in the
Armed Forces, in the same vein as it is to keep good pilots in the air force?
Cmdr. Forcier: Anecdotally, I am getting the same vibes, but I would have
to refer you to the surgeon general for a response. I do not keep tabs on our
specific force generators, and you have heard the comments of those who are
leaving the air force. I suspect they have their own challenges. I play with the
cards I am dealt, and that is the way I plan the operations.
Senator Cordy: We have spoken throughout the day about recruitment and
the retention of personnel. I know that you are undergoing a major recruitment
drive currently to get people into the Armed Forces. Retention, it seems to me,
would be a difficult part, not just for the Armed Forces but for many careers in
Following up on Senator Meighen, I would like to take a look at medical
personnel, because they can go to any area of Canada and they are in such high
demand. Pilots would be another group, and commuter technicians would be
another, where they can leave the Armed Forces and command salaries that are
higher than a government agency would pay.
If you look at the commitments that people are making now, as compared to 30 and
40 years ago, we see the two-career families. What types of things can you do to
retain people in the military as a career?
Cmdr. Forcier: That it is an interesting question, but it is one that is
truly outside of my ken. We have an associate deputy minister who deals with the
whole area of recruitment, retention, quality of life, and so on. There are
several studies on the way that I am aware of. However, like everyone else in
society, we are looking at every possible tool, whether we offer a more flexible
career where people can come in and go out at different points in their lives,
or whether we have the capability to bring lateral skills into the forces when
you join. Those are the kinds of issues that I have heard talked about in the
However, what specific targets my colleagues from HR are looking at, I could not
tell you. It is probably a stretch, but I believe that some of those initiatives
are available on the DND Web site - a section which I have not had time to look
at of late. I could ask that you be provided with a list of the initiatives. I
truly do not know how far into their studies they are, but I am sure they can
refer to your question, and perhaps provide you with more material.
Senator Cordy: Thank you. That would be interesting information to have.
The Chairman: Commodore, returning to your area of responsibility, could
you tell the committee about the operational constraints that you bump into most
often? For example, in terms of personnel, are there certain trades or skills
that you find problematic because they are not available to you?
Cmdr. Forcier: We have had some challenges right now, and I guess some of
these are being addressed. In the short term, practical sense there are some
specialist skill sets, and I am not talking simply about doctors and pilots but,
rather, about folks with other marketable skills; folks who work for engineers,
for example, and have marketable skills such as plumbing, carpentry, and so on.
those are certainly snapped up by the outside market when the market is good.
We have seen an effort to rationalize the support functions in some of the
theatres. As an example, we were doing some of those logistical functions in
Bosnia after several years in the theatre, when really, some of those functions
could have been done by someone else. I guess we got a little smarter and looked
at the options, and we have entered into a contractual arrangement with a
Canadian firm that is providing us with some of the baseline support. It allows
us to concentrate on the deployable troops that have to go to nasty places where
there is no infrastructure, no baseline and no local workforce to hire to
support you in your day-to-day job. Certainly, we are looking at the aspect of
extending that concept.
Right now, we have it more or less as a trial program in Bosnia, with a one-firm
contract. We are looking at extending that as an option, for table theatres, or
for areas where we do not need to put some of those skills in theatre.
Specifically it depends, because at one stage we had challenges with
communications experts. We seem to be coping now. We also provided more reliable
equipment that is easier to handle in theatres. That seems to have stabilized.
You are absolutely right in that we have to keep a wider eye on these issues,
and certainly, when I formulate options for deployment, I am cognizant that I
have to look at support functions.
You can take the extreme, such as Bosnia that has a well-established theatre. We
know the local merchants, the local government, the constraints and the danger
areas. Then we go into an absolutely open field with nothing but sand, rocks and
scorpions in Eritrea, and we ask ourselves what we should bring. The anecdotal
comment that you bring everything and the kitchen sink is a reality.
When we went to Eritrea, we brought a significant effort of engineering. We used
a novel approach that time. Instead of bringing all the engineers and having
them cocoon there for six months, we had a strong surge of logisticians and
engineers who went in for six weeks, set up camp, saluted smartly to the
contingent committee, and said, "Here is your level C." Then we left a
contingent of engineers on site to manage the day-to-day stuff after the posting
back home. We are experimenting with different concepts, but certainly in
Eritrea, that seemed to be a successful concept.
The Chair: Do you have equipment concerns in planning operations?
Cmdr. Forcier: It is hard to say. We tend, as I said earlier, to play the
cards that we are dealt. When we look at options for deployment, we consider the
whole of what we have available for the foreseen mission, and what would be our
best contribution based on our specialities, but also on our inventory.
It is no secret that, in relation to the East Timor commitment, we sent a supply
ship with the naval commander in charge of the task force. We sent a company of
infantry and an air transport group. We sent a healthy contribution where the
easy out could have been, "Which battle troop will we send to East
Timor?" My predecessor and the joint staff looking at the analysis and saw
that we could contribute something novel and effective. It works so long as we
do not keep planning in isolation, and that we work with the international
community that the situation provides.
Eritrea and Ethiopia would have been challenging because we were just winding
down from Kosovo. To commit a whole vanguard to that theatre of operations would
have been a great challenge. The novel approach was to realize that our
colleagues from Holland were looking at the same issue; each of us had a piece
of the pie, and so we could make it work together. We merged our resources,
which was very successful. It is a situation that worked. Certainly, we learned
lessons from that, but I would say that the operation in Eritrea was a
resounding success. Certainly, having a cooperative effort between the Dutch and
ourselves proved to be a remarkable combination. I am not saying that this will
always work, but it is certainly another tool in our arsenal when we look at
The Chairman: The impression that some of us have is that the Canadian
Forces are very stretched. When you are planning, what do you keep back as a
contingency? What is your ultimate reserve upon which you say you will not
Cmdre. Foncier: I do not think the department, as a whole, has looked at
the situation in that way. There is a framework of our overall commitment here.
We have the capability to deploy a vanguard and then to beef it up to a main
contingency force. I guess where we are looking at 4,000 people out of the
country, as we had in 1999, that is pretty well your vanguard, plus. To sustain
that vanguard indefinitely is certainly our capability, but we sustained a very
The Chairman: My question would be almost what do you do when the 4,000
are out of the country and an ice storm comes?
Cmdre. Foncier: When an ice storm comes in Canada, we have a slightly
different framework here. The people in garrison are at a certain level of
readiness. There is always an immediate reaction force in each of the areas.
Obviously, during the ice storm it is not only the 25,300 people who have
operational hats that are turned to. We had people who were re-rolled locally to
support this operation. You use the talent pool that you have. There is no doubt
in domestic operations we will do all that we have to do.
I deployed for the Winnipeg flood, for example, with 350 sailors. Half of them
were reservists, the other half were regular force, split evenly between both
coasts. I snagged on this ad hoc staff to deal with this crisis some people who
were not in operational position, but who I knew had an excellent background,
both reserve and regular.
A domestic operation in some ways - and do not take this the wrong way - is easy
to plan. It is a crisis. You throw all that you have at it to support Canada and
to support the population of Canada.
There is a staff planning process in National Defence that we follow. I am
certainly the custodian of that process. We can plan, obviously, as events
develop. We looked at Eritrea and Ethiopia for a couple of months. We refined
our knowledge of the area. We watched the international community deal with it.
We acted on the ice storm in-house. It is the same process. It is accelerated
because you do not have all the same impediments of international frameworks and
political imperatives, and so on. Clearly, what we have will be at the disposal
of the people of Canada in a domestic crisis. There is no doubt about it.
Senator Meighen: Commodore, perhaps this is not a question best directed
to you, but since you are the last witness, you are the clean-up hitter.
In the joint committee we were very big on contracting out as a cost-cutting
measure to improve the so-called tooth-tail ratio. From what we have heard
today, it sounds as if the tail needs some beefing up as opposed to the teeth.
Leaving that aside, can you give me any indication of how contracting out is
working? Have you gone as far as you can go? Has it achieved some savings? Are
you continuing with the program?
Cmdre. Foncier: Your first comment is dead on. It is really outside my
lane. I am not involved in that corporate management issue.
Senator Meighen: Whom should I ask?
Cmdre. Foncier: I would say that the Office of the Vice Chief of the
Defence Staff, those who look after corporate management issues, as you heard
from Cmdre. McNeil, are the resource envelope management.
Senator Meighen: I missed my chance there.
Cmdre. Foncier: My limited peripheral connection is on the issue of
support to operations. Clearly, we have now opened a new page with our support
in Bosnia, with a contractor in-theatre
Senator Meighen: You need to watch who your contractor is, right?
Cmdre. Foncier: We always do, senator.
Senator Meighen: It caused a little flurry, getting some of the equipment
home last summer, as I recall.
Cmdre. Foncier: Oh, yes, that contract.
Senator Meighen: That contract.
Senator Banks: Continuing on the same line that Senator Meighen raised
and remembering that ship and the fact that our stuff is sitting out there and
we cannot get it, the Dutch have developed a big transport ship with the landing
capability at the back end of it, if I recall correctly. They have a big landing
craft that docks in the back end of the ship and seems like a very practical
thing to have. Do we have any need for a thing like that? Do we have any plans
for a thing like that? How will we move our people in deployment when we need to
We were in some difficulty with planes. I seem to recall that we had to rent
some planes at one time from Ukraine, I believe, to move our forces around. That
was somewhat embarrassing. We could not get our tanks and armoured vehicles off
that ship for some absurd civil reason. Do we have any plans to have a naval
vessel that is capable of lifting people?
Cmdre. Foncier: If I could answer another part of your question first,
the lift capability is a challenging issue for everyone. Clearly, when we are
looking at a lift by air of sizable pieces of equipment, there are, I believe,
only two nations in the world that can do it. We are now in a situation where
there is no longer a Cold War, so we go to the open market. Whether it is
Ukranian or American aircraft of some kind should not be of relevance to us.
There will always be the need to have, occasionally, heavy-lift capability,
because of either the size of the component or the desire to move everything at
As far as the ship issue is concerned, the project is now in our book to
examine, certainly, as part of the defence services program, moving along with
our capital program as you heard this morning from Cmdre. McNeil. The advanced
logistic support ship has that capability; it is a multipurpose ship.
Senator Banks: Does that ship include the docking business at the back
with the landing craft?
Cmdre. Foncier: Indeed, it is a combination of providing a lift
capability and at the same time providing still the naval component of a supply
ship to provide the fleet. It is a combination. In concept, that is what it is.
What the final ship design will be remains to be seen. However, that is the
basic concept. Obviously, from a joint perspective, that certainly would give me
some flexibility in planning some of the operations.
The Chairman: Thank you very much, Commodore. We appreciate your
testimony today. We hope to see you again and, on behalf of the committee, I
would like to express our thanks to all of the witnesses from the Department of
National Defence who have come today. I can say with some confidence that we
found the day instructive, and we look forward to further hearings of this sort.
For those of you who are following our work at home, please visit our Web site
by going to WWW.PARL.GC.CA/DEFENCE.ASP. We post witness testimony as well as
confirmed hearing schedules. Otherwise you may contact our clerk, by calling
The committee will reconvene in this room tomorrow morning at 8:45 to hear Mr.
D'Avignon from the Department of the Solicitor General.
The committee adjourned.