Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence

Issue 9 - Evidence, January 31, 2005 - Afternoon meeting

SAINT JOHN, Monday, January 31, 2005

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 1:20 p.m. to examine and report on the national security policy for Canada.

Senator Colin Kenny (Chairman) in the chair.


The Chairman: It is my pleasure to welcome everyone to the Standing Committee on National Security and Defence. Today, the committee is receiving testimony relating to the review of Canadian defence policy. I would like to introduce you to the members of the committee who are present this morning.

On my immediate right is Senator Michael Forestall from Nova Scotia. He has served the constituents of Dartmouth for 37 years, first as a member of the House of Commons, and then as their senator. While in the House of Commons he served as the official opposition defence critic from 1966-76. He is also a member of our Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs.

On my far left is Senator Norman Atkins from Ontario. He came to the Senate with 27 years of experience in the field of communications. He served as a senior advisor to Robert Stanfield, Premier William Davis of Ontario and Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. He is also a member of our Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs.

Beside him is Senator Tommy Banks from Alberta. He is the Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources, which recently released a report entitled the One-Tonne Challenge. He is well known to Canadians as a versatile musician and entertainer. He provided musical direction for the ceremonies of the 1988 Olympic Winter Games. He is an officer of the Order of Canada and is the recipient of a Juno Award.

On my right is our host senator today, Senator Joe Day from New Brunswick. He is Deputy Chair of the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance and also of our Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs. He is a member of the bar of New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec, and a fellow of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada. He is also a former President and CEO of the New Brunswick Forest Products Association.

We have two additional members of the committee who are currently detained but they will be joining us shortly. They are Senators Meighen and Senator Nolin.

Our committee is the first Senate committee mandated to examine security and defence. The Senate asked our committee to examine the need for a national security policy.

We began our review in 2002 with three reports: Canadian Security and Military Preparedness in February; Defence in North America: A Canadian Responsibility in September; and An Update on Canada's Military Crisis: A Review from the Bottom Up in November.

In 2003, the committee published two reports: The Myth of Security at Canada Airports in January; and Canada's Coastlines: The Longest Under-defended Borders in the World in October.

In 2004, we tabled two additional reports: National Emergencies: Canada's Fragile Front-lines in March; and recently the Canadian Security Guide Book, 2005 edition.

The committee is reviewing Canadian defence policy. During the next few months, the committee will hold hearings in every province and engage Canadians to determine their national interest, what they see as Canada's principal threats, and how they would like the government to respond to those threats. The committee will attempt to generate debate on national security in Canada and forge a consensus on the need and type of military that Canadians want.

Today we have a panel of witnesses before us who are in command of training centres at CFB Gagetown. We have appearing Lieutenant-Colonel Steve Bowes. He has been the Commandant of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps School since June 2003. His other commands of note include: Commandant d'escadron C and Commandant d'escadron, Commandant et Service du 12ième Régiment blindé du Canada. Prior to assuming command of the Amour School, he was the G3 at the CTC.

Next we have Lieutenant-Colonel Brian Douglas who has been Commandant in Command of the Artillery School since December 2001. He has served in the NATO Stabilization Force in Bosnia and was awarded the U.S. Meritorious Service Medal. He attended Korean Army Staff College in 2003 and worked as liaison officer with the United Nations Military Armistice Commission monitoring the cease fire. He served in the demilitarized zone during the demining operation to construct a transportation corridor.

Then we have Lieutenant-Colonel René Melançon who has been the Commandant of the Infantry School since January 2003. Lieutenant-Colonel Melançon attended the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College in 2001, where he received his Masters in Military Studies. He also served overseas in Afghanistan with the 18 U.S. Airborne Corps in Bagram, Operation Enduring Freedom, as the Canadian Senior LO in theatre under OP Apollo, where he received the commander's commendation.

Next, is Lieutenant-Colonel Pat McAdam. He assumed his duties as Commandant of the Tactics School in June 2003. A member of the Royal Canadian Regiment, he attended the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College and served as the Canadian Forces Liaison Officer to the United States Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia where he was awarded the United States Meritorious Service Medal for his ``professional ability, leadership and devotion to duty.'' He has served overseas in Cyprus and Croatia and was awarded the Chief of Defence Staff Commendation for his ``leadership and determination'' under trying conditions during his 1994-1995 tour with UNPROFOR.

Finally we have with us Lieutenant-Colonel Ranjeet Gupta. He has served in a variety of field positions with 5 Combat Engineer Regiment in Val Cartier, Québec, including Field Troop Commander, Field Squadron Commander and Deputy Commanding Officer. In 1993, he deployed to Bosnia with the 2nd Battalion of the Royal 22nd Regiment.

Lieutenant-Colonel Gupta commanded the 9th Field Engineer Squadron in Rouyn-Noranda, Québec from 1996-98. He also commanded the Canadian Forces Recruiting Centre in Montreal, Quebec from 1998-01. He is a graduate of the Canadian Forces College in Toronto, Ontario and was appointed honorary Aide-de-Camp to the Lieutenant- Governor of Quebec, the Honourable Lise Thibault, in 1997. He continues to serve in that capacity to this day.

Gentlemen, our committee is looking forward to hearing from you.

Lieutenant-Colonel Steve Bowes, Armour School, CFB Gagetown, Department of National Defence: Honourable senators, I am the commandant of the armour school in Gagetown. Commandant is a traditional term. The appointment is really as a commanding officer with the same responsibilities as any other commanding officer in the Canadian Forces and the army-at-large.

Our mission is to support army and armoured-core readiness and modernization through the conduct of individual training in Gagetown; the preservation of individual training standards, both within Gagetown and across the army, and the maintenance of assigned centre of excellence responsibilities.

My school is broken down into a small headquarters and four squadrons or four subunits. The headquarters has a command element of operations and an orderly room staff. It is very small.

The training squadron conducts all leadership training within the school. Depot squadron conducts crewmen training. We take soldiers and we make them crewman, provide them the skills necessary to go out as drivers and gunners, and we also look after what we have as a holding troop for soldiers and officers coming in and waiting until they go on course.

The standard squadron preserves training standards. It implements the army policies and direction with regard to training plans and they develop courseware for our courses.

Headquarter squadron is the glue that binds all this together. It provides all the vehicles, the crewmen and the administration support, the food and the fuel, et cetera for our courses to go to the field. It also generates instructors out of that squadron to be able to deliver the courses as we go through.

Our annual throughput: Last year approximately 430 soldiers, around 360 regular, 72 reservists from various levels. It does not include the internal training that we are ongoing now at the school, which is rather significant because of the re-orientation of our corps from primarily direct fire to reconnaissance. In the current fiscal year, we anticipate growth to around 600, around 520 regular force soldiers, around 80 reserve force personnel. Most of the growth is attributed to the master corporal appointment and sergeant rank level for leadership, both regular and reserve. Those are they key rank levels within the armoured corps at the moment.

With respect to augmentation, our regular force course at present, we maintain a policy of virtually zero augmentation. We do bring in some subject matter experts from time to time for one course or another, as an example, for the advance gunnery instructor course that we deliver. Our requirements will increase as our throughput grows in terms of CF and land force expansion. I will add a comment to that at the end.

On reserve courses, we surge our cadres in the summertime to deliver reserve training. So we do bring in augmentees, both reserve and regular. Those regulars are normally those regular force personnel who are assigned to reserve units across the country.

In terms of issues that we are dealing with now in the school, obviously high personnel tempo is our main concern. We are also dealing with some issues with regard to availability of specialized training equipment. We are going through a comprehensive training modernization program. Of course there is the issue of the CF and land force expansion within that context.

With regards to high personnel tempo there are some very simple reasons. We do have a low augmentation policy, in other words virtually zero, which means that we have rationalized our structure within the school to be able to achieve that. We had to reorganize the school because army transformation was in fact reorienting the armoured corps from direct fire to reconnaissance, so this provided the impetus.

We also have conversion training. In other words, we are taking soldiers, warrants and sergeants, that may have had only skills or technical qualifications that were related to the Leopard and we are requalifying our people as we go along. So we are training ourselves at the same time as we are providing courses for the army.

We have also increased our throughput. Our reconnaissance organizations have a higher number of crew commanders on average, and it has caused us to increase our throughput, and that in turn has increased our personnel tempo. We do still deal with this as every organization in the army, a high of what we call LOB, or left out of battle rate, which is simply to say that, at any given time, a percentage of our school is not available for task. There can be issues such as medical, both temporary and permanent, but it can also be things like both officers and the warrants and sergeants themselves going on career courses to prepare themselves for the next rank. At any given time that can be between 20 per cent and 25 per cent of the school strength.

We try to mitigate that through scheduling to make the greatest resource efficiencies possible for our training. We have rationalized our own courses both in content and length of course to make sure we are delivering the skills that soldiers need to go back into field force units and go into the collective training cycle and out the door. We brought in through support from our headquarters reserve staff, and this year in particular, the army commander has allocated a number of dollars towards costs moves which are normally covered by the Canadian Forces to allow the school to turn over people that have been at the school for a longer period of time. It is a perhaps misperception to say that the people in the school have a less personnel tempo than perhaps those in the field force.

As to the availability of training equipment, by and large we are in pretty good form. In the current operating environment we do more operations at night and we would like to train the way we are expected to conduct operations overseas, train the way we fight, so we do have some shortages and night vision goggles et cetera, night observation devices. We have a plan. We are working with headquarters to try and rectify that problem.

We have some excellent simulation. We are looking to always enhance that aspect using that tool to deliver training. In particular our new LAV fleet, as an example, has a system of simulation that is embedded into the vehicle and we are always building a business case and looking for ways that we can improve that situation and create greater efficiencies for the army.

One last concern on our training equipments, our vehicle off-road rate is a little bit too high and it is something that we have identified and are working with the headquarters to correct. It has aspects both in terms of military and civilian technicians available to repair vehicles and also spare parts in the system.

Training modernization is the major theme we are working on. The current operational environment has changed significantly from the Cold War paradigm. You have heard repeatedly the term ``three-block war.'' We are training soldiers differently than we trained them five years ago. We spend a lot of time in more complex training. We conduct operations at night. We have changed our philosophy and our training environment is based entirely on the principle of mentoring; instructors are not there as assessors, but they are there to teach.

We have a leader development focus; that is to say that we are training people to think tomorrow in operations and not training them how to conduct a tactics based on drills and procedures. We train them to think.

With regards to CF and land force expansion, we believe that depending on the timeline that is desired by the strategic level at the Canadian Forces level, we are prepared to accelerate it, but we would need additional resources. That should be very clear.

It brings opportunity as well as challenges. I can speak on behalf of all my personnel in the school, all my warrants, sergeants, officers and soldiers, who are excited by the opportunities that may be unfolding.

In conclusion, our ``perstempo,'' personnel tempo, training equipments, training modernization and that expansion opportunity are the main issues of the day for us. I know that we will be positioned to succeed in this because it is simply based on the professionalism of the personnel with the school that when the word for re-orientation came down, they simply said let's get on with it. So we will be ready for the tasks of today and tomorrow.

Lieutenant-Colonel Brian Douglas, Artillery School, CFB Gagetown, Department of National Defence: Mr. Chair, members of the committee, it is my honour as the Commandant of the Royal Canadian artillery school to appear before you today.

The Royal Canadian Artillery School is a proud member of the Combat Training Centre Team. Our core mission is to provide basic and advanced individual training for all artillery disciplines: field artillery, air defence artillery, and surveillance and target acquisitions artillery. This training is for soldiers who we refer to as gunners and for officers so that they are prepared for the missions of today.

Since 1996 when the air defence school, formerly in Chatham, New Brunswick, amalgamated with the field artillery school in Gagetown, we have been a fundamentally different institution from the infantry and armoured schools as we train both combat arms soldiers and maintenance soldiers.

Additionally, the artillery school has Centre of Excellence responsibilities that extend beyond artillery training, weapons, tactics and doctrine to include, since 2004, responsibilities for forward air controller, FAC training and expertise. This responsibility involves us closely with our and other nation's air forces in training forward air controller skills for army and air force personnel. Through our efforts at CTC, our FAC training is now at the NATO standard for certification and employment.

The artillery school has 312 military personnel and five civilians in our team. Instructors, officers and NCOs make up 21 per cent of our total strength. Beside the normal in-garrison support staff, the artillery school has a field deployable battery known as W Battery with 167 all ranks that is capable of deploying a field troop of three guns and its associated command and control and air defence anti-tank systems, ADATS, a weapons troop of four ADATS weapons and its command and control and its support troop. It is the most diverse battery in the Canadian artillery and is renowned in Gagetown for its flexibility. In 2004, it spent approximately one-half of the training days in the field supporting the artillery school and the combat training centre.

The artillery school is responsible for 48 courses on average per year, and in fiscal year 2004-2005 we trained and are training 508 personnel from nine different MOCs besides field and air defence artillery.

Although we primarily train regular force artillery men in the artillery school, 23 reservists were also trained. Of the approximate 325 students whose courses have already been conducted this year, we have a success rate of 94 per cent. Our courses are relevant and modern and fully prepare our students, soldiers and leaders for the contemporary operating environment.

It is important to add that due to the nature of artillery deployment and employment our courses are extremely varied. Field artillery courses range from gun detachment member and commander, reconnaissance, command post, observation parties, artillery staff officers and battery commanders. Various surveillance and target acquisition courses are also taught to officers and senior soldiers. Air defence too range from the air defence anti-tank system operator and commander courses to command post and air space control technician, air space controller officer and battery commander. Our instructors, officers, and senior NCOs also complete an advanced year-long instructor course before employment at the artillery school.

Due to the high number and complexity of courses, the artillery school relies heavily on personnel augmentation. Using 2004 as an example, we benefited from 11 reserves throughout the year as instructor backfill and 68 during the summer months. Reservists are used in key leadership positions, be it instructing on our regular force, basic field gunners course, as a gun detachment commander, or second-in-command. Mission task regular force units also support our major course exercise to ensure we have the realism afforded by fully manned units.

In the last 12 months, 10 members of the school deployed to Afghanistan in key positions with the tactical unmanned aerial vehicle troop and the counter-battery radar troop. This key experience in surveillance and target acquisition continues to be developed at the artillery school. Further, the combat training centre emphasizes relevant training from operationally experienced instructors. Currently, 22 of our instructors, 32 per cent, have been deployed on operations within the last three years in their current rank and that ratio is steadily increasing.

Our biggest challenge remains our personnel tempo. Although attention always seems to focus on Canadian troops deployed outside of Canada, the instructors and soldiers of the artillery school continue to punch well above its weight to support the field force. Although we are currently manned at 95 per cent of our establishment, in fact the numbers of personnel available is far less. Our left out of battle rate is on average 15 per cent to 20 per cent due to paternity and maternity leave, permanent and temporary medical categories and career courses. This puts an enormous strain on the remainder of the personnel throughout the year.

As well, the establishments are not always reflective on the manning realities. For example, our newly acquire LAV vehicles require substantial operator maintenance, our FAC, forward air controller centre of excellence responsibilities since 2004 increased emphasis on developing distributive electronic learning products and the growth of our servants, surveillance and target acquisition capability are four areas that are newly manned from our establishment. This combined with our left out of battle numbers results in a perstempo that is high as the field force and monitoring perstempo is my biggest concern.

Besides perstempo as a challenge, our equipment is a constraint; vehicles in particular are problematic, with an average 27 per cent off the road rate. Awaiting labour accounts for 16 per cent while awaiting parts accounts for 11 per cent. This causes obviously some frustration to my soldiers and instructors who are constantly balancing our running fleet.

The ongoing initiative to equip us for the field force is appreciated and absolutely imperative. As an anecdote, the recent issuing of the tactical vests, small pack and various other ``clothe the soldier products'' did have a very positive effect on the soldiers, though our equipping strategies mean that sometimes our instructors may not have the latest clothing as per our field force or may not be allowed to retain some of our equipment on a permanent basis.

We continue at the artillery school to need all the weapons and equipment used by our field force colleagues to offer the most modern training possible and for the morale of our soldiers.

Simulation is widely used in the artillery school. The field artillery courses and other CTC schools benefit immensely from the indirect fire trainer where we train the observation of our artillery mortar and naval gun fire, and the new forward air controller simulator. Both are world-class simulators able to replicate complex mountainous and urban settings, night fighting challenges and the effects required from Canada and other nations' weapons.

We have two significant shortfalls that are being rectified in order to ensure future success. First, our ADATS, air defence anti-tank system trainer is below standard. Surpassed by technology the work has begun to correct its limitations in order to train our ADATS teams for the army's force employment concept of the direct fire unit.

Second, we currently do not have a simulator for the training of our fire effects detachments on the LAV3 fire and effects vehicle. We are actively working to define this shortfall to the army staff.

In conclusion, perstempo remains my greatest concern. I am encouraged by ongoing initiatives to reduce this tempo through continuing reserve augmentation, alternate source delivery, and support from the chain of command, but it remains a ``dissatisfier'' for our people.

We have forwarded our proposals through our chain of command for the requirement of the artillery school to transform in the future as the army moves through its transformation process. Fortunately, the leaders, staff and soldiers in the artillery school represent the best in the army.


Lieutenant Colonel René Melançon, Commandant, Infantry School, CFB Gagetown, Department of National Defence: Mr. Chairman, it is an honour for me to be here with you today as Commandant of the Infantry School and Assistant- Director of the Infantry Corps. As Commandant of the Infantry School, my mission is to support the army, the state of the infantry, modernization through individual training, the maintenance of an army-wide standard as well as the maintenance of the responsibility centres.


The way I am structured at the infantry school I have three companies, an HQ company and a support company. I have 232 persons working for me. Annual student throughput is over 66,000 student days. I have the biggest throughput in CTC. However there is augmentation required and it does put a burden on the force, but I need to have people coming back from the theatre to make sure I can give the good training.

The issues of interest, I have high perstempo, training equipment, modernization, reserve training and CF expansion.

The reason for the high perstempo, I have increasing throughput, I have staff that stays in the field up to 18 weeks and they are going up to 12 hours a day. Burning annual leave becomes a challenge. The left out of battle rate for medical or maternity leave is increasing. On top of that we are putting the army transformation because we want to produce a relevant leader in the battlefield today. We have the development of professionals as well for officers who are going on different courses NCO.

We have to backfill, we do rationalization, and we do distance learning with the view to support the army.

We need to train as we fight; that includes both mental and physical fitness. Night fighting equipment is always a shortfall. We will have the high-tech equipment from Afghanistan when it comes back. We have some here, but we do not have enough for all the courses. We are introducing weapon effects simulators and we are putting that on courses and are maximizing the simulation, which is good.

In the summer we have up to 1,000 soldiers in the field. There are important medical issues because if something happens we have to cover the individual by transport, or by road, which might not be fast enough.

We need the equipment for when we have an instructor. It is getting better right now. When they have clothing that is not the same as the guy coming from the field force, even though they are the instructors, they feel a bit behind and it is not good for morale. So we need to have the same equipment.

The training is good. We keep to the basics, and we modernize to reflect the contemporary environment of the three block war. There is a requirement today to produce a thinking officer, able to think outside the box, able to deal with a simulated threat and that is what we do at the school. That involves putting non-combat into the scenario. For instance, the CAP, the common army program, is the only tactical training they will receive. Once they are finished the CAP, eventually, they could end up in Afghanistan, coming out of the airplane. I went back there for the DOI suicide of Corporal Murphy and the first responder was a guy fresh out of the airplane, directly there, going to Kabul. We need to prepare them for what they will face in the theatre, and in order to do that, I need to have the equipment.

The most significant challenge we have right now is to fight in complex terrain. We are getting a new urban operation instructor course. That course is on the way. We have the first one coming and we want to put the knowledge into the field force.

We conduct all the leadership training for Dwyer Hill and we have an exchange for that UA course, the urban operations instructor. We try to do as much as we can with temporary exchanges with other armies for instructor courses. We did that with the Americans for the Sniper.

Our biggest challenge is modernization, to make sure that the course and the training we do reflect today's environment in the battlefield. We have the 5th international Sniper concentration where we have 24 countries coming in and this is the best event of the year.

With respect to our initiatives, we teach first and evaluate second. We are changing the exam to make sure that we produce a thinking officer. We try to involve more complex terrain and the rules of engagement. Those are all little things that we put inside to make the terrain more relevant.

For the reserve training, we are coming to a point that we are going to have the same training as the regular force. The CAP this summer is going to be breaking down in five modules to make sure that the reserve training has the same training has the regular force. Therefore, there is no more training gap. IODP11, which is the second step in the training, in the summer of 2006 we will be able to modulize as well to have the same training.

The infantry is ready to accelerate the expansion. We need more boots on the ground. We believe that we can meet the challenge within the time frame provided that we get the dollars to meet the training cost. There is no such thing as problems, there are only solutions.

In conclusion, we want to ensure that at the infantry we are going to form the best NCO infantry school, the best NCO and officers to meet today's challenges in the field battle. We want to keep to the basics to make sure they understand that, but we want to move away from drill to make sure that we produce somebody that is able to think and react to the three block war environment. We are evolutionary, not revolutionary. The quality of instructors that we are getting will support the training. The operation tempo is very high for me as well, but we have to move on and we have to train the soldiers. We want to make the training as fun, challenging, and dynamic as possible so that they understand and they learn the best they can. We want to stimulate the students.

Lieutenant-Colonel Pat McAdam, Tactics School, Department of National Defence, CFB Gagetown: Mr. Chairman, senators, tactics school is the smallest of the combat training centres' individual training establishments. It consists of only 24 military and two civilian positions. Unlike the infantry, armour and artillery schools, the tactics school is not focussed on any one of these core capabilities, but rather is concerned with the integration of each of them in operations.

The tactics school role is to develop, teach and monitor combined arms operations, and focus on tactics, techniques and procedures at the combined arms team level. This we do by assisting other army directorates such as the army doctrine and army training directorates in Kingston with advice on combined arms operations, and by conducting the formal courses which have been assigned to tactics school.

In terms of individual training, our mission is to both educate and train our army officers at the rank of lieutenant, captain and major in the integration of all arms capabilities at the combined arms team level. The basic building block which we augment for our training force on most of our courses is the light armoured vehicle equipped infantry rifle company.

Our courses are delivered to a more experienced student population than the other schools. They can be divided into two distinct tiers. My lower tier prepares regular force officers for the army operations course delivered by the Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College in Kingston, Ontario. Our preparatory course is delivered to lieutenants and captains. It is the army tactical operations course. The aim of this course is to provide junior army officers with the skills and the knowledge needed to operate effectively within, or in support of, combat team operations. This course in the combat arms version is delivered to both regular force and reserve force officers.

We also offer a version of the army tactical operations course that is designed specifically for combat service support officers. Its aim is to provide the junior army combat services support officer with the skills and knowledge needed to operate effectively in support of a battle group or a task force operation. This course is also provided to both regular force and reserve force army officers.

The second, higher tier courses are designed to prepare selected officers for subunit command. It is delivered to captains and majors that have been either selected for subunit command appointments or that are deemed likely to be selected in the very near future.

For the reserve force officers, we conduct the advanced classification training infantry. It is designed to train reserve force infantry officers to command a dismounted infantry company group. Candidates are course loaded in accordance with the needs and desires of the reserve force and the infantry units throughout the nation.

The pre-subunit command course for the regular force is titled the combined arms team commanders course. It is delivered to selected infantry, armoured and artillery officers. Its aim is to train these selected army officers to command a combined arms team within a battle group context, and ideally is delivered just prior to an individual taking command at the subunit level.

In terms of student throughput we are again considerably smaller than the other schools. For the tier 1 army tactical operations course, I run 11 serials annually for a total student throughput of approximately 260.

For the tier 2 pre-command courses, the annual throughput is about 60 students. This puts my annual throughput at the school at about 320.

Throughput on the tier 1 army tactical operations course does not at this time match the intake at the Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College's Army Operations Course for which it is a preparatory step. While it is not considered necessary for all students to undertake this preparatory training that my school offers, we have recently considered options to increase throughput on this course to more closely match the student intake at Kingston. The largest impediment at this time is the ability of our computer assisted training suite in the army simulation centre in Gagetown to handle larger groups of students on a single course serial.

Both of the tier 2 pre-command courses currently meet the army need and they do not require any increase to student throughput.

The training delivered by tactics school is sufficient to meet the needs of the army, with the one exception perhaps, the desired increase to the lower tier army tactical operations course.

The largest dissatisfier during training offered at my school is the current disparity between the availability of modern technical equipments to support the training. In some respects, such as night fighting equipment, the student in one of my courses is far behind the standard that currently is resident within our deployed forces. This disparity in modern equipments and technologies between the training institutions and the current deployed forces is being addressed by a combat training centre, but it is a reality that exists.

In terms of CF or land force expansion, really it will have no immediate impact on tactics school as my student body consists of junior officers with several years of service in the Canadian Forces. So any rapid increase throughout the Canadian Forces will not be seen for several years at my school.

Lieutenant-Colonel Ranjeet K. Gupta, Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering, Department of National Defence, CFB Gagetown: Senators, my remarks will be quite brief because I share much of the same issues with the other training establishments in Gagetown. I do however wish to highlight a few differences. One is that the Canadian Forces School of Military Engineering has a CF wide perspective on training in that we train army and air force, regular force and reserve. All Canadian Forces engineer training takes place in Gagetown at my training establishment, with the exception of firefighters and geomatics, the latter being at the school of Military Mapping in Ottawa.

I do not answer to Colonel Davis, the commander of CTC, but I am certainly responsive to the initiatives of the army in the area of individual training modernization which is why we share much of the same issues.

I have a staff of 233. We run on average 100 courses per year with approximately 2,400 students starts a year. Now that includes both the pure army courses, the combat engineer courses, and all of the trades courses in that we also train all of our engineering trades in Gagetown, plumbers, electricians and what not.

If I had to highlight three issues that are of concern, the first one has been brought up by every commandant here. The first one is balancing the workload. It is a constant struggle to ensure that we can meet the need of both the army and the rest of the Canadian Forces without burning out our own personnel.

We are also struggling to keep our courses up-to-date with the needs of training modernization to make sure that our training packages reflect the needs of operations.

The third, which is perhaps distinctive to our school, is we are always striving to strike the correct balance between soldiers' skills and the technical skills because in the end we also have the technical aspect to our trade.

Our mission is to deliver training so the standards are decided elsewhere. We have input and then when the standards come down, we make sure the course will reflect the needs of the army and the needs of the Canadian Forces.

I welcome your questions.

Senator Banks: I will ask my first question of Lieutenant-Colonel McAdam. It is a subject that was referred to by three of you gentlemen, but you mentioned it last, so I will address it to you. You said there was a bottleneck in Kingston that was holding up your capacity to train. What is it?

LCol. McAdam: Well, in terms of my school, the point I tried to make is that currently I run a course that we consider a preparatory stage for the army operations course in Kingston, but unfortunately, my throughput does not match their intake.

Senator Banks: It does not match it in what sense?

LCol. McAdam: The throughput of students in my school is smaller than the amount of students that start in the operations course in Kingston.

Senator Banks: Why?

LCol. McAdam: Simply because I cannot match what they put in. Their courses are much larger than mine. For instance, and I do not know the exact accuracy of it, but on a student population of about 70 for a course serial start in Kingston, there may only be 50 per cent of that that has gone through my school. So we are looking at how we can increase our throughput in Gagetown so that students arriving at Kingston for the army operations course have all gone through my school.

Senator Banks: So what is constraining your capacity?

LCol. McAdam: The biggest constraint right now is we have a study that we think we can increase student serials, but I cannot make the course larger. We rely very much on simulation and the army simulation centre can only handle a certain capacity at one time on a course.

Senator Banks: So you need more equipment?

LCol. McAdam: Simulation equipment for that particular course is the biggest holdback right now, yes.

Senator Banks: So, it is like we have a two-lane highway which suddenly becomes a four-lane highway and that does not seem to make a whole lot of sense.

I will address my next question to Lieutenant-Colonel Melançon. I cannot do the arithmetic fast enough. You said you had 66,000 student days; that is about 108 students a day. How many days does it take to train a student and what is your throughput?

How many people do you train every year?

LCol. Melançon: Each course, sir, is divided by student days, but they are different courses, different lengths. Some of the courses are 55 days, some are shorter, and some are longer.

Senator Banks: How many infantiers do you put out in a year?

LCol. Melançon: It varies. Every year is different.

Senator Banks: Every year is different?

LCol. Melançon: Yes.

Senator Banks: Let me ask you about your capacity. I want to find out whether you are at capacity or whether you have a lot of wiggle room because we are hopeful that we will soon see a significant increase in the number of people in the Armed Forces. We also think that a significant number of them will be going into the army, and that a significant number of them will infantry people.

If in the future we add 5,000 to the numbers that you already have will you be able to handle your share of those 5,000 people given the infrastructure that you now have, or are you going to run into the kind of problem that Lieutenant-Colonel McAdam does with the bottleneck, a shortfall of some kind?

LCol. Melançon: No. I am not as restricted. I have the cadre and then after, depending on the amount of courses coming in, I need the money resources and additional instructors in order to conduct the training. Once I have the equipment, I can carry on. But no, I am not maxed out.

Senator Banks: So you have room left? You are not operating at full capacity right now?

LCol. Melançon: I do have room left, providing I have more augmentation. You see I have my cadre and then after, when there are other courses coming in, I get instructors from the field force to come into the school in order to train. Provided I have those instructors and the monies, I can train more people.

Senator Banks: At Gagetown now there is room, there is accommodation, and there is the space you need in order to do that?

LCol. Melançon: I cannot speak for accommodations because it is the base, but from the infantry school, I can have more people coming in, senator.

Senator Banks: The reason I am asking the question is because our committee has strongly urged that the compliment of the Canadian Forces needs to be 75,000 operational and not what it is now, which means a whole lot of new training capacity.

I am interested in finding out whether you think that your school could handle those additional people if it were to come to pass, in the present infrastructure. I guess I am asking the question about the infrastructure and not so much needing more instructors, obviously. If you are going to train more people, you need more instructors.

Is the infrastructure in place? Can the mess hall handle the number of people who are going to be there? Can we train those additional 5,000 soldiers without spending a whole lot of additional capital money?


LCol. Melançon: Infrastructure is a dispatching unit within the base. I make infrastructure requests and they give me the infrastructure for the centres. We train combat soldiers. If at the end of the day we are not obliged to go into the field, then we will take modular tents and we will put them in the tents and we will give them training there. There is no problem; there are only solutions.

Clearly, if you wanted to pile everyone into one apartment, that would not be doable. We can take the modular tents, go into the field and do training. There is no problem there. And that is infrastructure, is it not? I need additional personnel so as to be able to train the new recruits; we need instructors and we need funding and equipment. Does that answer your question?


Senator Banks: Yes.

Regarding the instructor shortage, if there is such a thing, to train these additional people is it the case that you would be able in the present resources in the forces to get those additional instructors in order to train those additional people, should that happen? Assuming that the infrastructure is not a problem, can you get the trainers?

We have heard about other aspects of the Armed Forces, particularly in the highly technological area, that there is a shortfall in training because the people that need to do the training have been called up. The person that is needed has gone to Bosnia or whatever, so we do not have anybody left to effectively train people.

Do you have that problem in the infantry?


LCol. Melançon: Senator, the entire complement of the force will increase, but the instructors and other categories of personnel do not come under my responsibility or my sphere of influence. I ask for what I need; they ask me to train a certain number of people and that is when I tell them what I need. I cannot speak for the field force as to what they will be able to supply me with. Clearly, it will place quite a demand on them.

All I can tell you is that I can only train other soldiers if I have other instructors as well as the money required. There is no problem. With regard to the infrastructure, if we have to, we will manage with what we have available.


Senator Banks: You do not have a shortfall of instructors?

LCol. Melançon: To conduct all my courses at the school right now, I do not have shortfalls.

The field force feels the weight of it when it is sending people to me. So, what I am suggesting is that if I would have all the personnel residents to the school at the end of the day the field force would not suffer when they are conducting training.

Senator Banks: Right.

LCol. Melançon: In order to conduct training, I need to ask people from the field force to augment me in order to meet the throughput. Every officer who comes through the first phase, CAP, comes through my school. Then I do all the infantry training as well for a non-commissioned officers and officers as well.


Senator Meighen: I would just like one piece of information, Colonel. Is it not the case that there was a change of practice in this area? At one point, there were X number of instructors in the Canadian army and Y number of instructors stayed in Canada to train recruits.

The number of operations overseas has increased considerably and is it not true that a greater percentage of instructors are over there and that there are therefore fewer of them in Canada?

LCol. Melançon: When you say instructor, anyone who is qualified can be an instructor. For example, in the infantry, any non-commissioned officer or officer can be an instructor. Therefore, if you have more officers and non- commissioned officers outside the country, clearly the pool of instructors will shrink. However, this is where we identify the need and turn to the brigades to attempt to get personnel. They obviously feel the weight of these resources. Every two years, we carry out rationalizations in the schools and we lose instructors. We are trying to do things more efficiently. When your throughput increases, it is not always easy.


Senator Banks: Colonel Bowes, this is sort of a general parenthetical political question. I do not know if the chair would think it is in order or somebody else might want to pursue it later.

We were here a couple of years ago, went to Gagetown, and met your predecessors. Is this a highly transient job? None of you are the same as the gentlemen we met two years ago.

LCol. Bowes: Senator, sadly, this is true. Commanding officers in the schools generally stay three years, and we can change after two years for command appointment.

Senator Banks: Is that efficient? The reason I ask you the question is because I would have thought that an instructional school would find continuity advantageous.

LCol. Bowes: Well, it is, but also there is a development opportunity for other Lieutenant-Colonels. Senator, I would love to stay commanding officer and not move from Gagetown. It is the pinnacle of a career to be able to be in charge of a school, to meet soldiers every day and go to the field and train, but there comes a point when your own ideas may be part of the problem and the fresh attitude of a successor is what is needed. Often the new commander is in need of the experience of a command responsibility. So, yes, we do change, and sadly for all incumbents everywhere it is not long enough.

Senator Banks: Well, speak for yourself, Colonel.

Colonel, what do you think about trading off tanks for Strykers?

LCol. Bowes: The mobile gun system is what you are referring to, I take it, not the Strykers. It is the generic name.

Senator Banks: The whole system to see over the hill.

LCol. Bowes: The reality is that we have been going down this road for 10 years. We acquired the light armoured vehicle LAV3 infantry carrier and the Coyote. They were born out of projects that began in the 1990s. So this is not new. The acquisition of the mobile gun system is simply the latest phase. The army made a conscious decision to move down this road over 10 years ago. The mobile gun system, I think, General Hillier summed it up best. He said a tank in Petawawa is not doing our soldiers in Kabul any good.

A tank is a mobile direct fire platform. Whatever we have our soldiers need a mobile direct fire platform that we can use and deploy. So that is what is most important out of this. I am all in favour of the program because our soldiers need it.


Senator Nolin: Colonel Melançon, I have a few questions for you. I was reading your biography, which is very impressive. Are you in agreement with your colleague when he says that the crowning of a military career is to be put in charge of a training school? To be given a position of commandant?

LCol. Melançon: Yes, that is truly the acme.

Senator Nolin: No matter what you are commandant of, I understand. You make decisions, and then you live with them?

LCol. Melançon: Yes, that is it.

Senator Nolin: You are trained for that. I must tell you, and this is also addressed to all of your colleagues, that we all on occasion meet parliamentarians from other countries, among others from Russia. And one of the things we have been asking them to do for at least the last decade is that they make their armed forces professional. In reading your resumes and in listening to you I now understand what it means to have a professional army and you are a credit to your profession. Even if you are only here for two or three years, to my mind, you do a remarkable job.

That being said, in listening to your comments, I got the impression that you do not really need a review of Canada's military policy. I hope we have heard the full scope of your needs. For me, it is important that I be convinced that yes, we have professional armed forces. We are coming to the conclusion that we need to improve this army corps. We are hearing witness experts such as yourselves in order to understand what should be done to improve the situation.

As a francophone, one of the issues that concerns me — and I was not present when this was mentioned — is that of the quality of life, here, in French, that, according to statements some of my colleagues have heard, leaves something to be desired. This is why I am asking you the question. Mr. Gupta, who is married to a Francophone, must be familiar with these issues. Did you move your family here when you accepted this position? Is the qualify of life for Francophones equivalent to that which might be found, perhaps not in Quebec City, but elsewhere in Canada?

LCol. Melançon: There is quality of life for francophones. All of the services can be offered in both languages. In the school, there are French language, English language and bilingual positions, and we are able to offer the service in both languages. We, to every extent possible, offer courses in French and in English. However, for francophones especially, on occasion, we will begin with a course given entirely in French.

Senator Nolin: Because your students are Francophones?

LCol. Melançon: Yes, Senator, but then we get into situations where the critical number of students to maintain the course is not there and so the course will become bilingual, which means that you will give assistance in French.

Senator Nolin: I understand that, I am talking of quality of life, and you are giving me an answer involving the quality of professional instruction. In other words, I do not know at what time you start and at what time you end, but let us say you work from nine till nine. What I am hearing is that you will have instruction either in English or in French and you will adapt to the reality of your students and vice versa. But between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m., what is that quality of life on the base? I have heard that someone refused to move his family there because there was no French- speaking doctor. Do you see what I am getting at? That is part of the quality of life.

LCol. Melançon: Yes, Senator, after working hours.

Senator Nolin: This is why I am asking you the question.

LCol. Melançon: Fine.

Senator Nolin: Did you move your wife and children?

LCol. Melançon: No, I am all alone, Senator.

Senator Nolin: That only answers my question in part.

LCol. Melançon: Outside, most services are given in French or in English. The majority of services are offered in both languages. Clearly, it is not as if you were in Quebec City.

Senator Nolin: I understand. It is already difficult for an Anglophone who wants to be immersed in French in the Van Doos, because I presume he would expect to be spoken to in French.

LCol. Melançon: There is a high likelihood of that, Senator. However, it is clearly a little bit more difficult than in the sectors. But in each organization there will be someone capable of answering you in your language.


Senator Nolin: My next question is to all five of you. Let us say that a drastic move is required, could we move Gagetown or the training schools to some other place?

LCol. Melançon: I think that we do not want to do that.

Senator Nolin: I know and I do not have any places in mind, but let us say that someone decides that we close that and we move the training effort somewhere else.


LCol. Melançon: C.F.B. Gagetown is the third-largest base in North America. There is no better base for the quality of instruction given. As far as the land is concerned, the open spaces and the wooded areas are such that it is a beautiful base. It is a little village that has been built here on this varied terrain. It is the most beautiful base the country has. I have done five courses outside with the Foreign legion, with the rangers, and this is indeed a very beautiful base.

Senator Nolin: With the marines, yes, I saw that.

LCol. Melançon: It is the most beautiful training base you could ever find in the world.


Senator Nolin: Are you telling us that we may invite others to be trained here?

LCol. Melançon: We do that, sir.

Senator Nolin: Already. Good; another bold move. This will be my last question.

What about contracting the training efforts to civilians? We are asking the question because that is the kind of question that ordinary folks ask.

LCol. Bowes: Senator, it is a valid question. We are open to any option that allows us to train soldiers effective and efficiently, and as long as it meets those two criteria, we have to be open to that.

Just to go back to the point about relocating the base. I can only speak as the commandant of the school. I would rather see the dollars that it would take to do that be given back to me so that I can improve training for the army.

Senator Nolin: Good answer.

LCol. Douglas: From the artillery school perspective simulation is obviously an avenue that we are looking at in the combat training centre for alternate source delivery. This would free up some of our soldiers to do more of the field- oriented type jobs. As an artillery officer, Base Gagetown and our training area represents a phenomenal area with mountainous terrain and all the type of terrains and including our own range developments that allow us to continue to prepare our soldiers for today's area of operations.

Senator Forrestall: I am quite confused about some of your responses. They are either that I cannot draw a conclusion from what you are saying or I am just not hearing you at all.

It is a difficult question to ask, but relative to any measurement that you might want to use, does the process of commanding your various schools take a lot of time, a little bit of time, no time at all? Is it a slow process?

We have heard that you need machines. How long does it take to get a machine? The question is rhetorical.

I am interested in how much time do you have to wait, how long do you have to wait? Is there room in this waiting period for efficiency or productivity?

LCol. Melançon: Senator, for a course, you say a waiting period. We have three or four peak seasons. We have courses in the summer, the fall, spring and winter. Sometimes if we had more courses coming in we could run continuously.

Senator Forrestall: How long is a course?

LCol. Melançon: If you take the common army program, it is 55 days.

Senator Forrestall: Fifty-five days. So that is 220 days a year in the class. You could not really handle a lot more classes, could you, without expanding your capacity? Somebody asked you if you had the capacity to expand to accept a new influx.

LCol. Melançon: In a leadership course like the common army program you have a certain percentage of classrooms and then after you go in the field and they are dismounted. So, when we are talking about resources, I need the instructor to come from augmentation from the field force. That is a burden for the field force. I cannot speak on their behalf, but I have the instructors, I have the monies. If the costs increase, if I do not have more room we will teach in tent and we will go in the field. This is the basic. We can adapt and overcome.

Senator Forrestall: You have a physical structure, you have a classroom, and you have desks, chairs and blackboards?

LCol. Melançon: Senator, when I do my phase training, and when we were out of classes, we just put up a modular tent, and in it a six-foot table and there is a new class. Oh, it happens to be in the field, okay, but that is feasible.

Senator Forrestall: So your problem is purely personnel, correct?

LCol. Melançon: Personnel instructors.

Senator Forrestall: Well, we know we have heard a lot about that. Is that the same experience with others?

LCol. Bowes: Senator, you spoke about the time process. What is important is that although we look at five schools across the board here, and we have probably apparent to you great similarities between us, each school has its own unique challenges and its differences.

Every course we are talking about is based on a skill set. The amount of time it takes to train a gunner to crew a LAV25 millimetre system is different than it is to train a tank; it is different than a driver, et cetera. We would literally run hundreds of different kinds of courses that are all of different length, that have different periods that have to be conducted in the field, some of them in garrison and classroom environment, some can be done as we just described ad hoc with a modular tent in the field, et cetera.

So it is a time consuming process, and it does take all of our energies and our devotion to command the schools properly because the warrant officers, sergeant or officers or NCMs expect no less.

Senator Forrestall: Have you not taken me back to where I started, Colonel Melançon? Have you not taken me back to the point where I must now conclude that you do not have any obstacles other than man power obstacles, personnel obstacles? If you had to teach 10,000 people you would have to send a letter to somebody and ask for teachers. That would be a major problem.

LCol. Bowes: When I gave my introductory remarks, I identified the personnel tempo. If we are going to increase the amount of students that are going through in my school I need additional instructors. I identified the equipment shortfalls; I identified that we needed to improve simulation. There are all kinds of challenges in front of us. Clearly, there is not a commanding officer in this army that would say he has enough resources to do his job. We all want to do our job more efficiently; we all want to do it better.

Senator Forrestall: Well, I have not said that you were not. I have not implied that either. I am trying to find out why it is so difficult to move ahead.

Where are your mechanics; the augmentation with the troops overseas?

Why do we get into these kinds of problems that so frustrate the work that you are doing?

LCol. Bowes: I cannot comment on Borden, sir. I am at Gagetown. At my school I can say that in the last five years we have changed the way that we have conducted training. We have gone from training tankers on a specific platform to retraining reconnaissance crewmen. We have modernized our training and we have increased our throughput, so we are moving forward. Are we moving forward as fast as we would like? Perhaps we are not. Maybe we are resource- constrained. My point is that within my context, I think we are. So I think we have answered your question.

Senator Forrestall: Well, I do not. I mean that is your privilege and that is your responsibility. I just want to make it easier for you. You do not want it any easier, you stay where you are. You are doing a fine job. Like the FedEx ad, ``You are a heck of a man doing a heck of a job.''

I would like to see you doing it better because I think you can do it better. You need some will to make the process support you a little better. That is all I am looking for.

If you do not see a response to that or if there is not one, that is fine. It could be just the very nature of where we happen to be right now.

In one of our reports we asked the government to give the troops a bit of respite and bring them back home. We asked for them to be given two or three years back here in Canada with their families and with their units. During that time we felt that they could upgrade their training and so on and maybe some of these problems could be overcome.

We are halfway through that now and nothing has changed. Or has it? If it has changed, can you tell us about the changes?

How are the improvements affecting your capacity to train more people?

If you get a couple thousand reservists, it is going to be an awful strain on you if 20 of your best teachers are somewhere else around the world. Is that true?

LCol. Bowes: Senator, as with anything, it is a question of magnitude. If I am expected, or any of the schools are expected to increase production and it is relatively minor in nature, minor changes can be made to accommodate that expectation. The kind of scale that you are talking about is something that is unprecedented, and that is something that should be addressed to General Caron.

We sit here as commandants of schools. We look soldiers in the eye every morning, and we do the best we can to train those soldiers on a given day. If you expect me, as an example, to support an armoured corps that is double its size, depending on how long you expect to give me is another variable. Are you giving me three years? Are you giving me four? Are you giving me 10? That will all determine how much additional resources I would need. To be clear, I would need additional resources. So it is a question of scale.

Senator Forrestall: How long do you think it would take to simulate the 5,000 troops?

LCol. Bowes: Senator, I do not even know the breakdown of the 5,000. How many of them are from the armoured corps? How many of them are actually coming to the army? And how long would you give us to absorb whatever number was coming to the armoured corps?

We do not know these issues. We work at the tactical level within our hierarchical structure and that is a strategic policy issue; there are two levels in between us.

Senator Forrestall: Have you still had no word from Ottawa from your leaders as to the various numbers?

LCol. Bowes: Sir, I do not have confirmation how many would be coming to the armoured corps nor the time lines.

LCol. Melançon: Senator, once we get those numbers and we know what to expect, then we can do our estimates, look at the requirements that we need and then begin an order to conduct training.

Senator Forrestall: Well, you are all very professional people; highly professional as a matter of fact. I once described you as being in the Canadian sense as the most homogenic, best educated, best trained, most alert and loyal people that we have ever had in Canada. Surprisingly, that has been true since the beginning of our country. Our military has had that capacity to reflect that credibility.

Having said that, I just want what we write to reflect the concern that might be correctable.

Let me rile you just a little bit more.

The Chairman: Senator Forestall, if I could. If you could make the question school-specific I think the colonels here can deal with it; if they are going to be broader we should save it until the general officer comes.

Senator Forrestall: That is fair ball.

The Chairman: Thank you, sir.

Senator Banks, you had a short intervention?

Senator Banks: Very tiny and it is related to something that Senator Forestall brought up and I will address it to Colonel Bowes.

The reason that Senator Forestall I think is asking the question is because we have seen when we hit the ground and go to where things are happening with all the Armed Forces, we see different stories on the ground than we do somewhere further up the chain.

You mentioned that you have a problem right now with the shortfall in respect of night goggles for your people. That shortfall affects your capacity to put people through with the proper amount of training. I think that you said that they have got them at the operational end, at the pointy end of the stick. The people who are operating those systems have night goggles, but you do not have the means of making sure that everybody who leaves your school who is going to those units has trained using night goggles.

If an efficiency expert in a widget factory were looking at that situation, he would start laughing and say that there is something really wrong with this system where the people going in do not have the equipment to train on on the stuff they are going to operate.

Is there a procurement process problem that can be somehow addressed or that frustrates you?

LCol. Bowes: You nailed right on the head concerning the night vision goggle issue. There are simply an insufficient number of night goggles in the system to ensure that I am able to use as many as I would like so I can get more training conducted at night. That is not to say that I do not have any. That is not to say I am not able to take soldiers out at night and conduct our training. I would simply like to do more because that is the primary operating environment that we find ourselves in. The night has become the day, so to speak. So, I would like to have more. We have identified that problem.

The issue comes down to money and it is competing against demands for other items such as radios. We could easily assemble a list of things that we need and it all comes down to money. So, at higher levels through the headquarters, all the way up to army into the Canadian Forces level has to compete against other priorities for the department.

There is no question, I will not deny and I said in my opening remarks I do not have as many night vision devices as I would like to have so I can continue that transformation within our training, that modernization aspect.

I like your analogy about the widgets and I think that is something that has been fairly similar in the arguments we have articulated higher as well.

Senator Meighen: I will start with a general question about the so-called technological gap between us and all of our allies save the Americans. We have been told that the Americans are so far ahead in the technological area that it is difficult to talk to them literally and figuratively.

I would like to hear your comments on what proportion we should invest in technology and equipment as opposed to personnel? If you had to identify a larger gap or a larger need, is it people or is it technology? If you had $100 to spend would you put more in technology or would you put more in personnel?

Have you come up against this technological gap while dealing with the Americans?

LCol. Bowes: Senator, if I may, I think all of our allies come up against that gap in dealing with the Americans.

Senator Meighen: Agreed.

LCol. Bowes: It is an economy of scale issue. I met recently with my counterparts in the British army and I listened through one of their discussion forums and the same kind of themes came up.

As to the percentages, you already heard testimony from Vice Admiral Buck and that is probably within his domain. That is the CF prioritization and the division of the pie at the macro level is decided at that level. That is something in terms of scale that is just well beyond our level.

Senator Meighen: Even if Vice Admiral Buck said to you tomorrow you got $100 to spend, where would you spend the majority of it?

LCol. Bowes: If he gave me $100 to spend I can tell you where I would put it.

Senator Meighen: Well, that is my question. That is the question.

LCol. Bowes: If he gave me 1 million or 2 million or 3 million, trust me I could spend it.

Senator Meighen: Well put whatever number you want.

LCol. Bowes: The first thing that I would do is I have some issues in terms of the day-to-day. You are not going to find the kind of answer you want on sort of that technical capability. My response is going to be different than each of the commandants. I would start buying some spare parts for my vehicles and I would hire some technicians to help maintain them, whether they are civilian or military. The vehicles I have in the field in the armoured corps we are vehicle dependant and therefore, successful training depends on keeping our vehicles rolling.

I would put money into distributed learning and enhanced or electronic learning products so some of our soldiers could do part of their courses back home before they come here.

Senator Meighen: This is what we want to hear. Keep going.

LCol. Bowes: I would by-pass the procurement process if I could get away with it and then I would get some more night observation devices that we could do. We would hire alternate service delivery. If there were retired personnel within the Gagetown area, if I could bring them back as civilians on staff to help teach driving and maintenance skills, then I would do that.

Ammunition is at a higher level. You heard me talk about simulation system. Right now our simulation for the LAV fleet is what we call a slaved system. That means that in order to teach a gunner we actually need a vehicle taken out of the field to actually conduct that training. I would want something that is called a ``stand alone simulator'' so that we can conduct the training of that individual while concurrently another soldier is using that vehicle in the field for technical training. All my peers are jotting down little notes like that.

Senator Meighen: Good, because we are going to ask them.

LCol. Bowes: I would ensure that the Canadian Forces baseline for cost moves is higher. It has become a fallacy to think that our people want to be deeply rooted in one location and stay there for a longer period of time. We have had, in my school, significant difficulty over the last number years because of the cost move and that is why I mentioned earlier in my remarks the army commander has devoted money out of his O and M — operations and maintenance — to help the rest of the army, the training establishments, some of the reserve units where soldiers were spending more than five years perhaps in one location to help get them out, back into the field force unit.

Within my school it is the same thing. I would like to have more money so that I could take some of those instructors and rotate them on an annual basis. I have my problem covered off this year, but I want to make sure that is sustainable over the longer term.

I think I should give my peers a little crack at the list here, sir.

Senator Meighen: All right, gentlemen. Right down the line.

LCol. Douglas: Yes, if I could. I would not be so hard on us from a technological perspective. Our air defence resources, the ADATS weapons system can talk with all of our allies, especially the Americans to the Lynx 16.

Senator Meighen: Can I interrupt you just for a second?

LCol. Douglas: Sure.

Senator Meighen: I am sorry about this, Chair, but it is my personal thing. I thought it was called ADATS, that thing that was purchased to defend airports, airfields in the Cold War era that was still going on in the 1980s.

Whatever happened to that system?

LCol. Douglas: As the army modernizes we have realized that the ADATS gives us a potential of capability and that is what we are now referring to as the MMEV, the multi mission effects vehicle based on the ADATS itself.

ADATS is air defence anti-tank, but it has a host of sensors that gives us quite the capability both of second generation forward looking infrared which is leading, cutting edge, including a very, very good radar system and other optics on it. So it does give a great capability to the army for today's tasks that we may use it in. It has sensors against the treat of enemy unmanned aerial vehicles, light air crafts, et cetera. So it is still there, Senator. We are trying to use it the best way we can to give the Canadian Forces the greatest capability. So it can speak with the American counter- parts there.

Our fort-air controllers deployed have the ability to speak to all of NATO's aircrafts and to be able to direct them. So they have that kit.

One of the shortages of our kit is that we have been with our high tempo, we have the kit into theatre for our soldiers who need it; it is just a little slower getting back to us as we are talking about night goggles and the FAC, the forward air controller radios, for example, I am just getting them into the school now, the exact piece of kit that we have in the theatre. So it is working. The material is coming into us.

I would just add, one way that we can speed up the process, we are trialing the forward air controller simulator. So while we have the simulator on a trial basis, we are using it. We are increasing the effectiveness of our training while at the same time our procurement people are going through crossing all the Ts and dotting the Is in order to get that system if the trial is successful.

Those are a couple of things that we are trying to do to increase our relevancy in training.


The Chairman: Colonel Melançon, what would you put on your Christmas list?

LCol. Melançon: I will try to keep it short, Mr. Chairman. With regards to equipment, our soldiers in Afghanistan, following the inquiry into Corporal Murphy's suicide, did an IOR. I went back to Afghanistan and observed that the equipment we had was state-of-the-art. The Americans were looking at our equipment because we had protection equipment. All of the equipment was state-of-the-art.

With regard to communications, we were three Canadians in the theatre during the war, and I had my computer, my satellite. The Americans were supplying me with the links I needed in order to communicate. The Americans, if they want to talk to us, will supply us with the links.

I believe that for us, the most important element is the soldier. The soldier must be trained. That requires time and energy. It is the most important element. It is perhaps not as sexy as all of the beautiful technical terms, but the soldier is the most important building block.

The Chairman: I understand why you are in the infantry.

LCol. Melançon: Well, am I right in thinking that answers your question?

The Chairman: Yes, thank you.

Senator Nolin: In other words, your $100 would be —

LCol. Melançon: — the soldier. In all of the recent conflicts we have seen, the ``ultimate weapon'' has always been the soldier. The soldier is the cornerstone of everything. Without him, nothing works, no matter how many beautiful ``kits'' you have.


LCol. McAdam: To put it in simple terms, you asked whether we need people versus equipment. Currently, for my top tier courses, I meet the throughput the army needs in pre-command. So as long as that condition is satisfied and I can meet that demand, my money would go toward technology.

What we do now in a system called urgent operational requirement forces deployed say this is what we need to the nation, and they get that equipment to the deployed forces, as they should. The situation I face training the new company commanders if you will for the infantry, is that they come to me and because I am not in that process of those UOR buys, and they go to the deployed forces to do the job. I do not have that technology.

My student may have just come home from an operation commanding soldiers as a platoon commander or whatever of Company 2IC and after a period of time he comes to me to get ready for his big command pitch in the army, and he faces a condition that is behind what he was deployed years before.

Clearly my choice would be equipment to modernize our training institutions up to the standard of our deployed forces. Now that said, as long as the army does not ask me for a higher demand of throughput for students, and as long as I am meeting my current demand, the money would go to technology.

LCol. Gupta: Senator, certainly for the school of military engineering technology really is not the issue. We have, we are very capable. You have seen or you have heard of our water purification capability being deployed. We just recently purchased an air transportable front-end loader that can do 100 kilometres an hour on the road. The equipment is there and we have it at the school and we are training with the same equipment that the engineers are using on operations.

So to go back to the question, if I $100 what would I spend it on? My answer would be people. Again, my main concern in the 110 per cent time I spend as a commanding officer actually commanding my unit is to ensure that we get the workload right. If I had more people, obviously I could put more instructors on the ground, provide better training, and I would also put more people towards analysing what the requirement is and then develop the training to meet that requirement.

Again, we can piggyback off of what the other training establishments are doing in Gagetown for the army, the soldier portion of the training, but the technical aspects still need a lot of work. Even if tomorrow they came up with a plan and say this is what we need and these are the capabilities that we need, it would take us time to go through the course and make sure we analyse the requirements and we put everything together to be able to do it right. It is a continuous process.

Again, if I have that $100 I would put it towards people every time.

Senator Meighen: One or two of you were saying that Gagetown is an excellent training facility and whatnot, but there is Wainwright, the long delayed training centre at Wainwright which we have had evidence indicating is terribly important so that we can conduct large scale training exercises at the battle group level.

Do you subscribe to that?

LCol. Bowes: Senator, I am an individual trainer. Even as commanding officer of the school, I still subscribe to the importance of collective training. I just think back 20 years ago when I started my career and of my first 10 months in the army, I spent six months in the field, a variety of major exercises and gun camps and that served as the foundation for my entire career.

While we fundamentally believe in the importance of the individual training we conduct in Gagetown, collective training is an equal important part of the pillar because nothing we do in the army is as individuals; we work as teams. We take individual skill sets and we meld ourselves together as teams at every level. The collective training centre has been assessed by the army commander as a number one priority and it is not difficult for any of us to see why.

Senator Meighen: What is the top number you can handle at Gagetown on a training exercise compared to Wainwright? I do not mean the size of the area. I mean the number of troops on the ground and personnel. Could you do a battle group?

LCol. Bowes: In Gagetown?

Senator Meighen: Yes.

LCol. Bowes: Oh sir, you can do a brigade.

Senator Meighen: You can do a brigade?

LCol. Bowes: You can do a brigade plus. Geography is not a limitation in Gagetown.

Senator Meighen: Does anybody else among us remember what size Wainwright can accommodate? I think the idea was you could do international training exercises as well at Wainwright, but on a much more limited scale here in Gagetown.

LCol. Bowes: That is correct, senator. It is more limited in Gagetown because of the presence of the schools. We put additional troops and we have a year-round demand for the training area. So that would lead us into conflict over the use of the training area. So the idea is to have an area that focuses on individual training. That is not to say that collective training does not or has not taken place in Gagetown. It certainly has and certainly will at lower levels, but that the focus of collective training in the army would be at the manoeuvre training centre in Wainwright.

Senator Atkins: The last time this committee appeared in Gagetown one of the colonels was from Alberta, and the night before our meeting he told his mother that he was going to meet with us. She said: ``Well, I do not know about those senators, but if you can get Tommy Banks' autograph for me I will be indebted forever.'' And so Senator Banks gave the colonel the autograph for his mother.

Colonel Melancon, if I understand your earlier answer, you relied on augmentation to conduct training. If there were not augmenters available what would be the impact on your training capacity?

LCol. Melançon: If I do not have augmentation I am have to reduce training. I would not be able to bring in new classes or new people. What happens is that we get the demand for the projection for the cycle coming up, and for courses coming. Then we look at what we have at the school, 231 persons. Then we look for augmentation. If I do not have augmentation I can not increase my capacity.

Senator Atkins: In your presentations all of you identified personnel and equipment as shortfalls. We read that the estimate for the increase of 5,000 new military personnel would be one-half a billion dollars.

This is a question for all of you. If you had your choice, how would you spend that $500 million?

LCol. Melançon: Yes, but I do not have all the data because it is above my pay grade. Senator, it is too easy for us to just put a number out, but you need to have all the components of the estimates which we do not have. We are looking from the individual training perspective, just for my little school. I am not aware what is happening around the army. So it is impossible for me to give you an estimate.

Senator Atkins: I understand, but what would you make a priority, equipment or personnel?

LCol. Bowes: Senator, we have to break that answer out into a number of parts. When a soldier comes into the Canadian Forces, the individual, the officer or the soldier goes through St-Jean. So they go through an element of training that is there. They come into the army. They can go through the soldier's qualification course which presently is conducted in a variety of locations across the army, and then some of them will come to schools in Gagetown. At my artillery school we do our MOC training, and our classification training; the infantry is done elsewhere.

As this begins to spiral out, you see that we are simply one very small piece of the pie. Within my context I gave a list of the kinds of things that we could do, but philosophically, the greatest challenge, the number one resource in the Canadian Forces is our people. The number one resource in the army and in the armoured school is our people. Therefore, in terms of percentage the first item I would want to look after is whether I have the people equation figured out first and then I would go on to the other bits and pieces. Everything is a question of balance. Perhaps the greatest challenge we face on any given day is a prioritization of that kind of dynamic.

LCol. Douglas: I think all of the commanding officers here would agree that the strength of our schools is our people. Any investment that you give to our people will pay dividends, Senator.

LCol. McAdam: In very general terms, I would agree. I think the number one challenge is to figure out what the people manning has to be to meet especially operational commitments overseas. It would be dangerous to expand people and not equip them properly. I think General Hillier, again, said it right: ``Soldiers first'' is the way to go. The aim should be to properly equip every man and woman we put in operations, not just find people to man sexy technology and equipment. In that situation I think it would be people first.

LCol. Gupta: I would have to say I would invest in people, and not just numbers but I would invest in ensuring that they get the right training and that they feel that they are prepared for their jobs.

We obviously have to strike that balance with equipment and it is a difficult balance to strike. From my perspective I could go a lot more with more and better trained people than I can with any piece kit. It will always be people that will be my bottle neck.

Senator Atkins: There has been the announcement they are going to increase the Armed Forces by 5,000, and I understand that that does not mean just the army. Our recommendations have been that they increase it to 75,000.

In terms of training, and in terms of infrastructure, Colonel Bowes, you said that Camp Gagetown could handle a brigade if not more.

Is the infrastructure there and would it take five years as it has been suggested to accommodate the increase of the 5,000 military personnel?

LCol. Bowes: Senator, when I spoke of Gagetown I was focussing on the training area. In other words, the training area is of a size that it would accommodate a brigade doing training.

I am not aware of the state of the infrastructure on the base. One of your witnesses coming up next is Colonel Jestin who is commander of the 3 Area Support Group or de facto, the base commander. In terms of the state of the infrastructure across the base, he would be better suited to give you an idea of just exactly what kind of situation the infrastructure is in within Gagetown. I can only comment on a very small piece within my unit lines, within J-7, which is the name of the building on Base Gagetown.

Senator Atkins: Is it okay for your purposes?

LCol. Bowes: It is okay. I want more, sir. I need money and all that good stuff. Colonel Jestin is best suited to answer that, sir.

LCol. Gupta: Senator, to quote my esteemed colleague, there are really no problems, only solutions. So when we talk about bottlenecks in infrastructure or problems with having sufficient infrastructure to train the numbers that we are looking at for CF expansion, there are always alternatives.

Once the numbers are unveiled and once the plan starts rolling out, there are a number of alternatives including training in different areas in Canada as long as it is for a service capability. Obviously, the most efficient way of doing it would be to do it with the existing infrastructure, but again, it is a question of balance. If we are willing to get that operational capability a little bit ahead of time and pay a little bit of a premium, certainly there is a possibility of farming out some of this training across Canada.

Senator Atkins: Prior to the white paper in 1994 there had been a reduction in the military. I have to assume that the infrastructure, a good part of it, is still there or has it disappeared?

LCol. Melançon: There is infrastructure on each of the bases because they were paying taxes and at the end of the day they reduced the infrastructure that is no longer being used. If we need to train people it does not have to always be in a formal classroom. We are in the business of making things happen. If we need to train them under modular tent canvas we will do it.

Senator Day: I will let these two gentlemen fight it out over here.

Each of you referred to some notes and some statistics. I tried to make my notes of your statistics and I wonder if you could make those available to our clerk because I cannot follow my notes now and it would be very helpful if you could do that for us.

What we are particularly interested in is the number of instructors that you have, the number of people in your school, the input, and you used a term not available for battle.

LCol. McAdam: Left out of battle.

Senator Day: How many are away at any particular time? How many are not available to do the job that you are expected to do?

Please give us those statistics as they would be helpful to us.

Lieutenant-Colonel Gupta, could you define for me three block battle training? Could you tell me if all of your training focussed on that now as opposed to larger formation training?

LCol. Gupta: Senator, with all due respect, the expert on the three block war is sitting right next to me. He would be the proper person to give evidence on that subject.

Senator Day: That is why I started with you because I knew you could tell me who the best person would be.

LCol. McAdam: Senator Day, the three block war is a term that was made famous by General Krulak when he was commandant in the Marine Corps. General Krulak explained a situation that at any given time you may have a group of soldiers doing block one humanitarian operations. You may have another group of soldiers doing block two, peace support operations. You may have another group of soldiers doing block three combat operations. The group may be all from the same unit, in the same city, in the same day, maybe at the same time if everything goes bad. That has become the three block war, if you will.

What it basically has done for us is we have trained in the past where we could define in the time what the event would be, what the situation and the context of the training would be, and there was very little on the periphery to take the student's mindset away from the task.

We have come to realize is that the current operating environment that our soldiers face is much more chaotic and complex, more like the three block war. We are feeding children while we are delivering water, while we are keeping belligerents apart.

Here in Gagetown we have looked at our training and modernized it so it better faces the reality that our deployed soldiers face overseas and that effort is ongoing now.

Senator Day: Thank you, that is helpful.

I am sure it was Lieutenant Colonel Bowes that indicated when the transformation of the armoured corps came down you started training under the new concept of the new mandate.

I know a number of my armoured corps friends who are from 8Princess Louise's Hussars where you also served would be interested in hearing under what mandate are you operating these days?

You have referred to, and we have heard a reference to reconnaissance, but we have also heard you talk about direct fire platforms. Can you tell us where you are?

LCol. Bowes: Certainly. Virtually all the training now conducted at the school is based on the wheeled coyote platform or supported by the LAV vehicle as well. We are using the reconnaissance as the primary means of training both our crewmen that is at the entry level, providing them the skills those vehicles when they come in. Our career courses for our master corporals, our sergeants, our warrant officers are done within a reconnaissance context, as well as our officer training is now.

We are just finishing the tail end of the reorientation because the process, as you can imagine with young officers who are only available in the summer because during the year they are at Royal Military College or they are in university. So it takes us a two-year cycle to work through on their training. So this reorientation should be coming through to our final phase of completion this summer. We use the reconnaissance context for all of our critical training.

The direct fire skill set, you really need to breakdown the armoured corps. If you had asked an individual perhaps some years ago to define himself he might have said, ``I am a tanker.'' That is perhaps a little bit too narrow. We are crewmen and that is the skill set that we embody that separates us from the infantry. We crew our vehicles and we can conduct operations in a variety of ways. We can conduct the direct fire missions, and we can conduct reconnaissance missions.

We focus on crewman skills within a reconnaissance context with the one unit that retains the direct fire responsibility. I retain a number of Leopard tanks and for those individuals who require the technical qualification on the Leopard they will come back to the school to get that qualification as long as we retain the Leopard within our fleet.

Senator Day: Thank you, that is helpful.

You have talked about the LAV3 as a platform for you, and the artillery have talked about LAV3 and personnel carrier. Does each group look after repairs and do you maintain a group of mechanics or is that done by the base?

I think it was LCol. Douglas that said that they are not functioning the way you would like and you cannot do the maintenance.

LCol. Bowes: Just with regard to the LAV platform, maintenance is centralized at Base Gagetown, so it is under the responsibilities of Colonel Jestin, the commander of 3ASG. Colonel Douglas has a unique situation. I think he wants to elaborate.

LCol. Douglas: I did not say that they were an increased liability for maintenance. It is just that the operator maintenance, that is our soldiers who have to look after them, their workload has increased because of the complexity of the weapons system, but they are being maintained very effectively on the base.

Our variant of the LAV is our fire and effects vehicle which has a number of sensors inside the vehicle. We do not have a maintenance problem with that vehicle. We look for the training. We are obviously concerned about the individual training of that piece of kit, but the maintenance is done collectively on the base.

Senator Meighen: I think it was the professor who spoke earlier that said something to the effect that the necessity to coordinate the LAV is getting too far ahead on the battle field. Does that make any sense to any one of you?

Senator Day: Yes, with respect to the infantry.

LCol. Melançon: Yes, I think as a starter the LAV is primary infantry. To try and answer a question that you had previous with the maintenance at Base Gagetown, the problem we are having with technology in the LAV is just to train the people. It takes more time now then when we had the previous platform for the infantry.

Senator Meighen: I see. It is more sophisticated.

LCol. Melançon: It is more sophisticated. But no, we are not ahead. We are in the right business.

Senator Meighen: And in terms of coordination with the infantry, that is just a normal problem?

LCol. Melançon: The infantry are in the LAV.

Senator Meighen: Are there also infantry not in the LAV?

LCol. Melançon: Yes, you have light infantry and you have the LAV infantry.

Senator Meighen: All right. How about coordination then with the light infantry?

LCol. Melançon: It is not a problem.

Senator Meighen: Not a problem?

LCol. Melançon: You have communication. That is not an issue. The only issue is that it takes more time to train, but the LAV is still primary infantry.

Senator Day: If we look ahead and realize that there is going to be a bulge in the numbers and there is 5,000 to 8,000 personnel looking for training. They go to St. Jean and start their basic training. Where do they go next to do the term that you said, I think it was soldier qualifying?

LCol. Bowes: Soldier qualification course, senator.

Senator Day: How long does that course take and then what is next? Do any of them come to you?

LCol. Bowes: Yes, it all depends on what military occupation classification they belong to, what we call as an MOC; crewmen, gunners, infantry, et cetera. Whether you can accelerate is dependant upon the unique situations of that MOC. So, for some MOCs, as an example, it would be out of turn for us to speculate on how fast an intake could be handled through the Canadian Forces Support Training Group in Borden that trains the technician, medical assistants, et cetera.

In Gagetown right now we do not know the parameters of the issues, so when the soldiers come to us at the armoured school, we do not know how many and how fast. Until I know those variables, I cannot tell you how long it is going to take to train and, therefore, how many additional instructors I would need to do the training.

Senator Day: What would slow down the armour school? What are the parameters? You have to do some planning ahead.

Let us say you are going to get 1,000 new soldiers to train. They have signed up, and have been to St. Jean. How long does it take before you are going to see the bubble come your way?

LCol. Bowes: First of all, they would not get 1,000 in the door at one point through St. Jean; there would be a trickle effect into the school. I train about 160 crewmen a year into the armoured corps. If the army expected me to double that on a yearly basis and sustain it, that would take an entire second cadre of instructors to put that amount through. That is the kind of dilemma I have. However, if they say that they do not expect me to double the amount but just add 30 or 40 a year and double the numbers over six years instead of the three years, then that would obviously change the resource dynamic.

Senator Day: How quickly will the 30 get to you?

LCol. Bowes: Through St. Jean, normally by the time they are recruited and through St. Jean it is a matter of three months.

Senator Day: So, after three months at St. Jean and they come to you?

LCol. Bowes: Yes, then they come to me.

Senator Day: That is the first group.

LCol. Bowes: On average we can take a soldier and put him back into the field force in a regiment within six months after that; all of our training can be done within a year.

Senator Day: How quickly can they be deployed on a mission?

LCol. Bowes: Our practice is that once they arrive at a unit, our units go through a collective training phase. In other words, they move into a particular phase of training that designs to take them through each step through the teams through the various sub-units. They are taken through the armoured corps through troops, through squadrons up to regimental level, and that can be as rapidly as within six months. Our units go through that collective training phase.

Senator Day: Do you mean six months after the year?

LCol. Bowes: That is correct.

Senator Day: So one year and a one-half and then they can be deployed. Would that roughly fit in with the rest of the schools in terms of the first group that will come through artillery?

LCol. Douglas: Yes, my field gunners can go through the door much quicker at about 30 training days and I can put them out to their regiments. Air defence, because we are using the ADATS or the MMEV vehicles, have to be trained to drive the vehicles and their training takes longer. I can put them out in about 60 days and then they go off to their regiments, and with their collective training they are prepared to go on an operation.

Senator Day: And what about the infantry?


LCol. Melançon: With regard to the infantry, Senator, at the school, I take care of all of the NCOs and officers.

Senator Day: Oh, only them.

LCol. Melançon: Yes, only them. So in that regard I am not the best person to be giving you an answer.

Senator Day: Yes, I understand.

LCol. Melançon: As it pertains to officers, your question is a valid one. However, there are waiting period between courses. As soon as they leave the college in Saint-Jean, they would have to go directly to the school. If everything just flowed, things would definitely move more quickly.


Senator Day: Colonel McAdam, you have already explained that you are sort of an advanced group long-term customer.

LCol. McAdam: Probably six or seven years.

Senator Day: Exactly. I understand.


LCol. Melançon: Certainly in the case of engineers, it is similar to that of the armoured corps. It takes us approximately six months to train them, and then they have to go back to the unit and receive pre-deployment training for a few months. Again, it all depends on whether or not there are waiting periods.


Senator Day: My final question is when you start to see this bulge in the system, each of you has explained that you have some civilian personnel, you have some reservists working for you. Presumably people who take in their retirement but decided to stay in this area or asked to come back in and help out.

Is there an opportunity for you to expand by hiring more civilians to help you with this additional load? If you had the money would you hire either reservists or retired personnel?

LCol. Bowes: Senator, yes. If the resources were available that is exactly what we would do.

Senator Day: Have you got some contingency plans along that line now getting ready for what we think might happen?

LCol. Bowes: We do not have anything formal because we need more information. I have gone to white board in my office and I have looked at the challenge and gone as far as that, but until we know the time lines that they expect, whether it is three-to-six years, and how big is that bubble is going to be we cannot do anything more.

We are encouraged because we are of interest to this committee. This is not the first time we have gone through this. I came into the army in the 1980s when we expanded. We have gone through that dynamic. There are extraordinary measures out there that the army can take to tackle these issues. The army grew in the 1980s, it shrank in the 1990s. We are going to grow again.

Senator Day: Does the artillery have the same answer?

LCol. Douglas: Yes. One of the thrust lines is to look for alternate source delivery and bring in those retired service persons to run our simulators and to look after some of our day-to-day support functions. That is one of the thrust lines that our commander has supported.

Senator Day: Good. Thank you. Is there any one of you that has a different position?

LCol. Gupta: Senator, I guess the only thing I would add, since I already lobbed one question off to somebody else, is to hold that question for Colonel Davis because there is a formation-wide initiative in Gagetown to look at that particular aspect. He will probably have some more information on that subject.

The Chairman: We are going to tell Colonel Davis and the general that all the tough questions that are coming were because you guys suggested we pass them on.

It has been a terrific afternoon and we appreciate the exchange back and forth. We had a really good exchange with your predecessors and it was in private. The language was a little more colourful, but we were concerned about whether we could get the same exchange of information at a hearing like this and we think we have.

We appreciate your candour. We appreciate you working us through the different situations that you confront. Frankly, you are a very impressive group of soldiers and I know I speak for the entire committee that we feel very proud to know that there are men like you who are training our people.

On behalf of the committee, thank you very much for appearing. Thank you for your testimony and we wish you every success.

Honourable senators, our next witness is Brigadier-General R.R. Romses, Regular Force Officer and Commander of Land Force Atlantic Area since June 2003. He joined the Canadian Forces in 1967 and has commanded over the years at various levels including command of the First Battalion PPCLI, commander Canadian contingent Cyprus, and Commander Sector 3, Command of Canada's National Counter-Terrorism Unit, Commander Canada's Forces Base Calgary and Canadian Contingent Commander Stabilization Force in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Brigadier-General Romses has also served overseas with both the allied command Europe mobile force and NATO composite force Bosnia, Denmark, Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Accompanying him is Colonel Ryan Jestin, who has served as Commander of 3 Area Support Group Gagetown since August 2004. Colonel Jestin previously served as Commanding Officer of the National Support Element of the Canadian Contingent Stabilization force in Bosnia. He also participated in the Winnipeg flood OP assistance in 1997 and the ice storm OP recuperation in 1999.

Our final witness is Colonel Davis, Commissioned as an Armour Officer. Colonel Davis served with the Royal Canadian Dragoons and the 8th Canadian Hussars in a variety of regimental positions. He assumed command of the combat training centre at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in August 2003. Colonel Davis is a graduate of Canadian Forces Staff School, the Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College and the Canadian Forces Command and Staff College.

From August 2002 to July 2003 he served as Chief of Staff of the Multinational Division Southwest as part of the NATO Stabilization Force S4 in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Gentlemen, welcome to the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence. We have had a very good panel earlier this afternoon, and we are looking forward to hearing from you now.

General, I understand you have a statement and you have the floor, sir.

Brigadier-General R.R. Romses, Commander Land Forces Atlantic Area, Department of National Defence: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Chairman, honourable senators, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Brigadier-General Ray Romses, Commander Land Force Atlantic Area and it is my pleasure to appear before you today as a witness.

I support your mandate and appreciate the significant benefit it provides to Canada, the Canadian Forces and indeed to Canadians as a whole.

You have asked me to be part of the panel related to the functioning of Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, so it is perhaps fitting that I commence by detailing a slightly bigger picture; the area. At the same time I will describe how Canadian Force Base Gagetown fits into it.

I am honoured to have this opportunity to serve in Atlantic Canada and to command over 6,000 men and women who are working hard and efficiently to do a job of significant importance to this country.

The Canadian Forces is well supported by the public in this region, and Atlantic Canadians have a proud history of service in the military. Indeed, a career in the Canadian Forces, whether as a regular or reservist, is still seen as honourable and worthwhile. In fact, most families have one or more relatives who have or are serving in the Canadian Forces. Thus, although the Atlantic population represents only 7 per cent of the Canadian population, the Canadian Forces ratio is considerably higher. This tradition has helped us to meet our land force reserve, restructure, and recruiting objectives, as well as contribute to a reserve attrition rate that is the lowest in Canada, and helped us to maintain a footprint that extends into many small communities in Atlantic Canada.

Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, as the primary army base in this region, also benefits from these traits. It has developed excellent relations with the public and is, I believe, seen as being an important and valuable corporate citizen within the region. Further, the large number of Atlantic Canadians within the Canadian Forces makes a posting to Canadian Forces Gagetown highly attractive.

Having set the context in which we operate, let me now describe my mission and primary responsibilities. My mission is to generate and maintain combat capable multi-purpose land forces to meet Canada's defence objectives.

I essentially have four primary responsibilities and they are: to train and force- generate soldiers or formed units for deployment on international operations; to command and force-employ formed units or tasks forces on domestic operations within the four Atlantic provinces; to manage departmental infrastructure in support of LFAA units and non-LFAA units garrisoned in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island; and, to manage general logistical support to land force Atlantic area units and non-LFAA area units in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Canadian Force Base Gagetown is a key contributor to my successful execution of all four of these responsibilities and indeed the primary agency with regard to the latter two.

As you are no doubt aware, Land Force Atlantic Area is one of four regional army formations that comprise the field force of Canada's army. As such, I command most of the army units located in Atlantic Canada, the notable exception is the CTC in Gagetown which belongs to land force doctrine and training system of which Colonel Davis will speak a little later.

My subordinate formations and units are: My headquarters located in Halifax; 36 Canadian Brigade group, headquartered in Halifax, a primary reserve brigade group with units disbursed throughout Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island; 37 Canadian Brigade Group, headquartered in Moncton, a primary reserve brigade group with units disbursed throughout New Brunswick and Newfoundland; 3 Area Support Group, headquartered at CFB Gagetown, with detachments in Moncton and Charlottetown; the 2nd Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, located at CFB Gagetown, a regular infantry battalion; 4 Engineer Support Regiment, located at CFB Gagetown, is also a regular force unit; 4 Air Defence Regiment, headquartered in Moncton with subunits or elements at Moncton, CFB Gagetown and CFB Cold Lake, a combined regular and reserve unit; 3 Intelligence Company, located at Halifax, a primary reserve unit; Land Force Atlantic Area Training Centre, located at both CFB Gagetown and Aldershot, Nova Scotia, delivers entry-level individual soldier training and basic leadership training through the conduct of formal courses; and, finally, the 5th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, headquartered at Canadian Forces Station Gander, commands 30 ranger patrols and 10 junior Canadian ranger patrols, and this patrol group provides lightly equipped, self-sufficient mobile forces in active support of sovereignty and domestic operations in isolated regions of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Collectively, these formations and units include more than 2,200 regular force soldiers, over 2,600 reservists, over 700 rangers and more than 600 civilian employees.

Land Force Atlantic Area is unique in that it does not have a regular force brigade. This reality affects the area in many ways. Most notably, the absence of a regular force brigade in Atlantic Canada demands that we rely more heavily on our reserve formations.

Overall, these formations and units have been very reliable in meeting our mission as seen by the fact that LFAA force generated in 2003 and 2004 a total of 1,216 soldiers, including 139 reservists, for deployment abroad to 11 different international missions such as Afghanistan, Bosnia, Haiti, the Golan Heights and Sierra Leone. Similarly, from a domestic operation perspective, our formations and units have responded, since 1988, to eight major operations ranging from the Swiss Air disaster to the Halifax hurricane. Indeed, as recently as October and November we were involved with smaller operations supporting the Halifax 747 crash and a Nova Scotia snow storm power outage.

In order to meet our domestic operation requirements, LFAA maintains a regular force reconnaissance group at eight hours notice to move, vanguard company at 12 hours notice to move, and immediate response unit at 24 hours notice to move, and as well, a reserve response capability of 200 soldiers on 48 hours notice to move.

To meet the challenges of these types of operations, we need to train consistently and realistically. Over the past 12 months 159 regular and reserve courses were conducted resulting in approximately 3,000 graduates. In addition, LFAA conducts an annual reserve concentration called ``ARCON.'' This year over 1,200 reservists participated which was 300 more than the previous exercise. Clearly, we are moving in the right direction. There are also many other training opportunities conducted at the formation and unit level, including exercises and exchanges with our allies each year.

Army transformation is having an impact on LFAA and this is both an exciting and challenging time to be in the military. I say exciting because we have a vision and we are moving towards it, as we change the way we train, the way we generate forces and the way we fight. Some of our equipment is being redistributed and even re-rolled as we focus on more precise and effective combat capabilities. For example, our air-defence platform, ADATS, is being upgraded and its role expanded to include a direct-fire role and our reserve armoured units are being re-rolled to reconnaissance and equipped with Mercedes G-wagon and a modified GMC Silverado. We are also seeking to better manage our vehicles and equipment to ensure that regular and reserve troops preparing for deployment will have the latest and the best kit we have to offer. This will also allow LFAA to begin sending regular and reserve troops to the CMTC in Wainwright for intensely realistic collective training by 2006. Transformation will also result in personnel changes within my area. For example, Land Force Reserve restructure will result in the creation of over 250 new reserve positions and several new capabilities in the next few years. Additionally, commitments by the government, that is, the announced 5,000 person increase to the Canadian Forces, will potentially result in further personnel increases.

Indeed, as the army and LFAA move into the future we will continue to be confronted with many challenges. The challenges presented by transformation itself, the challenge of accommodating ends with means, aging infrastructure, managing environmental expectations, developing a truly modern Gagetown range and training area designed for the future battlefield, and energizing the recruiting process to name but a few, will keep us busy. Clearly, we will have our hands full but with the support of Canadians and the very capable abilities of the men and women who serve in the Canadian Forces we will make headway towards a more relevant and combat-capable force of regulars and reservists.

Finally, from an outreach perspective, we have well established links into most communities. We are endeavouring to further enhance the public's understanding and relevancy of the Canadian Forces and army through our Connect with Canadians program. Unit participation in numerous activities ranging from Tattoos, displays at air shows, presentations to community groups, participation in security seminars, conducting community projects, creation of a connection with universities programs, and the establishment of community based contingency planning officers are all serving to increase the military's profile. We can, however, get better at this and we will.

In summary, Land Force Atlantic Area has been and will remain focussed on generating individuals and units for international and domestic operations, while at the same time completing the army's transformation plan. These two priorities will ensure that LFAA remains committed to combat readiness.

In that context, we should not underestimate the important role that 3 Area Support Group or Base Gagetown plays.

I would now like to introduce the commander of 3 Area Support Group, Colonel Ryan Jestin, who will elaborate upon the nature and role of his command.

Colonel Ryan Jestin, Commander, CFB Gagetown, 3 Area Support Group, Department of National Defence: Good afternoon Senator Kenny, honourable senators, members of the Standing Committee on Security and National Defence, General Romses, Colonel Davis, ladies and gentlemen.

I am the commander of 3 Area Support Group. I am also the Commander of Canadian Forces Base or Area Support Unit Gagetown.

3 Area Support Group was formed following the segregation of Canadian Forces Base Gagetown from the training formation, the Combat Training Centre, which is also located on base Gagetown.

Our mission is to plan, co-ordinate and deliver general, close and integral support to dependencies and to enable the provision of area sustainment. We accomplish the first portion of this mission by providing support to mandated dependencies through the units located at CFB Gagetown and its detachments in Moncton, New Brunswick and Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Close liaison with the Air Force and Navy support bases in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and formalized mutually agreed service level arrangements aid in accomplishing the second part of our mission. Our core strategy is to provide the highest quality client tailored support in the timeliest fashion within the resources available.

Our strategic goals are to focus on support to Land Force Atlantic Area units and dependencies; provide the highest quality support to our soldiers and their families; become the employer of choice; achieve hotel-standard single accommodations within the next four years; and, employ best practices across the base and the formation.

To appreciate the magnitude of our support responsibilities, the Area Support Group employs some 583 full-time civilians and 924 full-time regular force military members augmented by 51 reservists. During peak demand periods there are also up to an additional 150 civilian members.

Mandated support is provided to two major formations: the Combat Training Centre, CTC, with its four schools, which is comprised of approximately 994 people; and, the 37 Canadian Brigade Group's five New Brunswick based units totalling some 800 members. In addition, support is provided to five Regular Force operational units, 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, 4 Air Defence Regiment, 4 Engineer Support Regiment, 403 Helicopter Operational Training Squadron, and 1 Construction Engineer Unit and 5 lodger units, totalling approximately 1,757 people. We also support the Prince Edward Island Regiment, 2 Naval Reserve Units, 69 Cadet Corps in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

The total population of Base Gagetown is some 4,600 military with about 7,500 family members and 800 civilian employees. Our summer population can almost double due to summer training.

In addition to our personnel, our infrastructure responsibilities include 664 buildings at Base Gagetown, 88 buildings in 23 off-base locations; 44 per cent of those are greater than 40 years old. There are some 143 kilometres of water lines, 100 kilometres of sewage lines, the heating lines are 63 kilometres long, et cetera.

To accomplish our mission, the formation's annual allocation for operations and maintenance is $48.3 million. Our salary wage envelope for our civilian employees is approximately $28 million and annual reserve force wages total $2.7 million. This together with payment in lieu of taxes, PILT, of $11.5 million and approximately $276 million in military pay, pumps approximately $500 million into the local economy of both New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.

Included in our successes within the past six years are the support to the ice storm in 1998, Swiss Air disaster in 2002, the deployment of 450 members to Eritrea in 1999, Operation HALO, and our mission to Haiti, in 2004, to name but a few. The impact on the formation with its principle task of providing support to mandated dependencies in Gagetown and the area was tremendous.

On the positive side for our aging infrastructure, the base has seen some improvements with the construction of a new complex for 2nd Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment which is expected to be completed by late this year or early next year. We also anticipate the construction of a new 250 person accommodation building to begin this year which will provide some relief for our single members.

In addition to the approximately $500 million expended in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island communities, we play an integral role with the Town of Oromocto. Our 1,650 private married quarters represent almost 50 per cent of the town's households. The town and base have about 30 service level agreements covering such services as shared water, septic utilities, and fire response services which we share.

The base also maintains close links with the New Brunswick Provincial Government and it maintains direct liaison with the Province's Emergency Measures Organization and the Provincial Security Department. We are currently negotiating with the Provincial Department of Health to collaborate with them in a proposal to increase the level of medical support available to our community from the Oromocto Public Hospital.

Base Gagetown was constructed during the 1950s. Many of the current buildings are in their original state even though the structure and organization of their occupants have undergone significant changes over the years. Of particular concern are the buildings along the northern perimeter of the base which need to be vacated and demolished since the cost of renovating them and their supporting utilities far exceeds the cost of replacing them.

Utilities as I have already mentioned, are provided to the majority of the base buildings by means of underground tunnels. Again, these have been in place for 50 years and are in need of upgrading. For example, of particular concern is the need to replace the high temperature hot water lines which provide heat to most of the buildings. These lines are beyond their life expectancy and the project to replace them will amount to some $35 million. The total cost of the upgrades for all utilities will amount to about $50 million.

Base Gagetown has the capacity to accept additional infrastructure should increased training demands warrant it and the necessary funding is provided for construction and utilities.

From my perspective the largest single problem is the condition of the single quarters on base which have deteriorated over the past 50 years of very heavy use. They were originally designed to house trained soldiers who were members of an operational brigade. Since the mid-1970s they have been used predominantly to house soldiers undergoing training. These accommodations are not up to current standards for the Canadian Forces and are in need of upgrading. The construction of the new state-of-the-art barrack block, as I mentioned earlier, is the first step in remedying this situation. In addition, we will be pursuing an aggressive renovation program in the remaining buildings provided we can obtain the necessary funding approvals.

Historically, funding for recapitalization and maintenance projects has fallen below the target of 2 per cent of our realty replacement costs. There is currently a proposal being discussed at National Defence Headquarters level which could see the funding for maintenance and recap to increase potentially to 6 per cent of the realty replacement value. If this does occur, we will be in the financial position to complete a significant amount of our outstanding and essential infrastructure improvements and to rejuvenate our aging infrastructure.

The 1,100 square kilometres, 527 square mile, training area is clearly the centre of gravity. Without this training area Canadian Forces Base Gagetown would simply not exist. Since the land was expropriated in the early 1950s little has changed with the exception of the removal of the buildings that were in the training area.

The training conducted over the years has produced a significant impact on the integrity of the soil, including compaction, removal of vegetation, and the erosion of nutrient rich topsoil. The restoration plan for bringing our ranges and training area to the expected environmental level is estimated to cost in the area of $100 million. It is currently in the definition phase and we expect to begin rejuvenation over the next couple of years.

Much has been done in the past decade to develop a system of support to our dependencies that is as efficient as possible. We currently provide this support over extended lines of communication and by also using detachments located in Moncton and Charlottetown. While it is not our intention to impact on the level of support provided, we continue to explore avenues of providing that support more efficiently.

From a security perspective, base Gagetown is designated as an ``open'' base. That means that access is effectively not restricted. However, during levels of heightened security as was experienced during the 9/11 crises, we must protect ourselves by instituting restricted access measures. This can be challenging both because of the size of the base and our limited resources to deny access to unauthorized personnel. Current policing jurisdiction limits military police to the base proper, while the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has responsibility for all elements including the water treatment plant and the private married quarters outside of the base proper.

Between now and 2011 we anticipate upwards of 58 per cent of our civilian work force will reach retirement age. With the demands for employees in the local area increasing dramatically in the last few years, we have established a focus to deal with this potential crisis. We are pursuing both a comprehensive succession planning program to address the potential loss of corporate knowledge, and an aggressive recruiting program to attract entry-level employees to fill the retirement void. These, coupled with our efforts to establish base Gagetown as an employer of choice for this region, will allay, I hope, our concerns.

Base Gagetown has the ability to provide services for military members and their families in both official languages. However, in Canada's only officially bilingual province, the local area is decidedly anglophone and it is frequently not possible to receive all services in French. While specific services like medical and dental can be provided bilingually, local retail establishments generally do not offer bilingual services. This adversely affects francophone members and their families and impacts on our desire to foster base Gagetown as a posting of choice for all members of the Canadian Forces.

Our future holds tremendous opportunities for CFB Gagetown. The new infrastructure being developed will enhance the quality of life for our soldiers and our efforts to improve the conditions for their families to thrive in New Brunswick will produce many dividends, I believe.

The training capacity of the current training institutions and the advantages to the conduct of training at CFB Gagetown will be addressed by Colonel Davis, the commander of Combat Training Centre who will speak next.

I thank you for being afforded the opportunity to address the committee this afternoon and I look forward to your questions.

Colonel Christopher J.R. Davis, Commander, Combat Training Centre, CFB Gagetown, Department of National Defence: Senators, it is indeed a pleasure for me to be here this afternoon to talk to you about the individual training issues that face the Combat Training Centre.

I fulfill two functions in Gagetown. First of all, I am the Commander of the Combat Training Centre which means I command the units, the commandants that you spoke to earlier. We will also be accepting the Canadian Parachute Centre under my command as of the first of April of this year. In addition, I have the Land Force Trials and Evaluation Unit which is responsible to conduct land force user trials under my command. That is more a location of convenience in that they are able to use the schools to conduct their trials, but it is something that I do not deal with on a day-to- day basis.

At the same time, I fulfill the appointment of Army Individual Training Authority in that my staff and I are responsible for designing, developing and ultimately conducting and delivering individual training within the schools at CTC Gagetown. We have influence in the four area training centres across the country. They are responsive to our direction in terms of the types of courses they run, and whether the course should be included in the program.

What I would like to do is build on the themes that my commandants talked about earlier today.

My mission as the Commander Combat Training Centre is very straight forward; I support army modernization and readiness through the conduct of individual training. That is the most important function of the CTC.

In terms of throughput, we average about 1,700 to 2,000 students per year. If you take into account the area training centres that can stretch up to 11,000 taking into account regular and reserve training on an annual basis, you will realize that that is a significant number. In order to support that we have to have regular force and reserve augmentation, and you had some indication of that from the commandants earlier.

I will take this opportunity to discuss four issues that affect us at CTC. Not surprisingly, they are the same as what the commandants have spoken to earlier about, but perhaps I can give a slightly different perspective on those particular issues.

Perstempo, equipment, training modernization and CF expansion are the four issues of concern.

You have heard about perstempo, you have heard about left out of battle rates of 20 per cent. You have heard about the operational tempo of the army and therefore a reluctance to give us augmentation, especially last year when we had two battalions out of the country. It was very, very problematic because soldiers would come back off operations and the last thing they needed to do, and obviously not the right thing to do, is to come down to Gagetown to help us out on certain courses. So we took significant steps to reduce that bill and I will talk about that in a minute.

Army transformation and modernization are other drivers; all of these drivers together accelerate our actual perstempo at the unit or at the Combat Training Centre.

We have done a lot of things over the last two to three years. We reinvested in terms of personnel into the individual training system. So we put approximately 100 to 130 folks back into the individual training establishments to help us manage that throughput. At the same time, we allocated $8.5 million to hire reservists to backfill regular force training billets to reduce augmentation demand.

Other activities were training rationalization and electronic learning and distributed learning initiatives. We examined all the training we conducted with a view to reducing training lengths and getting it right down to the bare- bones training that was required. We, in fact, were able to reduce our training duration by 25 per cent, reducing the length of time an augmentee or indeed a student would be at the Combat Training Centre.

DL is a major portion of our training nowadays so that we can actually conduct the training at the student's unit location through electronic means. That again is reducing our augmentee load.

At this particular juncture we have put into place everything less one initiative which I have embarked upon this year and that is alternate source delivery. That is the only other mechanism I have to reduce perstempo aside from getting more instructors to try to put more uniformed folks into the key areas. Clearly, we are going to target support and technical training where appropriate, leaving the leadership tactical training for a uniformed individual be it NCO and officer.

CF expansion should provide us with additional instructors. I am led to believe that a certain percentage of those 5,000 to 3,000 will actually reinforce the training establishments in the most critical areas.

So, those are the strategies that we have in place for perstempo and we anticipate with CF expansion that we will also get some reinforcements to help us out in terms of throughput and again, reducing perstempo.

You have heard from the commandants that we need to train as we fight. Night fighting equipment is clearly a problem and I would like to give you a practical example of that. When OP HALO, our mission to Haiti, came up because of the night fighting equipment that was required in Afghanistan and elsewhere, we had to take the night fighting equipment stock from the infantry school to outfit 2RCR when they deployed to Haiti. Consequently, my night fighting training in many respects came to a halt on the dismounted level.

Vehicle mounted systems are not an issue because they all come with their own night fighting aids. It is on the dismounted aspects where we have a challenge. That operation is over; that equipment is back. We are back on our feet in the night and we are carrying on training, but clearly we need more of that equipment to enable us to do the job.

If the army expands and we have more people on the ground conducting operations then clearly we need more equipment to support the folks going through their training.

Weapons effects simulation is another aid that will help us. It is a training equipment issue. It is being addressed by the army and we will see that arrive here in Gagetown in 2006. This is a very positive thing for us because it will make us, and you are familiar with the Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre, CMTC, in Wainwright, we will have that same similar capability at a much lower level but it will enable us to train much more effectively here. This is a positive thing and we look forward to that in 2006.

As to the subject whole fleet management I know you have heard from different witnesses that we do not have enough equipment to outfit every unit in this country. Equipment is extremely expensive and battalions do not have everything they need. The army has launched upon a managed readiness program combined with a whole fleet management program which allocates the vehicles overseas to the Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre and to units and indeed to us.

At the present moment in terms of the key fighting vehicles, it is my understanding that in fact our concerns are being addressed for the tactical training. For the non-tactical training we will use civilian powered vehicles where appropriate which is a system or an approach that is being shared by all our allies.

I visited the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Army last week and they have the same challenges that we do even though they have a U.S. $500 billion budget. When you actually work it all the way down to the bottom end, they are renting vehicles and doing the odd thing that they have to do in order to train their troops effectively.

Our whole fleet management issue for the individual training side looks very positive from my perspective.

The only negative that I see is our ability to keep those vehicles on the road. We have to address our vehicle off-road rate. The commandants have made reference to this issue. We have difficulties in two areas concerning our vehicles: the national procurement to buy spare parts is a dollars related problem; and, we have a need for appropriately trained technicians to repair those vehicles.

We have outstanding support for Gagetown, but we do not have enough technicians to meet the present demand and usage rates of our vehicles. This situation has caused some degree of pressure. Colonel Jestin can speak to that a bit further, but I just want to make sure I convey the correct message that what we have on the ground is superb, but obviously the inadequate number of trained technicians is a problem.

Training modernization is my third theme and you have probably paid very close attention to General Hillier's comments concerning this change. Training modernization is one of my major themes and one initiative that I am pushing on my school commandants.

If you were to ask me what I need I would respond that I need dollars for a complex terrain training facility, an urban operations village that can handle up to a company's worth of infantry, armour, and artillery. A complex training facility would enable us to train and expose our soldiers and leaders to the urban environment which is the most prevalent and dangerous environment today.

We have built an outstanding individual skills site. We have worked together with Commander 3ASG. We have conducted our first urban OPS instructor course, and by all accounts it is extremely successful. One soldier told me that the course was superb. The quality of the training is very good as we have a great facility in that location. Now, we need to build the village so that the soldiers can actually move vehicles and platoons into it and train at a higher level. We are pushing for this village and it is our number one modernization effort.

I am aware of the questions that you have posed to the commandants regarding our capability. My answer, as an army individual training authority, must include a good look at the individual training systems. I have to look at the schools within the Combat Training Centre as well as the four area training centres, and decide where to put the new soldiers to train them.

I cannot speak to the Canadian Forces, because they have to worry about salaries, the entry level training through St. Jean, and the equipment and uniforms and all of that. I can, however, speak to the actual individual training portion that happens within the schools, and the Combat Training Centre, and the other various area training centres.

As Colonel Bowes mentioned, we have been white boarding it trying to figure out what we can do and it really boils down to the limited numbers of dollars that we require for ammunition, fuel, et cetera. As the funds come along there will be a requirement to augment in terms of training staff.

How can we augment? We can do that in a variety of ways. We can mission task units that are in low readiness to help us out. These units are either back off of a mission or they have reconstituted. We can actually look at an opportunity there to task them for a certain period of time to help us overcome any surge requirements.

In terms of our capacity for accommodation we would just have to use all of the accommodation we have available. Aldershot, for example, in New Brunswick, is a superb facility with a lot of bed space. Meaford also is a facility with adequate accommodation. These and other facilities can be used to help us address the problem of capacity. It all depends on the numbers and where they are going. For an example, if there were 700-odd infantrymen, then we could spread them across our three area centres that look after infantry training. It is more problematic if it is technicians that need to be trained. It all depends on the mix of the soldiers.

I would just like to leave you with the notion that all 1,000 folks that are working in Gagetown are very, very dedicated. We put them through a perstempo pace that is well beyond requirement, but they rise to that challenge because they understand that the buck stops with them. We are the gatekeepers for the army. We have to make sure that we instil the right culture, the right ethos and give them the tactical, technical, as well as leadership tools to do their jobs when they hit the units.

Thank you very much, gentlemen.

Senator Day: General, I would like to start with you and I would like to get a feeling for what has happened in your LFAA, in relation to the initiative announced one year ago where the reserve forces would be given additional funding to help develop more contact with the local authorities.

Please tell us how much more has gone to the reserves, how many more reservists have been hired, and whether that includes work in relation to the chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear effort that is something extremely important but not well prepared for from a civilian point of view as first responders.

BGen. Romses: Yes, Senator. Well, an awful lot is taking place with regard to the land force reserve restructure. There are a lot of new initiatives. Within the Land Force Atlantic Area I am growing by over 260 reserve soldiers, and they will be spread in a number of different areas.

I have an infantry company going to Princess Louise Fusiliers. I have reconnaissance platoons that are going to be created as part of the 1st Battalion Royal Newfoundland Regiment, the 1st Battalion of the Royal New Brunswick Regiment. We are creating an additional military police platoon that will result in a new military police headquarters in Halifax. Another positive initiative will be the creation of a second subunit to be located in Moncton.

We are increasing the size of our CIMIC organization. CIMIC, as you know, has been a capability that has been imbedded only within the reserves, and yet every time we do an international deployment we end up using CIMIC personnel. We depend very heavily on them. We are about to establish the contingency planning officers at municipal locations. All of these initiatives have led to significant growth within this area.

I think in a way you are touching upon outreach initiatives as well, and clearly that ties in with our Connect with Canadians program which is extremely important to the Canadian Forces, certainly very important to the army.

We need to make an effort, and when I say ``we'' I mean everybody from the private soldier up to the highest rank, to ensure that the Canadian public has a much better understanding of what we are doing with the dollars that they are investing in the Canadian Forces. Our soldiers do a tremendous job on our behalf but, unfortunately, perhaps in the past the public did not have as great an understanding of that. That is one of the great reasons why, I think, all of us in the military are so very pleased to see the initiatives of this Standing Committee as well as the House of Commons Committee. This attention has increased the profile of security and defence issues in this country, and that is just something that really there has not been a lot of, I do not think, in the 30 some years that I have been in the Canadian Forces.

We have been working hard with our formations and units to encourage them to get their people out participating in local community activities, going to community groups, talking about what our soldiers are doing on international missions and domestic operations. We are getting people involved in security seminars. We are taking part in things such as the tattoos and air shows and a wide variety of activities to try and enhance the profile of the Canadian Forces and the army.

Senator Day: General, are you still at the planning stage or are you actually doing some of this outreach?

Is there actually activity going on and joint operations between reserve units and local first responders?

BGen. Romses: The contingency planning officer initiative is a new activity and that is one that has not started. The actual planning has certainly started and now we are in the process of creating the positions and sourcing the individuals from our various different units so that we can man the positions and then implement the initiative. It is underway, and all of these things that I have talked about are in train as I speak.

Senator Day: There is obviously going to be a requirement for more funding. Has the funding filtered down to the reserve units yet or is that something to come in another budget?

BGen. Romses: No. These positions that I am talking about, the 260 additional positions that we are getting within Land Forces Atlantic Area, are now funded positions. They are part of the 3,000 positions that are coming to the Canadian army and they are funded.

Senator Day: Is the military training with the Town of Oromocto or the City of Fredericton in case they need military backup?

Do you have interoperable communications equipment yet?

Where are we with respect to the liaison and in response to emergencies?

BGen. Romses: Let me clarify the intent of the contingency planning officers. The aim of the contingency planning officers is to enhance liaison and communication between the military and the local first responders. The aim is to acquire a much better understanding of their requirements, interoperability requirements, and so on. The contingency planning officers are not there to do their job because they are the first responders. They are there to assure the first responders that should there ever be a need for the Canadian Forces to support them the CF would be there to assist them. They would go through normal channels and request military assistance and that request would move up through the municipality to the province through PSEPC and then to the Canadian Forces. At that point, a decision is made as to whether or not to provide the assistance. Obviously if it is a valid need we will assist and if the ground work liaison has been established then it helps us in many ways because we have a good understanding of how interoperable we are with them at the local level. We are getting information at that local level from our contingency planning offices in terms of what the needs are might be and this has the positive affect of reducing precious planning time.

The Chairman: General, on that point, this committee put out a report on first responders almost a year ago entitled ``The Fragile Front Line.''

I cannot speak specifically for the municipalities in your area of responsibility, but in the vast majority of the communities that we spoke to when we were talking to the emergency preparedness people or the first responders we asked who about their specific military connection. Most of them did not have a name, or a phone number.

We will be preparing our next report in February or March; it has a survey of every population over 20,000. Are you telling us now that when we prepare our next report that the first responders will tell us the name of someone to contact?

BGen. Romses: No, if you are talking about the next few months, but as we move into the future that is our goal. We have held a meeting with the various different provincial authorities and detailed our plans, and what the municipal expectations are in order to ensure that we are in line with their perception of how they would like things to proceed. We do not want to be seen as interfering in their areas of responsibility or anything of that nature.

We are moving forward in a programmed manner and we will get to the stage where there will be communication in the key communities.

The Chairman: If we ask the communities over 20,000 in November, what will the answer be to the question of adequate liaison with the army?

BGen. Romses: We will be much further along than we are today. When you are setting up this sort of thing it is not something that is accomplished in a week or two. I am always pessimistic because even at the provincial level people are constantly changing, so if you asked about the military contact you might get a vague answer. The fact of the matter is there is a regular liaison and communication, but sometimes through a change of personalities there tends to be a missing link for a short period of time.

The Chairman: Thank you, Senator Day. I just wanted it read that we are going to be asking that question in our survey.

Senator Day: My next question is for Colonel Jestin. It surprises me that you said that base Gagetown is an ``open base.'' I think of all the young soldiers who are there training. I think of how many of them stay in one building. It seems to me that would be an obvious target if somebody wanted to get in and do something nasty. Why do you have base Gagetown as an open base?

Col. Jestin: Thank you for the question. We have done intelligence assessments of the base and there is no definable threat against Gagetown or its soldiers. I am not sure, and I cannot talk at any level beyond the base, but there is no definable threat on a day-to-day basis. We have done the review several times. Certainly, if the resources were available I would probably change it, but the reality is it is an expensive proposition to defend a training area of some 11,000 square kilometres with a major four-lane highway riding through it and a two-lane highway going through almost the full length of it. It is a big challenge. Could it be done? It certainly could. Should it be done? I have not seen anything today that would say there is a definable threat against Gagetown.

Senator Day: Is there any security at the accommodation where the single officers are living and sleeping?

Col. Jestin: Certainly, sir, yes. We have military police and my commissionaires patrol the base.

Senator Day: Do they do a drive by from time to time?

Col. Jestin: More than on a time to time basis, sir. Yes, they are around all the time, every day, not at night, you are right, but certainly in the day.

Senator Day: At night is when the soldiers are all there?

Col. Jestin: Yes.

Senator Day: In the day time they should be out at the Combat Training Centre doing their work.

Col. Jestin: Right, ssenator.

Senator Day: Is there a commissionaire on the door?

Col. Jestin: Not at night, senator. No.

Senator Meighen: We could walk in?

Col. Jestin: Yes, senator.

Senator Day: Senator Meighen could walk in if he wanted to?

Col. Jestin: Correct, senator.

Senator Day: As gently as they could, two or three of the commandants at the Combat Training schools have indicated that the repairs to vehicles that are very important for their training are not being repaired as expeditiously as they would like them to be. They tried not to criticize you for the problem.

I am just wondering if you could tell us if the problem boils down to a money issue? If you had the money could you go out and hire some civilians to help with some of these repairs? What are your plans to rectify this situation?

Col. Jestin: Thank you, senator. This has been an ongoing discussion with the commander of CTC. There are two facets to the issue: There are not enough spare parts to keep some of the older equipment on the road or available for training; and, the availability of trained technicians to do the repairs on those vehicles.

We are making great strides in getting our technicians trained to the level that they are going to be able to fix the equipment. It is an ongoing process. As you are aware, a number of years ago we had shortage in some of the high technical trades such as fire control systems technicians, material technicians and vehicle technicians. We are now coming out of that trough in that we are getting closer to the expected manning levels, but it is still going to take us a few more years. Guys and girls are doing yeoman service in Gagetown to keep the equipment on the road and available so that Colonel Davis and his commandants can do the training that they are mandated to do.

I think we have made some headway in the last year, and as our technician's get more experience and we get all of our slots filled we will be in good shape to make a much better dent in the current VOR.

Senator Day: Your focus seems to be on training soldiers to do this work. Is it not possible to have alternate service delivery for something like repairs to a LAV?

Col. Jestin: Yes, senator, it is possible to do that and like everything else, of course, it costs money. When money is available in the summer we do hire civilian mechanics, but recognize that they are not necessarily qualified on some of our high tech equipment. The LAV3 for instance is a separate course in Borden for our mechanics to get them up to speed. It is a highly complex, high technology piece of kit and I cannot hire somebody from Canadian Tire to fix it.

Senator Day: Colonel Davis, a couple of years ago we were in Moncton at the base and we talked to some soldiers there who said that they do not have the equipment they need to work on and be familiar with. They told us that when they were required to go to base Gagetown they were unprepared because they had the book knowledge of the equipment but not the hands on experience with it.

A number of sources have told me that as a result of this new philosophy with respect to collective training at Wainwright that a number of bases in Eastern Canada are being asked to send some of their training equipment to Wainwright so it will be there when the training is going to take place in a formation level. That transfer of equipment to Wainwright takes it away from reserve and regular force units in Eastern Canada. What do you say about that?

Col. Davis: Well, I will make a few comments and then perhaps General Romses would like to speak to that more specifically.

This does not happen just in this area but affects the entire army in that we have a variety of equipment. Our challenge is that we have had to deploy equipment overseas on operations that came from the existing stock of equipment. Much of that equipment remained on operations.

We have set up Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre which needs a fleet of equipment, and we have equipment requirements in individual training at the unit level to which you have referred. When you combine all of that we do not have enough equipment to go around. The army has embarked on what is called full fleet management, and that particular program will put the equipment where our units require them depending on where they are in the managed readiness cycle.

Is this a perfect solution? No. I do not think it is a perfect solution.

Is it a good enough solution for the situation within? Yes. It is probably the only solution we have right now.

I do not think there is any commanding officer in the Canadian army that would not say he wants a full fleet of equipment so that he can train on it and make sure that his soldiers are current, et cetera. Unfortunately, we do not live in that environment.

This situation is not unique to Canada. The British army is doing the same thing. Other armies, I am sure, are facing the same challenges. It is just that this equipment is extremely expensive and that it often stays for quite a long time in the location of its deployment. Fortunately, from my perspective as the individual trainer, the army has recognized that we need the tools to do the job. Therefore, under the whole fleet management program I am getting the vehicles and weapon systems that I need to address the individual training system issues.

Senator Day: General Romses, is the philosophy of the whole fleet management system to admit that we have a limited amount of resources and decide where they are best suited to be used?

BGen. Romses: That is exactly it and I think Colonel Davis has well articulated the issue. Essentially, what we are doing is instead of all of us, every commanding officer, competing for resources, we have agreed that we are going to put the resources where and when they are needed because we only have a finite number of them. That is something that, as we go through army transformation, is going to impact on many of our regular and reserve units. As we establish the CMTC, and as we reinforce our training institutions to give them that equipment that those trainers need, they will become the beneficiaries of the equipment for our operations.

So if your question was what would I do if I had more money? Well, one of those things would be, of course, to buy more equipment for the units within my area. I would buy everything from vehicles to radios to surveillance devices because, unfortunately, those are the sort of items that will be moving out.

I will still maintain an operational capability and I will still be quite capable of conducting domestic operations, and my units when they go through a higher level of readiness training they will get all the bits and pieces; they will have it all. There will be periods of time when they will not have as much of this equipment as they would like to have.

Senator Day: General, can you confirm that there is equipment moving out of the Atlantic region reserve units to Wainwright?

BGen. Romses: I can confirm that we are very much in the midst of sending equipment to combat training centres and to the CMTC from both my regular component and my reserve component. That is correct.

Senator Day: I do not want to say ``lobby,'' but is there a request going up to the commander of the army that we need equipment to train these individuals before we send them off on a collective manoeuvre. Is it true that if they do not get the equipment to train on that when they use it for the first time it will be in a combat situation?

BGen. Romses: The great thing about the managed readiness process is that as part of army transformation when units go through the training phase and then move into the operational window, they will have all of the equipment they need for training, and that includes the reserve forces. As a result, when we send our reserve combined armed teams through the CMTC each year they will fall in on a complete suite of equipment so that when they do that training they will get the best training in the world to prepare them to be better soldiers.

We believe that with the resources we have today this is the only way that we can do it to ensure that we can sustain ourselves properly.

Senator Day: Is that not the point? We need more equipment and you are not going to be able to have reservists participate as fully in this kind of training because they are doing other things and they do not have the time commitment, and you are not going to attract them to a reserve unit if they do not have the proper equipment to work with.

BGen. Romses: They will have the equipment they need to train up to the levels they need, and remember, our reserve units train to MLOC3 level which is the platoon level. We will have the equipment we need to run the courses we need but, obviously, when you only have the minimum amount of equipment it is much more complex and it is also subject to, whether the equipment is broken, and if it is, how long it will take to repair it. If we had more equipment there would be more resiliencies and less redundancy. So I quite agree.

I would love to see more equipment, more vehicles, and more surveillance devices. It would take time; contracts would have to be put into place, monies would have to be allocated from the government. In the short term, we are definitely not going to be seeing that, but we would love to see more of it.

Senator Day: You may soon have a significant increase in the number of reservists that need to be trained.

Senator Banks: Colonel Jestin, you mentioned when you were talking about fixing up infrastructure, the concept of 6 per cent of replacement value. I sort of understand what that means, but I have never heard it described that way. Can you put a dollar figure on that?

Col. Jestin: Sir, it is $1 billion in Gagetown.

Senator Banks: A billion?

Col. Jestin: A billion.

Senator Banks: With a ``B?''

Col. Jestin: Yes, senator. I need in the magnitude of about $60 million a year in order to keep the infrastructure as current as we would like it to be.

Senator Banks: How much do you get now?

Col. Jestin: I think last year, senator, I spent $24 million.

Senator Banks: So less than one-half?

Col. Jestin: Yes, senator.

Senator Banks: So what is happening is that we are building up a great big contingent liability?

Col. Jestin: Yes, sir. That is exactly right.

Senator Banks: And the buildings will eventually, if something is not done, the roof will fall in?

Col. Jestin: I hope not to that point, senator. But yes, sir, that is correct.

Senator Banks: The maintenance of the infrastructure is building up a deferred bill which is getting bigger. It is rather like the annual deficit contributing to the long-term debt.

Col. Jestin: That is correct, senator.

Senator Banks: Is it reaching emergent proportions?

Col. Jestin: There are specific areas which I talked about in my comments, senator, specifically the underground tunnels is one of them.

Senator Banks: They are pretty old.

Col. Jestin: I cannot speak for 50 years ago but putting something underground in Canada, you know, frost and whatnot, is not necessarily the smartest way to go. Anyway, it happened and it was built for I am sure really good reasons back then.

We also had coal-driven heaters back then which we got rid of four years ago and saved an enormous amount from an environmental perspective.

I think we made great headways over the years; we have more to go, and really we need the money to do it.

Senator Banks: Have you have read any of our reports?

Col. Jestin: Yes, senator.

Senator Banks: I think we have visited every military base of any size in the country over the last three years, and the conclusion is that in the very largest overall global sense we are just not taking care of business.

Would you agree that it is bad planning on somebody's part not to properly fund, for example, that infrastructure since it is so cogently important to the Canadian Forces?

Col. Jestin: You know, senator, I do not think it is done intentionally. I think it reflects where we are today from a dollars and cents perspective. We make the best judgments we can on the basis of the money allocated in any given year.

Senator Banks: I am talking about the money allocation.

Col. Jestin: Yes, senator.

Senator Banks: It is not enough. Would you agree with that?

Col. Jestin: I would say, senator, that yes I do not get enough to do what needs to be done.

Senator Banks: It is imprudent not to do that. If I operate a university or a hardware store and I know that it costs me $50 a month to keep my building in shape and I do not spend the $50, in a few years I am not going to be able to afford ever to repair it and I am going to lose that building, or that factory, or that school, or that military establishment.

Col. Jestin: I am not sure, senator, it is as clear cut as that. What I would say is that we have made great strides in making sure that we rationalize the infrastructure that we have. We have made some great strides in making sure that we get rid of those buildings that are no longer relevant and required, and the buildings that remained were brought up to speed as quickly as possible. You can always do with more money on the infrastructure side to get it as current as we would like. Yes, senator.

The Chairman: Senator Banks, may I intervene here?

Senator Banks: Please.

The Chairman: Colonel, we are not asking you to make a judgment. It is not this committee's job is to make a judgment about whether or not you have been properly funded by the politicians.

We are concerned about your 50 per cent shortfall this year and what your shortfall was last year.

Col. Jestin: About the same amount.

The Chairman: How much was it the year before?

Col. Jestin: About the same amount.

The Chairman: How far back can you go back with that shortfall?

Col. Jestin: I can only talk about how long we have kept accurate figures, and that is probably about the last 10 years.

The Chairman: Fifty per cent times 50, you know, times 10, even I can do the math on that but I have help here.

Col. Jestin: Yes.

The Chairman: I think what we have established to the committee's satisfaction that there is a real problem at Gagetown and it needs funding. Nobody is suggesting that you folks are planning to fund it the way it is; if you do not have the money, you do not have the money. I think we should probably leave it at that.

Senator Banks: We wish to be able to make that point in the places that it needs to be made. Thank you, Colonel.

Senator Day: I think the follow-up point on that is that they are doing a very fine job with the limited resources that they have.

The Chairman: In fairness, it strikes me that you are wasting a lot of time trying to figure out strategies to make do with what you have.

Col. Jestin: Yes. It is similar to our equipment, sir. We are making great strides on keeping our equipment on the road as best we can and we are doing the same thing with the infrastructure. I can say that the infrastructure in Gagetown is in pretty good shape, considering.

The Chairman: Considering?

Senator Banks: I want to make sure, gentlemen, you understand the context in which we are asking these questions which is that, for a start, underlying everything that we are asking about the military, is always the fact that we recognize better than most Canadians what a fabulous job the men and women in the forces are doing, considering.

It is the ``considering'' part that we believe, that we just do not have enough money to do the things that need to be done. Never mind the future and never mind the aggrandisement of and never mind R2P, I mean just doing the jobs which you have been assigned to do now you are not properly funded to do the jobs that you are now asked by the government to do.

We have great difficulty finding people in positions of authority within the Armed Forces to nod at us and say that we are right. We know why that is. It is very frustrating to us because when we hear that you are moving forward and making real progress we know that you are under-funded. This committee has been in existence for only three years and we get frustrated when we hear that you have made progress.

I want you to know that I am getting at our colleagues in Ottawa for not properly, in our view, providing you with funding to accomplish what you are asked to do.

The Chairman: He will settle for a wink as well as a nod.

Senator Banks: Full fleet management is just an example because it is almost moving deck charge on the Titanic.

The Chairman: It was the classic line and the question is?

Senator Banks: Yes, but would it not be better if you had the equipment all of the time?

General, you said that in order to meet our domestic operation requirements Land Forces Atlantic maintains a regular force reconnaissance group at eight hours notice to move. How many people are involved in that group?

BGen. Romses: That would be a very small group of up to 10 people.

Senator Banks: How many people are involved in a vanguard company with 12 hours notice?

BGen. Romses: A company would be around 100 soldiers.

Senator Banks: How many people are involved in an immediate response unit with 24 hours notice?

BGen. Romses: That would be a complete unit, so anywhere from 500 to 600 soldiers.

Senator Banks: What is a primary reserve? Is there a distinction between a primary reserve and a reserve?

BGen. Romses: There is a subtle difference because, as you know, our rangers are reservists as well, but not primary reservists.

Senator Banks: I see. Could you put 1,400 people out within 24 hours notice?

BGen. Romses: Yes. When we were needed after Halifax hurricane just over a year ago we had 700 soldiers, 300 reservists and an equal number of regulars there within about 48 hours.

Senator Banks: Good. Is that enough for Atlantic Canada?

BGen. Romses: It is enough. Those are the standby numbers, but clearly we could force generate more. I have other independent regular units: 4 Engineer Support Regiment, 4 Air Defence Regiment, and I have other reservists.

Senator Banks: So, you could put 4,000 to 5,000 on a street someplace?

BGen. Romses: Of course, and if we need more on the ground I can go through the Deputy Chief of Defence Staff who, if he believed it appropriate, would go through the Chief of Defence Staff and obtain other soldiers from across Canada. This is done on a regular basis. We were deployed to the fires in British Columbia, but those troops have to be replaced when it becomes an ongoing operation. In that instance other soldiers, sailors and airmen were brought in from other parts of the country to support the operation.

Senator Banks: So it is enough? We have enough people to do what needs to be done?

BGen. Romses: I am confident that we have enough for this region, yes.

The Chairman: Could you tell us if the figures and the times you have provided us apply to Newfoundland?

BGen. Romses: The response time that I have given you is the time it takes them to go out the main gate. If they are going to Newfoundland they will not be there in eight hours; there is a subtle difference in the timing.

Senator Atkins: You mentioned that you are in negotiations with the province. I assume that hospital services have been part of those talks. What other subjects have you discussed?

BGen. Romses: I was talking about contingency planning officers. I do not know if there is something related to CFB Gagetown that you are talking about and perhaps I will defer therefore to the base commander.

Col. Jestin: Yes, we are beyond talking with the Department of Public Safety for New Brunswick, which was a follow on to Senator Day's question. We do have a permanent liaison officer down there with the public safety department in New Brunswick. In addition to that, I am exploring with River Valley Health authorities in this particular area of New Brunswick to see if cannot expand some of the provisions of service for both our military and our civilian family members in the Oromocto and Fredericton area.

Senator Atkins: The last time we were here we heard that it was the civilians that were having some problems in terms of getting medical assistance.

Col. Jestin: We have been very successful over the past while, and when I say ``we'' I mean the community of Gagetown and environs. One of the issues is finding bilingual medical doctors. As I indicated, about a third of our members are francophone and quite rightly their family members want to be able to talk to their doctor face to face in their first language. In the last two years we have found two bilingual doctors who have moved into the area and are very satisfied with being in that location.

I am involved with the River Valley Health Authority and, in fact, with the Minister of Health for New Brunswick to stop the closure or partial closure of the Oromocto Public Hospital. The closure would have an extremely negative impact on the military community and on our military families in particular in Oromocto. It is essential that we keep the bilingual doctors for our francophone residents.

Senator Atkins: If they cannot be looked at in Oromocto would they go to Saint John or Fredericton?

Col. Jestin: Probably to Moncton, sir, based on the availability of bilingual doctors.

Senator Atkins: All right.

Col. Jestin: It is possible, but it is not ideal to have to commute one hour and one-half to see a doctor.

The Chairman: Well, on behalf of the committee, General, I would like to thank you and your colleagues for appearing before us. We have found it very instructive. I should tell you that we also found the previous panel instructive and it has been a very useful afternoon for the committee. We have learned a great deal, and you have been of great assistance to us in our work.

I would like to congratulate you and those serving with you on the marvellous job that you are doing. I would like to express the pride that this Senate committee feels in the work that you and the men and women do. We truly are proud of the work you do and have great respect for the sacrifices you make for Canada.

Thank you very much. Your work is greatly appreciated.

Before we rise, I want to advise my colleagues that there will be a brief plaque exchange.

The committee adjourned.