Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence

Issue 7 - Evidence, January 27, 2003 (Evening session)


REGINA, Monday, January 27, 2003

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 7 p.m. to examine and report on the need for a national security policy for Canada.

Senator Colin Kenny (Chairman) in the Chair.

[English]

The Chairman: Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. Today we continue our study on the need for a national security policy by looking at the question of the reserves.

After a seven-month study of major issues facing Canada, we produced in February 2002 a report entitled ``Canadian Security and Military Preparedness.'' Then the Senate asked our committee to examine the need for a national security policy.

To date we have released three reports on various aspects of national security: the first, ``Defence of North America: A Canadian Responsibility,'' in September 2002; then ``For an extra 130 bucks...Update on Canada's Military Crisis: A View from the Bottom Up,'' in November 2002; most recently, ``The Myth of Security at Canada's Airports,'' in January 2003.

Today we are continuing our study of national security by focusing on the need for a strong military that can respond, at times, to both national and natural disasters and emergencies. We know how important the reserves are to the Canadian Armed Forces and I want you to know how many supporters you have amongst members of our committee. We seldom have a meeting without discussing the reserves. It is an issue on which we continue to focus. We know that there is a long list of issues that are of importance to you and you should know that they are also of importance to us.

Before asking you to introduce yourselves and tell us about your qualifications, I want to tell you, and through you the men and women that work for you, how proud we all are of the work you are doing, how proud the Parliament of Canada is. We want you to know that we deeply appreciate your service to the country, and we cannot say so often enough or publicly enough.

Now I would ask you, perhaps starting with Lieutenant-Commander Chow, to briefly introduce yourselves to the committee, indicating your background and the unit you are from, and perhaps what you do in civilian life as well. Then we will proceed with brief comments in the same sequence.

Lieutenant-Commander Robert Chow, Commanding Officer, HMCS Unicorn: I have been involved with the reserves for approximately 25 years. In my real life I have been a real estate developer and broker for approximately 20 years. Thank you.

Lieutenant-Commander Linda Mushanski, Commanding Officer, HMCS Queen: Honourable senators, in the military I am a qualified logistics officer. In my civilian life I am a clinical microbiologist working for the provincial Department of Health.

Major Bill Green, Commanding Officer, Saskatchewan Dragoons (Moose Jaw): I am the Commanding Officer of the Saskatchewan Dragoons, the Sask Ds, a primary reserve unit specializing in reconnaissance. Our job is to gather information on the enemy on the ground and get it back to our brigade commander.

My unit consists of 100 personnel located in Moose Jaw and Swift Current. We have three regular force, two full- time reservists and the remainder are class A soldiers. They parade one evening a week and one or two weekends per month from September to May.

I am a product of the regular force, reserve NCO and officer training system. I am a graduate of the Militia Command and Staff College in Kingston and the joint staff college in Toronto.

My full-time work is as a teacher at Caronport High School. I am also a volunteer firefighter and first responder for our fire department and community. Thank you.

Lieutenant-Colonel Doug Penner, Commanding Officer, North Saskatchewan Regiment (Saskatoon): I have been in the reserve army for 35 years. I have worked for the University of Saskatchewan for 30 years as the production supervisor in the campus print department.

Lieutenant-Colonel Colin King, Commanding Officer, Royal Regina Rifles (Regina): Honourable senators, I am the Commanding Officer of the Royal Regina Rifles, a reserve infantry unit in Regina. In my civilian life I am a public servant with the Government of Saskatchewan in the Department of Corrections and Public Safety, specifically in the Emergency Planning Unit.

Major Murray Allan, Deputy Commanding Officer, Royal Regina Rifles (Regina): I rejoined the army reserves about a year ago, after 28 years as an infantry officer in the regular army.

The Chairman: Thank you. I feel that it would be appropriate if I also acknowledged Colonel Steve Anema, Commander of 38 Brigade, who has come from Winnipeg and is most welcome here. I know he is anxious, as are we, to learn what you have to tell us. I know he does not intimidate anyone in this room.

We are happy to have you here, colonel, and we are honoured that you took the trouble to come all the way from Winnipeg.

LCdr. Chow: Honourable senators, as Commanding Officer of HMCS Unicorn, it is my privilege to brief you on some of the personnel and equipment issues currently being faced by Naval Reserve Division HMCS Unicorn. The personnel issues I shall be discussing today are the Naval Reserve Establishment, both nationally and as illustrated by my own situation with regards to staffing levels, recruitment and retention. My remarks on equipment will be limited to its uses for training at HMCS Unicorn.

The Naval Reserve Establishment has an authorized strength of 5,446 personnel: 3,856 positions for trained personnel and 1,590 positions for untrained personnel. Of the trained positions, 682 are for officers and 3,147 for non- commissioned members. Today the actual strength of the naval reserve is 3,792, including 967 untrained personnel. This equates to a 26 per cent shortfall in terms of manpower.

HMCS Unicorn's personnel levels reflect the national situation. Of 88 established positions for trained personnel, my ship's company consists of 71 personnel, including 11 officers and 43 non-commissioned members. Untrained, we have four officers and 13 ordinary seamen. Of HMCS Unicorn's 54 trained personnel, 16 are in full-time employment, 8 as part of the ship's full-time support staff — 5 reserve, 3 regular — with the remainder employed in various positions throughout the community or with other agencies on either the East or West Coast.

Personnel shortages, as in the naval reserve as a whole, are occurring at the lieutenant rank for officers and at the master seaman and petty officer second class rank for the non-commissioned members, especially in what is called the marine engineering trade, naval communicators and naval combat systems operators.

Recruiting is one avenue by which the current personnel shortfalls can be addressed. On average, the naval reserve recruits between 400 and 500 ordinary seamen and 100 officer cadets annually. Each naval reserve division employs one full-time recruiter; however not all the time is he at HMCS Unicorn. Recruit quotas are normally distributed in August of each year. The division is responsible for the initial contact, starting the application and seeing the process through with Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre. They carry out the screening with respect to medicals, enhanced security checks, et cetera. That can take up to, in some cases, four months. The medical process has been the bottleneck in some cases.

HMCS Unicorn has a good working relationship with Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre and we attempt to accommodate their needs as best as we can, in some cases seconding personnel to assist when bottlenecks do occur, at the expense of our own unit.

While increased recruiting can make up shortfalls in terms of personnel on the deck, the shortage of experienced personnel in the middle-management levels is where the real issue lies. I am referring again to lieutenants for the officers and the master seamen and petty officers second class for the NCMs. The need to retain these personnel will also become greater as the retirement of the baby boomers is forthcoming, leading to a shrinking workforce. Hence, the Armed Forces as a whole will be competing with the private sector for these individuals.

A study of the last five years indicates that for the number of recruits enrolled annually in the naval reserve, the rate of retention for the first year is close to 70 per cent. After three years, the retention drops to approximately 56 per cent. After six years, the retention rate drops to 36 per cent. Once we have them beyond six years, they tend to stay.

The general findings of this working group can be summarized in five main reasons why members leave the naval reserve.

First is a lack of meaningful employment or training. This has to do with outside the normal training activity. For example, the lack of resources in-unit to keep skills up and the lack of vacancies on board ships prevent many reservists from gaining useful expertise.

Second, there is a conflict with civilian employment. Members often have difficulty obtaining courses during times they are available for training.

Reasons three and four deal with perceived leadership failures at the organizational and local levels respectively. The former includes excessive bureaucracy, which is seen to be slow and unresponsive to a reservist's needs. Local leadership failures can be mostly attributed to failure in or lack of communication.

Last, the fifth reason involves changing family circumstances, where the member has family responsibilities that are in conflict with the needs of the service.

In response to their findings, the working group made the following general recommendations: First, ensure that every reservist has the opportunity to pursue training that is practical, challenging and timely. Formal courses after initial training must be shortened or broken into modules that can be completed by a reservist during vacation or leave periods from civilian employment.

The naval reserve has already started this process through the utilization of distributed training packages — essentially correspondence courses that are delivered by Fleet School Quebec via downloadable manuals and resource packages.

In-unit training is further enhanced through the use of equipment available at naval reserve divisions such as the rigid-hull inflatable boats, RHIBs, as we commonly refer to them, and other small boats that are used by both boatswains and engineers. For example, HMCS Unicorn's small boat crews exercise on the South Saskatchewan River and in various lakes throughout the province.

Efforts are being made at both the headquarters and unit levels to increase the effectiveness of management and communication. This includes addressing issues of heavy administration at headquarters and empowering strong leadership at the local level.

Examples of the equipment we have at HMCS Unicorn are: the rigid-hull inflatable boat, a 16-foot Zodiak Hurricane and a 20-person Beaufort life raft.

Distributed training — correspondence courses — is delivered by Fleet School Quebec via their Web site, with manuals, resources and tests downloaded by training personnel.

The present system of computer-based training, CBT, has never really worked at our unit because of software problems. Distributed training will be further enhanced by improved computer-based training with the implementation of the Canadian Forces Defence Learning Network, which will allow personnel to access training resources via the Internet from the reserve division or from home. A new computer simulator will be forthcoming for training maritime surface officers and naval combat information operators.

In summary, the naval reserve is working to address the personnel shortage, not only by increasing our intake of recruits but also by taking steps to address the dissatisfaction that causes our trained personnel to leave. The need to grow the naval reserve while keeping the trained personnel we currently have will only become more crucial as the available labour pool shrinks, intensifying future competition for personnel.

LCdr. Mushanski: Honourable senators, today I have the privilege of presenting to you the budgeting and funding of the naval reserve as it applies to a naval reserve unit such as HMCS Queen.

First of all, I will give you a short background of my unit. HMCS Queen has been in existence from 1924, except for a short period from 1967 to 1978 when it was closed down due to the integration and downsizing of the Canadian Forces. Being the main navy presence in a traditionally army city, the unit has a strength of approximately 55 individuals out of a possible 89 authorized positions. This classifies us as a small unit amongst the 24 naval reserve units across Canada.

Our unit tends to be transient in nature, our members being students travelling out of province to complete university or to join the workforce. Our size, though, does not deter our participation in and contribution to the operational tasks and commitments as mandated by the Commander of Maritime Command, Vice-Admiral Buck.

Here in Regina the ship's company undergoes training on Tuesday evenings and the occasional weekend, travelling in and out of province, mainly to Esquimalt, British Columbia, to further their skills. We also take part in various community and ceremonial events within the city.

In order for us to meet our commitments, each naval reserve commanding officer is allocated a budget by Naval Reserve Headquarters, NAVRESHQ. In my briefing tonight I will cover a number of points in relation to the budget, including how it works, how funds are allocated within my unit, how I monitor my funds and whether the funding is sufficient to meet my needs.

The budget cycle begins on April 1 of every year, with the funds being placed in a ``bank account'' or unit coding. This amount has been predetermined the previous August. In May/June a call letter is provided to each unit for the next fiscal year, providing instructions and strategic guidance to assist in the development and submission of the unit capability plan. The capability plans are then forwarded to NAVRESHQ in August/September, where they are reviewed and approved.

Although monitored continually through the Financial Management and Accounting System, FMAS, by the unit budget officer, the November fall budget review is the first opportunity for units to request budget adjustments. This includes the identification of any surpluses that may be returned to NAVRESHQ and also the justification for reallocation of funds to cover any shortages that the unit feels it has.

Traditionally, HMCS Queen identifies surpluses that are reallocated in January. Surpluses and shortages may be identified at any time, although shortages may not be remedied as the end of the fiscal year approaches. March is the closing month of the fiscal year.

HMCS Queen has received an operating budget of $256,000 for this fiscal year. This amount has varied little over the past years, with minor increases of 2 per cent to 5 per cent for wage and cost-of-living changes, and decreases due to minor internal NAVRESHQ budget reallocation or reduction.

Approximately 90 per cent of our budget is for wages and benefits, with the remaining percentage being allocated to travel, facility rental, tuition for civilian-taught courses, and public grants. A detailed breakdown would be: pay and allowances of $233,000; other would be $23,000, for the total of $256,000.

Breaking down the budget in another way, the majority of our funds are spent on training and the support of training. LCdr. Chow has touched on this in his briefing. Other fund usage includes corporate direction, i.e. the wages for the commanding officer, executive officer, the coxswain and other heads of department; administrative support, which includes recruiting, budget management and public affairs; also government-mandated programs, which are mainly the ceremonial activities such as Remembrance Day parades.

For this fiscal year, HMCS Queen's allocation has been distributed as: training for our part-time individuals, $102,000; corporate direction, which includes any full-time staff, $100,000; government-mandated programs, $13,000; administrative support, $38,000; and public grants, $3,000, for the total of $256,000.

Historically, the funding received is adequate, our actual unit strength being around 55 members and the parading strength about 35 members. At any given time, a third of my ship's company are on formal courses, fulfilling operational positions on the Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels, or on extended leave. Last fall, we had an additional six members being deployed at very short notice to Operation APOLLO.

Should we have our full complement parading in Regina, the allocation would not be sufficient. This low number parading allows us to send more individuals on activities such as professional development and to place more emphasis on recruiting. Where our unit must be very diligent with money is in travel expenses. Regina is not a major transportation hub and airfare costs are high, especially when travelling at short notice.

Our unit also receives a small funding allocation from our support base, 17 Wing Winnipeg. This fund covers office machine rental, vehicle maintenance, fuel for our vehicles and boats, and office supplies. We receive approximately $14,000 each year. This budget is monitored much more closely, as it is barely sufficient to meet our needs. There have been a number of instances where I have had to request additional funding from NAVRESHQ as the 17 Wing allocation has not been enough to cover emergency expenses.

The budget process and funding allocation work well within my unit at present. The introduction of the business plan process has given me some flexibility in how I can use the funds to maximize benefits to my unit members. Although all commanding officers may not agree with me, I find that as long as I remember the mandate we must meet and ensure that the justification for the spending falls within that mandate, funding is not an issue for HMCS Queen.

This concludes my presentation. I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have or expand on any points I have presented this evening.

The Chairman: Thank you very much, Lieutenant Commander. Maj. Green, I have a feeling this may not be a typical presentation.

Maj. Green: My presentation will address three issues: equipment and training, recruiting, and what I will call the ``True North.'' I will be using a somewhat unorthodox approach in my address. I have reviewed the briefs that are on your Web site. I do not believe that I could compete with the excellent writers who have presented so far, or with what I have heard from my naval counterparts.

I choose, instead, to rely on my unit's motto of ``Esprit d'initiative'' to present a metaphor, a direct comparison of Canadian Forces Reserve issues and hockey. These views are my own and do not necessarily reflect Canadian Forces policy, although I will not say anything here that I have not raised with the chain of command.

Let me say before I begin that it is a great honour for me to appear here before you.

I would ask you if you recognize this picture?

The Chairman: If it is not Frank Mahovlich, it is hard for me to spot a hockey player.

Maj. Green: Right team, though. There is definitely a Toronto connection there, as you can see. He is a Toronto Maple Leaf. I actually met this gentleman when I was 14 years old. He owned a pool hall in Moose Jaw. His name is Ken Doraty. He was a right winger and he was five-foot-seven and weighed 133 pounds at his peak. His nickname was ``Mighty Atom.'' Although small, he was known for his energetic and frenzied play.

I would like to think our Canadian Forces Land Reserve is somewhat similar to that. We are small, less than 15,000 people, but we have frenzied activity. We are doing a United Nations mission, NATO call-outs, we are participating in alliance actions, and certainly domestic operations such as floods and snowstorms and so forth.

Not only do my soldiers work at full-time civilian jobs, on their off time they provide weekend and vacation time to the reserve force.

However, let us look at Ken. Ken Doraty's professional career spanned 15 years, from 1925 to 1939. He was called up four times to the professional hockey league, the NHL, to the Blackhawks, to Toronto twice, and to Detroit. He played 105 games and got 16 goals and 25 assists. The reason I bring that up is he was not very productive, but frenzied. He averaged seven games a year in the NHL. He was sent down to the farm team more than 12 times.

If you get the picture of the man, here is a gentleman who alternates between, I would say, almost full time in the professional hockey league and part time in his farm team. Normally he was only called up when there were injuries to the first and second lines of the National Hockey League teams, and even then, sad to say, he spent most of his time on the bench waiting to play.

How about our reserves? Our reserves await the call for full-time service. Ken had the luxury of a binding contract that allowed him to move freely between NHL and farm teams. His job was held, whether he played for the Prairie Hockey League, the American Hockey League, the International Hockey League or the Pacific-Central Hockey League. When he was called up, his farm team held his place, by contract and law.

Sadly, this is not the case for reserve soldiers who leave their civilian work for periods of up to nine months to engage in full-time call-outs in support of Canada.

Surely, if it was possible for Ken the hockey player in 1930 to move between professional, full-time work and his part-time work on the farm team, we should be able to manufacture an agreement with civilian employers in the year 2000-plus to garner job security for our reservists as they do their work.

Ken was noted for a single event. He played in the longest game in Canadian NHL history. The game lasted over 170 minutes and had 6 overtime periods. Ken rode the Toronto bench for the first three periods, but got to play as the team physically sagged.

Let us examine Ken's kit and readiness to play. What do we observe? Here is Ken's kit right in front of you. You will note he has a pair of skates, some shin pads and a hockey stick. He is kitted out in the same way as his fellow team members, ready to do his job.

What if we give him this kit? Could he do his job? That is a rhetorical question. I do not think Ken could do his job using that equipment; it is the wrong equipment for that job. What is wrong with it? Well, it is not up to the standard; it is too small; it is the wrong type.

What if we give him this equipment? I actually have two sets here. How about this? Much more expensive kit, but again, it is the wrong kit for a right winger.

How about the reserves? Currently, we are searching for a role and we need equipment appropriate to that role. We want to be part of the team. Can we agree it is better to know our role first and then kit out our units? What about that role? Currently, we need to defend Canada, to enforce Canada's interests abroad, honour our alliances and perform peacekeeping and domestic operations.

What do we need? I think we need a mechanized combat force that would enable us to perform all those tasks. However, if you train only for peacekeeping, then that is the limit of your role. I argue it is better to prepare for the worst and then reduce the tempo of your training, if you must, than to try and pick up the tempo and re-equip in a crisis. Kit us to do our jobs with our fellow regular-force soldiers and we are part of the team.

Let us use models that are currently in existence in the United States, Britain, Israel, Russia and other nations. They have increased combat capabilities that promote similar reserve and regular force training and equipment.

Recruiting: Ken played in a church league where everybody joined in as a player. Not all of them made it to the Prairie Hockey League, now the Western Hockey League, or to the NHL, but they all played and they were all similarly equipped.

Every reasonably healthy person should be able to be a member of the reserve. We have adopted a cultural ethic in the Canadian Forces whereby we avoid liability at all costs. We are screening out some of our best high school, university and working people from participating in the defence of their homeland.

If a crisis comes, we will surely use these people, so let us prepare now to recruit and train them. That would allow us to have trained-and-ready personnel in a category that allows that to occur. Also, you could have deployment-ready category personnel who could go overseas immediately.

Canada will then have its own Canadian Forces, because your sons and daughters and your grandchildren will be demonstrating a commitment to our country through participation in the reserves that they might otherwise not be allowed to do.

For my final point, I would draw your attention to the ``True North,'' and for that let us talk about the rink diagram here. I feel a little like Howie Meeker. Would anyone say that we should only be concerned with this area of the hockey rink? Some would say no, there is something the matter here; we have a commitment to do much more than that. Certainly we want to defend this area because it is ours, but we certainly want to influence the rest of the rink as well.

So it is with the reserve. We want to defend our area, our goal, we want to influence the rest of the rink and we do not want to leave any areas uncovered. Likewise, if we do not get serious about guarding our air, land and sea space, someone else will do it for us. If we want to have influence, impact and assertion of our national rights, we had better prepare to live in the North. An excellent task would be to have the reserves train for participation in the Arctic. Reserve units could do this and we would be preserving our statehood by doing so.

In conclusion, we need a large, well-equipped reserve with a working role in support of Canada. We can get there by adding in combat capability and large numbers of Canadians to ensure a strong, viable Canada with world influence.

One more thing, just to come to a conclusion here — Ken scored the game-winning goal. He came off the bench to score that goal and the Toronto Maple Leafs went on to win the semi-final series in that fifth game and to the finals for the Stanley Cup.

The Chairman: Thank you very much, Major. I have a bit of a dilemma as the Chair. Normally, when we have exhibits we append them to the text.

I turn to our reporters here who are preparing our text and wonder if you could find a way to insert into the transcript that we saw a pair of skates, a hockey stick, some shin pads, a goalie pad, what looked like a lacrosse stick, a pair of lady's skates, a diagram of a hockey rink and a picture of the 135-pound Ken Doraty.

LCol. Penner: First, I would like to thank the Senate committee for the opportunity to be here tonight, to present to you an insight into the reserve army in Saskatchewan.

I would like to state that these are my opinions and viewpoints. These opinions come from 35 years of service in the reserve army, having enrolled in 1968 in 20 Medical Company, Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps, which was removed from the order of battle during the unification and downsizing of the army in 1970.

From there I transferred into the North Saskatchewan Regiment and have advanced through the ranks to become its commanding officer.

The topic that I wish to talk about is the ``Footprint in the Community.'' As I see it, this is the most visible aspect of the Canadian Forces; this is where the Canadian public and the force are at their closest.

We, the reserves, are the Canadian Forces in the eyes of the Canadian public, especially in hometown Saskatchewan. That arises mainly from the limited presence of any regular force in this province other than the Snowbirds and the training base at Moose Jaw.

This is one of two provinces that have no major Canadian Forces base; the other is Prince Edward Island. That leaves the reserves, both army and navy, to represent the Canadian Forces at events like Remembrance Day and the opening of the legislature, as well as community and charity events like Habitat for Humanity and the 24-hour relay for Saskatchewan Abilities Council.

As a commanding officer, I would never say no to attending Remembrance Day services, but there are many other events that we have been invited to attend or support, and I would have to decline or modify how we would support them.

I am fortunate to have in my unit a pipe band that carries the bulk of my Footprint-in-the-Community tasks. The pipe band is mostly visible during the summer, when they travel throughout urban and rural Saskatchewan playing at events such as Canada Day celebrations, fairs and exhibition parades. This band is made up of 3 paid members — it was 14 in 1995 — along with our outstanding volunteer section of 35 pipers and drummers. These volunteers have to borrow green shirts from ex-members so that they can parade in a common uniform. This is the Canadian Forces in rural Saskatchewan.

It is 38 Brigade's mission to train soldiers, in addition to all the other tasks such as footprint, recruiting and administration that commanding officers of a reserve unit are required to carry out. It is extremely difficult to do this within the 37-days-per-soldier annual budget that is allocated to us for training alone.

These constraints do lead to careful budgeting of monies that we have been given to get ``the best bang for the buck.'' In the last training year, our unit spent approximately $25,000, or 217 man-days, to carry out footprint tasks. Do not misunderstand me; I regard Footprint in the Community tasks as very important priorities that must be carried out. Without this footprint, the average Canadian would never even know that we exist in their communities.

Without this exposure to the public, the reserves would lose their ability to recruit, and that is our lifeblood. That is where our future soldiers come from. Without the communities, we would not exist. Our soldiers enjoy performing these tasks and are eager to wear the uniform with pride in our community, where the members of the reserve army live and work.

It seems that all things can be fixed by more money; in general, that is true. Then again, sometimes, an acknowledgement by the public, the government and our higher command of the vital role we play would greatly help to ease the frustration of soldiers during this time of reduced budgets and increased operations.

LCol. King: Honourable senators, I have served in the army reserve for 16 years and today I have the privilege of providing my thoughts on the impact that our army's increased operational tempo has on a reserve unit such as the Royal Regina Rifles.

Some brief background information on our regiment: We are a light infantry unit that perpetuates a number of Southern Saskatchewan units that have continued for approximately 100 years. Our approximate strength for the last 10 years is 80 to 100 personnel, with 10 per cent non-effective, 10 per cent to 20 per cent on operations, and 60 per cent on the ground for unit training.

The demographics describing the average soldier in our unit are as follows: A rifleman — a private in a rifle regiment — is usually a high school student whose only source of income is the army reserve. Our average junior NCO, or officer cadet through lieutenant, would be a university student and/or part-time worker. The army reserve is that soldier's main source of income, and there is a high fluidity between part-time parading with our unit and full-time call- outs. Our average senior NCOs and captains through lieutenant-colonels are usually employed full time and have a family.

It is generally acknowledged that there is an increased operational tempo across the army. It is also acknowledged that army reservists are playing an ever-increasing role in those operations in terms of quantity as well as the frequency with which they must augment the regular force. This has a significant impact on the parent units of those soldiers.

I mentioned that over the last decade or so, an average of 10 per cent to 20 per cent of our soldiers were detached from our unit for operations. Right now, 11 of our soldiers are in Bosnia on ROTO 11. Five more are detached from us and in training to go with the battalion that will replace them on ROTO 12.

Who are these 16 soldiers from the Royal Regina Rifles? For the most part, they are our most highly trained riflemen, junior NCOs and our newly promoted sergeants and lieutenants. Few of them are fully established in the community with families or civilian careers. This is a significant hit to our junior leadership. Although they represent only 10 per cent to 20 per cent of our entire unit strength, they represent more than 50 per cent of our unit's present junior leadership. At a time when attempts are being made to increase the numbers within the army reserve, our unit now has less ability to recruit, train and retain our soldiers because of present operations.

The army reserve units play a role in attracting potential recruits. It is well known that our relatively new and young reservists recruit many soldiers. Other than the soldiers in my unit, I know very few young people. The same applies to most of our senior leadership. Therefore, we rely on our young soldiers as informal recruiters. They are the most successful, informal, active recruiting teams as they are far more in tune with the interests of potential recruits.

The type of reserve soldiers who volunteer and are accepted for operations are usually our best recruiters. Therefore the increase in operational tempo reduces our unit's ability to attract recruits.

Infantry training, whether reserve or regular, is labour intensive. There are many individual technical skills in the infantry, but few of them can be practised without junior NCOs and junior officers providing the leadership and supervision for safe and effective training. For example, firing weapons may seem like an individual act, but technical instruction and safety supervision are obviously required. Much of our infantry training is collective and teamwork oriented. We live, train and fight collectively in formed groups.

With a significant percentage of our junior leaders frequently on operations, we have a decreased ability to train collectively, both within our unit and when combined with other reserve units in our brigade. With decreased quantity and quality of collective training, there is also a decrease in the training and professional development of our senior leaders.

Formal, individual training courses, such as Basic Military Qualification training for recruits, infantry qualification training, junior leadership training, et cetera, are also labour intensive. The majority of the instructor cadre for the courses that our soldiers attend comes from regular force infantry battalions and reserve infantry units. The regular force infantry battalions appear to now be on a regular phased cycle of: training for deployment on operations, deployment on operations, and reconstitution.

When you combine this apparent regular force cycle of increased operational tempo with their personnel shortages, it is obvious that they need reserve augmentation for operations. As a result, the regular force infantry units are less able to play the role they have in the past in providing instructors and staff for training courses for reservists.

While the simple solution to the lack of regular infantrymen to help train reservists may be to use more reservists, it creates challenges. A significant percentage of those reservists who have the most appropriate training, rank level and availability are already augmenting the regular force battalions for the operations. Therefore, increased operational tempo results in less capability to train reservists.

Retention, or the perceived high turnover and release rate of reserve soldiers, has historically been an issue. Many of the historical contributing factors to the retention problems have been solved. For example, it used to be very common for reservists to experience pay problems that resulted in some unlucky soldiers going unpaid for months. It was an understandable contributing factor to dissatisfaction and eventual release. To my knowledge, these pay problems are entirely in the past.

As well, it is generally acknowledged that recent improvements in pay rates and benefits are positive factors in retention. Some retention issues, however, are related to the previously mentioned recruiting and training issues. A significantly high percentage of applicants never become recruits. My understanding is that less than 50 per cent of applicants who make it through the processing at a Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre are eventually enrolled. The updated statistic in my unit, as of today, is approximately 25 per cent.

For those applicants who are patient through processing, restrictions are put on enrolment quotas based on the number of instructors available to train recruits. Instructors for these courses are primarily junior leaders and, as mentioned earlier, there are generally fewer available, so retention is impacted by increased operational tempo.

In summary, discussions with my counterparts from other units indicate that our regiment is not unique in the challenges it faces in terms of succession planning. Many reserve units face difficulties developing senior leaders, whether commanding officers or regimental sergeants major. While there may be a number of systemic and environmental factors, one cannot rule out the previously mentioned issues impacted by operations.

I would like to conclude by saying that I hope you do not misunderstand the aim of my comments. Our young soldiers want to go on operations, they want the experience and many of them, frankly, need the employment. They are not unlike many of their regular force counterparts in that regard. As regiments, we want to send them.

Our serving members, our former serving members, and especially our war veterans, are proud of them and proud that our regiment has answered the call yet again. We want to support our regular force counterparts by augmenting their numbers with our well-trained soldiers, whether individually or in formed groups. We acknowledge that it is one of the reasons that we exist. I believe it must also be acknowledged that the increased operational tempo imposed upon our regular force counterparts has an impact on us.

Although this is not in my speaking notes, if a genie were here to grant me three wishes for the army reserve and our unit, I would fix the problems in recruiting, I would bring the regular force battalions, the infantry battalions, up to strength so that they are not robbing us and can help train us, and I would restructure the army reserve now, fund, equip and organize it for achievable and appropriate roles, missions and tasks.

Senator Wiebe: I appreciated your comments very much. I have had the opportunity to get to know each of you and to know the men and women who are part of your reserve units. Therefore, I will not spend too much time asking questions because I know a lot of the answers from the discussions I have had with some of your people.

I want to make one comment first. Major Green, I think that you have outlined in a very easy-to-understand way the true value of the reservist to the Canadian Forces and to Canada. Just as an aside, it was rather interesting that at the conclusion of your comments, Senator Atkins leaned over and asked if I had written your speech. It is nice to have what I have been saying to this committee reinforced by members of the reservists here.

One of the things that concern me is recruitment, and we have heard that last year, the recruitment throughout Canada and Saskatchewan for reservists was a great success. Yet we hear from each of you that recruitment is a real problem. My question is, has every qualified individual who has applied to join your reserve units been taken on strength?

LCol. King: A very good question, Senator Wiebe. For calendar year 2002, the statistics I have today are that there were 50 applications to join our unit forwarded to the recruiting centre. Of those, 14 eventually were enrolled and 17 are still in the process. The average number of calendar days, not working days, from application to enrolment is 108.

LCol. Penner: My statistics are about the same. We have had problems in Saskatoon. We brought approximately 30 to 40 into the system and I have sworn in 7 out of the 12 positions I have been allotted. Most of them have taken an average of two to three months.

Maj. Green: I have to guard my remarks. We have a problem with recruiting at all levels. It surprises me that it would surprise you that it takes an average of 100 days for a person to get in. Although it should not, because I have even heard our area commander say that he thinks that it takes three weeks to get a person in, from start to finish.

They use the term ``clean candidate.'' We are the only business in the world where a clean candidate is someone who has not worked for your company before. I have members right now who have been in the service before and are waiting 9, 10, 11 months to get in, and their fault is that they served their country.

As for barriers to serving, I think that if you look at it from a marketing perspective, if you take four individuals into a recruiting process and only one or two of them are successful, you have poisoned your recruiting pool. People will say it is not worth trying to get in. That is what we are experiencing now. We are experiencing young people who are saying, ``Do not bother going down there, they do not want you.'' I think we have to clean up our recruiting system. It is ethically irresponsible and does not meet the needs of Canadian citizens.

LCdr. Mushanski: I would agree with my army counterparts. Last year I had a quota of 30 individuals whom I was allowed to recruit into the naval reserve organization. Of those 30 positions, I was only able to bring in 13.

A large part of the problem is that through the recruiting process, people are weeded out mainly for medical reasons. They have a long list of reasons why, all of a sudden, someone is no longer a suitable candidate.

It is a big issue for me. It is taking about three months for an individual to go through the system. It is not that 100 per cent of the problem is in the recruiting centre, but a lot of it is trying to make arrangements for individuals to get all their paperwork in. There is quite a lot of paperwork to which they must attend.

At present, the most outstanding example is that in the Canadian Forces and in the reserve there is a very great shortage of padres in the system. I am in the midst of recruiting a padre who has been in the recruiting system for 18 months and is still not enrolled. I am still waiting for the final stamp from the system to get him enrolled. If it were not for the fact that this individual very much wants to be in the reserve, especially in the naval reserve, I would have lost him months ago.

LCdr. Chow: Mr. Chair, the Unicorn in Saskatoon has a similar situation. It is not as dramatic or as severe as for my counterparts, but we do have bottlenecks, as I mentioned in my briefing to you. Major Green made reference to what is called a ``clean candidate.'' That is the term that is used within the recruiting circles. Candidates may have something in their background that can delay the process. However, the real bottleneck still occurs, as far as we are concerned, at the medical stage. All forces medicals must go through Borden, and that is where the bottleneck is.

Once again, that is from my perspective, senators. There may be other issues unknown to me. I may not be privy to how that works.

Senator Wiebe: Two key words: one was ``budget'' and the other was ``quota.'' It is my understanding, from remarks that were made, that you submitted your budget for 2003 last August. Someone mentioned ``quota.'' Who assigns the quota for new reservists for each of your units, and why is there a quota?

If you set your budget according to your current strength, and all of a sudden you have a flood of applications from qualified personnel, will your budget be increased for the next year so that you can put those applicants on strength? Second, if we want to have more reservists, why are we setting quotas?

LCol. King mentioned the quota and, Lieutenant-Commander, you mentioned the budget, so perhaps the two of you wish to tackle those aspects.

LCol. King: Thank you, sir. In fact, the numbers we are allowed to enrol in our units, in our brigade, have been restricted based entirely on how many we can train after they are enrolled. It has to do with the instructors available to train recruits. We did have that restriction placed on us. However, we still were not able to process enough recruits to meet that restricted number.

For example, I was given 11 spots, I believe, based on what instructors we had available to conduct upcoming basic training courses, although I had approximately 50 applications. In the end, less than 11 were processed and enrolled.

LCdr. Mushanski: Our experience is quite similar to the Rifles, in that we have a quota set on the availability of training positions in Borden, Ontario, where the Naval Reserve Basic Military Qualification training is being held currently. There are two periods of time when training takes place: May-June and July-August. Therefore, our headquarters decides how many individuals they can train in those two periods.

They consider the number of billets and then assign those billets across the country based on unit size and population demographics. For example, in Toronto, HMCS York would get a much larger recruiting quota than we would in Regina, just based on the size of the community.

As the commanding officer, I am able to reallocate my budget as I see fit. In the budget review in November, if I find that I am very short of money, that is the time to inform headquarters that I will be short $80,000 for pay because I had an increase of recruits in my unit.

I have been fortunate in that when other units have excess funds, they are returned and NAVRESHQ is able to reallocate the money as needed. Providing, of course, that they do not have other concerns regarding training, or other matters for which the funds are needed for full-time people or for the MCDVs. It is negotiated with headquarters.

Senator Wiebe: Part of the problem could be that we do not have enough qualified personnel available to do the training.

LCdr. Mushanski: In our case, that is a large part of the problem, that we do not have the trained personnel to run the BMQ. In order to run our Basic Military Qualification course, they actually take individuals from the reserve. I will lose two of my full-time staff this coming summer to Borden to help with the instructing. As a result, this year I can send my allotment of 19 recruits to Borden.

Senator Wiebe: How are we to resolve our recruitment problems? These are the kinds of answers that this committee needs, because we would like to make recommendations.

LCdr. Chow: I would like to amplify Col. King's remarks with respect to the training billets. I believe when units are assigned a certain number of billets or a certain recruit quota, it is predicated on how many bunks/chairs are available in the Fleet School, or in the case of my army counterparts, Battle School.

I believe that the Directorate of Maritime Training and Education in Ottawa allocates the ``seats,'' if I can call it that, for training. Those numbers are then spun around, if you will, and turned into recruiting quotas. How do you solve the problem? Do we consider building more Fleet Schools or Battle Schools? Is there money for that? I do not know.

Perhaps we have to consider revamping our training system or giving more personnel more skills. Do we, from a naval perspective, as well as giving them logistic trades, have more of what we call ``sea trades,'' military occupation codes? I understand the Chilean Navy does that and has had some success with it. I do not know the answer, but these are some suggestions.

Senator Wiebe: Maybe I can answer my own question, since it is reflected in our second-last report. Perhaps the problem with the lack of qualified personnel for training our new recruits, whether they be regular or reservists, is that we have militarily over-extended ourselves by taking on too many commitments overseas and not leaving enough qualified personnel here at home.

If anyone would like to make a comment on that, I would certainly appreciate it.

LCol. King: I think that suggestion cannot be overlooked. I spoke about the fact that the army's increased operational tempo has had an effect on our ability to recruit, to train and retain our soldiers in the army reserve.

As to your question about what we can do to fix the perceived recruiting problem, there is one recruiting centre for the total force, whether it be regular or reserve. At present, I believe our unit's needs are not being met. We are not receiving the service that we require from the Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre and that system.

We have different needs from the regular force. We have very obvious peaks when applications come in; they do not trickle in all year. It is based on, for the most part, students' cycles within a calendar year. We have to cater to the demands created when the peaks arise in our training system.

Obviously, if, for example, we have a stage of recruit courses starting this month, then we would need a number of recruits prior to that. A steady stream throughout a calendar year is not as helpful as a heavy concentration of recruits just prior to the training cycle. I do not believe that need is being met.

How do we fix that? There are many ways, perhaps. In the old days, the army reserve attracted and processed its own recruits. That is one way; there are others, sir.

Senator Day: My first question is on that issue that was just referred to, of the ``total force'' concept of the Armed Forces.

Maj. Allan, could you tell me if you think that concept is working and, if so, for the benefit of both the regular force and the reserve?

Maj. Allan: A number of years ago, I believe the reserves felt that they were being given short shrift by the regular force and not considered seriously. They wanted the same standard as the regular force. We got that and, as a result, it takes longer to train a reservist. Perhaps now we have to backtrack a little and ask ourselves if the training for reservists is too intense.

In other words, as Col. King mentioned, part of the problem was retaining the reservists and training them ourselves. We cannot do that. In our unit we do not have the senior NCOs or the captains and majors available in the summer, for instance, to conduct training.

Senator Day: When talking to the 8th Hussars in the Atlantic region, they indicated to me that that concept is no longer that much in vogue. Is it out West? Are you still talking ``total force,'' and is it still something everyone is working hard to achieve?

Maj. Allan: Exactly. You are correct, Senator Day, that term was in vogue a few years ago and it seemed to be the answer for amalgamation of reserve and regular force operations. However, it has gone by the wayside, I believe, for the reason I mentioned. Reservists just cannot devote the same amount of time to training as their regular force counterparts, although we would like to. It is also important for us to have the respect of our regular force counterparts. However, this is often difficult.

For example, the junior NCO course takes a long time. We are reviewing our training courses and attempting to adjust that. Therefore, we are not talking about ``total force'' very much any more. The regular force has its system, and slowly, I think, the reserves are moving back just a little. In other words, the pendulum is swinging back ever so slightly to try to find that happy medium in terms of training.

For instance, during training, a regular forces NCO may take a number of subjects in conjunction with a particular course; a reservist will attend certain aspects of that same course. However, there are particular subjects that a regular forces NCO will take that the reservist will not, thereby shortening the amount of time that a reservist spends on training.

It is very difficult to maintain that total force aspect when officers and senior NCOs have family and employment obligations to meet.

Senator Day: Either or both of LCol. King and Maj. Green can answer my next question. You have both indicated that you are also involved, in your lives other than the military, in first responder activities — Maj. Green as a volunteer firefighter and LCol. King in planning from a government point of view.

I would like to know what, if any, activities, from the reserve point of view, have involved your working in cooperation with or in joint planning with first responders.

Maj. Green: Let me see if I understand the question correctly, or maybe I will put my own take on this.

As a first responder, I have picked up a number of skills on a part-time basis, on weekends and evenings, when I took a course from trained, qualified people. Reservists do the same. As an individual, I am as qualified to work at an accident scene as any other first responder. Reservists, likewise, are as qualified as their training would allow them to be in any other occupation.

There is a gap between my skills as a first responder and, say, a paramedic; however, the roles are complementary. My community is about 45 minutes from a hospital, which means I will be able to respond before anyone else, so I will provide a certain level of service. As will reservists.

One thing I think we should discuss is how to increase their skills. I think that most reservists, at least the reservists I know in my unit, are very well educated individuals. I referred to the distance-education learning module that was implemented here. A lot could be done in that way, not only in relation to medical scenarios, but in many others too. We have firemen, for instance, who are learning skills such as emergency driving and leadership training. Those apply directly to the reserves.

We do not give any kind of credit in the reserve for civilian training that people may have taken. It is rather interesting that their civilian employers do recognize the military training that they have taken and do write off some courses. However, the Canadian Forces has not reached the point yet of being able to recognize courses and training that are taken on a part-time basis outside your job.

I do not know now if I have answered your question.

Senator Day: That lays a good groundwork for it. Perhaps LCol. King can talk about the joint planning that is involved from the point of view of the military, or does the military have a role if there is a biological or nuclear threat, that kind of thing?

LCol. King: Historically, as a unit we have not done a lot of training with civilian agencies in domestic operations, whether they be municipal or provincial, for disasters or large-scale emergencies.

There are domestic operations liaisons in communities in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and all the provinces. They work closely with the provincial and municipal authorities on their exercises and planning, et cetera. However, as units, we do not actively take part here in Regina.

I think we should be involved, for several reasons: It would increase our good-neighbour status in the community; it would increase our footprint in the community. It would make for interesting variety in training for our units.

Security, rather than defence proper, is an obvious and, perhaps, likely alternative or secondary role for reserve units, especially in locations such as Regina. While Regina is a provincial capital, it is remote from regular force organizations. An appropriate military response to a civil occurrence in Saskatchewan would most likely come from the reserves. Therefore, this is a role that we should plan and train for.

Senator Day: From a national point of view, the Office of Emergency Preparedness is part of the Department of National Defence. Why has that not filtered through to the military? Have you discussed the role of the military in an emergency situation? Is it just something that you cannot do because of lack of money? Or is it a policy decision for other reasons?

LCol. King: There are policies restricting our direct involvement and response as a unit. It is up to the liaison officers who work closely with the federal Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness, as well as the municipal and provincial authorities. At present, as a unit, we do not have a mandate to work with municipalities and provincial governments in planning for or training for a response in the event of emergencies.

Senator Day: Is part of the reason for that restriction in case, for example, someone in your unit is injured, and it might not be DND policy to look after the injury in that event?

LCol. King: I am not entirely sure, sir. I really do not know. My understanding is that we are given our roles, missions, tasks and training directions for a year and we carry them out.

If that training direction does not include that we also work with the civilian authorities and take an active part in their emergency response plans, then we do not. It may come down to what operational tasks we have been given.

The Chairman: I have a supplementary to that. As commanders of units, do you feel that if you did have a role along those lines that it would be a motivator for your organizations? Do you think that would be something that would appeal to the members of your organizations, or would they prefer to have a more traditional military role?

Maj. Green: That is an interesting question. We were actually approached by Bombardier at 15 Wing to provide emergency services to them should an aircraft go down. Currently, they have no expertise in sustaining themselves in a winter environment, for instance, during an investigation over what may be a 10-day to two-week period, whereas we have all the Arctic kit and the soldiers willing to do it.

The soldiers greeted it with great enthusiasm. Bombardier offered to issue us with pagers and to allow us to use their snowmobiles, along with our six-wheel drive vehicles and first-aid kits. They offered to train us to a higher first responder standard. They said they would do all of that for us if we would take on this task for them. Right now, that issue is in some kind of contract negotiation and I am not sure of the status of it.

However, that is the kind of role that reservists would sit up and square their shoulders to in their own community, because it is a role that they can perform immediately, when they are not deploying overseas. They could prepare for that right here.

The Chairman: Are there other views on this at the table?

LCol. Penner: This topic has been raised. I still believe that we need to maintain our combat role. Our ``aid-to-the- civil-power,'' to use the term, should be a secondary role.

I agree with Maj. Green that it would be helpful to be able to make our footprint in the community, but we cannot change our first priority. In other words, I do not envisage us reverting to the late 1950s or early 1960s, when we were concerned with civil defence only. I think we are still required to maintain our combat capability training; however, we should definitely have some flexibility in giving assistance to municipalities in times of distress.

Senator Day: I think Maj. Green had wanted to make a comment before we had the very helpful additional questions.

Maj. Green: There is a new unit across Canada called Civilian-Military Cooperation, or CIMIC. It is almost exclusively a reserve function and varies from province to province. As ours in Saskatchewan is just preparing to stand up, it is a little premature for me to say what it will do. It works in conjunction with the domestic operations people and will be looking for opportunities to provide service in the event of any number of natural disasters or other occurrences. It will coordinate the civilian and military response to those disasters, bringing the skills and resources of the forces to help out our domestic population here.

LCol. King: If I may make one last comment on the previous topic. When we talk about ``community'' in Saskatchewan, or across Canada, the armoury and the army reserve should be a part of that community. At the moment, it is somewhat restricted.

In some cases, the armoury is looked at as just another federal government building. The policies around the use of that building and the people who work there restrict the ability to be a good neighbour in the community. I would like our unit to play a bigger role in the community, especially in times of a major emergency. We have people, resources and skill sets that would allow us play such a role and I believe there should be fewer restrictions on us doing that.

Senator Forrestall: I want to start with LCol. Penner. You were with 20 Medical Company?

LCol. Penner: Yes, I joined the army in 20 Medical Company, part of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps at that time.

Senator Forrestall: I joke with the committee from time to time about it, and they are all aware of my constant effort to revive the Halifax Rifles, simply because they are the Halifax Rifles. The unit that graces our citadel nowadays is a very fine one, a very historic one, and I have no difficulties with it. Among the things that I joke about is our potential role in coastal surveillance, or interdiction, if you will — smuggling people and abusive substances. There are many reasons for it.

The last time we were in the United States, we had occasion to meet and talk about homeland defence and border defence. I wonder, as you seem very concerned about recruitment, whether some active role in partnership with the United States would help, some joint watchfulness, if you will, over our so-far-undefended border.

I wonder if there might be something in that that would attract young people to join and, more importantly, to stay. Would anybody care to answer that? LCol. Penner or LCol. King?

LCol. King: Quite frankly, I have never really considered that. I understand your question to be about a role for army reservists in some sort of part-time, increased border security forces. It is quite possible that it would be of interest to soldiers. I believe LCol. Penner mentioned before, as did I, that playing a part in the security of Canada, besides the combat capability, should be a secondary role. If it is a secondary or alternative role, it may well be of interest.

LCdr. Mushanski: Within the naval reserve, our Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels do get called out from time to time to assist fishery patrols and the RCMP with coastal defence. Our greatest problem is that we have such long shorelines, with so many little ins and outs and coves, that we would need a much larger fleet, and also people to man that fleet, in order to do the type of job that we should be doing.

I think a lot of Canadians do not hear about it unless some event of major significance happens. Even our new recruits are very surprised when we inform them of our role in coastal defence. It is not well known to the general public across Canada that that is something we actually do.

Senator Day: Do you detect or observe additional pride in this being a function of the naval reserve rather than the regular force?

LCdr. Mushanski: Actually, yes. The naval reserve does take great pride in manning and operating the Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels. That and our port security role we perform solely as reservists. The regular force does not do that. They do call upon our expertise to assist them when needed.

Senator Forrestall: The whole problem that you face does not seem to be one that can be solved immediately with dollars and cents, and additional funding so that you can bring your strength up to the authorized levels may not even be the long-term solution.

Is the fact that you no longer have the pay problems with which many of us are very familiar a direct result of operating at two-thirds of authorized strength, coupled with reduced parade time, which many of our units are forced into as a matter of practice?

I wonder if we might make some recommendations that could turn that around somewhat. It does not give me much comfort, nor, I am sure, other members of the committee, to hear that you have had to cut back. No wonder you cannot sustain parades.

How many times do you parade a month, LCol. King?

LCol. King: As a comment on that, sir, at present, army reserve units are restricted to, on average, 37.5 training days per year, per soldier.

For example, signallers can parade at approximately 100 is my understanding. I believe it should be increased from 37.5 to a figure closer to 50, which would increase our capabilities within our unit. Our budgets are measured based on training days.

Senator Forrestall: LCdr. Mushanski, do you have a comment on that?

LCdr. Mushanski: In the naval reserve, our members average between 40 and 50 training days per year. Our training season for a normal unit is from September to April. The reason for that, in the case of my unit, is not so much budget but the availability of the individuals. As mentioned, most of my unit members are students, and during May, June, July and August they are away doing their full-time service with employment, on-the-job training or courses.

As a fiscally responsible public servant, it is not economical for me to have others coming in because I do not have the individuals to train them. My restriction is more the availability of people for training.

LCdr. Chow: We rescheduled our activities about five years ago. We are at approximately 42 training days per year, including unit-generated exercises. The reason we pulled back was to reduce expenses and it also coincided with the training that commenced on the East Coast in May, so it tied in rather nicely.

LCol. Penner: Just talking about the budget, we work on 37.5 days of training but we do not train on all of those days. We have to maintain our administration, we have to do our footprint work and we have to do our recruiting. All that is coming out of this so-called 37.5 days of ``training.''

When it comes to training a unit, the military, as was stated before, is a collective organization; it is a team thing. Therefore, we have to do collective training over and above mandatory training on ranges, et cetera, on which we have to qualify. As a unit commander, I only get three, or at the outside four, weekends a year to train in the collective role within my own unit. Therefore, although we are budgeted for 37.5 days of training, it is not really training.

Senator Forrestall: I think I can appreciate that.

Thinking again about the West Coast, while we were there, we had occasion to board one of the vessels and had the privilege of lunching with the lower ranks. We found that, particularly among the women, one of the low points was the uniform. The ill-fitting uniform was one of the things that discouraged them from staying in the force.

We addressed that in our second-last report. Have you heard any echoes or reverberations? Can you help those poor souls out a little?

LCdr. Mushanski: As the only female member on this panel, I suppose I should be the one to answer this.

The behind-the-scenes comment is that the Canadian Forces uniforms were designed for men by men. We were just an accident that happened and we have to fit into them. Over the years, there have been committees, especially at NDHQ, looking at the female uniform and how to make it a better fit, because they realize it is a very low point with women.

It is coming; however, development is many miles behind the male uniform. Slowly but surely, they are finally learning that women are shaped a little differently.

Senator Forrestall: Again, in our second-last report we suggested that perhaps our land force is burnt out and over- stressed. Its equipment is rusting and spare parts are not always available when they are needed. Or if they have them they are not in the right place. We have no way of moving our troops in and out of combat positions without relying on our allies and partners in some of these world conflicts.

We suggested that perhaps we should bring the troops home. It looked as if we were suggesting bringing everybody home for three years, but it would not, in practice, have worked out that way. There would be some finishing-up work to be done that they could not just walk away from. Part of the impact of that, it had occurred to the committee members, would be on your problem with respect to training. It would have a very direct impact on reserve forces.

The training problem would be alleviated, not solely by the lessening of the demand for training-capable personnel to go off to a centre of activity, depriving the units of that skill that they were not able to replace.

Were you to bring them home, our forces across the country would have access to those training skills. They would be able to train more frequently with their natural permanent force units and much good could, in fact, come out of that. At the end of two or three years we might have an entirely different looking force than we have today, capable of responding with their own equipment for transportation, et cetera.

Anybody care to comment on that?

Maj. Green: It is an interesting thought, sir, and heartfelt, to be sure, to bring troops home and rest them. However, my response to that would be: Who takes their place? If we pull out, who would take Canada's place on the world stage?

Senator Forrestall: You and I have different views. If we were talking about 30,000 or 40,000 men and women in a given alliance operation outside Canada, then, of course, you could not do it. However, if you take that proposition to the other extreme, if the work the Canadians were doing was absolutely vital and necessary, of course you would not pull them out. You would not walk away from a job that you had started.

When that job was finished and those men and women came home, you would keep them at home; you would not replace them until such time as they had an opportunity to get reacquainted, in many cases, with their families.

The two extremes are there, and you would not walk away from your commitments; we did not intend that. What we want to do is simply bring the troops home and give them a chance to rest and get reacquainted with their families.

Also, there is a need to get reacquainted with new technology and update existing technology. Do the work on the equipment and gear that they have to use. Then, in 18 months or two years, start feeding them back into the system, where they are needed, as fresh, highly skilled and competent, professional service people.

That does not require an answer unless someone wants to address it. I think it is something that has to happen.

Senator Atkins: my first question is, can someone explain to me why, in the case of former permanent military personnel who apply for the reserve, it takes 18 months for them to be recruited or signed up?

I would ask Maj. Murray Allan, did you have to wait, as a former officer in the military, to get into a reserve unit?

Maj. Allan: I actually transferred. I was still, as I recall, on my terminal leave when I transferred, so I was never really out. My transition from the regular force to the reserve force was seamless. I was very impressed, quite frankly, with the way that whole thing was carried out.

You are absolutely right, however, about ex-regular force people having problems joining the reserves. The term is, as I recall, ``verification of service.'' Part of the reason is a bureaucratic problem, of course. Our units have to contact National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa through, I suppose, a multi-layered process of bureaucracy to gather all of the files and all of the records of individuals who have seen former service. It takes time for those files to be gathered, for someone to note the information and then to transfer it, probably back through a number of different levels of military bureaucracy again.

If that situation could be changed, that would help us a lot. I hope it would help us in Regina, although, quite frankly, I would suggest we are not in a location to which a lot of regular force folks retire.

A lot of military folks retire to places like Edmonton, where there is a so-called army ``super base.'' You will find, I suspect, not an inordinate number, but a large number of retired regular force folks in the army reserve units in places like Toronto. The Royal New Brunswick Regiment in Fredericton has a number of retired regular force military people from Canadian Forces Base Gagetown.

Does that answer your question?

Senator Atkins: I think it is a natural human resource pool. I cannot understand it. I mean, paperwork? It does not make any sense to me, quite frankly.

I understand that if people have been in the military for 30 years, they may not be interested in the reserve forces. However, there are a lot of young recruits who leave for various reasons and probably are looking for an opportunity to serve. I can understand why they would become frustrated.

We were talking about Camp Borden and the number of recruits. When we were there, we had lunch with a number of new recruits and other personnel, many from the navy and air force. They were sitting there cooling their heels, frustrated because they could not get into the courses that they were looking forward to doing, which clearly indicated that there is a lack of a cadre to train these people. There was a lack of training personnel because they were on rotation.

We found the same thing in Gagetown. When they needed military personnel to fill the voids, they went to the reserve.

I have a question for the reserve commanders. Do you have many applications from women?

LCdr. Mushanski: In the naval reserve we are at this time approximately 40 per cent women.

Senator Atkins: What about the army?

Maj. Green: I would say our unit is about 20 per cent female. We do not experience a problem attracting young women to the combat arms or to the support services aspects within the combat arms, such as clerk positions, administration and so forth. They are equally welcome in both areas, and crew members adapt well to having females at close quarters in the fighting vehicles. I do not think there is a problem.

Senator Atkins: We have talked about recruitment and training. We really have not talked about equipment tonight. When you talk about your budgets, does the $256,000 include equipment, or can you requisition for equipment above and beyond the operating budget?

LCdr. Mushanski: Most of our major equipment acquisition is funnelled through our headquarters. LComdr. Chow mentioned that what is called the ``Naval Trainer'' is coming out. That was purchased by NAVRESHQ and each unit is being allotted at least one; a couple of units will receive two. Major equipment acquisitions come through headquarters.

The kinds of equipment that we are responsible for at the unit level are the very minor items. Also, a small part of our budget is for what we call ``first-line maintenance'' on our equipment. For example, we are responsible for oil changes and minor repairs to our RHIB.

The Chairman: What is an RHIB, please?

LCdr. Mushanski: An RHIB is a rigid-hull inflatable boat. That is currently the unit's largest asset.

LCdr. Chow: With respect to the funding you were discussing, senator, as Queen mentioned to you, there is some available for first-line acquisition of very small requirements such as software packages and things along those lines.

At Unicorn, for instance, I have been requesting a marine diesel training unit for a number of years. I could use one because it assists in teaching the MES OPs how to better do their job so that when they go to the coast and to the MCDVs, at least they have a leg up and know what to expect.

We have gone right into the new millennium in one fell swoop with the MCDVs. There was no evolution; it was revolution for us.

Senator Atkins: I understand there is no permanent military base here in Saskatchewan. Therefore, if you as commanders need equipment, where do you requisition it? Do you go to the permanent base in Manitoba? Do you do it through Ottawa? What kind of response do you get?

I am asking the commanders of the infantry units.

LCol. Penner: Our equipment is basically pushed down to us. Whatever is available comes down through the system and is allocated by the different command structures above us — hopefully, to fit our roles.

We have a concern that we do not really have any roles presently. I think once we have the roles, then the equipment should be issued to support those. Your question was about when we do need extra equipment. It is available, but it does take some paperwork and some staff work. However, we do get support from CFB Shilo or Wainwright. We have had some good working relationships with our regular force counterparts in getting equipment on temporary loan, usually night vision equipment and things like that we have borrowed for an exercise and some pre-training and then returned to them.

Major equipment is all pushed to us.

LCol. King: As was mentioned, we more or less have two budgets. One is our cash budget for our part-time salaries and some minor travel expenses. The other is our ammunition budget, which is primarily assigned to us by our headquarters, based on requests and the input that we have into that. We do not purchase the sorts of things we use in an infantry unit, such as vehicles and weapons. We do not have a capital budget for those; they are assigned to us.

Senator Atkins: Does the delivery of this equipment sometimes frustrate you because it does not get to you at the time when you are planning your training process?

Maj. Green: It is first in, last out; we are not infantry, but reconnaissance. May I tell you something about our unit that relates directly to equipment? My unit, as I mentioned in my opening remarks, is a reconnaissance unit doing medium-range reconnaissance about 15 to 20 kilometres ahead of the brigade.

We do it in a four-wheel-drive vehicle called an Iltis. Currently, there is a new purchase being made to replace the Iltis, which is 16 years old. We have examples of ones that are kind of like The Flintstones vehicles, where you can see the ground underneath them because they are rusted through. There are no spare parts for them and they are in a state now where we have to cannibalize one to keep the remainder of the fleet running.

The interesting point is that although we have 17 of the Iltis four-wheel-drive vehicles, we are only being allocated 9 of the new vehicles, which are called LUVWs, or light utility vehicle, wheeled, made by Mercedes Benz.

I have over 100 people in my unit and I will have 9 reconnaissance vehicles on which to train them. You can see immediately, if you do the math, that with three people to a crew, that amounts to 27 people.

What we are forced to do, then, is look at alternatives and, of course, we then go into what we can do on our feet, which is act as an assault troop. Of course, we demand the needed resources for an assault troop, such as the demolitions equipment, et cetera. That is not available either. Demolitions equipment is not a big-ticket item, but the training in order to run demolitions is. For every need that you attempt to address, there is another pitfall at the end of it.

The equipment question is a significant one. We have to get our roles set first, I think, and then get the equipment. If we can get that and the numbers right, then we will be okay. If we do anything else, we will be throwing good money after bad, and it concerns me that we would do that.

Senator Atkins: Since there is no permanent base in Saskatchewan, I assume that there is a heavy demand for the reserve units to do community activities, as has been mentioned tonight. How do you cope with that and how do you get the number of recruits that you have in your unit to serve, especially if there are several requests at certain times of the year?

LCol. King: ``Community footprint'' is the terminology we have been using. Quite frankly, those sorts of tasks are not looked upon as bad things by our units and by our soldiers. They enhance our stature in the community and it is a chance, sometimes, for our soldiers to wear their nice uniforms, with their medals, to be seen and to be proud, and make it to the front page of the Leader-Post or on the local television.

Senator Atkins: Are these events classified as training?

LCol. King: It is implied that a certain amount of community footprint activity is within my training budget. We attempt to identify it during our budgeting process and during our training planning process. Sometimes we are accurate, sometimes not. It does come at the expense of training, and for some units it is more significant than for others. I believe the more remote your unit is, the more expensive it may be.

In the case of Moose Jaw and the Saskatchewan Dragoons, Maj. Green could probably talk about his army reserve unit being the only one there. In Regina we have more army reserve units; we can spread the wealth, if you will.

Senator Atkins: You do not have any trouble putting together the required human resources?

LCol. King: In Regina it is often a combined effort between the various units. We have to do that.

Maj. Green: It is an interesting question, because we try to do two things through our community footprint. We try to involve our community in our unit, which has paid big dividends for us. When we supply tents to the Nancy Greene ski competition for the use of those competing, we talk to the young people who are skiing down the hill and they become interested in our unit, which is good for us.

When we put on a military display at Frontier Days in Swift Current, or the Moose Jaw Exhibition, people come and ask us about our unit. That is a good thing, too. We are using it as a recruiting tool. We are helping other people, but we are also getting some benefit out of it.

We also loan some of our tents out for various runs and we have a running team in our unit that is completely voluntary. All the soldiers who take part in the distance marathons are volunteers. They do it because they enjoy running. Putting up our tents to support the refreshment stands, so that people can refresh themselves along the route of the marathon, that is a bonus.

It reflects back on our unit. Do not for a minute think that those people out there are not aware that the Saskatchewan Dragoons are supporting their endeavours. That goes right from the chamber of commerce through the community.

When people ask, ``What do your Canadian Forces do for you,'' there are big questions out there like Kosovo and the alliance, et cetera. There are also the nuts-and-bolts things at the community level that the reserve units do, and they do them well.

Senator Atkins: Do you think the public understands that reserves are sending personnel to Bosnia and to other areas of activity?

LCol. Penner: Actually, what I have found, when we have done town hall meetings and received some exposure, is that we are probably our own worst marketers. Most of the civilian population in Saskatoon does not know we exist.

After September 11 and the hype in the news, we had reporters coming to the doors of the armouries asking, ``Where did you guys come from?'' We told them we had been here for 100 years. They did not even know we existed. They saw a building on the main road in Saskatoon, but they did not know what it was for. Yes, we are probably our own worst marketers.

Senator Atkins: I do not think this committee knew the extent to which the reserves contribute. It was quite a surprise to us.

Senator Smith: I want to make a couple of comments and invite some response. I will not get into questions because I think other members have touched on the area that I wanted to explore.

How do we give the whole reserve system a shot of adrenaline to make it more meaningful, have people be aware of it and have it perform a useful role? That has been touched on and I will not rehash that. However, I do want to say that I appreciate not only your being here tonight but, I think more important, the impression I get that we have six people here who are very committed to making the reserve world in Canada meaningful and useful. I think you are all groping, to some extent, for how to get that adrenaline, reinforce it and target in on a few key things.

The answers are not that easy. I suppose that is why we are asking questions and probing. However, that commitment and your enthusiasm are certainly appreciated by me and other members of this committee. I think it is fair to say that the members of this committee are sympathetic to the military receiving more of Canada's resources in an effort to strengthen it.

Having said that, you are all aware that there is a lot of competition for whatever federal monies are available. Not the least of which is what all the premiers have been in Ottawa discussing for the last two or three days, that is, medicare, and there is a lot of public support for that.

The last thing that I will touch on, and I am motivated to do so by my good friend Senator Forrestall's musings, is pulling out of overseas operations. I may be a minority of one, but that is not what I think we should do. The reason is that what we do overseas may have to be very limited and very targeted, but Canada does have a lengthy and distinguished tradition and role in activities that generally fall into the peacekeeping category.

Also, there is the extent to which it would increase the difficulty of igniting a spark of enthusiasm in younger people, in particular, for getting involved in the military, whether full time or in the reserve. Any military people whom I have asked if we should get out of the overseas commitments say no. There is the possibility of excitement, and an allure and an attraction in being able to get involved in that.

I understand the logic of saying we have to pull back and get healthy, and maybe it is also a device or tool to lever more federal resources. However, I think that without Bosnia and the stint in Afghanistan, and others as they arise, it may be even harder to attract young people and get them involved.

I respect what other members of the committee, perhaps all of them, have to say about pulling back, but that is not what I think.

If any of you have any comments on my musings, feel free to go ahead.

Maj. Allan: You might be interested to know that the plan is for Rotation Number 18 to Bosnia, in a couple of years, to be entirely a reserve force. It is my opinion, quite frankly, that that is the role of the reserves. In the Second World War it was not the permanent force that won the battles, it was the reservists or those who joined because of the war. Also, this would take the heat off the regular force in terms of overseas deployments.

It would help if the reserves could be given much more recognition of the overseas assignments that they do perform. For example, right now in Bosnia, a large part of an entire rifle company, from the company commander down to all the privates, are all reservists. I am not sure that the Canadian public is aware of that, and it would go a long way, I think, to enhance the perception of the role of reservists if it were.

The Chairman: Ladies and gentlemen, I know I speak on behalf of all of the committee. Tonight we have heard dedication, pride and service, and that has been clear from your comments and your demeanour. It is a privilege for us to come here and to hear your views. I have to tell you that Senator Wiebe has been very instrumental in that. We attempted to come earlier; however, events prevented us. Senator Wiebe made sure we came this time. We still hope to get to Moose Jaw, by the way, which was on our earlier list.

I want you to know that the Senate of Canada thanks you and the people of Canada thank you. We take great pride in what you are doing. It makes a difference; it makes a better Canada. I ask that you convey our thanks and our good wishes to the men and women who serve with you.

The committee adjourned.