Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence

Issue 22 - Evidence, June 1, 2005


MONTREAL, Wednesday, June 1, 2005

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 3:05 p.m. to examine and report on the national security policy for Canada.

Senator Colin Kenny (Chairman) in the chair.

[English]

The Chairman: Welcome to this meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence. My name is Colin Kenny. I chair the committee, and I am a senator from Ontario.

Senator Tommy Banks is from Alberta. He is 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 has provided musical direction for the ceremonies at the 1988 Olympic Games. He is an officer of the Order of Canada and has received the Juno Award.

Senator Meighen is a lawyer by profession. He is a member of the bars of Ontario and Quebec. He is Chancellor of the University of King's College and past chair of the Stratford Festival. He has honorary doctorates in Civil Law from Mount Allison University and the University of New Brunswick. Currently, he is the Chair of our Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs and also a member of the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce.

Our committee has been mandated to examine security and defence and the need for a national security policy. We have produced the following reports since 2002: Canadian Security and Military Preparedness; The Defence of North America: A Canadian Responsibility; An Update on Canada's Military Crisis: A View From the Bottom Up; The Myth of Security at Canada's Airports; Canada's Coastlines: The Longest Under-Defended Borders in the World; National Emergencies: Canada's Fragile Front Lines; and most recently, The Canadian Security Guidebook, 2005 edition.

We are in the midst of a detailed review of Canadian defence policy and have been holding hearings in every province and engaging with 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. Canadians have been very forthright in expressing their views on national security in Canada. We will continue working on this review throughout the summer in order to forge a consensus on the type of military Canadians envision in the future.

We are being joined now by Senator Norman Atkins from Ontario. He came to the Senate with 27 years of experience in the field of communications and served as a senior adviser to former federal Conservative leader Robert Stanfield, Premier William Davis of Ontario and Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. He is also a member of our Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs.

Senators, we have before us today BGen. Côté, Commander, Land Forces Quebec Area. BGen. Gaston Côté began his military career as an infantry officer with the Royal 22nd Regiment. He served with all units of the Royal 22nd Regiment and also served two tours with the Canadian Airborne Regiment. He was the Commanding Officer of the 1st Commandos, Canadian Airborne Regiment, the Royal 22nd Regiment Battle School, and also commanded Joint Task Force 2. In June 1995 he served in Land Forces Quebec Area as Commander of Canadian Forces Base Montreal and as Chief of Staff for Land Forces Quebec Area during the 1998 ice storm. Recently, he was Director, Peacekeeping Policy. BGen. Côté was named Commander, Land Forces Quebec Area, in May 2003.

With him is Col. Christian Rousseau, Commanding Officer, 5th Area Support Group. Colonel Rousseau took command of the 5th Area Support Group in July of 2003. Through the course of his military career he has commanded a field engineer troop and a squadron with the 5e Régiment du Génie de Combat de Valcartier and le 9e Escadron du Génie de Campagne, a reserve unit, and 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment in Petawawa, a regular force unit. He has served on international assignments in Jerusalem from 1990 to 1991 and in Eastern Zaire in 1996. Domestic operational assignments have included initial force engineer and spokesperson for the joint force headquarters during the 1997 Manitoba floods and J7 plans during the ice storm of 1998.

Gentlemen, welcome to the committee. We are very pleased to have you before us again. I understand that you have a statement, general.

[Translation]

Brigadier-General Gaston Côté, Commander, Land Forces Quebec Area, National Defence: Mr. Chairman, it is a pleasure for me to be here today. I must also mention that I will be leaving command of the area next Friday. I will be replaced by General Barabé. Colonel Hainse, Commander of the 5th brigade, was unable to join us. He is standing in for me at a ceremony in ValCartier. Rest assured that I am aware of all the points he wished to discuss at this hearing. I will certainly try to present them to the best of my knowledge.

Rather than read my presentation, I would like to highlight certain aspects of it, which you received in both official languages.

Quebec area is unique. It is the francophone part of the land force. Obviously, provincial legislation dictates certain things in terms of our domestic operations and that has an effect on our operations, be they humanitarian in nature or as a support to law enforcement agencies. Our mission is similar to that of all land force areas in that we must ensure troop readiness for deployment overseas as well as on Canadian soil, and we must be able to act throughout the spectrum of operations, from high intensity war to peacekeeping missions.

To achieve this end, we have a professional team, resources, and we do our utmost to regenerate the force by keeping equipment and resources in the best possible shape.

There is another distinctive characteristic in Quebec. Aside from the figures we have given you on our strength, there are many aspects of other commands to be found in my geographical area. Colonel Rousseau is in charge of over 50 per cent of the support for these units, which do not belong to me, but become a serious distraction in terms of resources. We are innovating in the area when it comes to information operations. We are grouping together all capabilities for what is referred to as command support, in other words I am responsible for capacity building for the land forces psychological operations, which are now part of the civil-military relations group and the intelligence group.

We also have a great deal of personnel to support, and have a major impact on the province's economy, worth approximately $800 million, in salaries alone.

Quebec area has generated several troops for international missions over the last few years. The Quebec-sector operational tempo has been virtually non-stop since 1992. This may be the only respite we will get, as we have barely 40 people deployed overseas. Last year, during the first year of my command, there were more than 2,250 troops from Quebec area deployed either in Afghanistan or Bosnia. Obviously, the operational tempo we are demanding of our staff does complicate things.

In order to ensure that our team remains healthy and effective, we do need programs such as the regeneration program, currently in place, allowing us to regroup and prepare for other missions.

Aside from the training resources we have received, we have to carry out risk management, to compensate for some resource problems.

Resources are generally shared adequately. However, there are some concerns in several areas. One of the most pressing needs is in the field of human resources, because we know that according to our readiness matrix for the coming years, we are certainly going to have to pick up the pace as of next year, 2006, when the number of units whose readiness we have to manage will double.

This year, we are preparing a 1,000-man-strong operational force whose mission remains unknown, but which requires all of the 5th brigade's resources. Added to that is the pressure we feel in terms of individual training and local training initiatives which contribute to maintaining a sustained pace of activities, which is demanding, especially for the leaders. It is a problem for us, but also for the army as a whole. There is a shortage of leaders in the lower ranks, under staff sergeants, and this is a fear we have which we are trying to allay by producing more leaders. That being said, those who are already dealing with significant operational tempo are feeling even more pressure.

Moreover, if we look into the future, we have some concerns about the already high pressure for individual and collective training. If we are looking at increasing our strength, we have to manage the process so as not to overstretch our meager existing resources, to produce new soldiers, infantrymen, etc.

Vehicle procurement is also a concern. At the moment, the army is in an adjustment phase, in that management readiness involves reallocating vehicles, some of which have already been sent to the Canadian Manoeuver Training Centre in Wainwright. This has seriously reduced the number of available combat vehicles in the area and it requires a great deal of coordination within the area so as to maintain operational capabilities and to ensure ongoing training.

We will have to make some adjustments as we move ahead with this readiness matrix, and the Canadian Manoeuver Training Centre will certainly have positive effects and make the vehicle shortage more acceptable.

The infrastructure sector in our area has been critically underfunded for years. Replacing certain facilities within the area has been a major financial priority and has cost approximately $2 billion. Over the last ten years, we mostly responded to emergencies, which could have had an effect on the occupational health and safety of our soldiers. However, the future seems more promising given that underfunding has been acknowledged and that we expect a comprehensive injection of funds shortly.

Aside from maintaining what we have, we must think of building new infrastructure. This project was launched at the same time as we introduced lightly-armoured vehicles. We needed to house these vehicles because they contain a large number of high-tech instruments. The program has been somewhat delayed, but we are finally seeing its implementation in the form of buildings that should be approved as of 2007-2008. One of our priorities is to review our training capability and especially our shooting ranges so as to reproduce operational deployment theatres as much as possible. This requires that we focus on combat in urban settings and in what is referred to as complex terrain.

We are in a transformative phase. The operational readiness plan comes as a major shock, because we are losing equipment, but at the same time, we have to adjust to these constraints when it comes to training. On the other hand, deployments are made somewhat more predictable for troops, which is also reassuring. The restructuring of the reserves is fully underway. It is a major effort in terms of recruitment, training, and an integration of these new capabilities within reserve units.

Also, we have started restructuring support. We now have an army support services restructuring program which has already been launched. And Quebec area, given its operational schedule, must get to work on the restructuring by leading the way in the field, because as of this summer, we will be merging our two service battalions in the area.

Obviously, we are still expecting the decisions regarding headquarters integration that are to be taken in the context of the armed forces transformation, with the possible integration of the navy and air force components in the geographical area. This integration should not affect Quebec's specificity and regional differences. Aside from the preservation of French as a working language for francophones, which remains a struggle, we must consider that our francophone members are concentrated in Quebec and that unit it has to be self-sufficient in terms of training, duties, operational deployments, and contribute to national duties as other areas do.

Our staff is highly qualified, trained, versatile, willing to truly take on the challenges brought about by transformation. The men and women of the Quebec area have always been ready to serve and proud of their involvement in Quebec and abroad. This concludes my remarks.

Colonel Christian Rousseau, Commanding Officer, 5th Area Support Group, National Defence: Mr. Chairman, my presentation is part of the written material you have received. I especially wanted to draw a distinction between the 5th Area Support Group and other area support groups you have visited abroad. There are some distinctive features here.

Founded on February 10, 1998, 5 Area Support Group is a military formation that provides support for combat units integrated in the organizational structure of Land Force Quebec Area and for LFQA lodger units external to army organizations. However, it is important to note that units that are part of 3 Wing, located in Bagotville, are served by one Canadian Air Division rather than by 5 ASG.

Five ASG has approximately 1,200 military personnel and 2,000 civilian employees of the public service or the Canadian Forces Personnel Support Agency, based in three main garrisons, all working toward the ultimate goal of supporting the mission of 140 integral and lodger units including support to families and to serving members of the military.

Five ASG is the largest of the four ASGs in terms of strength, budget, and clientele, which hovers around 31,000 users. It includes the bulk of the support resources assigned to Land Force Quebec Area. Five ASG is responsible for the garrisons of Montreal, Saint-Jean and ValCartier, and for more than 60 other sites, most notably the Farnham Training Centre, the Saint-Hubert site and the Quebec Citadel.

Five ASG sets itself apart from the other ASGs by its organization along functional rather geographic lines which results in significant savings in terms of management personnel, thanks to a reduction in middle-management levels. There is therefore no subordinate commander geographically responsible for one of the three garrisons, and each functional branch head is in charge of delivering his or her services to LFQA on all garrisons and related sites. For example, the Chief of Military Police is accountable to me for police services on all three garrisons. Five ASG is thus a support formation but also a ``gigantic distributed base'' in many ways comparable to a city in Quebec which has three boroughs, and is governed by headquarters which serve as a sort of city hall.

Most military and civilian personnel is divided among eight branches: 5 General Support Battalion, Signals, Engineering, Resource Conservation, Military Police, Ranges and Training Areas, Personnel Support and the Command Support Unit.

Five ASG also stands out because of its clientele: 50 per cent is from the army, while the other half comes from organizations outside the army and LFQA. This proportion of units outside LFQA greatly influences 5 ASG operations, since they require resources to support year-round users who do not deploy, unlike those that are part of LFQA. Any deployment of 5 ASG members abroad must therefore be compensated for by the addition of temporary employees in order to provide the same services for the rest of its clientele, which has remained behind.

Although 5 ASG is currently well staffed to carry out its mission, over the next five years we will have to replace more than 20 per cent of our full-time civilian employees because of the aging of our workforce. We are trying to lessen the effects of this massive attrition by putting in place a succession plan adapted to the situation. In addition, there will be an increase in the number of 5 ASG military personnel beginning in summer 2005 because of the merging of two support units, which will bring almost 700 more CF members into the formation, boosting the total to nearly 1,900.

The budget allocated to 5 ASG by the army to accomplish our missions is always tight. We have therefore developed a rigorous budget planning process, including aggressive over-programming to take advantage of all additional funding that may become available during the fiscal year, and thereby manage excess expenses not provided for in our initial financial allocation.

Five ASG's budget thus increased from $112 million in 2003-2004 to almost $142 million for the 2004-2005 fiscal year. It is important to note that despite its relatively sizable budget, 5 ASG's discretionary leeway is less than 30 per cent.

The replacement value of 5 ASG's real property inventory approaches $2 billion. 5 ASG is responsible for approximately 2,300 facilities of all types, with a total interior area of 1,400,000 square metres, built on 430 square metres of land throughout the province of Quebec. The real property inventory alone represents 35 per cent of the army's infrastructure.

Although our budget of just over $77 million for real property needs may seem impressive, it is barely sufficient for the task. Currently, the overall condition of the real property inventory is not at its best, as a result of years of severe underfunding. And as the amount of postponed work continues to increase, the real property inventory is becoming increasingly obsolete. We must therefore invest heavily to contain the problem.

In general, 5 ASG has the right tools for processing the information needed to keep it running smoothly. Some national and LFQA projects are helping to improve the situation. Nevertheless, our formation lacks certain systems for processing and managing classified information. This deficiency has been recognized, however, and all possible measures are being taken in order to compensate for it.

Wisely managing personnel is proving challenging for 5 ASG as a brisk operational tempo and numerous tasks on the horizon are placing heavy demands on personnel. We have introduced personnel support programs so that we can provide the necessary support to those who are faced with these demands.

It is important to remember that, according to the established formula, 5 ASG must be prepared to form two expeditionary support components of close to 230 individuals. One of these groups is currently in training; the second group will begin training in fall 2005. In the event of a deployment, as explained previously, we still have full responsibility for providing support to our clients. The managed readiness plan introduced by the army will, however, enable us to reduce most of the negative effects, since from now on, we will be able to implement the required mitigation strategies early on.

Finally, apart from the funds announced in the last budget to correct the underfunding of bases, which will be a great help to us in accomplishing our support mission, it is too early to evaluate the defence policy statement's direct impact on 5 ASG.

[English]

Senator Atkins: Welcome, general and colonel. We appreciate you appearing before us. Thank you for your presentations. While you have covered a lot of ground, in some of the questioning you may be covering a little of it again.

My first question relates to the budget. Do you have enough to do all that you have been asked to do in the Quebec area?

BGen. Côté: We certainly would require a top-up in terms of supporting our infrastructure, and we also need more resources devoted to training. Our training infrastructure, such as the ranges, is very old and does not really meet requirements for operational deployments.

We are in the process of actually mapping out all the requirements. We have been identifying the requirements for the past two years and have already started building a small village that was badly needed for training our troops. This is being done as we speak, but we also need to invest more in simulation.

I mentioned we had a very limited number of combat vehicles. Certainly I would like to have more. However, when you have more vehicles, you have also more maintenance costs, more operational costs as well. You need to strike the right balance between the requirement to train the individuals and the operational capability.

The solution that we propose to the army is to invest more in simulation and mock-ups. Training gunners in the turret of a vehicle basically means you take the entire vehicle onto a training ground or inside a training establishment. You might have the turret mounted on some sort of basket, and you can certainly train with it, and train more personnel, actually. Part of the problem with training on the entire vehicle, per se, is that the space inside the turret is so restricted that you can only train one-on-one — one instructor overseeing the action of the gunner. That is not very cost effective, especially if you lack leaders and instructors.

We have already made that proposal to the army. It has been accepted. Now it just requires to be funded in order to be built. That is part of the solution we proposed. We certainly can see that it will alleviate somewhat the problem of maintaining skills. Part of the problem we have with all of the high-tech equipment is that skill failure we have identified.

We need to work on that feverishly to ensure that they remain at a steady level prior to going on to high readiness training.

The Chairman: Your answer was so comprehensive this will probably be a multi-part supplementary.

When we reviewed the environmental impact, it was short many tens of millions of dollars. When we take a look at the budget, we see the shortfall for the three environments coming in at about $750 million, and then for the CF at about $1.2 billion; then we see the clawback coming, and we see the budget providing you with $500 million. We really wonder whether the share that will come to you will do the trick. Can you comment on that? Do you have any reason to believe that you will not be worse off this fiscal year in terms of resources than you were the year before?

BGen. Côté: This year, as far as I know, we are on an even keel; and in some regards we see some improvements. I can certainly talk, for example, about the welfare programs for our soldiers. We have a series of programs, one of which is a return to work program, and all of those were initiatives that we had to undertake in order to alleviate somewhat the perstempo issue, and it is certainly reaping dividends. We have fewer people on medical leave, but we had initially to pay for those.

Because of the circumstances and the increasing budget for this year, the program will be funded. This is certainly a welcome addition to our budget.

The Chairman: We do not understand the increase in budget, general. It seems to us there is a decrease in budget. That is why I put the question that way.

BGen. Côté: There are also the major ticket items that we spoke about, the infrastructure and the training. They are still very much underfunded as we speak.

The Chairman: The question that troubles us is if you had the funds, could you fix them now?

BGen. Côté: We have asked ourselves that question, and we need to reinvest in certain portions of our structure in terms of the personnel.

For example, the construction engineering section is short of personnel, and they would not be able — if I was given, for example, many millions tomorrow morning — to absorb that sum. It would require that I hire more personnel in order to process all of the projects. We are actually increasing the personnel in the construction engineering section to have a better capability to undertake all those infrastructure programs.

The Chairman: You could not go to a firm and say ``We need this fixed; you people give us a price and fix it''?

BGen. Côté: We do that, but we also have to define our requirements.

The Chairman: And you do not have enough people to define your requirements?

[Translation]

Col. Rousseau: The problem is that, for several years, very little was spent on infrastructure. Not only was very little spent, but people managing infrastructure were reassigned elsewhere. Even if tomorrow morning, I received significant funds for infrastructure, I would not have the human resources needed to manage the project or even to find out exactly what our needs are. I have a plan to get over the hump, but I could not absorb the $200 million I need for infrastructure of the course of one year.

If we are referring strictly to infrastructure, I have an accumulated deficit of approximately $200 million. I said earlier that I spent approximately $77 million on infrastructure, but after taxes, heating and electricity bills, I have approximately $20 million left for maintenance. I need to spend some $40 million per year to get 2 per cent of its worth. We have had a 10 to $15 million deficit annually over the last 10 years, which amounts to $200 million in total.

But I cannot solve the problem overnight. I would have to deal with it over four or five years, because this year I have to hire people to help me spend the money. Does that answer your question?

[English]

The Chairman: It helps. General, you have commented on simulators, for example. They look pretty nifty to us. We get the impression, however, that although they cut down on the training time a little, they are no substitute for the real McCoy if you want your troops to be effective. It is useful in terms of being able to compress some parts of the training, but you are not suggesting that is a substitute for having the vehicles?

BGen. Côté: Absolutely not. The focus is really on the individual training portion. The skill fade is at that level. Unfortunately, we noticed, for example, when we were getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan, our expectation that our troops were at that level prior to going to collective training was certainly not met, simply because they were not familiar enough with the equipment, and it causes problems during collective training. You are wasting time. If they are not familiar with all the communication suites, for example, you will lose communication. This is also what you can expect in wartime or in a war zone, and you have to get around that problem.

In terms of developing and maintaining the skills, we need those simulators to make sure that the individuals are comfortable and confident that they have honed their skills to the maximum.

Of course, when I mentioned that right now we were getting a task force ready for deployment, it means that all the resources we have for real go toward that particular unit. You still have to maintain the skills in the other units.

The Chairman: We understand that. That leads me to my last point. Stepping out of your job for a moment and just sitting in another seat, from a military point of view, what is the ideal complement of vehicles for the Armed Forces, if you did not have an accountant counting the beans every day?

[Translation]

BGen. Côté: If you speak to those who are in the units, they would prefer to have a complete set of equipment like in the past. In the past, the mechanized infantry battalion group, for instance, was composed of three complete companies with lightly armoured vehicles. Now, two of these companies have lightly armoured vehicles, and the third is on foot. The third carries very light equipment.

Obviously, if we constantly have to coordinate and allocate resources to the up-and-coming unit, it is a problem. We are unable in that case to maintain expertise in the form of drivers, machine gunners and maintenance personnel. Everything is interconnected. The more vehicles you have, the more support you need, and the more support you need, the more you have to strike a balance between the two. It is a capability issue. We cannot look at it in a vacuum and say we are going to buy more vehicles, because that creates a problem in terms of the ONM and support staff budget. What we have to do is focus on maintaining our individual skills, at least on a short-term basis, to ensure we maintain a very high level of individual operation capabilities.

[English]

The Chairman: If I understand you correctly, general, you are saying that the cost of additional vehicles grows exponentially. It is not just the vehicle; it is all the other things that go with it. We were in the U.K. and were talking to a colonel there who described the situation that you are living with here. He was describing that, of course, as the ideal way to organize an army. You have the best equipment with the troops in the field. The troops that are just about to go have a full suite of equipment, and then you do not really need equipment for the others.

Frankly, the committee thought that he was selling us a bill of goods. We thought he was justifying a budget situation that he would not choose on his own. If I understood your testimony correctly, you would not go that way either if you were funded in a more robust fashion.

BGen. Côté: It has to do with capacity. Even if we were given the full suite of vehicles, the way things are shaping up right now with regard to the management of the system is that for the unit that finds itself in the reconstitution phase, most of the leaders and all of those who are to be promoted will go on individual courses.

You basically strip that unit of a good chunk of its personnel who were supposed to conduct those courses. The reality of the system management has yet to sink in within the army. This is the first year we will prove the concept, and we will certainly ensure that we are able to keep up all the skills that are needed for the operational requirement.

The Chairman: This is what I was driving at, that the army has been pushed into the management readiness system in order to save funds. You are feeling the collateral costs of having a managed system, but they are very hard to calculate because they show up not in terms of dollars and cents necessarily, but in terms of competence and capability. Therefore, we do not see it on the ledger, but we know that it is happening and we know that it has costs in terms of how capable our men and women are when they actually do get into the field. Have I got it right?

BGen. Côté: You have it right, yes.

It has to be approached from a system analysis point of view. We cannot just solely focus on the vehicles per se. Vehicles would be nice to have, but once again, you need the personnel, the instructor and the maintenance people. You also need to devote more money to ammunition, because we get insufficient ammunition with regard to training the people in the turret of the LAV III, or the Coyote, for that matter.

The Chairman: Management readiness is not a doctrine that someone in a green uniform came up with. It is a response that someone in a green uniform came up with when they got the message from the Department of Finance that they would not get the money they needed to do the job.

BGen. Côté: The way we understand it, management readiness is meant to make what we can offer to the Government of Canada in terms of capability to deploy abroad more predictable. You have those two task forces, and the commitment by the army is to have them deployed indefinitely. It is not the same, but we can provide two task forces that can be deployed in different theatres. This is something we are struggling with right now simply because we have to adjust to what it means at the tactical and unit level.

[Translation]

Senator Meighen: We have heard a great deal about budgets, funding. I understand there is not enough funding, but within your budgets, are there expenditures which strictly speaking, do not fall within your purview, and should be, for instance, taken over by other federal government departments?

I am thinking, for instance, of the Citadel in Quebec; does its maintenance come under your budget? Does the Citadel actually serve as a garrison for the troops, or can you move the troops to ValCartier without losing anything? Are expenses for the Citadel not really related to troop training or to your mission?

BGen. Côté: The Citadel is a garrison for the second battalion. Currently, maintenance costs are shared by different departments, Canadian Heritage and National Defence. Cost sharing is already in place. More globally, province- wide, there are locally shared support services with other departments. We can, for instance, offer our shooting ranges to other federal agencies for firearm training. This is already being done, and if at all possible, we try to benefit from what other departments have to offer. We must say that we do have more resources, responsibilities and a diversity of means than many other departments.

To add to what you just said, Colonel Rousseau costs me $120 million per year out of 200. Half of that $120 million is of no help to my first mission which is to prepare troops for missions intimately linked to the army. For example, we support the units of the assistant deputy minister responsible for materiel, the 202nd workshop depot, and the 25th supply depot. All those units currently support all our missions deployed throughout the world. It is absolutely critical that they be adequately supported. We support the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School, which is responsible for training all Canadian Forces recruits. That is a critical element that is not part of my main mission.

[English]

Senator Atkins: I am going to move off funding to a couple of other areas.

General, could you tell me what the short-term impact of the new defence policy on the Land Forces Quebec Area would be?

BGen. Côté: Well, actually, there is a positive impact. Everyone is waiting with bated breath to see the first sign of it. It has to do with increased personnel. It will be a welcome addition in most of the units to pick up the slack. Once again, we do have the training. We do have the responsibility to train ourselves within the area, in many instances, and on many courses as well, so that addition of personnel will be most welcome.

The Chairman: That is two years away, is not it, sir?

BGen. Côté: I believe the plan has yet to be spelled out in great detail, but we are talking about a very modest increase starting this year in what we call the stress trades. It is the same thing for next year, and those stress trades are really an operational requirement. They are deploying on every operation. We need to pay closer attention to those trades. The other aspect of that increase is that we also have to build up the number of leaders and train them so they can become instructors when we have a major increase in personnel.

Likewise, for war games, there is the possibility of having a major input of recruits right in Valcartier, for example, who would be trained there. We realized that we had a few choking points — accommodation is one. I could not accommodate more recruits. We basically have to make sure we regularize the flow of recruits so that we do not go over our capabilities.

The Chairman: Just on that, though, when you mentioned the stress trades in your response to Senator Atkins, if they are at the front of the line, they will not be useful to you for a long time after that.

BGen. Côté: I believe we went through reverse engineering on the stress trades because they take a lot of time to train and be able to deploy, whereas certain trades take less than a year to train. The stress trade I can think of that has the longest training is the fire control system technician. It takes over two years to train them. That is constant training, with no slack time between different phases. Definitely this is a major undertaking, but this is also the reality for the army in moving into a high-tech world.

Senator Atkins: General, you sound optimistic about the 5,000 regulars and 3,000 reserves. That is across the board. What percentage would you see coming to you as the general in charge of the Quebec land force area?

BGen. Côté: For the reserve, I would say probably no less than 25 per cent should come to the Quebec sector, and for the regular force, I would say anywhere from 700 to 1,000 more people coming to fill the ranks.

Senator Atkins: You have an attrition factor.

BGen. Côté: Actually, we do have a unique problem. We have the highest retention rate within the army. Although it may sound like a rosy picture, the downside of good retention is that your personnel are aging. My problem right now within the area is that we have lots of people who are close to possible retirement age, should they elect to do so. This is something we are monitoring closely.

Senator Atkins: Assuming you get the 1,000 and you have a replacement demand, what would the percentage replacement be on an annual basis?

BGen. Côté: The historical attrition rate within the area is about 6 per cent, compared to the average in the Canadian Forces of about 10 per cent.

We are a little better off than the rest of the country, but once again it has a downside — the aging problem.

Senator Atkins: That is a pretty good rate. Could you comment on the number of people who are applying for military activity?

BGen. Côté: Are you talking about the recruiting?

Senator Atkins: Yes.

BGen. Côté: Recruitment is pretty good. We still have a few choking points with regard to the process, and certainly we have indicated that those should be ironed out before we actually launch ourselves into a major augmentation of the Canadian Forces. We figure right now we would be able to meet the recruitment targets, should they reach that objective of 700 to 1,000 for the area. There should not be any problem.

Senator Atkins: What is the incentive that new recruits see as a reason for joining the Canadian Forces?

BGen. Côté: You are asking me now to read their minds, which is not easy. This is certainly a challenge, because we have to be portrayed as an employer of choice. We are looking at the same cohort of young people as the other employers, and we have to be extremely competitive. We have to make sure that they get a good job, a good career prospect. They get also the opportunity of raising a family within the military, which is a challenge in itself.

Senator Atkins: Are you competing with other institutions, like the RCMP or the Quebec Provincial Police?

BGen. Côté: I believe to a degree, yes. We are losing a good number of our personnel to the police forces because they are well trained and disciplined. Sometimes they also get their training at a local institution, like the police academy in Nicolette or the CEGEPs. We are losing a good chunk, yes, but not at an alarming rate at this stage.

Senator Atkins: Are you optimistic that you can fill the need for your command?

BGen. Côté: We were given an extra 200 positions to recruit for the reserve. That particular recruiting objective was given to us very late in the fiscal year, and we managed to recruit that number of people without much difficulty.

Senator Atkins: Can you provide the committee with some of the lessons learned from the previous missions in Afghanistan?

BGen. Côté: There are lots of lessons learned. Certainly there is the realization that the high-tech army is a challenge in itself, and the need to train very much in the individual skills needed for the various pieces of equipment came home early in the training phase.

The second thing we have noticed is our new capabilities, like CIMIC, PSYOPS and Int, are certainly a fundamental part of the theatre in which we are operating. We also need to revise our training in order to impart more responsibility to the lower ranks. You have heard the expression ``strategic corporal.'' It proved to be true in Kabul. They need to have a thorough understanding of the mission and of their impact on the population. They have to know the population as well, and certainly this is something that we are now trying to impress on all of the recruits that we train in sector Quebec, among other things.

Senator Atkins: Are you doing this concept at 3 block?

BGen. Côté: This is certainly something we are actively working on, but it is not something that you can get out of a textbook. You have to train the mindset, because you have to develop the mental agility to be able to assess a situation in a snap and take the proper action. We have lots of examples of that by watching what is happening in Iraq, for example, where junior leaders are really put to the test.

We are trying to replicate some of those scenarios, and we did so prior to deploying to Kabul.

Senator Atkins: You are continually amending the training manual?

BGen. Côté: Certainly it has changed very much since the end of the Cold War — right now, the lifespan of our doctrine is very short. We have to keep upgrading and updating it almost on the move, if I can use that expression.

The Chairman: We did not get the impression when we were in Kabul two weeks ago that that lesson had been learned. The troops going out were buttoned up, helmets on. They were moving around in what appeared to be a friendly populace. They were travelling in a very aggressive way.

I would contrast that with the RCMP officer who was there working for ISAF, who said he was sent with directions to wear a helmet and flak jacket. He went to his first meeting and everyone else said, ``Come in a golf shirt and baseball cap.'' He was too embarrassed to go a second time in his helmet and flak jacket, so he had been going to the ISAF meetings dressed like everyone else.

We had the impression in Kabul that the interaction with the locals was very limited, almost nonexistent.

You do not communicate very well from the top of a LAV when pointing a machine gun at people.

BGen. Côté: I can assure you that in the preparation training we did with 5 Brigade, we made sure they understood they had to make contact with the local population. Otherwise, you run the risk of being perceived as an army of occupation.

I cannot comment on that specific example you provided, because it also depends on the danger level applicable for that particular day.

We know, for example, when we are in theatre that there are days when we have to ensure that we are less vulnerable to suicide attacks or whatever. I cannot comment specifically on what you just said, but I can certainly assure you that within the army and within sector Quebec, we impress upon all the soldiers and all of those who will deploy that they need to make contact with the population.

I believe this is also what Gen. Hillier has said with regards to the PRT he intends to deploy in Canada. They will stay much closer to the population rather than being in a contained camp.

The Chairman: It is a very difficult area in which to tread for a politician. When a soldier says ``Get in the boat, we will travel this way,'' you get in the boat and you travel that way. It also does not behove us to tell people to take off their helmets and their vests. It is pretty safe here in Montreal, but they are living over there.

Having said that, we looked around at some other forces, and I gave you the RCMP as an example. They were not buttoned up. You could extend it to how the air force flew into Kabul. We arrived in a very exciting way. I was standing up in the bubble in the front of the Hercules and it was more fun than Disneyland.

However, we are the only people doing that, general. Everyone else going in with the same equipment is flying as though they are landing at Trudeau Airport. What does that tell you?

BGen. Côté: Unfortunately, I cannot comment on the pilots, to be honest with you, although I was an air cadet many years ago.

The Chairman: Fair enough. What I am saying is that a politician will never tell a soldier, ``Take off your helmet.'' If, in the judgment of the commander, they need to wear helmets that day, then they should absolutely wear helmets. What we can do is look around and wonder why are our people doing it and other people are not. Is it because you are getting directions from Ottawa, or is it because the commander has decided that it is not a good day? We would feel very differently if the commander said, ``I have reasons for wanting my people to be buttoned up.'' We would also assume that the intelligence would be shared with everyone, and everyone would be buttoned up that day.

BGen. Côté: When we were in Kabul, there were days when we received a threat specifically targeting one contingent or one geographical area. It then behoves the local commander to take the appropriate action. They are always responsible for the security of their personnel.

The Chairman: That is a good answer. Thank you.

Senator Banks: Colonel, you said that the 5 ASG services 31,000 people and you explained that about half of those are not in the army. Who are they?

[Translation]

Col. Rousseau: Out of the 31,000, the number is very high because it includes cadets and all other people who come to us throughout the year. In terms of the people I support on a daily basis, those who are not part of the army, they would be working for the assistant deputy minister responsible for materiel, for example, the 202nd workshop depot, the 25th supply depot, and they would also be people working for the assistant deputy minister for military human resources, that is to say those working for the recruitment centres, the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School, and the Language School.

There are several organizations around Montreal for strategic reasons, near the port of Montreal, given that we are deployed there. I support those organizations.

[English]

Senator Banks: Do most of them, or all of them, have something to do with the military? You said something about ADM. Is it so closely aligned between the government function per se on the one hand, and the military command function on the other, that you are paying for what would ordinarily be called a government function? You mentioned ADM personnel services, for example.

[Translation]

Col. Rousseau: All the people I am talking about are for the vast majority part of the military, or defence. However, in the chain of command as it stands, there are units that report through NDHQ to assistant deputy ministers rather than to the army, aviation, or the navy. For example, the Leadership and Recruit School ultimately reports to the assistant deputy minister for military human resources, that is Admiral Jarvis, who is a member of the military but his title is assistant deputy minister.

The same applies to the assistant deputy minister responsible for materiel, which is a civilian position. That person is responsible for the workshop depots where, among other things, changes are agreed on with the industry for strategic vehicles. Those people do not report through the chain of military command to the army, aviation, or navy, but rather to the assistant deputy minister responsible for materials. These are the people I support; they are members of the military or a military organization, if you will.

[English]

Senator Banks: But there are 31,000 altogether?

[Translation]

Col. Rousseau: Out of the 31,000, it includes the movement of cadets, cadets coming to us for uniforms or cadets I am moving in my buses. Therefore, half are cadets, i.e. 15,000 cadets. If we are talking strictly about the military population, then that includes approximately 16,000 people.

[English]

Senator Banks: That makes it clear. The general has noted that he had, I think, 194 civilians working in the mechanized brigade group. I was trying to find out where the other 14,000 were.

General, I will plough some old ground. It has been asked about twice today, but I will do it again. I am sorry to do this, chair, but I want to make sure I understand the situation when we leave here.

We have spoken with officers in pretty well every military base across the country and have heard the same story. We spoke this week with Gen. Hillier. I have become quite cynical about this concept. The chair referred to this before. What does this derive from? I have become convinced, and I hope you will convince me otherwise, that you would not find a concept like what managed readiness is beginning to sound like to me in a military textbook. I do not think at St. Jean-sur-Richelieu or at West Point you would find something that looks like managed readiness. I have become convinced, and I hope you will change my mind, that that is a euphemism for making do and rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, if you like, with resources that are fewer than they ought to be.

I will give you an example. You explained a few minutes ago that two out of three of what are supposed to be light armoured infantry equipped units have the proper equipment, and the third one does not. They are walking around, and they are supposed to be a mechanized infantry, I think. You said that is because those vehicles have been sent to Alberta.

My look at that says this is just plain old short. It is just short. We are asking people to do a job without sufficiently equipping them with what they need in order to do it. We are asking them to make up names, like ``managed readiness,'' and to say that things will be predictably deployable.

It is not as though the need for military action comes along in nice, neat, predictable increments, so that we can say, ``Here is exactly what we will have to be doing six months from now.'' There might be an earthquake, an ice storm, or someone might start shooting at us. You cannot predict those things.

Have I got this wrong? Is my cynicism ill-placed? Am I seeing a bogeyman under the bed that is not there, and this is all okay?

BGen. Côté: I have seen the slippers of that man, sir.

Senator Banks: Exactly.

[Translation]

BGen. Côté: I think that is it. We have certainly had a resource problem. The transformation of the army is funded by the maintenance operations budget and not as a national project with adequate funding. To use a cliché, you could say that we have to cannibalize the so-called institutional army in order to be able to employ or prepare operational troops for deployment.

[English]

Senator Banks: I am sorry to interrupt, but that leaves something hollow over here, does not it? There should be something full over here to do that, and it is left hollow, is not it?

[Translation]

BGen. Côté: The problem that we currently face is that of defining which combat capabilities we want to keep. Our brigades' structure is still based on the structure that we had before 1989. In the old Defence white paper, we were asked to be ready to deploy the Main Contingency Force out of our extended reinforced brigade, which included approximately 12,000 people.

The concept of the brigade and the ability to deploy a brigade with all the structured elements we have in a brigade does not exist. The major change in terms of the philosophy of the army, is that we have changed from a structure which was one involving the use of force — that is if there is a war in the Fulda Plain in Germany, we would deploy a brigade, and this brigade would make up a Canadian division, in addition to the 4th brigade, which is in Germany. That was the concept of use of force, and that is how we trained.

At the moment, the entire existing structure is said to be used for generating force, precisely so as to supply what we call the two ``conveyor belts'', which will provide the Canadian government with two operational forces for deployment at any time and indefinitely. That is an important change.

The structure of these operational forces is also based on the ability to generate force. There is an element of national command, an engineering squadron, two infantry companies, one on foot and one an armoured reconnaissance squadron, plus a national support element. As long as we have not tried to ensure that the enemy cooperates with our plans, we are not really able to adjust our structures on the basis of the specific missions we will be conducting. That is a problem that affects all modern armies at the moment. There are two ways of viewing the option of having managed operational availability. The lack of resources has certainly meant that we speeded up the process, but we also have to look at what we have done over the last 10 years.

Some years we had up to 4,200 people deployed at all times outside the country. It was completely impossible to sustain that. The Army Council discusses how to ensure a sustainable operational tempo. That means that we are able to generate force in order to support the operational tempo. The three-year cycle may not be taught at college, but it is definitely applied within the British Forces and the American Armed Forces. This is becoming increasingly widespread, because everyone is facing the same problems: fatigue caused by an ever-increasing number of missions.

We have some extremely brilliant non-commissioned officers and officers in our ranks. We spoke with a sergeant who had carried out seven missions in 12 years of service. Each mission lasted about six months and required three to four months of training away from this person's home, not to mention the career courses he was supposed to be taking. Over 12 years, this amounts to about seven years in training, away from home.

We thought that the sergeant in question would remain with the battalion, but he asked to be transferred to a place where he would not be deployed, precisely to take a break.

Managing operational availability is supposed to correct this problem. The intention is to give soldiers an opportunity to look after all their business once they have been told that the mission will deploy in two years.

[English]

Senator Banks: I can take an assurance that the reason for the new regime, new constitution of the force, is driven by practical necessity as opposed to dollar shortcomings?

BGen. Côté: It is a mixture of both, actually. Certainly I would like to have a full suite of equipment, but once again, if I do not have the people to maintain it, train on it and eventually operate the vehicles and equipment, I am no better off.

Senator Banks: What you need is enough money to acquire a full suite of equipment and to support it, supply it, maintain it and staff it.

The Chairman: Senator Banks, if I may, we are also talking about having two groups of 750 overseas sustained on a permanent basis as opposed to two groups of 2,000 overseas.

BGen. Côté: Yes. You are talking about the size of the task force?

The Chairman: I am talking about the product at the end of the day, how much force can we actually project and sustain, and we are talking about projecting and sustaining 1,500 as opposed to 4,000, which makes a lot of sense to us, if you can get politicians to agree to not come up with new missions every six months.

BGen. Côté: Totally right, sir.

[Translation]

Senator Meighen: Could you talk about the challenges related to the quality of life in the garrisons in Quebec? Is the accommodation acceptable? Are there problems with access to various medical services and schools? Are these services available in both official languages?

BGen. Côté: I will answer the question in part. We have noticed that the longer a unit does not have an operation focus for training, the less cohesion there is within the group. When people feel they no longer belong to the group, we start having problems. That is a trend we have noticed and that we are trying to reverse by ensuring that we have the number of leaders required according to the ``minimal leadership standard''. We ensure that the leaders are present and that they are not called to perform duties left and right. Group solidarity is extremely important.

In the past, people facing physical or psychological problems were put on the sidelines. They were turned over to a waiting list medical system, which prevented them from continuing their training. Today, in our return to work program, the first step is to make sure that these people are not isolated, and do not feel rejected.

Belonging to the group is crucial. We have learned that lesson here and on other military bases as well. We cannot deal with a person as a medical case. We have to integrate the person into the group as quickly as possible.

By doing this, we preserve our investment - namely the person's experience, the training he or she received. We have set up some 17 programs for our staff.

And we have to simplify the issues and the philosophy in this regard. Often, we recruit the soldier, but we enlist the family. If we do not deal with the family as much as we deal with the soldier at the time of recruitment, we run the risk that there may be pressure from the family on the soldier to leave the forces.

Col. Rousseau: For 10 years now, there have been some spectacular advances made with respect to the quality of life of soldiers. You put your finger on the most difficult aspect, and that has to do with everything regarding the family.

In Quebec, this is less critical than elsewhere, because the francophone population does not move around throughout the country. Families in Quebec are more stable, because soldiers stay in the same place longer. Elsewhere in the country, however, families are uprooted when soldiers are deployed.

I spoke about the significant progress made nationally. In Quebec, we have been innovative as well in this regard. Some organizations were established using the operating funds, and they play a rear-guard role.

For example, a deployment support group acts as an intermediary between family members, who get information about the mission, and soldiers on missions, who find out what is going on in their families.

It is important to provide assistance to spouses who remain behind. For example, if a spouse has trouble getting out one morning because of a heavy snowfall, the deployment support group could find someone to clear the snow or simply help the person clear the snow.

There is also the return-to-work plan. Soldiers with physical or psychological problems need an organized return-to- work plan, otherwise, the idea of going back to work becomes overwhelming for them. That is why we set up a return- to-work plan last year. It is proving increasingly effective.

There are also military career transition centres where military counsellors help people who want to determine where they are at. These centres are available both in our department and in the Department of Veterans Affairs. Soldiers have access to the resources they need to make the right decisions about the possibility of returning to school. All these services have been made available in one place, and that is not something that is necessarily done elsewhere.

It can be said that significant progress has been made in this regard. However, we still have to deal with the upheaval of families. For example, if a spouse moves with the family because the other spouse is in the forces and is looking for another job, that person should get employment insurance.

If a member of the forces gets $1,000 more because of a promotion, but loses $30,000 because their spouse cannot move, this causes problems retaining young soldiers or young leaders, because their promotion does not make up for the cost involved in moving the family.

Senator Meighen: Are you talking about moves within Quebec or throughout the country? Did you talk about language problems?

Col. Rousseau: The problem in Quebec is mainly one of family services. In most families, both parents are working and this problem can affect francophones who move outside Quebec or anglophones who move to Quebec. In many cases, family services are unavailable.

We have made arrangements with some municipalities that realize the impact that the armed forces have locally and help us. For example, the Municipality of Saint-Jean, where there are a good number of anglophones, and the Leadership and Recruit School are conscious of the need to offer courses in both official languages.

People outside Quebec work in English because they teach in English, but their families have to deal with the challenge of needing to know both languages. Working with the municipality, we have identified all the businesses and organizations that can offer service in English. They are listed in the information provided to families to help them adapt after their arrival.

Another example is the family housing provided in Saint-Hubert. There are more units than one would generally find in an urban centre, because there are many families that come from outside the area. The housing is for anglophone members of the forces who come to Quebec as instructors at the Recruit School. They do not necessarily intend to settle in Saint-Hubert, but they want a community where there are anglophones. They often rent family housing.

We have kept a lot more family housing than would be available in Toronto, where the needs are not necessarily the same. Yes, there is still much work to be done, but this is acknowledged as a key point to focus on, and we are doing that.

Senator Meighen: A great deal of emphasis has been placed on the shortage of instructors. We know that the Canadian Armed Forces have been trying to promote bilingualism for a number of years. If I read between the lines, is the message that there are very few anglophone instructors who can work in both official languages and that only francophones are able to give courses to francophones?

Col. Rousseau: The problem in Saint-Jean seems to be the opposite. It is relatively easy to find francophone instructors to go to Saint-Jean, since their families will be in a francophone environment, but instructors from outside are apprehensive, not because they will find it hard to work in this environment, but because their families will have to live in a francophone milieu. A lot of progress has been made in the armed forces with respect to bilingualism, but we need to ensure that bilingualism is imposed on the members and not necessarily on their families.

Senator Meighen: That may be something that we still need to address. On page 7 of your presentation, General Côté, I do not know whether you are asking us to look at a problem that has existed for a long time or if you see the new initiatives as a challenge, if not a danger, for francophones. Are you saying that there should be specific and special measures taken to address this, or are you just giving an opinion?

BGen. Côté: It is essentially an opinion. The distinct situation in Quebec needs to be taken into account in integration. For domestic operations, it is important to remember that Quebec has its own police force, which is different from a number of other provinces where the RCMP, for example, is contracted by the province to provide police services. That is not the case here.

They have their own legislation, the Police Act, which is different as well. So these small differences always have to be understood so that all the specific details are clear if we are called on for support by provincial authorities.

Senator Meighen: You say that we must be careful and take into account Quebec's distinctness. I agree, of course, but do you see anything new here?

BGen. Côté: We were hearing about sectoral headquarters at one point, the idea being that there would be integrated headquarters. I do not really see Quebec being integrated with Ontario as one geographic area for command and control. That is something that many people in the sector are still worried about. They want a command authority that will understand all the ins and outs of things in Quebec.

Senator Meighen: We have been hearing the same thing across the country, and you have just confirmed that this has always been the case in Quebec. Transferring someone from the militia to the reserves or the regular forces, and vice versa, seems to be a more complicated problem to resolve than the Palestinian problem. From the evidence that we have heard, it seems that it takes at least six months to move a file.

What goes on is quite incredible. Is it true — I may be exaggerating a little bit for discussion purposes — and what can we do to fix this?

BGen. Côté: Something that is very difficult right now and takes a great deal of time is a transfer from one component to another: a reservist that wants to transfer into the regular force, or vice versa. When a member of the regular forces wants to serve in the reserves, the process is very long and painful. There are issues of equivalency and skills that have to be analyzed. We need to find a faster way to do this. One of the things that the army is looking at is one-stop recruitment. That way, once you are recruited, you are eligible for both components, which would avoid these administrative problems that are such a hassle for the individuals caught up in them.

In addition, we certainly want to speed up the establishment of one-stop recruitment for both components, especially since recruitment is expected to increase. Increasing our strength will obviously be seen as an extremely attractive solution for speeding up or facilitating transfers from one component to the other. It is mutually beneficial for both components. Making all that easier is really worth focusing on.

Regarding recruitment off the street, up to the point that these people are in uniform, the main problem is that when potential recruits indicate that they have a medical or other problem, it still takes a very long time to deal with that and get confirmation that they can be recruited.

Senator Meighen: Is conditional acceptance a partial solution?

BGen. Côté: That is already in place. We have been trying it since April 1st of last year and it is working relatively well, but as in any large system the changes take time. Individuals who do not really understand the objective behind this initiative and why it is being done can slow down service throughout the sector and even throughout the armed forces. A lot of education needs to be done and many changes made. A lot of systems have to be computerized, since just filling out the forms takes nearly a day of work in itself.

[English]

The Chairman: Thank you very much, Gen. Côté and Col. Rousseau, for your presentations today and your assistance to the committee. It has been very valuable to us in getting a better understanding of the challenges you face here. We are grateful to you for taking the time.

Colleagues, we have appearing before us Col. Yvan Blondin, CD Wing Commander of 3 Wing Bagotville. He began his military career in 1982 as a squadron pilot flying T-33s out of Shearwater, Nova Scotia. Through his career he has held a number of commands, including Commanding Officer of 425 Tactical Fighter Squadron in Bagotville, Quebec. He was deployed to Aviano, Italy, from October 2000 to January 2001 to command the Canadian Fighter Operational Detachment in support of the NATO operations in the former Yugoslavia.

Upon his return to Canada, he led his squadron's operations through Operation NOBLE EAGLE following the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

In July 2002 he was assigned to NORAD headquarters in Colorado, and in April 2003 he was assigned to lead the development of the newly formed Canada/U.S. Bi-national Planning Group, as well as acting as Chief of Staff for the Canadian contingent assigned to NORAD.

He was named Commander, 3 Wing Bagotville, in August 2004.

Col. Blondin, welcome to the committee. We understand you have a short statement.

[Translation]

Colonel Yvan Blondin, Wing Commander, 3 Wing Bagotville, National Defence: Mr. Chairman, I will give my presentation in French, but I will be pleased to answer your questions in English or French. I want to thank you for your interest in 3 Wing Bagotville.

The primary mission of 3 Wing Bagotville is to develop combat-ready aviation forces to support the defence of Canada, NORAD, NATO and international operations. More specifically, we provide the headquarters of the Canadian region of NORAD with CF-18s for air surveillance over all of Canada and Canadian waters, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Our partnership within NORAD enables us to carry out our primary mission by giving us access to shared resources. We are able to create and deploy a CF-18 force with the necessary logistics support for operations to support NATO, as well as other international operations, as directed by the Government of Canada.

Another part of our mandate is to provide certain rescue services as part of our primary mission during daily training flights and to support provincial and national search and rescue activities. Given our wing's strength and our location in the region, it also provides a ground search and rescue team and an explosives disposal team. Finally, we provide logistical and administrative support to a number of small reserves and cadet units, such as those in Jonquière and Sept-Îles. We also provide logistical support for forward operations location in Iqaluit.

Three Wing is composed of two CF-18 squadrons (433 and 425 Squadrons); a Griffon helicopter search and rescue squadron (439 Squadron); a CF-18 maintenance squadron; a tactical radar control squadron; three support divisions (operations, logistic and administration); and an air reserve unit.

Three Wing has 1,426 authorized positions, of which 1,404 are filled by 1,122 members of the regular forces, 123 reservists and 159 civilians. Three Wing has an annual budget of about $34 million .

Turning now to operational issues, despite the significant increase in activities since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, 3 Wing has continue to play its role with NORAD. We are able to operate from bases such as Greenwood, Trenton, Goose Bay and Iqaluit. We regularly put these capabilities into practice. Because of logistical and personnel issues, 3 Wing cannot indefinitely support operations deployed in those places. However, we are aware of that situation and are paying close attention to it.

Bagotville was recently tasked with merging the two fighter squadrons into one larger and more effective force. This single force will ensure greater flexibility and more effective use of resources in response to the new concept of the Air Expeditionary Force. By reorganizing its personnel to form a single unit, 3 Wing will be able to concentrate its efforts on training, deployment and recuperation of forces involved in national and international operations. The squadron will be composed of two units that can deploy up to six CF-18s each for a maximum of six months. The new squadron will be supported by a training flight in the operations division. That unit will continue development of the forces and welcome units returning from deployment. The squadron will also be able to respond more flexibly to national operational requirements when one of its units is deployed.

Three Wing has been proactive in organizing its logistical units in keeping with the air force support concept. Subunit personnel has already been deployed in a unified team under that initiative. This positive change ensures that our deployed personnel are well trained and that military members themselves and their families have the support they need. For example, 17 military members from our communications section were deployed recently. A decrease in communication services as a result of that deployment was offset by the positive effect of concerted efforts by the squadron to provide support for the deployed personnel.

Because of ongoing efforts to restore our fighter strength, the level of experience of our pilots is below average. The reorganization should give our new pilots time to acquire experience. The very recent on-line instruction concepts being implemented, as well as the advanced distributed combat training simulator should also be useful. Finally, modernization of our CF-18 fleet is bringing significant changes to the way our fighter aircrafts are used, which may well compensate for the force's lack of experience.

The average age of the squadron's technicians is about 40. That situation could have consequences in the short term for the state of readiness of the aircraft when those technicians retire. Three Wing takes a very proactive approach and is working to create a work environment aimed at retaining its competent technicians as long as possible. The CF-18 modernization has been a long time in coming, but its implementation means that there are fewer aircraft available right now. We do not yet know how long this situation will last. In the short term, however, flying hours will be below normal. The reorganization and new technical simulator training capabilities should reduce the effect of this short-term problem.

Finally, aging infrastructure is one of the challenges we are facing over the next 10 years. Our warning installations in Bagotville have not been used for five years. Before the events of 2001, they were even slated for demolition. They no longer meet long-term requirements and need to be replaced. Two World War II era hangers need major repair work, unless they are replaced with new structures. General headquarters is aware of the challenges we face and is currently assessing our needs. That concludes my brief overview of 3 Wing Bagotville and the main issues we are dealing with. I will now be pleased to answer your questions.

[English]

Senator Banks: Thank you very much for being here, colonel.

You just said that the infrastructure shortfall, which is, probably reasonably, characterized as ``deferred maintenance'' in the parlance, will be addressed in the next 10 years. What assurance do you have of that? Has someone said ``It is okay, we plan to fix this in the next 10 years,'' and if so, who said that?

Col. Blondin: I do not have any assurance that it will be so. It is in the plan that we submitted to headquarters. It is planned by 2006 to start working on the new facility and to have the hangars issue addressed within the next five years, or at least have a solution for the new hangars.

I am hopeful that solutions will come.

Senator Banks: It will be fixed as long as you get the money, is that correct?

Col. Blondin: Yes, sir.

Senator Banks: Well, I hope you do.

Col. Blondin: I hope so too, sir.

Senator Banks: I need to ask you to explain something to me that I do not understand. You will take two squadrons and make them into one squadron, but it will have two flights. Will it have the same number of airplanes as now?

Col. Blondin: Yes, senator. Instead of putting two units together and melding what they are doing, we are changing the concept. Squadrons have been static in Canada for the last 50 years. They were great during those years for operations in Canada — for force generation and for force employment like NORAD — but over the last 10 years we have gone to Iraq in 1991, to Bosnia in 1998 to 2001. We expect to deploy again, but we found in those deployments that the structure we had in the squadron was not necessarily the best one for the circumstances.

If I take as an example our deployment to Aviano, where we sent six-packs, a six-pack of F-18s required 12 pilots, about 90 ground crew and some support. We never had 12 qualified, ready pilots to send. It was usually seven or eight, because if a squadron had 16, 17 pilots, there were three or four who were not qualified yet, did not have enough experience, along with some who required some advance courses or just could not deploy.

You could end up with six, seven or eight pilots from a squadron and then have to take some pilots from the other squadron or from wing operations, and do the same thing with the maintenance team — add from other units on base.

We ended up building a new team and a different structure to go on operations. In my opinion, this is not the most efficient way of doing things. If you are planning to go to war, on a real operation, to start creating a new structure and building a new team was not the best way to do business.

Flexibility was achieved in amalgamating the two squadrons. We are building a unit that can support deployed operations. It is built around that concept, so the two flights are really what are required to operate two six-packs. I need 12 qualified pilots. One flight in that squadron, that new unit, is a six-pack; it has 12 qualified, ready pilots and the maintenance people to operate. It is built to operate as it would outside of the country.

We take an outside structure and we bring it inside the country, and this is the way we are planning to operate in the garrison. We double that, and that is your squadron — two six-pack units ready to deploy. If I need to send a six-pack, I send half of my squadron away. The other half of the squadron is built to operate on its own, so it can stay home and do NORAD operations, do what is required at home, and if I need to send a second six-pack, I send the second team.

The two squadrons had 34 pilots in total. The new squadron has only 24 pilots. It will have 24 combat-ready pilots ready to deploy. Ten squadrons are being moved into what we call flight readiness out of wing ops. It is not part of the squadron. It is a readiness flight. The new pilots coming in will be in that flight until they are ready to deploy, and then they can join the squadron. By removing or pushing aside the readiness function, any time I need to deploy or do an operation, I will not impact the readiness. I can ensure there is always some readiness to maintain my force.

By melding the two structures together, the two squadrons, all of a sudden I did not need two of this and two of that. I generated about 40 positions' worth of savings that I could reallocate somewhere else.

I am actually adding to my flight line production. I am adding more ground crew who will produce flying hours for me. I am expecting 5 per cent more flying hours this year with the new structure, and I expect in the second year I will be able to generate 10 per cent more hours.

Senator Banks: Are you not doing that as a matter of efficiency rather than a matter of the resources you would like to have? It sounds like the restructuring is being done because the pipeline of people you need to operate at the previous level is not there. Since the people are not there, you will have to downsize what you are able to send out. Instead of wanting to send out 12 planes, you will send out six, or six instead of 10.

It is an efficiency move, is not it?

Col. Blondin: You are right, senator. This way it will be more efficient, better structured; it will respond better to possible taskings, deployments, and be able to sustain normal operations at home.

Senator Banks: How many planes do you have at Bagotville now in the present two squadrons?

Col. Blondin: I have 30 airplanes.

Senator Banks: So that is 15 in each squadron.

Col. Blondin: Yes, sir.

Senator Banks: In an optimum world, would you have 60 pilots?

Col. Blondin: It depends; if you expected to do 24-hour operations in Canada, you would need two pilots per airplane.

Senator Banks: Is that what we should have, or is it that we just do not need that?

Col. Blondin: You would need to buy more airplanes to do that and maintain the number of hours required to train all the pilots.

The two-for-one pilots' measure is for operations. If you maintain this every day, you will burn your airplanes a lot quicker than in just maintaining the hours flying.

Senator Banks: If we get involved in a fight somewhere or a problem somewhere that requires F-18s to be sent, whereas at one time we would have been able to send a group of 10 or 12 planes, is it now the case that we will only be able to send six because that is all we can afford to maintain and crew? Is it a function of what we can afford to do?

Col. Blondin: It is all dependent on what is required, the length of time required and what tasks are left to do back home.

Right now with the force structure that we have — F-18s — we can support a six-pack indefinitely abroad and maintain NORAD operations back home.

If you wanted to send 12 airplanes abroad, you could maintain it for a couple of years, but not indefinitely, and there would be some repercussions on what is available back home for NORAD operations.

Senator Banks: I think I understand that. We heard elsewhere, and I am wondering if you agree, that generally, the use of CF-18s these days, and what we can now see as the new combat regime, is more likely to be air-to-ground work than air-to-air work. Is that fair? Is that about right?

Col. Blondin: Yes, sir. Most of their work, their missions, would be air-to-ground.

Senator Banks: In support of a ground operation.

Col. Blondin: Yes, sir. However, you always need to maintain an air-to-air capability. As an example, in Aviano, when we flew in during the conflict at Kosovo, which was a typical mission, when we started the bombing missions, the first few nights we had enemy airplanes in the air. If I was in the cockpit, I wanted to be able to defend myself. We had a Canadian mission with four airplanes that went as close as 30 miles to a Yugoslav MiG coming in to meet them. The MiG was shot down by an American airplane, but the Canadians were getting ready to engage.

Senator Banks: Is it fair to say that air-to-ground is a greater proportion now of the likely use of CF-18s than used to be the case?

Col. Blondin: Yes, sir.

Senator Banks: What about the preparedness of your pilots? Are they all air-to-ground fully operationally trained and ready to go?

Col. Blondin: Yes, senator. We realize this is our main bread and butter, and most of our missions are geared toward an air-to-ground capability.

Senator Banks: Good.

Are they combat ready in both air-to-ground and air-to-air?

Col. Blondin: Yes, sir. Air-to-air is more prevalent in NORAD operations — defensive operations outside the country — or NATO. We do both, and we are competent in both roles.

Senator Banks: Good. This has been of interest to us lately for a number of reasons that do not necessarily have to do with military things. You said you often take your people from Bagotville and fly them to Goose Bay, Gander and Greenwood. Why do you do that?

Col. Blondin: Not as often to Goose Bay as we did in the past — Gander, Greenwood and Trenton for NORAD operations. If we get an indication from NORAD there could be a problem with a commercial flight coming out of Europe, they may move us to Greenwood to intercept or they may move us to Trenton, and then we move the alert from Bagotville to those positions.

Senator Banks: Do you do that on a regular, predictable basis?

Col. Blondin: Yes, sir.

Senator Banks: Are they often exercises with other air forces, or with NORAD?

Col. Blondin: Yes. We deploy at least a couple of times in the United States during the year for regular exercises. Those exercises usually last for a couple of weeks. We do maybe three or four deployments with my two squadrons that last three or four days, and which involve a smaller group training with the Americans. We do that with other forces when we can. The French navy is in Halifax next week with their carrier, and we have an exercise scheduled with their air force over Nova Scotia for a couple of days.

Senator Banks: You said you do not go to Goose Bay as often as you once did. Is there a regular rotational deployment of some kind to Goose Bay?

Col. Blondin: There was until the 1991-92 period. These days we do not go there much.

Senator Banks: How much is much — once a year, twice a year?

Col. Blondin: The allies are not flying out of Goose Bay any more, but up until a couple of years ago, we used to go during the summer, two, three times a year, to train with them, fly with them.

Now the only time we would go is if NORAD felt we needed to deploy F-18s to Goose Bay to be closer to a threat.

Senator Banks: You mentioned that 17 of your communications people had been deployed, which leaves you short 17 people; but I noticed out of your entire complement, you are only 24 people short. That is pretty good. That must put you closer to full complement than anyone else.

Col. Blondin: Yes, sir. I am really happy about this. I feel in Bagotville sometimes that we are caught in a time warp. I have lots of people who are beyond their 20 years of service. They could take their retirement, but they are just happy to be in Bagotville. They love their job. As long as we do not change the way they are doing things or living and we do not talk to them about postings, they are happy; they have their Ski-Doos, they have all their toys. They have been there for 10, 12 years. Mom is working, dad has his job and they are happy.

Senator Banks: Bagotville is the right place to be.

Col. Blondin: They like their job; they like what they are doing on base. If nothing changes, I know I can keep them for a few years; I do not have a problem. My problem comes when there are problems in other bases; for example, Cold Lake is losing a lot of technicians. If I try to move some of my qualified F-18 technicians to Cold Lake, one out of two will be a release.

Senator Banks: Why is Cold Lake losing technicians? Is it because it is cold?

Senator Atkins: It is in Alberta.

Col. Blondin: This year they are losing a lot because of job availability in the oil industry.

Senator Banks: Trained electronic technicians.

Col. Blondin: I expect this may be my problem next year, when Bombardier opens up their new line and they need 2,500 qualified technicians.

Senator Banks: Where did your 17 communications technicians go?

Col. Blondin: They are in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Senator Banks: In effect, they are seconded to the army.

Col. Blondin: Yes, they are part of the support group there as telecom technicians. They provide support for the operations.

Senator Banks: Strategically, is Bagotville the right place for you to be located?

Col. Blondin: Strategically, Bagotville is a good place to be, although I know that higher headquarters have been looking at other places based on various scenarios. I would not be the best qualified to answer that question. I would prefer to leave that question to the air staff because they are looking at those options.

Senator Banks: However, you are the commander in charge of our NORAD operations. I am not referring to sending pilots to Bosnia. Is Bagotville the right place for us to have those airplanes?

Col. Blondin: There is no best answer. If you think that the terrorist threat is the greatest threat and you want to have your force positioned to respond to a threat similar to that in New York on September 11, the best place to have the F-18s is close to Toronto, Ottawa or Montreal. However, there is no guarantee that the planes would be airborne in time to respond effectively because a terrorist will act without forewarning.

Terrorism might be only one of the threats to consider for positioning of the fighter force. There are options, and so you have to determine the best location. Bagotville is a staging position between north and south. Should we reposition our F-18s based on the threat of 9/11 a few years ago, which we think is the most prevalent threat, or should we position them for what we think will be the threat in the future? I do not know the answer to that, but someone smarter than I am will have to assess that. Will China be the main threat 10 years from now? Will the Arctic become a big issue in the next 10 years? Will we need fighter operations close by? I do not know.

Senator Banks: In terms of responding to the kind of threat that happened on September 11, do you have an airplane in the air at all times?

Col. Blondin: No, senator.

Senator Banks: How long would that take?

Col. Blondin: Approximately 7 minutes, senator.

Senator Banks: That is pretty quick. Of the 30 planes at Bagotville, if the need arose and you had a sufficient number of pilots, how many airplanes could you put in the air?

Col. Blondin: We have two airplanes and the requisite pilots ready to go 24 hours per day.

Senator Banks: Of the 30 planes, how many of them could fly? I am talking about maintenance, not pilots.

Col. Blondin: When the events of 2001 happened, we had two airplanes on alert. Within six hours, we had six airplanes deployed to Greenwood, six deployed to Trenton and six ready and armed in Bagotville. Of the 30 planes, I could probably have 20 of them armed and ready to fly within six hours.

Senator Banks: They could fly that quickly.

Col. Blondin: Yes, senator.

Senator Banks: That means one third of the planes are in maintenance at some time. Is that the norm and is that okay?

Col. Blondin: Yes, senator.

Senator Meighen: Col. Blondin, you talked about technicians and pilots moving to the private sector, which occurs, as we know. We have heard ample testimony about how impossibly difficult it is for someone who has left the forces to enter the private sector, only to find that the private sector is facing hard times, and wants to return to the forces. Has that situation improved?

Col. Blondin: I do not know if that situation has improved, but we have approximately 45 ex-military pilots who were civilians who returned over the last year. I do not know how much of a problem it was for them or if it is easier to return than it was before.

Senator Meighen: Did you say 45?

Col. Blondin: Yes. They are transport and helicopter pilots.

The Chairman: Col. Blondin, what is it like to operate out of civilian airports? Is that feasible? Does that create unusual problems for you?

Col. Blondin: For normal operations, it is not a problem. However, for NORAD operations it is a problem because of armament concerns, in that we fly with live missiles. When we land, there is a need for safety measures to ensure that those missiles are not a danger. The planes to be turned around need rearmament and planes staying need a safe and secure area to park. When it is time to redeploy, some special procedures are required that cannot take place at a civilian airport. We use civilian airports at Halifax, Toronto, Montreal and Ottawa when we deploy on operations, but they are exceptional measures. We could not operate out of a civilian airport for an extended period of time without certain facilities and the deployment of some maintenance personnel.

The Chairman: Are there any civilian airports where that is in place or do you utilize them occasionally?

Col. Blondin: We use them on occasion.

The Chairman: What is the minimum number of hours that an F-18 pilot needs to fly to be safe in the aircraft?

Col. Blondin: We schedule about 180 hours per pilot, which is the norm that is expected from all the pilots. I have pilots working in desk jobs who will fly 40-60 hours per year. They are experienced pilots, and with that 40-60 hours per year, they are useful to me. Those hours are sufficient to maintain their capabilities once they are qualified and have the experience. If I wanted to send them on operations, I would have to ensure that they flew frequently for a couple of months beforehand.

The Chairman: Our understanding is that there has been a reduction of 30 per cent or more in flying hours, from 240 to 160. That is a loss of 80 hours. What does a pilot lose when the number of hours is reduced by 80 per year if that were the situation for two, three or four years?

Col. Blondin: We had 240 hours and we reduced it to 180 hours, which represents capabilities. The 60 hours lost in going from 240 to 180 was in respect of low-level flying. A pilot needs a great deal of low-level experience to be proficient. When we reduced the hours, we knew that some capabilities would have to go and decided that low-level flying was the one to leave behind. That decision was based on precision, the kinds of ammunition we use for ground- to-air missions at high altitudes of 15,000-25,000 feet. We do not need to fly as low as 250 feet to bring munitions across. The low-level tactics were used during the Cold War for F-18s in Europe, where there is a high level of air defence, which meant that flying high would be suicide. The only way we could get across Europe was to fly at 100 feet and take our chances at that altitude.

The Chairman: Would it be fair to say that the British learned in the first Gulf War that flying low was not a good idea?

Col. Blondin: Absolutely, sir. During the Iraqi war was the first time that we decided to fly above 15,000 feet. Many air forces, like ours, to that time had normal operations of air-to-ground deliveries at low levels. The British decided to use those tactics in Iraq and it did not go well. Everyone agreed then that we needed to operate at higher altitudes.

Senator Banks: Although we are not examining this right now, but speaking of smart munitions, we heard when we last spoke about this issue that we do not have any left. Do you have smart munitions?

Col. Blondin: Yes, sir. I do not have any in Bagotville, but I understand we have some in reserve that are maintained for operations. It amounts to the minimum required to sustain a six-pack for about one month. If we need more, I understand that we would get more.

The Chairman: Going back to the reduction in flying time, you did not speak to the impact on the pilots that I asked you about. How do they feel about their career development and their progression professionally when their flying time is reduced by one third?

Col. Blondin: Are you asking about their flying fewer hours?

The Chairman: Yes. When pilots go from flying 240 hours per year to flying 180 hours per year, how do they react?

Col. Blondin: We thought it would be worse than it is, but after a few years, I have not noticed that as a factor when pilots determine whether to remain with the forces or move to the private sector. The main factor seems to be what work is available for pilots and whether the airlines are hiring. The reduction from 240 hours to 180 hours did not make a difference. About 90 per cent of the pilots in the squadron are first-door pilots, in that they have been in for less than five years. They grew up with 180 hours and so it is normal for them. We keep them busy otherwise. Other factors have crept in over the last few years that have made it less attractive, and we are trying to resolve them.

The Chairman: Could you tell us about them, please?

Col. Blondin: The deployments require many qualifications such as first-aid proficiency and knowledge of the rules of engagement. Each time there was an operation over the last 10 years, we added some new qualifications or new training for our pilots. That adds to the 25 qualifications required to maintain combat readiness for the F-18. Together they add up to many qualifications to be maintained during the year.

We found that most of our pilots were working at least 10 or 12 hours per day. A study a few years back determined that the pilots needed help because they could not do everything that was required of them and have a family life. It took a few years to correct that situation. In respect of the squadron amalgamation, with the 40 positions that I am saving, I will have seven people to do some of the jobs that my pilots used to do. Thus, I have been able to decrease their workload. That workload aspect had a more negative impact than the decreased hours of flying time.

The Chairman: Do the pilots like to fly frequently?

Col. Blondin: Yes, they do, but they are busy with other work. When you fly, it is not only for fun. You enjoy maybe five or ten minutes during the flight, but the rest of the time is spent focusing on the mission and working the systems. A pilot does not enjoy the flight, but rather works when flying.

The Chairman: Six months is not a normal deployment for the air force, is it?

Col. Blondin: Six months is normal deployment for all our support and ground crew; everyone except the pilots. In Vienna, for three years we tried deployments of six months, four months and two months. In the end, we determined that three months was probably the right period of time for deployment.

The Chairman: Why is it different for pilots than for ground crew?

Col. Blondin: That is because of the qualifications needed by a pilot to maintain status and to deploy in certain operations. During the first one and one-half years in Vienna, all the operations consisted of the same missions. Pilots could not keep up their qualifications. Every six months pilots need target practice with guns and bombs in order to maintain qualifications, and they could not do that in Vienna. Some qualifications lapsed because we did not have the appropriate practice missions. We decided that three months in theatre was sufficient and then, upon return home, qualifications could be maintained.

The Chairman: Are the practice bombs smart bombs? Can they be directed at a target?

Col. Blondin: No, senator. The practice bombs we use are gravity bombs only. We do not need to practice with smart bombs. Provided all the systems work, we expect them to work. We try them once per year, but it is not required to maintain a qualification. Each pilot will use, probably twice per year, a cement bomb of 500-1,000 pounds with the smart kit on it. However, such practice is not done frequently because the systems are fairly reliable. Twice per year is sufficient to determine whether the pilot is doing well in that area.

The Chairman: We were intrigued by the ability of the Americans to deliver ordnance at the outset of the war in Afghanistan with very few ground crews. Is the F-18 the right platform to deliver ordnance like that?

Col. Blondin: Yes it is, especially with the modernization program and the new system on board. We have the same capability as the Americans have with their F-16s and F-15s.

The Chairman: What comment do you have on their B-52s?

Col. Blondin: The B-52 is as precise, but it has numbers.

The Chairman: It can stay in the air much longer, can it not?

Col. Blondin: Yes, sir, but the B-52 is used more for carpet bombing and ensuring that you leave a large footprint. Precise targeting generally requires one bomb, provided it is the right size. The F-18 can carry four to six bombs without dropping them.

The Chairman: How many can the B-52 carry?

Col. Blondin: The B-52 carries 50-60 bombs.

The Chairman: Our understanding is that the B-52s were simply flying figure-eights over the area for eight to ten hours. How long does an F-18 fly?

Col. Blondin: An F-18 flies about one hour, on station.

The Chairman: Do we need to have two fighter bases, Col. Blondin?

Col. Blondin: Yes, I think we do need two bases. I would use more than two and certainly not fewer than two. There are operations in the East and in the West. Canada is very large for only two bases, because each time it is necessary to move resources it can be a problem.

The Chairman: Can you envision any time in the next decade when NATO will not have air supremacy?

Col. Blondin: No.

The Chairman: In terms of the role that you play within NORAD, you no longer fly north. Is that correct?

Col. Blondin: We still fly north and maintain all the plans.

The Chairman: There are no Russian bombers currently testing our borders.

Col. Blondin: Yes, there are. Every year or so, they fly closer during their exercise manoeuvres to NORAD's air defence identification zone. Every time we are up North it is in response to that. We do not expect that to become a real threat any time soon. The estimates from American sources suggest that a threat would occur should Russian forces decide to be aggressive. It would be at least a couple of years before that became a real threat.

The Chairman: Is there anything unique about a fighter base so that it could not be combined with another base elsewhere?

Col. Blondin: No. A fighter base could be combined with other bases, but fighter bases usually attract complaints because F-18s create considerable noise. We would need a special installation, but it could be done almost anywhere.

The Chairman: How many well-equipped facilities are there to carry out exercises or to train on fighter aircraft in Canada?

Col. Blondin: Most of the outside facilities we need are bombing ranges. We have facilities at CFB Valcartier, Quebec; at CFB Gagetown, New Brunswick; and at CFB Cold Lake, Alberta.

The Chairman: Is there a range facility at CFB Goose Bay, Newfoundland?

Col. Blondin: There is no controlled range where we could drop bombs. That would not be possible at Goose Bay unless an installation were created. There is nothing in Ontario, but I suppose that we could make arrangements at Petawawa like we have in Gagetown.

Senator Atkins: Obviously, there is a standard that each pilot has to measure up to. What makes a pilot good? As commander, you watch them every day.

Col. Blondin: Good selection is being done through training. Once pilots are through their years of training and show up on the squadron, they believe that they are the best, and we encourage that. We have to cool them down when they are not in the cockpit because they tend to continue that belief when they go into town or are in the mess. We need pilots to truly believe they are better than anyone else, but we need them to be part of a team. They need to understand quickly what to do and how to do it. That does not take long because there is a great deal of pressure each time they are in the air as part of a team, whether there are two, three, four, five or six. A lead pilot will always fly with a new pilot during the first few years to assess the pilot's actions and determine whether a good job is being done. If a pilot cannot learn to follow what is happening and cannot progress, it will be obvious to everyone else. A pilot either progresses to fit the mould or makes no progress. I have seen pilots who, after a couple of years, are sent to another fleet such as trainers, transport or helicopters.

Senator Atkins: When you refer to experienced pilots, surely it is not simply a matter of the number of hours that they fly. There must be other criteria.

Col. Blondin: Yes, there are, although number of hours is a good way to check progress. A fighter pilot coming in will be a wingman, which means he cannot make a decision. He will fly with someone else for the first year, at least. He will progress and become a two-plane lead. After a couple of years of further experience, he will progress to a four- plane lead. That usually happens at the fourth-year level on the squadron. Once a pilot is a four-plane lead, he may be sent to become a fighter weapons instructor. That is the top gun course in Canada. A pilot would become a mass- attack lead and be authorized to plan a mission for 50-70 airplanes and go to war.

Those are all measures of progress. For us, an experienced pilot is a four-plane lead at least. That means he has been around for at least four years on a squadron, has progressed through the normal route and can be used almost anywhere.

Senator Atkins: Does Canada have a top gun program?

Col. Blondin: Yes. It is similar to that of the Americans. We train four pilots each year, usually in the spring. It is three months of intensive, very good training. In the fighter world, it is the doctorate in fighter tactics.

Senator Atkins: Are there female pilots?

Col. Blondin: Yes, we have one in Bagotville and one in Cold Lake, I believe. We have a hard time keeping our female pilots. When I came in 1982 and went through training, the first women were being trained on F-18s. To my knowledge, we never kept one more than two years on squadron before she either retired or decided to do something else.

Senator Atkins: Why is that?

Col. Blondin: In my opinion, from what I have seen, the fighter unit is unique. It is completely different from a transport or helicopter unit, where people will work in teams inside an airplane. In an F-18, the pilot is on his or her own. Everyone is an individual and part of a larger team, but always measuring themselves against the others. It is similar to a pack of wolves, in that each member has a standing. When you show up, you are at the bottom of the group. Within a few months, you know exactly where everyone else stands, who is good and who is not as good. After one or two years, a pilot knows that he or she should be better than the wingman who just arrived but not as good as the next one up. Pilots constantly measure themselves against other pilots. We do combat manoeuvres, airplane against airplane, and it is a match. In training, I do a one-to-one mission against another pilot. When it is over, either I killed the other pilot or he killed me. We know who is the better pilot. We do that constantly in training, and so there is always a measure of who stands where within the pack.

We create the ultimate individual mind that is very macho and conscious of whom to measure up to. At times, women have had a hard time progressing in this way; men can take the pressure a little better because it is designed for the male ego, not necessarily for the female ego. The mentality of female pilots is not the same and some find it difficult.

Sending one woman at a time to the squadron did not work well. Until we are able to send four or five together, so that there is some synergy and group support, it will not change. There will not be a change in the mentality of the squadron and the macho attitude will continue.

Senator Atkins: Do women move on to positions with commercial airlines?

Col. Blondin: No. Some of them stayed in the forces but just decided to fly something else, such as transport airplanes.

The Chairman: You have said that the job requires a macho outlook. I understand from that that male pilots behave in a macho way. Are you telling me that you have to be macho to be a skilled fighter pilot?

Col. Blondin: No. Visualize a 21- or 22-year-old fighter pilot being screened, selected and trained for a few years. He is told that he is one out of hundreds, he is the best, and now he will fly the F-18. He believes he is the best. We encourage that. When I send him on a mission in Kosovo and he is alone in the cockpit, I want him to believe that no can touch him, that he is better than anyone else. If someone shoots a missile at him, I need him to believe that he can defeat anything. However, with this mindset, we have the side effect of the young kids not realizing what is required for the job and socially. In the fighter force, we sometimes create those macho side effects that we need to control.

Senator Atkins: You are creating monsters.

The Chairman: I understand what you are saying and why. I will tell you how it sounds, and you tell me if I am wrong. It sounds to me as if you are saying that a side effect of the training is that the males behave in a way that is antisocial toward females going through the same training.

Col. Blondin: Maybe ``macho'' is the wrong term, although I do not know the correct term. I am trying to describe someone who thinks he is better than anyone else, whether it is a man or a woman beside him. The competitive edge that everyone has seems to be stronger in the males in the squadron than in the female pilots coming in. It makes it harder for them, in my experience.

The adjustment is harder for the women. We have talked to just about everyone about the problems we have had in the last 10 years and what I saw going through training in order to try to get everyone to understand what we do, how we behave, the competition that exists, the impact that has on the relationships in the squadron, how that changes when we have a female pilot joining the squadron, and whether that is normal.

I think that what I saw 10 years ago will probably not happen again. I am impressed with the woman in the squadron. She is doing extremely well. The young men coming in are not like they were 10 years ago, when it was a novelty to have a woman in the forces. Now they expect it. They are surprised that there are not more women. I would like to have more. I would like to have four or five women in the squadron at the same time.

The Chairman: Are there countries that have a larger percentage of women pilots flying fighter planes?

Col. Blondin: The Americans are beginning to have more than we do.

Senator Atkins: They have a bigger pool, though.

Col. Blondin: They have a bigger pool. We are having a hard time attracting women. We do not have too many women going through Moose Jaw who want to fly F-18s. I went to Moose Jaw a couple of months ago and talked to the women who were on a course. I tried to recruit them to join the fighter force. They tend to select the transport planes and helicopters more than fighters.

The Chairman: Is that because they know they will not be welcome in the mess?

Col. Blondin: I hope not. We tried to get away from that picture. What happened 10 years ago to a few women did not send the right message to other female pilots to encourage them to join the fighter force. It is just a matter of getting them to join and then doing it right. We have not been able to do that in the last three or four years because there were no women coming in.

Senator Atkins: I wanted to ask about maintenance. You say you have 30 CF-18s, all refitted. You spoke about one third of them going through normal maintenance problems. Are you having anything more than normal maintenance problems with the new refits?

Col. Blondin: I have 30 airplanes, but they are not all modernized. They are going through the modernization process right now. Thirteen of them have been modernized. I expect another 11 to go through that process and be done by the end of 2005. That leaves me with 24 modernized airplanes. By the end of the year, I will be left with five non- modernized airplanes.

Once that program is over, in 2006 we will start phase two of the modernization program. Between 2006 and 2009, of the 24 that have been modernized, I expect at least four of them to be on the line in Mirabel at any given time. My number of available airplanes will be reduced. That is my limitation in terms of flying hours. For the next four years I will have limited flying hours. I will probably not be able to provide 180 hours per pilot. That is not due to maintenance personnel, but not having enough airplanes on the ramp.

We are trying to address that problem. We are trying to make arrangements to change the way we do it in order to have fewer airplanes on the line at the same time in Montreal.

As well, with the 5 per cent increase this year and the 10 per cent increase next year and the amalgamation of the squadrons, we expect that by using the airplanes we have, changing the way we operate, putting more maintenance people on the line, and having three launches per day instead of two, we will be able to solve to a certain extent the problem of fewer hours.

Senator Atkins: Are the airplanes that are refitted durable, or are you running into problems?

Col. Blondin: I have one squadron that has been fully refitted for the last six months. The squadron CEO is really impressed with the systems. In the past we had some problems with the radar and some of the radios, but the new systems just do not break. We are very happy with the kits they have put in the airplanes.

Senator Banks: What about the airframe?

Col. Blondin: The airframes are doing well, except when the fatigue life is finished. There is a finite time that it will last. That is why we are only modernizing 80 airplanes of the 121 we have left. Within the next 10 or 15 years we expect that about 30 of them will be finished flying due to the airframe. However, until we get to that point, we do not have much problem with the airframe or the engines.

Senator Atkins: Does Cold Lake have 30 aircraft as well?

Col. Blondin: They have 30 aircraft between the two operational squadrons, but they have another 21 airplanes for the training squadron, that being the 410 Squadron.

Senator Atkins: Are the reduced hours for flying due to a funding problem, fuel availability or maintenance? What is the primary consideration in that?

Col. Blondin: Are you talking about the reduction from 240 to 180?

Senator Atkins: We have also heard that it was down to 150.

Col. Blondin: That is why I am asking which reduction. The reduction from 240 hours to 180 hours was a funding decision to reduce hours and capability. We are funded for 180 hours per pilot. However, with the refit we do not have enough airplanes to fly the 180 hours. I have the maintenance, the fuel and the money; I just do not have the airplanes to fly all the hours. That will be the case for the next four years. This is our challenge.

Because we have the resources and the people, we are looking at other solutions. I expect to come back to very close to 180 hours within two years by changing the structure, putting more maintenance people on the line and extending the hours of operations. We are having discussions about changing the way they are doing maintenance on the line in order to shorten the time the airplanes are away. Those are all options we are looking at to get us back to as close to 180 hours as possible.

Senator Meighen: Assume it is decided that the Snowbirds are too expensive for us but there is recognition that it is important for Canadians to see a show of air force capability. Would it be useful to send two planes every once in a while to air shows to do low passes and whatever else they can? I am not suggesting the kinds of things the Snowbirds do. Would that be a useful function in your training, or would it be, to put it in the vernacular, a pain in the neck?

Col. Blondin: It would be a pain in the neck, sir. I do not think I would get anything useful out of it for my operations. It can certainly be done, but I believe that within the cost of training the F-18 pilots and maintaining their capabilities it would be a waste of our resources.

Senator Meighen: Can you elaborate on that? Obviously it would depend on the frequency, but are you saying that the cost of deploying two F-18s would be more than the cost of the Snowbirds?

Col. Blondin: No. The cost of deploying would not be more. Actually, we have an air show F-18 that goes around the country all summer to do demonstrations, and that is fine. I think it demonstrates what the Snowbirds and the forces are doing on recruitment, et cetera, which is fine. To have a two-plane team or a four-plane team of F-18s to replace the Snowbirds —

Senator Meighen: I am not suggesting a replacement. I am not suggesting an acrobatic team or a permanent assignment of two pilots, unless you tell me that is required. I am talking about sending two F-18s to air shows simply to buzz the place a few times. It would be nothing dangerous; it would be simply showing people who watch other aircraft that we have F-18s that make an exciting noise that stirs the blood. It would be just to show a presence.

Col. Blondin: It is always possible. We can do it.

The Chairman: He is saying that he can make them do it, but he does not want to.

Senator Meighen: I do not understand why it is a pain in the neck. Aside from the financial pain in the neck, it provides more flying hours.

Col. Blondin: I am limited in the number of pilots and airframes that I have. If I have to do more taskings like this, I have to fly less hours of something else. I am using a combat machine to do displays, and those have to be at low level. We do not do low-level training any more, because we were cut from 240 hours to 180 hours. To do this, I have to dedicate some training time for that to my pilots. I would have to have special rules because we would be making a lot of noise at low levels around cities. It is not just the flying. I would have to do training and supervision, which involves a lot.

Senator Meighen: Let me try another angle. As much as I like the Snowbirds, I am starting to think that the time may come, if it is not already here, that they can no longer continue to fly their planes. They will have to be re- equipped, which is an expensive proposition. It is also an expensive proposition to keep them flying as a team and travelling around North America and the world. On the other hand, they bring great credit to the Canadian air force and to our country.

We have 85 CF-18s that are being refitted and some more are being mothballed. Could we use two, three or four of the ones that are being mothballed?

Col. Blondin: It is possible.

Senator Meighen: Economically, too.

Col. Blondin: It is not a big jump from what we do already. We send F-18s to air shows, both an air show F-18 with a dedicated air show pilot and an accompanying airplane that just does a couple of approaches and then is parked.

Senator Meighen: All it has to do is fly by so it can be seen.

Col. Blondin: It would not be a big jump. This does not add much to what exists already. At every air show there are F-16s and F-15s flying. There are military airplanes and air display teams. The air display teams are what make it unique, be it the French, the Italians, the Americans or the Canadians.

If you do not have the air show team in Canada due to lack of resources, that is fine, but I do not think it could be replaced easily by regular military airplanes just showing up at an air show.

Senator Meighen: Were the planes that are being mothballed selected because they were in poorer shape than the 85 that were designated for refitting?

Col. Blondin: Yes. They are selected according to how much fatigue life is left. We had about 80 that could take us through 2017. Between now and 2017, the rest of them will not have any life left. We will fly them until there is no life left.

Senator Banks: Until just before there is no life left.

Senator Meighen: We hope the government of the day does not tell you that you have to fly them for another 15 years, like the helicopters.

Col. Blondin: There is no fatigue life left in the airplanes; that will not be possible.

Senator Meighen: Will you cannibalize them for parts?

Col. Blondin: Yes, sir. That is the plan.

Senator Meighen: What does ``installations d'alerte'' mean?

Col. Blondin: That refers to alert facilities in Bagotville. During the Cold War, we had the Voodoo CF-101 on alert in Bagotville. We have a facility with four hangars and dedicated living quarters for people on alert. That facility is fenced in with security so that we can have airplanes armed and on alert all the time.

We were not using the facilities from 1992 to 1995 until 2001. In 2001, we wanted to get rid of the facility because it was not used. When 9/11 happened, we had to reopen the facility. This is what we are using to this day in Bagotville.

Senator Meighen: We have now decided, as a matter of policy, that we need alert installations. The ones we have are obviously old and crumbling and we need to refurbish them?

Col. Blondin: We need to build it somewhere else because the rules have changed since the 1950s. Our alert facility is about 50 feet from a main highway, so there are security concerns about a missile exploding or some other accident. It is too close to the highway, and there are houses just across the highway. As well, it is much too close to the outside of the base. We need to relocate it on the other side of the runway.

Senator Meighen: Have you identified the land?

Col. Blondin: Yes, sir. We have the plans. Everything has been done; we are just waiting for resources to be allocated.

Senator Meighen: Are you currently occupying these crumbling facilities?

Col. Blondin: Yes, sir. I am occupying the facilities. I have told headquarters that I can continue to do so for another two years. However, within two years two things need to happen. We now have a ministerial waiver to occupy those facilities that are too close to the highway. Either a further waiver will be needed and $2 million to refurbish those facilities, or I need $10 million to build something elsewhere.

Senator Banks: I asked you about the strategic location of Bagotville. Is there any longer any strategic usefulness in Goose Bay?

Col. Blondin: I could not answer that, sir.

Senator Banks: You are the commander of two wings of fighter aircraft. How could you not answer that?

The Chairman: Adm. Buck could not answer it either.

Senator Banks: I will not pressure you, colonel, because I understand. Thank you very much.

The Chairman: Are you doing any air-to-air refuelling training?

Col. Blondin: Yes, we do. We have Canadian resources with the Hercules out of Trenton coming every three months or so to Bagotville. When we have exercises scheduled in the States, we usually deploy with our Hercules. For NORAD exercises we use the American KC-135.

The Chairman: How soon will we have our new refuelers available?

Col. Blondin: I expect to be able to use them next year.

The Chairman: Will that require much of a transition from refuelling behind a Hercules?

Col. Blondin: It will probably not replace it all. We will still be training with the Hercules and the Airbus. It will probably be easier when we need to deploy overseas.

The Chairman: Thank you very much, Col. Blondin. You were obviously a popular witness as we kept you for 50 per cent longer than you were expected to be here.

We do appreciate you appearance here. We will visit the base when the opportunity arises, and we are looking forward to that. We thank you for helping us with our study today.

Senators, we have before us LCol. François Bariteau for a session on recruiting issues at the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School. LCol. Bariteau is the commanding officer of the school. He began his career as an armour officer with the 12e Régiment blindé du Canada, à ValCartier. He was a commander in Bosnia-Herzegovina from July 1996 until January 1997.

He was the first to operationally employ the Coyote reconnaissance vehicle. He was promoted to his current rank in December 2001 and in 2002 he assumed the duties of Section Head, Interoperability within the Directorate, Joint Force Capabilities, at National Defence Headquarters in Ottawa. In November 2002, LCol. Bariteau was appointed Commandant of the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School. Welcome to the committee.

[Translation]

Lieutenant-Colonel François Bariteau, Commanding Officer, Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School, National Defence: Mr. Chairman, my presentation will provide an executive summary of the role, organization and challenges of the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School so that I can explain its mission and define its involvement in the Canadian Forces recruitment system.

Located some 20 kilometres southwest of Montreal, the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School, or CFLRS, is the centre of excellence responsible for training all those who volunteer to serve Canada on a full-time basis. Under the direction of the Canadian Forces Recruiting Group, the school focuses its operations on meeting the needs of the Canadian Forces' annual strategic intake plan and ensuring the progressive transition of new recruits and officers to military life. In addition to developing physical and mental strength, this transition involves indoctrination in basic military concepts and leadership fundamentals, along with the ethics and basic values inherent in Canada's professional armed forces. Education, instruction and training of new personnel is carried out under the auspices of the Canadian Defence Academy.

In order to carry out its mission successfully, the CFLRS is supported by a joint staff totalling 312 personnel composed of 258 regular members of the navy, army and air force from 30 different occupations, 30 reservists and 24 civilian members. Training activities for school instructors generally start at 5 o'clock in the morning and rarely end before 6 p.m. The CFLRS is organized into five distinct sub-units and composed of three training divisions broken down into the various platoons of recruits and aspiring officers: a standards division to ensure the quality and proper management instruction and a support division responsible for logistical and financial support, as well as IT support services. The maximum annual training capacity of the school is 54 platoons of 60 non-officer candidates, for a total of 3,240 recruits, and 28 platoons of 60 officer cadets for a possible total of 1,680 officers. Over the past four years, the CFLRS has trained and graduated an average of 2,800 recruits and 1,300 officer cadets a year.

The school has an operating budget of approximately $2 million a year to train candidates, maintain and renew its equipment and carry out its day-to-day activities. The budget does not include the salaries of reserve and civilian personnel. Up to now, the budget has been adequate to meet the school's various objectives and, although it may seem like very little money for such an organization, it should be pointed out that the CFLRS is located at the Saint-Jean Garnison. As a result, it depends on 5 Area Support Group for its infrastructure needs, ranging from candidate housing to renovation of buildings and facilities to build training, which takes place in Farnham. The CFLRS therefore has no funding for those purposes.

In the spring of 2004, Canadian Forces senior command recognized that there was an urgent need to develop a stronger basic training program in order to better prepare new members for missions within Canada and abroad. In the current world security context, the Canadian Defence Academy, tasked with overhauling the basic training currently offered to new Canadian Forces personnel determined that more time needed to be spent on developing physical fitness and skills for protection operations. Consequently, the CFLRS has been responsible since last fall for reviewing and developing the new training course plan for recruits and officer cadets that meet the new training requirements. The course for non-commissioned members, also called the basic military qualification, will be three weeks longer than before, and the officer cadet course will be one week longer. Barring any unforeseen obstacles, the CFLRS will run its first pilot course this fall, and all of the proposed changes and additions will be implemented by October 2006.

In keeping with the vision and new needs of the Canadian Forces, it is essential that the CFLRS increase its current instructor-candidate ratio to maintain training quality and ensure professional development and sound management of its personnel. Moreover, in order to respond optimally to the decision to increase the regular forces by 5,000 military personnel as soon as possible, the CFLRS requires flexibility not only to continue with its normal operations but also to conduct much of the additional training resulting from this increased recruitment. To that effect, the Armed Forces Council recently approved the addition of 120 new instructors over a two-year period.

Among the challenges facing the CFLRS relating directly to this increase in Canadian Forces personnel, the most significant are no doubt training for new instructional personnel, acclimatization, family support and greater infrastructure needs. However, in cooperation with the Canadian Defence Academy, 5 ASG and local authorities, a number of options and solutions have been developed and put forward to respond to the school's new mandate. As a part of that process, the instructor's course has been truly revamped. Additional space has been freed up because the language school has moved to the Campus Fort Saint-Jean. Initiatives taken by Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, which now considers itself a garrison town, will substantially improve the quality of life of CFLRS personnel.

Senator Meighen: Your presentation was very clear, and I want to thank you for that. Does your $2 million budget take into account the new responsibilities that you refer to in your presentation?

LCol. Bariteau: For recruit and officer cadet training, we are currently maintaining our pace of activities in conjunction with the Canadian Forces recruiting group. Once the issue of expanding the Forces is addressed, we will begin to recruit new personnel and the budget will increase as a result.

Senator Meighen: In the third paragraph of your presentation, you indicate that you have 1,681 officer and recruit graduates. Are you at capacity right now? Could those figures be higher?

LCol. Bariteau: That number could be higher. However, I have infrastructure problems at the current time. As mentioned, one of the options that was confirmed over the past few weeks concerns relocation of the Language School, which occupies part of the infrastructure at Saint-Jean. It would move to the former military college that is called the Campus Fort Saint-Jean. The move would take place in the spring of 2006. Once that happens, I will have the office space that I need for instructors and classroom space for candidates.

Senator Meighen: How long does the course last?

LCol. Bariteau: The course for new recruits lasts ten weeks. The officers' course is 14 weeks long, divided into one nine-week session and one five-week session.

Senator Meighen: Are you going to make that course longer?

LCol. Bariteau: In order to develop ruggedness and address security operations, so that our people know how to defend themselves — elements that are not covered right now — we have extended the recruits' course to 13 weeks. The course for officer cadets is only two weeks long. Some subjects are now taught when officer cadets take their occupational training. Instructional skills are one of the subjects, which is a one-week course. So we save a week, in addition to the week that was added, for a total of two weeks. Right now, three and a half days are spent teaching officer cadets to make knots, bipods and tripods and preparing them for the little tasks that they will do in the field to evaluate their leadership.

By modifying their tasks and gearing them more to what happens in the theatre of operations or training, we will be able to save the three weeks that are equivalent to the recruits' course. We are limited.

There is no problem with the officer cadet course for those with university training. However, there are difficulties in cases where people attend the military college or obtain grants to go to civilian university. Our time is limited, especially during the summer. High school graduates go directly to Saint-Jean. When I get them in early July, I have only ten weeks before they go to military college or back to civilian university. That is why the training is given over a nine-week period. Students from the military college or civilian university come back the following year and do five weeks. With one more week, I have reached the maximum time available to me.

Senator Meighen: As you know, the Armed Forces Command tells us that this situation is very surprising. It will take at least five years to enrol and train the 5,000 new armed forces members. Without any ill will, I want to ask you: Are you part of the problem?

LCol. Bariteau: We are part of the solution. There is a solution to every problem, and that is how we see things at the school. Except that I think that it is important to understand here that we need to be careful that we do not act so quickly as to create a personnel tsunami. If we hire or enrol 5,000 members over a period of a year or two, first of all, the quality of those brought in may be questionable, because we will be looking in a time-limited group. Second, we will have the same problem again in 20 years, and we will be in the same situation and have to react the same way again.

Senator Meighen: Because a large number of recruits have come in over a short period of time?

LCol. Bariteau: Exactly.

[English]

The Chairman: I am a little confused. Gen. Hillier appeared before the committee a few days ago and told us that is exactly what will happen. There will not be many in years one, two and three, but in years four and five there will be four thousand of them.

LCol. Bariteau: The majority of people will be expending three years, at least, especially for combat arms, where years one and two are the substrates. I was talking about the recruitment of 5,000 in respect of the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School.

The Chairman: Actually, Gen. Hillier described it as 8,000, and he said that the reserves would go through in exactly the same way.

LCol. Bariteau: That is correct, and the school would take care of only the regular force members. I do not train reserve personnel.

The Chairman: In what way will the training be the same?

LCol. Bariteau: They have the same training through the army, the navy and the air force. The availability of personnel is a problem because a reservist works during the daytime on weekdays. The training has to be done evenings and weekends. In St.-Jean I cannot afford that. Regular force training takes 10-14 consecutive weeks, while training a reservist may take three months, especially if the training is held on weekends.

The Chairman: Therefore, it might take a decade to train a reservist.

LCol. Bariteau: Not exactly. Some sessions occur during the summer, but availability can be a problem depending on the employer. We have to be careful if we are trying to enrol 5,000 troops in one year, because, first, the quality may be questionable when the pool from which to draw is smaller. Second, there will be fallout while they wait to be trained because of units being on operations. In St.-Jean, we give only the basic training so they are not trade-qualified when they leave. That is another issue. If we were to have the reservists in addition to the 5,000 or so regular recruits that we enrol on a yearly basis, it would mean training 10,000 people per year, which is basically not feasible.

[Translation]

Senator Meighen: Could you give us an idea of the success rate?

LCol. Bariteau: At this moment, we are talking about 90 per cent. In 2001, on the recruit side, it was 90 per cent, 89 per cent in 2002-2003 and 87 per cent in 2004. What does not change are the releases, the people we judge undesirable for the armed forces because they do not have the right attitude or have disciplinary problems and so on. That rate does not change a lot. We are talking about 3 per cent over the last four years.

What is starting to change are the voluntary releases. People who got the wrong information or who just wanted to see what was going on at Saint-Jean. They try to find out a bit more about Saint-Jean. When they ask for their release, they mention different reasons. Voluntary release is usually done within the first two weeks of training and it is very quick. For most people, it is during the first week when we have not actually started the training yet. You have to kit them up, vaccinate them, put them through the dental and ophthalmologic exams. It is more of an administration week.

In today's society, our young people are increasingly geared to individualism. That is what we are starting to notice today. The young people cannot live in a community. They engage in practically no team sports. It is most often martial arts with an orientation to individualism. The result is that the young people are not ready to live in a community with other people. They do not know about team work and there are different reasons given for voluntary release. Most will say: ``It is not for me.'' ``It is a bad career choice.'' ``I just wanted to have a look-see.'' ``My mother is sick.'' ``I have just found out my father has cancer.'' It is very varied. I could not say whether there is a general rule to identify the reasons behind the requests for voluntary release.

Senator Meighen: If I understand correctly, voluntary release is the number one reason in that 10 per cent.

LCol. Bariteau: We have an 87 per cent success rate. In the 13 per cent remaining, 3 per cent are what we call 5Ds, those are individuals that cannot be employed in the forces, that we have evaluated as having discipline problems, drug use or others. The 10 per cent has remained pretty well the same over the last four years, but the trend seems to be increasing. Unfortunately, all we can do at Saint-Jean is to sit down with them, talk things over with them and try to explain the benefits of remaining in the armed forces. We suggest they give it a bit of time, give themselves a chance. We give them a 48-hour period to think it over. After the 48 hours, if the individual comes back to the instructor and says he wants to leave, then we go ahead with his release, otherwise that would generate other problems. I do not think that the idea of forcing someone to stay in the armed forces would be very popular or receive wide acceptance in society.

Senator Meighen: Do you work closely with the recruiting centres? If so, are they doing the best possible work under the circumstances to inform the people who go and see them?

LCol. Bariteau: I do not work directly with the recruiting centres because my boss, who is the commander of the recruiting group, besides having me under him also has all the recruiting centre commanders and all the recruiting centre detachments reporting to him. We have quarterly conferences where we discuss different problems. They want to know what kinds of voluntary releases there are. They work with their military career advisers to know if the work is actually done properly. That is an example. If other problems arise, then we will meet. There is a monthly conference call to settle different little problems that arise from time to time.

Senator Meighen: One last question. Are there any quality of life problems at Saint-Jean? I know Saint-Jean a bit, it is a nice area, but are there any adaptation problems for the francophones and especially the anglophones?

LCol. Bariteau: That happens with any transfer. That is a characteristic that can apply to any member of the armed forces. There are fewer and fewer. It all comes back to a matter of attitude, in my opinion. I know anglophone instructors who adapt very well and are enthusiastic about coming to Saint-Jean because they get the opportunity to learn and to practise a second language knowing that the language school is just at the other end of the building. Whenever they have some free time, we have bilateral agreements with the commanders at the Language School.

Senator Meighen: But how about the members of their families?

LCol. Bariteau: We are working actively on developing programs with the town of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. There are French-language courses that are now being provided for free by the town of Saint-Jean for family members.

A good number of anglophones — I would say most of them — locate away from the geographic area as such. So then I have to authorize them to locate in areas like Saint-Hubert or Saint-Bruno where there is more in the way of anglophone public infrastructure. In Saint-Jean, there is a high school but that is it. Most doctors treating the members of military families speak both languages fluently. There is no problem at that level. In my opinion, it always comes back to a matter of attitude and how you look at your transfer. Some have more problems, but overall, people take it well.

[English]

Senator Atkins: LCol. Bariteau, your statement indicates that you have graduated an average of 2,800 recruits and 1,300 officer candidates. That ratio of officers to recruits is interesting. Would there not be more recruits? Is it mandatory to attend your training school?

LCol. Bariteau: For the basic training qualification, yes, it is mandatory. The difference between the number of officers and the number of recruits, or NCMs, is because of the way in which the Canadian Forces is built. It is like a company, in that fewer leaders than troops are required to conduct operations. For example, when I deployed in Bosnia, I was the lone major with a staff of 126 people. Under me, there were six captains, and so it continued with the numbers increasing at each level.

Senator Atkins: I understand.

LCol. Bariteau: This explains why the number of recruits is higher than the number of officers.

Senator Atkins: I am assuming that there are many more officers in terms of the ratio than one would expect. I am saying that the reality is quite the reverse.

LCol. Bariteau: I am not sure that I understand.

Senator Atkins: I would have thought the ratio of recruits to officers would be 10 times greater.

LCol. Bariteau: We have no control over that. This is part of the strategic intake plan developed by the Director General, Military Human Resources Planning and Policies, DGMHRP. It determines the numbers necessary to recruit each year to compensate for those who are retiring. Those are the numbers of the past four years. The maximum capacity is 3,240 recruits and, considering voluntary withdrawals, 2,800 recruits and 1,300 officers graduate per year. Many trades are offered that do not require the number of troops needed to command an army unit or an army subunit.

Pilots, for example, work by themselves and that is why the ratio is so low. Like other professionals, such as lawyers, dentists, doctors, they do not require troops under them. Those trades require only an officer candidate to fill the seat; they do not require troops.

Senator Atkins: Take me through the process. When recruits are taken on, they automatically attend your school. Is that right?

LCol. Bariteau: That is correct.

Senator Atkins: Does that apply to every person who signs up for the military, regardless of the branch of service?

LCol. Bariteau: Yes. About two weeks after the individuals are enrolled they will arrive at Saint-Jean to begin basic military qualification.

Senator Atkins: As you described to Senator Meighen, if, after a week or two a recruit feels that he or she has made the wrong decision, your school has the authority to discharge that person?

LCol. Bariteau: Yes. I am the only one in the Canadian Forces, aside from the CDS, of course, who has the authority to release those individuals, because they have not achieved their basic military qualification. Once their basic training is done, I no longer have that authority. We have had a few examples recently of individuals who wanted to be released right after receiving their basic military qualification. Once they are qualified, I no longer have the right to release them. They have to proceed to their trade training. Only when they get there can they be released. Most of the time, they have to serve six months before they are released. This is the Canadian Force's recruiting policy.

Senator Atkins: What percentage are dismissed after the first two weeks?

LCol. Bariteau: About 10 per cent.

Senator Atkins: I would have thought that people would have been sufficiently screened that you would not be faced with that.

LCol. Bariteau: It is hard to pick out those individuals in a one-on-one hour-and-a-half interview. Sometimes they just do not want to talk. Sometimes they hide what they are looking for. Some are manipulators, and we learn that only when they show up in St.-Jean. I am not sure how we can address that. There is no perfect solution. If individuals are not telling the truth and show up in St.-Jean just to see if it suits them, all we can do is enrol them. Hopefully, when they get to St.-Jean we can give them the right first impression so that they will be willing to carry on. We only succeed in keeping about 1 per cent of those by such encouragement.

Some people want to join a particular trade. If they are told that trade is full and will not reopen for a year, some do not want to have their file waiting in a recruiting centre so they will go for their second or third choice. Once they arrive in St.-Jean, they talk to the instructors in that trade. If they decide that it is not for them, they go back to the recruiting centre and say that will wait for their first choice of trade, because if that trade does not open within the first five weeks of training, they cannot change trades thereafter.

It becomes a complex issue. If you allow people to move from trade to trade during the training, it becomes unmanageable. If they want to change trades, they can do so up to mid-course. Otherwise, they stick to the trade they have been given. They may do a component transfer when they are trade qualified, but not before that.

Senator Atkins: We are talking about basic training, are we not?

LCol. Bariteau: Yes.

Senator Atkins: How many weeks is basic training?

LCol. Bariteau: Ten weeks.

Senator Atkins: When they come in, it is a career decision.

LCol. Bariteau: They have had time to consider it at the recruiting centre. There are videos that they can take home. They have access to the Internet onsite or at home. There is a lot of information. As well, they can ask as many questions as they wish at the recruiting centre. The people there will tell them what the trade is all about. If they decide not to go with their first choice, they know what the second and third choices are about because they have asked questions. They have already explored their second and third choices; it is not something new. Some people change their minds for various reasons. They may miss their spouses too much. I cannot detain them because we are not a conscription force.

Senator Atkins: Do you do demographic studies of the recruits that come through your school?

LCol. Bariteau: Yes.

Senator Atkins: What kind of information are you looking for?

LCol. Bariteau: At the school we are not looking for particular information. The information I get is basically only age. The Canadian Forces Recruiting Group would be the ones to answer questions about demographics.

Senator Atkins: That happens before they get to you?

LCol. Bariteau: Yes, sir. I know where they come from, their age and their background. We open their personnel files before they arrive in St.-Jean.

Some people simply do not show up because after signing they decide it is not for them.

Senator Atkins: Even though they signed on and swore allegiance to the country?

LCol. Bariteau: Yes.

Senator Atkins: What do you do with them?

LCol. Bariteau: There is not much we can do, because they have not undertaken any training and we have not spent any money on them. Again, we are not a conscription force. They volunteered to serve the country. If they decide that they do not want to do this, we have to accept that. It is part of our contract to respect the member's decision.

Senator Atkins: Can you tell us something about the differences in training of males and females?

LCol. Bariteau: There is not that much difference. They go through the same training. We separate them in quarters. In the field portion of the training, women sleep in a pup tent side by side with men. There has been no problem thus far with that approach.

Senator Atkins: Is there more fallout?

LCol. Bariteau: No. I would say that at times the women are more courageous. They know exactly what they want. We see many females whose husbands are in the military. Many women join in their late 30s and early 40s when their children are older. Their husbands have been in the military for 15 or 20 years and they want to follow the same course. We see more and more such women coming in.

Senator Atkins: Have you seen an increase in the cultural mix?

LCol. Bariteau: No. I have been in this position for the past two and a half years. We have 1 per cent to 2 per cent of visible minorities per year. More Asian people are joining. There are some people from Afghanistan and some people of the Muslim culture are joining. We run a program in the North for Aboriginals once a year.

Senator Atkins: Do we make any special effort to recruit Aboriginals?

LCol. Bariteau: We have a special course for them, which is basically an acclimatization to the Canadian Forces. In the past, we had people from the North who had never eaten cooked meals. They were polar bear hunters and seal hunters. They are very interesting people. Last year, we started the course with 77 and completed it with 62, I believe. Of that, 19 decided to join. Once the three-week course is done, they have enrolment priority. We enrol them at the graduation ceremony. They normally go home for two or three weeks and then return to undergo their basic military training.

Senator Atkins: Will the new defence policy have a significant impact on your school, apart from the 5,000 regulars and the 3,000 reservists?

LCol. Bariteau: If we train those additional individuals, I will require more space. That is why the decision was taken to move the Canadian Forces Language School to the campus. I will also need more instructors. We are running the first pilot course this fall. There will be 10 instructors per platoon, and we currently have only four instructors per platoon.

Senator Atkins: How many are in a platoon?

LCol. Bariteau: There are 60. Ten instructors will run three 13-week courses a year, so that is 39 weeks. Therefore, for every additional 180 candidates that I have to train, I will require 10 more instructors.

Senator Atkins: Through our travels, our committee has found out that the crux of the challenge in the military is finding instructors.

LCol. Bariteau: You are right. This is why on March 22 the Armed Forces Council not only gave me 120 instructors, but moved my VCDS manning priority from priority 3, which means I am allowed to have 96 per cent of my overall staffing complement, to priority 1, which allows me basically 100 per cent. That is for obvious reasons. I am the starting point. If I do not have the instructors that I require to train recruits properly and to maintain the quality of training, the quality of new members of the forces will be questionable, and that is certainly not what the CDS wants.

Senator Atkins: Are they stealing your instructors for other purposes so that there is a major transition of instructors through your schools?

LCol. Bariteau: Normally an instructor will spend three to four years at the school. These are master corporals, sergeants and warrant officers. Officers spend two to three years at the school. Every summer, about one third of our staff is posted out. A new group comes in and we have to train them to become instructors. Army procedures are not something that an aviation technician knows all about, so we have to train that individual to ensure that the training he gives to candidates is appropriate and of quality.

Therefore, in addition to training the candidates, I have to train the trainers.

Senator Atkins: How long does it take to train a trainer?

LCol. Bariteau: It is a three-week intensive course. They go through exactly what the candidates go through as well as having to be successful in teaching any subject, particularly weapons and drill. We are currently running an instructor course that started on May 16. This morning, one individual was returned to his unit because he was unable to teach drill. We gave him every chance possible. Unfortunately, it was not in him to be comfortable with that. We had no choice other than to return him to his unit and ask the career manager to send us someone else.

Senator Atkins: I assume that anyone you are training is working from a training manual.

LCol. Bariteau: That is correct. There are training plans and lesson plans that they have to follow. Also, especially in the field training portion, they need to know how to be a section commander and a section second in command. They need to know what this is all about, especially for the air force and navy, because infantry work is not second nature, and that is basically what we do in St.-Jean. The training is army oriented.

Senator Atkins: What was your training?

LCol. Bariteau: My training was in armour.

Senator Atkins: How does an armour officer learn all that you need to know?

LCol. Bariteau: That is a good question. I am the first armour officer commanding that school. I believe there was one commander from the navy in the early days of the school, in the late 1960s. One artillery officer was commander at the beginning of the 1980s, and all the rest have been infantry officers.

Senator Atkins: You are not part of a human resource unit?

LCol. Bariteau: We are under Assistant Deputy Minister, Human Resources, Military, VAdm. Jarvis. The recruiting group belongs to that organization, and because I belong to the recruiting group, we belong to that group.

The Chairman: Is the process of basic training a pleasant one? Is it fun or is it hard work? Tell us what the experience is like for someone going through your school.

LCol. Bariteau: I believe it is a pleasant experience.

The Chairman: Is it like 9:00 to 5:00 on a university campus?

LCol. Bariteau: No, it is basically 0500 until 2300 hours.

The Chairman: A 10 per cent dropout rate does not sound unusual, if that is the case.

LCol. Bariteau: A 90 per cent success rate is not that bad.

It depends on when you ask the question of the recruits. If you ask them in week three, they are so tired that they will say it is not a pleasant experience. When they graduate, they are proud of themselves. They have done things they never thought they could do. Some of them tell us that the most difficult thing they had to do was to wake up at 5:00 in the morning.

The Chairman: People shout at people at this place, do they not?

LCol. Bariteau: Yes.

The Chairman: There is a lot of shouting.

LCol. Bariteau: Yes, but we do not train the way we trained members of the forces 20 years ago.

The Chairman: However, it is not a picnic.

LCol. Bariteau: It is not a picnic, but it is humane training.

The Chairman: When people arrive, they are not in shape.

LCol. Bariteau: Correct.

The Chairman: When they leave, they are in shape.

LCol. Bariteau: Correct.

The Chairman: They get in shape by running a lot.

LCol. Bariteau: They run a lot and do a lot of physical training to become robust.

The Chairman: Would you describe it as a stressful experience?

LCol. Bariteau: No.

The Chairman: It is not stressful?

LCol. Bariteau: No.

The Chairman: Getting up at 5:00, having people shout at you and running a lot is not stressful?

LCol. Bariteau: Shouting is not the way we train today.

The Chairman: No one shouts?

LCol. Bariteau: We shout at people, but not in the way I was shouted at when I was trained.

The Chairman: You are saying that it is not as personal. Senator Atkins was concerned about the high dropout rate. I thought it was a remarkably low dropout rate.

LCol. Bariteau: It is more humane.

The Chairman: So it is a warm and sensitive place?

LCol. Bariteau: We listen to people. There is a difference between harassment and giving directions and orders. For the past three years we have adopted the philosophy of insist and assist at the school. We insist on the standard, which is the same standard as when I was trained in Chilliwack 20 years ago. However, we assist them to reach that standard, which was not the case 20 years ago.

The Chairman: At that time, you either sank or learned to swim?

LCol. Bariteau: Yes. Also, you were treated like an idiot 20 years ago, which is not the case today.

The Chairman: You are saying that there is more respect and less abuse.

LCol. Bariteau: Correct.

The Chairman: Is there counselling? If people are having a bad day, do they get two Aspirin or does someone sit down to talk with them?

LCol. Bariteau: We have three chaplains on the base on a daily basis, and most of their work is with the school, and there are social workers who can be called upon within an hour.

The Chairman: Is there a stigma attached to going to see a chaplain?

LCol. Bariteau: A stigma?

The Chairman: Do other recruits frown upon visiting the chaplain?

LCol. Bariteau: When a candidate asks to see the chaplain or the padre, there are no questions asked.

The Chairman: However, if someone is spending too much time with the chaplain, the people he or she has to have breakfast with the next morning will comment on it?

LCol. Bariteau: That may be, but it will be comments from peers only. There will be no comments from instructors.

The Chairman: I understand.

Can people make an appointment to see an instructor?

LCol. Bariteau: Yes, the instructors are available.

The Chairman: Does that happen regularly?

LCol. Bariteau: It depends on the issue. Further to the example I gave, if someone learns that a family member is sick or dying, for example, they can discuss this with their instructors rather than the padre or the chaplain.

The Chairman: During your time in Chilliwack you did not have a chat with the instructor very often, did you?

LCol. Bariteau: I am still in the forces today because my instructors were good and approachable. I was not afraid to approach them.

The Chairman: However, they had a different style from the instructors whom you command.

LCol. Bariteau: They had a different style, but society was different as well.

The Chairman: I am not knocking it; I am simply putting this on the record.

LCol. Bariteau: I am saying that the instructors are approachable. The candidates will talk to them easily. Some instructors are stricter than others, but with four instructors per platoon the mix is such that there will be one instructor in which a candidate will have more faith or trust or will respect more. We have a good mix, and it is key to keep that mix between the army, the navy and the air force.

Some instructors who have come back from Afghanistan, for example, want to train only infantry people, and this is not what we do.

The Chairman: Talk to us a bit about discipline in the school. How do you enforce discipline and what impact does the Charter of Rights have on it?

LCol. Bariteau: Harassment training is given by civilians. After candidates have that training, they may have difficulty for a short time distinguishing between orders and harassment.

Discipline is addressed as it should be. If an individual leaves his weapon unsecured, there will be administrative action taken.

The Chairman: What does that consist of? Is it a letter in his file, or is it 20 push-ups?

LCol. Bariteau: Administrative action is a recorded warning, a directive on file. When seven directives have been issued, the file is presented to a progress review board. The board makes recommendations to me on whether the individual deserves a second chance.

The Chairman: If an instructor is not happy with someone's performance, do they have the person run around the football field 10 times?

LCol. Bariteau: No. That was done 20 years ago, sir.

The Chairman: That does not happen now?

LCol. Bariteau: No, sir. This is dealt with on the administrative side of the house. Disciplinary action is basically a trial. The individual is charged and there is a summary trial that I chair based on the information provided to me.

The Chairman: Does the individual have counsel?

LCol. Bariteau: Yes. He is advised that he can contact a legal officer at no cost or civilian counsel at his expense. We give them 24 hours, at least, to prepare their defence. An assisting officer goes through the rules and regulations of the forces with them with regard to this. Based on the information provided to me, I take a decision. I find the individual guilty or not guilty, and I give him the sentence that I believe appropriate.

The Chairman: What is the range of your powers to sentence?

LCol. Bariteau: For the officer candidate it is very limited. It is either a fine, a caution or a reprimand. However, if I impose a fine of more than $200, the individual will have a permanent criminal file, which is not what we want.

There was a study done on this in 2003-04. When the report is issued it will recommend more flexibility in sentencing. I do not believe that fines of $75 to $200 are appropriate. When an individual is undergoing training, mistakes happen.

Giving a fine of $250 is not really what I want because I know the individual will have a permanent criminal file. Therefore, I am basically limited to a caution or a small fine, because the reprimand will have the same effect.

Today, mommy and daddy are behind individuals. If it costs them $200 and they cannot afford what they want, they will call mommy and daddy. For the recruits, I have a variety of sentences. You have a fine, or you are confined to the barracks for one day to seven days. I can send them to the prison in Edmonton, depending on the charge, which is not the case with the officer candidates, but this will change shortly once the new rules and regulations come in. I am being told that those may come out this fall.

The Chairman: What percentage goes through the system?

LCol. Bariteau: For disciplinary actions? I would say 2 or 3 per cent, sir, at the most.

The Chairman: Is fraternization an issue?

LCol. Bariteau: It is not. They know they cannot fraternize on base. Some problems occur downtown with people fraternizing, but it is not a big issue. They are told when they show up in St.-Jean that there is no sex on base, no nothing on base. Over the past two and a half years I have not encountered such a problem.

The Chairman: That is surprising. We know of problems of fraternization in the forces, so the fact that it does not occur during training is surprising.

LCol. Bariteau: I am not saying it does not occur; I am just saying that I am not aware of it. My instructors have not witnessed any incidents.

The Chairman: When you were talking about visible minorities, you did not mention Sikhs. I am curious about that, because they have a very proud military tradition in their own country. Are you not seeing Sikhs coming through the system?

LCol. Bariteau: Not yet. They are reserve members, yes. There are a few of them out West. We have had two officer candidates show up for the regular forces. I believe it was spring 2004. They went through the training without any problem. One decided to shave his beard because it was a problem. The other one decided to keep it. The only issue, and it has been approved by the Charter of Rights, is if there is any problem with training —

The Chairman: Gas masks?

LCol. Bariteau: Gas masks have been developed to accommodate a perfect seal with the individual's beard. It is no longer a problem. It was one of the issues that we brought forward, saying, ``Okay, that is fine, he does not want to shave his beard, but what about when he goes into the gas chamber? He has to have a perfect seal.'' We found at that time that there were some suitable gas masks available.

The Chairman: Turbans are okay?

LCol. Bariteau: Turbans are okay. I have seen two individuals over the past two and a half years, sir.

The Chairman: If suddenly you received a letter from Gen. Hillier saying it would be 5,000 a year instead of 1,000 a year, aside from probably wanting to have a stiff drink, tell us what you would do. What do you need? What would it take?

LCol. Bariteau: What I need is more infrastructure, as I said before, and more instructors, 10 for every 180 candidates. Aside from that, I would need the budget that goes with it.

The Chairman: For example, if someone said that for the foreseeable future, for the next decade, it will be 5,000 a year more than you are training now, what does that mean in terms of bedrooms and mess halls? You gave us a ratio earlier of how many instructors you need, so we can do the multiplication there, but what are the other things that you would need if it were 5,000 a year instead of what it is now?

LCol. Bariteau: To address the force expansion, if I take for granted the decision that has been taken to move Canadian Forces Language School out of McGill, I do not require anything more. I believe right now at the language school there are about 800 candidates who are learning their second language. Those people are figured into the kitchen requirements, the kitchen staff and what have you, sir.

The Chairman: I understand.

LCol. Bariteau: By freeing up those quarters that are being used by those 800-some candidates at the language school, plus having them gone from the kitchen, the other classrooms and training areas, it should not be a problem. The only place that may be problematic is Farnham during the field training portion.

The Chairman: That is where they are in tents, and is there a shortage of tents?

LCol. Bariteau: No. I would say there could be a shortage of space. The training area in Farnham is 32 square kilometres. There are some spaces we cannot use. There is the garrison portion of Farnham, plus there are some training areas that are swampy during the spring.

The Chairman: Could this not happen at Petawawa or Valcartier or Edmonton?

LCol. Bariteau: It could, and we are now in discussions with the naval reserve detachment in Borden to call in that detachment eventually, if we go forward and address the force expansion.

The CDS has spoken about mission tasks, as has the army commander, Gen. Caron, with regard to this. This is not new, and we have heard it before, but I believe the final decision has not been made. We are ready to address some of the force expansion in St.-Jean. If we go over the maximum capacity of the school in infrastructure terms, then the naval reserve detachment in Borden will become Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School detachment in Borden, and we have fixed the numbers at around 600 per year.

The Chairman: I am surprised you picked Borden, because it seems to me the problems you have at St.-Jean will eventually work their way through to Gagetown and then to Borden. Is that not so?

LCol. Bariteau: The Borden naval reserve detachment was picked because, first, it is central, and it addresses some of the problems, if you can call them problems, that I have at times with anglophone instructors and their families. This would address part of that particular issue. That is why Borden was picked, plus they train only during the summertime. As well, Borden is also the headquarters of Canadian Forces Recruiting Group. This was the decision, to go with Borden as a detachment, if need be.

The Chairman: You has been very helpful, colonel. We have appreciated your information and the answers to the questions. It is obviously a key issue. You set the tone for all of the Canadian Forces. Your success results in the success of the forces. You have a very important job, and the formation that happens at your school carries on for 20 years or 30 years afterwards.

LCol. Bariteau: We hope so, sir.

The Chairman: We wish you continued success and all good fortune. Thank you for coming to the committee today and assisting us in getting a better understanding of the initial training in the Canadian Forces. We appreciate it very much.

LCol. Bariteau: Thank you.

Senator Atkins: We should add that we think you should bring back the drill sergeant.

The committee adjourned.