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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 comprehensive studies.

Senator Colin Kenny (Chairman) in the Chair.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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 reasonably allow.

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 our objectives.

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 forward trenches.

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 capabilities.

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 reductions.

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 resource levels.

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.

[Translation]

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 operations.

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 Regular Force.

[English]

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 are recruited.

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 capability.

Senator Stollery: I am talking about the basic problem of competing in the economy.

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 started mobilization?

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 force.

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 scratch.

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 true.

Senator Forrestall: Do we have other speciality training, for example, mountain climbing?

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 problem.

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 prepared.

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 for that.

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 nice.

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 been complete.

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 to do.

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 invasion.

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 to do.

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 army?

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 was:

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 operational tempo.

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 situation.

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 percentages.

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 the commanders.

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 different.

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 there.

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 on operations.

Senator Banks: We are not being inefficient, then? In your view, things are operating properly with respect to the proportion, but officers are more expensive.

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 reaped.

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 forces.

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 once was.

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 mutually exclusive?

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.

[Translation]

Senator Pépin: I would like to come back to a question raised earlier by one of my colleagues with respect to...

[English]

... 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 taken place.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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 and consideration.

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 American one?

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 organization.

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 exercises?

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 technological capabilities.

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 cycle.

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, theoretically.

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 Ottawa.

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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 NORAD Region.

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 force matters.

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 contingencies.

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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 force.

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 contingency force.

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 are.

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 there.

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 positive about.

[Translation]

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 years.

[English]

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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 organization.

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.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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 everything.

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 reply?

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 higher side.

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 the CF-18.

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 role?

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 five years.

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 Canada?

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 explain why?

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 jobs.

Senator Wiebe: They would be basically full-time individuals, but classed as reservists?

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 per month.

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 display team.

What percentage of Canadians, vis-à-vis NATO pilots, are trained at CFB Moose Jaw?

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 refuelling capability?

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 implemented.

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 operating.

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 different.

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 Italy?

Col. Hines: Do you mean to let the EH 1 with the delivery program that they have?

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 international level.

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 global environment.

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 this fall.

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 threatened.

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 required.

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 mission.

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 deployable?

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 rationale.

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 report.

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 7,000 are.

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 theatres.

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 include both?

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 in money.

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 Nations.

Senator Forrestall: That is right, and we do not get a cheque back from NATO.

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 internally.

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 paying.

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 an answer.

[Translation]

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.

[English]

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 present time?

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 situation.

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 general.

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 department.

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 contributions.

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 encroach?

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 high tempo.

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 do so?

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 once.

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 1-800-267-7362.

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.