Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence

Issue 2 - Evidence - Meeting of April 12, 2010


[Editor’s Note]

Correction

At page 2:52, last paragraph, and page 2:53, second paragraph, of the printed Issue, the word “censors” should read “sensors.”

The html and pdf versions appearing on this site have been amended to reflect the corrected wording.


OTTAWA, Monday, April 12, 2010

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 4:06 p.m. to examine and report on the national security policy of Canada (topic: Arctic sovereignty and security).

Senator Pamela Wallin (Chair) in the chair.

[English]

The Chair: Honourable senators, this afternoon, the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence will continue to look at issues related to Arctic sovereignty and Arctic security.

We have had a series of interesting guests and will continue to do so today. We will hear from Brigadier-General D.B. Millar, OMM, C.D., Commander of the Canadian Forces' Joint Task Force (North); Brigadier-General Gary O'Brien, Director General, Land Reserve COS Land Reserve; and we will begin with Lieutenant-General J.M. Duval, Deputy Commander of NORAD.

The Deputy Chair, Senator Dallaire, has requested a few moments to speak before we begin our hearing.

Senator Dallaire: Thank you, Madam Chair. I have been on the national police services advisory board for over three years and became the chair last fall. The independent body advises the commissioner of the RCMP and all police services in the country on their operations in regards to laboratories, procedures and processes.

In reviewing the terms of reference of this committee and now becoming also deputy chair, I have gone to the Senate Ethics Officer to see whether it is conceivable that, on the one hand, I can sit here and conduct analysis of an institution or institutions regarding security and also be a direct advisor to the leadership thereof. I have received formal correspondence advising my resignation from the national police services advisory board, which will happen at the board meeting on July 6. I will table this paper to indicate so and terminate the possible difficulty that I would have in conducting my duties in the Senate.

The Chair: Would you agree that if for some reason between now and then we take testimony from the RCMP you would recuse yourself?

Senator Dallaire: Yes.

The Chair: Are there any other comments or questions on this issue? All agreed? Thank you very much, Senator Dallaire, for bringing that to our attention.

We are pleased to have our witness here today to get our information on the sovereignty and security issues facing us in the Arctic. Lieutenant-General Duval is the Deputy Commander of NORAD. I know you have a few opening comments that you would like to make which we will distribute if you would like. There is also a map.

Lieutenant-General J.M. Duval, Deputy Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD): Honourable senators, thank you for the opportunity to be here today to speak and answer your questions. As the Deputy Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, I am responsible with General Renuart, Commander of NORAD, for the continued success of the three NORAD missions, which are aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning. As the Commander of NORAD, General Renuart from the United States Air Force is in a unique position, responsible to the leadership of the two countries, Canada and the U.S., for the execution of the NORAD missions.

[Translation]

As you are aware, the NORAD mission states that ``In collaboration with homeland defence, security and law enforcement partners, it is our mission to prevent air attacks against North America, safeguard the sovereign airspaces of the U.S. and Canada by responding to unknown, unwanted and unauthorized air activity approaching and operating within these airspaces, and to provide aerospace and maritime warning for North America.''

In order to do so, we have a global perspective but focus on all of the approaches to North America — including the Arctic region.

[English]

NORAD's most solemn obligation is to defend our homeland, including our Arctic territories. For nearly 52 years, NORAD has been conducting aerospace warning and control in the Arctic. Since 2006, NORAD has also been responsible for gathering, assessing and processing maritime information and, in the event of a threat against North America, provides warning to the governments of Canada and the U.S.

It is our commitment to continue to cooperate with United States Northern Command, NORTHCOM, and Canada Command on Arctic region homeland defence and consequential management issues. Furthermore, we continue to work with our strategic partners to carry out our mission in the Arctic, including the United States Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Canada Border Service Agency, Canada Command, the Canadian Coast Guard and the RCMP.

[Translation]

Defending Arctic sovereignty is part of the Canada First Defence Strategy (CFDS), of which four of the CFDS defence missions are relevant to the Arctic, and the first of which is directly attributed to NORAD: Conduct daily domestic and continental operations, including in the Arctic and through NORAD.

[English]

NORADs maritime role in the Arctic is to maintain maritime situational awareness through the sharing of information with other maritime stakeholders in Canada and the United States. NORAD contributes to the maritime domain awareness mission in Canada Command and U.S. NORTHCOM in the Arctic but owns no maritime surveillance assets. Existing NORAD surveillance assets in the Arctic are dedicated to the air and missile defence missions.

NORAD is a permanent member of the Canadian Arctic Security Working Group hosted by Public Safety Canada and Joint Task Force (North).

[Translation]

Canada and the U.S. cooperate extensively on Arctic issues. Within our respective Canadian and U.S. national policies regarding the Arctic, much more unites than divides our two countries. I believe that continued collaboration is the key to meeting the many challenges posed by a changing Arctic environment.

[English]

This binational partnership, NORAD, is a cornerstone of the relationship between Canada and the U.S. It is a trust- based relationship founded by over 51 years of mutual cooperation and a shared commitment to the security and defence of North America. It is a solid base from which to enhance and build the security of North America from the potential threats of the changing Arctic environment.

I appreciate the opportunity to speak here today and look forward to answering your questions.

The Chair: Thank you very much Lieutenant-General Duval.

[Translation]

Senator Dallaire: Thank you for being here. I have a question about the organizational side of things, but first I want to ask about threats.

In the current context of Northern Command and Canada Command, as well as the Tri Command Study, did your threat assessments change significantly given the changing situation in the Arctic?

I see that you have made projections up to 15 years down the line, but given that you operate with these two other entities, has the threat outlook changed?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: In terms of the emergence of the two commands, USNORTHCOM and Canada Command, NORAD's mission has not changed at all. It is still to provide aerospace warning and control, and the size of that airspace has not changed since NORAD was established in 1958.

The changes that have taken place are not related to USNORTHCOM or Canada Command but rather stem from the change in the geopolitical landscape, particularly, with respect to Russia. It is not so much a change as a heightened level of activity since August 2007.

When I took command in Winnipeg, there was a sharp and sudden increase in strategic aviation activity on Russia's part, and the pace of that activity has remained steady ever since.

NORAD had, to some extent, returned to an operating level that had not been seen since the time of the Soviet Union, followed by a long period of inactivity; things started up again in August 2007.

Since then, there have been many deployments in the Arctic involving fighter, electronic detection and tanker aircraft, precisely to address this potential threat, to confirm whether or not there is a threat, and to identify and confirm whether it is in fact Russian strategic aircraft we are dealing with and not some other entity.

As a result, this has changed our mission over the past two-and-a-half years, and the creation of USNORTHCOM and Canada Command has not changed anything.

Senator Dallaire: Yet they were created to address these threats and to mobilize resources in response. At headquarters, your responsibilities include contingency plans and continued operational deployability. Have these two land components changed the nature of your activities, in terms of your perceiving the threat to involve more than just the aerospace, surface or maritime domains, but also the land domain?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: Yes. Clearly, things have changed at NORAD with respect to the two other commands, established in 2002 and 2006 respectively. We certainly went through a transition period, and it is still ongoing, although we have more experience now. The commands had to learn how to communicate and work together. It started with USNORTHCOM and NORAD being brought together under a single commander with a mostly integrated staff. However, NORAD and USNORTHCOM operate separately, and it is a Canadian leading NORAD's operations.

This has affected the way NORAD operates on a daily basis, in that it must adopt a cooperative approach whenever missions are complementary. It is not necessarily a NORAD mission and a NORTHCOM mission; there are points when they intersect and when the commands communicate.

Take, for example, the September 11, 2001 scenario. If it were to happen again or something similar were to occur, first of all, NORAD would have to intervene with possible consequences: if it happened in the U.S, USNORTHCOM would have to get involved, and if the same thing happened on Canadian soil, Canada Command would get involved.

In that respect, there was some learning that had to happen. NORAD has certain other surveillance functions. And there, we always have to be careful during natural disasters, in terms of both Canada Command and USNORTHCOM.

For example, in the case of hurricanes or in post-hurricane or post-tornado situations, we need an image, a visual of what happened, to see the effects of the disaster and to plan operations based on that.

So a shared responsibility exists, as do opportunities to support one another. NORAD was impacted on that level and changed. Over the past six years, we learned how to cooperate with USNORTHCOM and what it meant to coexist. The Vancouver Olympic games gave us a perfect opportunity to improve cooperation among the three commands, and it worked very well.

Senator Nolin: I have another question. General Duval, you just mentioned the fact that there has been a heightened level of activity in the past 30 months because our neighbours to the north, the Russians, increased their air capability.

I would like to know what that increase in activity involved. There are many Canadians watching us on television, and I am sure they would like to know what you mean exactly.

Lt.-Gen. Duval: I will attempt to make things as clear as possible, beginning in August 2007 with President Putin's announcement that Russia would resume sending strategic aircraft flights to the Arctic.

There were numerous reasons behind the announcement, but it mainly had to do with Russia's improved economic conditions and increased military spending. Russia regained its ability to do what it was able to do during the Soviet era. Russia sees itself as a major player on the world stage. It is a way of flexing its geopolitical might, of saying it has the resources it takes to do what it is doing.

Initially, operations resumed on a frequent and fairly aggressive level. Quite simply, the exercise involved long-range flights taking off from Russian main operating bases in the Arctic. It also involved forward operating bases, with flights coming close to the Aleutian Islands and identification zones.

Senator Nolin: When you say ``coming close to the Aleutian Islands,'' was it in U.S. airspace?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: No. The Russians never entered American or Canadian airspace. They entered the AADIZ, the American Air Defence Identification Zone, and the CADIZ, the Canadian Air Defence Identification Zone, which is more or less the same airspace and which extends almost to Mexico.

Senator Nolin: Basically, it is an area encompassing all of North America?

[English]

The Chair: Does the map help? It is in English only. We will pass around a copy of the map.

[Translation]

Lt.-Gen. Duval: What the map does not show is the extension of the east and west coasts in the U.S. As for the point of the question, it is shown on the map.

Senator Nolin: When you say aggressive, what do you mean? Several times a day?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: No, because these missions require a lot of long-term planning. They have an annual training cycle. It can happen two or three times a month, a period.

Senator Nolin: On your end, what effect does that have on operations?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: It elicits a response because that is part of our detection and control mission. Any aircraft that approaches the identification zones should follow an international flight plan.

So long as there is a flight plan and the aircraft in question is following the flight plan, at specific points and times, the aircraft is considered to be legitimate and is accepted as being where it is supposed to be. Russian strategic aviation does not use flight plans.

Whether located on land or in space, our radars provide us with a warning. At that point, we know that there is a target somewhere heading for the identification zone.

Senator Nolin: That is not planned.

Lt.-Gen. Duval: That is not planned, that is not on any flight plan. It is our responsibility to respond appropriately by deploying fighter aircraft. If we receive enough warnings, we can deploy them in our forward operating bases in the Arctic. If we have less warning, we can deploy tanker aircraft directly from main operating bases to meet the target in question and to get close enough to determine that it is indeed a Russian plane, that it does not seem to represent a threat, a sign of aggression or whatever. We can stay with them for a few minutes, and then each aircraft goes back to its side.

What the Russians are doing is legitimate. They are engaging in training for their armed forces. The identification zone is not the sovereign airspace of the U.S. or Canada, but an international airspace. It reflects an existing agreement that is approved and understood by all aircraft operators, whether commercial or military, across the world.

The Russians opted not to follow a flight plan.

[English]

The Chair: I spent the weekend in Elmendorf, where it is their job to respond to that. The Russians will not file any kind of flight plan, and they do not seem to breach the 12-mile barrier often, so is this using up our resources in a non- constructive way? From your point of view, is it deliberate that it takes us so much time to react when they are just sitting there?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: I would say it is deliberate in terms of their desire and need to train their aircrew. Like everyone else, they also see a threat. It may be minimized these days, and it not the way it was seen in the times of the Soviet Union, but common sense dictates that you should be prepared. They have a training requirement and, for them, it is one way of training for that specific mission of the strategic, long-range aviation of the Russian air force.

Senator Nolin: That begs the question: Do we do the same?

The Chair: Yes.

[Translation]

Senator Nolin: Do we train our pilots to do the same thing? I assume the Russians also have a strip of airspace that is more or less part of their territory. Do we do the same thing?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: We have that capability, but we do not need to use it. And that does not prevent us from flying over the Arctic solely for practice. Last year, we sent a Canadian patrol aircraft over the North Pole. It had nothing to do with how close the Russians were. It was simply a training mission to do some reconnaissance over the glaciers.

Senator Nolin: Last I checked, they were international waters?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: Yes, they are international waters.

Senator Pépin: What are the key actions Canada needs to undertake to ensure NORAD's continued relevance and effectiveness? Are there methods that can better help you?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: NORAD is a user. It is not necessarily involved in each country's process for developing its strengths, but it does have a stake in the process, in knowing where each country is headed in terms of future technology.

My commander, General Renuart, has repeatedly talked about the need to have more effective and efficient radars. Technology is improving, and the sooner we have radars that are equipped with longer range sensors, the sooner we can plug the holes in the current system. NORAD would welcome any new technology.

We are very interested in the process. We know there are new capabilities on the way, such as the RADARSAT project, which will help us do a better job of carrying out NORAD's mission. In short, we will happily accept any future technology either country can provide.

Senator Pépin: Given the level of cooperation between the two countries, to what extent does Canada rely on the United States to provide information and intelligence on maritime traffic in the Arctic?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: As part of NORAD's maritime warning mission, both countries cooperate and provide information.

Each country has its own capability in terms of information and detection. NORAD's mission is simply to collect that information from every source. There are many sources of information on commercial maritime operations. Before the mission, things were scattered, no one had an overall sense of what was available. It is with that in mind that NORAD carries out its maritime warning mission. It simply involves seeking out all those entities and organizations with information. A few weeks ago, in fact, we had a group of some 200 participants with more than 60 or 70 organizations who could play a role in maritime detection and warning.

The idea is just to gather information, analyze it and to meld it together, if you will. It is to produce something that gives us an accurate picture of what is really going on and, in the event of a threat, to alert the respective governments, namely, the waters under American or Canadian jurisdiction. At that point, our mission is complete. It is up to USNORTHCOM or Canada Command as to whether there are defence implications.

[English]

The Chair: Could you set the stage for our committee? When Canada did not sign on to the ballistic missile treaty, the rules changed. There were some tasks left to NORAD and the Americans set up separate operations in some areas. We are unable to see some of that intelligence. We run some of these operations separately, so just to follow up on Senator Pépin's question, how has that changed what we do?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: In the realm of DND, because of the NORAD capabilities and the sensors, NORAD has always been involved in the aspect of detection from the days of the Cold War, the threat of intercontinental ballistic missiles. The detection technology and capacity has always been part of NORAD. That same capacity can be used for the BMD aspect of it. That name is slowly going away and is being changed to integrated air and defence, missile defence. I do not think it was understood that NORAD always had a little bit of that mission because of its detection capability.

I do not know what the future will be because it is at the political realm. All I can say is NORAD has always had a portion of that role. Whether it is pre-BMD or post-BMD, nothing has changed. The sensors are there to do that portion of the mission. Then it becomes a U.S.-only function to take action, if you want. NORAD does not take action from that perspective.

Senator Banks: General, it is nice to see you again. I will now demonstrate both my political and military naiveté, which has surprised me since I have been on this committee for approximately 10 years.

I always thought that NORAD could send planes into the air. I found out recently that is not true. You said today that you have detection in and control of airspace responsibilities. I always thought that on 9/11 the Canadian in command of NATO sent planes into the air. Have I been under a misimpression all these years? That in fact NORAD does detection and warns, as you said in your opening remarks, the governments who then take action on either Canada Command or U.S. Northern Command? Is that right?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: In terms of the NORAD mission maritime warning, we warn. We gather, collect, fuse information, draw conclusions, and if there is a conclusion of a threat, we will warn the respective government — Canada Command, U.S. NORCOM. In terms of airplanes, Commander NORAD has always had, still has, the ability and does send airplanes into the air. I answered the gentleman's question and that is what we are talking about. We go out and meet the Russians. I read the recent testimony in preparation for this that said we did not. That was bogus.

The Chair: I looked at the previous testimony as well. I believe the confusion stems from the statement of the witness that the actual taking down of another plane is a separate issue from meeting them.

Lt.-Gen. Duval: I will come back to that, but yes, we do send airplanes into the air, both for the conventional mission, of meeting the Russian long-range aviation, and also from the perspective of an internal threat like 9/11 or a similar threat that would come over international airspace into our own airspace, U.S. or Canada. We will meet these airplanes.

Almost on a daily basis in North America, NORAD has airplanes meeting someone because a flight plan is not being followed, whether it is a radio communication or the pilot falls asleep or plays on the computer and happens to pass over their airport where they are supposed to land.

If a civilian airliner is not following its plan and does not start its descent at the time and place it is supposed to, then whether it is the Federal Aviation Administration or NAV CANADA, the air traffic control system says something is wrong. They call us and our assets respond. Sometimes they will be ``scrambled.'' We get them in the air and they will meet that airplane, and through a number of tactical procedures, we try to get their attention, and most of the time we do.

The events are always solved, apart from a few exceptions. A few years ago, a pilot suffering from hypoxia blacked out completely and could not react. He was a professional golfer. We have had a few of those cases but all these cases are solved. There is a multitude of them, hundreds of potential threats to Canada and the United States. Potential threats could be anything.

Under aerospace control, which is what we are talking about, we go out and take action or at least see and potentially take action if required. Under those obligations from January 2007 to December 1, 2009, we have identified approximately 6,000 aircraft, or as we call them ``tracks of interest,'' which required NORAD's attention, almost 600 scrambles. That is a lot of activity in both countries. Obviously, the bulk is in the U.S. where the air traffic control is much higher. There were approximately 200 required interceptions, direct action by the fighters to draw their attention to make them perform. In some cases, the pilots were sent to alternative airports because the legal authorities, the law enforcement agencies needed to talk to them. That has happened and some have made national news.

Senator Banks: That gives me great comfort because I was worried, based on my misimpression of what was said here previously, that you sitting at your desk in NORAD would have to go through someone else to send planes into the air.

Lt.-Gen. Duval: Both countries have their national assets assigned to NORAD, and the flag on that asset does not matter. It is a NORAD flag. They can operate anywhere.

Senator Dallaire: They are under command to NORAD, correct, for operations?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: Yes, they are.

Senator Dallaire: Only operations, not administration. They are under command for operations.

Lt.-Gen. Duval: Strictly operations.

Senator Dallaire: Do you have the same with naval assets?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: We own no naval assets.

Senator Dallaire: Are you moving to that?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: That would be for the two countries to decide upon.

Senator Lang: I would like to follow up on the statement you made a little earlier about 6,000 interceptions in two years, basically 3,000 a year.

Lt.-Gen. Duval: Six thousand potential tracks of interest, potential threats. Some are resolved. We do not have to scramble because someone wakes up and can call air traffic control to say everything is okay. I am here, it is under control.

Senator Lang: From Canada's point of view, do you have a breakdown of how many were in Canadian airspace? You said the bulk of them were on the American side.

Lt.-Gen. Duval: I do not have that information with me, but we can certainly pursue that avenue. I know we could probably get the approximate numbers.

Senator Lang: That would be interesting to see.

You indicated that Canada does not go out to be — I will use the word — ``provocative'' with the Russians. We only go there when they come into our airspace and we are called upon.

Do the Americans train their pilots and crews, go out towards Russian airspace, and do the same as what the Russians are doing to us?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: I am not in a position to answer that question.

Senator Lang: Our notes indicate that there is a tri-command study under way and drafted between the two countries. Perhaps you could update us on that study and inform us as to its completion.

Lt.-Gen. Duval: We can get you that information. I am not directly involved in it. My commander is involved with the dual hats of Commander of NORTHCOM and Commander of NORAD. I am strictly on the NORAD side of the house, but we can get that answer for the committee.

Senator Lang: I want to go to the RADARSAT-2 data under the project Polar Epsilon. I would like some clarification. Does that meet everything we need to know in order to be aware of what is going along the Arctic coast and where all our responsibilities are?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: Senator, I have to deflect that question because I am not in the project at all. NORAD is a potential benefactor of the technology, but I am not up to speed on that. I have some idea of what the capabilities are, but that is a question for the project office and the force development process of the Canadian Forces.

Senator Lang: It would be very interesting to get an update on that because that is supposed to resolve many of our problems from the point of view of being able to be immediately aware if we are under threat.

Lt.-Gen. Duval: I know enough to say it will be of assistance to the NORAD missions both in the air and particularly in the maritime warning aspect of our mission.

Senator Tkachuk: Do we have confidence in our ballistic missile defence? Do you have confidence in it?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: I can only speak from the perspective of what I see in the U.S. because it is an entirely U.S. system, completely separate from NORAD, other than the ability to provide detection capability that NORAD has always had. My sense is that they have confidence in their system.

Senator Tkachuk: When you say NORAD has the ability to detect —

Lt.-Gen. Duval: NORAD has always had the mission of assault warning.

Senator Tkachuk: You have confidence in that ability to detect?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: Absolutely.

Senator Tkachuk: How do you know that?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: We have examples. It does not have to be a ballistic missile for the system to kick in. We monitor the activity. The detection capacity is global because you do not know where the rogue intercontinental missiles could come from, whether North Korea or other countries that may have the capability. The detection system has the ability to look around the planet. It is space based and highly sensitive and is able to detect red-hot points indicating the launch of a vehicle of some sort. It is able to detect or predict the track and whether or not it is a threat to North America. It is an efficient system.

Senator Tkachuk: There are some countries that have made verbal overtures about the Arctic and who have said they have claims — like Russia — over the Arctic, which Canada has always considered as their own territory. Does NORAD have discussions about how those matters are treated? Are those countries that have given an indication of their interest in the Arctic given special attention over countries that have never given any indication that they are interested in the Arctic?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: NORAD has an interest in the discussions vis-à-vis disagreements on borders et cetera. If you use Russia as an example, if the territorial and border claims of the Russians — for whatever political message they want to send — leads them to increased activity on the military side, then NORAD is interested. It can be argued whether or not the increased activity in 2007 was linked to the geopolitical messages that Russia wants to send. If the Russians decide to use their long-range aviation to send that message, NORAD will become interested and will react to the activity.

Are the two linked? We could certainly think they might be. Our mission is not to get involved and argue for or against the claims. Our mission is to react to whatever actions are taken by these entities or countries that have a claim.

Senator Tkachuk: Sovereignty and security can get mixed up, can they not? The Americans themselves are making claims on the Arctic.

Lt.-Gen. Duval: I will leave that up to the two governments to sort out.

Senator Tkachuk: The U.S. is our NATO partner, so you obviously treat them differently than you would the Russians, the Dutch, or another country that is laying claim to the Arctic. Another nation might send a ship or a plane to exercise control. One of these days one of these planes will actually land on a piece of territory and the pilot will lay claim to the land on behalf of his country. What is NORAD's game plan for that?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: If a plane is inbound, NORAD has a role from the warning and the control perspective and will take whatever action is necessary to change the intent of that airplane.

Should the plane make it to its destination, if it is Canadian territory then Canada Command will have a role to play. NORAD will play its role in the aerospace domain as much as it can. Regardless of whatever political disagreements on borders and claims of international passage or domestic waters may be, the NORAD mission has never been and will not be affected by any of the claims. It flies above those claims and disputes. For almost 52 years, we have had the aerospace mission, and the disputes get in the way of that mission.

Senator Tkachuk: If an airplane or some other flying object is moving towards North America with a different intent than doing immediate harm, but rather the intent to lay claim to sovereignty, does NORAD have a right to shoot down that plane if it drifts into airspace? If it is an unarmed plane that is coming in for another reason, would you ask questions?

What would happen if that took place? What would happen if the Russians did lay claim with an unarmed military presence such as an airplane that was not necessarily a fighter airplane?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: You are posing a hypothetical situation.

Senator Tkachuk: The point is that these countries are laying claim to parts of the Arctic. I am still not over-trusting Russians, so that is why I am asking these questions.

Lt.-Gen. Duval: It is a hypothetical situation, and I will answer in that context. NORAD will carry out its warning and control mission, to the extent that it can. When we go out to meet a track of interest, a system of conferences is in place where these matters are discussed, and sometimes it will be elevated. There are various levels. It will go up to the national leadership, if need be, depending how the situation is evolving.

In a hypothetical situation as you describe, we would have to make an assessment on an unarmed airplane approaching our airspace with the intent of landing and staking a claim, planting a flag. We would have to assess whether that action would be of harm to anyone. The odds are that situation would not be harmful, although, obviously, there will be political fallout, discussions and exchanges. Would we take action? My gut feeling is that, once we discuss that at the national leadership level, we would let it land and then sort it out later. However, NORAD will have fulfilled its mission up to the point where the decision is made. There is no point in being aggressive or taking legal action because there is no threat. There is a consequence to deal with afterwards, but that is way beyond the NORAD mission. That is for the political level and law enforcement agencies and Canada Command or U.S. NORTHCOM, as the case may be, to take action.

The Chair: I will phrase the question slightly differently. We are taking testimony on increased Canadian interest in sovereignty and security issues in the Arctic but, at the same time, we appear to have, for reasons we have discussed, increased dependence on the Americans for equipment and for intelligence. We no longer have access to some of it because it has been hived off from NORAD and made into NORTHCOM or whatever it may be. Does it make us, perhaps not more vulnerable, but less informed and less able to respond because of lack of access to intelligence or equipment in this case?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: That is a good question. From my perspective, from what I see every day, and from my previous job in Winnipeg as the Commander of the Canadian NORAD Region for two years, I can tell you that NORAD gets the information that it needs to conduct its mission from all aspects of the mission. That is not an issue. What needs to be available to NORAD to conduct its mission is made available to NORAD, day in and day out. That has not changed. From what I see, there is no challenge there.

NORAD is a binational command. We share the assets. The U.S. has capabilities in terms of air force that we do not have in Canada, or that we have less of. We do not have AWACS, early warning airplanes. We rely on the U.S. for the provision of AWACS on NORAD missions within the Canadian region where there is a need. They are not needed every day. We needed some of those assets for the coverage of the Olympic Winter Games, for which NORAD had a mission to plug gaps. We had difficult terrain and the radar could not see everything, and AWAC could see, so wherever we had a hole in our coverage, it was covered. We rely on the U.S. Air Force to provide that coverage.

The Chair: I think that is Senator Tkachuk's point. If there is a Canadian interest versus an American interest, and if we are dependent on their equipment and their intelligence, where does that leave us?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: From within the NORAD organization —

The Chair: It is not just NORAD. It is also NORTHCOM, where some other things have been hived off.

Lt.-Gen. Duval: Simply from the perspective of aerospace warning and aerospace control, the advent of NORTHCOM or the Canada Command has not changed our ability to conduct the mission.

[Translation]

Senator Nolin: I want to come back to ballistic missile detection. You have had that responsibility since 1958. I would say it was mainly in the 1970s. That is really when the detection capability was put in place. Are you able to detect a missile that is launched from anywhere in the world?

I will be a bit more specific. When countries — and let's name them — such as Iran and North Korea, supposedly, test their ballistic capability, do you detect those missile launches?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: Yes.

Senator Nolin: Immediately after emission?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: Yes. Very early. Without going into details and exact times, yes.

Senator Nolin: I would ask that you answer only what you can.

Lt.-Gen. Duval: Think of it in terms of how quickly the missile mission is carried out. We are not talking hours. That means that the detection system is capable of fairly early detection, without getting into details.

I will refer to an example that was in the news. You will recall the deployment of Patriot missiles during the first Gulf war and the Scud missile defence? At the time, the media talked openly about how NORAD had the detection component of a Scud missile launch. I am not revealing anything secret, it was in the news at the time. So that gives you an idea of the capability, considering that the distances were much shorter back then.

Senator Nolin: I do not want to get into tactical details, it is just for our information. When a country such as Iran or North Korea, to keep our earlier examples, does a test, they do it at least once a year, and I assume they do not notify you in advance?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: Not necessarily. There is an international procedure.

Senator Nolin: That is what I want to know.

Lt.-Gen. Duval: There is an international warning procedure that exists, and the detection system simply provides confirmation.

Senator Nolin: But when they do not warn you —

Lt.-Gen. Duval: The same capability exists.

Senator Nolin: I understand, but what do you do in that case? Say you were not notified in advance, and a missile is launched from Iran?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: We are able to determine reasonably and fairly quickly whether or not it poses a threat to North America. So we would act accordingly.

[English]

Senator Lang: Could we have an update on the question of the ability to do surveillance? I noticed we had replacements of the CP-140 Aurora patrol aircraft for being able to do that. Is that your responsibility?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: No, it is not.

Senator Day: You indicated that you would like to come back to the terms of engagement. Have you fully discussed what an aircraft may or may not do when it is scrambled and sent out by NORAD?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: I know what you are saying. No, I have not, but I have gone part way. If we scramble an airplane or our fighter assets because a civilian aircraft or small aircraft is not doing what it is supposed to do and we get a warning from NAV CANADA or the Federal Aviation Administration saying something is going on and this is not normal, we will go and meet that airplane.

At the tactical level, the fighter aircraft, normally in a formation of two, will go through a number of tactical procedures trying to get the pilot's attention. They do this with flares in the event that the pilot is sleeping at the wheel. They may take more aggressive but not dangerous action. They will indicate to the pilot, who may not be in communication, that he or she should make a right or left turn in order to land at a specific airport or to set the plane on course to its destination.

You can imagine a 9/11 scenario, where the warning measures are completely ignored. In this situation, a high-level conference is already taking place.

Senator Day: The pilot is sending back information to NORAD.

Lt.-Gen. Duval: The pilot is always sending information. We are looking for compliance with the instructions from the NORAD pilot, and those are predetermined in terms of what actions the fighter pilot will take. The pilots run exercises on these procedures.

At some point, if the track of interest is not performing as it should, or is not compliant, then we have a decision to make. If it happens to be an airliner and the intent is to crash the airplane into a building, then a decision will have to be made whether to engage that airplane before it creates more damage.

Senator Day: When the pilot takes off from Winnipeg, Bagotville, or Alaska, he or she does not have the authority to eliminate that threat.

Lt.-Gen. Duval: No, that decision comes from the highest national level.

Senator Day: I am glad that you helped sort out that issue of the assets of the aircraft under NORAD command, because we had felt that, but we have been off course on this issue for a while.

Lt.-Gen. Duval: Let me use a prime example of what NORAD is all about, this binational command. In November of 2007 when I was in Winnipeg and Commander of the Canadian NORAD Region, the primary fighter in the American F-15 fleet had a catastrophic failure and broke apart in flight. This was not a NORAD asset. The pilot was able to eject. It grounded the entire F-15 fleet because they did not know what happened. Alaska was without fighters because the fleet was grounded. We deployed a number of F-18s from Bagotville in one shot through air refuelling to Alaska, and they took over the responsibility of the safety of the airspace over Alaska and in fact went out and intercepted a Russian aircraft while they were there. That is NORAD, and the reverse can happen. If the F-18s are grounded tomorrow, you will have NORAD assets of U.S. origin serving in Canada and protecting our country.

Senator Day: This committee has been supportive of NORAD in previous reports, and this committee also recommended the expansion of the role to maritime surveillance, but as you have said, it is only warning and surveillance from the maritime and that was, primarily in the past, west coast, east coast. However, now we are talking about the North.

Your say, ``It is a solid base from which to enhance and build the security of North America from the potential threats in the changing Arctic environment.'' Do you envisage an expanded maritime role for NORAD and is that being discussed at this time?

Lt.-Gen. Duval: It is not being discussed at my level, and I am not sure it is being discussed at a different level. Because of the positive experience of NORAD over the past 52 years, NORAD is a vehicle that certainly has the potential to lead the two countries into expansion. I am not saying we will; that is a political decision. I suspect the success of NORAD played a part in the 2006 decision to expand our mission to include maritime warning. Is this a stepping stone to the next step? I am not here to say yes or no. I have personal opinions, but the political leadership of each country can decide what they want to do from what they have done so far from the maritime warning perspective. Whether we go there or not, if a decision is made and they pass that mission to NORAD, then we will do whatever we need to do to plan and develop courses of actions and develop proper contingency plans and everything else as we have done for previous missions.

The Chair: Thank you, Lieutenant-General Duval. We appreciate your answers and thank you very much for being with us today.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are continuing our discussions of Arctic sovereignty and security. We are pleased to have, as our next witness, Brigadier-General David B. Millar, Commander of the Canadian Forces' Joint Task Force (North).

The public will be interested to know that Canada is conducting missions in the North to figure out whether everything works and what we need and whether we play well with others in the North. We will get some details on that situation.

Brigadier-General D.B. Millar, OMM, C.D., Commander of the Canadian Forces' Joint Task Force (North), National Defence: Honourable senators, it is a privilege to appear before the committee and have the opportunity to come out of the North, the ice and snow. I must admit, however, that we are not far behind your warm temperatures here, as the snow and ice is melting at an uncharacteristic rate for this time of year. Although not necessarily a recurring trend, it is symbolic of the climate changes that we have heard so much about, which has brought me here to speak to you on what Joint Task Force (North), JTFN, is doing in adapting to these changes.

As an example, as I speak, my troops have deployed to Canadian Forces Station Alert — our most northerly- inhabited location in Canada — to conduct operations on the land and in the Arctic Ocean with boats, in addition to their snowmobiles and komatiks.

As you will see from our newly minted video that I have left with the clerk, JTFN has four lines of operation. We exercise sovereignty by conducting operations throughout our North — Operation Nanook is the most notable. We contribute to the growth and development of northerners, namely through our two youth programs, the Junior Canadian Rangers Program and the Canadian Cadet Program. We maintain and contribute to environmental stewardship and build the collective capacity to respond rapidly and effectively to the emerging safety and security challenges.

With the opening of the Arctic it is the latter that is receiving the most attention as we build capability to reach into and beyond the Arctic Circle. This is where the increased shipping is occurring, where the commercial and industrial activity is growing, where there is a noticeable increase in scientific exploration and mining exploitation and where tourists and adventurers are heading for a good time. It is also where Canadians will expect the same level of responsiveness from federal and territorial emergency management organizations such as the Canadian Forces, as is expected in the rest of Canada.

The nature of those emergencies include rising sea levels, cutting off communities from its resupply and the melting of permafrost, causing critical infrastructure failures such as a bridge linking a littoral community to the mainland. They include the grounding of merchant vessels causing an environmental incident and the outbreak of communicable diseases in small communities. Also included is the increase in search and rescue, SAR-related incidents.

There are modern-day examples of each of these emergencies, indicative of the growing trend as the Arctic continues to open. For instance, three of the four recent SAR incidents that we responded to involved Inuit, not newcomers, who were surprised by the changes in ice patterns and floes and found themselves stranded.

With respect to communicable diseases, the first wave of H1N1 had a significant impact on the North. We were prepared for the second wave by calling our approximately 1,600 rangers to support the inoculation program.

Knowing and anticipating the future demands has focused our attention to build capability. The collective efforts of territorial and federal emergency management organizations, along with Aboriginal and industry representatives, falls under the rubric of the Arctic Security Working Group, known as ASWG, which Colonel (Retired) Pierre Leblanc described to you.

It is from the ASWG and our Canada First Defence Strategy that I derive my mission to contribute to the collective safety and security in the North.

In addition to the major capital programs that you have heard about, such as the new Arctic offshore patrol ships, the refuelling station at Nanisivik and the Arctic training centre, we are building the following capabilities. We are building rapid reaction force north high readiness ranger units, capable of initial response within 12 hours. We are building new centralized training for ranger recruits and senior leadership. As of today, we have recruited and trained 200 new rangers in the North and have opened a new patrol in Faro, Yukon. We are developing a littoral watercraft capability for our rangers. As a matter of fact, we will conduct a trial along the Mackenzie River this summer. We are looking to procurement of new satellite communications technology for the High Arctic. We are developing a contracted capability that will establish a base camp to support our rapid reaction forces with such capabilities as construction of an ice runway, to providing messing and quarters and operations and communications centres. We will be performing trials on modern equipment such as transportable shelters and global positioning tracking devices, GPS. We will be building our intelligence capability by using RADARSAT-2 and Polar Epsilon, the military capability to conduct recognisance and surveillance and, in the future, the surveillance products from the Northern Watch Technology Demonstration Project. We are introducing special operations forces to northern operations, Operation Nanook. We are training our four new Arctic Response Company Groups; and, finally, formalizing a civilian air search and rescue agreement within northern air carriers to respond to SAR incidents.

As I mentioned, I will be heading to Alert this month to join my rangers as we exercise sovereignty by demonstrating our ability to deploy to austere and remote locations, to test new capabilities and to operate in a changing environment. We are using satellites to characterize ice conditions. We have deployed a forward headquarters to command and control the operation. We have installed a robust communication network using new high frequency and satellite technology.

The new Arctic Response Company Group led by our rangers will work with SAR teams, our navy dive teams and a Danish sledge dog patrol in the conduct of operations in the High Arctic. We will be deploying mobile shelters onto the Arctic ice by helicopter and DC-3 on skis. We will participate with Defence Research and Development Canada in studying the effects of High Arctic operations on human performance, and we will follow the movements of our troops on land and on the water in the Arctic from Yellowknife using the latest satellite tracking technology.

This exercise is a validation of those capabilities I discussed earlier. This and future exercises prepare us to contribute our part in response to tomorrow's safety and security challenges in our North.

The Chair: Honourable senators may have heard the general refer to ``a newly minted video,'' of which we have a copy and with which we have a few technological problems. We have set it up to view later on.

[Translation]

Senator Dallaire: General, if I read the superior officer transfer list correctly, you are being transferred in the summer?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: Yes, senator.

Senator Dallaire: In what capacity?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: Here, at the Privy Council Office, as director of operations.

Senator Dallaire: Does Colonel Hamel have experience in the north?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: Not a lot, I don't think. As you know, he is a helicopter pilot — a good guy — but he does not have much experience yet. Nevertheless, I am sure he will be gaining a lot of experience in the next few months.

[English]

Senator Dallaire: You have four company groups and a reserve company set up in Yellowknife. One of the company groups is to do training. You are conducting exercises in which you have southern troops coming into the North. I am looking at the depth of the competency of the Canadian army in Arctic operations. The Dutch Royal Marines spend three months at a time in northern Norway, doing Arctic training, and our troops spend three weeks. They would still have chocolate bars left after that time. Do we have the depth within the southern troops to respond to doing more than the survival level and the minimum of tactical capability up in that area?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: No, we do not. In years past, we did. We had tremendous capability within the Canadian Forces to operate and deploy to the North. We have numerous facilities across the North in which we used to operate routinely, the army in particular. Over the years, and I am speaking decades, the emphasis changed to expeditionary operation and overseas operations.

Following 9/11, there was a tremendous refocusing on domestic operations and domestic protection. At that time, Canada Command was created along with the six regional joint task forces, one of them being Joint Task Force (North) responsible for domestic operations, in support of other government agencies such as the RCMP and the Coast Guard.

We are at the stage of rebuilding that very capability that we used to have. We are seeing more operations in the North, with our air force deploying more operations and with our navy deploying into the Arctic. We have the creation of the four Arctic Response Company Groups, and the first one will conduct a complete company level exercise this May to be able to gain those very capabilities necessary to operate in the High Arctic in the cold weather environment in support of safety and security.

Senator Dallaire: As commander, if the special forces unit out of Petawawa, which have a para capability, or other special forces were required, they would come under your command. To what extent are they competent and available to you?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: They are immediately available. At the present time, they too are developing their skills and knowledge to operate in the High Arctic. I spoke with General Mike Day, and he will be deploying with me up to Operation Nanook in Resolute Bay, with a section of his troops, along with 427 Tactical Helicopter Squadron, to gain that knowledge of operating in the North.

Senator Dallaire: At this time, we are still in a steep learning curve, having lost a certain amount of experience. This brings me to the point of continuously moving southern troops up there for short periods of time, which is ineffective. We should have them up there for longer periods of time to give them the depth they need, even to change the colour of the fat on their bodies to be able to sustain themselves. Why not increase exponentially the capabilities of the rangers, which would mean giving them more than 17 training days a year as class A reservists?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: The jewel in the crown of the Canadian Forces in the North, our first responders, is our rangers. I have 1,600 rangers under my command at 57 out of 71 communities in the North. When you plot that on a map, you have a tremendous footprint. The rangers have significant capabilities and survival and navigation skills, and they are truly the boots on the ground. They are part-time, citizen soldiers who work in the communities in which they live. As such, they provide us that surveillance or situational awareness of all the local activities. The majority of the communities in the North range from populations of 250 to 1,000 persons. When you have a patrol of rangers, 35 of them, in each community, you have a sizeable capability to respond to safety and security emergencies. We do not have the need in our North, as we do in the rest of Canada, to have troops occupying every single location. In the rest of Canada, we will deploy troops to where we need them, just like the North. I have an advantage as I have rangers on call at a moment's notice in the very communities where the security issue exists. In this situation, our response time is immediate.

Senator Dallaire: It seems to me that with the volume of tasks, the competencies and the equipment being brought into the North, the need for surveillance and observation and response to a border area and not a frontier, as the North is becoming, would call for those rangers to be engaged far more under your command. Do you agree that they should be deployed for longer periods of time and under different service conditions?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: No, senator, I do not agree. The rangers, in essence, are our eyes and ears on the ground 24-7. They provide that function for us right now, whether we are paying them or otherwise. We call them out for specific safety and security emergencies, whether it is a SAR or a community in need of resupply. They are at our disposal all the time. The unique aspect of our rangers is that they are citizen soldiers. They have full-time jobs as teachers, mayors and elders. The economies, for most of our High Arctic communities, are subsistence economies. Our rangers fish and hunt within their communities for their own survival. If you were to take them away from that and employ them just in the services of the Canadian Forces, it would have a negative effect. At the same time, the types of issues we are contending with in northern Canada are the same types of issues we contend with in southern Canada where we have part-time class A reservists. When we need them, we will call them up. This is exactly the same situation and process we have in the North.

Senator Lang: Welcome, and not unlike yourself, I just arrived from the North, just a little further west. There is still snow, but I am pleased to report it is very bright and sunny.

We are very pleased with the Whitehorse Cadet Summer Training Centre. I am pleased with how it functions and what it provides for Canada both nationally and internationally. For those who are not aware, for about three months in the summer, this particular army cadet camp hosts in the neighbourhood of 300 cadets from all across Canada and the world. It is something to see if you have the opportunity to come up in the summer months.

I would like to begin by referring to the rangers. Many people in the Yukon, men and women, have taken up the challenge to become a ranger and to play a part with them, not in Whitehorse only but elsewhere in the territory. I notice in the briefing notes they talk about the Canadian ranger's terms of service being revised. What do you mean by that?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: We have launched an expansion program for the rangers. For my rangers in the North, over the next four years, I have the mandate of expanding the numbers from about 1,600 to 1,900. We have already started that recruiting and training process and we have added another 200 to the communities, Faro being the first of a number of additional patrols. That is our focus in terms of expanding the number of rangers. The terms of service will remain as they are. They are reservists that can be called up on class A and class B service.

Senator Lang: I would like to follow up on the numbers. You say 1,600 to 1,900, but across the North, we are looking at 5,000? Is that correct?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: We have five ranger groups throughout the country. The total is about 4,000. The intent is to raise the total to 5,000 for all of Canada. My part of that is raising the total of 1,600 to just over 1,900. I am proud to say, and General O'Brien will appreciate this because he is following me, that I have the majority of the best rangers in Canada.

Senator Lang: I would like to address the question of updating the rifles and ammunition for the rangers. Could you update us on the replacement of the .303s?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: We currently have the Lee-Enfield, a fantastic rifle, fantastic in its simplicity. One of the greatest characteristics in the North is simple is best. You want a weapon that will not jam and will continue to function after you put it in the bottom of our boat or you have thrown it in the back of your komatik and gone across the land.

The weapon is becoming obsolete in the sense that over the next five years we will be running out of spare parts and therefore, General O'Brien's organization will replace the weapon.

One of our ranger criteria, though, is to keep the weapon simple and rugged. My best example of a primary vehicle for transportation is the Ski-Doo. We do not use four-stroke Ski-Doos because they have electronic start and are liquid cooled. In minus-50-degree weather, the batteries run out very quickly and the liquid freezes, so a two-stroke satisfies our requirements. Simple is best.

Senator Lang: You are spread throughout the North and you have no easy task. Perhaps you could comment on the guidelines for the purposes of the rangers in any particular community, whether it be Faro or Whitehorse or wherever, to have accommodation to do the necessary drills and training. Please comment on the storing of rifles and other equipment.

Brig.-Gen. Millar: One of the unique features about our rangers is the Canadian Forces does not recruit rangers. We go to the communities and ask through the mayors and elders whether they would like to sponsor a ranger patrol. The rangers are iconic within Canada, and as a result, every community we have approached has said it wants to have a ranger patrol for all the various reasons.

The community then takes on the responsibility of supporting the rangers and the Junior Canadian Rangers Program in providing the necessary means, location in which to carry out their drills and their meetings. It is a co- relationship between the community and the rangers themselves. The community chooses the rangers who shall represent them, so it is a mutual relationship. Although you have 35 rangers within the community, the community becomes completely involved in the safety and security of that area.

Senator Banks: Thank you, general, for being with us. I guess ``patrol'' is the equivalent of ``company.'' It is a unit name?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: Yes, senator, it is close to a ``platoon'' in military lexicon.

Senator Banks: There are 35 people in one patrol?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: Yes, that is correct. It is led by a sergeant with a master corporal and the rest are rangers and troops.

Senator Banks: Does JTF2, in the event that southern troops had to go there to do something hard-nosed, have the capacity to operate on any kind of sustained basis in the Arctic.

Brig.-Gen. Millar: Yes, the Canadian Forces has the ability to operate on a sustained basis. We are improving that capability daily as I mentioned in my notes. Joint Task Force 2, in particular in support of the counterterrorism role, has not deployed in the past to the North. However, because of the opening of the Arctic and the potential domestic community issues associated with illegal immigration and counterterrorism, JTF2 is evolving its role to increase its understanding and knowledge of operating in the North.

Senator Banks: Is there Arctic training in store for some aspects of JTF2?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: Yes, senator.

Senator Banks: For the purposes that you just spoke of?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: Yes, there are. As a matter of fact, they have started their planning process and have been in Iqaluit, and we will see them shortly in Resolute Bay.

Senator Banks: You will, as the commander of a joint task force which represents an area, have command of some ships one day, one would hope.

Brig.-Gen. Millar: I have already, senator. I have had HMCS Montreal, Toronto, Shawinigan and Chicoutimi under my command, even though I am an air force officer.

Senator Banks: Tell us about the new patrol ships. Where are they? Will you get some soon?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: I have the exact date.

Senator Banks: The contract has been let?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: No, it has not. The request for proposal has not gone out yet. The actual anticipated delivery of the first one is 2015 with the final capability completed by 2020.

Senator Banks: Do you have a hand in the specs being put out to find bids? You know the difficulty with respect to the support ships. No one won the contest. It was a beauty contest that no one won and it is still in the weeds someplace. Do you have a handle in the specs and do you anticipate there will be successful bids on the Arctic patrol ships?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: I personally do not have a hand in the specifications. That responsibility rests with our project management office under the commander of the navy. Nevertheless, we are consulted in terms of where we plan to operate the types of operation we will use the ships for, so we do have that input.

I am confident that we will have a ship that will be patrolling within the Arctic waters, which has ice capability to a metre or so thickness. I was in Greenland not long ago meeting with my counterpart Admiral Kudsk, and he has a similar ship that cuts through metre-thick ice, a very impressive capability, so I am confident the technology is out there and it is just a matter of time.

Senator Banks: Good. In your opening remarks you gave a recital of a substantial list of upcoming acquisitions. Procurement has always been of interest to this committee. Do you have the money to make these acquisitions?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: In terms of the large capital programs, those are being taken care of under project management offices. In terms of the types of capability I spoke of, remote satellite technology and tracking capability, yes, those finances are available to me to procure the necessary hardware.

Senator Dallaire: I find it a little difficult to accept that you as the northern commander under whom these ships will be used would not have direct input into the project director's requirement or statement of operational requirement. What size helicopter is going on the ship? Will we put Chinooks on it? How many troops can you carry? A platoon, two ranger patrols, three? Do you have any concept of operations that would support these ships except them running around up there? I am not being facetious.

Brig.-Gen. Millar: I should clarify. I personally did not but previous commanders did have input in terms of the statement of requirements. The statement of requirement was defined by the time I took command.

[Translation]

Senator Nolin: A few weeks ago, a witness told us that this was the beginning of an arms race in the Arctic. Do you agree with that? In your opening remarks, you said that knowing and anticipating the future demands has focused your attention on building capability.

[English]

Brig.-Gen. Millar: No, senator, I do not agree that there is a militarization of our Arctic.

The types of capability that I spoke about, both in my opening remarks and that preoccupy me, is the ability to respond to safety and security issues. There is no conventional threat and therefore we are not arming ourselves in preparation for an attack from any country. The likelihood of an attack in the High Arctic is as likely as an attack in downtown Toronto.

We are designed for and increasing our capability to respond to search and rescue emergencies. Tuktoyaktuk, because of the rising water levels, will be cut off from its airport and therefore, we will have to assist in resupplying. The bridge in Pangnirtung collapsed because the permafrost melted and we had to assist people in getting from their community back on to the mainland. During the outbreak of H1N1, the communities did not have the capacity to distribute the inoculations, to monitor and register the patients. That is where our rangers were employed. That is our focus.

[Translation]

Senator Nolin: You understand that I was playing devil's advocate by telling you what a witness had told us. Owing to a lack of information, a number of European allies seem to be saying that Canada is in the midst of sparking an arms race.

My second question has to do with assistance, search and rescue.

[English]

We are probably not there yet, but we will soon have increased naval occupation of the North, both from our own ships and from foreign ships. That will come. What kind of readiness are you putting in place to face the possible search and rescue due to that increased use of the passage?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: We track very closely from a situational awareness perspective. The first requirement to be able to react to an emergency is to know that the emergency is there. As it stands, we are enhancing our ability to know what is in our North, both on our land and in our waters. That capability includes Polar Epsilon, RADARSAT-3 from the sky, developing technology through the Northern Watch program that will detect ships coming in and out of the Northwest Passage, plus the current capability that exists through radar and mandatory reporting that allows us to create a recognized maritime picture. We want a picture of all the vessels in the High Arctic, and therefore when there is an emergency we know where to respond.

In terms of the actual tactical ability, we conduct Operation Nanook every year, which has a maritime focus, as well as land and air force, to practise the very type of maritime emergencies that we think will occur. For instance, there are still many icebergs in the waters. We practice scenarios where a cruise ship collides with an iceberg and we have to disembark passengers, or on a fire on board, or an oil spill from the future tankers that are expected to traverse the North. In Operation Nanook 2008, we practised a grounding of a cruise ship and an oil spill from a ship and had our navy along with the Coast Guard offload the passengers. This summer in Resolute Bay, we will simulate an oil spill. The Coast Guard, being the primary responder, will respond to the cleanup. We will participate with both naval ships as well as our rangers on the land with the community cleaning up the oil spill.

It is through these exercises that we actually practice our capability response.

[Translation]

Senator Nolin: My last question is about Canada's participation in the Arctic Council. We are gaining all this expertise thanks to the work of you and your predecessors. Do we share that expertise with our Arctic partners?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: Of course. We invited the U.S. and Danish military to take part in Operation Nanook, which took place a year ago.

[English]

For Nanook, the Danes will be participating with two of their ships as well as the U.S. with two of their ships, the U.S. Coast Guard as well, to practise the response to a maritime emergency such as a grounded cruise ship or a cruise ship that has struck an iceberg. We participate with those Arctic countries as part of our normal relationships. I have visited Greenland, General Atkins and Rear Admiral Colvin in Alaska, who is responsible for navy patrol of Alaska. We have a very close working relationship so we can use our collective capabilities to prepare to respond to emergencies.

Senator Banks: Please comment on the Fixed-Wing Search and Rescue Project.

Brig.-Gen. Millar: The air force is pursuing this capital program. Search and rescue capability in the North is beginning to expand.

I attended an annual general meeting of all the northern air carriers last week in Whitehorse. Twenty per cent of all the Canadian air carriers are in the North. The number of airplanes, the types and the expertise of their pilots are second to none. We have an agreement with the northern air carriers to create an organized unit called civilian air search and rescue north whereby the civilian air carriers will start to contribute to training and responding in a formalized manner to search and rescue in the High Arctic. That capability exists in Southern Canada, the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association, CASARA. We are just expanding it in the North.

As you can understand, our three territories are four million square kilometres. With 20 per cent of the air carriers in the North, it just makes sense to be able to harness that capability in support of our search and rescue.

Senator Banks: I agree, but you need fixed wing search and rescue aircraft. Do anticipate getting any soon?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: We have fixed wing search and rescue airplanes now in terms of the Buffalo and the Hercules, certainly. They are being changed out because of age and newer capability. That is on the books, as I mentioned.

In the interim, we have been moving forward. Even with new fixed wing search and rescue airplanes, covering four million square kilometres would be difficult without harnessing this indigenous capability in the North.

Senator Manning: Thank you for your presence here today.

Coming from balmy Newfoundland and Labrador, search and rescue is always an important part of our lifestyle. On the West Coast of Canada we have a search and rescue coordination centre in Victoria; in Central Canada in Trenton; and in Atlantic, where I am from, it is in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Do you envision such a centre in the North? Do you think one of these centres should be moved to the North? Do we need the type of capability in the North?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: I have my own joint operations centre, which is responsible for creating the Arctic picture. My operation centre feeds into the three joint regional coordination centres that you mentioned. They communicate with us all of the time. Each has responsibility for the respective territories in the North, and that is very effective. With that kind of connectivity and the technology we have, I do not see a requirement to create another joint regional coordination centre in the High Arctic.

Senator Manning: In regards to your capabilities and aircraft and what else do you have available for search and rescue apart from what you just mentioned. Could you give us an idea of what you have available to provide search and rescue in the North?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: There are two types of search and rescue. One is ground search and rescue, which is an RCMP responsibility. I provide my rangers to the RCMP because the types of grounds search and rescue will be in and near their respective communities. My rangers are assigned immediately to the RCMP to conduct any searches.

Air search and rescue is an air force responsibility, and the air force has responsibility over my three territories. They will respond first with Canadian Forces airplanes and other aircraft to which they have access, and they will contact me to determine if air assets at my immediate disposal can assist. For instance, in the North, I have Twin Otters, a very capable airplane that can land on any surface, including snow and ice, so we will employ those if required as well.

Senator Manning: In Newfoundland and Labrador, prior to Confederation, we had the Newfoundland Rangers, most of whom eventually joined the RCMP.

You mentioned earlier that you promote the junior rangers in the communities. What is the uptake? How many people are involved? If you were building this for the future, the Junior Canadian Rangers Program would be vitally important to the success of what you are planning down the road.

Brig.-Gen. Millar: Our Junior Canadian Ranger Program focuses on children ages 12 to 18 years. The primary purpose is to provide a structured means for the maintenance of those survival skills, tradition, language and culture. The junior Canadian rangers are organized and run by the rangers themselves. I mentioned that we have 57 communities with rangers. Of those 57 communities, 37 have Junior Canadian Ranger Programs, which totals 1,340 junior Canadian rangers in an overall population in the North of 100,800 persons; that number is significant. We also have the cadet program that Senator Lang mentioned. Those two youth programs, in many communities, are the only youth programs, so when we talk about the social issues that are affecting our communities, those two programs provide structure, leadership, self- esteem and confidence building, and they have become very effective.

Senator Manning: My own experience with the cadet program and what it does for young people is beyond words, and it is great to see it taking hold in the North also.

I note that you are in the midst of an operation. Pardon me, but if I tried to pronounce it with my Newfoundland accent, no one would recognize it. Could you give us more details on the operations mission and what you hope to accomplish? I understand you have 150 soldiers and Canadian rangers, scientists from Defence, research and development, and the specialized Danish dog sled team. I know you are in the midst of that right now, from April 4 to April 26.

Brig.-Gen. Millar: We have deployed 150 troops up to Alert, our High Arctic station. We will deploy those troops, which are comprised of rangers, our new Arctic Response Company Groups and my own troops, out on to Ward Hunt Island, which is an ice shelf, and then we will deploy out onto the Arctic Ocean to better understand and characterize what is happening with our Arctic ice. That gives us the capability to operate on our land and on our ice in support of future emergencies that may occur, whether it is search and rescue or something else. As an example, at the beginning of March of this year, 15 adventure groups were heading towards the North Pole. Regrettably, because of water in the Arctic, there are now only nine groups.

Being able to understand what is happening with the ice and being able to evolve our capabilities to respond quickly and effectively becomes our primary task. Communications in the High Arctic are very difficult, simply because the planet bends, and the majority of the satellites orbit around the equator. It is difficult and impossible for satellite receivers to see the actual satellites and transmit. As a result, we are conducting trials on new technology. Iridium, which has 66 satellites in orbit, has provided us, on a trial basis, a local area network where we can plug in from the ground and transmit imagery, voice and data to my headquarters back in Yellowknife, which is just an example of the type of capability that we are creating as well as the abilities to deploy quickly.

I hope that this week we land a C-17 for the first time up in Alert. That is significant. The runway at Alert is gravel, and C-17s worldwide have landed on gravel. There is not a C-17 in the world that has landed on ice and snow impregnated gravel, which presents a different problem in terms of the slipperiness of the runway and braking capability. We will be doing that this week and next, and therefore that will enhance our ability to move to the highest points of our Arctic quickly, with large amounts of troops to support safety and security in the North. That is the sort of thing these operations achieve.

The Chair: Do not go damaging the C-17s.

Senator Tkachuk: Should there be a Coast Guard presence in the North?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: There is a tremendous Coast Guard presence in our North. As a matter of fact, I rely extensively on our Coast Guard to cut the way through the ice for us so that we can have our frigates follow. The Coast Guard has eight icebreakers within the Arctic during the Arctic operating season, and they are our lifeline.

Senator Tkachuk: On search and rescue, as part of your responsibilities, how do you coordinate that with the Coast Guard? Are they in charge?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: Yes, they are. For marine search and rescue, the Coast Guard is in charge, and the Canadian Forces support them.

The Chair: We are overtime. Have you a short question, Senator Dallaire?

Senator Dallaire: Do we arm them or not?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: No, we do not.

Senator Dallaire: Shall we?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: That is a question for the Coast Guard.

Senator Dallaire: I am asking you as an operational commander. Should we be arming the Coast Guard up in the North?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: As the operational commander, senator, I conduct my operations so than I can place RCMP either on our ships or on Coast Guard ships, because in that context, it is a domestic issue responsible for domestic authorities, the RCMP.

Senator Day: This question was asked, but I am not sure it was answered. You mentioned the Danish sledge dog patrol. Are the dogs Danish, is the sled Danish, or are the soldiers Danish?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: All the above, senator. The dogs are Greenlander dogs. The Danes use dogs as opposed to snowmobiles. They have tremendous capability for their own safety and security of Greenland. We will be sharing our lessons learned, so we can portage with our neighbours.

Senator Day: Do we not have dogsleds in the North? Do we have to bring them in from Greenland?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: We have snowmobiles, which are faster.

Senator Day: Is the DC-3 the same one that was flying in the 1950s?

Brig.-Gen. Millar: That is a brand new, re-engined DC-3 flown by Kenn Borek Ltd. For part of our CASARA north concept, we are using civilian industry to support our operations.

The Chair: Thank you very much for being with us today and cramming a lot of information into the time. We do appreciate it.

Our next witness today is Brigadier-General Gary O'Brien, Director General Land Reserve/COS Land Reserve. He is the senior army reserve adviser to the Chief of the Land Staff; and as a secondary duty, I am sure there are many more, you are also the Commander of the Canadian Rangers of which we have many questions. Do you have an opening statement?

Brigadier-General Gary O'Brien, Director General Land Reserve/COS Land Reserve, National Defence: I do not have an opening statement. I would be pleased to introduce myself and provide context to my position.

I am the Chief of Staff Land Reserve and the senior army reservist and responsible to the commander for the institutional advice and management of the reserve issues within the army today.

For the Chief of the Land Staff, I am the officer responsible as the Canadian ranger national authority. My responsibilities are institutional in nature and force generation, to enable and put in place that capability for the rangers, for people like Dave Millar to be able to use them at the appropriate time. With that, I am pleased to answer questions.

The Chair: Does he really have the best rangers at his disposal?

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: All of our Canadian rangers are extraordinary Canadians.

The Chair: That is an excellent answer.

Senator Dallaire: The five ranger regions are commanded by ex-regular force class B reservists, or are they still full- time regular force officers?

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: They are actually neither. They are a combination of regular, retired regular on class B service and of serving reservists on class B service. There is a mix across the country.

Senator Dallaire: I want to set the scene. I do not want to go too far into the whole of the reserves because we are looking at the Arctic and mostly the rangers, but the reservists hold at best deputy commander jobs in the four areas of Canada. Is that correct?

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: Yes, senator. Today under the four area structures of the army, Land Force Western, Ontario, sections of Quebec and Atlantic Canada, each of the deputy commanders are serving class A reservists at the rank of brigadier general.

Senator Dallaire: The reserves are under command of regular forces with deputy commanders who are reservists, correct?

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: I would prefer a more enlightened approach. We are integrated, sir.

Senator Dallaire: Yes, except many of your friends have a different way of saying it, particularly the honorary colonels.

To get back to the rangers, the southern troops committed to the rangers for training, administration and so on, do they go through a special program of cultural awareness, of long-term employment or are they just posted in from Afghanistan and six months later they end up in a ranger patrol area?

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: Each of the ranger patrol groups runs an orientation session for each of the new people posted into that group, including both cultural integration in terms of the unique cultures of the rangers in that CRPG area. They also receive training in terms of the environment. They are briefed on how to survive in the environment, and they go through a number of briefings and a working in period to allow them to understand both the task of the ranger patrol group and the tasks of the rangers themselves. There is a pretty good integrative process.

Senator Dallaire: There is a lot of osmosis and training on the job as they acquire skills up there to enable them to function with them with a small introductory part.

You have one in Yellowknife and you have three or four other companies.

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: We have four others. The Arctic Response Company Groups are the Canadian army's second line response to the Arctic contingency plans. They are formed at four reserve units across the country in each of the areas. In Atlantic Canada it is the 2nd Battalion Royal New Brunswick Regiment, I believe, that provides the company group. In Quebec it is the Voltigeurs. In Ontario, it is the Grey and Simcoe Foresters and in Western Canada, the Royal Winnipeg Rifles has the Arctic Response Company Group tasks.

Senator Dallaire: They are getting special increased funding to be able to be effective beyond survival in the Arctic as an operational task by the army, correct?

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: This is absolutely correct, sir. Not only are they being trained and resourced, but there is a large army project to bring that capability to its fullest as soon as practical. It is resourced; there is training. We hold slots for reservists on the Arctic warfare course. In fact, they have the priorities, and as General Millar pointed out, we are now operating in the Arctic in the training bases.

Senator Dallaire: They are class A, not a class B full-time, correct?

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: Sir, they are class A with a small cadre of class B to maintain the equipment and the administration.

Senator Dallaire: Is it 10 per cent.

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: It is less than that, sir.

Senator Pépin: Canadian rangers are provided with rifles and ammunition. How often are these rifles used and for what purposes?

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: That is a good question. Each ranger is issued with a Lee-Enfield .303 rifle and the appropriate ammunition depending on the CRPG's mission.

Each ranger undergoes 12 days of training per year where he or she is required to demonstrate proficiency with the weapon. The weapon is provided predominantly for personal protection, not to deliver an effect on a battlefield, as people would perceive.

Senator Pépin: You have an objective to raise the number of rangers to 5,000 by the year 2012. Do you think it will be possible to meet that objective? Where will they work? Will the new rangers have a special job to do?

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: Our stated objective is 5,000 rangers by 2012, and we are well on our way. Today there are about 4,190 rangers, both men and women. Our expansion is both the number of rangers and the number of ranger patrol locations.

We have pretty much hit most of the communities; in fact, it is a little saturated in terms of some of the northern communities. This is general expansion of the capability. There is not anything new in particular we will have them doing except to provide a broader capability across all the ranger groups.

Senator Pépin: What is the percentage of women in the Canadian rangers?

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: I am sorry, I do not have that information at hand, but I will be pleased to provide that information to the committee.

Senator Pépin: You do have a number of women.

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: Yes, we do.

Senator Banks: We are concentrating on rangers in the North, but there are rangers other than in the North. Are there rangers in downtown Toronto? Where are ranger patrols located?

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: The ranger patrols are located primarily along the northern extremities of each of the land forces areas. For example, in the Maritimes they are predominantly in Northern Newfoundland and Labrador. In Quebec they are north in the Ungava. In Ontario they are in all of the northern and Aboriginal communities that line Hudson's Bay and some of the lake communities. In the West they go anywhere from the British Columbia coast — where many of the rangers are non-Aboriginal, — into the some of the lakes along the northern borders of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. That is the area they operate today.

The Canadian Ranger Patrol Group headquarters is located in Goose Bay, Newfoundland, for that group in Valcartier, Quebec, in CFB Borden in Ontario and in Edmonton in the West.

Senator Banks: General Dallaire asked how long it would take southern troops to acclimatize to the northern climate. The rangers already have that capability. I assume most of them are fully functional in the North in terms of sustaining and protecting themselves. You said that in addition, in terms of their ranger work, they get 12 days of training a year, which I assume is mandatory.

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: Yes.

Senator Banks: Is that enough training from the standpoint of doing the things they do beyond survival to make them fully functional, or should that be increased?

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: If I may, the rangers bring their own unique capabilities of surviving and understanding the land. The training that they receive is usually in terms of refreshers in the use of the equipment like Iridium phones and cell phones. They practice how to contribute to a military operation. They practice methods to become more capable.

Under the current funding policies of the government, those 12 days seem to be adequate for maintaining the skill sets that we have assessed.

There are a number of rangers who do more than 12 days a year and those are normally tasked by the Joint Task Force (North) commanders like Dave Millar, who gives them operational tasks. While they are doing operational tasks they are learning and contributing to the mission. Those 12 days I mentioned are those training days to supplement and maintain the skill set that we ask them to have.

Senator Banks: In the two circumstances that you just mentioned — the 12 days of mandatory training and the assignment of tasks beyond that — are they paid for all that time?

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: That is correct.

Senator Banks: We understand they are put into paid service on the order of either the Governor-in-Council or when they are called out in response to an emergency. On whose authority would they be called out in response to an emergency?

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: The joint task force commander has the operational command of the rangers. As a named operation in Canada Command, those forces may be activated under the authority of the commander of Canada Command.

Senator Banks: They would thereupon become under his command and therefore, at that point, become paid and in the service.

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: Correct.

Senator Lang: General Millar put forth the figure of 1,600 rangers for the North, and he indicated it would go to 1,900. Do you have many applicants coming into the rangers?

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: That is an interesting way to put it, senator.

I think ``applicants'' may be an overstatement of the term. As we begin to expand our rangers, the two ways in which we are doing it is first going to each of the ranger patrols for expansion of those patrols where we ask the community if they could provide more rangers, amongst whom there are some who are interested and could be considered applicants.

In other communities where we wish to expand in terms of the operational cover, we approach the community and ask whether they are interested in setting up a ranger patrol. They inform us as to how many rangers they might provide for that patrol. To say there is a traditional recruiting process would be an overstatement. There are not people lining up at recruiting centres to become rangers.

Senator Lang: You are finding it is positive. You are getting more and more civilians coming forward when asked?

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: I am pleased to report that interest in the Canadian rangers is increasing as more and more Canadians across the entire country stand up to contribute to their country.

They are a positive organization that contributes not just to the security of Canada in their community but contribute to their community. In some of the Aboriginal communities, they are certainly the glue that holds that community together. A large draw of members who live in similar circumstances become associated with the Canadian rangers for all the positive things the organization provides.

Senator Lang: I wish to make a general comment, on the rangers and talking about training and the question raised by Senator Banks and Senator Dallaire. In our part of the world, the rangers have a solid background as far as the survival skills and other things that are asked of them prior to coming into the rangers. They do bring a great deal to the table when they join.

I want to raise a question that is more in our part of the world, and that is the question of the cadet camp and the use of that camp on a more extended basis than what it is presently. You are probably aware of the summer camp in Whitehorse. We have a series of barracks, some very good accommodation there from the point of view of hosting various cadets and maybe others.

Are there any plans to use that particular site in the winter months or extending that? I know there would have to be some retrofit done, but it seems to me that if you are going to the North and you have an existing base in place it would be worthwhile to use it.

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: Unfortunately, that is not my area of responsibility. The junior rangers and the cadet camp in Whitehorse are under the authority of the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, and General Millar, who would have to answer that question, would own the real estate. I have no idea.

Senator Lang: I noticed that the question came up this past year about volunteers and then the rangers helping to keep the Yukon Quest dog race trail open. They were taken off it last year, and then many of them volunteered. Is there any thought of utilizing that as a training program again in the future?

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: At this time, I am not aware of our commitment to support that activity. It is being considered by the commands that are associated with that ground, but I could not tell you if we will do that again this year.

Senator Lang: I know that they did it for a number of years, and last year they were removed from it. I would strongly advocate that it be reconsidered.

Senator Nolin: General, listening to you and General Millar and our colleague Senator Lang, I feel the importance of the community link with the rangers. It is important that it be not only between you and the rangers but also between them and their community. Do you expect the rangers not only to serve your operations or the operations of General Millar, but to serve their community also? Do you expect that from them? They are not full-time employees.

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: Like most reservists and citizen soldiers, there is a mutual contribution of skill sets and expertise and a sense of duty and responsibility that flows both ways, both to the Government of Canada as a ranger and to their community as a community leader. I believe that in most of the communities, especially the Aboriginal communities, the rangers are themselves the community leaders.

I see this as an important dynamic in terms of maintaining the capability of rangers. The strength of the rangers to me is that community link that they have and that ability to operate within the tough parts of the country where only they seem to survive.

Senator Nolin: Is that philosophy of relation particular to the rangers or do you want us to understand that it is the same philosophy for the entire reserve?

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: Well, Gary O'Brien believes that it is an important perspective of the entire fabric of the reserve service across the country.

Senator Nolin: You are not alone.

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: The citizen soldiers, who contribute so much to the security of this country, including operations in Afghanistan today, are integral members of their community and provide that vital connection with Canadians where there are not any regular forces in place. This contribution has been recognized by the Armed Forces, by the CF, as being valuable. I see investments from the CF across the reserve. I see investments by communities in their reserve units. I would say that it is critical to the survival of the reserve institution. I can only speak about the army's reserve. The maintenance of that link with your community is critical. In communities where those links are not as strong as they once were, that effort needs to be done through army reserve transformation, which is another part of my responsibilities.

The Chair: We have come around it a little. When you talk about providing support to sovereignty operations and the line between sovereignty and security, is there some way you define that as part of the training.

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: That is a tough question, senator. There is a blurry line between sovereignty and a security operation. The rangers are not involved in law enforcement. They are precluded in peacetime from participating with law enforcement outside the provision of what they do. It is a very fine line. The operational commanders, especially General Millar, have proved to be excellent operational commanders in understanding that fine line, in combination and coordination with all the other government agencies. Those agencies include the Coast Guard, the RCMP and Canada Customs. They must ensure that there is an integrated security view and the place of the rangers in that. I would say that this is not an easy thing, and I am pleased with the way it is being handled in Joint Task Force (North). Certainly, the rangers who are active and involved in all the training opportunities and all of the operations that are conducted at Joint Task Force (North) provide for a learned understanding of the line between sovereignty and security operations.

The Chair: You would not describe it as an issue.

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: I do not believe it is an issue.

Senator Dallaire: The class A reservists in the South are guaranteed training of what used to be about 39 days a year, plus perhaps summer training, and I suppose the figure is the same now. Class A reservists are in their unit lines, in an armoury, with all the support from the supporting base, and they get all the social support from the local communities and so on.

Now we have the rangers who are in isolated areas. If I am not mistaken, in 1995, when I was commanding in the Quebec area, they were getting 12 days a year. We seem to be paying them only 12 days a year. Yet, we know there are more and more jobs and tasks, and God knows what will happen in the future. Should they not be getting more social support and more class A days?

It seems that we are getting a very good deal, which is not particularly ethical. We are using their natural skills, but they have to keep training their natural skills, and that is what we want. We are getting it free and only giving them 12 days a year, while we should be reinforcing what they are doing naturally plus helping them with the junior rangers and giving them 30, 40, or 50 class A days a year. Would that not be more responsible? I would not say we are ripping them off, but I do not think we are not giving them an honest deal.

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: I beg to disagree. I think the rangers are getting an excellent deal. Here is the perspective. They are rangers because they bring their intuitive, unique skill sets to the country in terms of providing CF capability. Whenever a ranger goes to work or on a mission or does anything for the military, he or she is compensated. In fact, we just revised some of our policies to ensure that the compensation includes snowmobiles that fall through the ice and fuel and so forth.

We have not seen a large increase in the operational demand for rangers. We know that we need to have more to meet some of the expanded requirements of future security environments. We do not see a change in their mission sets that would require them to have more training than they have today. We have not realized any operational requirements that would change the basic dynamic of what the rangers can provide to the CF in terms of capability, nor have we had policy direction to change that dynamic.

I am confident that the rangers are well compensated every time they put their red hoodie on and do something for the government. They receive 12 days of training, which seems sufficient to meet the requirements of integrating their equipment into their operations. They are being used more and more as we expand our view of the security requirement. Ten years ago, there were not these large exercises in the Arctic, but now there are. They are become being involved, and we watch very carefully to ensure that if the dynamic changes we would begin to assess more training and more resources.

Senator Dallaire: Thank you very much, but the mechanic in downtown Toronto who goes into the service battalion, and we are getting more and more equivalencies of transfer of technical skills, comes to us with his training as a mechanic and gets 39 days a year plus. Now, the ranger comes in with all his natural skills and is well qualified. We do not pay for that but we use it and we think that 12 days a year is sufficient.

I would consider that inappropriate. I am not trying to say that we are bad guys. It is a philosophy that is to be revised because of the dependency we have on those fundamental skills that they are giving to us nearly gratis.

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: Yes, I understand your argument quite well. I would like to point out to you, though, that the terms of service for rangers are different from the terms of service for reservists. There are two different terms of service, and appropriate to each term of service we have allocated the resources we think are reasonable.

Senator Dallaire: If a ranger is injured on exercise, does he get the same sort of support and pension and so on from Veterans Canada as a regular force or reservist on class B.

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: Yes, senator.

Senator Banks: We are told the terms of service are about to be changed. Do you know anything about that change?

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: Yes, senator. It is my responsibility for the revision of the terms of service.

Senator Banks: Tell us about it.

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: We are working on the terms of service to realize a number of things in terms of the equivalency of coverage and those types of things. Terms of service in our environment today and the use of reservists are becoming more prevalent, and as we have just discussed, rangers are being used more and more. There are some policy aspects that need to be realigned to allow for reasonable expectations, not to rip them off.

Senator Banks: Can you give an example or two?

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: I can give one example in terms of compensation for the use of equipment. We ask rangers to come with their own snowmobile or sled dogs or whatever, and should that snowmobile or sled dog be damaged, injured, or lost during those operations, we now compensate them for the replacement. That is one example.

Senator Dallaire: You say now.

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: Now.

Senator Dallaire: And we have had them for 50 years.

The Chair: Thank you very much. We appreciate your testimony today, Brigadier-General O'Brien. As you can see, this committee is interested in your rangers and the role they play in our country. We appreciate your spending time with this committee.

Brig.-Gen. O'Brien: Thank you very much.

(The committee continued in camera.)