Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
National Security and Defence
Issue 4 - Evidence - Meeting of February 27, 2012
OTTAWA, Monday, February 27, 2012
The Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence met this
day at 4:30 p.m. to examine and report on Canada's national security and
defence policies, practices, circumstances and capabilities; and for the
consideration of a draft budget.
Senator Pamela Wallin (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome. Today, we have with us
the commanders of the Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Army, and the Royal
Canadian Air Force, and we will hear them in order and give each of them
about an hour to bring us up to date on where we stand. It was an incredible
last few years, and now it is time for folks to regroup.
I think it is fair to say that the Canadian Forces are at a bit of a
crossroads. The Afghan combat operations are over, and so is Libya, but our
training mission continues, and the world situation is extremely complex.
There seems to be no prospect of that getting easier with Syria, Iran and
In the meantime, here, the transformation process will likely mean doing
a little bit more with less, and this is a fact confronting all of our
allies, particularly the U.S.
By way of explanation, I should say that the army, the air force and the
navy are what are described as "force generators." The commanders of each
are responsible for recruiting, training and keeping their forces and
equipment in a state of readiness. They do not command forces in the field.
That job falls to the force employers, the Canada Command, the Canadian
Expeditionary Force. There are two chains of command there, and I just
wanted to mention that because I think it will help you in your questioning
of the three gentlemen joining us today.
Vice-Admiral Maddison is our first witness today. Only seven months into
his job, he is busy. Her Majesty's Canadian Ships Charlottetown and
Vancouver recently traded places in the Mediterranean, where
Vancouver was part of the NATO arms embargo on Libya. Our submarines are
either engaged in sea trials or undergoing repairs at this point. Over the
next 10 years, the navy he commands will have completely recapitalized, have
a reconstituted fleet, and that is in part due to the National Shipbuilding
Procurement Strategy announced in 2010 by the government.
Admiral Maddison has served with both Canada's Atlantic and Pacific
fleets. He served at sea with NATO's naval force and served during the first
Gulf War. On shore, he was been an aide-de-camp to a governor general,
commanded a joint space control crew at NORAD and was development and
assistant chief of military personnel. Most recently, he was Commander,
Maritime Forces Atlantic, Deputy Commander, Maritime Command, and now after
all those titles, he is the commander of the newly renamed Royal Canadian
I understand that you have an opening statement to make, and we would
also like to welcome joining us today Chief Petty Officer Claude Laurendeau.
Welcome to you as well. Please go ahead with your remarks.
Vice-Admiral Paul Maddison, Chief of the Naval Staff, National
Defence: Madam Chair, thank you for providing me and Chief Petty Officer
Claude Laurendeau this opportunity to report on the state of the Royal
Canadian Navy. I will do so by speaking to our purpose, our ships and
submarines, our sailors, and our pride. Let me begin with purpose.
Last weekend, the Chief of the Defence Staff and I were in Victoria to
welcome HMCS Vancouver back to Esquimalt after a seven-month
deployment. It was a great, emotional homecoming. She had departed last July
to relieve Charlottetown, which was then participating in NATO
operations off the coast of Libya, where the RCN, for the first time since
Korea, drew enemy fire. As part of that campaign, Vancouver enforced
a maritime embargo, performed maritime intelligence and surveillance,
defended NATO mine hunters operating to keep ports open for resupply,
conducted sea combat operations and protected civilians ashore by enabling
precision targeting of air strikes against pro-Gadhafi forces.
That mission was a crucial one for Canada's navy as it foreshadows the
types of operations we envisage will become much more typical in the coming
decades, a consequence, I believe, of the massive social disruptions and
change that we are witnessing today in the Middle East and elsewhere.
That process of change has already begun. In today's globalized era,
Canada is ready to employ its joint land, air and naval forces to relieve
distress and render humanitarian assistance, as it did most recently in
Haiti, recognizing that our security and prosperity is tied closely to the
general welfare of other societies. Canada regularly deploys its ships,
submarines and maritime patrol aircraft to combat the illicit trafficking of
drugs by sea in the Americas, while the Canadian Forces as a whole is
working with regional states to improve their capacities for defence and
security. Off the Horn of Africa, a remarkable international armada has
gathered to counter the menace of piracy, an acknowledgment of the crucial
economic importance of good order at sea.
The Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force maintain a vigil in
Canada's maritime approaches, to ensure not only that our coasts are
defended from seaborne threats and challenges that can originate from
anywhere touching upon the high seas, but also to safeguard our sovereign
rights and obligations as one of the world's great coastal states. That is
our most fundamental duty.
In this overall context, our frigates are among the government's most
agile instruments of national power and influence across the spectrum of
operations. That is essentially why Vancouver remained in the
Mediterranean upon completion of her Libyan mission, until she was relieved
by Charlottetown to support NATO's regional counterterrorism mission.
She is also there to demonstrate Canada's interests, to reassure our allies
and to help prevent conflict. Her presence overseas contributes to the
safety of ocean commerce, upon which our prosperity as a trading nation
vitally depends. Finally, she is there to provide to the government a
"Swiss army knife" set of immediately available options in a volatile part
of the world.
Turning briefly to our ships and submarines, the Chief of the Defence
Staff and I sailed in HMCS Victoria last Monday in the approaches to
Victoria, as she pursues a readiness program that will see her fully
weaponized, crew- certified and operational later this year. The submarine
Windsor will follow the same readiness program on the East Coast later
Our third submarine, Chicoutimi, is undergoing deep maintenance
with the Canadian Submarine Management Group out west, and she will return
to service in 2013, as planned. Our fourth submarine, Corner Brook,
is currently in an initial maintenance period with the Victoria shipyard and
will be turned over to the Canadian Submarine Management Group once work on
Chicoutimi is completed.
Meanwhile, modernization of our frigates is ramping up. 2012 will see 7
of our 12 frigates either preparing for or in their midlife refit, or being
readied for a return to operational service.
HMCS Halifax will be the first frigate to return to the Atlantic
fleet next year with impressive new capabilities for the next decade and
beyond, with HMCS Calgary returning to the Pacific Fleet shortly
Three other projects — the Joint Support Ship project, the
Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship, AOPS, and the Canadian Surface Combatant — are
progressing steadily as part of the Canada First Defence Strategy
road map. That road map is crucial, as is the machinery of policy, know-how
and industrial infrastructure that will be delivered by the government's
unprecedented National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy.
The AOPS is a particularly important project, as it will give to the RCN,
when it delivers in 2015, the ability to conduct sustained operations during
the navigable season, not just in the low North of the Davis Strait but
rather in the high North, beyond the ice edge, within the Arctic archipelago
and the Arctic basin itself.
However, while individual ships or submarines must periodically enter
refit, a navy cannot do so. The challenge we face in the next few years is
to refit the navy while also keeping it in the order of battle.
Nonetheless, I am confident that we will succeed. I trust that this
committee will come to the same conclusion. When you travel to Halifax and
Esquimalt, meet with our sailors, gauge what they are accomplishing and
witness the tremendous pride they take in their work.
I expect they will inspire you, just as they inspire Chief Petty Officer
Laurendeau and me every day, in their sense of calling to a higher purpose
of service, to their shipmates, to the nation and to the values they not
only espouse but have sworn to defend.
Thank you, Madam Chair. I look forward to your committee's questions.
The Chair: Thank you very much. We look forward to our trips to
Halifax and Esquimalt. I think we will learn a lot. Several of us were at a
conference last week where many of these issues were discussed. Some of
these things are staggering when you think 90 per cent of the world's
economy moves around on the water. What the navy does is key.
Everyone agrees, even your colleagues in the other forces, that this is
the navy's moment of truth. This is your time; the 21st century is the naval
century. Is that because of the nature of the perceived threats because of
particular circumstances in the Arctic? Why has everyone come to this
Vice-Admiral Maddison: Thank you for the question. It is not so
much about the threats as about the system of the world upon which the
globalized economy, and from that economy the wealth from which the wealth
of Canada is derived, rests. As you just said, with respect to 90 per cent
of global trade by volume floats, what happens at sea is of real strategic
national interest to Canada. What happens at sea is very much a function of
a rules-based international maritime legal regime founded on the United
Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea. That permits all of this trade to
flow unfettered in this just-in-time globalized economy. Any pressures that
come onto that system should be a concern not only to Canada but also to our
allies, and there are pressures. The pressures include, for example, illegal
and illicit activity at sea, be it piracy in the Gulf of Guinea or in the
Somali Basin, the flow of narcotics out of South America, illegal human
migration, potential conflict over access to seabed resources or regional
states putting pressure on this international regime and extending their
claims seaward in aggregate.
I would also add that when you look at 80 per cent of the world's
population living within 100 miles of the ocean, and most of that population
existing on fish protein for its sustenance, as well as the increase in
climactic events in the littoral that bring risk to populations, there are a
number of pressures in aggregate that could have an adverse impact on how
Canada depends on this globalized economy that floats. That is why I argue
that we are arriving in a maritime century.
The Chair: Thank you for that setting of the stage. We have a long
list of questioners today. As I did last week, I will ask senators to keep
their questions short and brisk and to ask only two. We will have another
round if we have more time, but understand that we have three important
people here today.
Senator Segal: Welcome, admiral. We are delighted that you are
able to fit us in with your demanding schedule.
We often see comments in the media questioning why we need a submarine
program. This one has had its challenges. I am one of those who supported
the then Minister of Defence's decision to make that acquisition, because I
think the choice was these submarines or no submarines, and I think he made
the right choice for Canada.
What strategic risk in terms of our capacity and our overall naval
obligations would we face if someone were to cancel the submarine program,
using whatever pretext they thought appropriate at the time?
Vice-Admiral Maddison: I would consider it a dire day if Canada
were to lose the ability to know what is happening under the sea in the
three ocean approaches to our country. Submarine capability gives you the
ability to know what is happening at sea. It gives you a stealth capability
that no other platform gives you. At the end of the day, if naval forces are
required to engage in combat and prevail, which we will, a submarine gives
that strike capability.
Over 40 nations in the world have a submarine capability, senator. There
are over 450 submarines, and the number increases every year. More nations
are developing or aspiring to develop a submarine capability. The best
counter to a submarine is a submarine. In terms of our surveillance of our
ocean approaches and the protection of our own sovereignty, I consider
submarine capability to be critical. For a G8 nation, a NATO country like
Canada, a country that continues to lead internationally and aspires to lead
even more, I would consider that to be a critical loss of a fundamental
capability and a very difficult one to regenerate at a future date.
Senator Segal: Admiral, we have seen over the last 12 months
Russian ships using Syrian ports. We have seen Russian ships sailing with
Venezuelan ships in the Caribbean to show the flag, in a sense. Venezuela is
a bit of radical actor in the hemisphere these days.
I do not want to get into intelligence and other issues, which you may
understand better than we do and are probably not supposed to share, but can
you give the committee a sense of how you deal with the kinds of
contingencies reflected by those sorts of activities, Iranian ships in the
Mediterranean, for example? I assume it is an allied issue, not a simple
Canadian issue but a broader issue. I think Canadians would be reassured if
they understood the extent to which these sorts of issues are part of the
framework that you and your colleagues in the navy plan to address as the
government of the day may direct when and if the time comes.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: The global ocean commons are free for all
to use lawfully. When Russia deploys its navy, it does so in a way that
Canada would when we deploy, whether it is to the Mediterranean, the
Southeast Pacific or into the Caribbean. My strong belief is that a dialogue
and relationships are key to understanding the motives of other nations. We
can use that trust, if it can be built, as a currency to help pave the way
when things might become a little tense in the future.
As an example of dialogue, Chief Petty Officer Laurendeau and I had the
opportunity to meet with the commander of the Russian Navy, Admiral
Vysotsky, at an international gathering of heads of navy late last year. We
talked about the future in the Arctic, cooperation at sea, international
efforts to deal with piracy and about the fact that General Natynczyk had
recently visited his opposite number in Moscow and that the Russian navy
would welcome a visit from me in the future. We talked about the Murmansk
Run. We have a lot of common ground.
Having said that, when Russia deploys into the western Atlantic, that
certainly gets my attention and that of my colleagues to the south.
Vice-Admiral Jon Greenert, the commander of the United States Navy, will be
visiting me tomorrow to talk about a number of issues of common interest.
That is the kind of thing we would talk about.
When Russia deployed a year or two ago, we followed that deployment
carefully. When Iran deploys up through the Red Sea and the Suez Canal into
the eastern Mediterranean, we watch carefully to see what they are doing and
we try to discern why.
At the end of last year, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard
Corps Navy published a maritime strategic paper in which he asserted that by
2025 the Iranian navy would expand its capability and be able to exert sea
control west from the straits of Bab-el-Mandeb in the Gulf of Aden east
across the Indian Ocean all the way to the Strait of Malacca. That is a very
aspirational and potentially disruptive vision for a country like Iran, so
that is something that we watch carefully. We discuss that with our allies.
That is another reason why I think it is important for Canada to be
deployed, to be seen to be alongside our allies where it matters and to be
part of that international leadership that would help to ensure that
everyone, globally, is working together to ensure the system of the world
that floats is sustained and not compromised.
Senator Lang: Thank you very much, Madam Chair, and welcome to our
guests here. Perhaps we could follow along a little bit in respect to the
submarines and where exactly we are. They have had a somewhat checkered
history, as we know. I know it was not anyone's fault. It was the way it
came down, and, unfortunately, we had to deal with the purchases that we had
bought. I notice that they are all in the process of being refitted. In
fact, some are operational. I believe there is still one that is undergoing
refit at the present time — and has been since 2004 — because of the fire.
Perhaps you could tell us where exactly we are in respect to the condition
of these submarines. Are you satisfied that they are at the point where they
should have been when we bought them? Also, I noticed that we are talking
about looking at replacing these submarines in 15 years. Is that correct?
What plans do you have for them?
Vice-Admiral Maddison: Thank you very much, senator, for that
question. I am quite comfortable with where we are. In fact, I am really
enthused by where we are in the submarine program. Where we are today is
where we really wanted to be a few years ago. I am the first to say that it
has taken a lot longer than we had hoped, and, without providing what could
be perceived as a litany of excuses, I can say only that there are very good
reasons why it has taken the time it has. I would also say — and Chief Petty
Officer Laurendeau would, I am sure, support me on this — that huge amounts
of leadership, determination, sheer will, and ingenuity have gone into
dealing with some of the complex challenges that we faced as we introduced
this new class of submarine into the Canadian Navy.
Having said that — and I will use a phrase that I am probably wearing
thin these days — we are at the end of a long beginning. I mentioned in my
remarks that Chief Petty Officer Laurendeau, General Natynczyk and I sailed
and dived in HMCS Victoria a week ago today. She is undergoing
work-ups. She looks great. She is clean. Her crew is happy and working hard.
Next week, she will fire, in an instrumented torpedo firing range off of
Nanoose, near Nanaimo, the MK-48 heavyweight torpedo for the first time. She
will continue her training up to high readiness and be deployable for Canada
Following Victoria, later in 2012, will be HMCS Windsor on
the East Coast. She will come off the syncrolift in Halifax in about two
months. She will be in the water shortly thereafter. She will commence her
sea trials in the fall, become certified on the torpedo, and be deployable
for Canada early in 2013. Then Chicoutimi, the third boat, will come
out later in 2013. By the end of 2013, we will achieve the steady state we
have been driving at the last few years, which is one high-readiness
submarine, weaponized and ready to deploy for Canada, either in our ocean
approaches, in the Caribbean, or anywhere in the world where the Government
of Canada deems it appropriate to do so. We will have a third submarine on
either the East Coast or the West Coast, depending where we are in the
rotation, and the fourth submarine, in this case Corner Brook, will
be in that deep maintenance period with the Canadian Submarine Management
Group, through the Victoria Class In-Service Support Contract. We are on the
cusp of achieving a steady state, which we will then drive through to the
end of life of the Victoria-class submarine, which is anticipated to be
around 2030. We are currently going through a submarine life-extension sort
of analysis to see what it would take to extend the submarines beyond the
originally forecast end of life, and I expect we will run these submarines
until about 2030.
To go back to Senator Segal's question, assuming that Canadians will
continue to see submarine capability as a critical capability for our
Canadian Forces, I would envision initiating a next-generation submarine
discussion within the next three or four years, in order to go through the
various procurement and project planning approval and funding gates to
ensure that there is no gap in submarine capability. That is what we faced
in the 1990s, which caused a few challenges.
Senator Lang: Could I turn to another area, the question of the
utilization of the Canadian Space Agency? Also, there was an agreement made
— I believe with the United States — about the satellites that was announced
just a number of months ago. I am wondering how that particular type of
technology fits in with you, as the navy, in respect to the satellites and
how that operates. Perhaps you could expand on that.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: I will just say that the Canadian Navy is
very technological in how we are built and how we operate. We are very much
a networked system of systems, as ships and task groups work together with
aircraft. We are very much enabled by space in a number of key areas. From a
maritime domain-awareness or a surveillance perspective, we certainly need
to rely upon overhead imagery, radar SAT, for example. It is a key set of
sensors that we use as part of that whole sensor fusion in our marine
security operation centres and in our ships at sea to give commanders as
transparent as possible an understanding, in real time, of activities that
are happening at sea.
Chief Petty Officer Laurendeau is a naval communications specialist, so
he could speak to this much better than I, but we depend upon space-based
capabilities to enable us to exchange data at a high rate — intelligence
data, situational awareness, orders and reports and whatnot. Much of that is
a function of access to military SATCOM assets. It is very important for us.
Senator Plett: Vice-Admiral, our government and our country have
made great strides — in the last little while at least — in furthering our
relationship with China. I read, with interest, part of a speech that you
made on February 16. If I could, I will read one paragraph of that and ask
you to explain that. On February 16, in one of your speeches, you said that
of far greater significance to the maritime order than the tensions regional
maritime disputes have created in the South China Sea, is the expansive
interpretation of its rights as a coastal state that China advocates, an
interpretation of sovereign authority well beyond what the 1982 Convention
on the Law of the Sea permits. Could you explain what you meant by that
Vice-Admiral Maddison: Yes, absolutely. China is a signatory to
UNCLOS III, which talks about territorial waters — 12 miles. It talks about
economic exclusion zones — 200 nautical miles. It talks about a continental
shelf extension beyond 200 miles.
In an area like the South China Sea, which the Filipinos refer to as the
western sea and the Vietnamese refer to as the eastern sea, there is a
proven seabed of hydrocarbon riches. One hopes that UNCLOS Part III would be
what nations would focus on in their bilateral or multilateral dialogues
around the issue. The point I am making about China is that their assertion
that the South China Sea is an historic asset that predates UNCLOS Part III
establishes a precedent that, if not at least discussed, could allow, enable
or encourage other coastal states to begin to make similar claims, and other
nations are making similar claims.
The point I was making with Senator Wallin at the beginning of the
discussion was that pressures on a free and open global ocean commons are
not in Canada's national interests. I believe that Canada, more than any
other country, relies upon this global ocean order to enable the economy
that brings such wealth into our country. That was the genesis of those
Senator Plett: You said in your opening comments that you are
meeting with your American counterpart tomorrow. Maybe some of what I will
ask now might be discussed tomorrow. I am sure it already has been
The United States recently announced its Strategic Defense Reviews, which
place greater emphasis on Asia-Pacific operations to counter China's growing
power and influence. Should the Canadian Navy also be making a shift as a
result of the American shift because of China's growing ability to project
military power via its navy?
Vice-Admiral Maddison: I would argue that the Canadian Navy has
been as present as we could be in the Indo- Pacific, specifically Southeast
and Southwest Asia, for many years — decades. Looking at our fleet on the
West Coast and its deployment history, you will see that in 2011 HMCS
Ottawa deployed to an exercise called Talisman Sabre 2011, off the East
Coast of Australia, working with the Australian navy and the American navy.
HMCS Ottawa then transited to Singapore, whence she went north, east
of Taiwan, with an American carrier battle group in the vicinity and engaged
at the strategic level in South Korea and Japan. Japan hosted staff talks
between our deputy ministers of national defence and foreign affairs and
international trade and their colleagues from Japan.
This summer, the largest naval exercise in the world will occur centred
out of Hawaii, called the Rim of the Pacific Exercise. Canada is the only
navy that has participated in every RIMPAC Exercise since they began, which
I believe was in the late 1970s. The first time I deployed into one was in
That is a long way of saying I believe we have balanced, to the best of
our ability, the ships that we have and the sea days that we have with the
opportunities to work alongside our allies in the Pacific, in the European
NATO area and, of course, in other areas of the world, such as, increasingly
in the past 20 years, the Persian Gulf; the Indian Ocean; the Caribbean,
especially in the counter-narcotics mission; and in the Arctic. It is a
question of balancing all of these priorities to get the maximum strategic
effect for Canada.
Senator Plett: Thank you very much.
Senator Dawson: My question is about the increasing use of
narco-submarines, off the coast of Colombia in particular. Accepting that
our capacity is limited, are we still part of the collaboration to watch for
and restrict the operation, or are we on the sidelines waiting for the
equipment we need?
Vice-Admiral Maddison: On two occasions already, we have sent a
submarine on a mission to the Caribbean as part of the war on drugs. In
2011, Corner Brook was countering the threat by patrolling the waters off
Colombia, at both ends of the Panama Canal. The best tool to use against a
submarine is another submarine, and our adversaries have built a capability
to transport drugs by submarine.
We call these self-propelled, fully submersible capabilities. We are
working together with our allies out of headquarters in Key West. It is
called the Joint Interagency Task Force South. We have repeatedly deployed
ships, submarines twice, and aircraft from the air force to work with the
American Coast Guard, and our American Navy, Royal Navy, French Navy and
Dutch Navy colleagues to beat back this threat.
As well, as recently as last year, we have had to embark United States
Coast Guard law enforcement detachments that allow us, when we come across a
threat and when we find the bad guys, to insert the Coast Guard law
enforcement detachments to do the arrest. I am actually quite proud of how
much and how frequently the navy and the air force are working together with
our allies there. We are making a difference. We are keeping significant
quantities of cocaine off our streets, but we need to continue to do more.
Senator Dawson: Coming back to Senator Segal's initial statement,
you have a PR problem in the sense that many things are being done, but I do
not think Canadians are being told enough about that work and the good
stories. They hear about the troubles with submarines, and many ministers of
defence have had to live with that.
On the success of the Libyan experience, we heard testimony here last
week about the air force, but the cooperation and partnership of the
different navies was also a great success, which should be promoted. We saw
the air side of it promoted quite easily. Can we do the same thing in
Somalia with the same cooperation that existed in Libya? Can that type of
model be used to control piracy off the southern coast of Africa?
Economically and politically it creates problems and instability in a part
of South Africa that needs stability. Is something being done, or should
something be done in cooperation there?
Vice-Admiral Maddison: I would be loathe to compare Somalia to
Libya or either Somalia or Libya to Syria. Every littoral state's challenges
are unique and different, and it is up to the Government of Canada to decide
how they will approach each and every one of these.
If I can make a quick comment about Libya, when Lieutenant-General
Bouchard, a good friend of mine, came to see me after his successful command
of the NATO Libya mission, he said to me, "I must apologize." I said, "Why, Charlie?" He said,
"Because after 36 or 37 years in service, I did
not appreciate the capability, the flexibility, the professionalism of our
navy and what you bring to an air-sea campaign," and that is what that was.
The Chair: You will be pleased to know he says that publicly too.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: I told him to. I said, "Charlie, you go out
and tell people that."
You talk about getting the right messages into the public domain. That
air-sea campaign off the coast of Libya and what Charlottetown and
Vancouver brought in terms of generating that strategic effect, whether
it was precision targeting, or dealing with some of the threats that Gadhafi
was sending towards the ports of Misrata, or a number of tasks, they did
very well. It was such a pleasure, a thrill for us to see how that was
recognized by you and your colleagues in the Senate back in November. That
was an extraordinary event, and I thank you for that.
Regarding Somalia, I would agree with most folks who say the key is
obviously ashore. It is influencing those who would continue to do illegal,
criminal actions that are not to the long-term positive effect of Somalia
and Somalians. However, the piracy itself I see as another example of
criminal activity at sea that brings pressure on that international order I
described, especially in the vicinity of such key strategic choke points
like the Gulf of Aden, the straits of Bab- el-Mandeb, the Gulf of Oman, and
now increasingly as they extend their range, within sight of the west coast
I applaud the world's shipping industries for having introduced a number
of force protection actions that have helped to deter in a significant way
the ability of pirates to be successful in their attacks. I would also say
that over the past several years what NATO- and European Union- and U.S.-led
and other independent naval deployments have done, and Canada has been
there, is to show international resolve to ensure that we are taking this
seriously, that it is not something that will be allowed to become the
I would say that one concern I have is that we see the piracy extend its
capability in the Indian Ocean in a way I compare to how the narcotics
exporters in South America have increased their capacity and technology over
the years. I am concerned that if this is allowed to expand in an unfettered
way there are those criminal elements around the world who would be quick to
adopt similar practices in other parts of the world. Of course, one of the
concerns I see is in the Gulf of Guinea on the west coast of Africa, which
is closer to Canada.
Senator Day: Thank you for being here and for your comments. I was
going to ask a question with respect to piracy, but in light of the time, I
will ask my second question.
Before I go to the question, I just wanted a point of clarification. In
your introductory remarks you talk about being out on the West Coast with
the minister welcoming back the HMCS Vancouver. You indicated the
Vancouver had relieved Charlottetown. Later on, you said
Charlottetown is back over there again. Are we to read something in
that, that Charlottetown has been home for six or seven months and
now they are back over again? That seems to be a rather quick turnaround. I
wonder if you could comment on that.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: Thank you for that very perceptive
question. I would start off my answer referring to another comment I made in
my remarks, which is that we are progressing through the mid-life refit and
modernization of the Halifax-class frigates. In 2012 I have seven that are
either preparing for the refit, in the refit or coming out of the refit and
because of that are not available for deployment.
When we looked at sustaining the Libyan mission and as we flowed
Vancouver in as the other high-readiness frigate in that task group that
is always ready to deploy, and as we saw Charlottetown coming home,
we decided to conduct a complete crew change of HMCS Charlottetown.
When they arrived home just before or after Labour Day weekend in the fall,
the planning had already gone in for that crew. They were posted to other
ships, coasts ashore, to Ottawa, and a whole new crew was posted in, and we
took that ship right through another deliberate high-readiness training
cycle. We also added capability in that we integrated an unmanned air
vehicle capability for the first time into the ship. Charlottetown
then went back out the door, new captain and new crew. That is what we did.
It is all about innovative ways of approaching traditional problems or
challenges that we have with generating readiness.
Senator Day: Thank you for that. That clarifies that point.
The other point I wanted to ask you about is the National Shipbuilding
Procurement Strategy and the policy statement that was made that we were all
very supportive of, but it was a policy statement and not a contract, not a
legally binding arrangement. What do you see as a timeline when some
contracts will be signed and when steel will start to be cut at the
shipyards in relation to this matter?
Vice-Admiral Maddison: The first thing I would say is that the
National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy is a huge step change in the
right direction, in my opinion, for Canada. I am not trying to sound tongue
in cheek, but we are cutting steel with the modernization program with the
frigates now in that it is such a substantive and extensive upgrade of these
frigates, as planned when they were designed and built in the early 1990s,
that I like to say we are introducing a new capability, a new class of ship.
Having said all of that, the Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship and the Canadian
Surface Combatant will be built in Halifax. Regarding the Arctic/Offshore
Patrol Ship, the umbrella agreement with the shipyard and the Crown I
understand was negotiated recently. This activity is led by Public Works and
Government Services Canada. That is all very positive. I would expect to see
the specific contract to build the AOPS negotiated this year such that steel
would be cut in 2013 with that first ship arriving in 2015-16 and one ship
The Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship is being built first in order to be a
lead-in and to enable the growing of capacity in that yard on the East
Coast, for them to build and deliver a much more sophisticated major
warship, which will be the Canadian Surface Combatant. We are expecting the
first to be delivered in the 2022 time frame.
Senator Day: This is a new fiscal year about to start in another
month. Should we anticipate any appropriations that will be required to vote
on and supply a significant amount for new activity, new ships being built,
or is it too soon in 2012-13?
Vice-Admiral Maddison: That question would be best posed to the
Vice Chief of the Defence Staff because I do not have that information.
The Chair: We will do that. Thank you very much.
Senator Nolin: I am going to have a question for the Chief Petty
Officer, but first, Vice-Admiral, I would like to ask you a question about
Last December, our committee published a major report on the reserve and
the public relations associated with reserve activities. Your testimony
interests me in that you have a specific concept — for the naval reserve, I
assume. You mentioned the concept of a "marine unique." Could you talk to
us about that and why you chose that concept? You can answer in English,
though your French is very good.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: When you say "marine unique," is that a
Senator Nolin: Yes, it is a translation of your term "one navy."
Vice-Admiral Maddison: One navy; thank you very much. I will use
First, thank you very much to the committee for your interest in the
reserves and the report from December. It is of great value to us senior
Senator Nolin: We are touching wood, you know.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: The Naval Reserve is a vital part of the
Royal Canadian Navy. I tell my leaders in the Naval Reserve that their role,
first and foremost, is to be the face of the navy, to be a strategic
reserve. In the 24 Naval Reserve divisions across Canada, where mostly you
do not see saltwater, Canadians do not typically have exposure to their
navy, to sailors, to an understanding of Canada's maritime nation, to some
of the strategic concepts we are discussing here.
Senator Nolin: It is critical.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: This year I have said to each of the
reserve divisions, through the Commander of the Naval Reserve, Commodore
Dave Craig, that I want them to develop a strategic engagement strategy
unique to the region and the municipality where they serve in order to
develop enduring, trust-based relationships with the community they are a
part of across the political, the academic, the corporate, the arts, the
sports, the philanthropic sectors and to build a demand signal for more
curiosity about our navy. That will generate a greater understanding, a
greater dialogue, a greater appreciation and respect for who we are and what
I also say to our Naval Reserve that, at the end of the day, no one who
wears this uniform, regular or reserve, is not someone who needs to go to
sea or who needs primarily to be ready to go to sea. As we look at one navy,
what I really mean by that is moving away from a navy in Halifax, a navy in
Victoria, a navy in Ottawa, a navy in Quebec City, and moving to one
holistic navy, regular and reserve, where all are fused on a commander's
intent, who are all driving towards the same place, much more aligned and
therefore more efficient.
In terms of the Naval Reserve, I am looking at blended crewing, providing
more opportunities for our naval reservists when they have the time as
students or on a full-time contract not only to sail in the Kingston-class
coastal defence vessels but also to have opportunities to sail in our
frigates and, as we modernize the navy in the Canadian Surface Combatants in
the future, to build a greater interoperability between the Naval Reserve
and the regular force.
At the end of the day, having achieved that strategic effect in our
communities and having trained to go to sea when the call comes, we are able
to surge the Naval Reserve into our ships to sustain operations at home or
abroad, similar to what we saw with such success executed by the army and
the air force, but primarily by the army in the air and land mission in
Afghanistan over the past several years.
Senator Nolin: Chief Petty Officer, I have a quick question on our
vulnerability to cyber attacks. You are a communications expert. We are
becoming more and more worried about our vulnerability, given how
significant our communication networks are, and how fragile.
What is the navy doing to protect those fragile networks?
Chief Petty Officer Claude Laurendeau, National Defence: Thank you
for the question. It is very relevant, with everything that is going on
Senator Nolin: That is why I am asking.
CPO Laurendeau: Of course, we follow the rules to restrict access
for those who do not need access. Our networks are very well protected, but
anything is possible.
Senator Nolin: You know that the Iranians are saying the same
thing and we are busy trying to get through their defences.
CPO Laurendeau: I agree totally. I am sure that you are aware of
what happened on the weekend when the chiefs of police network was hacked by
the group Anonymous. There is always a possibility that someone or some
organization is going to try to intercept the traffic in our networks. We
are taking the necessary precautions that the industry tells us to take. We
are no different from your networks or the networks of any organization in
terms of the protection at our disposal, whether it be to detect a simple
virus or an infiltration into the network. We have specialized systems and
organizations precisely to prevent infiltration into our systems.
Senator Nolin: I hope that Morse code and semaphore are still
CPO Laurendeau: They are still popular, but they are no longer
Senator Nolin: They are Plan B.
Senator Eggleton: I did have some questions that were already
asked by colleagues, particularly on submarines. I do have one more on
submarines, and then I would like to talk about what is on the back of the
One of the ideas floating around at the time we bought these submarines
was the possibility of using them in the North. You have this new ship that
is coming out that is obviously part of your plans in the North, but can
submarines play a role in the North? We recognize that the technology in the
diesel submarine, as opposed to the nuclear submarine, is a disadvantage
under the ice floes. However, the technology that was being developed
through Ballard Engineering — I do not know what happened to the technology
— was to counter that.
Do you see any role for the submarines in the North, playing part of a
Vice-Admiral Maddison: Yes, sir, absolutely. I see our focus in
the Arctic taking place during the navigable open water seasons. That is
when maritime activity increases, and that is where it is prevalent. Only a
few nations have the ability, from a submarine perspective, to patrol under
the ice. There are very few nations, and we know who they are.
The Victoria-class submarine is the ideal system to have at strategic
choke points, operating with our other government departments up in the
Arctic. We have done that twice already. HMCS Corner Brook has
deployed twice over the past four years during Operation Nanook, which is
our annual operation in the Arctic in the month of August.
Senator Eggleton: Is that without any change in the technology?
Vice-Admiral Maddison: That is correct, sir. As we look at the
next generation of submarines, for example, we will look at emerging
technologies like the air independent propulsion and new battery
technologies that allow a submarine with a non-nuclear propulsion system to
spend more time submerged without having to come up for recharging of the
batteries. If appropriate, we would look at those technologies as we go
Senator Eggleton: If I was around later I would ask my other
question of the Chief of the Air Staff, but I will ask you, because it is
about the back of the frigates, and that is the helicopters. When do you
anticipate the new helicopters will be replacing the Sea King? You are going
through these retrofits and life extension programs with the frigates, but
you need something on the back that will match that modernization.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: Just like taking the frigates through this
mid-life refit and modernization, we are going through this transition from
the Sea King helicopter to the CH-148, the Cyclone. This really is a good
question for the Commander of the Air Force. However, I expect to see these
helicopters arriving in an interim capability this year and in 2013 and
2014. They are already training helicopter aircrews in trainers, in Halifax
and out west, and I expect to see the transition from embarked helicopter
air detachments from a Sea King base to a Cyclone base all to occur in that
2014, 2015-16 time frame as we are bringing the frigates fully out of the
When that happens, as I know you are aware, we are talking about such an
improvement in capability in terms of sensors, electronics, avionics, weapon
delivery, data link and exchange that this will really be a key, critical
enabler of our frigates as they operate in this increasingly congested,
sophisticated joint maritime operating environment. I am eager to see the
new capability delivered, as I know the air force is.
The Chair: We are encroaching on the time of our next witness, but
we have two senators left to ask questions.
Senator Mitchell: Admiral, in answer to the chair's question and
comment about this century being the century of the navy and a marine
century, you alluded to one of the key elements of that being the pressure
for increased humanitarian assistance in the world. Speaking of public
relations has many good things about it, but it certainly is an admirable
thing to do. It is also true that you said that this may be enhanced because
of climate events.
Do you need special equipment? Do you need special training for that? Do
you have them, or do you have plans to get them?
Vice-Admiral Maddison: Thank you very much, sir. The first thing,
to go back to the prelude to your question, is I am not saying that this is
the navy's century or the navy's time. I am very much a Canadian Forces
officer, and I have worked side by side with the Commander of the Army and
the Commander of the Air Force responding to my CDS's intent and priorities.
It is all about having the right balance of air, land and sea capability to
work in an increasingly joint operating environment. I just want folks to
know that I am not parochial in that respect.
To get to your real question, I believe that a sea-based, joint
humanitarian operations and disaster response capability would be an
appropriate one for a G8 nation like Canada. What does that mean? It means
contemplating introducing a new platform into the mix, one that would have
the ability to embark what we call "surface and air connectors," landing
craft and helicopters for utility lift; and for the Cyclone helicopter,
about six years ago, the spec was amended to allow for rapid at-sea change
of the aircraft to a 22-seat utility lift rotary aircraft. In other words,
you could put 22 troops in a Cyclone and fly them ashore to do stuff and
then come back. It is same thing with landing craft.
To do that you need to develop an amphibious planning and operational
capability. It is one that our allies possess. I believe the time is ripe,
especially based on some of the lessons learned and the experiences we have
had in the Haiti earthquake, in the Newfoundland hurricane last year, and in
other parts of world. I think the time is ripe to look at what it would take
to introduce a very modest capability, to demonstrate it, and then if
success begets success, to allow it to grow based on the availability of
resources over time.
Senator Mitchell: I think that would be consistent with Canadians'
sensibilities about these things. Thank you very much. That is very
Senator Manning: Thanks to our guests for your appearance here
today and for your service.
Touching on the recapitalization of the fleet, some of our notes tell us
that we once had, give or take, 300 submariners; we are down to about 80
now, and there is a need for 240 to 260, especially with the new submarines
coming on stream and, as you touched on earlier, the emerging technologies.
I know there has been an increase in interest in the forces. With regard to
the navy side of it, in particular to the submariners, is there a strategy
in place? Would those submarines come on in 2013 that had the personnel? My
understanding is that you need to have a crew at sea and a backup crew and
training. Maybe you could elaborate on what the plan is to address the
personnel concern there.
Vice-Admiral Maddison: The submarine establishment necessary to
support the steady state I have described of submarine high readiness on
either coast and a third available for operations is about 385. We currently
have 275 qualified submariners, so the 80 is not accurate. I think it is
because I misspoke at a previous appearance before another committee. What I
need to do is grow the submarine force from 275 to 385 over the next three
We are growing the force. We are seeing positive, forward momentum. We
have been driving hard to get Victoria to sea and to demonstrate her
success in operations and to use that shamelessly to encourage not only
members of the surface fleet to volunteer for submarine service but also to
encourage Canadians to walk in to recruiting centres, and say, "I want to
enrol in the Canadian Forces and I want to become a submariner." I believe
that is what will happen here. We are watching this very carefully. I do
need to grow the force. I am confident that we will.
Senator Manning: The 110 that you require, will they be new
recruits? Would you draw some people from within the system now, or would it
Vice-Admiral Maddison: It would be a combination of both. We
traditionally took our submariners from the surface fleet after they had
been in the navy for a few years and achieved a certain trade and rank
qualification. We changed that a couple of years ago and now, if you join
the navy and want to become a submariner, you can; you can go straight into
the submarine service. It is a combination.
We have a bit of a cultural issue for which we are ever watchful; that
is, if a leading seaman on a frigate with a crew of 220 tells the coxswain
that he would like to be a submariner, it takes a good, one-navy-focused
senior leader to say, "I can deal with you not being here and working on
this important radar that you are so good at maintaining because I see that
the submarine service could benefit from your talent."
That is one of my messages at town halls, because I know there are folks
who would recommend against being a submariner. You never see the sunset and
that kind of stuff. However, when you do embark on a submarine, which I hope
all of you will have the opportunity to do some day, and see the
professionalism, the teamwork and the skill of our submariners, you will see
what I think would attract young Canadians to want to become part of that
There are two unique strategic capabilities in the Canadian Forces. One
is special forces, our JTF2, our special operations regiment, and that
attracts a certain calibre and type of Canadian. I think our submarine crews
are on that same level. When folks see the challenge and the capability of
these submarines, which I compare to space shuttle technology in terms of
complexity and sophistication, and the risk they take when they are under
water, they see a special type of Canadian.
I think that is what will bring full health back to the submarine
establishment and sustain it for years.
The Chair: Thank you so much for those comments. I will give you
two bits of advice. You can always recruit in the Prairies. For some reason,
they always join the navy. Second, the women tell me that they need one more
washing machine aboard the submarines.
Thank you so much. You have been very frank and direct today. We really
appreciate this state of the union that you have given us today.
We now welcome Lieutenant-General Peter Devlin, Commander of the Canadian
Army. In light of all the changes going on at DND and the Canadian Forces
and the operational tempo we have seen over the last decade, not to mention
the last year, Lieutenant-General Devlin describes his command these days as
"the army reloaded." We will delve into that.
General Devlin enrolled in the CF in 1978. He served in Cyprus, the
former Yugoslavia and Bosnia. While commander of 2 Canadian Mechanized
Brigade Group, he headed up operations at Kabul in the early days of the war
in Afghanistan. He went on to serve as Deputy Commanding General of the U.S.
army's III Corps and then in Iraq from 2006 to 2008 as Deputy Commanding
General Devlin has been awarded the Meritorious Service Cross and the
U.S. Legion of Merit and was appointed Commander of the Order of Military
Merit in 2010.
We welcome as well Command Chief Warrant Officer Moretti. Thank you for
being with us as well today.
I know that you have some opening comments to make. We have a copy of
them, and you will give us a shorter version. Thank you very much and
Lieutenant-General Peter Devlin, Chief of the Army Staff, National
Defence: Good afternoon, Madam Chair and members of the committee. Thank
you for inviting me to speak about the Canadian army.
It is a great pleasure for me to be here to share a few words about the
With me is Command Chief Warrant Officer Giovanni Moretti, the army
sergeant-major and the most senior serving soldier in our army.
As the chair mentioned, you have a copy of my opening remarks, and I will
take a couple of moments to highlight a few points.
Your army is a medium-weight, full-spectrum force, distinguished by
exceptional soldiers. By "full-spectrum" I mean that the army is agile and
flexible enough to conduct everything from humanitarian operations to
disaster relief to combat.
Mr. Moretti and I say that the ultimate all-weather weapons system, of
course, is a battle proven, hardened Canadian soldier, and we have grown
that way over almost a decade of combat in Afghanistan.
The regular and the reserve force are more integrated than we have ever
been, and combat has had a role in allowing that level of respect and
understanding to grow.
The last 12 months have been busy. Not only have we force generated for
our largest mission, that being the mission in Afghanistan, the Mission
Transition Task Force, as well as Roto 0 and Roto 1 of Operation ATTENTION,
our new training mission in Afghanistan, we have also generated soldiers for
the 15 or so other missions that Canada undertakes around the world. We have
done that from an expeditionary point of view. Mr. Moretti and I are proud
of our efforts here in Canada to come to the assistance of Canadians when
that was needed, whether it was in flood relief in Quebec or Manitoba, tough
weather in Newfoundland, or a lot of snow along the London to Sarnia
corridor about this time last year. Whether domestically or in an
expeditionary sense, it was a busy year.
I talk about three groupings of priorities, all under the rubric of
"your army reloaded." The first priority is to recover, reconstitute and
reorient. That is taking stock of what we have learned and bringing home our
equipment, our soldiers, and all the ideas that we have learned over the
We also continue to be tremendously involved in force generation of both
domestic and international tasks, and we do that respectful of what we have
learned, but with a strong vision towards tomorrow.
Lastly, on the people front, we are excited about the opportunity to
share some royal designations. We are excited about the opportunity to help
Canadians celebrate the two-hundredth anniversary of the war of 1812. Above
all, we are excited about the need to emphasize the important readiness role
that families have for our army. Mr. Moretti and I say that the strength of
our country is our army; the strength of our army is our soldier; and the
strength of our soldier is his family.
I would sum up by saying that the army is Canada's force of decisive
action. I am exceptionally proud of the men and women who serve in the army
today. We stand ready to execute missions and tasks at a moment's notice,
with tremendous pride and confidence. We help Canadians in times of crisis
here in Canada or overseas, in unstable and dangerous places.
The army's efforts around the globe continue to bring credit to Canada
and the Canadian Forces, and I am certainly proud to be the Commander of the
Canadian Army and equally proud to stand next to Chief Warrant Officer
Command Chief Warrant Officer Giovanni Moretti, National Defence:
It is an honour being a soldier because soldiering is an affair of the
heart. One of the greatest qualities of a soldier is a soldier's way — to go
wherever he is needed and do whatever is asked of him by the Government of
Canada and the citizens of Canada — because we have a great nation that we
represent abroad. Thank you.
The Chair: Thank you for those comments. I do not think we can
ever say it enough, as citizens and members of this committee, for what you
have all done on this soil, of course on Afghan soil, and in other places.
It leads us to that general question. You folks really are the enablers. I
think that is how you describe yourselves. You are the force of decisive
action. You have to be there. You have said that the focus of 10 years of
combat in Afghanistan has made you sharper and more ready.
What do you do now? How do you prepare for the situation where you may
not be keeping everyone at the ready?
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: A great point. Thank you very much for that
question. I would emphasize that Afghanistan brought to us what we call a
warrior's spirit. We bring that spirit to every task that we undertake; it
is a special level of confidence and skill. We have also learned the
importance of enablers. Those are particularly things along the lines of
helicopters, counter-improvised explosive devices, unmanned aerial vehicles,
information, operations, and persistent surveillance. We have invested
heavily in those enablers because we are very confident that those are the
types of skills and capabilities that will be needed tomorrow.
The other really important thing we have learned is the need to be agile
and flexible. Our training scenarios today are ones supported by our
Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre in Wainwright, ones that bring soldiers
to a near peer enemy demanding manoeuvre, with organized crime, with
insurgency, with a need to work with local authorities, with international
and non-governmental organizations, all on the battlefields of tomorrow. We
have grown a lot as a result of Afghanistan. We have brought the lessons
home, and we continue to incorporate those scenarios and that learning into
our training today with a view to readiness for tomorrow.
The Chair: I am sure that will raise many questions about whether
the training can continue at the rate it needs to and with the enablers that
you need to use to make you ready and able to go.
Senator Segal: Thank you, chair, and thank you, lieutenant-general
and chief warrant officer, for being with us today.
I wanted to ask about those lessons learned from Afghanistan and the
outstanding performance of our forces in that theatre, particularly around
the integration, on a real-time basis, of intelligence capacity to inform
our commanders in the field and the people working under their command and
to maximize their efficiency. It is normative, in a battle combat context,
that certain skill sets are developed and certain capacities are in place. I
think the Canadian Forces are to be congratulated for the outstanding job
they did in that respect.
When you are not facing that kind of combat — to build on the question of
our chair — how do you maintain that capacity? By definition, it is a
multi-source capacity. It is real time. It works with different agencies. It
shares information with our allies, as they share with us, all of which is
fundamental to ensuring that our soldier in the field is as effective as he
or she can be and as well protected as he or she might be by the information
that they need. I understand that budget allocations, in the broad, global
sense, are beyond the pay scale of any of us around this table. Those
decisions will be made elsewhere. I would be very interested, if you might
share with us — to the extent that you can — how that capacity can be
maintained and continued because clearly, whether our forces are deployed in
a circumstance in Africa, as has been the case with the navy and the air
force, or in other areas, that intelligence capacity will always be vital
and a fundamental enabler.
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: Senator, thank you very much. A great point. One
of those enablers that we brought home and have invested personnel into, at
the different levels in our organization, is the All-Source Intelligence
We learned so much about the fusion of information obtained from
cooperation with allies, special forces assets, and whole-of-government
partners, coalition and multinational. This all fused to provide a real,
rich understanding of the complexity of the battlefield and the threats, and
we continue to put a great emphasis on that.
We may be training in a command-post, simulated scenario and invite
whole-of-government partners and our allies. Just a couple of weeks ago, at
the Canadian Forces Experimentation Centre at Shirley's Bay, we did a
command-post exercise — a joint exercise — where there was
whole-of-government and allied participation, all with a view to ensuring
that there was an awareness and an understanding of those enablers, the way
we employ them, and the way we continue to grow.
The enablers are probably the most challenging ones in a field
environment. However, we have done our best so that when a formation goes to
the field in Wainwright, at our Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre, we have
injects that challenge human intelligence, source handling, and the fusion
of information and that ensure that there are whole-of- government partners,
that we have some allies there, and that there are real threats, whether it
be from an enemy or organized crime. I emphasize that we have really
emphasized that. It is important for us to continue to do that so we will
Senator Mitchell: I asked Vice-Admiral Maddison the question of
humanitarian aid. That was certainly relevant in the context of what he was
talking about for the coming years and decades with the navy, but it is also
a critical feature of the prospects that face the military both abroad and
Do you feel that you have the resources you need to do that — both the
training and the equipment?
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: For humanitarian aid?
Senator Mitchell: Yes, and dealing with natural disasters and that
kind of thing in Canada.
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: The most precious asset is a Canadian soldier. So
wonderful are the values in the heart of a Canadian soldier, the cultural
awareness and the respect for languages and differences, that wherever they
go, whether in Canada or internationally, that is number one.
There is more reliance on engineering assets. We have engineering assets
in all of our formations, regular and reserve. There is more equipment in
the regular formations than there is in the reserve. Depending on the scale
of the effort, there would be a need to centralize some of those assets to
bring the level of support that the Canadian government is looking for.
Senator Mitchell: The other question is unrelated in many ways.
There is a suggestion that with the military being removed from Afghanistan
and the intensity of operations therefore in some senses being less, more
and more post- traumatic stress syndrome may become evident as the adrenalin
drops and people are not focused in that way again.
Are you anticipating that, and what are you doing to anticipate more
specifically with the resources? A corollary to that is military family
support centres and this issue that in two or three cases in Canada, the
funding is always based upon the number of regular force personnel. However,
in several centres, you do not have a full regular force base, and most of
their families are militia- and reserve-oriented families, so there is a
possible funding disconnect. Have you addressed that, or can you comment on
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: That is a great point and close to both of our
hearts. Certainly, we all read the great article in the Ottawa Citizen,
which we are appreciative of because it highlights what an important aspect
that is for Canada and for Canadians, certainly for Chief Warrant Officer
Moretti and me.
I wonder whether you are aware of a couple of recent studies, if I could
make quick reference to them. These, of course, are led by the Canadian
Forces health services. You might be interested in having the Surgeon
General come and speak.
Senator Mitchell: That is a good idea.
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: I believe you are aware that over 40,000 Canadian
Forces members have deployed to Afghanistan since 2001. In a large study
done by our health services folks, they looked at various data sources for
30,000 members. Key findings were that 30 per cent of the people studied
received some form of mental health care; 8 per cent of those were diagnosed
with post-traumatic stress disorder and a further 5 per cent with some type
of Afghanistan-related operational stress injury.
The important point, as one would expect, is that the incidence was
higher the further forward you were deployed, which I think we would all
expect. At a combat outpost or a forward operating base at the Kandahar
airfield or a support base in the Middle East, the further forward you were,
there was a higher incidence of mental health issues.
Also a very interesting study was done over a four-year period of time.
It studied 800 soldiers from 2nd Battalion — the Royal Canadian Regiment
Battalion Group, which deployed to Afghanistan in 2007 — Roto 3 of our
effort there. Of that group of 800, 75 per cent of them were front-line
soldiers — infantry, armoured, artillery and engineers — and 75 per cent of
them were junior soldiers — privates, corporals, and master corporals. The
study was over four years, and 23 per cent were diagnosed with mental health
challenges clinically and 20 per cent were PTSD. The trades were associated
with PTSD in that the combat engineers had more than the infantry, who had
more than the combat service support soldiers. Rank is also associated with
post-traumatic stress disorder. A junior soldier was more likely to have
PTSD than a senior NCO or an officer. I found it very interesting that 25
per cent of the PTSD folks did not report themselves for the first time
until after they had been back for two years. Of the group that sought
mental health assistance, one third have been treated successfully.
Currently in that group of 800, 9 per cent are on a temporary medical
category tied to mental health, 3 per cent have been awarded a permanent
medical category, which might affect their ability to operate in their
current trade, and 1.5 per cent have been released from the Canadian Forces
due to their mental health injury, because they wanted to, I might add.
All of that was not a surprise, but it was neat to have the statistics,
and it reinforced what we should be doing. Our efforts are focused on
developing a culture of understanding, care, respect and compassion for this
challenge. Interestingly, on January 31 this year in Petawawa, 2 Canadian
Mechanized Brigade Group hosted a mental health symposium that brought
together the mental health experts with the leadership to better understand
the results of those studies and some of the things they should be doing.
That symposium is moving across the country to be shared with other elements
of the army. I will pass the floor in a moment to Chief Warrant Officer
The Chair: You will be pleased to know that this is the focus of
the Veterans Affairs Committee with Senator Plett.
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: Yes, there is a lot of work with Veterans
Affairs. From our point of view, it is important in how morning and
dismissal parades take place so that leaders look their soldiers in the eye
and develop a level of understanding of what they are up to for the weekend
and a sense of whether they are troubled. The results are not as
scientifically based, but when Chief Warrant Officer Moretti and I asked
folks who we know have mental health challenges whether they
self-identified, we found that it was most often a family member or friend
that helped them to seek help.
A super-important, vital issue, one that we continue to learn about, and
we ask for patience and understanding as we continue to learn more and
devote resources to this, is that family resource centres, key to developing
the level of understanding and facilitating access to provincial health
care, are only good to a point. Once a regular or reserve soldier is
identified as having a mental health challenge, he is brought into our
Canadian Forces health care system.
Chief Warrant Officer Moretti: If I may, it is a great question,
mental health. As we grew up, battle fatigue and shell shock were key
In the early 1900s, when Canada came out of the Boer War, we had
nostalgia. There was a military hospital just to study that event of mental
health. At the same time, the Bellevue in 1910 created another hospital wing
for veterans in the process, but one of the key things is to be able to
speak about it because our young soldiers, as I have seen, fear stuff that
you should not see, but to speak about it gives you that reassurance. When
you see your own peers and when the family identifies, it is to get that
help. That help is getting stronger and stronger as every day goes on.
The Chair: That will be the focal point, and we will be looking at
that later today.
Senator Lang: I commend you for the job you do. We are all very
proud of the Armed Forces and what they have done and especially the men and
women who have gone to Afghanistan. They did their part on our behalf and on
behalf of everyone else who has been there and is still there in some
Going back to the reserves, as you know, we completed that study. I
believe you referred to it. I note that in November I believe you were
quoted as saying that you were hoping to go to a number of 20,000 for the
purpose of reserves. Is that correct? Also, following that, how does that
relate to the reorganization of the Armed Forces in view of the fact that we
are removing ourselves from the theatre as far as reservists versus those in
the regular force?
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: Thank you for that question and for providing me
the opportunity to speak about our reserves.
The regular and the reserve force, as I have said, have never been as
close as we have been since I have been in uniform, in my view. I thank you
for the report and for your interest in the reserve force.
The reserve force offers so much to Canada, a presence in hundreds of
communities across the country. If you add the rangers, there is another
presence up North with a significant number of patrols and a ranger
population now of about 4,700 on top of that target of 20,000.
The reserve force is vital for Canada. It is a connection with Canadians.
It is a response to domestic challenges. We saw it last year. With the
snowstorm between London and Sarnia, there were 200 reservists on the
armoury floor in London, Ontario, in three hours begging to go out and help.
There is no threat to that reserve structure. Those numbers of units and
those soldiers are funded at 37.5 days per year plus 7 days collective
training, plus augmentation to regular force exercise, plus their individual
As I have gotten older and grown to understand the army, I have such a
healthy respect for the reserve force. They are key. Of the group in the
midst of just leaving to go to Afghanistan, 20 per cent is reservist. As I
think you know on our other deployed missions, smaller numbers in total, but
the reserve percentage is up to 50 per cent in some cases.
It has been that operational experience domestically and internationally
that I think has been so important in bringing the regular and the reserve
elements closer and fostering that level of understanding and respect. I
think we are organized well. I personally am not in favour of a reserve
division or a regular division. I think it is divisive. I think it pits from
a resource battle and an attention battle regular and reserve. I think we
have grown a lot over the years and am proud of the state of our reserves.
Chief Warrant Officer Moretti: We often say our reservists are
born in the community. All our reserve units were created in that community
200 years ago. When an individual joins that reserve unit, his community
strength becomes even stronger. To me as your army sergeant major, a
reservist is another great set of soldiering but not a part of a community
who understands sometimes the human behaviour of some of the problems; it is
another enabler for the commander to achieve the mission.
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: If I can mention operational tasks, as we were
able to see the Arctic Response Company Group from Manitoba and Saskatchewan
this past weekend, you could not get a more enthused group of 150 reserve
soldiers teamed up with their ranger patrol enthused about operating in
Canada's North. There is an operational task as well as that ability to
augment and that ability to connect with Canadians.
Senator Lang: To follow up, the concern of our committee when we
put that report together was to ensure that the reserves were not the first
item that would be looked at from the point of view of cutting back when we
were reorganizing the forces. From what you have just said, I take it that
is not the case.
The concern I have, and I think other members will have as well, is that
if an envelope is not set aside from the point of view of at least the
financing for the reserves, it will be very easy one day to move in and
remove a substantial amount of money that should have gone to the reserves,
if at that time you are looking for, shall we call them, cuts.
I am just wondering, can you assure us, for every regular Armed Forces
personnel, are we doing a two-to-one or three- to-one ratio so there is some
sense of what we are dealing with as far as the organization within the
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: Sir, I can assure you that the reserve's army
structure that exists across the country is one, from our point of view,
that is a fixed cost. Those salaries and that training envelope, which come
out of our budget, we see as a fixed cost.
I think it will be very interesting as militaries move forward, and they
will need to debate the balance between regular and reserve elements. I
think the reserve is great value for dollar and also provides things that
the regular force cannot. I also point out that the level of diversity that
exists inside reserve units is mighty special. Canada is on display in a
reserve unit like it is not in a lot of regular units.
The Chair: Our report noted that you can go and get the skills out
of the civilian side that you might not need 24-7 but go and get them for
what you need.
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: Language skills, cultural awareness skills — it
is just precious.
Senator Nolin: I hear you talk about the reserve. We should have
used your remarks as support for our report. We are on the same wavelength.
Last week, you took part in that defence conference and you spoke about
the integrated infantryman system project. "Infantryman" is my word,
perhaps you just say "soldier." Could you explain to everyone what the
project is about, where you are with it and what you are seeking to achieve?
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: You are right, I am an infantry man.
Senator Nolin: The name of the program includes the word
"soldier." But "soldier" is more generic. I bet the equipment you want
to buy actually is for the infantry. It would be an integral part of the
army's combat effort.
You can answer in English if you like.
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: That would be easier.
Senator Nolin: Go ahead.
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: It would allow me to emphasize my points.
We operate as a combined arms team.
It would be for the infantry, certainly, but it would also be for all the
elements of our armed team.
I thank you for that question. It emphasizes the fact that the army, as
part of the Canadian Forces, is looking to tomorrow. I will talk about the
small arms replacement project.
Senator Nolin: I want you to tell us about your vision. How is
this integrated project system the warfare of the future? How are human
beings part of the communication exchange? How it is important for you in
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: I am driving towards the army of 2021: a
network-enabled soldier, a soldier that is a sensor and a soldier that has
access to the information that Senator Segal talked about being fused from
all kinds of different sources and shared with the soldier, our best system
on the whole battlefield, through communications, through displays that
might be on his arm or he might have a heads-up display. He is able to talk
with his teammates in his section. He is probably carrying a weapons system
that has incorporated things like facial recognition in the sighting. It is
a much more stable platform, even from a standing or kneeling position as he
is all over the place, so when he pulls the trigger he delivers an effect
that is very precise. He is slaved to a vehicle that is digitized and
provides a level of protection, mobility and fire power. It is a command and
control platform because we operate in chaos, and it links back to other
sensors, whether they are satellite, UAVs, persistent surveillance balloons
or towers. The soldier is able to talk to allies and is aware of the
picture, such as UN-related organizations might have in the battle space.
This is an alive, vibrant soldier who is well protected, but more than
anything he is a sensor with access to a wealth of information. In the army
we say that would allow him to advance with purpose.
Senator Nolin: That begs the question about the vulnerability of
the network system, as you know, and we are now faced with. We are doing
that as allies in other theatres. Others can do the same to us. What is Plan
B in order to be effective if connectivity is lacking?
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: As I mentioned, we train to operate in chaos. The
training must incorporate a reliance on other things.
Senator Nolin: They must go all the way to do things.
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: Right. I was pretty good at a map and compass,
and I am confident that although it will be a difficult balance to achieve
the level of training and understanding to exploit the good that comes from
the systems, we are still saving time so there is a basic understanding of
the Plan B, which is tied to a map, a compass, an understanding of the
ground, the sun, the moon and things like that.
Senator Nolin: Is that Plan B preparation happening now?
Chief Warrant Officer Moretti: It is still part of a soldier's
A soldier is equipped with the equipment the army gives him. That is what
builds the unit for that role on the battlefield. One of the greatest things
in any army is how an individual soldier is taught to use his equipment: man
versus machine. As that soldier's skills and knowledge increase on the
battlefield or in humanitarian aid, his adaptability to the circumstances
will yield a solution.
One of the greatest innovations of a Canadian is his own ambition to find
an end state and also the process of finding a solution. If there is
electromagnetic difficulty, he will find what he has on the ground to
succeed because he understands the commander's intent.
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: What is happening is a delicate balance. I think
there is greater emphasis on that in basic training because it is the base
from which you grow. As we move into collective training, there is probably
less emphasis than you might like to see on that because of the demands of
the complexity of your GPS system and everything else.
Senator Nolin: It is like our kids playing with those games.
Without batteries everything is dead. I understand the bids are in now.
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: Correct. There is great cooperation with defence
R & D and universities.
Senator Nolin: I believe MIT is quite up to speed in the U.S.
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: Canadian universities are as well.
Senator Nolin: I know.
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: How we harness a soldier's energy as he moves
around the battlefield to power his radio, to power his GPS —
Senator Nolin: Exactly, together with batteries, if necessary.
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: Right.
Senator Plett: I want to echo Senator Lang's comments with respect
to our gratitude for what Canada's men and women in uniform have done in
places like Afghanistan and elsewhere. However, we do not give enough credit
to what they do domestically. I am from Manitoba, and we certainly were
recipients in the last 12 months. In 1997 I recall the army setting up their
camp in my little village of Landmark because it is on high ground. The army
conducted themselves with professionalism and took pride in doing their job,
even though it was not going out and fighting other people but fighting the
flood in Manitoba. Indeed, we have every reason to be proud of them for
I am wondering about the attitude in people who are signing up for the
Armed Forces. Are they signing up because they want to go into some kind of
situation of conflict or combat? Now that we are not in Afghanistan, has
that had any impact on recruitment of men and women to join the forces
because it is possibly not quite as sexy, if you will, to do the work here,
even though I certainly recognize how vitally important that is and the
great job you do?
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: That is a tremendous point. Fortunately for us,
there are still long lines at the recruiting centres. The biggest challenge
for a young Canadian who is interested in a career in the CF is hopefully
they have the patience to wait until their number comes up.
Our attrition rate is in the neighbourhood of 6 per cent to 7 per cent. I
just wanted to point that out as well. For a young Canadian, patience is the
real key. I do not think it will be that way for too long though. You raise
a great point, and one to which we are very alert. Guys and gals join the
Canadian Forces because they want to do good things for their country. They
seek a level of excitement and challenge. Often, the challenge in uniform is
representing their nation in a different set of circumstances, whether
domestically or internationally. Certainly soldiers join because they want
to do what they have trained for and they expect to be used. We are alert to
that. That means we endeavour to provide exciting and challenging training
that tests their soldier skills and tests leaders to be agile and to think
in an innovative way and to make challenging calls.
We think we have an opportunity over the next few years without too much
challenge. Winter warfare training is something that a generation of
soldiers have not done. It is genuinely exciting to learn how to get dressed
in order to operate in the winter and to understand how complex it is to
operate in the winter. It is unique and different, and there are a bunch of
guys and gals who have not done that. We exploit that to provide excitement
and challenge for soldiers, as well as other types of training such as an
exercise with an ally. A group of soldiers from the third battalion of the
Van Doos is at Camp Lejeune with the marines. That is exciting. There is a
group going over to exercise Cold Response in Norway next month, and that is
I think you raise a great point, one that we are very alert to, and we
counter that by providing exciting training for our soldiers, one that we
think provides appropriately the skill sets they will need to be agile,
flexible and innovative on the battlefield tomorrow.
Chief Warrant Officer Moretti: One of the greatest things with
soldiers is the unknown. How to prepare for the unknown is to train them,
whether it is jumping, parachuting in the jungle, how to survive, how to
take a group of soldiers and challenge them mentally and physically to
achieve an obstacle. Once they have achieved that obstacle, they get a sense
Just over the weekend I was in Yellowknife with the commander, and I
talked to a young corporal who will be part of a trial on an upcoming
vehicle. He was so proud to be part of that program because he knows
tomorrow eventually he will become the sergeant of that section and that
piece of kit. He was enthused with the challenges ahead.
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: This is a young guy involved in the testing and
the evaluation of the close combat vehicle. He was so excited. This guy
found him, and it was so inspiring to talk to this young man. He was pumped
up and had a big belief in all of the vehicles that were part of that
evaluation, but also a level of confidence in the process.
Senator Plett: Congratulations and keep up the good work.
The Chair: Some of us went to Wainwright last summer. You do some
realistic training there too. That was great fun.
Senator Day: At the bottom of page 2 of your written comments, you
say "the army has invested," and then you list a number of different
things. Could we have our clerk liaise with you and get an explanation of
what these are? I did not understand them all. For instance, what does "realize Chinook helicopter" mean? If we could get an explanation of each
of these and circulate it to everyone, we would understand more about what
each one is.
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: That refers to the army's contribution of people
to allow the Chinook squadron, 450 Squadron, that will stand up in Petawawa
Senator Day: For each one of these, I have some questions. I will
not ask them now.
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: I would be delighted.
Senator Day: That would be helpful to understand those.
I have two or three things floating around in my head from earlier
testimony we have had, including from General Leslie, when he was in your
One of them was that the equipment that reservists had was being taken to
Wainwright so the battle group could train, and, therefore, the reserve
units did not have any equipment to train on. I would like to be reassured
that that is being rectified as the equipment is being brought back.
We were told that the reserve units were cutting down on the number of
training days to meet the reduced amounts they had in the units, and,
therefore, students who were reservists and who were relying on a certain
number of training days to help pay their university were dropping out
because they were not getting that. I heard you say in your watch that will
not happen, but I need you to acknowledge that that was a problem in the
The third one that I wanted you to comment on was with respect to rolling
equipment. I think General Leslie was talking about heavy trucks and that
type of thing, as opposed to — or maybe in addition to — the LAV 3 contracts
and the Leopard 2 tanks sitting in Montreal and not being worked on, even
though they had arrived from Europe and we had bought them but nothing was
happening. Can you reassure us all that is being looked after now?
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: I am happy to assure you that all you are
concerned about is in hand. We have moved away, as an army, from whole-fleet
management, which was sending a significant chunk of our stuff off to
Afghanistan and then managing the fleet here. It will not be perfect. I
think you will find with regard to reserve units that they will access new
vehicles, like the tactical armoured patrol vehicle. We are hopeful for an
announcement this summer and that we will start to take delivery in 2014,
that they will be pooled at the area level because of the complexity and the
maintenance. Reserve units and reserve soldiers need to understand, have
access to and be trained on the vehicles and need to go to the field to
understand how to employ those vehicles.
Training, including 37.5 days, a week of collective training, access to
augmentation to regular exercise and individual training, is a fixed cost
for the army to ensure that we have reserve units that are proud, with
With regard to those Leopard 2s, I think 14 are currently in Edmonton,
with the LDSH. It will actually be 2016 until we have all the Leopard 2s.
There are 100 chassis, 80 tanks and 20 armoured engineer vehicles and
armoured recovery vehicles. It is 2016 until the AEVs and ARVs are part of
The Chair: We appreciate that and your willingness to expand on
some of those other points. You and I were at a conference last week. The
question was this: If you do not ask the right question, you will not get
the right answer. Do you believe that the strategy going forward for the
army is in place?
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: The strategy moving forward for the army — I am
so hugely proud of our army and soldiers and that we are advancing with
purpose, that we have a structure that is flexible, one that is respectful
of the past but looking to the future. I am training soldiers for a complex
set of uncertainties for tomorrow, one that is demanding of flexibility and
agility and a means to operate in complex environments. Yes, madam chair, I
am hugely proud of our army and the road we are on for readiness for Canada
The Chair: Thank you very much for your time, General Devlin, and
also to Chief Warrant Officer Giovanni Moretti. This is an important process
we go through to get a state of the nation from each of our key forces. We
appreciate your time and comments.
Lt.-Gen. Devlin: Thank you for the opportunity to share a few
The Chair: We will continue our discussions with the head of the
three forces today. Our final witness is Lieutenant- General Deschamps,
Commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force. I still like saying that. The
RCAF finished its highly successful operations with Libya recently. Like our
army and navy, the air force is facing some challenges. There is the issue
of the Cyclone helicopters that are not yet operational; new fixed-wing
search and rescue aircraft are needed; and, while it will be getting new
F-35 fighters, there are questions about how long our CF-18s can keep
General Deschamps joined the CF in 1977. In Europe, he flew the CF-104
Starfighter, the so-called "rocket with a man in it." He then switched to
transport aircraft flying the C-130 Hercules, and a tour on NATO AWACS. He
has commanded squadrons, as well as air support in Afghanistan; he served as
chief of staff for the Canadian Expeditionary Force Command, CEFCOM; and was
Assistant Chief of the Air Force Staff before becoming the CAS, Chief of the
Air Force Staff, in 2009. Now, of course, he is known as Commander of the
Welcome. Thank you for being here, along with your two other colleagues.
I gather you have an opening statement. Please go ahead.
Lieutenant-General André Deschamps, Chief of the Air Force Staff,
National Defence: Thank you. Being the air force, we will adjust to my
other colleagues, who sometimes are not on the plan. I will make up time as
best I can.
Members of the committee, thank you for inviting me to speak here about
the Royal Canadian Air Force today. Our mission is to provide the Canadian
Forces with relevant, responsive and effective air power to meet the defence
challenges of today and into the future.
Over the past 12 months or more, the Royal Canadian Air Force has been
tested in its ability to fulfill that mission. I am pleased to report that
the men and women of the Royal Canadian Air Force have passed the test with
Delivering excellence in operations is my top priority. Our recent
missions in support of Canadian government priorities have circled the
globe. Most recently, Operation Mobile, our participation in the NATO-led
mission to protect the people of Libya, tested our readiness as never
before, as we deployed our CF-18 fighters fewer than 24 hours after the UN
resolution was passed.
The effect delivered by our CF-18s, our Airbus and Hercules tankers, and
our Auroras, which were deployed for the first time in ground surveillance
and targeting support, was simply outstanding.
Our success brought credit to the Royal Canadian Air Force, to the
Canadian Forces and to Canada on the international stage. During this
period, our air wing in Afghanistan was still very much active. Our ability
to integrate aviation, tactical airlift, and intelligence, surveillance and
reconnaissance capabilities ensured that we delivered joint air effect to
Canadian and allied commanders under extremely demanding conditions.
In that operational petri dish, we developed new doctrine — for example,
air-to-air integration — that will shape our future capabilities such as the
Air Expeditionary Capability located in Bagotville, Quebec.
Moreover, around the same time that OP mobile's combat mission began, we
deployed CF-18s to Iceland to carry out an air policing mission under the
auspices of NATO. Last August we deployed Gryphon helicopters and crews to
Jamaica to conduct search and rescue training and to support the Jamaican
defence force during hurricane season. Closer to home, we responded to
threats from Mother Nature: We evacuated residents of several northern
communities in Ontario and in Saskatchewan who were threatened by wildfires,
bringing more than 1,600 people to safety, and we participated in flood
relief and evacuation efforts in the Richelieu Valley and in Manitoba.
At the same time, we continued to deliver on our domestic no-fail task of
protecting Canadians from air threats through NORAD.
And we continued to fulfill our very demanding search and rescue mandate,
responding to maritime and aeronautical incidents throughout our vast
In this extremely busy and unprecedented period of activity, we delivered
excellence in every area of responsibility. I am so very proud of our
personnel for their professionalism and resilience in the face of adversity.
My next priority is integration of our new fleets.
There is a tangible mood of excitement in the air force as we continue to
bring into operation a modernized fleet — one that will bring tremendous
benefits to the Canadian Forces and to Canadians alike.
We have already seen the tactical and strategic advantage that our new
Hercules and Globemaster airlifters have brought to us, and I am looking
forward to receiving the last of our 17 J-model Hercules later this spring.
In the next horizon, we will be begin testing an operational evaluation
of the Cyclone, a world-leading maritime surveillance and control
helicopter. We are actively tackling right now the ways and means to
transition from the venerable Sea King to the new platform.
The new F-model Chinook medium-to-heavy lift helicopter scheduled to
arrive in Petawawa in 2013 will enhance the level of support we can provide
to the Canadian army and increase our capacity to respond to operational
imperatives both at home and abroad.
We are working actively to prepare the Royal Canadian Air Force to
receive the F-35 Lightning II, which will introduce a new generation of
fighters with the latest advances in the areas of sensors, data fusion and
crew survivability. The F-35 will establish and maintain the Royal Canadian
Air Force on the leading edge of many new technologies and capabilities.
At the end of the day, our ability to deliver excellence in operations
and face the opportunities and challenges associated with our fleet
modernization program, rests on the shoulders of our airmen and airwomen.
Our people are our strength.
As we look toward the future, it is clear that the Royal Canadian Air
Force will need to continue meeting a wide range of responsibilities.
We will continue to provide persistent air control of Canada's airspace
and approaches. We will ensure our continuing mobility and ability to
independently respond rapidly to domestic and international events. We will
continue to be interoperable with our allies. We will continue to be
expeditionary at home and abroad. Our operations in the Canadian Arctic will
grow in importance. We will continue to provide one of the best search and
rescue capabilities in the world.
The RCAF has proven its ability to deliver robust air power and, with our
ongoing modernization, I am confident that we will continue to provide the
high degree of service that Canadians expect from us in a fiscally
I understand that some of you will be visiting our wings in Comox and
Shearwater next month. The men and women of the RCAF look forward to
welcoming you and showing you first-hand the outstanding capabilities we
generate for the Canadian Forces.
Thank you again for the opportunity to speak with you today. I am ready
for your questions.
The Chair: Thank you. At a conference that we both attended last
week, when you were asked about the biggest challenges — and I know we will
get into some of the equipment acquisition — you said basically people and
demographics. Can you explain?
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: Yes. The air force, like you said, is in a
state of transition. We have some great capabilities already delivered to
the air force and many more to come. In fact, this decade, we will probably
see the most amount of transition in equipment that we have seen since World
War II. The challenge with all that is to ensure that we have the right
human resources to deliver success, both in transition and in operation of
the air force in this decade.
Our demographics right now are a bit challenged in the sense that we have
a bit of an uneven curve of population. Given the adjustments we did in the
1990s, namely, 1995 and 1996, where we reduced the air force dramatically, a
lot of people in the early part of their career in that 10-year period left
the military. We find ourselves, 10 years later, with a gap of experience in
the 10 to 20 years of experience levels. We are currently well below where
we should be in terms of that demographic.
We have a lot of keen, smart young individuals joining the air force in
great numbers, but it causes a bit of a challenge to be able to mentor all
these eager newcomers to the air force with the right amount of leadership
and experience. The pressure for us right now is to be able to train all
these new arrivals in the air force, prepare ourselves to transition new
fleets, conduct operations at home and abroad, and also do the institutional
work that we need to do in the headquarters, all putting pressure on a
certain demographic of the air force. That is the part we are managing
carefully, to ensure we do not burn our people out as we try to cover all
those bases. The pressure will remain probably for the next several years,
and probably close to the end of the decade, before we rebalance the
demographic in a more sustainable fashion.
The Chair: When you see some of the cuts, particularly in Britain,
and I know this issue was discussed briefly, can you imagine using our
allies to help train and mentor while we build up that part of the curve we
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: Thank you for the question. In fact, that is
exactly what we are doing, working closely with the RAF, Royal Air Force. As
they do some of their downward adjustments, we are actually borrowing some
personnel from the RAF to the RCAF, to fill out some of those empty billets
that we have been challenged to fill given our demographic pressures. That
releases some of my key personnel to go and do these important projects and
that mentorship piece that needs to be done.
This year I believe we are currently up to 16 loaned officers from the
RAF. We will probably get to 20. They will all be pilots, filling key
positions on the training side of the house and some of our new fleets we
need to build experience on. It has been helpful to us to bridge that gap
and also helpful to the RAF as they try to manage their demographic change
as they reduce capabilities.
Senator Plett: My question is based around the Cyclone helicopter.
In 1992, there was a contract signed by the government of the day to buy
some EH-101 helicopters. This deal was scuttled after the subsequent
election. One of the reasons was that apparently these were Cadillacs and we
could not afford Cadillacs. Scuttling the deal cost about half a billion
dollars. We ordered some 28 Cyclone helicopters. Since then, of course, the
costs, as many things do, have ballooned, doubled, tripled and quadrupled.
Would you consider the CH-148 Cyclone a Cadillac helicopter? How does
that compare to the EH-101? Is one better than the other? Are you happy with
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: Thank you for that question. The best way to
characterize the long-term procurement of a maritime helicopter is that the
basic requirement has not changed as far as what is needed to be delivered
in terms of capability for the navy, which is a robust platform that can fly
off the back of our frigates and destroyers, can go the right distance, stay
airborne, and deal with the nasty weather that the navy has to face in our
domestic and international waters. The basic performance is pretty much the
same as it was maybe in the 1990s, when we did the initial look at it.
What has changed dramatically is the sensor technology that goes with
these platforms. As you well know, things have moved along briskly since the
1990s in the evolution of computing and the technology that goes with it —
hence, some of the change we have seen in the last few years.
The Cyclone is probably the most balanced technology platform coming out
from maritime helicopter. I would certainly not call it a Cadillac. It is
what Canada needs to operate in the most demanding maritime environment in
the world. We have the largest ocean space to monitor and be ready to
respond to of any nation in the world. We unfortunately live in an
environment that has, for many months of the year, probably some of the
worst climate to go with it. The platform has to be able to operate in all
weather conditions and be able to detect surface and subsurface contacts in
demanding conditions. The development of the platform has evolved, as you
have mentioned, over the last couple of decades.
I think where we are now is the platform that will be delivered will have
a degree of technology integration that will be world-leading, and it is
required for Canada to be able to do its job for the next several decades.
Since the Sea King is going on to its fiftieth year of service, I am
hoping the Cyclone does not have to go as far, but the technology on board
the Cyclone will have to be relevant for several decades to come, and I
think it will be. Implementation has been a challenge because of the degree
of technology integration that needs to occur. We are trying to resolve this
as quickly as we can so we can get an operational fleet in the next couple
Senator Plett: When do you expect that we will take delivery of
the first Cyclone? When will the first one be on the back of a frigate?
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: We are still aiming at an initial operating
capability in late 2014, which means we have to start taking possession of
airplanes to start training on soon. We have dealings now with Sikorsky to
get an interim maritime helicopter transferred to us so we can get on with
the initial training, both for the maintainers and the aircrew, and start
doing the test evaluation, waiting for the final fully compliant platform,
which is the one we will use to go to the operational capability level.
As you know, some of those challenges have been prominent this year. Both
the company and we are working hard to resolve them. We both need to get
this project out the door.
Senator Plett: I would certainly agree with that. People are
flying on a wing and a prayer with the Sea King. Thank you for that answer.
Senator Mitchell: The Sea Kings do not actually have wings. They
probably have prayers.
I wanted to point out that Senator Plett forgets a couple of things. If
we had bought the helicopters that time, we would have had to borrow a lot
of money. If you do the math on the money we have saved in interest — you
cannot answer this but I am making a point — you will find that it did not
actually cost us all that much. Not only that, that decision was made
coincident with something unique to Senator Plett's government — a balanced
budget. They have not done it, and I actually believe that they probably
will not do it.
The Chair: Let us have a question.
Senator Mitchell: That brings me to another issue much like that,
and that is the F-35s. There is a lot of controversy. First, could you clear
that away and tell us where you are on that? Second, do you have
contingencies in mind? Are you assessing those, if in fact the F-35 simply
does not materialize at some reasonable price, and that is at least a
possibility? Those will be my questions.
I have seen a report that Boeing has announced or is actually developing
a package to upgrade the CF-18s in light of the possibility of a delay or a
collapse of the F-35 project and program. Could you give us insight into
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: The best way to encapsulate the issue of the
F-35 is that it is a big, complex program. There are a lot of moving parts;
there are many partners. Therefore, complexity will remain part of the
context we will have to deal with here for several years to come, until we
get to the certainty point of taking possession of aircraft and getting on
with the process.
I remain confident that we will get to that initial operating capability
in the end of the decade, which is our window of transition that we have
been planning for.
To do contingencies and Boeing working on the other option, F-18, what is
important to understand is that different militaries make different
decisions based on where they see themselves transitioning to the F-35. One
of the things you do when managing fleets and life expectancies is to try to
cost-avoid. Much like when you have an older car, you reach a point where
you just do not want to put any more maintenance in it; it is cheaper to buy
a new one.
Many of the nations made the decision to not reinvest in their legacy
fleet, knowing that they were going to transition to F-35s at a certain
point in time. Delays in the program, especially at the front end, where
some of the nations are, are causing some concern because they do not have a
lot of flexibility with those legacy fleets, as they cost- avoided the
investment in upgrades and extending life. Many nations right now are going
to their legacy fleets and, unfortunately, they have to put money into the
older fleets that they were trying to cost-avoid. That means their program
overall will start to cost them more because they have to add up both sides,
the old fleet and the new fleet.
Canada, fortunately, made the decision in 2001 to do a major re-lifing of
the F-18 fleets, not the full 136 airplanes, but 80 airplanes. Over a
decade, Canada has invested over $2 billion in renewing the F-18 fleet, both
structurally and the brains of it, the avionics, the radars, communications,
targeting pods, all the things that make a fighter viable and reliable. We
just completed that in 2010. The F-18 fleet, for all intents and purposes,
was refreshed over that decade. Therefore, we do not have quite the same
urgency and pressure that the other allies have perhaps with some of their
fleets. We can afford to look at the windows of opportunities for us to get
into the program at the right time, versus we must get in now or we will
have major problems with existing fleets.
We have some flexibility. It is not forever. For us, the end of the
decade remains a window of transition that we need to get to. The fleet life
is being managed on a yearly basis by the engineers. Depending how hard we
fly the fleet, we can keep adjusting that window based on usage rates and
other issues. Right now it is in good shape. They just came back from Libya.
The airplanes performed very well — excellent performance by the new
technologies. It was the right investment given what they had to do. They
will keep the airplanes relevant to the end of this decade for certain.
Senator Mitchell: Can you push them out to 2025 if you had to?
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: We can deal with that as we look at it. Fleet
management is not something that is absolutely terminal. It depends how you
use the airplanes. Right now the fleet transition is at the end of the
decade. We need to start transition at the end of decade, short of making
any other decision on investment. We are not in that position right now.
Senator Segal: I wanted to ask a question about the future and one
about a part of the past I think we are moving away from.
The Americans and our NATO allies, with the Rapid Arrow test in Germany
with respect to missile defence, were having a better technical success
record than was the case in the early days. I understand that none of us
around this table gets to decide whether Canada gets to join that program;
that was a decision made by a prior government.
My question to you is a tactical one. Should the government decide — in
view of rogue states, instability in Pakistan, concerns about North Korea,
concerns about Iran — that Canada did have to make the decision to step up,
is that something you feel comfortable the air force could engage in
constructively if it was ordered to do so by the duly elected government of
the day? Do you see technical issues that are deeply problematic? Do you
think there would be benefits should a government decide to do that? I
understand that is the government's decision and not military leadership's
decision, but I was wondering about your perspective on that.
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: I would not want to speculate as to what could
be, and I am not sure what part of the question I would need to consider.
Getting into anti-ballistic missile defence, depending on what part,
requires a fair amount of resource consideration. I am not sure what you are
Senator Segal: I do not think Canada was asked by anyone to have
an actual ordnance capacity here. Perhaps support would have involved
sharing information from various data resources, or perhaps having some
radar located in Canada to assist with sighting and tracking and that kind
of issue. I am not asking you to have a view on whether we should or should
not. That is not a fair question. From the point of view of the seamlessness
of NORAD and other issues, I wondered whether you think there might be
benefits should the government decide to engage.
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: Should government decide that is an avenue
they want to explore or participate in, we are well positioned within NORAD
to support those kinds of initiatives.
Senator Segal: I think you were involved in the NATO AWACS mission
out of Geilenkirchen, and I saw recently that Canada was withdrawing its
company-level strength from that joint operation. I do not want to
second-guess operational decisions; those are made by military experts and
not by politicians. However, I take it that is one of the decisions that
dealing with our resource issues sometimes puts in front of someone with the
difficult burdens you have to carry.
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: I guess the issue revolves around
implementation of certain strategic review initiatives. Those have yet to
unfold fully, so at this point I would not want to speculate as to the full
range of issues that have to be looked at.
However, with NATO AWACS, we still have people there. We remain engaged
and were fully involved in Libya through both the U.S. and NATO AWACS. We
are still fully engaged.
Senator Lang: I would like to go back to the F-35s and follow up
on the last question by Senator Mitchell.
It seems to be a moving target at the present time when you read about it
in the media. I do not know how much you can believe. What is the time frame
for decisions with respect to the purchasing of these aircraft, especially
in view of the fact that some of the allies are obviously having to make
some decisions because their fleet is in the situation that you described.
Are we talking within the year whether this will firm up, or what is going
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: It goes back to nations being able to plan
their entry into the F-35 program at the right time for each nation. As we
know, the U.S. has recently made the decision to re-profile some of their
acquisition to later in the program, which caused other folks to reassesses
when they enter the program. We are looking at how Canada gets into the
program. We are committed to getting into the program. The issue of finding
the best time for value is still what we consider carefully before making a
commitment to purchase the first series of aircraft.
I believe last year, or when I was before another committee, people were
asking about 2016. However, 2016 was not a fail point. It was a start point
for discussion on transition at the end of the decade. We can start when it
is required to get to that transition point. We have flexibility in how we
introduce the fleet either in a gradual way or in a more compressed fashion.
Again, I am not overly concerned at this point in time. We have
flexibility in our program. The point is that we remain confident we will
get to initial operating capability by the end of the decade.
Senator Lang: Is every country that has committed to the program
continuing with that commitment, or is anyone withdrawing?
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: I am not aware of any country withdrawing from
Senator Lang: Could I move on to one other area, search and
The Chair: Yes.
Senator Lang: Perhaps you can update us with what is happening in
the search and rescue program. I know it has been under review, and
decisions have to be made in the next little while. It is a huge
responsibility you have in the North and a very difficult one to be able to
meet all your obligations in that area. I notice that you called to the
private sector for ideas as to how they could contribute to search and
rescue. Perhaps you could update us as to where that is, and if you do not
have anything definitive, when would you?
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: There are a couple of components to search and
rescue. The current one that is more of interest is the procurement of a
fixed-wing replacement fleet for our older fleets, such as the buffalo and
the CC-130 Hercules, or legacy Hercs, as we call them. The program we are
currently engaged in is to replace those older fleets.
Speaking to the same points I spoke to about F-35 — which is cost
avoiding and replacing old fleets before they cost too much — the Fixed-Wing
Search and Rescue Program, or FWSAR, was meant to replace legacy fleets
before we had to invest a significant amount of money to keep them flying
and maintain a viable search and rescue capability. The program has had some
delays, as everyone is familiar with, but I am confident we have worked
through some of those process issues that were challenging us. I think we
will be in good position this year to get on with it. I am probably more
confident than I have been for the last while that we had reached agreement
across various departments and with industry that we are finally at a place
we can proceed with the process. I am hopeful we will get on with it
Senator Lang: An area I wanted to pursue a bit further was the
relationship with the private sector as far as working out some sort of
joint arrangement, especially in the North because of accessibility.
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: Right. To give you a bit of an overview,
search and rescue is a system of systems. The military operates a certain
component of it, the air force being the provider of air search and rescue
services for the federal government. The Coast Guard provides the maritime
component of that federal response to deal with maritime incidents and air
crashes. Ground search for lost persons, for example, is a provincial and
municipal responsibility. However, we do get called out occasionally to
support them if they feel they need more resources added to their search
effort. It is a bigger system than just the air force.
Of course, we have a fairly large volunteer organization called CASARA,
the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association. It is about 300 to 400 private
aircraft. They volunteer their time. We do training with them to ensure they
are at minimum standard so they do not compromise their own safety. There
are procedures. We train with them. When we have searches we call them and
they get on the Hercs or fly their own airplane depending on the nature of
the search to augment our capabilities. We pay their direct expenses. It is
a low-cost solution to grow the search capability of Canada rapidly. They do
a lot of work for us regionally.
In the North it is a bit more challenging. There are not a lot of private
aircraft owned in the North because of the nature of the terrain. There are
a lot of commercial operators.
Last year we reached agreement with the commercial operators in the North
to participate in CASARA. We now have a growing nexus of operators in the
high North who are expert in the Arctic and willing to participate in this
volunteer organization, using their resources when called out to augment our
search capabilities. I am very encouraged by that because they know the
terrain very well since they operate there commercially.
Of course, again, this gives us additional eyes and ears out in the high
North to augment the capabilities we can bring north when required.
The Chair: I think that is an answer to the question you wanted.
Senator Nolin: General Deschamps, thank you for accepting our
invitation. Could you talk to us about drones? We are seeing drones used
more and more in operational situations.
First, I would like to know where drones fit in our fleet of aircraft.
Second, if they are in our plans, are they a priority? Finally, I would like
to know your opinion about the armed use of drones.
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: Thank you for your question. To put things
into context, we used drones in Afghanistan, as most people know. We leased
them. It was an arrangement with the industry, to tide us over a period
where we had a lack of operational capability.
Senator Nolin: So we needed them.
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: Yes. In the long term, we have a program to
have a permanent drone capability in the Canadian Forces. That program is at
draft stage. The research phase will soon be over and we hope to be able to
ask the government for support to implement a drone purchasing program for
Canada, for domestic and foreign operations. That means, depending on the
mission, capable of covering territory both at home and abroad.
As for your question about whether the drones should be armed, it will
probably be part of the identified need that the drones should have an armed
capability. Clearly, in foreign operations, during complex missions like in
Afghanistan or Libya, for example, the advantage of drones is that they
remain in position for long periods of time and they see a lot. The
capability for action is also very important, as opposed to waiting longer
to call in a fighter or something else in order to solve a problem on the
ground. So being able to have a short- or medium-range weapon — depending on
the capability of the drone — and being able to act is very important. As we
know, during an insurrection, you have to act almost instantaneously.
So the capability to be armed, if required, especially internationally,
will be part of the needs identified for the drones.
Senator Nolin: Let us talk about a domestic scenario. Given the
size of the territory that requires surveillance and protection, do you see
a future for the use of drones in Canada?
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: Yes, drones are part of an arsenal of systems
that we need to be able to cover Canada; that is, to know what is going on
in our territory, by sea, in the air or on land. Drones in themselves cannot
do all that. The arsenal includes space, manned aircraft, drones and
ground-based or ship-based systems. All those systems must be able to work
together, and drones can have a place in an environment like that in which
we want a more sustained presence and the ability to conduct patrols. The
cost of operation and the flexibility gives us the option of manned or
unmanned aircraft, depending on the area we want to cover, the environment,
the distances involved.
Having drones gives us options that we do not have today. We must still
have a manned capability, which is more costly. We just do not have enough
of that capability to cover Canada at all times.
That is why drones are going to become important, to oversee Canadian
Senator Nolin: When do you think that report will be in the
government's hands for a decision?
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: We are hoping to move forward this year, 2012.
There are other programs that we have to get out of the way, but the JUSTAS
program, the drone program, is coming along quickly and we hope to be able
to provide the government with a recommendation this year, so that we are
able to move forward.
Senator Day: I have just two or three points, general, that I
would like to clarify. First, with respect to the AWACS situation, I heard
Senator Segal's question that you replied to, and I just want to make sure
it is clear on the record.
Our understanding is that the consortium of several NATO nations had
joined together to buy and operate AWACS aircraft, and Canada was part of
that consortium. I also understand there was a political announcement made
by the Minister of National Defence that Canada would be withdrawing from
that consortium within the year.
Your answer was that we are continuing to participate, and I know we are
continuing to participate. However, in one year is it not true, that is the
current announcement, that we will be withdrawing? I am wondering, from an
air force point of view, are you trying to reverse that decision internally
or are you planning to withdraw in one year? I could not understand the way
you were answering that.
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: Thank you for that question. Our phasing out
of any NATO capabilities for us will be done in a fashion that is consistent
with NATO's needs. In other words, we will do it over a period of time, not
necessarily over one year. We are discussing with our NATO allies the best
way of doing this without creating any gaps. We are looking at a phased
withdrawal over time, not a year.
Senator Day: Just so we understand, this consortium operates
AWACS, but the United States has their own AWACS aircraft that are also used
by and loaned to NATO from time to time.
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: There are separate systems. The British,
French, American and Turkish air forces all have separate AWACS capability
that participate in their national events or can be contributed to NATO.
NATO has its own fleet of AWACS that is paid for through the NATO
Canada participates in both programs. We have personnel on board U.S.
AWACS as part of our NORAD defence commitment, and of course we have
personnel in Europe under the NATO AWACS program. The one we are currently
looking at phasing out is the NATO AWACS, not the U.S. one.
Senator Day: The only other question of clarification I have
relates to drones and the uninhabited, unmanned aerial vehicles. Canada has
not, up until now is my understanding, armed any of these. All of our
discussion has been with respect to surveillance and the role that can be
played from that point of view. Do you see us moving into the Reaper or
Predator type of UAV?
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: The way I contextualized it when I responded
the first time was that drones themselves need to be multi-roled. In other
words, if we need to arm them they need to be capable of accepting whatever
type of weaponry is applicable for their size and operational environment.
As we look at our requirements, that will certainly be something we would
want considered in the procurement of this platform. However, if we are
doing business offshore and that requires us to operate in a dangerous
environment and there are troops on the ground that need our support, it
would probably be the most efficient way of having it where you can sense,
see and act in the same platform.
Senator Day: That policy decision has already been made that we
will move in that direction?
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: That will be part of the definition. Once we
get the requirements and the government accepts, that would be something
they would have to consider before we go to procurement.
Senator Day: As a sub-question to that, we had the army in here
and they talked about small, uninhabited aerial vehicles under their
responsibility, whereas you have presumably the not-so-small ones. Are we
looking at a duplication of effort here? How do you divide the
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: The air force is involved in all air space
issues that have to do with UAVs. They are called micro-UAVs, the small ones
that operate in a very limited regime of air space, typically below 500
feet. They are battery-operated, backpack-mounted UAVs. We work with the
army to make sure they are safe and effective. There is an error
certification process that we do with the army. We look at their procedures.
Those micro-UAVs are operated by the army and eventually will be by the navy
if they have those platforms off the back of their ships.
Anything that will operate in complex air space, in other words, that can
operate with other airplanes in integrated airspace, the air force will
operate to ensure that we are consistently applying the same safety rules
and procedural knowledge that we have in the air force now. There is an
agreement on the layers of where UAVs can be operated autonomously.
Senator Dawson: This is an embarrassing question, and I would
rather have asked it of the minister, but as you know he has escaped
questions on this issue. It is about the use of military services to
undermine the credibility of a member of Parliament who is asking questions
about the use of search and rescue capabilities. That question was put on
the table last week, and the minister did not respond. I do not know if you
can say whether at some time we will be told exactly what was done in trying
to undermine the credibility of the MP who asked a very commonsense question
about the use of military aircraft to transport a minister.
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: I am not sure I understand the question.
The Chair: I am not sure this is appropriate.
Senator Dawson: The credibility of a member of Parliament is
The Chair: But he is not answerable.
Senator Dawson: The RCAF is on the record in the media as having
cooperated with the minister's office in giving information about an MP's
training or participation in a formal program and trying to undermine him by
saying that since he used aircraft, the minister should be allowed to use
them as well.
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: I can answer that in a very general sense.
Anyone in the CF, or the RCAF in this case, can be asked by committees, by
the public through ATIs, or by the minister's office to provide information
that is public record. If information requested is accessible and releasable
under ATI, it is released.
I am not sure of the gist of the question, but as far as the RCAF
providing information, we provide information when it is requested of us by
anyone requesting it, as long as it is not classified or does not cross the
boundaries of protected information.
The Chair: When you spoke at the conference last week, you talked
about the importance of equipment allowing networked communications. You
said that you have to be able to talk not only to yourselves and each other
in the CF but also to allies. This is about interoperability.
Is the F-35 one key to that because of that connection? I know we have
talked about the different parties coming in at different times, but is that
particular piece of gear key to that future plan?
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: It is fundamental to the future of the
Canadian Forces. The architecture by which we share information will be
vital to us as we try to leverage new technologies and platforms. We have
been talking about platforms, but the crux of success will be based on the
architecture for command control we can build to leverage information. Where
does the information go? Who does the collection? Who does the fusion of the
information, and what do you do with it? It is a large and complex problem.
We are acquiring more powerful sensors. As we acquire new platforms, be
they navy, air force or army platforms, the sensors will all be capable of
processing far more information than we have today. How do we collate, where
does it go and what do you do with it? It is a fundamental problem we must
resolve in the next few years as these great sensors come on board so that
we employ them to their full effectiveness versus dumbing them down if we do
not have the architecture in place to communicate and push data where it
needs to go.
A good example of that is the high North where we currently have
challenges in the architecture of communications to be able to push data
where it needs to go. That is being addressed through programs in the space
segment where we will put more architecture into space to communicate.
Global Mercury is the program to provide communications abroad so that we
have reliable bandwidth available to us to enable us to do that work.
That is our challenge. We need to build that architecture fairly quickly
as we start hooking up these great sensors that we are purchasing.
The Chair: Our forces, the different commands, and our allies are
working on that together. The days of "you buy this and I will buy that"
because it seems to suit our own domestic purposes seem to be behind us.
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: Everyone is struggling with the same problem.
It is just a question of scale, depending on the size of your military. Some
nations have found some novel solutions. Our challenge is geography. I had a
chance to visit Israel and watch how they integrate information. It is an
impressive process. They can link everything by fibre optic land lines
because their geography allows them to centralize and fuse information in an
efficient fashion. Our challenge is our geography. We are so massive that to
bring that information in at the operational strategic level requires a huge
amount of infrastructure, land-based or space-based. We are still struggling
to find what will work.
We are capable of doing it tactically, as we did in Afghanistan. We did
it in Libya with some effort. To expand that theatre would be challenging
for us because that architecture is struggling to find itself. Our allies in
NATO have similar challenges. Everyone needs to be able to join up or plug
in to a common architecture to share information.
Progress is being made, but for us, domestic is more challenging than
when we deploy offshore.
The Chair: We have the global picture. Do we need our own space
agency to do more to separate that collection and fusing domestically?
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: We are working hard through our space program
with the Canadian Space Agency to put the right resources, shared across
government, into our domain in Canada to ensure that we can do our business
at home in a more efficient fashion. We are working with the space agency.
Senator Lang: To some degree the new satellite system coming in
and PolarSat meet the challenge you have with geography.
Lt.-Gen. Deschamps: That is correct. A range of capabilities will
be fielded in the next few years. One is called Polar Epsilon and it is
based on RADARSAT-2 technology that Canada pioneered and owns. Several more
platforms will be launched in the next three or four years to build a
three-satellite configuration that will give us good coverage of Canada,
especially the high North, and also other global areas that the satellite
will cover, therefore giving us options to contribute to our national needs
offshore and also with NATO. This satellite constellation will serve the
home game and the away game also.
We eventually need to build communication satellites around that so that
we can exchange that data at home around the domestic operational strategic
The Chair: Thank you for that. We have that topic on our agenda
coming up. Thank you for opening it up for us.
Thank you for being here today, for your very successful operations in
Afghanistan and Libya, and for the picture you have painted for us going
Colleagues, we will continue to look at the draft budget for the
Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs. This will cover expenses for 2012-13. We
have to do this in a timely fashion because of the deadlines. This committee
and the subcommittee, because of travel, do not meet much in March, and we
have to be ready, with this approved, to go before Internal Economy. That is
why this is here.
Senator Plett, did you have anything you wanted to say about this in the
absence of Senator Dallaire?
Senator Plett: No, not really, chair. It is self-explanatory.
There are two very small trips. We are making only one in this fiscal year
and that is to Prince Edward Island, to Veterans Affairs. I think we have
been very modest in our expenditures. I certainly hope the committee
endorses or supports it.
The Chair: You are proposing a trip to Valcartier and to
Saint-Anne-de- Bellevue. That is $2,480, and the total of the other trip to
Valcartier is $19,885. That was a postponed trip.
Does anyone have any questions on this?
Senator Day: Thank you, Madam Chair. My understanding is that the
chair of the Subcommittee on Veterans Affairs, Senator Dallaire, who could
not be here today, has reviewed this particular budget and is in agreement
Senator Plett: I do not think he reviewed it. He and I came up
The Chair: They invented it. They wrote it.
Senator Day: There you have it.
Senator Nolin: What is important is that he agrees with it.
Senator Mitchell: I want to make a couple of comments. I think
this is good. It is laying something out. I think it will strengthen our
case when we go to Internal Economy for funding and so on. I just had a
couple of points. I would like to sort of pick out some themes or some
broader studies. A lot of this is one-offs; we meet and talk.
The Chair: Are you talking about the draft budget for Veterans
Senator Mitchell: Oh, sorry, no, I am not. Never mind.
The Chair: Any other comments on the draft budget for Veterans
Senator Plett: I will move.
The Chair: It is moved by Senator Plett that the proposed draft
report be adopted for submission to the Internal Economy Committee. Is it
agreed, honourable senators?
Hon. Senators: Agreed.
The Chair: Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen. That will be
the end of our public session, and we will now go in camera to continue the
rest of our business.
(The committee continued in camera.)