Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence

Issue 4 - Evidence - Meeting of May 10, 2010


OTTAWA, Monday, May 10, 2010

The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this day at 4 p.m. to examine and report on the national security and defence policies of Canada (topics: the Canadian Forces component of the humanitarian relief operation in Haiti, Operation HESTIA; and the role of our Forces in Afghanistan currently and post 2011).

Senator Pamela Wallin (Chair) in the chair.

[English]

The Chair: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to our ongoing hearings at the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence. Today we will hear testimony regarding our mission in Afghanistan and also our recent relief efforts in Haiti and how the two might be connected. We will hear from Major-General Ward, Deputy Commander, NATO training Mission-Afghanistan, Joint Task Force Afghanistan International and Security and Assistance Force HQ a little later on, and we will begin with Colonel Jean-Marc Lanthier.

Colonel Jean-Marc Lanthier was appointed Commander 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group on July 3, 2009. Following the earthquake in Port-au-Prince on January 12, 2010, Colonel Lanthier served as the Deputy Commander of the Joint Task Force Haiti under which Canada's rapid response team, otherwise known as DART, was deployed.

Colonel Lanthier served in Bosnia and was active during the 1998 ice storm. In testimony we heard last week we heard about the OMLTs, Operation Mentor and Liaison Teams, in Afghanistan, and Colonel Lanthier's work goes back to 2006 on that front as well.

There is a personal connection in all of this, which we will not get into, because I think you replaced someone who came from my hometown. That is too small of a world. We will not hold you against you.

Colonel Lanthier, do you have a few opening comments you would like to make?

[Translation]

Colonel Jean-Marc Lanthier, Commander 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (Former Deputy Commander, Joint Task Force Haiti), National Defence: Ladies and gentlemen, first of all, thank you for your invitation to appear before you today. I did not table any documents, but I would like to make a few preliminary remarks.

The extent of the disaster that occurred last January 12 is quite unbelievable. The toll has risen to over 212,000 dead, 300,000 wounded and 1.2 million people displaced. This is a disaster the Haitian government was powerless to deal with. Furthermore, the UN mission assigned to the situation in Haiti was also destabilized. It was only thanks to the fast and massive mobilization of foreign military forces, including those of Canada and the U.S., that the situation could be stabilized while awaiting the arrival of help from the international community.

Canada's contribution was very significant. It was the largest contribution in memory to a humanitarian relief expeditionary operation. This is why simply deploying the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) was not enough. DART usually has 200 people, but we deployed over 2,000 people to Haiti. This is what made it possible to stabilize the situation quickly while waiting for help to arrive.

Starting on January 13, the first elements arrived on the ground. Less than seven days later, on January 19, over 1,000 military, from the navy, air force and army, were already deployed in Haiti. This rapid response capability was made possible by the recent acquisition of C-177s, and also by the emergence of embryonic capabilities, such as urban search and rescue, with everything backed by the solid training of all Canadian Forces elements.

Whole-of-government relations were also the key to success. At the tactical level, the contribution by representatives of the Departments of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, and of the Canadian International Development Agency made all the difference in directing the troops' efforts on the ground. As for the head of mission, we were able to re-establish very efficient synchronization and coordination mechanisms, which made it possible to attain the goals supporting Ambassabor Gilles Rivard.

The effects on the ground were major. Over 1.4 million meals were distributed, over 2.5 million litres of water were produced and distributed, over 22,000 patients were examined and treated, over 15 orphanages were renovated. Finally, the other aspect of the operation, equally important, was the evacuation of the 4,620 nationals at the embassy. So these are major achievements.

[English]

As both a commander and Canadian citizen, I am extremely proud of the stellar work our troops have done in theatre.

The Chair: Thank you. We had the benefit of being in 8 Wing Trenton on day one when everyone was gearing up for operation, and it was really something.

[Translation]

Senator Dallaire: The withdrawal of the mission interests me. One might wonder whether the mission did not withdraw too soon: with the large resources deployed, the mission could have continued to support the NGOs and also reinforce the United Nations mission, which was literally decapitated when the leaders were killed in the collapse of their headquarters. All that had to be done was to transfer some resources to the United Nations mission, whose strength is expected to be increased by 2,000 people and which needed technical equipment. Do you not think that, in this context, there was still work for us to do?

Col. Lanthier: Your question is threefold. Our withdrawal began in the early recovery phase. There are three phases in an operation of this nature. The initial phase consists of a rescue operation. This takes place during the first seven days. It is a matter of saving lives. The second phase lasts for 50 days and consists of providing relief. The third phase is one of recovery.

Intervention, according to the Oslo Guidelines for military troops in such a situation, is a means of last resort. It is designed to make up for the deficiencies that no other organization can meet.

In this case, it was possible for us to provide health care. The figures speak for themselves: 22,000 patients were treated. We also ensured the distribution of water and assisted in the distribution of meals. These are the first three elements, the most important ones, in the Bill of Human Rights.

On February 10, we could already see that we had met these primary needs. As of mid-February, our production of water was becoming less necessary. Out of the 170 wells in Léogâne, 165 were repaired and back in operation with chlorination. In Jacmel, the distribution valves of the municipal water supply system were repaired. One reverse osmosis water purification plant was put into operation.

In addition, many patients were treated for the injuries they suffered in the earthquake, but also for chronic illnesses related to the deficiencies have prevailed for a long time in this country.

Around mid-February, we exchanged some of our medical resources for additional engineers. We were gradually heading towards the recovery phase. The resources we had were not appropriate. We are talking about reconstruction, development by architects, plans, design according to an almost non-existent building code in Haiti. Resources were therefore not adequate for continuing this phase. That is why, in early March, the withdrawal of troops got under way.

The first ship, the Halifax, left on February 20, if I recall correctly. At that time, we no longer had a mandate for the long-term phase since the organization was in place.

The presence of non-governmental organizations was very large. Several hundred non-governmental organizations were on-site and able to take over. Still, the recovery challenge is huge. The amount of waste and rubble is incredible. They are talking about 20 million cubic metres to be cleared, which represents 1,000 20-cubic-metre dump trucks operating for 1,000 consecutive days. This gigantic task is much better performed by private or specialized agencies, as it is far beyond the capabilities of the two or three dump trucks that we had on-site.

[English]

The Chair: There is a specific time limit on DART missions, is there not?

Col. Lanthier: They are organized for 40-day missions, but it is a guideline. Their deployment corresponds to that relief phase, so it does not prevent you from going longer or shorter. In this case, this was not the main reason for doing the withdrawal phase. We could have sustained if the need was present, but that need was quickly shifting toward the NGOs.

If I recall correctly, MINUSTAH asked us for a reinforcement of only five to ten staff officers for the headquarters. For 2,000 troops, if I recall correctly, they quickly got an offer of about 3,800 troops from different countries, mostly from the Americas. There was no request for transfer of combat service support troops to the MINUSTAH mission itself. For that reason, we transferred some of my staff officers in the headquarters of the joint task force to the MINUSTAH for a transitional period, until those reinforcements were generated, mostly from the army and the air force.

[Translation]

Senator Dallaire: All the same, the structure in place exceeded that of the Disaster Assistance Response Team. This was a massive large-scale deployment. Military-civilian collaboration was structured so as to ensure a liaison with all the non-governmental organizations and so that transfers could be made as efficiently as possible. What can we learn about collaboration between the military and civilians in times of transition when people are here and there, all over the place, in tents or homeless, and have the feeling, on one hand, that they are being abandoned and, on the other, that the NGOs are off in all directions?

Col. Lanthier: Your question has two parts. The first one is about liaison with NGOs. For the first time, for most people, we worked in a whole-of-government system, right down to the level of sub-units. Representatives of DFAIT and CIDA, at the level of companies and the tactical group, found themselves working together closely. Their participation was crucial. They were experts in humanitarian care, with regard to sanitation, health and shelter. This relationship, in collaboration with the military-civilian operators, produced a synergy and meant that the coordinator of internal affairs had a better understanding.

The DART personnel, thanks to their training and the three annual exercises in which they learn to work with the different departments and NGOs, were well informed.

As for the staff officers, they were not so well informed. At this level, the whole-of-government aspect is not very present. So there they do not know exactly what the roles, mandates and constraints related to DFAIT and CIDA are. As a result, we have recommended that this aspect be part of the syllabus of courses offered to subaltern officers so that they can learn how to work in whole-of-government teams. That is exactly what we are doing now and I think that the trend will continue.

[English]

Senator Lang: As the chair said, we are proud of Canada's response to the situation in Haiti. You deserve all the accolades you receive for the work we have asked to you do and for the related stress that is included in the important work you do.

I would like to look into the past and compare where we are and then look ahead to where we are going. Perhaps you could — for us, as well as for any of the viewers out there — outline how things have changed for you and for your organization. I ask you to comment in view of the fact that we now have the C-17 Globemaster lll aircraft and all the modern technology that has been provided over the last number of years to be able to respond to a situation like that, compared to where we were, say, 10 years ago.

Col. Lanthier: The operational centre of gravity for the DART has always been mobility — strategic mobility and strategic lift. It includes the ability to go to a country in dire need of assistance, not knowing what the local infrastructure will be, whether the airstrip is working or whether the seaport is open. It includes obtaining the actual means to get from the seaport or airport of embarkation. Once you are in theatre, it is important to have actual tactical mobility. Are the roads, bridges and the local infrastructure network working? That is the operational centre of gravity.

In this case, the lift capacity and range of the C-17 aircraft has made the difference. You can try to lift a force like we did through C-130s. First, a lot of equipment will not fit into a C-130 because of the capacity of the aircraft, its width and weight; and then there is the sheer amount of lifts you will need to bring the required capabilities into theatre. The C-17 is what made the difference for us. It quickly brought in what we needed.

One of the limitations is that we had four slots daily at the Port-au-Prince International Airport to land aircrafts, and our capacity was slightly above that. We could have landed more aircraft if we had the slots.

Normally, the DART only takes part in the actual relief efforts and not the rescue phase, because the DART takes about seven days before it reaches its operational capability in theatre. Those first seven days is when we will save lives, track down survivors and dig them out of the rubble. We were not able to do that before because we did not necessarily have the lift. We had to rent Antonovs or go along those lines. The C-17 is one of the greatest purchases we have made.

The other thing that enabled us to be capable of operating in that environment is the creation of the urban search and rescue capabilities, firefighters that are equipped to go into the rubble to dig out the survivors. We did a bit of that in the initial phase and then we carried on excavating human remains. For our firefighters, it is gruelling and emotional work. It is difficult work. As you can imagine, they operate under tough conditions, drilling through multi-layered collapsed floors, cement and rebar, to dig out remains that have been there for a number of days. They excavated 19 complete remains and numerous partial remains, bringing closure to many families who desperately needed that closure.

Senator Lang: I would like explore further the capabilities. I notice your background is extensive. You have been in a number of theatres over the course of the last number of years.

Perhaps you could explain the importance of the backgrounds of the individuals involved who are actually carrying out the operation. You are dealing with a crisis, where decisions have to be made spontaneously as you move along. How important was it that people such as you had experience in Afghanistan and other places in order to be able deal with this situation in a business-like manner and to get the job done?

Col. Lanthier: A number of years ago, the army and the Canadian Forces espoused the tenets of mission command. The commander expresses his intent, the purpose is well understood, and then you delegate the authority for the subordinate commanders to accomplish. Backed by formal training, through courses and exercises, you enable generations of junior and senior non-commissioned officers to make decisions rapidly.

Haiti was a very permissive environment. We did not experience any escalation or degradation of this security environment. We were expecting some of it; for example, we were expecting riots. The earthquake freed over 3,000 inmates. That security situation never deteriorated. In fact, it never came back to the level it was before January 12, so it was a permissive situation.

The experiences gained through numerous domestic theatres with the floods, the ice storm and the Saguenay flood have enabled our young soldiers and their leaders to be able to operate at ease in chaos with a lack of clear directions, so we work with intent and purpose. That is what allowed us to work in a decentralized environment in that type of situation.

[Translation]

Senator Pépin: As Senator Lang said so well, we are very proud of what our Canadian military accomplished in Haiti.

Can we evaluate the costs up to now of this major deployment? How is the military component of Operation HESTIA funded? Can we compare these costs to those of previous disaster relief missions?

Col. Lanthier: This question will have to be examined by the command headquarters of the expeditionary forces. I have no idea of these costs, since I was just the tactical employer of the troops.

Senator Pépin: What are the primary lessons that you learned from Operation HESTIA?

Col. Lanthier: Everything we had done before was useful. This point relates a little to the previous question. Our previous experiences enabled us to fulfil our mission in Haiti.

Inter-army cooperation was excellent. In my entire career, this is the first time I have worked in an integrated inter- army environment. There were three departments and four force components present. Our staff consisted of 500 sailors, 250 aircraft personnel, a land component and a special operations representative. This teamwork, coordinated around a single shared purpose, was a success.

Such a fast and large deployment was a complex operation. We did not have control over everything leaving the airport at Trenton, where the high operational availability storage shed is. Personnel arrived sometimes in somewhat chaotic fashion in the theatre of operations. Planning and synchronizing the deployment more accurately would have taken time, and this would have delayed the arrival of personnel in the theatre of operations. The first seven days, however, are the most important ones when it comes to saving lives. In the circumstances, it is better to put up with a bit of chaos. The personnel get where they are going in any case. You just have to manage them and accept the consequences rather than being too deliberate.

Still, a complete review is taking place of the principle and contingency plans for the Disaster Assistance Relief Team with a view to developing better modularity, that is, a series of distinct elements and independent capabilities. Up to now, the Disaster Assistance Relief Team has been monolithic and could be moved as a block. For example, we could not choose only the search and rescue capability and the water production section; it was all or nothing. So we are looking at that.

In the case of earthquakes, floods and landslides, different capabilities are required, depending on the geography, the extent of the damage and the climate. The concept that the Canadian Forces are reviewing will look at ways of making the whole thing more modular and capable of responding rapidly. Many lessons were learned that will enable us to develop a new contingency plan.

Senator Pépin: This mission was very positive, from this point of view.

Col. Lanthier: Despite the inherent difficulties, I qualify it as a complete and total success.

Senator Nolin: I would like to join my colleagues in congratulating you on your excellent work. I would also like to congratulate you on the honours you have received for your work in Afghanistan.

How did the lessons learned in Afghanistan serve you in Haiti? You just talked about managing chaos. Is that something that you discovered?

Col. Lanthier: My answer may seem strange to you, but we learned the role from the Operational Mentor and Liaison Team. I created this team because it did not exist from the point of view of the Canadian Forces.

We have learned to work with many foreign forces, in particular the Americans', with a very complex command structure. A large number of stakeholders are working with the Afghan national security forces. The whole aspect of liaison, coordination, synchronization, sometimes divergent national interests or, at least, ones that do not readily converge — all these things are lessons learned from our experience in Afghanistan, which have enabled me to grow and do a better job.

Senator Nolin: What is the procedure to be followed when the political decision to do something in Haiti is made? I would like you to explain to us a bit about the unfolding, the sequence of events, in order to arrive at a fast and efficient deployment, despite the chaos, with the success you had?

Col. Lanthier: It involves a series of very fast stages.

Senator Nolin: I would like to understand how the first hours and days unfold. You talk about a review of the process. Surely there are some ways of doing things that you would not like to repeat. In other words, explain the initial process to us.

Col. Lanthier: Let us talk about the initial process. The earthquake occurred on January 12 at 4:53 p.m. Already, at 5:10 p.m., it was on the local news, the Canadian government was trying to assess the extent of the catastrophe and was getting in touch with Ambassador Rivard in Haiti to reach the decision to quickly deploy a whole-of-government team made up of four people, including a representative of the Canadian Forces.

Seantor Nolin: This is how many hours after the event?

Col. Lanthier: This team took off on January 13, at eleven o'clock.

Senator Nolin: So the next morning.

Col. Lanthier: Yes. About 16 hours after the earthquake, the first elements were deployed. This whole-of- government team of four people was deployed to go and assess the needs. Rather than wait for their report, we also deployed a reconnaissance team to assess the contribution of the Canadian Forces. The morning of January 13, a death toll of over 100,000 was reported. So the extent was completely extraordinary.

The Chief of the Defence Staff then understood that it was necessary to deploy more than the Disaster Assistance Response Team. As the Brigade Commander, at Valcartier, I was responsible for leading a Canadian nationals evacuation team. This national task is spread out over a period of six months. So I contacted my superior and asked him if I was needed. I was asked to wait. Two hours later, I was told that more than this company would actually be deployed.

So I generated a tactical group, called an infantry battalion HQ with its companies. We started with 800 people. Towards the end of the day on January 13, the number of personnel rose to between 1,000 and 1,200. I left the evening of January 14 with the operational force advance guard, since we were no longer talking about a response team.

On arriving on the ground, I did an immediate study with the commander of the inter-army headquarters already on-site, who was also in charge of DART. We reached the conclusion that additional assistance was necessary. From then on, an unending stream of resources arrived in the theatre of operations by air and sea until mid-February.

The deployment was very fast and non-sequential but concurrent, as it should be. If you try to do things sequentially, you may miss that unique window of seven days. That is why personnel were deployed so quickly. Normally I would have needed 48 hours for reconnaissance. But, in the circumstances, 16 hours later, I was meeting General Laroche on the tarmac in Port-au-Prince, who was arriving with the chief of staff and other headquarters elements.

Senator Nolin: So, in the end, managing chaos is not negative.

Col. Lanthier: Absolutely not. It is essential.

Senator Nolin: You have to be able to do it.

Col. Lanthier: You have to be able to do it. You also have to have the resources. What could we have done better? We sent far too many capability elements that, in reality, were not capabilities. Having a truck driver without a truck is not a capability; having a truck without a driver is not a capability. Unfortunately, often, we got single elements and not a set of elements. So we did not receive a capability but rather a series of elements.

Senator Nolin: Hence the idea of developing a modular approach.

Col. Lanthier: Exactly. Hence the idea of developing independent modules capable of supporting themselves for an initial period of seven to 14 days. Or, if you like, a series of interchangeable blocks with a shared interface. That is the concept.

Senator Nolin: I wish we had more time, but thank you very much for your answers.

[English]

Senator Segal: Colonel, I know that aside from being shot at by the other side, being asked to express an opinion is the next most dangerous thing an officer might be asked to do. I will not ask you to express an opinion about the future and our deployment in Afghanistan that I hope will be part of a robust public debate. Your experience is broad on both operation and command basis. It is a tremendous resource for the committee and the public to benefit from and I would like an opinion from you.

You will know that in this city and in many other places in the world the NGO community often argues that they can do things cheaper, less expensive than the military; they can do it as efficiently and effectively; and when the military is deployed, it implies concern about security and safety that in their view is not necessary. I disassociate myself completely from that perspective, but it is advanced here and you might hear it in the Department of Foreign Affairs on occasion.

The Foreign Affairs Committee of a previous Parliament studied the extraction of Canadians from Lebanon during the difficulties between Hezbollah and the Israelis. The committee found, after careful examination, that while our friends on the civilian side worked extremely hard, rallied, worked day and night, there was actually no coherence to the effort until the military became involved. When the military became involved, issues like securing the disembarkation site, dealing with the Israeli Navy and the Lebanese Armed Forces and the Israel Defense Forces to ensure the security and safety of passage, all the things that really mattered to the safety of Canadians, moved ahead quickly because the military was involved, to their credit.

Our recommendation was to not have these sorts of joint efforts again unless the military is joined up and involved ab initio, at the beginning, and not as an afterthought to the logistics after the politicians and bureaucrats made a series of climbing mistakes.

Can you give me your sense of the net benefit to having the military involved ab initio? I am not asking you to reflect on the future in Afghanistan because that would be an unfair question, but we would benefit from your experience because many of the areas in which you have operated, whether it was the Montérégie during the ice storm or whether in Bosnia Herzegovina, there was a mix between civilian and military activity. Anything you can share, this committee would find helpful.

Col. Lanthier: I will talk about Haiti first because it is most recent. Guidelines direct the use of military forces during humanitarian operations. We are a force of last resort according to the doctrine. The conundrum about that is we can bring a unique skill set because of our ability to plan. Most organizations do not have formal training or practice in planning and organizing. That is our strength and it is what we do. We can contribute rapidly to planning functions and that makes a difference. I assume it is a factor in the Lebanon example.

We bring an extensive set of communications. Whenever you are in an area where communication networks have been destroyed, either by natural or manmade events, we bring independent, stand-alone, extensive bandwidth that allows us to effect coordination and synchronization of efforts. We bring a lot of people, boots on the ground, and in most of the situations you need a lot of arms, and we can do that. Those are three of our strengths.

Because of our effectiveness in deploying quickly due to our assets, it is almost counterintuitive to think of us as a force of last resort. We are actually capable of bridging a gap until the real professionals — those who do this for a living, the experts formally trained and educated to perform the operations — can actually get themselves organized, moved and develop national level plans.

There is a bit of a dilemma whether we should be first or last. It is truly a synergy. No matter if it is Afghanistan or Haiti, it cannot be sequential, in my view. It is working hand in hand. We bring complementary skill sets and capabilities. It is basically the famous expression: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. They are complementary and one cannot necessarily work without the other.

The presence of military does not mean there is a security situation. We went to Haiti and were ready in case of escalation of security concerns, which never happened. We were ready, but that was not our main aim. We were able to really bridge the existing gap.

The Chair: To narrow it a bit, it took us two weeks to mount our operation with the tsunami, waiting for planes to rent so we could get there in 24 hours. Has our role and involvement and activity in Afghanistan actually made us able to cut two weeks off that timeline?

Col. Lanthier: I cannot say if it is related to Afghanistan, truly the acquisition. We acquired the C-17 for many reasons. We recognized over a number of years, from different missions whether in Bosnia or Afghanistan or elsewhere, the tsunami is a good example, the requirement to be autonomous and not dependent on private companies or other forces to get that strategic airlift. That has been recognized for a number of years, and it is good to see it come to bear.

The Chair: According to the figures we have, the DART has been deployed five times since 1976. Is part of that a question of assets and now that has changed?

Col. Lanthier: It is probably a factor. I am not familiar with the previous history of the DART. My experience has been deploying it as a deputy commander of the force. There are multiple factors. Every time we send a reconnaissance, recce team, the famous ISST, Interdepartmental Strategic Support Team, and DART reconnaissance team, we see what our contribution can be and if we are capable to bear and bridge the gaps that the international community is not filling or the NGOs are not filling. I would say the main reason we did not deploy is that we were not the best tool to fill that need if that need existed.

Senator Dallaire: Afghanistan has improved our deployment, but what about the battalion that was used in Haiti? It is supposed to be training for Afghanistan. Do we have enough battalions in the context to be deployed like this in Afghanistan to sustain other missions at the same time?

Col. Lanthier: In this case the force, the land element of the Joint Task Force Haiti, was based on the third battalion. It had two companies deployed, and one of those companies was already earmarked for a non-combat and evacuation operations. I added an extra company and battalion headquarters. It will form the backbone of the OMLT for Task Force 3-10 that is deploying at the end of October or the beginning of November. Would I have been able to sustain a long duration deployment of six months with that specific battalion? It would have prevented that battalion from doing the prerequisite training for Afghanistan.

Now were there other forces available to do relief in place? Operation Podium was finishing at about the time we came back, so I assume there would have been an opportunity, if the need were there, to do a relief in place to carry on. I do not think it was a limiting factor from my perspective.

Senator Day: Colonel, did I just hear you say that you continue to be involved in OMLT in Afghanistan?

Col. Lanthier: As the brigade commander, I have a battalion that is changing its role from an infantry battalion to an OMLT.

Senator Day: You will be a great person to tell them what to expect.

I would like to go back and clarify the Disaster Assistance Response Team. I think I heard you say that 200 soldiers are normally employed with the DART, but there were 2,000 soldiers. Were you suggesting that all 2,000 soldiers somehow have to operate from this DART and that the DART was not sufficient to handle that, or that just 200 of those 2,000 soldiers would be involved with the DART?

Col. Lanthier: The DART has a water production capability and a medical capability. It is platoon size, about 40 soldiers. A support element is added to sustain them, including rations, water, mechanics; a combat service support, including drugs, drivers, cooks; and a command element. That adds up to about 200 people. They are not a formed unit. They work day to day in different units across the Canadian Forces and they are on a 48-hour notice to move. When a crisis erupts, such as happened in Haiti, their notice to move is quickly reduced from 48 to 24 to 12 hours, and sometimes even shorter time lines.

In this case, you could make the point that the entire Joint Task Force Haiti was one big DART. If you look at the basic capabilities of DART — as I have mentioned, defence and security, command and control, medical and engineer — instead of a platoon of force protection, I had a battalion. Instead of a platoon of medical, I had an entire field hospital of 100 beds with surgery capabilities and an additional clinic. Instead of a troop of engineers, I had a full squadron of field-construction engineers, water-production engineers, vertical-construction engineers and specialist elements.

The whole force was one big DART concept. We just expanded it because the emerging needs of the Haitian population far exceeded the capabilities of the DART. If we had only deployed with the DART, we probably would have only met the needs of the Jacmel population. Jacmel has about 34,000 people and about 50 per cent of the town was destroyed. When the Americans came in, they pretty much took Port-au-Prince, with its 3 million inhabitants.

There were two areas left untouched by the international community: Léogâne, around 134,000 people, the most devastated area, about 90 per cent destroyed; and Jacmel. Because of our force composition and our dealing with the MINUSTAH and the headquarters from the U.S., we took over the Léogâne, Highway 204 and Jacmel area.

Senator Day: After the DART has done its job, after about 40 days, you bring it back to Trenton. How quickly does it take to get that package ready to go for the next disaster?

Col. Lanthier: I am not an expert on the DART, but I believe it is normally 21 days after return. Everything has to be repacked. All their kit is prepositioned and ready to be deployed in the High Readiness Warehouse in Trenton.

Senator Day: My final question goes to the comparison of what we have learned in Afghanistan and how that can be used in the future to make our Armed Forces better equipped to deal with whatever might be ahead of us. General McChrystal, in Afghanistan, moved from the term ``three-block war'' to ``triple-D'' to now ``whole of government.'' How did your group of military personnel in Haiti use the whole of government experience to make them more effective in this particular disaster?

Col. Lanthier: Depending on how many years you have in the army, you will have been trained to work in a linear environment. The enemy is at the front and you have your friends at the back. It is a straight line on a map, and it is blue and red. That was easy. In Afghanistan, the situation is non-contiguous and non-linear. They can be friendly today and hostile the minute after, depending on your actions.

We have learned to deal with the local leaders, who are called elders in Afghanistan and politicians in Haiti. We have learned to work with the local businesses and the local population, through dealing with them, talking with them, exchanging with them, understanding their needs and answering their grievances. These are tenets of counter- insurgency that we are now applying. We can do that now because we have the resources, but we could not do that in 2006. We had one small battle group over 40,000 square kilometres, two ants on a big mountain.

There are lessons of working with the population and with the governance, interjecting the civilian military cooperation, the governance and security pieces, and the development and reconstruction pieces. Those are skills sets we used in Haiti. We had to think about reconstructing. We had to understand what the different ministries could do. We had to understand the needs of the population, not what we perceived as their needs but their true needs. There are interrelated skill sets. If you take away the security situation, they are actually quite similar skill sets.

Senator Day: Is that part of the approach for DART now, or it is broader than DART?

Col. Lanthier: It is much broader. It is Canadian Forces-wide.

Senator Meighen: As I recall, your recollection is that 21 days after coming back, DART can redeploy. Do the same people who redeploy or are others trained to act within DART to replace those who have been out.

Col. Lanthier: The DART is an identified set of people, generated from the different environments. Will they be the exact same people? Maybe not, because some people have to go to career training and courses, there will be pregnancies, et cetera. However, the DART is a set of people who have been identified and trained. They will have gone through a series of workshop exercises, tabletop exchanges and seminars to get the skill set, working with other ministries. Yes, it is a core set of people over a definite period of time.

As the chair mentioned, DART has been deployed five times over the years, so we have never had to redeploy the same set of people back to back. For example, on Operation HESTIA, about 250 people who came out from Afghanistan between October and November volunteered right away to assist in Haiti. We sometimes quickly redeploy people, but they would be volunteers.

The Chair: We appreciate your time here today. I did want to mention, because people referenced his work with the OMLT in Afghanistan, that Colonel Lanthier was the first commanding officer in June of 2006. For his work with the OMLT, he was awarded the Meritorious Service Cross and the United States Secretary of the Army Commendation Medal. We commend you for that, and we thank you for being here today.

We are pleased to welcome Major-General Mike Ward, Deputy Commander, NATO training Mission-Afghanistan, Joint Task Force Afghanistan, International and Security and Assistance Force HQ.

He is a deputy commander for police development and training of the NATO training mission in Afghanistan. He has been extensively involved in the training of the Canadian Forces to do this work as well. We have heard about some of this work in terms of the work with the Afghan National Army, and we want to focus today on the Afghan National Police, or ANP, because the track record is slower, and we would like to get at particular issues.

Before we begin, I would like to say we are grateful that you are taking the time to help us explore these issues.

Senator Dallaire: What would be useful to build capacity within the ministries, not only to keep competent staff officers on the side of the police, and Ministry of Defense or Ministry of Interior, but also to deploy civil servants who are skilled in the defence management world of procurement, logistics and personnel? What would be of help to enhance the capacity of the ministries to guide the development and the expansion of their forces?

Major-General Mike Ward, Deputy Commander, NATO training Mission-Afghanistan, Joint Task Force Afghanistan, International and Security and Assistance Force HQ, National Defence: In that area, we are interested in attracting more talent to the Ministry of Interior and less so to the Ministry of Defense, but the challenge is the same between the two. Capacity building in both of those ministries will be the surest sign of success in terms of the Afghans' ability to sustain the plan and execute their own responsibilities in the future.

We have had some success with the deployment of civilian capacity out of the United States. We have just interviewed and welcomed a number of very senior SES-15s, which are almost ADM level, to assist in the key ministerial systems development. I will take on an individual who has just come out of the U.S. Marine Corps headquarters, has had 15 to 20 years of experience and a military career before that, and he will help us with the financial assistance development. All of that is to say that it is different from the structure of advisers and mentors we have had in those ministries until now. It is recognized by General Caldwell and General McChrystal that to accelerate the development within those ministries, the people who have done the jobs and have had success in those countries would be the best models.

Senator Dallaire: In the building of capacity, there is the method where you have the person from outside — the mentor — being in charge, and the person who is learning is number two. The mentor is the commander, and the other one is not. However, in those circumstances, the mentor — the foreigner — disappears after a while, and the number two has become number one, but has never been number one. Is there a philosophy behind having the Afghans do the job so that we are in support of them in the process and not necessarily the other way around?

Maj.-Gen. Ward: Very much so, and if you are familiar with the Strategic Advisory Team model that Canada championed, going back to 2005, that was the model. It was to work with your Afghan colleagues to assist them in understanding the mechanics of the job they were to do but for them to establish the context and to work within guidelines and frameworks to produce the outcomes and required products. That is very much what we are trying to do with the Afghans right now. We have a graduated level of mentoring or advising. The cliché is ``for, with and by.'' Initially, you may do it for the Afghans to demonstrate how it might be done, for example, a budget plan or a business plan. However, the next time around, you would be doing it with them, side by side and, lastly, in the final cycle, they would be doing it and you would be assisting and advising. That is part and parcel of working toward a transition where the Afghans feel ownership. They may not be enabled or be skilled, but they have the access to the skills, and I think the signs are encouraging.

We are starting to see positive developments. In the Ministry of Interior, we have gone through a civil reform review, which the government of Afghanistan is conducting with their major ministries to ensure there is a public service that can perform within the ministries. Up until now, the only way to do it was to hire police or military officers who could be paid enough to perform those functions. As we get the mechanics right, we can then attract people who have the right skills and background, and we will focus our attention there in the coming months.

Senator Dallaire: Regarding gender and women in the police forces and their development, is there an academy for women? Have they been deliberately recruited, and are we sending enough women to assist in their training in fulfilling their role on the police side?

Maj.-Gen. Ward: Minister Atmar has expressed in the Afghan National Police Strategy a desire to recruit and employ 5,000 women over the next five years. There are less than 1,000 at this point in time.

We have created a small women's police training centre in Jalalabad, and we will create a number of different training centres around the country, including a focus within the police academy to ensure we offer access that is more flexible for women. It is more difficult for Afghan women, many of whom are mothers or sort of mid-life, to be able to leave their families or social circumstances to train in an academy, even for six weeks or six months. We have to try to get the training to them to make it possible for them to enter the force. The women are a stabilizing influence, so this would be a significant transformational step for the police to break through that glass ceiling that many of us have broken through in our own experience.

Senator Manning: Could you give us an idea of what existed in Afghanistan in relation to police services prior to your establishment there to give us a picture of what you are dealing with prior to your arrival?

Maj.-Gen. Ward: I will try not to go back to Genghis Khan. We may not be far advanced from that model. The recent history in Afghanistan has been so fractured that there have been many different models of policing and no consistent model until the development of a more recent approach that we saw starting about 2002 and we are still working on now. It was significantly disrupted through the Soviet era, the Taliban era and the civil war.

The Afghan notion of policing is something you have to create, and you have to create a culture around that to begin with. Oftentimes in Afghan history, the police service has been more a state security service than a community policing service. We have not reached the notion of a policeman who is present in the community, well connected with community elders and understands the problems in the community. It is very much part of the model that with our international community partners, whether it is the German Police Project Team or the European Union police, we need to get to at some point in time.

For the near term, police are much more a local security force than a law enforcement force, and so we have to build that gradually into their professional development and give them a better sense for the police mission.

As a metric, we believe that only about 45 per cent of the Afghan National Police have ever received any formal training, despite the significant investment of the international community over the last seven to eight years. We will vastly accelerate that over the next 18 months. In the meantime, researchers and people who have interviewed police in the field tell us that asking a simple question to a police officer like, ``Do you understand your mission?'' results in a failure to supply a correct answer. Most officers are unaware of his or her job description.

We have fertile ground to begin to establish a model where it is not a question necessarily of bad practices but of no practice. Through the basic programs of instruction for young officers, we are building an understanding of their constitution and some elements of human rights. We are building an understanding of domestic violence and gender rights. This is not to give them a tremendous amount in that regard but to prepare them for the conditions they will find in their communities when they graduate.

Senator Manning: Could you elaborate on the training provided to the Afghan National Army versus the Afghan National Police?

Maj.-Gen. Ward: There is an interesting contrast. In 2002, we started with an army of nothing, so we were able to build that from the ground up. Armies are relatively easy to develop when you have a robust military presence in the country and presence focused on training as a culture.

The inherited a largely stable police force. They were flatlined in terms of growth until about two years ago and have since started to grow dramatically. At the same time, we could not allow the system or situation to become worse. We need to provide foundational levels of professional development for the police. The police are about five to six years behind the army in terms of institutions that need development.

The Afghan National Army has a robust training system that includes a staff college, institutes of higher learning, a body of professional knowledge that is well understood and easily communicable between practitioners and colleagues who are in the international community.

It is a much more difficult proposition for the police. First, there are not as many international civil police in the country. I am a soldier. I understand systems of training and development, but the context of policing is something for which we just do not have enough international civil police or representatives of NATO countries who are able to provide that basis. Our work is definitely cut out for us on the police side.

Senator Manning: What about the targets for the Afghan national security forces? I am concerned about beyond 2011. When you look at the national army, they tell us that their strength is a little over 100,000 with a target in October 2011 of 171,000; the Afghan National Army is at 2,876 with a target strength by December 2016 of 8,000; the Afghan National Police are around 96,000 now with a target strength by October 2011 of 134,000. We are around 200,000 personnel and we hope to have trained 313,000 to 314,000.

When you look at your timelines and targets in place, how do you see us being able to reach the targets?

Maj.-Gen. Ward: Our analysis tells us it is possible to meet those growth targets as long as recruiting continues to be strong. Recruiting over the last five to six months has been strong, partially because we have achieved some pay parity between the Afghan National Police and the army, and pay for soldiers and police officers is now considered attractive.

If we can continue to see those numbers come in and reduce the high levels of attrition in both the army and police, we will be able to stabilize. Our larger problem is attrition. It is difficult to hold on to trained soldiers and policemen in the current environment.

The Chair: Can you explain that?

Maj.-Gen. Ward: Conditions of service are very difficult. Briefly, in the army there was no rotation policy for units, and so if you were destined for southern Afghanistan, you might go down and serve your first three-year hitch there with no break from operations. It is less a problem in certain segments of the police, but in the army, they would turn over at a regular rate.

Many soldiers coming up to re-contract would choose not to. Equally, there was a large absentee rate, and in a system where you may not have confidence in your leaders or your equipment or your survivability, many young Afghans have voted to leave the service. We see it in certain segments of the police like the Afghan National Civil Order Police. This is really the fire brigade of the Afghan National Police, like a gendarmerie from France or a carabinieri from Italy. They are highly qualified and literate, really the high-water mark of what is capable in terms of police development but used at a rate of about 95 per cent commitment on a full-time basis. Many of these policemen have had to say they are proud to serve their country but need a break and some predictability in life. Their families need them at home at certain points in time. They have voted with alarmingly high attrition rate — 75 per cent to 80 per cent in the civil order police.

Senator Manning: In Canada, and I consider our country to be relatively young, the concept of community policing is starting to grow on us. When I was a young boy and you saw the police car coming, you ran. Today, the police come to the school; it is part of education and community policing.

In Afghan society, which is so much different, how do you reach down? We read the Taliban seem to get to the young people very early and distort their minds. At what age do we go in to try to sell the idea of the importance of the police service and the community policing and not just from a law and order perspective as much as from growing the community?

Maj.-Gen. Ward: In the Afghan National Police Strategy, Minister Atmar has expressed that it is the army's role to defend the nation but the job of the police to protect the population, to protect the public. In order to do that, they have to develop a closer focus on the community as their target, and that has not been the case. The current model of policing is focused on checkpoints, and that is the worst model for policing you can imagine. When you are at a checkpoint, you are only focused on one element, which may be deterrence, but it is also a place where much corruption takes place.

When you are in the community, and I would credit our Canadian civilian police mission in Afghanistan with beginning to demonstrate the model in the Kandahar model police plan, it is about patrolling in the community. It is about ensuring the police section commander is connecting with the shopkeeper and the local elder to ensure they are aware of their problems.

At some point, it will also be about ensuring the police are accountable to the community through mechanisms we are familiar with here. There is a hotline that gets approximately 1,000 calls a day. In Afghanistan I am told that 70 per cent of those are crank calls, but if 30 per cent of those 1,000 calls are legitimate about police malfeasance, it is a starting point for the leadership to begin to address how the police can communicate and work with people who are the same ethnicity, same tribe and in many cases the same community but to demonstrate that there is an institution working for their welfare.

Senator Lang: I want to go back to the personnel again and the numbers that Senator Manning quoted. Looking ahead and putting the framework into place so that the Afghans can take care of themselves, when you look at the proposed targets for October 2011 for the army at 171,000 and the national police at 134,000, will those numbers be sufficient if they meet the training requirements and the targets you would expect them to meet individually and collectively?

Maj.-Gen. Ward: That is the $64,000 question. It will come back to what security conditions we face in Afghanistan as we approach and achieve those growth targets. Will we have been successful in fighting the insurgents or in creating a more secure environment through better governance, reconciliation or reintegration?

It might be the right number if things have stabilized. If they continue as they are right now, the number may not be enough. As part of the right answer, there is a combination of coalition and Afghan forces. The coalition forces will not be there forever, so there will have to be a sustainable number of Afghans. I would say 305,000, which is our army and police combination, is perhaps not enough at if they would have to go it alone.

Senator Lang: In your opening remarks, you noted that there are 96,000 police members. I believe you said that 45 per cent of them have not had any training. Are you saying that 40,000 of those numbers have not had any training, and if not, are they being trained?

Maj.-Gen. Ward: We are in the process of adopting a new model of police training. This year, in the Ministry of the Interior, we have created a recruiting command. Formerly, district commanders were provided an authorization for certain numbers in their districts, and they would recruit locally, but there was no training mechanism for them to send these patrolmen off to a training centre and provide them their first level of professional development.

With a recruiting command in place and with a training command that we will establish within about two weeks, there will be mechanism by which the ministry can control the intake of police officers. They will select the right type of officers with the appropriate skill set in the right areas of the country to meet the security needs. It is a much more sophisticated model, one that has been in the army for many years and that most countries use. This will give us the opportunity in a more significant way to address how to bring them on board.

We have made the policy decision that we will not hire any further police members unless we can give them the training. Therefore, it is a bit like a runaway train; if you recruit and assign an individual, you may never see that individual again. Their personnel system is very immature and manual, and it is difficult to bring an individual back to provide training.

Last summer in the lead-up to the Afghan national elections, we had to, on short notice, recruit 14,000 new police officers. We were able to provide them about three weeks of initial training in order to make them secure enough to assist at polling booths. We were to bring them back and give them five more weeks of training so that they would have their basic training. It did not work. We had to bring them all back and give them eight weeks of training in order to ensure they were functional and effective.

There is only one way to do this, and that is to do it right. In the midst of a counter-insurgency where the public needs to have confidence in the police, this can no longer be an ad hoc solution. Just the notion that many of those police members who have never been trained do not understand that their mission means there is no way for the government to communicate to the communities what they are trying to do on their behalf. The training is fundamental.

Senator Meighen: General Ward, it sounds to me, and tell me if this is an unfair assessment, that the first few years we were spinning our wheels. I remember when this committee was in Afghanistan, the analysis of the success of the Germans, among others, in training the police force was not terribly flattering. However, if one is to accept your evidence today, it sounds like we are finally getting some traction and congratulations to all involved.

Assuming the Canadian Forces pull out as we have said we will do in December 2011, are there training sites where civilian police trainers from Canada could go without the necessity of military protection? In other words, could we, if we so desired, keep an effective training operation going absent a Canadian military presence?

Maj.-Gen. Ward: We work with about 30 different training centres around Afghanistan. We characterize the training centres as inside the wire, and this is very important. There are very few international civilian police that work outside the wire; in fact, the Canadian civil police presence is one of the very few. We hire many police officers, DynCorp et cetera, who are not permitted outside the wire, even though they provide some very good training.

Inside those training centres, we have the opportunity to take our time and do a very comprehensive job to set all of those young patrolmen, NCOs and officers on the right path. It is one we have marketed to NATO nations and the international community as a place where they can have a much better sense of confidence and that the duty of care for those individuals will be met.

Senator Meighen: You talked about attrition, which is the other side of the equation. Of course, if we can cut that down, our numbers will stay up. What are the best weapons in the fight against attrition? I presume that steady pay and pay of an adequate amount to compete with the Taliban's offer of monetary support and leave with the hope that they will come back are your weapons to fight attrition. Maybe you should delay pay; you have to come back in order to get your last two weeks' earned pay. Would that be about it?

Maj.-Gen. Ward: We try many of these instruments. First and foremost, the most significant element is leadership. As much as we will spend a significant amount of time this year training perhaps 35,000 to 40,000 patrolmen, it is the five to 10,000 leaders we will train who will have the most significant impact on the quality of the force. General Caldwell uses the term ``service-oriented leadership.'' This is not necessarily a notion that is well-entrenched in Afghanistan. I suggest that in tribes there is an understanding of leadership responsibility, but not necessarily in the police just yet.

I think it is very important to satisfy that at the same time as you are satisfying the manual or the technical issues. Pay has taken us a long way. At the same time, we have introduced a much higher level of survivability for police. The Afghan National Police are in the community every day taking the lion's share of the casualties. Last year, 700 policemen were killed or martyred in the course of their operations, two-and-a-half times more than the Afghan National Army and about five times more than the coalition.

Senator Meighen: Per capita?

Maj.-Gen. Ward: Just in raw numbers. There were about 130 or 140 coalition members killed, about 250 Afghan National Army and over 700 police killed. The proposition is very different from the starting point.

The leadership needs to ensure that soldiers are well-trained, well-protected and well-armed and that they can do their job with the confidence that they will be a deterrent to either criminals or insurgents. Then they will also be able to focus attention on the public.

Many of the policemen I meet are very proud of what they do. They are just not well-skilled or well-educated in what they do, and I think that is an easy thing to remedy once we are able to apply the resources.

Senator Meighen: Going back to a year-and-a-half ago when we were in Afghanistan, I got the impression, perhaps incorrectly, that the police were used sometimes in combat or quasi-combat situations.

Maj.-Gen. Ward: That is not my understanding. We are not training police to undertake combat operations or offensive operations at all. We are providing the civil order police with skill sets to react to conflict situations and ambushes in order to ensure they are able to halt the issue.

If I may follow up on your previous question, you asked if there were missions for Canadians. There are missions and there are needs for many more international civilian police trainers from NATO countries everywhere you look. We need that professionalism and role modelling to take place, both in the institutional part of the Afghan National Police, but also out on the field. We can do the best job we know how inside the school house, but if we do not actually provide that policeman with someone who is a role model to help him walk through the community to meet with the locals —

Senator Meighen: It sounds like a POMLT, Police Operational Mentor and Liaison Team.

Maj.-Gen. Ward: Actually, that is exactly the right model. Our POMLTs have done extremely well in Kandahar. We want to see more of them.

Senator Meighen: Whether that meets the terms of the parliamentary resolution, we will have to wait and see.

Senator Nolin: Thank you, General Ward, for being here. I want to go back to the question of relationship with the community and credibility of the Afghan National Police. What happens if a cadet does not show up for work?

Maj.-Gen. Ward: This is an area where there is room for growth in their leadership model and in discipline of the Afghan National Security Forces for both the army and the police.

In the army, if you are absent from duty for 60 days, you are stricken from the rolls and you are subject to court marshal if you return. It is not as developed as that with the police. It is very difficult to track and follow-up on individuals who leave for various reasons. They give you 30 to 60 days because travel is so difficult in Afghanistan. Many people go home, take an extra week or they are stranded somewhere, and it does take time to come back. Equally, many do disappear and do not come back. The mechanism to address that is immature.

On the army side last year, they had 300 courts martial last year for soldiers returned to their units after having absented themselves. I have not seen a similar statistic for the police.

Senator Nolin: Would it help to have some kind of structure to ``punish'' those who do not respect their contract?

Maj.-Gen. Ward: I go back to the fact that it is a volunteer service. People stay in service when conditions are appropriate — you feel you are being looked after and leaders have your welfare at heart regardless of the mission.

If the system were only punitive, I think it would only exacerbate the problem.

Senator Nolin: I agree with you. You used the word ``leadership,'' which I think is critical. The population needs to perceive that there is some kind of discipline. Otherwise, why make the effort?

Maj.-Gen. Ward: There are instruments you could lean on within Afghan society. Religion means something; it means something if you swear on the Quran. Honour has a significant place in Afghan history. It is honourable to serve; it is not honourable to steal from your soldiers or to be corrupt.

When you appeal to these notions of morality, they work not only in the Afghan case, but they work for us as well. Successful leadership appeals to those sentiments; poor leadership does not. That is where problems arise. The real answer is to ensure you understand where you have good and bad leadership. You replace bad leaders immediately and you are ruthless about it.

Senator Day: I congratulate you, General, on your job as deputy commander for police development and training. Much work is needed.

I look at the difficulty we have had in getting our fellow NATO members to make their contribution to the Afghanistan mission, although the decision to go into Afghanistan was made for NATO as a whole. We have struggled to have some countries remove their caveats to go into more difficult areas of the country. The European Union initially took on a role to train the police. Germany took on a role. For a while, we simply said none of this was working at the national level, so we would let each of provincial reconstruction areas do their own thing. We are moving toward General McChrystal's vision of things as he is the commander of ISAF. In October of last year, NATO took over police training.

Are we confident that NATO countries will make the necessary contributions to do this job?

Maj.-Gen. Ward: To start a little bit further back, we are where we are because we arrived at the decision in Strasbourg- Kehl Summit to adopt a NATO training mission in Afghanistan. A tremendous amount of ``incrementalism'' began in Afghanistan in 2001 with the overthrow of the Taliban. There was no governance security development influx to address Afghan problems. Therefore, some backsliding took place. The development of the army and police that could have been undertaken at that time proceeded at two different paces. The army was relatively measured and is in reasonable shape, but the police are not.

Successive leads went from the Germans in 2002, to the U.S. Department of State or Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs in 2004-05, to the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan. The NATO training mission in Afghanistan was always a slow build and it was behind the power curve.

We are now beginning to put together the needed resources. We could, in one sense, have more than enough trainers in our police training centres, but they would all be primarily military trainers. We are attracting more international civil police instructors. We have gradually displaced contractors provided by the U.S. Department of State for several years. Our ambition is to replace them all because the best police instructor is someone who has done the job. Not all of the contracted instructors have backgrounds pertinent to the operating environment faced in Afghanistan. We have more work to do in that regard. We are about halfway along in getting all the international civil police instructors that we need.

There have been tremendous contributions from Canada, Italy, France and Turkey. Germany does a significant job in the north as a bilateral contribution with Canada. We need gradually to raise the bar. We spend a tremendous amount of time in trying to attract more nations and to explain the conditions under which their national interests can be satisfied as well as the central objective, which is the unified approach to assist the Afghan Ministry of Interior and the Afghan National Police.

Senator Day: Hand in hand with what you described in training the police and building new infrastructure to train the police, are we working towards a judiciary and some way to enforce laws? If laws are breached, you need an independent panel to give confidence that the rule of law will be applied. In a community without that kind of support, the police will not go far.

Maj.-Gen. Ward: That is very true. It is the weak link in the system. The rule of law is not well supported. Positions are not well paid and therefore, opportunities for the corruption of a judge or prosecutor are extremely high. Threats to judges and prosecutors are also extremely high. It is almost a no-win situation currently.

This is an area outside of our ability to influence. However, a significant international community effort needs to be made to bring together support to assist judges and prosecutors.

Senator Day: NATO has not taken over that role yet.

Maj.-Gen. Ward: I do not know if we could put that to a NATO vote. It would be interesting to watch.

Senator Segal: General Ward, can you tell us about the success of police forces outside Kandahar province versus the success of forces in the province? The Canadian media position on police training — fairly or unfairly — is that it is a complete disaster. This is not for lack of effort, but because the fundamental structure is corrupt and the rest is beyond anyone's capacity to fix. I do not agree with that assessment. Why do you think the media might reach that conclusion?

Second, I am led to believe informally that civilian training positions, both with respect to police and civilian positions in the PRT, are relatively undermanned. We do not have enough people to fill those spots either from Canada, Foreign Affairs o or other countries. Your perspective on that would be appreciated.

Maj.-Gen. Ward: I will take your last question first. I am uncertain about staffing issues in the provincial reconstruction teams. Given the model we are trying to adopt, international civilian police are certainly under- represented. Nothing will take us further in terms of changing the culture of the Afghan National Police than to have good, credible, proven models of policing that we can bring out.

The issue of corruption is very interesting. My deputy is an Italian carabinieri general who has spent his career doing involved in the conflict in Iraq and Lebanon or fighting Camorra in central Italy. As he is fond of saying, corruption is a social phenomenon. Afghanistan is the second-most corrupt nation on the planet this year, as reported by Transparency International. The Afghan National Police is the most corrupt institution within that. I do not like reporting that because I feel personally committed to a number of people within the Afghan National Police who I believe are good leaders, work hard for the institution, and put their lives on the line daily and work to support their policemen, whose lives are on the line. I do not like hearing half the story. There was a Newsweek article a month or two ago that was very uncomplimentary about the police. It is not that the article said anything that was incorrect, but it did not correct the record in terms of the initiatives and the new approach that is being taken.

We owe ourselves the professionalism to be objective in what we see and what we see reported. Some things are easy to measure. The output in numbers of policemen trained is easy to measure. The effectiveness of police on the ground is harder to discern and it takes researchers to go out into the field and actually speak to communities and elders and sense what it is they see happening in their communities.

I spent a lot of time speaking to our contracting employees about what they have seen happen over the last four to five years. They report a tremendous difference over five years in terms of what the police were then and what they are now. It is still far from perfect, but progress is being made. I know Minister Atmar is wounded every time he has to read one of those stories. At the same time, he has just attended a martyr ceremony where a number of police officers have died while on duty. We have had some spectacular, complex attacks in Kabul in recent months, all of which were successfully dealt with by the Afghan National Police, exhibiting extraordinary bravery, putting their lives on the line, including in one case a police brigadier-general who fought a suicide bomber to a standstill.

We are now seeing police intercepting suicide bombers on a daily basis and disrupting them. They are becoming more effective. It will just take a little bit more ruthlessness on their part to weed out the corrupt influences. They know who they are. I think that would be the watermark or the litmus test that we would all accept as an institution that has transformed itself and is reforming and is intent on making great strides in the future. Their patrolmen need that in order to have the faith and the trust to do their jobs every day.

The Chair: You said it is the army's job to defend the nation and the job of the police to protect the people, but that most of the police officers do not know their mission. What do they think it is?

Maj.-Gen. Ward: I would be guessing but I suggest that their job would be to do what their police commander tells them. If it happens to be successfully protecting the checkpoint or working in the community to help people, that is a good thing. Sometimes it is not. Sometimes it is running drugs; sometimes it is looking the other way when they should not. It creates a very complex dynamic. Sometimes the lack of ethnic or tribal balance in the police force causes certain frictions to be exacerbated. There is one province in Afghanistan where the police are all from one tribe and the other predominant tribe has essentially gone to the insurgents because that is the only way they can maintain a livelihood or protect their people. That is a very difficult thing, which only Afghan leadership can solve, but it can be solved by adopting a more national or regional model of police where you have balance and people do not fear that the instruments of power in the state will be used against respective elements of the population. There is a different model everywhere you go.

The Chair: Part of our problem is that we brought police from all around the world, and we are talking about NATO taking this over again, everyone with a different message to the Afghans about what policing is. They did have some tradition but it was not very positive. We were, on one hand, saying to take little girls' hands and walk them across the street; on the other hand, you are on the front lines and you are going to kill drug lords and insurgents. These are mixed messages. Have we honed down what we think their mission should be?

Maj.-Gen. Ward: I would turn it around and suggest that the Minister of Interior has decided what it should be, and through the National Police Strategy, which is the first document they have ever produced of this kind, they decided what policing is. There is a police law. It is now a function of ensuring that these people are educated and trained by the police so they do understand what it is they are about to do. Minister Atmar was the former Minister of Education, so he has an understanding of how to instil messages and push them along.

If we are to succeed with the Afghan National Police, the international community must recognize that the Afghans get a vote in their own destiny and assisting them in formulating those models of policing that make sense in their communities. The model in Kandahar is vastly different from the model in Herat or Mazar-i-Sharif. There is opportunity for flexibility. Ultimately, when security conditions permit, the blue police of Afghanistan would more likely look like police with whom we are familiar; police that work on criminality, police focused on community issues. They are just not there yet because the environment does not permit it.

Senator Dallaire: A quality-of-life program would be helpful if that could be created and implemented as policy for the police and for the army.

At any one time, we have about 600 police from this country deployed on UN missions and all over, of which 200 are RCMP. There is a demand for more. Maybe there should be a policy to assist communities and deploy more police to do many of these, in the Darfur area and others.

Do they have intelligence based policing, which is the philosophy of policing now, and preventive policing, as their doctrine now, trying to get intelligence and prevention? Does the Ministry of Interior have an intelligence entity? Is it responsive to the minister?

Maj.-Gen. Ward: Intelligence-led policing is a pillar of the new strategy. The European Union police have the international community lead for it and they are assisting with the development of intelligence-led policing around the country. That is focused more on the criminality side than it is on the insurgency side. We are assisting in key centres with development of proper intelligence in order to intercept and disrupt insurgents. They will have that opportunity.

Minister Atmar recently introduced 800 policemen to the Kabul area in order to improve the security of the city, which would be focused purely on that issue — being abroad in the community, speaking, eliciting, understanding what is going on, and being able to put that back into a comprehensive picture that police leadership could then act on. That has been very successful in its first few months and it will be exported to other communities around the country.

It is very important. Are they loyal to the minister? I believe they are. Certainly, based on what I hear from our advisers and what I see in terms of how the ministry runs day by day, they are feeding themselves information upon which they are able to act and successfully execute operations.

Senator Lang: It sounds like an overwhelming job. I refer to Senator Day's comments about the judiciary and perhaps the weakness or lack thereof, which has made it very difficult for policing.

What are the educational requirements to be a police officer in Afghanistan? Are we providing the education so they meet the basic requirements?

Maj.-Gen. Ward: That is one of most perplexing challenges. In Afghan society, the generation that came through the civil war is essentially uneducated. Within the Afghanistan national security forces, the base rate of literacy, which would be third-grade level, is about 14 per cent of the population. Officers in the police are 93 per cent literate, the NCOs are 30 per cent literate and patrolmen are 10 per cent or 11 per cent literate. We have instituted mandatory literacy training for both the Afghan National Army and police enrolees. We have 28,000 enrolees undertaking initial stages of a literacy program to get them to about a third-grade level. They get about 64 hours in their basic training. They will be able to understand and recognize numbers and letters. They should be able to read their own ID card. However, it is a tremendously successful program and very welcome by the Afghans.

We run a risk of creating a lost generation, or perpetuating a lost generation, of those who will be the leadership in Afghanistan. If all of the children are going through school now and if the elites are already literate, you have an enormous bow wave in the population that could be disenfranchised. It would fundamentally destabilize the security forces.

One of our priority programs is to provide them the basis of literacy and then build it through continuing education in the security forces. We think it will be a great attraction and retention tool. However, even more than that, it is fundamental to the self-esteem of these security people who need to be seen as pillars of their communities.

The Chair: That is very powerful. Well done, and it is a good point on which to end. We are pleased you could be with us today, and we are glad you are here in person. Major-General Mike Ward is Deputy Commander for Police Development and Training for the NATO Training Mission in Afghanistan. He has a long history of serving in Germany, Cypress, Kosovo and many other places. We thank you for your efforts.

We will now go in camera to deal with some issues.

(The committee continued in camera.)


(The committee resumed in public.)

The Chair: We have been examining the budget for this committee.

Senator Manning: Honourable senators, I would like to put forward a summary of expenditures for $268,365. I move that we take this to the Internal Economy Committee to seek this funding to carry out our work as the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, pending clarification on the number of members and the role of the staff that will be accompanying us any time that we travel.

The Chair: Do we have a seconder for that motion?

Senator Dallaire: I so move.

The Chair: All in favour?

Hon. Senators: Agreed.

The Chair: Contrary, if any? Carried.

Thank you, very much. Next week, we will not be meeting, as you know, and then we come back we will hear from three members of the Canadian Forces. We will also hear from people from the environment. The Chief of the Defence Staff will be our next witnesses.

We will try to get as much research to you as we can this week before you leave because you can study it over the break. We will try to send some articles from time to time on the four individuals coming up.

Thank you very much.

(The committee adjourned.)